I was not paying any attention to this Cliven Bundy thing and had no intention of writing anything even remotely related. But as I was catching up on my blog reading, I came across this post from The Field Negro.
Cliven Bundy is an anarchist and lawbreaker who should be arrested and thrown in jail… he has been praised in some circles as a true American patriot…Saturday he was surrounded by tea party types, nut job militiamen, and white supremacists, while he dared the federal government to come and take his cattle.
Well they should, and if some of these losers masquerading as patriots get hurt in the process well then so be it. You can’t just shake your d^*k at the law and expect to get away with it. If you give these anarchist an inch they will want a yard…I mean the guy declared that he doesn’t recognize the federal government for crying out loud. (At least not this version of it with the Negro in charge.)
“They have faith in the Constitution,” he told KDWN-AM in Las Vegas on Monday. “The founding fathers didn’t create a government like this.”
They didn’t expect American citizens to steal from their government, either.
One day it is Glenn Beck talking about how us evil anarchists have infiltrated to bring our commie leftiness to Wisconsin. Another day it is Harry Reid saying anarchists have taken over congress through the Republican party. This month it is a “citizen of the world” who has decided that the best way to denigrate a belligerent racist is to call him an anarchist.
To all the people who throw the word anarchist around without bothering to learn anything about it.
Anarchy means without rulers. Anarchy is as opposed to monarchy or oligarchy. We are opposed to being ruled by a few assholes. We are not opposed to small d democracy, the kind where communities sit together and work things out. As one reporter learned from watching the anarchists at occupy:
At its core, anarchism isn’t simply a negative political philosophy, or an excuse for window-breaking, as most people tend to assume it is. Even while calling for an end to the rule of coercive states backed by military bases, prison industries and subjugation, anarchists and other autonomists try to build a culture in which people can take care of themselves and each other through healthy, sustainable communities. Many are resolutely nonviolent. Drawing on modes of organizing as radical as they are ancient, they insist on using forms of participatory direct democracy that naturally resist corruption by money, status and privilege. Everyone’s basic needs should take precedence over anyone’s greed.
I’m not an anarchist because I support “stealing from” government. I’m an anarchist because it is government armies that push indigenous people off of their lands to make room for people like Bundy. I am not an anarchist because I “have faith in the constitution.” I’m an anarchist because I know the constitution was written by and for rich, white men who supported slavery and imperialism. I’m an anarchist because the supposedly wonderful constitution that protects people’s rights may as well be used as toilet paper by the 2.3 million people in prison. I’m not an anarchist because I’m a “patriot.” I’m an anarchist because I reject the suffering caused by arbitrary colonial lines – something a “citizen of the world” should be able to understand.
I don’t know if this Bundy character has ever called himself an anarchist. I cannot stop anyone from calling themselves an anarchist any more than the black church can stop the KKK from professing Christianity. But if you are going to use the word as an insult or suggest that people who are anarchists deserve prison or bodily injury, then perhaps you could take a moment to actually find out what it means.
So maybe read an essay by Cindy Milstein or watch an interview with David Graeber. Watch this video of Ashanti Alston talking about Anarchism, Zapatismo & the Black Panthers. Go check out your local worker-owned and managed cooperative. They won’t all be explicitly anarchist like radical book publisher AK Press, but you will probably find anarchists there. Find your local Food Not Bombs and help them feed people with food that grocery stores are about to throw away, at least when the police aren’t arresting them. Maybe your city has a free school like the one in Baltimore inside Red Emma’s and where you can take or teach a class for no money. Maybe some of the public art in your city is created by anarchists like these women in Bolivia. Maybe you’ll find some anarchists at your local Books to Prisons or your local chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross.
Maybe you could talk to an actual anarchist before you wish harm on us as a group. Because the U.S. has a long, long history of oppressing people for their political beliefs and we don’t need another round.