I’m linking this to Friday Room as I can’t yet post on there:
Thanks to John for organising this month’s Friday Room discussion on ‘Brexit: an Anarchist Approach.’ I was intrigued by the topic, having only the vaguest idea about an anarchist approach to anything, let alone Brexit: black flags and Conrad-inspired images were all my mind could dredge up on the subject.
Claire and Mike from the Anarchist Federation were greeted by an enthusiastic but sadly depleted group as – in an ironic twist – the evening coincided with a farewell dinner for Glenys Wilmott, the area’s retiring MEP.
Unsurprisingly, there is not one single anarchist view on Brexit or the EU. Many anarchists opposed the EU as a super-state which exerts control over large populations and therefore voted for Brexit. But most voted to remain, through a belief in internationalism and the power of people to work together across national borders.
Anarchists are against power-structures. They oppose the nation-state and the ‘giving away of power’ (as they see it) to elected representatives. They do not organise through political parties but are active in many campaigns, such as anti-nuclear demonstrations, anti-oil pipeline and anti-fracking protests. Anarchism looks beyond capitalism and the nation-state for its vision. Although not members of political parties, most anarchists tend to be on the left politically. They do not usually vote in elections as they see these as too distant from the lives of individuals to make a difference, but single-issue referendums are different and many did vote in the EU referendum as this is a more direct process. We had much discussion afterwards about how (and whether) democracy might be improved by having referendums, say, on each budget or piece of legislation.
Anarchism seeks the freedom of the individual to act within society unconstrained by national or international structures. They support the right of people to be unwaged if they need to be. However it is difficult to state anything with any certainty about what anarchists believe, as there is no ‘party line’ and every individual is likely to have a different view. Many anarchists do believe, however, that ‘leave or remain’ was a false choice, and that a better choice would be to retain the nation-state or remove it.
Although anarchists tend to be on the left politically, there could perhaps be some crossover between their ideas of individual freedom and those of the libertarian right. In campaigning they make a distinction between violence against property, which is considered acceptable, and violence against people: however they are not committed to non-violence and will act in self-defence.
When asked what an anarchist utopia might look like, they described a situation where people’s needs were provided for simply and on a local basis. There is a lot of support for the idea of doing away with money and perhaps going back to a barter system.
The talk generated a lot of discussion around the EU vote, referendums and the strengths and weaknesses of the anarchist utopia, as described. In areas of Iraq and Syria called Rojave, anarchist regimes are being established now and for further ideas you can go to: