I’ve had the pleasure of talking to anarchists of many stripes and colors. From anarcho-capitalists, to anarcho-communists…From anarcho-primitivists to anarcho-transhumanists. While all of these ideologies claim to be anarchist, I have always noticed something that keeps me from really seeing them as anarchist. To me, these kinds of ideologies seem to have more in common with something like communism, socialism, or capitalism, than actual anarchy. Too many anarchists want to prescribe solutions, and propose ways of living, rather than voluntarily work with others to come up with an egalitarian way of living.

Anarchy is a state of (or desire for) “no rulers” if one looks at the root words. Whether these “rulers” are people, institutions, or ideas, those looking to live in a state of anarchy should always be vigilant of potential rulers. Ideally, as anarchists, we do not want to rule others, and we do not want to be ruled by them. We want to make our own decisions in life, based on our own desires. If this is the case, then why do so many anarchists insist on adhering to blueprints, or pretending that they know just how society should work? Is not coming up with a system, and then expecting others to follow it a form of rulership?

When an anarcho-communist says that we should all unionize our workplaces and run them collectively, that is the opinion of one person….not anarchism. When an anarcho-capitalist says we should abolish the state but keep markets and currency in place, that is again, the opinion of one person…not anarchism. People seem to have this need to focus on an idea that they like, and then attempt to convince others of it. Rather than working together to create a society without rulers, anarchists constantly bicker about which form of anarchy is correct. This is not anarchism, this is attempting to push ideologies onto people.

If anarchists wished to be true to their name, we would realize that we don’t individually have the answers. We would realize that our blueprints are nothing but utopian fantasies. We would realize that anarcho-anything isn’t anarchist at all. To be truly anarchist, would be to be aware of your own desires, while realizing that you are probably going to have to work alongside people who might not share those exact same desires. Anarchy must be a voluntary system for all, and all people will never share the same ideas as to what is to be done.

If we are to be truly anarchist, we should rid ourselves of any preconceived plots or systems. Instead of looking into the vacuum of our own mind, we should look to our neighbors and see the myriad desires all around us. You or I may have what we perceive to be as the perfect blueprint for anarchy in our heads, but all that is irrelevant once it comes time to enact it in the physical world…once other people get involved. Everyone around us is going to have different ideas and different desires, and to attempt to force others into a particular way of living would just end up ruling people as before.

We need to get rid of the rulers in our heads. We need to understand that real anarchy isn’t going to be some preconceived system that just gets put in place. It is going to be the voluntary work of us and those around us. We need to realize that the core of anarchy is going to be what we create with those around us…not the utopias we create in our minds. We need to see capitalism, communism, etc. for the systems of rule that they really are, and be willing to simply create anarchy with those around us.