Every month in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington, the Magnetic Fridge Diary is distributed. The MfD is a folded A3 piece of paper with a calendar of anarchist/activist/community events for the upcoming month, reviews of pamphlets from the local anarchist bookshop and short articles on a theme. It’s been running for a couple of years now, and currently has a print run of 300 which are distributed at libraries, high schools, cafes, universities and other places around the city. A .pdf (9MB) of the April issue is available for download here.
This month, the theme was Anarchism – I wrote a short and simple “what is anarchism” which I thought I’d repost here:
Anarchism – What is it?
Anarchism is the political philosophy that human society functions best based on concepts of mutual aid, direct democracy and free association.
Free association is the term for people who have chosen to associate for any particular cause. Free association is what occurs in any group in which you are a member by choice and choice alone, not because you are required to by law or other means, but because you care about and support the group and the goals of the group.
Mutual aid is a term used to describe interactions based on cooperation rather than competition. Under capitalism, we are compelled to compete with each other to survive – for jobs, for property and for friendships. While capitalism demands we ask why we should help someone, mutual aid encourages us to ask why not.
Anarchists see modern capitalist society as fundamentally flawed – a system where the means of production and consequently the wealth are owned by a small number of people while many more still struggle to get food, water and shelter to survive. Anarchists strive for a world where workers, wom*n, non-whites, queers and others are not systemically discriminated against for the benefit of a few.
Anarchists are for direct democracy. Anarchists often organise according to consensus-based self-governing principles, based in the understanding that we are best qualified to make decisions about our own lives. Anarchists believe that we must all control our own lives, making decisions collectively about matters which affect us.
Anarchists believe and engage in direct action. Direct action is any action which, if successful, achieves the desired result/s in and of itself, without appealing to a “higher power”. Direct action is based on the idea that we should all run our own lives, and that asking someone else to make a change for us, even if the change is made, is counter-productive as it only reinforces the idea that we cannot act for ourselves.
Anarchists are against nation-states and borders. Nation-states are inherently oppressive, and in subjugating the individual for further the welfare of the State in a race of nation-states and global economies, States resort all too readily to violent systematic oppression. Arbitrary lines on a map should have no role in deciding how we live our lives, and any movement for a better society must place the utmost importance on the free movement of individuals.
To find out more about anarchism or to get in touch with anarchists in Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington, visit The Freedom Shop, the anarchist bookstore, in Left Bank off Cuba Mall, or go to Revolting Books, the little anarchist library, at 128 Abel Smith St, Te Aro.