Survey: Response by Rose Syn

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

There are many forms of anarchism, including but not limited to Anarcho-Communism, Anarcho-Collectivism, Mutualist Anarchism, and others. But the one goal we all share is the elimination of authority and power structures if they cannot meet the burden of proof they are required. This includes the state, capitalism, landlords, etc. but does not mean that a parent is not justified in saving a child from being hit by a car. That is justifiable.

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

If this question is asking for a difference between anarchism and anarchy, that varies from person to person. Some anarchists such as myself use the terms interchangeably, but some (particularly anarcho-pacifists) will say anarchism is as I answered in question #1, and anarchy is synonymous with insurrectionary anarchism and black bloc tactics

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

The main tradition of anarchism is to question authority. Always question authority, ask yourself “is this justifiable” and if it is not, it must be abolished. In that sense of tradition in anarchism, it is extremely important. But one tradition of anarchism I’m not a fan of is putting trust in ML’s. they killed us in Korea, killed us in Ukraine, crushed us in Krondstadt, undermined us in Spain, and western ML’s today defend Assad and despise Rojava.

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

The most you’ll find in terms of modern day anarchist literature will be on the anarchist library. But that is also filled with more classic anarchist literature. In both the past and present it has been used as a piece of education and to understand anarchist theory. There’ve also been known anarchist artists, such as Nestor Makhno who was a dedicated painter, and several poets. Anarchist art today depicts either 1) a new growing society under anarchism 2) images of the elite in our eyes, such as the capitalists squeezing a worker for resources in a crushing machine that drains them of their surplus value 3) black bloc art such as graffiti and riots

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

One of which is surely propaganda. People no longer know what anarchists want, same goes for communism, and socialism in general. The state and capitalists have conflated anarchism with violence, disorder, destruction, assassinations, etc. and this gives people a negative view of us, even if many are pacifists and syndicalists. Another major problem is nuclear arms and the advancement of technology. To attempt a pure anarchist revolution today will surely capture the eyes of all states and squash us quickly. And of course there is lack of education. When many (or most) people go into economic classes, they don’t assign you Marx, they don’t assign you Kropotkin, they don’t assign you Proudhon. They are too scared to assign you and teach you about socialism. There is also lack of education on the atrocities committed by capitalist states such as the USA and the UK. They don’t teach us about the native american genocide, or the massive destruction of worker unions and civil rights. But I think, in 2018, the average person is starting to smell something is fishy, and since the 2016 presidential election, anarchism is once again on the rise.

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

Most commonly black bloc protests and riots in the USA, not much else. There’s also a large amount of anarchist activity today in Greece, and of course anarchists are joining the fight in Rojava in the Syrian Civil War, and in the Zapatistas in Mexico. In the united states, apart from Black Bloc, we post posters on the streets, tear down fascist propaganda, and often times call up an identified fascist’s workplace and let them know what they’ve done (such as at Charlottesville) and get them fired. Anarchism in the USA is very restricted due to things that are hard for us to control.

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

Severely lacking. Not much new stuff has come up over the past 50 years. Perhaps the largest new amount of theory came from Bookchin and David Graeber. The mode of production 100 years ago is not the same as today. Technology has evolved. Anarchists back then could never have imagined the internet. And speaking of the internet, that by itself has helped anarchists communicate and educate people, and many have become anarchists because of the internet, myself included.

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

Organizing. We NEED to organize immediately, we NEED to combat climate change otherwise we will all suffer, we NEED to help feed the homeless, and just simply organize.

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

I’m a 100% advocate of anarchist unity. During the days of the free territory of Ukraine, there were anarcho-communist villages, as well as mutualist villages. In the Korean Anarchist Federation, anarcho-communists, anarcho-collectivists, and egoist anarchists worked great together. And during the Spanish civil war, anarchists of all stripes united and we were stronger for it, lasting a number of years against some of the worlds most powerful superpowers. These sections of anarchism argue constantly but they’ve united before and we can do it again. Once a major crisis comes, it becomes easier for us to unite and throw away our differences.

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

In regards to theory, we need some overhauls. We need to look at how past anarchists viewed problems, and add onto them and update them. Like I said, things aren’t what they used to be. as for propaganda, more youtube, more protests, more feeding the homeless, more organizing, spreading pamphlets and posters, and aiding squatters. Literature, same as the theory problem but also we need to write more fiction such as what Ursula K. Le Guin in some of her writings (such as The Dispossessed) and with art we need to simply spread our art online more on every major website. We need to bombard forums, image boards, and social media with information.

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

Anarcho-Communism. Abolition of the state, replaced with individual democratic communes that can organize under federations, abolition of social classes, abolition of money and replaced with mutual aid, workers own their workplaces, products are no longer treated as commodities and are instead distributed according to people’s needs, all under a blanket of direct democracy, with delegative democracy (such as council communism) to be used simply as a backup. Feminism, LGBTQ+ liberation, pro-choice, anti-SWERF, anti-TERF, and complete individual and collective autonomy. I don’t just draw inspiration from people such as Kropotkin, Déjacque, and other famous ancoms, i also like to take arguments against various forms of authority from other anarchists such as Bakunin, Proudhon, Malatesta, Durruti, etc. but i also love Marx’s intensely fierce absolute DESTRUCTION and critique of capitalism, tho I should note I’m not necessarily a “Marxist”, and I also go back and forth between insurrectionism and syndicalism (transformation through worker unions) depending on my mood

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

“Why do you want to abolish the state, and capitalism?” — “What are your solutions to current social relations?” — “Are there any current day anarchists who you feel are important?” “What can anarchists today do to assist in the climate change problem?” — “What are your thoughts on religion?” — “What does mutual aid mean to you?” — “Are you pro left unity?” — “What helps in creating more anarchists?”

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

Yes please