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How I became an anarchist - by Stuart

People ask you sometimes why you are an anarchist. I wonder how anyone can not be an anarchist! Anyone who looks around and really thinks about things will be likely to reach the same conclusion.

The system we currently live under, of capitalism and hierarchical government, so often seems to bring out the worst in people, the ignorance, laziness, fear, hate and violence that we are all capable of. These negative human attributes can be promoted, manipulated and exploited by cynical politicians and others looking to give their careers a boost. The words of a Dead Kennedys song, When Ya Get Drafted, come to mind, '...Fan the fires of racist hatred, war is coming back in style, especially when you build the bombs that blow big cities off the map. Guess who profits when we build 'em back up. Big business gets what big business wants. Call the army, call the navy, stocked with kids from slums. If you can't afford a slick attorney we might make you a spy...' 

I got into punk rock in my late teenage years. The rebel look appealed to me, the 'Fuck you!' attitude. It offered an exciting, defiant alternative to family conformity and suburban boredom What was the point of being alive if you spent all your time doing as you're told, doing what's expected of you, not daring to question authority? It's a big world out there, with almost unlimited potential. Why let yourself be boxed in, limited and restricted by people who want to tell you what to do all the time? 

I listened to as much punk music as I could get my hands on and continued to read and to talk with people wherever I was. Trying to understand how the world worked and looking for a way to be. The more I learned and discovered, the more I realised that much of what I'd been brought up to believe wasn't true, or truly important. I read the Sydney Morning Herald for example to find answers but it left me feeling frustrated and disappointed because much was left unexplained. Socialism seemed to make more sense. I felt a lot more comfortable with it. And anarchism, when I discovered it, made even more sense. 

I met someone who said she was an anarchist. I wanted to know how things would work without government and authority. That was the start of a learning process which is still ongoing 30 years later.

The more I read and learn and think the stronger I become in my anarchist convictions. And you have to be strong to stand up against the cynicism, the negativity and hostility to anarchism. 

Anarchism is a better way to do things. Doesn't it make sense to have mutual aid and voluntary co-operation, with equal access for all to power and society's wealth rather than the chaotic system which is ruining our planet now? The Clive Palmers and Gina Rineharts of the world, for whose benefit the dominant system operates, have conned the rest of us into going along with it. They won't give up their power and wealth willingly.  The more aware and organised we become, the sooner we'll be able to replace their system with a rational and sustainable anarchist one. The challenge for us is getting there from here. 

It's not enough having convictions and ideas. It took me a while to realise this. We have to act on them, put them into practice in our day-to-day lives. Life is politics. Politics is life. There's no getting away from that. Those who say they're not 'political' and shy away from taking a political stance are merely supporting the status quo by allowing it to continue. 

'The strength of us all could demolish the walls...' (words from another song, by the Subhumans). It's up to all of us to realise this and do our bit.  Let's play our part in history/herstory. There's that saying 'Be the change you want to see.' Yeah!  

 

Stuart, February 2014.