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How do you intoduce Anarchy to a white sheep?

Discussion in 'General political debates' started by Vulture, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Vulture

    VultureExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Nov 12, 2015
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    Okay, here's the scenario:

    You're walking down the street, as usual. This middle-aged guy asks you why you have such a horrible patch on your pants (you have a huge Circle-A on your thigh).

    How do you respond? How do you defend anarchy against people's prejudices? Respond in a monologue, as if our middle-aged man was actually listening for a response.

    I want to see how others would respond, given the optimal circumstances.
     

  2. JawnLobotomy

    JawnLobotomyActive Member Forum Member


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    The other day I had a guy look at me up and down. I was wearing black skinnies, my leather jacket (Crucifix logo on the back, other punk bands everywhere). He just stared at me. I looked back at him and he asked me, 'So...You call yourself an anarchist?' My reply was, 'I'm more of an autonomist, but I draw a lot of parallels and definitely respect and share feelings with a lot of anarchist ideals.'

    He looked at me for about 30 seconds and said, 'Those who don't respect authority don't have any authority.'

    I was absolutely stumped. I didn't reply. I don't know if he realized how backwards his comment might seem to me, but it was clear he didn't understand who I was. He had formulated his opinion about me before he even spoke to me.

    I guess my point is I feel like I don't need to defend myself against other peoples' prejudice. Part of my anarchism doesn't include prejudice, because it's an oppressive way of thinking.

    I'm going to generalize, and I know I might get some flak for it, but I feel like when people start to form their own political thought, they discard anything that doesn't resemble the world that they're used to. Part of that is comfort, and part of it is being scared of the unknown. I know when I went to school, through social studies, we weren't taught anything about anarchism. The word wasn't even spoken. The first time I ever heard of the idea I had to look it up myself, and I didn't agree with what I saw. That obviously changed but only when I looked into it more and got to know some people who were outspoken and proud.

    I think with proper education people warm up to the idea, but the general response is cold. Especially the 'middle-aged guy'. He's probably already set up in life. He might have a mortgage, children, pets. He would feel he had the 'most to lose' if the system ever changed, because of his conditioning in a world which promotes, values, admires and boasts personal property and wealth. The change of a system is a threat to him and his perceived well-being, and therefore, must be bad.
     
  3. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    Honestly? I'd probably just walk off. Or lose my temper and get into an argument. Or both. Someone who calls you out on the street like that is looking for a fight, not a discussion.

    But under mythically optimal circumstances where I wasn't an emotionally volatile introvert with social anxiety and he wasn't a closed-minded bully brainwashed by the state? I'd probabably start by asking him why he thinks it's horrible. It's much easier if I know which misconceptions I need to address. Then I'd probably say something like this:

    "Yeah, unfortunately that's what a lot of people think it represents. Some even use it that way. Like any philosophy, there are always some folks who never really got the message giving it a bad name. But to me, Anarchy represents peace, equality, and freedom. At it's core, it's a philosophy that says everyone has the right to live their life the way they want--as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights and freedom of others. A lot of people miss that part, and think Anarchy means doing whatever you want. But if that were true someone could just decide they wanted to kill or enslave a bunch of people and then those people wouln't be free to live the way they wanted. So to truly be an Anarchist, you have to respect everybody's freedom--not just your own. And you have to respect everyone's freedom equally, not giving anyone's rights precidence over anyone else's.

    Sounds like something out of the constiitution, right? Everybody equal, and entitled to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?' Well that's what Anarchy stands for, and that's why I support it."
     
  4. JawnLobotomy

    JawnLobotomyActive Member Forum Member


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    Jun 25, 2012
     
    Hey SmokeyJoe, that's a great line: 'Respect everyone's freedom equally, not giving anyone's rights precidence over anyone else's'. Mind if I use that when talking to people? It's very eloquent and strikes a chord with me!
     
  5. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    By all means, go ahead. I figure the main point of a thread like this is to share the 'verbal toolbox' we've developed so others can make use of it, if that makes any sense. ;)
     
  6. punkmar77

    punkmar77Administrator Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    Next time some lunkhead capitalist patriot harasses you, remind him that founding "father" Thomas Paine was also a founding "father" of socialist anarchism...and he influenced directly or indirectly everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Jefferson, to Marx, Engels, Proudhome, Bakunin, The French Revolutionaries, etc. etc.
     
  7. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    Would explain all that very anarchist-sounding language in the constitution and the declaration of independence. Always leaves me puzzled how the same people who committed those words to paper could turn around and build a nation on slavery and oppression. Like, did you not just hear your own words? :/

    Then again, considering how long it took for me to figure out that the ideals and sentiments I so admired in those documents were better represented by anarchism than any form of government I really don't have room to talk. Puplic school is a hell of an effective brainwashing system. :lmao:
     
  8. punkmar77

    punkmar77Administrator Staff Member Admin Team Experienced member


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    Paine was way too radical for the rest of the Federalists, and even though he helped spark the revolution and was one of the main theorists of the Constitution and the bill of rights, he soon became very disillusioned with the way the State was formed so he left to go raise a revolution in England where he riled the masses against the Monarchy and barely escaped with his life, straight to France where he became a leading voice of reason during the bloody upheavals, again he barely escaped with his life after he caught Robespierre's attention by daring to suggest that beheadings by the state were barbaric and that King Louis neck be spared from the guillotine and instead banished for life... here's an article about him:

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/thom ... ialnetwork
     
  9. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    Cool, thanks for the info. I've always had an interest in historical stuff like that. Seems Paine had some interesting notions with regards to the whole private property/product of labor thing towards the end there. May have to do some more research and see what conclusions I draw.
     
  10. nodogs_nomasters

    nodogs_nomastersExperienced Member Experienced member


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    You should have replied with, "No, the only authority I respect is legitimately earned authority."
    Hehe.
    Then again, I probably would've been just as stumped as you if someone caught me off guard like that. I'm temporarily working at McDonald's before heading off into the wild, blue yonder again. I was at work the other day, handing a meal to this middle aged guy, when he leans over and says, "Hey, I really like your restaurant. There aren't 1,000 Mexicans speaking Spanish in the back."
    I was totally shocked. What the hell?! Who says that to a frycook?! "Hey, I want an order of 10 chicken nuggets, oh, and I'm racist."
    I remember stammering, "What's wrong with Spanish?" And giving him a dirty look. Still wish I'd said something more, though. If he comes in again I'm planning to tell him "gracias" before he leaves ;)
     
  11. Vulture

    VultureExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Nov 12, 2015
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    That Constitution bit is a great point! If anything could strike home, it would be that, surely.
     
  12. Havran

    HavranExperienced Member Experienced member Forum Member


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    Haha, you just know that guy is voting for Trump :D
     
  13. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    Yeah it's always more effective when you can turn the state's rhetoric against itself. Kids in the U.S. are brainwashed with nationalist propaganda from the moment they hit preschool, so trying to convince them that the government is wrong and actually opposes freedom is like arguing with a religious fanatic. You can't overcome the brainwasing from the outside, but if you can quote the sciptures in a way that supports your argument you pit their faith against itself and hopefully get it to crack a bit.

    See, I would have gone with "Why would I want authority if I don't respect it?" That's like telling an abolitionist "Well if you don't respect slavery then you don't get to have any slaves!" o_O

    And yeah, it's hard to be witty and clever when you get blindsided like that. It's easy to forget that all the snappy comebacks in movies/tv/books have the advantage of being written beforehand.
     
  14. Music4theDeaf

    Music4theDeafMember Forum Member


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    Apr 5, 2015
     
    if you guys have time you might want to put this on your watch list. it relates to how to approach people that view anarchy as a threat but at the same time distrust authority, and top down hierarchy.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHGl9a8BcqI
     
  15. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    I'm simultaneously hesitant to watch or like something political on a site operated by Google, and possessed of the sinking conviction that Google probably knows more about my political leanings than I do. :/
     
  16. Music4theDeaf

    Music4theDeafMember Forum Member


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    Apr 5, 2015
     
    don't worry too much mate. we're all hypocrites.
     
  17. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    I'm less worried about the hypocrisy, and more worried about how many government watch lists I might be on. I get enough crap from the government without some jag-off at the NSA deciding to take exception to my browsing habits.
     
  18. NickF

    NickFMember Forum Member


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    Jun 2, 2015
     
    I think I would have to wait until I knew someone a little before bringing it up. I used to identify as libertarian which makes up a pretty big part of american politics and even that seemed to make people recoil from any conversation. I also tend to get annoyed at how people just spit out exactly what their party platform is with no real thought or passion.
     
  19. SmokeyJoe

    SmokeyJoeExperienced Member Experienced member


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    Jan 17, 2016
     
    There's a lot of hate propaganda directed toward anarchists. If you listen to how the word is used by politicians and the media, 'anarchy' is treated as synonymous with lawless violence and Mad Max-style post civilization meltdown.

    "But [policy the speaker opposes] would lead to anarchy!"
    "It's total anarchy here, as looters and rioting turn this town into a warzone."
    "Anarchist rebels continue to carry out bombings in [third-world dictatorship of the week], killing numerous civilians."

    Anarchy is like socialism's scary older cousin, a big threatening word to throw around whenever you want to make people instantly afraid and opposed to something. Whole generations get brought up hearing the word misused that way, and of course they never get taught it's real meaning, so proclaiming yourself an anarchist is a bit like shouting 'hail satan' at a church barbecue.

    Librtairians get dissmised as crazy/ignorant conspiracy nuts, but anarchists get labled as dangerous terrorists.
     
  20. NickF

    NickFMember Forum Member


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    Jun 2, 2015
     
    I agree that anarchism is demonized to a higher degree than most groups. There's a police chief who appears on fox news pretty often who uses the term "cop hating anarchist" whenever a police officer is attacked, and for the record I think unprovoked violence against police is wrong and pointless. My point was that people get on edge with any group that isn't republican or democrat/liberal or conservative. It makes it much harder to make a case for anarchism when they're already uncomfortable with pretty mainstream ideologies like libertarianism.
     
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