It may not be widely known but I am an Anarchist. When someone comes out and says this, the first thing that may come to mind is violent rioters in black vandalising storefronts as has been the case with many of the anti-globalization / G20 protests. No, this isn’t what anarchism is all about. Anarchism in its simplest terms means without leaders or ruling classes. Anarchism when practiced without coercion is really a nice system of living: live your life, don’t tread on me and I won’t tread on you.
Unfortunately, the reason we’re all stuck on this dumb rock is that capital flows mainly in one direction these days: up towards those with the majority of it. The reason the Occupy X movement has been gaining ground in the United States is that with 10+% unemployment (more for other elements of society), crippling debt and the incredulous sums paid out to financial institutions for acting illegally, the poor are becoming poorer and the richer are becoming richer. Besides the degradation in workers rights, the influence of money in the political process and the ever growing totalitarian police state, people are waking up to the fact they are getting screwed over from cradle to the grave.
It’s not as bad here in Australia. We enjoy a fairly robust political system (not to be confused with the current policies and leadership of those currently in government) and workers rights are fairly good (thanks to the abolition of Work Choices). Unionism is on the decline, the same unionism that gave us the rights we have at work now. All in all, we’ve got it pretty good, but isn’t it better to strive for something even better?
I’m planning on turning-out to the Occupy Brisbane protest tomorrow to gauge the feelings of those who want to make things better (hopefully a valid supposition). As such, I've thrown together a little primer on anarchism (embedded below) that tries to get tongues wagging with some general information and some questions that should spur discussion. I’m no ideologue, just an engineer with some hopes and some ideas, so don’t think this is the be-all and end-all of what anarchism is about.