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+2 votes
I want to start off by saying that I'm new here so I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to this stuff. I also want to stress that I'm not trying to paint anyone here with the same brush regardless of school thought. Personally, I can't endorse the use of violence, by which  I mean in most cases is property damage whether that be against government buildings, corporations, banks, etc. I feel that alienates people. I know I'm sounding like a "do nothing pacifist" but honestly that just me. I think it's wrong and ultimately counterproductive. I think it better to be active in community issues, providing services that the authorities don't or refuses to provide, building dual power essentially. I hope that's the right term. Like I said I'm new here, so please forgive such a stupid question. Anyway what do you think is Violence aka property damage productive or counter productive? Let me know what you think.
by (380 points)
Coming back to this question, I want to say that I know now the difference between repression violence and resistant violence. I also want to thank you all for answering my questions. I'm really learning a lot here :).

2 Answers

0 votes
Looks to me like you might want to reverse your thinking. You seem to be starting from conclusions and working your way back to premises. There's an ideology about Violence that already exists (and can be seen in your question, where you repeat what you've been taught in a class-based, property-enforcing society, by referring to Violence as "wrong"), whose ideologists force upon us so that we aren't supposed to question it; the existence of Property, for example, relies on officially sanctioned Violence, but we are never supposed to notice, let alone question that.

Dual power is not an anarchist idea.

"providing services that the authorities don't or refuses to provide" is a strategy based on Social Democracy; again, not an anarchist strategy. Anarchists are interested in Direct Action, which means providing *for ourselves* (that is, not for others) directly, without the permission or assistance of "the authorities," but also against them. Providing services for other people is called social work; in the way you're speaking about it, it sounds like you're interested in taking marginalized people and making them less marginalized or finding slightly less bad ways of being marginal.
by (570 points)
Hey Dot, look i'm sorry about asking such a stupid question. I'm wrong for thinking like this, or believing what I said? . By the way, you mentioned "there plenty of anarchists who agree with it?
That article was a good read, thanks for linking it.
+2 votes
not instead of lawrence's answer but in addition to it:

whether something is violent and whether something is productive depends entirely on how one defines violence, and on what one is trying to produce.
many people on this site both want a dramatically different world/social set up, and have experiences that seem to prove that the tactics that we know and recognize now don't work to create what we want. so if that new world is what we're trying to produce, i can certainly say for myself that i don't know what will be "productive." what i do think, based on my experiences, is that anger is essential, and that aiming that anger at the enemy (sometimes outside myself, and sometimes not) is an important part of rejecting what i don't like about the world. and i have not seen pacifism ever create anything (at least not that i recognized).

there are books you could read - peter gelderloos wrote two books on this, how nonviolence protects the state and a more recent one (can't remember the name), and ward churchill (not an anarchist, but...) wrote a smaller book called pacifism as pathology.

and just so we're clear, there are plenty of anarchists (or, for the sticklers among us, "people who call themselves anarchists") who agree with how you present the question - they accept the definition of violence given to them by the corporate media, they believe that the way to change the world (and people's minds) is through positive programs, and they know that anarchists have a lot to offer in terms of better strategies and tactics and relationships. these people get very excited about things that don't matter to me, and i think they don't understand some important things about what they're talking about (like moral purity, as lawrence mentions), but those might be topics that you have to experience yourself before we can have a good conversation about them. (or at least that would be a different question, with its own thread.)
by (53.1k points)
I see, so I'm not alone in what I said or believe?
nope, you just may be alone on this site.
I don't think this is for me.
probably not now. maybe in the future. ;)
Thanks for the education, I know it wasn't a lot but hey at least I learned something. Maybe I'll back here one day.
Is there any advice you could me, Dot? any criticism?
Obviously I'm not dot, but having read some of your posts here, and having enjoyed the discussions that have developed from them, I'd like to offer this advice:

Think about the approach in dot's first sentence - "whether something is violent and whether something is productive depends entirely on how one defines violence, and on what one is trying to produce." Because most of us grow up being socialized into various moral beliefs that aren't authentically our own (also known as 'spooks', eg. breaking shit that isn't specifically ours is wrong), it's worth reconsidering things with specific reference to yourself.  What are your goals?  Why are those your goals? Is 'x' useful or not useful for achieving those goals? Never mind what's 'right' and 'wrong', what do you like and dislike?

You're definitely not alone in holding the beliefs you've articulated here, but that neither validates nor invalidates your ideas - you validate or invalidate your ideas.

Stick around, you ask good questions :)
Honestly I haven't thought about it. What are my goals and why are these my goals? Mind you I'm not anarchist but I am curious. I just hate the world as it is, and I don't think it will any better unless if something done. But of course what, what's the solution?  You had a good point that I'm the only one who validate and invalidates my ideas. I guess I shouldn't be so hard, or worry about fitting in here. I know that sounds bad but it's the truth. I'm not a very confident person. Anyway maybe I should stay here.
You don't have to be an anarchist for those questions to be useful ;), sorry for assuming by the way, my bad.  You don't have to worry to much about fitting in (although I understand the anxiety), the people here tend to react positively to sincere curiosity; you'll do fine as long as you don't flame the site with statist/leninist/anarcho-capitalist horseshit, and I don't image you're really the type to do that ;)

Re: hating the world and solving it's problems, you might find Enkidu's answer to this question interesting, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me:
Thanks for the link,Yosemite. Enkidu's answer was pretty good, I like the last paragraph about giving up hope, and stop thinking the world's your burden. I tend to be like that pretty much, I feel I'm rather influenced by guilt than anger. Mind if I asked you how you became an anarchist? Are you activist?
Yosemite:  i wish i could upvote a stream of comments!  Well done.

-- i'm trying to work through this, back to front (it's less depressing in that direction); a very good work, crystalised a lot of floating ideas i was grappling with.

unp89:: Welcome!
Don't be put off by an honest answer.  The people here are kinder and more helpful than most forums you'll stumble into.  Anarchists reject dogma and "correct questions and answers"; hell, they even put up with me!
Take a couple of weeks and dig thru the old questions and answers here, they provide a lot of good insight.  The Anarchist Library (see above), and even Wikipedia, provide very good background reading.
One point I would stress is that you'll never get two anarchists (or dirt farmers) to agree on anything.  Reading these writings is a two-way process:  question everything you read against your personal ethical values, (you'll often find yourself yelling "Bullshit"); and question your personal ethics against the issues raised therein (you'll also often find yourself saying "oh...shit").  The useful part isn't an indoctrination - it is a process of taking all that free floating anxiety and anger and unfocussed bullshit inside your head, and crystalising it in some form that makes sense to you.  
In the end, it doesn't matter if you admit to being an anarchist or not; if you can see the world for what it is, and what is driving it below the surface, you are more dangerous than any figment of imagination dreampt up by the fbi snatch squad.
Unp89 - no problem, and that's my favorite part ;). I first started calling myself an anarchist when I was quite young partly as an expression of rebellion against the culture I was raised in and because I instinctively resented authority, but I didn't really know anything about anarchism at the time, I only became an anarchist in full knowledge of what that meant after coming to the conclusion that democratic socialism was both a lost cause and not what I actually wanted, so I returned to anarchism because in the wake of activist burnout I decided that working within the system is futile and that my biggest problem with the world is its attempts to constrain and rule over me, rather than its lack of social justice.  I'm not an activist right now, and that's mainly because I feel like there's any activist activity I could get involved with that would tangibly help me achieve my own goals, or even that I'd enjoy.

Clodbuster - that was very on point.