Survey: Response by Nigel

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

Anarchism is the desire and movement for a free and equal society. A horizontal society lacking nation-states, wage slavery, bosses, sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and all other hierarchy. While different tendencies might argue about whether they’re “communists” or not, all of us desire pure freedom.

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

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

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

Anarchist literature of the past does the heavy lifting for anarchist thought, so to speak. While groups like crimethinc can write really good propaganda that opens the mind to anarchist concepts and feelings, Kropotkin, Rocker, Bakunin, Proudhon, and even Stirner are who we can fall back on for guidance and to further educate people once they’re open to the concepts.

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

The most significant challenge facing serious anarchists is the apathy of “post-leftism”, like nihilism and whatnot. The insurrectionists in general. Their lack of organization is a threat to anarchist tendencies that are actually attempting to organize for revolution, such as an-coms and syndicalists. Well besides the obvious threats to us that have existed throughout history like state and capitalist propaganda, state violence, fascist paramilitaries, etc etc.

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

I would say we’re gaining ground, it seems like every day i talk to a new person I’m surprised to learn considers themselves an anarchist or is open to what I have to say about anarchism. And anarchist-led/organized direct action seems more and more prevalent lately, especially since the election of Trump.

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

There seems to be a turning towards “post-leftism”, Which I find too disorganized to be of any real use, and it’s near refusal to define morality leaves it open to infiltration by people with less-than-good intentions. But of course there is still a very strong anarcho-communist movement, whether we be syndicalists, municipalists, or pure ancoms

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

We need to be better organized and focused on actually connecting with and helping working class people, instead of spouting off meaningless theory. We need to make material changes to the lives of the people we claim to want to free, instead of debating 1000 page books that make us look and act like elitists. Anarchism is for the people, not just academics. It’s not just a game or something to be debated to sound smart, it’s pointless without practical application.

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

We should always be willing to stand and work with other anarchists who don’t subscribe to any hierarchy or oppression(that is, as long as they are not homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, etc etc). We have to stand in solidarity with each other, even across tendencies, and even if we do so critically. Doing so critically is even a chance to grow and learn.

10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?

A return to the emphasis on anti-capitalism, and without grand Marxist phrases and vocabulary, just an explanation of how capitalism affects working people in their daily lives and how anarchism could change that and materially improve things.
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11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?

I’m an anarcho-syndicalist, believing that the labor union is the by far the best unit of organization to organize, plan, and achieve revolution; and the best way to organize society post-revolution. My actions and theory focus on what’s practical- what can we do to materially improve people’s lives right here and right now. Because that’s how you make people socialists/communists/anarchists, by showing them what it can do for them, not just telling them. Also, of course, as a member of the IWW, labor organizing campaigns.

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

What does your theory do to change people’s lives? If you told your ideas to a working class dude in a bar, would he punch you in the face or would he get what you’re saying? Do you spend your time debating/making fun of other leftists on twitter or do you spend your time doing anarchist work, organizing, and mutual aid in your community?

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

Why not