Survey: Reply by Miclan Quorpencetta

1. — How would you most succinctly define anarchism? Is there a shared “anarchist project” — and, if so, how would you characterize it?

It could be described negatively as anti-authoritarianism, or positively as imagining and creating new forms of radically egalitarian human relations.

2. — What is the relationship between anarchism and the concept of anarchy?

I am a fairly new anarchist but the word anarchy is often used by non-anarchists to mean political chaos. In my experience, anarchists do not use it this way but tend to use the term “anarchism” instead, both because it avoids misunderstanding and because it connotes a process or practice rather than a state of being.

3. — What is the value of tradition within the anarchist milieus and what might be its uses?

Traditions can be valuable if the reasons for them are remembered as well. One example is security culture. A new anarchist like myself may need to embrace such practices even before we have the opportunity to learn the history behind them, but it is important to understand the reasons as soon as possible.

4. — What, specifically, is the role to be played in the present by the anarchist literature — whether theoretical or artistic — of the past?

We have to see where anarchism comes from and to see what its relationship is to other philosophical lenses like communism, environmentalism, feminism, and anti-colonialism.

5. — What are the most significant challenges facing anarchists — and anarchism, as you understand it — in the present?

There is still an unfortunate lack of awareness and understanding of the history and current state of white supremacy and colonialism in much of the left. Anarchists can fall into a trap thinking they don’t have to worry about international politics because they’re against all governments. We need to support the self-determination of all oppressed peoples, especially if they are fighting for their freedom from racial apartheid, economic exploitation and imperialist aggression.

6. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist activity (outside the realm of theory and propaganda)?

I think that Rojava has had an energizing effect on people that is similar to the effect of the Zapatistas in the 90’s. Leftists in the US right now seem unusually willing to form coalitions between different tendencies in response to the many specific fights that affect us all. The current popularity of prison-related activism can be tied to long-standing anarchist tradition, making that a good way of bringing liberals to a more anarchist position.

7. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist theory and propaganda?

There are several writers doing exciting work in this area. I am currently reading history to get grounded, but my reading list includes Emergent Strategy by Brown, and As Black As Resistance by Anderson and Samudzi. There is, I think, a movement to look at the extensive history of peoples struggles for freedom, even those not explicitly anarchist in nature, and study them for what they can teach us.

8. — What are the most urgent changes to be made in anarchist practice moving forward?

We need to be more explicitly anti-colonial and anti-racist. We need to support peoples self-determination rather than prescribing a specific praxis to them. We need to focus on growing survival programs as the government contracts and leaves poor communities without resources. We need to center whole marginalized communities rather than using a few anarchists of color as spokespeople for otherwise majority-white organizations. We need to learn about and confront white supremacy in ourselves and our organizations, because its pervasiveness makes it invisible to anyone who is not affected by its violence.

9. — What is the role of some kind of “anarchist unity” moving forward? What form could or should that unity take?

The more we see the way injustices are all interconnected, the more opportunities we see for coalition-building. I could envision a multiplicity of organizations that voluntarily participate in large-scale actions according to the decisions of their membership.

10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?
Answer Provided: Anarchist art has for too long been dominated by the white punk aesthetic and could use to be decolonized. While there are many Black punk bands, we could also look for and support radical anti-authoritarian art and music being created in the global south.

11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?

I identify as still learning, but I am particularly inspired by the Black radical tradition in the US, and the many anarchists who worked within that framework to theorize Blackness in this country as inherently anti-State and anti-authoritarian.

12. — What additional questions would it be useful to pose to a broad anarchist audience?

I don’t know

13. — Would you be interested in participating in future surveys, perhaps addressing more specific elements of anarchist theory, practice and culture?

yes