I am told that anarchism is a “left wing” ideology, by many. I am not sure those who claim this understand the true meaning of the term.

The terms “left wing” and “right wing” come from the position of seated delegates during the French Revolution. The bourgeoisie would sit to the left, and the monarchists would sit to the right. The first leftists were, in fact, capitalists.

The term anarchy stems from the Greek for “no rulers”. If the original designations of left and right were pointed at those trying to rule others, then it follows that anarchism has no place in either the left or right wings. Anarchism is not considered with how to rule over others. It is concerned with not being ruled.

“But!”…some will say… “These terms have changed since the French Revolution!” To that, I would ask “how?”. What is generally considered the left wing is full of parties and organizations that, like those early capitalists, claim to work for the people, and promise freedom under their rule. From the Democratic Party, to the myriad socialist or communist groups across the globe, those who consider themselves left wing strive to establish themselves as benevolent rulers over the people. They act in the name of the people, but always seem to place themselves apart, or ahead, of those they claim to act for.

As can be seen in the endless talk between those who call themselves leftists, these types of people always see themselves at the head of the system, calling the shots in the name of “the people”. Countless discussions are had about “How will x work?” or “Who will do x?”. These types of discussions exemplify the managerial personality of the leftist, as it seems they are more concerned with telling people what to do, with having a system of rulership, than rolling their sleeves up and doing something. “Who will grow the food without capitalism?” The people that need to eat! “Who will build the roads?” Whoever needs to travel!

What chains leftists down to the pillar of rulership is this need for a blueprint…the need for a plan…that they are presumably at the head of, or had a part developing. The leftist fears true anarchy. The leftist fears having to create the world around them as they go, without a system or framework to work within. In fact, leftists fear this so much, that in some cases, they even turn to violence against anarchists.

If anarchists and leftists have such similar views that anarchism can be considered “left wing”, then why is there a history of leftist violence against anarchists? The Soviets imprisoned and murdered anarchists within their borders. They declared war on those anarchists outside them. During the Mexican Revolution, the Red Battalions allied with the state against the anarchist forces of Emiliano Zapata. In more recent times, a Greek Communist group, the KKE, played the role of police during anti-austerity protests, and physically attacked anarchists. With this history of siding with the power of the system, and using that to crush anarchists, I question anyone who thinks that anarchism shares any of the same goals as the left!

The left and right are wings of the same system of capital. Neither offers freedom, only systems that give the illusion of freedom. I believe anarchists would do well to separate themselves from leftism, and maybe even those who call themselves leftists. If we are for a situation of “no rulers”, then surely the baggage that comes along with the history of left wing movements is something akin to a form of rulership that we should shrug off. Why chain ourselves to an ideology that for centuries has striven to rule over others in the name of some faux freedom? Reject both left and right wings…We do not need wings to fly!