“If we allow our imagination, our thirst for knowledge and our youthful passion to be extinguished, then we allow a piece of ourselves and of the human collective to be forgotten. By recognizing the importance of this passion and taking steps today to cultivate empowering relationships and experiences for future generations, we ensure a more peaceful tomorrow. ”
The Conscious Resitance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality
By Derrick Broze and John Vibes
Most anarchists who self-identify as either capitalist or communist have difficulty relating to each other. They are often at each others throats, and utterances of hatred and threats of death are commonplace.
They do not communicate well. They bitterly rage and they moan and groan. Many individuals from either economic camp gripe about each other and talk about how the other does not have an understanding of anarchism, how the other is evil, and how the other isn’t practicing or preaching “real anarchy” for whatever reason.
Many individuals in either party are not willing to sit down and figure out how to resolve differences. For them, it is all about the strongest appeal to tradition, the best argument, or the largest ego. It’s never “let’s just sit down and iron this out.” It’s never: “Let’s stop condemning each other so we can plan a future together.”
It’s just fight, fight, fight.
That’s partly why relational, spiritual, holistic, soft, compassionate, and other non-political and non-legal facets of anarchism have recently cropped up. These forms of anarchism want to bring more people together and bridge economic divides.
Anarchism Implies Cooperation to Solve Economic Conundrums
There are clear economic, philosophical, and sociological differences that are contradictory on the surface of the economic and political camps of anarchism. However, their adherents will have to work things out anyway in order to coexist. People have to find ways to resolve their differences.
It would be nice if everyone simply self-segregated into perfect geographical communities where everyone adopted the same perspective, but things aren’t so simple.
What happens when those communities become intertwined or displaced? What happens when people change their mind? What if people want to relocate? What happens with more globalization? What happens when reality happens?
Here’s the deal.
Anarchism implies cooperation and trust to solve economic and social conundrums. It is true. Difficulties and disagreements are going to crop up, but the channels of communication must be wide open. If people are just talking about how to toss each other out of helicopters or burn down factories, then the seed of violence has been sown before any nonviolent communication for resolution has taken shape.
Is that really what anarchists want? Do they want perpetual warfare in the same vein the State engenders? I doubt it, but that’s where economic differences can lead.
Acknowledging Differences, Sharing Space, and Communicating Effectively
To build successful communities where people acknowledge differences sans the State, they must be willing participants in open diplomatic negotiations. If one party simply decides the other should just die because they believe in communal ownership of property or individual ownership of property, how can the world ever go on without a need for some violent dictator or tyrant?
This kind of hostility between camps is an ingredient that provides fertile ground for the growth of governments, Nation States, perpetual warfare, and finally outright obliteration.
Everyone has to remember that economics are a big deal. Oppression is an issue. Starvation through communism is a fact. All these concerns and fears that each anarchy camp has contain merit; but perpetuating, halfheartedly joking about, or actively touting violence before trying to resolve these differences is the largest, most glaring problem in modern anarchist discourse.
Therefore, anarchists of all stripes should start communicating more effectively to figure this out.
Personally, I have learned the hard way. Some people don’t want to have a powwow. They don’t want to sit down and try to understand me. They would rather maim, kill, destroy—or validate their own philosophy through their ego. And I think this has been bad business for anarchism; worse business for the world when the State fails. Hopefully, with the rise of relational anarchism, their perspective will begin to change.
Anarchist Emma Goldman clarified this issue She said:
“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.”
― Emma Goldman
Relational Anarchism and The Evolution of the Philosophy
This is why anarchists have built the foundations for a relational kind of anarchism that allows for the emergence of unity in economic camps.
Relational anarchy provides a foundation that is not strictly geared toward one set of economic principles or the other. It is anarchism without economic borders, with a focus on psychological principles for bringing disparate groups of people together. It is an approach that shuns rulers while not taking egoistic sanctuary in an political or economic preference.
Many have condemned these ideas as not falling within the traditional economic and political framework of past anarchist philosophizing. But I say to hell with traditionalism. Anarchism is a radical, novel philosophy that is meant to evolve and grow along with its people.
However, this does not mean the definition or the basic understanding has to change. Only the way people perceive anarchism and anarchists must change. The anarchists themselves must grow. They must strengthen their philosophy and bridge gaps between themselves and society-at-large. And I believe this is already happening.
Relational Anarchy Provides a Network-Based Approach for Freedom
Anarchism must take on new vigor, stamina, and character. And that is what relationalism does. It provides a network based approach for dismantling the State and bridging divides. It gives individuals a framework for working together toward freedom rather than working apart—or falling apart. It instills anarchists with the idea that emotional attachment, connection, and celebration of human dignity are the motivating factors of freedom lovers. They are factors that actually create and propagate freedom.
As my friend Mario Dian pointed out, relational anarchism is a form of anarchism that overlays or supersedes the others. It is an additional approach or process that considers other variables in human interactions, especially relationships and attachment.
In this sense, relationalism is a watershed development in anarchist theory. It is spurring more focus on alternative approaches to anarchism that will allow the philosophy to diversify and likewise bring more people in without losing the core understanding that society should exist and subsist without rulers or masters.
Where we Go from Here
This is where we go from here. I believe this next iteration in anarchism will set the stage to overcome the current impasse, and create a thriving community for anarchists of all economic stripes to start planning for the future of no government.
And with this community of relationalists, new economic theories, foundations, social structures, and other ideas can be worked out using the combined creativity and intelligence of all the actors involved. This is a beautiful epoch, and the relational and compassionate forms of anarchists are spearheading this new thrust in anarchist thinking.
Ad Astra Per Aspera.
“Relational anarchists understand the need for a plurality of strategies and thought process to bring about freedom and social healing, but they also believe that without proper communication, differences in economic or political theory cannot be resolved in practice. Communication—or the processes of interaction—must be completely open and unblocked for positive change to occur.”
—Sterlin Luxan, The Relational Anarchist Primer