'to me anarchism was not a mere theory for a distant future; it was a living influence to free us from inhibitions, internal no less than external, and from the destructive barriers that separate man from man.' Emma Goldman
In information technology circles there is currently a lot of talk about keeping things decentralised, with decision making in the hands of those using any given system. Could the probably-overused-slogan 'information wants to be free' sign-post the tip of a symbiotic and unnoticed groundswell in anarchist thought? Is hacker culture the vanguard of the latest libertarian strain? There's a fair amount of anarcho-sensibility about us. Although we find that in these fragmentary, postmodern, mutogenic times, old thought strains quickly become obsolete, anarchism seems to have found a place (or a place has found anarchism). It's nothing new. Wherever there's been authority there's always been those who oppose it, not for its particular characteristcis ; but as a matter of principal And thats the thing - how many people are considerIng their personal struggle with authority in a historical sense, accepting the wider perspective? It's time we became clued up (en-clued) Centralised, hierarchic systems tend towards self perpetuation and control, they are ruthless and cumbersome, they are organisational dinosaurs that have no place in the newly evolved, fluid, electronic world view. This is all pretty self evident in terms of electronic media and, although it's a little harder to see, it holds true for any organisational system - from your nations government to your local shareware group. Adaptive, skill based authority and centralisation have their place (particularly in combatative situations) but as soon as they solidify into an hierachic structure; it begins to eat its young. The more top heavy (pyramidical-with power flowing down) a system, the more unable it is to complete the tasks it's been designed for- and the more energy it uses simply in sustaining itself. Centralised, hierarchic authority systems just don't work and that's the challenge - to design systems that not only promote individual freedom and creativity but that are more efficient and effacious in an wholistic sense If we woke up tommorow in a structuraly ideal world with minimal coercion or authority how long would it last? This is one of the central tho' often unadressed problems in anarchist thought Social change is the work of individuals - external change is doomed to failure unless it's acompanied by similar personal changes Patterns of authority are so ingrained and implicit that it's difficult to see a change in government struture (from other to self) as having any lasting effect. We must strive to liberate ourselves not only from external authority but also from the intolerances and predjudices that lead lead us to exert such authority over others. The movement towards freedom is intensly personal; it begins right where you are now, with the people around you, your own behaviour, your deeply ingrained habitual thought patterns. Anarchism, at it's heart, isn't about political revolution - it's about profound personal change It's spiritual.
The means and ends are synonymous.