Tag Archive: Libertarian Socialism


The anarchist urban ecosystem: A rethinking of the urban environment (part two)
By Nathan Revercomb

In this second installment of my series on the anarchist urban ecosystem, I will be taking a look at food production in a sustainable anarchist urban environment.


Food systems are integral to the support of cities and indeed are vital to living things including people. Modern food production in the form of industrial agriculture is incredibly destructive and inefficient. There is a great waste of resources in the form of fuel, time, and other inputs with relation to the rural based corporate farming model. However, those are not the only problems with monocutlural food production.

Industrial monoculture farming requires vast resources to produce food. Note the dust kicked up by the machines which is lost soil.

Carbon emissions from mechanized farming and the subsequent and loss of soil through the resulting erosion are also huge problems. Soil loss in particular is a very terrifying prospect and in my opinion should be of more concern than global climate change because without soil we not only wouldn’t be able to maintain civilization but life on this planet would be threatened in a far more profound way. It is precisely due to industrialized agriculture that over half the world’s top soil has been lost in just the last 150 years. Places like Haiti are the absolute prime example of the devastation that can be wrought by such damaging practices.

The soil loss as a result from industrial farming methods can clearly be seen here.

Deforestation which is a very key cause in soil loss through erosion is the result of the clearing of land for monoculture farming or to produce paper. Hemp could easily substitute trees for the making of paper and can yield far more per an acre per harvest than a forest can and it can be harvested over and over again. Hemp also adds nutrients to the soil and requires very little help to grow. Cannabis after all, is not called weed for no reason and can be grown in almost any climate in any region on earth. The cannabis plant also very useful in may other aspects including food, clothing, building material, oil just to name a few.

As far as practicality is concerned I believe it would make far more sense to grow food in the city than it would to grow it miles upon miles away, especially when considering that most of the food grown in rural areas is for city use anyway. In fact before the modern practices of industrial agriculture most major cities had virtually all their food requirements provided for from within the city limits or very near by. Even New York city (which by no means was small even then) was no exception.

However, today’s cities are ecological wastelands devoid of any meaningful abundance of biodiversity. Such cities are not only sucking the planet dry but are also what could be considered as concrete jungles. Modern man thinks of nature as being someplace else and it is no surprise that many of us love to get out into the woods to alleviate the stress of modern urban or even suburban living. A long distance relationship with nature divorces the average city dweller from a meaningful connection to the earth and subsequently facilitates in the devastation of the planet. By introducing a productive ecological system within our cities we would achieve the vital connection with nature that many of us crave while providing ourselves with a sustainable source of food. Food that would in fact have a higher concentration of beneficial nutrients in it due to the fact that less would be lost in transportation when compared to the current agricultural methods.

Urban farms and especially community farms within our cities would benefit more than just us people. They would create habitat for a large variety of species that under existing conditions have a much harder time finding an ecological niche in the urban environment. Urban based agriculture would also greatly reduce traffic because there would be far less associated with the transport of food in our cities. This would also allow us to reduce funding for road enlargement project which in and of themselves are huge producers of carbon emissions and a drain on resources that could be used elsewhere.

Vacant lots and dilapidated properties that could be used as farm land in Philadelphia as proposed by the Farmadelphia project

Space to grow food in our cities already exists and indeed can be expanded. As In many cities here in the United States (especially in the cities of Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and many others) there already are plenty of vacant lots that could be used for urban farming and community gardening which would not only reverse urban decay but simultaneously provide countless new jobs and would bolster the floundering economy. These new jobs would also dramatically increase the size and scope of the job market.

In fact the space required would be less than what we currently think of due to the abhorrent fact that much of the food produced toady is dumped at sea because it has no profit value or to keep the price of food up.

This is an example of how agriculture could be incorporated into an already in use urban setting. Note the water treatment and infrastructure capacities as well as the added space for commerce and grated roads which would allow for plant growth which would help to offset the carbon emissions produced by the city and its automobiles. This system also addresses rain water runoff in a productive manner.

There is also plenty of opportunities to incorporate food production systems into the very structure of already used parts of the city. In this way we could maximize the usefulness of every single inch of our urban or suburban environments.

With the rampant problem of poverty, underemployment, unemployment and poor quality of education, urban agriculture could be a very useful tool to minimize these issues. Such problems especially effect people living in the inner-city and often they are minorities. These disenfranchised people often turn to the illicit drug trade for income. However, in an anarchist society or in a post-drug war era they will no longer be able to rely on such avenues to provide for their livelihoods. Without prohibition, no one would buy drugs from any street dealers when they could go to far more reliable clinics or drug shops, and in an anarchist society (one without rulership or its subsequent laws which create crimes of consent) there would be no black market at all. Without a black market gangs would loose much of their relevancy and the violence associated with them and other organized criminal elements would drop dramatically.

With the legalization of cannabis, it would remove the ability of criminal elements to control and profit from it while allowing us to tap it's great potentials.

Farming in the city would provide the vital income to keep these impoverished people afloat and alive. It could also revitalize ares affected by urban decay and transform the “ghetto” into an area of beauty and abundance. Organizations like Food Not Bombs, would do well to implement such practices into their campaigns. Instead of feeding the impoverished “rescued” food they should use such resources for composting so they can provide them with wholesome and fresher and all around better sustenance.

The youth and “unskilled” of today also have a very difficult time finding employment and growing food on a massive scale would greatly alleviate this problem. Permaculture, Masanobu Fukoka’s Natural Farming methods, no-dig gardening and other less labor intensive and higher yielding agricultural practices can also allow the elderly or people with disabilities to participate. In addition to being far less strenuous in terms of physical strain, the aforementioned methods are also great for building soil as they are not damaging to it while they also work with rather than against nature.

One of the great injustices that modern industrial agriculture causes is the loss of traditional farming skills and techniques. This is due to the fact that corporate farms displace individual farmers who cannot compete with them and as a result they must relocate to the city for income purposes. Unfortunately in the process, the traditional skills they have are lost because there are no ways for them to earn a living in the modern urban environment by utilizing their previous farming knowledge. By creating urban farms, we would prevent the loss of valuable skills and knowledge that rural farmers could provide when they migrate to the urban environment. This would also make it far easier for them to establish roots in the city after having to move there.

An example of agroforestry

Maximizing a yield from the space available requires that we do not solely rely on horizontal growing space but that we also utilize the vertical element. One method of doing this is agroforestry which is an important element in permaculture. By planting beneficial or productive trees on the farming or gardening plots, we can provide shade for crops that require it and complete a satisfactory root system to keep the threat of soil erosion at bay. This method has produced very impressive results in almost every climate it has been used in. Trees also are vital to the water cycle and an abundance of them greatly helps to prevent droughts. There is also the vertical space on the sides of homes and buildings that can be taken advantage of by trellising and planting vines. Hops and grapes being ideal for such practices.

There are numerous places that can be used to grow food or other living components that help enrich the urban ecosystem. The roofs of buildings in our cities can be transformed to provide both electrical power and green spaces. This way, not only would the vacant lots and unused spaces in the city become green but the spaces that buildings occupy would as well, which would greatly increase the ecological wealth and biomass of the urban setting.

By themselves, green roofs would offset the amount of natural habitat destroyed by our buildings so when combined with trellising on their sides, any building in a city could easily provide more biomass that the original landscape could have provided for naturally. Vertical farms take this concept and would increase growing space even more. Basically vertical farms are urban high-rise buildings that could produce a massive quantity of food. Their key strength is that they take up a nominal amount of space on the ground but multiply that vertically. A building that covers one-half acre at street level can easily provide several acres of climate-controlled space vertically.

Detail of a vertical farm

Inside a vertical farm

Another view

Winter itself would be far less of a problem in a food production sense if vertical farms were built and with the use of winter farming methods, like some of the ones pioneered by permaculture practitioners, combined with greenhouses in the larger of the urban farms or gardens, there wouldn’t be too much of a need to import food.

Vertical farms would also be the ideal environment for breeding plants for optimum growth in their specific cities and would provide a nice escape for the people of the city from the cold of winter. They could also provide food that could not otherwise be grown in specific regions where those plants were ill adapted for cultivation due to various factors.

In areas that do not get too cold during such periods, food production could easily be increased by using such techniques and that food could be used for trade. In the rural areas near agri-cities in winter affected regions, the surplus food produced during summer could be traded with regions that either where in the opposite hemisphere and were experiencing summer, or equatorial regions that have year round growing seasons to help supply the cities.

a food forest garden

To add to the richness and diversity of this new urban ecosystem, the re-introduction of livestock (specifically dwarf or miniature breeds) and poultry would well round the over all effect of creating a complete and harmonious system and aid in natural, chemical and toxin free, pest control while simultaneously providing sources of high-quality, local meat, eggs and dairy.

Poultry in an urban agricultural system

By growing food in the city we would provide ourselves with a stronger bond not only to nature but to each other and the cities we live in. We would also create an extremely rich and diverse ecosystem that would be beneficial to our planet. By implementing such practices, we would also address one of the key problems with our ever growing global population. We can begin to achieve this now by taking direct action and creating guerrilla gardens and if we formed urban farming collectives and food cooperatives following the principles of anarchist autogestion, we could achieve this vision in our lifetimes, and possibly sooner than we think. If the anarchist movement got behind this kind of a massive project and especially if we spearheaded it, we could dramatically and positively shift the opinion of the masses regarding our ideology while allowing us the ability to show our cause in its true light.

An example of a sustainable city in a dry climate. Power is provided by soalr technology and wind turbines, there are urban farms and in the background there is park space.



Beyond Revolution
By Nathan Revercomb

“Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
-Cree Indian Prophecy

There is a great misrepresentation surrounding anarchism. It is falsely assumed that anarchy is the absence of any organization, order, or stability and that anarchy is the very embodiment of chaos and despair. This is in fact Nihilism or Anomie. The only similarity between anomism and anarchism is the lack of the state or any ruling class. Anomism generally, can only exist for a short initial period, usually immediately after a major crisis or when a State collapses, before authority comes back. Usually in the form of violent elements intimidating and forcing their will upon the people in their community and who later become the new tyrants and holders of control. Anomie, unlike anarchy, is very temporary and the power and stability vacuum is quickly filled by new tyrants because the people have been left with absolutely no organization and cannot self-manage society on a whim after such great adversity. This isn’t to say that a society absolutely could not self-organize into an anarchist form when under such pressure but history has pointed out that such conditions do not easily produce libertarian societies but instead usually act to perpetuate the cycle of exploitation and domination. Nihilists, on the other hand,  just want everything to end, usually with fire and blood. These elements by contrast, are dog-eat-dog types and live by the rule of every man for himself. They lack any sense of solidarity, mutual aid, or a drive to increase liberties or seek personal or collective freedom.

To set the record straight anarchism from it’s Greek origins is directly opposed to rulers. All of them, whether those rulers are far away politicians or bosses in your workplace. It is meant to remove hierarchy and all other archical systems of oppression and exploitation from society and the individual. It is also an ideal of freedom which is exactly why anarchists oppose tyranny, oppression, coercion, dominance and exploitation. Freedom is the very core, the primary goal and aspiration of the anarchist. Removing the rulers is merely a tactic to aid us on that path towards freedom. Loosely put, anarchism to me is any direct de-centralized democracy, organized from the bottom up or horizontally by a classless, non-hierarchical society based on individual responsibility, personal sovereignty, the greatest achievable equality, freedom of association, mutual aid, co-operation, and with love for all.

In contrast to the stereotype that anarchists are strongly opposed to organization or stability of any sort, one only needs to actually read anarchist literature to realize that nothing of the sort is true. Anarchist society must be well organized and for any stateless society to establish itself and thrive it must be based on competent self-management by either individuals or the community as a whole.

There is the rampant claim in state-democracies that we are indeed free and prosperous. But are we? Freedom is about the ability to make and act upon choices. Do we have such freedom? I think the answer is absolutely not. Prohibition makes it impossible for us to even have freedom over our own bodies and minds. There is no true cognitive or physiological liberty in any bourgeois democracy, nor can there be.

Even the back bone of our civilization is falling apart and crumbling at it’s foundations. Places like Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago, Buffalo, New Orleans, Columbus, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, and Memphis just to name a few from just the United States alone, which is supposedly the richest and most powerful nation on Earth, are all crumbling. So the modern system does not protect, preserve, or cultivate prosperity in any real meaningful way. Then again, why should the rich, the controllers of great wealth and influence, care about the planet and the world’s infrastructure? They have enough wealth to isolate themselves on islands of well maintained civilization while the rest of us can rot in the slums for all they care, just as we did in the much mythologized golden years of ‘good old days’ American nostalgia. If even a percentage of their vast sums of wealth were spent in our communities and not on yachts the size of ocean liners, fleets of cars, private jets, and mansions measured by the square acre, would there be a need to be rich anymore?

There is also the imaginary lines problem. These borders between nation-states not only trap people who cannot afford or are not allowed to cross them but they hinder the free travel of goods, services and ideas. We are all people of the same planet but we cannot move upon the planet equally or in many cases at all as we would freely choose. Imaginary lines also build upon the disgusting and often racist idea of “illegal human beings”. As if any human could be illegal just because of the location of their birthplace relative to the current location they reside in. I for one do not believe in the legality or illegality of anyone. So, whether from outright bigotry or whether from the means to control us by the corporate-sate for it’s benefit, we are not in any way free.

Why should we be content with our menial allotments?  How is it that we have succumbed to living off the scraps of those who took civilization away from us? We built this world. We did and not the bankers, priests and politicians. Not the soldiers, police and the peoples of greed. We must seize back our right to our interests here in civilization. We the people, and not the establishment, have always been the ones that have fed the people, clothed them, set the foundations, erected the buildings, paved the roads, and laid the bricks. Yet, they say we haven’t the same stake in the affairs of the world and indeed in the ruling of our own lives. They say this and give only the reply that they’re the ones who financed it or that we elected them to do so for us. Did they toil? Did they spill their own sweat, blood and tears upon the soft earth to make these great civilizations? They say that we are too stupid, that we lack the wisdom, sophistication and virtue to run our own lives and indeed to set about upon the earth and live without their guidance. But in the end, they are only human as well. They lie, cheat, and gamble at the expense of the rest of us. They make the laws and policies that they force upon us and use to control almost every aspect of our lives and then break them just as fast as they can sign them into practice.

They control the means of production. They own the machines and the machines that make those machines. They also own the tools that make the machines that make the machines. They control, I will not say own,  the waters of this planet, the soil below our feet and they choke the very air we breathe with the waste from their enterprises. So what do they give us in return? They thank us by locking the doors of the civilization that we have built. By barring us from participating in our communities. The master class allows us to hold elections every so often and let us choose which overlord to preside over us. They poison the minds of our children and treat them as products. The current institution that is education is like a factory producing the future wage-slaves of the world and nothing more. Then they call it a privilege and a great benefit to humanity.

They stifle our dreams. They destroy our communities. They instruct us to build dwellings that serve to act as little more than the places we go when we become exhausted from our labors and need to recuperate in order to go back and do so again. They dull our minds with their babble and divorce us from the politics of our civilization by making it out of reach to anyone who isn’t well connected within the power structure they imposed or to those who do not understand the political lexicon.

They even require that we give back the few bones they have thrown to us for our efforts in making them rich if we wish to acquire the products of our collective toils. They protect us at gun point, or so they claim. In reality they only protect the hoarders of wealth and the so-called right of private property.  They commoditize all that we and civilization require; food, clothing, water, shelter, health care, electricity, love, dreams, entertainment, even our bodies and the list can go on. They commoditize love by making sex toys, pornography, and valentine’s day, to replace true passion, companionship and to quell or urges. They sell our bodies both literally in the sex trade and figuratively in almost every single advertisement. They sell our dreams to us because they require an expensive degree or certification to pursue many of them. A certification that only those of means can afford, leaving the rest of us to scrape and scratch by. Should profits really come before people? Should the basic necessities for human life and civilization be mere commodities?

They also pollute our air and water, cut down our forests, kill our loved ones, friends and comrades, and to top it off, they call us terrorists every time we speak out against it , or desperately lash out.. They disenfranchise women and preclude minorities from their equitable and rightful place in the society of humanity. They do all this for our supposed benefit.

They call us ignorant, lazy and claim that we have no concept of frugality. Though many of us, in truth have no savings account, it is only because many of us cannot afford to save any money. All we can afford is the food on the table and the roof above our heads. In truth most of our brothers and sisters cannot even afford that. The capitalists say they have won their fortunes by their own sweat. That they have saved penny-by-penny and dollar-by-dollar until they had enough  to raise themselves above and ultimately well beyond poverty. If this is so, then why is it that many people have saved all their lives from their hard work and yet are still not rich? The rich become wealthy by riding the backs of us workers. All other reasons are lies and false justifications even at the very best.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the man who coined the term anarchism as we know it today as a socio-political and economic ideology said, “To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither the right, nor wisdom, nor virtue… To be governed means that at every move, operation, or transaction one is noted, registered, entered in a census, taxed, stamped, priced, assessed, patented, licensed, authorized, recommended, admonished, prevented, reformed, set right, corrected. Government means to be subjected to tribute, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, pressured, mystified, robbed; all in the name of public utility and general good. Then, at the first sign of resistance or word of complaint, one is repressed, fined, despised, vexed, pursued, hustled, beaten up, garroted, imprisoned, shot, machine-gunned, judged, sentenced, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to cap it all, ridiculed, mocked, outraged, and dishonored. That is government, that is its justice and its morality!… O human personality! How can it be that you have cowered in such subjection for sixty centuries?”

There has been much complaint from the right-wing, the bourgeoisie, and those they have corrupted that the social-safety-nets must come down. They argue that the welfare-state of social and civil services is hurting the entire system. That it is an in-voluntary form of theft and I do agree with them to a point. However, what in fact, is the real welfare-state? Is it those who cannot support themselves because they are disabled? Is it those who have too many children to support on their limited income? Perhaps it is those who abuse the welfare system so they can sit in their trailer park and swill beer all day at our expense? Or is it the capitalist executive who makes his millions or billions off the backs of his or her employees? The capitalist who sips cognac and puffs fat cigars while we toil? Did the capitalist even come up with the ideas for their products? No, the research and development team that they employ did. Did the big corporate masters sell, market, or labor for their wealth? No, we did. Perhaps the true welfare system is the politicians who reap great wealth at our expense? Who supposedly represent us, the people, but in reality just squabble over which party or individual can receive the greatest monetary benefit from the big corporate lobbies? Do we really believe that Democrats, Republicans, liberals or conservatives of any stripe can manage our society better than ourselves?

It is true and I agree entirely that the welfare-state system for the poverty stricken is flawed and will never work at all to abolish poverty. But that was never the reason for it’s implementation. It was created to throw us workers and poor alike a small bone so we would not rise up. So that we would not question or resist. Capitalism requires an expendable sector of the populace to keep wages (overhead as they call it) as low as possible so as to maximize profits for the few.

Poverty exists because human life and it’s quality are viewed as a burden to the richest people this planet has ever known. How is it okay for the richest country in the world (the United States) to have poverty at all? How is it moral for people to give themselves multi-million dollar bonuses each year when those who make that possible live in relative squalor? The state ran welfare system is a farce. This is why I say solidarity and not welfare is the solution. Only we can change the paradigm of poverty. We built civilization, we can make it work for us as it should and not just for those who exploit. If we did this, and were paid our true value for the labor we provide we would not require any welfare. If the enormous profits each company turned out were paid to those who did the actual work, would we need government hand-outs?

Is this the world we should be working all our lives to enjoy? Is this what our forefathers and indeed many of our peers died for? When the first peoples of this earth set out to make it better and to make their own lives easier, did they envision this? Could they imagine the people of today, who’ve laid waste to this earth for the benefit of the few?

Human greed may be something that we never entirely get rid of. I do accept this. However, much of this greed stems from lacking or the fear of lacking. The capitalist not only seeks to remove his or her self from the slavery of the working clock, but they wish to remove their children, and their children’s children as well. So instead of making a world where everyone is set for life, they only narrowly allow it’s benefits for their chosen few. Ultimately, their fear is the enemy even more than their greed. Some claim individual liberty as a reason or tolerating and even supporting such inequality. They say that only by amassing wealth can a person remove themselves from the system and achieve liberty. However, the richest and most influential of all people are simultaneously the most dependent. They do not support themselves by their own merit alone and by relying on the work of others they have made themselves the least free of anyone in society outside of a prison cell.

Even the police and soldiers are not truly the enemy. Soldiers often enlist because they buy into the lies of the politicians or they see the military as a way out of whatever dire situation they find themselves in. Police do not write the laws they are required to enforce. They, like the rest of us only do what they do out of an insecurity that is either personal or financial in nature. They have families and themselves to support no different than anyone else and they to are our brothers and sisters. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once said that there is room for all in the sunshine of the revolution. These words are as true today as they where one-hundred and fifty years ago. What can be the legitimacy of a revolution of emancipation when it’s benefits are to be enjoyed by only the “right” people and just who could legitimately decide who those “right” people should be? Such concepts only legitimize the current establishment and are in no real way revolutionary.

In order to right these many wrongs, if not all the wrongs established by the ruling class, we must move away from the notions of old regarding how change and freedom can be achieved. Suffrage cannot bring us what we desire. It only serves to abdicate power out of our hands and away from our better interests. It delegates our personal sovereignty to those who wish to exploit, rule and control us. It is the idea that a few people usually far removed from ourselves and our communities can justly come up with solutions for us. Solutions that are one-size-fits-all. Solutions that ignore the fact that we are individuals living in unique communities with unique views and problems in favor of seemingly universal changes and policies. How can a few men or women in an extreme minority have all the answers. One of the great strengths of anarchism and self-rule is that we need not know all the answers as it is impossible for any one of us to. Instead we rely on the strength of everyone in a community. The idea is that one brain, one mind, is far less wise than the brains and minds of an entire people. Who through cooperation can overcome obstacles far faster and with far more relevant solutions than can be had with a minority of minds controlling the big picture. Anarchism is also an ideal that allows for far more abrupt changes to be made. If something does not work or is a hindrance it can be changed, abolished or outright ignored without serious repercussions. Anarchism by it’s very nature is open source in contrast to the bureaucratic tendencies of the modern systems of control and dominion.

We must move beyond the narrow confines of the antiquated thought of what revolution can be. I do dream of something better, of an ideal of the ability to create a world that is not only worth dying for but worth living for as well. Anarchy is this to me. It is a beautiful ideal. It is for artists, dreamers and lovers. It has been said that the pinnacle of any civilization is the culture that arises from it. However, our current and global civilization has put consumerism forth as it’s principle cultural driving force. Consumerism is acquisitive and as a result is a very weak form of culture. In fact this object-orientated, and superficial obsession that the world, and with the west especially, is a primary fault in the domination and exploitation of the Earth. How can one love or create while in chains? The only way to truly allow these great pillars of humanity to blossom and achieve full expression is if those involved are free. The only way for society to attain it’s greatest heights and for the individual to reach his or her full potential is through equality and ultimately through freedom. Not the false freedom, preached to us by the masters and their ilk. Real freedom. However, there is no freedom without the freedom of choice. The freedom to choose what is right for ourselves and our community and what is wrong. What we want to do and what we do not. The freedom to choose to directly participate in our communities or to not participate at all. The freedom to live, to love, to dream. Not just to have dreams but to be able act upon them. To participate fully in our societies and community. Not just to scrape by, survive and to be entertained but to attain our own personal sovereignty, and to truly and freely flourish. To put our dreams into practice and love one another with all our being. To live our ideals and enjoy all the benefits of humanity and the labors of our works. However, the freedom they tell us we have is devoid of any real choices. We are forced to accept their definitions of choice and freedom. The only ‘so-called’ choices we have are those that we sporadically espouse at the ballot box and about those who we will be exploited by when we sell our labor.

It is so absolutely vital to our future to cultivate and then safeguard liberty for all, and we must start now. Not that the long revolution hasn’t begun. There is a great and rich history of people using real power to get what they need. In fact, the world has already seen great advances in humanity due to those various movements in the struggle for people’s power. What I mean by ‘start’ is that each and every one of us must begin our long journey to take civilization back. After all, the artist cannot express his or her self fully while the censor is busy at work. No great work of art has ever come from the direction of management. Perhaps great entertainment has but such does not exactly enter into the realm of art or even great art very often. Just as no single man or woman can truly be free while their brothers and sisters are in chains. There is still true slavery in this world and most of us are indeed slaves. Either by shackles and chain or by the disenfranchisement of the nine-to-five. Just because one cannot see the bars that hold them, does not mean that they are not there.

How do we set about to change this world? To take it back and better it for ourselves and our posterity? It seems a daunting and almost impossible task, does it not? Anarchists do not despair at these odds. We are revolutionists at heart. The difference between a mere activist and a true revolutionary is that an activist usually expects change to be immediately over the nearest of horizons. When that change does not come very soon, they despair and give up, calling themselves “realists” instead of accepting their own apathy  and cowardice. The true realists, are so because they know the reality of the world and they know we can do far better. The revolutionary as with the anarchist, does not sulk and give up if their desires are not met the next day, year or even in their lifetimes. The revolutionary has an ideal which he or she clings to and holds utmost to their heart. These ideals are what guide them in their actions and inspire them to do great deeds. Though the desired changes may not be realized today or at any point in their lifetime, they know that all progress throughout all of human history has been made not by the whim of luck. They know that the rewards of progression come from struggle. That freedom, justice and equality do not come easily and that it was only through great perseverance and determination of those who came before us that the quality of life we so enjoy today has been won. We believe that the world’s injustices and wrongs can and must be overcome. We believe that society is not at it’s pinnacle and that there is much work to be done to make it better and that to assume that civilization has peaked and that this is as good as it gets is simply another way of accepting defeat, stagnation and inviting eventual extinction. Not only of our species or civilization but of the very human spirit that has struggled through the centuries for something better. We believe that we will carry on, little by little, and it’s in these increments that our victories are to be had. Though much gain has been achieved in many short bursts, the total of our accomplishments over our entire human history have not been attained in one single momentary effort.

We know very well that no real change or assistance can be had by any benevolent ruler’s hand, or by any status quo authority. We struggle not to selfishly achieve things only for ourselves as does the capitalist or politician, or to achieve the self aggrandizement of fame. Instead, we struggle in order to secure a better world and life for everyone. We do it for the benefit of our children and our children’s children and for all the living beings of this Earth, as well as ourselves. We do this because it is our very nature to do so. It is a very fundamental part of our “souls”. We do it because we have a undying passion and yearning to be free and if we fail we know that we’ve lived as best we could and that we tried our damnedest. It is in this way that humanity and indeed our species has evolved and bettered itself. The revolutionary believes in freedom and knows that without it we have nothing more than our theories and our unfulfilled dreams.

I am an anarchist because I am indeed a dreamer. Times have been pretty harsh for us dreamers lately, as if they where ever easy.  I am an anarchist because I love. I know that even though we may be a minority, the truth is still the truth. Right, is still right. Such things are not opinionated or subjective. If others suffer from the greed and evils of oppressive masters, than I know that because they cannot reach their full potential and happiness in life, that I do not feel that I can either.

The drive to find a better way is truly the story of human progress and history as a whole. It comes from dissatisfaction. We all know deep down on some level that the establishment is wrong. It is wrong because it puts a price humanity and nature. It’s wrong because we know it has no heart. It is wrong because it runs counter to human progress and instead serves only to perpetuate the cycle of suffering, coercion and exploitation on the grandest scale ever realized.

The greatest things one will do in his or her lifetime are the things that come from the heart. It is because of this that the status quo is flawed. It doesn’t care about what one feels in their heart. It’s only view of value is that which it can reap for itself. One who is motivated by anarchy, or who has revolution in their heart  is one who loves and love doesn’t take orders. It doesn’t exploit or coerce. It doesn’t get it’s inspiration from legislature or decrees unless it’s inspiration comes from negating them and only recognizing things of real importance. Things like love and our loved ones, our communities, civilizations and the very Earth itself. Can a price ever be affixed to something like love, community or your planet? The anarchist thinks not. The anarchist is lost without his or her heart because that’s what drives them. The revolutionary does not give up when the revolution doesn’t come because they know that what they are doing is right and doing so is a revolution in it’s own right. They know that there is no victory without a defeat and usually defeats are far more common than victories. Anarchy is not just some ideal but rather it is a historical tendency. Some call it progress and some call it the history of humanity itself.

Love is a dangerous thing to those who wish every human action to be regulated. Love knows no bounds and knows only an endless capacity for compassion. Love cannot be bought, sold, taxed, or recognized by anyone besides those who have it in their hearts. Why should we be content with having a priest or the state recognize our devotions in love? Love is unpredictable. It clashes with the ignorant taboos of our society because it does not recognize petty things like superstition. It can only recognize itself. It does not conform to the regulations of the work clock or the laws of any nation. It simply is and cannot be denied.

Compassion is the root of love and those roots run very deep. Is it not compassion that is at the heart of almost every great human ideal? Every religion has it as it’s basis even though most religions just as readily preach of bigotry and obedience. Compassion is at the very heart of the ideal that is anarchism. It is a compassion for all those who suffer. All those who have suffered, and a compassionate plea to remove the factors that will cause further suffering. Until there are no masters there shall always be slaves. We must work to free ourselves and all others. Even those who have made us their slaves. We must show compassion for them as well. They too suffer and are held in the bondage of the current parasitic paradigm. It cannot be said enough that they do the things they do, to get ahead and remove themselves from the dead end wage slavery of the world. They do it not just for themselves but for their posterity. Without hoarding capital, they know that their children and their children’s children risk being sucked back into the world of strife and scraping by at the hands of other exploiters. They do not realize that they hold the power as do we all, to change the world and make it better. Imagine if the effort and capital that was wasted on private yachts the size of ocean liners, private jets and a fleet of high dollar cars were spent instead in our communities and helping the rest of humanity. Would there be a need to be rich? Would there be a need to be powerful? What purpose would such abhorrent wealth serve if we took care of one another?

Have you ever seen towering skyscrapers, the grandly constructed stone buildings in Europe, the Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples? Those in power made us build them to further their own greed, either in the form of material wealth or to enforce our devotion to their gods. They are beautiful, majestic and awe-inspiring. Just looking at the so called wonders of civilization, have you ever had the thought of what we could create if we made such endeavors for each other, for our friends, comrades, and loved ones? What great and glorious things we could do!

Here’s the question that has been on our collective minds as anarchists; does life have a price? Does faith in a god make a person moral if they only do good deeds to escape punishment? After all, a man with a gun to the back of his head or his child’s head will do just about anything, whether the person with the gun is God or a another human being matters not, right? Are bank accounts more sacred to us as a society than life? Is a person’s value the same as how much wealth and power they command? Can you imagine what the world would be like if we worked for the benefit of humanity as a whole and not for just petty gains that most of us are excluded from and only receive peripherally?

How can we throw these chains off? How can we build and participate in our own world and prosper together? The most important thing to remember is that we do it together. There is nothing we don’t do already, we have just not done so together, in solidarity. Instead we have done these things at the beck-and-call of our masters and their masters.

We are not going to change the way things are unless we move beyond what the world is today by creating new ways of living and interacting. Unless, we create and do things that show the beauty of our ideals and their values, we cannot hope to accomplish anything. We should also show these new values in the way we treat each other, with our friends, family and loved ones.

So how are we to bring about the changes we seek? Revolution is the answer. Many people think of revolution as insurrectionary or violent. These tactics only serve to further entrench and “legitimize” the powerful and alienate the anarchist movement from it’s base, the workers and the masses. There are instances in history when the people backed and even instigated insurrectionary revolution but every one of them has either been crushed or hijacked. From the “founding fathers” in America to the Bolsheviks in Russia, people’s power movements the world over, have either been stolen at their very birth or have been largely marginalized as with the labor and civil rights movements in the United States.

There can be no real overthrow in the current empire. There is no Winter Palace to be stormed. What have insurrectionary tactics achieved? The answer is nothing but martyrs, martyrs and more martyrs. I think that it is very important for everyone to understand that getting yourself imprisoned or even killed does very little for the cause. You can achieve a lot more as a “rebel” (whatever your definition of that maybe) than as a martyr. True, martyrs inspire but they themselves accomplish little more then feeding the grass and the worms. To be imprisoned isn’t much better. There you serve the “state” as a tool to scare your fellow comrades into obedience. Although you can still do things for your cause while incarcerated, you can do a lot more while on the other side of the prison wall.

Insurrectionary tactics are also inevitably violent and coercive. Violence should only be a tool of life-preservation through self-defense and any other use of it only can make you the oppressor. We need to get this idea out of our collective heads. As we have seen far too many times, violent overthrow makes saints out of the murderers and exploiters that rule us. Violent revolution also severs us from the masses. In every war it is the innocents that suffer the most. This suffering is the direct result of the violence involved in such things and instability created by it as well. If a violent revolt were to take place in the name of anarchism, freedom and ultimately the people, we would loose the masses to their desire for false and temporary stability in the form of the state.

Unfortunately, the largest and most severe problem with anarchy is the word itself. If we cannot remove the black mark on that word then we should go about speaking and acting on the principals of anarchism without invoking such a label. Principals like, love, compassion, equality amongst sexes and races, participatory society, workers self-management, student ran education, direct democracy, peace, solidarity, mutual aid, care for people and care for the Earth.

We must have alternatives to show the world and make our lives better. We must be able to show people what anarchy is. Even those few that do know what anarchy stands for (who are not anarchists) think of it as a fantasy or pipe dream. I believe that they and many others would believe as we do, if they could just see some of it’s workings with their own eyes. This is the essence of propaganda of the deed. By doing the right thing and making life for people better. By showing the world through that kind of action we will expose the ruling class for the tyrants they are and how the world they have insisted upon is wrong. Tactics like insurrectionist and destructive forms of protest make us look like nothing more than troublemakers for the people, instead of the troublemakers for their masters and the inspirers of freedom that we are.

Anarchists should not act to force the changes we seek to happen. Only the people can do that. Freedom is organic and comes from within. It cannot be thrust upon the peoples of the Earth. It is our duty to inspire them and not lead them to that freedom. Any action that goes beyond inspiration or the creation of alternatives is inconsistent with anarchy and is oppressive.

Protesting, marching and rioting, as with insurrection are reactionary tactics are a pathetic plea to the ruling class at best and forceful demands to the masses at worst. The only legitimate purpose they serve is to show those in political and economic power that we do not accept them. However, I for one will not beg to be free nor will I insist that people remove themselves from exploitation. That isn’t freedom, it’s privilege and can be taken away faster than it could be won. False freedom of this kind also creates complacency which further jeopardizes the cause of true freedom and the emancipation of us from the boots of the masters.

There has also been the tendency in human thought of validating the hierarchical system by electing so-called “good” people into power. The problems that real freedom faces are too grave and the troubles of the world too great for any politician or political party to solve.  Politicians are just people like you and me. They are flawed. It requires little wisdom or courage for a politician to manage the affairs of their constituents as they and not we, see fit. This is because in their eyes we lack the wisdom, virtue and intelligence to manage our own lives without them. They would like us to believe that through elections, every problem can be fixed for us and that we should not be directly involved in those decision making processes.

However, the same cannot be said of the politician’s own affairs. This is partly why politicians are so incredibly corrupt. They love to make rules and laws for us. Rules and laws they themselves cannot follow. Politicians are also so easy for the rich and corporate class to buy. It is much harder to buy and corrupt each person and community individually. This is part of anarchism’s strength. As the wise anarchist Angel Pestaña said, “The revolution is not and cannot be the work of a party. The most a party can do is foment a coup d’état. But a coup d’état is not a revolution.” Thus, the ballot must be swept aside in our thoughts of self and collective emancipation.

In the words of the great anarchist thinker Mikhail Bakunin, “we must spread our principles, not with words but with deeds, for this is the most popular, the most potent, and the most irresistible form of propaganda.” So it is in my opinion that we should move beyond those antiquated and terminally flawed notions of revolution as violent overthrow. We must do something new and now. We must show the world that there is a better way. Then it is up to the people and only they can decide between the ruler’s boot and real freedom.

If we have the support of the masses, it is our sacred duty to limit their sacrifice. Anarchism seeks to forge a new and better world from the chains and bars of the old. We seek to improve quality of life and making martyrs of the people is not consistent with our principles.

We should stand tall and face the day with new strength and without any permissions. This is our world. These are our lives. Will we just sit here and allow them to pass or to be guided by people who do not care about our dreams? Is this rat race to continue, uninterrupted for all of the remainder of human history or is this the dawning of a new age? One where we will decide what is right and what is not in our lives? One where our dreams are within grasp and that love and laughter is valued far more than gold? I have one last message, you who value money over fond and cherished memories will truly be lost when that money runs dry. When you lie upon your death bed, can you state that you lived so well by reciting the quantity of your bank account? Will you help yourself and the rest of us to move beyond this world of despair and illusion or will your life serve only to perpetuate the cycle?



Note: This is a very rough draft at the moment. Please feel free to leave comments and/or critiques.

The necessity of diversity
By Nathan Revercomb

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”- Siddhartha Gautama

A lack of diversity is an open invitation to the establishment of dogma and beckons the onset of stagnation. Just as no two minds can ever be identical, there can be no relevant universal blanket solutions to fit each individual problem society faces. While it is impossible to truly find a common point of view on what can or should be done to address such issues in a universal manner or otherwise, a lack of common conceptions and solutions is not a weakness but instead a great strength.

While conceptions originating from a single mind can serve almost perfectly to satisfy the problems of a minority of one, they almost always fail to satisfy the needs and desires of the entirety or even the majority of his or her community. They fail to be relevant to the whole when they are conceived by such a minority and such solutions almost always tend to be one-size-fits-all in nature because of such.

By integrating the views of all who wish to participate, the resulting solutions are better defined and developed as a result while simultaneously become more relevant. Such action takes the personal relevancy created by individual thought processes and multiplies and builds upon that to incorporate the individual opinions and ideas of the collective mind of the community.

In the anarchist movement as in most libertarian ideologies, there is the unfortunate tendency to keep staunchly to a preconceived set of ideas and principles set forth by those long dead. Such a tendency stifles or even halts development in the effort to stay true to the ideas of the great revolutionaries of the past and as a result creates a rigidness that minimizes and limits our success and the freedom of our thoughts. All to stay true to concepts and ideas that were arrived at based on the environments that those past thinkers were immersed in or due to social, technological, political, natural and personal factors that may in many cases not apply to the individual revolutionary or even society as a whole today. Additionally, they may also fail to hold the same weight today as they did in the past. Such clinging to ideas based on the past do not adequately take into account the relevancy of the ever faster pace of the development of civilization either technologically, politically or socially nor can they aid in the development or advancement of our theories and actions when confronted with new problems that did not exist previously.

One of the greatest appeals of anarchism to me is the ability to quickly adapt and think outside of the box but holding onto the ideas of past anarchists and previously conceived anarchist theories  is in my opinion nothing more than the advocacy of dogma which inevitably hinders our movement and confines us to boxes created by minds that are not our own.
Though such dogmatism is not entirely our fault, as much of it is based on the conditioning we have received at the hands of the master class, it is our responsibility to break such ties if we ever hope to truly emancipate ourselves from them.

Right now, there is an antiquated, binary thought process within the individuals of human society which artificially creates a rift between the revolutionary satisfaction of  the personal sovereignty of the individual and the collective liberty of humanity as a whole. This rift in concept and philosophies, serves no beneficial purpose in achieving our goals and in fact is far more of an obstacle on the road to establishing genuine freedom than anything the ruling class could ever institute on its own.

We need to simultaneously take into account the needs and desires of the individual’s personal freedoms though while working towards this goal in an isolationist and egoist manner is counter productive at best. This is due to the fact the humans are indeed a social species and civilization (which the vast majority of the human race is loathe to abandon) is a social construction based on profound and complex social interactions that cannot be neglected or ignored. Nor can such limited and narrow-minded “individualist” conceptions ever free either an individual or serve mankind in any real sense. By attempting to solely cultivate the liberty of the individual divorced from society at large, we would be denying ourselves the social input and interaction we require for health of mind, while simultaneously and selfishly putting ourselves above everything else. The result of which can only be disastrous for both the individual and society.

Thus it is imperative to cultivate empowering and emancipatory concepts and actions on both the personal level and the collective one as well. The two in my opinion are in fact indivisible if any real achievement is to be had and are in fact symbiotic in their relations.

This is because one cannot truly enjoy freedom while the rest of our brothers and sisters suffer the chains of oppression or at least it is impossible to sustain such freedom for more than a fleeting moment. At best the individual would be conditioned by their peers into a prison like mindset of thought and at worst they would be forced back into the chains created by the masters or the mechanisms of archical domination.

Though it is just as true that liberty, either individually or collectively, can never be achieved by selflessly serving society without any hope of an individual freedom of one’s own. There is so much truth in the notion that one cannot love or help others when they themselves cannot love or help themselves. However, to attain the highest degree of both, it is my opinion that simultaneously working towards both ends is the most efficient way to achieve such results. In anarchism this is called mutual aid and is combined with voluntary and free association to keep the sovereignty of the individual divorced from the domination of the whole of the group. By cultivating and developing such actions we can create a life of personal benefit by mutually beneficiary means.

Today, much of the conflict and in-fighting that plagues would-be revolutionaries and freedom fighters and their causes stems from a lack of agreement not on the goals of such endeavors which is liberation of humanity but on the concepts and tactics upon which such freedom can or should be achieved. It is flawed, and backwards thinking to squabble over such petty things and to believe that any one single philosophy can ever truly be correct or that any one ideal can serve us all.