Freedom Action Political Revolution

What Anarchy Is and Why We May All Need to Be Anarchists - Resistance
Written by JoAnn Chateau

The anarchy movement is defined by anti-systemic ideas. So, is anarchy more likely to arise when a governing system stops listening to its people and ignores their needs? How does anarchy fit into our political climate today? May anarchy serve as a worthy counterbalance to authoritarianism? Or, is anarchy just plain scary?

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies… Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful.” ~ Anarchism, Wikipedia

State in Our Minds + Scott Crow on Anarchy, Building & Being Ungovernable | Act Out!

“This week on Act Out! The longer and second part of our sit down interview is with anarchist, author and organizer Scott Crow who dives into the many facets of anarchy: the “growing up” of anarchy in the USA, the power of building vs. resisting, reactionary politics and more.” ~ Eleanor Goldfield

Anarchy and Anger

Anarchy makes me think of anger. Anger coming from the younger generation makes me recall the following Bible verse:

“Do not provoke your children to wrath.”
Ephesians 6:4

For those interested, Christian writer Tim Challies has a worthwhile commentary on this verse in regard to parenting. I believe it may also be applied on a sociological level, as ruling elites often relate to the masses* as if they are children who should be seen and not heard (or worse). Challies says, “There may be times when your children’s anger toward you is more righteous than your actions or attitude toward them.”

Society Is a Dynamic System

We each contribute to the arising anarchy dynamic* in our political/economic/social system. Whether we are active players or choose to stand on the sidelines doing nothing, we contribute and absorb the dynamic energies of the system we are part of.

Disagree? That’s allowed. Still, many cultural expressions support the principle of dynamic interconnected systems:

“No man is an island.” ~ John Donne

“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.” ~ The Butterfly Effect (2004 film)

“Six degrees of separation is the theory that each person on the planet is only six introductions away from any other person on the planet.” ~ What Is

“Families and societies are small and large versions of one another. Both are made up of people who have to work together, whose destinies are tied up with one another.” ~ Virginia Satir

“I felt knowledge and the unity of the world circulate in me like my own blood.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Your approval or disapproval of anarchy is not the point. Recognize that you, me, we are part of it. We contribute to any degree of anarchy that manifests, and we will absorb its consequences for better or worse.

In the end, we all may need to be anarchists. By climate crisis, war, or nuclear disaster — when national governments are too broken to effectively organize and support people, those of us remaining will need to self-govern.

No Man Is an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

~ John Donne

*Dynamic – (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress. (Google dictionary)

*The Masses – the ordinary or common people (Merriam-Webster)

It is safe to think, dangerous not to.

About the author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She sometimes writes fiction about Chester (the Alpha Bichon) and his friends -- with a dash of humor and dab of Poli-Sci. JoAnn's views and insights are tinted by her past profession in Counseling, Christian theological studies, and Library and Information Science training. Retired now, JoAnn enjoys the creative life.


  • I consider myself to be an anarchist at this point. And I believe size of the population to be a non-point, if everyone has the opportunity to better themselves to the point of being able to self-govern. I just don’t like what the in between of governmental control (regardless of left or right) to true self-governance looks like with the path we’re currently set on. There has to be a way to get there that doesn’t involve mass chaos and hysteria or dictatorships.

    • I don’t know. Present-day anarchists seem to serve 2 purposes though. They speak truth to power, and prepare for a time when systems fail. If some kind of catastrophe occurs, anarchy would take over quickly… without opposition.

      • I think there’s two extremes out there too. There are those like me that are more “humanist” anarchists, wanting humanity to evolve to the point where they truly no longer need or want an outside body telling them what to do because they understand deeply what needs to be done and then does it (and I know we’re still a long way from that point as a species, but dream big, right?), and the ones that are more “materialist” or “Darwinist” anarchists, who couldn’t give a crap about the rest of the human race. I have been pleasantly surprised by finding more and more people who are thinking in similar directions that I’ve been growing, but the selfishness runs deep in our society. I think maybe that would be the deciding factor on how many live or die in the transition.

        And the truth is what can eventually set us free, right? :-)

      • If only we could evolve in either a more humanist or spiritual direction. Both schools and churches have failed in their efforts to mold good people, good citizens. We end up amazingly selfish, lacking self-awareness, and proud of being stupid — and the ruling elites (I believe) want us that way.

  • Apropos. From my perspective, the inevitability of anarchy in this very troubled 21st century is orders of magnitude more important than its philosophical precepts which I believe to be fundamentally flawed. The reason why I believe it is flawed is because the prospect of cooperative self-governance on a planet of 7.4 billion people having varied and often conflicting interests is for all practical purposes an impossibility. If the population was drastically reduced, to maybe 500 million or so, then self-governance might work. But, that begs the question… what happens to the remaining 7 billion souls?

    • Size of a stateless society is a factor. I would think any sizable group might generate factions and take-over coups. Then you’re back to “normal.”

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