I have been reading some old issues of The Match! lately, which is a long-running "Ethical Anarchist" publication that is produced and written mainly by one guy, Fred Woodworth. I have been enjoying this writing a great deal, and I would like for more people to be exposed to it. Of course we do not 100% agree on everything, but that is not the point. I view his writing and work as being important, and I would like to support it.
Given that Fred Woodworth is notorious for not using a computer, and is openly critical of all digital technology in general, there is not that much of his writing available for people online. With that in mind, I am including a piece that he wrote below, which is an introduction to Anarchism as he sees it. Enjoy!
Our View of Political Reality
It’s not a form of statism. Anarchists don’t want to impose their value-system on anyone else. It’s not terrorism - the cop who wears the gun to scare you into obeying him - is the terrorist. Governments threaten to punish any man or woman who defies state power, and therefore the state really amounts to an institution of terror. Anarchism never relies on fear to accomplish anything because a person who is afraid is not free.
Here’s what Anarchists believe:
Government is an unnecessary evil. Human beings, when accustomed to taking responsibility for their own behavior, can cooperate on a basis of mutual trust and helpfulness.
No true reform is possible that leaves government intact. Appeals to a government for a redress of grievances, even when acted upon, only increase the supposed legitimacy of the government’s acts, and add therefore to its amassed power.
Government will be abolished when its subjects cease to grant it legitimacy. Government cannot exist without the tacit consent of the populace. This consent is maintained by keeping people in ignorance of their real power. Voting is not an expression of power, but an admission of powerlessness, since it cannot do otherwise than reaffirm the government’s supposed legitimacy.
Every person must have the right to make all decisions about his or her own life. All moralistic meddling in the private affairs of freely-acting persons is unjustified. Behavior which does not affect uninvolved persons is nobody’s business but the participants’.
We are not bound by constitutions or agreements made by our ancestors. Any constitution, contract or agreement that purports to bind unborn generations - or in fact anyone other than the actual parties to it - is a despicable falsehood and a presumptuous fraud. We are free agents liable only for such as we ourselves undertake.
All governments survive on theft and extortion, called taxation.
All governments force their decrees on the people and command obedience under threat of punishment.
If human beings are fundamentally good, no government is necessary; if they are fundamentally bad, any government, being composed of human beings, would be bad also.
The principal outrages of history have been committed by governments, while every advancement of thought, every betterment in the human condition, has come about through the practices of voluntary cooperation and individual initiative.
The principle of government, which is force, is opposed to the free exercise of our ability to think, act and cooperate.
Whenever government is established, it causes more harm than it forestalls. Under the guise of protecting populaces from crime and violence, governments not only do not eradicate random, individual crime, but they institutionalize such varieties as censorship and war.
All governments enlarge upon and extend their powers; under government, the rights of the individual constantly diminish.
Anarchism is in favor of a free society organized along lines of cooperation and mutual aid.