Reclaiming 'Anarchism': the word


To: Conference < >
Subject: Reclaiming 'Anarchism': the word
Date: Tue Jun 06, 1995 10:30 pm EST

31 May 1995

Dear Editor:

Bombings in April 1995, such as at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the Prince Edward Island Legislature, have been characterized by journalists and "claimants" as anarchist acts. That characterization could not be more wrong.

Those acts are not indicative of "anarchism" as we understand the origins, history and future of that word.

Literally, "anarchism" is from the Greek, meaning "no rulers". Examples of anarchist organization include the Ukraine around 1920, Spain around 1936 and labour unions such as the International Workers Association and the Industrial Workers of the World. Those organizations have well met the material and social needs of their members. As a result, those organizations and their members have been more peaceful and equitable than the politicians and militarists that have tried to crush them. Such is always the case, for anarchists' objective is not political revolution but social revolution, not replacing one set of leaders with another or one hierarchy with another but instead ending the coercive power inherent in businesses and governments. It is not surprising then that anarchists have consistently been opposed by all who desire to maintain or increase the coercive power of businesses or governments. Anarchists have often defended themselves as a result, sometimes using force. And why not? But the main effort of anarchists has been to develop workers' direct control of their work places.

All wealth -- manufacturing, services, art, whatever -- is created through work. By that fact alone, workers are entitled to what they create and to distribute it according to the needs of people. That creation and distribution is what most anarchists are about, and it is the future of anarchism.

Carlos Murray (Member, IWW (Ottawa))

Terri Williams (Member, IWW (Ottawa))

I.M. Wobblie (Member, IWW (Ottawa))