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Ok, so you know the very basic ideology now, what the general Anarchist philosiphy is.
But I still haven't given more detailed information about well, what an Anarchist does, and who they are.
Well, seing as how we use a wide variety of tactics, this is hard to say.
Well, you'll find that Anarchists usualy aren't too different from regular people, usualy everyday hard working people, also mixed in with a new wave of youth-- quite often poor (at most, middle class).
We, probably not unlike you, greatly value things such as freedom, equality, solidarity (unity or fellowship, coming from common interests and goals), environmentalism, community, and direct democracy (meaning total and absolute democracy, in every part of life).
The reason we fight for things like this, is that we realise that the majority of you do to.
However, the way we fight things like this is possibly what sets us apart from most political ideas, and that is direct action.
Direct action means that we, as people take action directly against our oposition, not as some group, guided by a "representative", but people taking care of their problems using their own means (or with the help of the community, and freinds), and organising for the purposes of action, and education.
We feel that direct action, is not only extremely effective, but necesary for an Anarchist community to even come into existence, because if you aren't acting as an individual, then you can never become "self-liberated", and therefore freedom can never be fully acheived.
Granted, we are in a WAY lead by our common interests, but individual interests should be respected as well.
Otherwise, if you are being lead by others (unwillingly), you are relying on people more powerfull then you, and therefore, aren't truly free.
Direct action, in addition gives people a great feeling of self-empowerment, that they are an individual, that they are important and that they are making a difference, it really empowers everyday people, which is what this movement is all about, POWER TO THE PEOPLE !
So really, I can't exactly say "what anarchists do", I think the answer lies in what is important to people, and more importantly what's important to you ?
There's a fairly good chance that whatever is directly important to you, Anarchists are somewhere working on it, not because some leader told them to, but because they care about it, just like you do.
However, here is a list (courtesey of the great guys at The Mid-Atlantic Infoshop) on some issues that mean the most to Anarchists.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGYAnarchists oppose the status quo with energy production in the US. Dominated by nonrenewable fossil fuels and toxic nuclear power, we value instead clean alternative energy sources -- things like solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Another reason we value these power sources is they offer decentralized energy to people -- which empowers everyday people normally dependent on a centralized power grid.
ANIMAL RIGHTSAnarchists oppose cruelty to animals, particularly in the agriculture industry, but not limited to there (as in the case of furs). We oppose encroachment on the last remaining wildernesses due to capitalist development and ranching. We favor organic farming instead of the wholesale slaughter factories that are typical of modern agribusiness.
Some anarchists are vegans, some vegetarians, and some still eat meat, while others further narrow their consumption to only fish, for example. Anarchists recognize that we share this planet with the other species of the world -- we do not rule this world, but cohabitate with the other species. Further, we recognize that biological diversity is a key component to our own survival, and the capitalist extinction-o-rama is going to come back and hurt us in the long run.
DIY MEDIAAnarchists favor do-it-yourself media in its various forms as a way of weaning ourselves from corporate, capitalist media. This includes zines and pamphlets, but also includes independent broadcast media (the Direct Action Media Network being a good example of this). Anything that challenges the monopoly of the capitalist media is step in the right direction.
EARTH DEFENSEAnarchists are naturally pro-environmental, and our direct action approach is the bane of corporations everywhere. We bring attention to the abuse of the environment at the hands of polluters and developers, and keep pressure on them to ensure that their environmental misdeeds do not go unnoticed. This is a tough, but vital battle, because corporations employ a variety of hardball tactics to fight anarchists on this one.
FOOD POLITICSAnarchists recognize that it is unequal distribution of food, rather than an actual shortage of food, which brings about world hunger. We understand that so long as capitalist food companies control distribution, millions will go hungry. Further, we oppose the use of biotechnology to engineer "better" food products, seeing this as a particularly nefarious extension of corporate values in claiming the very food we eat as their personal property.
( just as proof of this, this is from the U.S. department of agriculture 1999, "Up to one-fifth of America's food goes to waste each year, with an estimated 130 pounds of food per person ending up in landfills. The annual value of this lost food is estimated at around $31 billion. Roughly 49 million people could be fed by those lost resources, more than twice the number of people in the world who die of starvation each year." This not only being because of wasted food on your plate, but the fact that industrial farming destroys it's own crops to jack up prices)
GENDER AND RACE ISSUESAnarchists recognize that human beings are one species, and are all ultimately brothers and sisters. We oppose all forms of discrimination and work actively to raise awareness of it when it occurs and to deal with it directly. We are tireless foes of all hate groups, working to bring about solidarity instead of division.
INTERNETAnarchists value the Internet as the largest anarchistic institution in existence to date. We value the free expression of ideas and the absence (so far) of a central authority. We want more people to have access to the Internet to further democratize the medium. We also value the Net as a genuine competitor to the monopoly of the corporate media.
MICROPOWER RADIOAnarchists support micropower radio as a community-based, local medium that serves many of the functions of traditional radio without being corporate. Local media need more encouragement than ever in the face of continuing corporate media conglomeration.
NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZINGAnarchists are strong supporters of local organizing -- we recognize that anarchism is only possible amid thriving communities, and put our energies into creating decentralized networks of anarchists. We recognize that no (inter)national platform can possibly embrace all possible situations, so we keep our attention on our own communities, and how larger issues can affect our communities.
STUDENT SUPPORTAnarchists recognize that students are among the most oppressed people in our society, viewed alternately as mindless automatons or private property, not worthy of the rights enjoyed by adults. We try to help students organize themselves to pursue their own interests and to stake out their rights as human beings, and to give them a genuine understanding of their own personal empowerment by way of direct action.
TRANSPORTATION ISSUESAnarchists support public and alternative transportation as ways of dealing with a host of issues, including pollution and urban sprawl. We support rethinking the city under more people-friendly lines, and try to call attention to transportation issues as they arise.
WORKPLACE ORGANIZINGAnarchists are strong advocates of unionism, recognizing that corporate America is not the friend of the working person. We favor initiative at the rank-and-file level, instead of at the hands of union hierarchies. We favor putting bosses out of work. We recognize that the American workplace is the least democratic institution in American society, and want to radically change that situation.
This should give you a general of idea of the popular campaigns being fought by Anarchists.
What you may notice is that many powerfull "liberals" often talk about this stuff, however, we must honestly ask, do they often do much more then talking ?
What set us apart is that we personaly take care of these problems directly, instead of the liberals who urge people to "let them handle it", which rarely gets very good results.
Quite simply, we don't trust people acting for us, we have to do it ourselves if we expect to get the results we really want, instead of flawed and lousy compromises, that usualy have no real results, and are quickly removed or disregarded.
As the infoshop puts it "An example of this would be with the environment: where the liberal Sierra Club or Greenpeace will sit down with corporate polluters and cut deals with them in secret -- typically to the detriment of the environment -- Earth First! will actively fight the corporations in the field, bringing much-needed attention to the issue at hand."
Well, that should provde you with a good summary, but remember that we're not like any other political group, we have no official Anarchist party, and we have no rigid boundaries of what an Anarchist must and musn't do.
We are a growing movement, representing a wide variety of people, with all sorts of interesting ideas.
There is no single code, except our ongoing commitment for freedom, equality, solidarity and social justice through direct action.
I hope I've managed to answer at least some of your questions in this document, and give you a better understanding of just what an Anarchist is, what we do.
I must once again thanks The Mid-Atlantic Infoshop for the resources they've provided on their site.
If you have any questions you'd like me to answer, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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