“Are You An Anarchist?” by David Graeber

“Are You An Anarchist?” by David Graeber

Full text here:

Chances are you have already heard something about who anarchists are and what they are supposed to believe. Chances are almost everything you have heard is nonsense. Many people seem to think that anarchists are proponents of violence, chaos, and destruction, that they are against all forms of order and organization, or that they are crazed nihilists who just want to blow everything up. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Anarchists are simply people who believe human beings are capable of behaving in a reasonable fashion without having to be forced to. It is really a very simple notion. But it’s one that the rich and powerful have always found extremely dangerous.

41 thoughts on ““Are You An Anarchist?” by David Graeber

    1. More than are talking about it publicly, no doubt.

      Science, research, and reality lead me to AnCom. Same for veganism or a whole foods plant-based diet. As a regular (albeit casual) runner, I was quickly able to confirm for myself that all the stuff people kept telling me over and over again about veganism being unhealthy or lowering one’s energy was just plain incorrect. Same for what I was told about economics, politics, religion…it’s encouraging to hear from more people who are in tune with reality and who are currently or even just planning to change things.

      More people should comment or talk about their stories. It’s one way we can communicate and cooperate to bring about the kind of world we want. 🙂

    2. Human Indecency and Suffering led me to become a Marxist, however I disagreed with Marx on the State and don’t want a USSR-A2. After reading up on some theory and philosophy, and learning about Social Constructs, what Unjustified Hierarchy is and Illegitimate Oppressive Authority is, I became an Anarcho-Communist. I always disagreed that the MOP/D should be in the hands of Private Owners, and I will always agree with MOP/D being in the hands of the Workers, not some State, not Private Owners. There is no difference between Domination by State and Domination by Private Institutions. They are more or less one in the same thing.

    3. Tom Lloyd, Well, indeed. After all, it is common for states to merely be controlled in turn by the private institutions that own the most capital. In the US, it is standard practice for committees, advisory boards, and regulators to be directly staffed by the capitalists who those organizations are supposed to be checking. So the distinction between the state and the rich owners of society is lost. Personally, I’m in favor of reducing the need for labor in the first place clean out of existence since modern technology applied in the interest of the worker can nearly (not quite yet) accomplish that. Having production owned and operated by the workers themselves is a necessary step in that direction. I’m working on bringing this idea to reality since it seems (at least to me) pretty obvious that achieving a 4 hour work day and having all needs of life met is preferrable to 8 or 12 hour days and failing to meet bills. 🙂

    4. yeah , sort of bothersome that vegans try to exclude you from the anarchist paradigm , because one possesses the ability to chop of a chickens head . If my ancestors had asked themselves how the chicken feels about it , I wouldn’t be here today .

  1. If we did manage to get a 2 hour day could we still be called workers? I think this is one of the failings of modern socialism. Why should we be workers or even consider it a class, when we are simply humans (let robots work). I like Bertrand Russell’s essay, In Praise of Idleness, which asserts that far too much work is being done and causing great harm to society. There are so many nice things to do if the time and resources were made available.

    1. This is something people in anarchist circles discuss quite a bit. I’d recommend you look into ‘anti-work’ and ‘workerism’.

    2. I’m not super familiar with Marx but I think that the dissolution of the working class identity and socio-economic class in general is the end goal of socialism.

    1. @livefastdieyoung26 I’m sorry but an seeing AnCap complaining about the incoherence of another ideology is really fucking funny.

    2. BuechenBronnBanger For an AnCap, most ideas and facts are incoherent. If they understood anything, they would not be an AnCap.

    3. TrueAnarchy, how?

      Also, anarchy means ‘no leader’, and has always as well referred to economic leaders, which ofcourse means private property controlled by an economic ‘dictator’. That may sound weird for the first time, but think about it, it’s true, the job you do has a bigger impact on your life than the state in most cased and you’re not even allowed to controll it.

      If we would make a society based on stateless capitalism it would become a survival of the fittest, which is a tyranny of the fittest. The people with most money (and there would be a small group of people with a whole lot of money since that concentration of wealth is as good as a law in capitalism) would simply be in control of everything, and they become much worse than the worst state you have ever seen. You know it, I know it. Don’t fool yourself and don’t make a fool out of yourself.

    4. @Utility Monster In anarchy, leaders are chosen by the group based on their merit, rather than their social or monetary position in society. There would be no private property (factories, mines, etc.) but personal property would still exist (homes, etc.). The purpose of the state is to protect capitalism and the rich from everyone else. Without the state protecting him, how long would someone such as Jeff Bezos keep his head?

      Your second paragraph describes American-style libertarianism, which would lead us back to feudalism.

  2. I always liked this, but essentially diddent power hierarchies come out of human folly and a primal will to power in the first place? If we were fundamentally good, ww wouldent have this current society?

    1. Well, I’m not sure if you’ve read some of the earlier anarchists like Bakunin and Kropotkin. They both made the argument that people are naturally self-centered and prone to exploiting others and that’s why people need to be anarchists. Since allowing hierarchy to go unchallenged would go against peoples inherent need to better their lot in life.

      Out of this comes the idea that being nice to each other is paradoxically self serving. Since it allows people to be self centered in a way that benefits everyone.

       I hope I made my point clearly, feel free to ask questions or better yet watch ‘The Capitalist System by Bakunin’ which tackles the question you we’re asking in more depth.

    2. Anarchists are people who are able to draw a line in their lives and say “this is enough. This is what I need and nothing more.”

      Very few people are able to do that.

  3. Yes, I am. I never discovered it when I was young.

    I never believe any politicians, I belong to the party of none.
    Everything I watched form the TV.. Is the result of what I am now today.

  4. thanks for this – super useful and convincing intro I’ll be sharing for sure! I was wondering if you could share some links or books that talk about the “models for how a really democratic, healthy society might work” you allude to at the end of the video? I’d love to know more about how complex anarchist societies could be created and could work. Thanks in advance!

  5. I am an anarchist on my terms. I look at sources that I agree with and don’t agree with, but at the end of the day, I look at anarchy in my own fashion as a free man.i am a true anarchist in my fashion as a free man. No one can tell a free man how to be free.

  6. I think the Trump years and his supporters, particularly in refusing mAsks and facts, that challenges this set of presuppositions.

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