A review of the Anarchist FAQ

Date:

It's good to know that more than porn and adverts for jobs exist on the internet. Coming fresh off the presses -"What is Anarchism - the anarchist FAQ" is the first pamphlet in a series that will attempt to answer all the questions that you wanted to know about anarchism but never got a chance to ask. This pamphlet is section A of the FAQ, the other sections are as yet only available on the internet.

FAQ is netspeak for Frequently Asked Questions. This pamphlet grew from a group of anarchists co-operating on the web to come up with arguments to refute the claim being made by free market capitalists to the anarchist name! It is a testimony to the co-operative spirit of a handful of activists that something this useful and well produced came about when it would have been much easier to just engage in fruitless argument. In 1995 it was decided to turn the FAQ into a general introduction to anarchism.

The FAQ has a great habit of expressing complex ideas in a relatively simple manner and it succeeds in bringing back to mind many useful quotes that capture the idea that they are expressing. Clifford Harper put the idea of anarchism eloquently when he wrote "Like all great ideas, anarchism is pretty simple when you get down to it - human beings are at their best when they are living free of authority."

The second section is one of my favourites as it covers the very essence of anarchism. Why we oppose authority, hierarchies, why we place such a high emphasis on personal freedom, equality and organisation against this society. It also states quite clearly the kind of society that we are fighting for and it has very little to do with the current chains of capitalism. But we are seeking to develop a society where mankind can be truly free. As Bakunin said he was a "fanatic lover of freedom, considering it as the unique environment within which the intelligence, dignity and happiness of mankind can develop and increase."

Section 3 deals with the various types of anarchism that exist but appears to ignore the Platform. Perhaps this is an omission that will be addressed in future editions. Sections 4 and 5 just give you a flavour of some of the important thinkers and events that have shaped the anarchist tradition.

The FAQ is a great example of what co-operative work on the internet can achieve. It is a foundation stone for laying down the idea of anarchism as the viable alternative that we should work towards achieving. It's our escape route from the rotten system that we survive in today.

You can also read all the sections of the FAQ on the web at www.anarchistfaq.org


This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.


This edition is No61 published in November 2000

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