Understanding Anti-Authoritarian Strategy in the Apocalyptic Era

Anarchist News

Note: Was going to post the whole text here but it was too long, so I used 0bin instead, it’s an anoymous paste type site, hope the link works for everybody!

from Indonesian anarchist blog Kontra-Media, original article here:…

“Don’t ask us for that formula that opens worlds,
just a few twisted syllables, dry as a branch and gaunt.
Today the only thing that we can tell you is
what we are not, and what we do not want.”

– Eugenio Montale

If, for example, we are faced with the question of how should we respond to the environmental damage caused by the Bakrie Group with its Lapindo mud scandal (I), then the simplest answer is to provide political awareness to the public about the destructive consequences of the capitalist system and its state apparatus. According to the anti-authoritarian perspective, there are at least two commonly used ways of building this kind of awareness. The first is done by building two-way communication that puts forward non-hierarchical organizing methods, free from political parties, participatory, and formal— although there are informal methods that tend to emerge from this pattern, both are more characterized by their inclusive methods. The second uses confrontational or insurrectional methods with more or less the same principles as the first, only the second emphasizes individual and organizational spontaneity that is temporal, informal, and non-compromising. Through these two ways, the community is expected to be able to take the initiative to respond directly to any losses and exploitation related to their lives.

The first organizing pattern, broadly speaking, is interpreted as an inclusive form, namely a form that can empower various lines of society into a new alternative to the structure of social movements. Methods like this are quite common and simple to be applied to social spaces and have been carried out—although still quite rare and relatively small in Indonesia, only a few exceptions are social experimentation in some areas such as the urban poor community of the Urban Poor Consortium and smaller experiments that are more informal networks such as the Food Not Bombs network—by various new social movements that emerged after the Cold War (or for the Indonesian context, post-New Order), which marked the end of the era of the ideological feud of Soviet communism with western capitalism. Post-Cold War is where various social movements began to emerge in their new forms—or what is termed the New Social Movements—which broaden participation without any narrow ideological tendencies.

The second pattern is more likely to refer to ideological tendencies—in this case anarchism. The insurrectional approach puts forward a direct confrontation with the socio-economic structure of capital, thus this kind of organization tends to be exclusive in practice, because it requires the participation of individuals who have similar interests and understandings. Insurrectional practices have not become common in the history of the resistance movement in Indonesia. However, acts of violence committed by fundamentalist Islamic elements cannot be equated with anarchist insurrectionalism, because their epistemological references are completely different. The difference between the insurrectional pattern and the first is only at the level of method, both have more or less similar perspectives on how the economic and social order should be organized. Some examples of local insurrection such as the resistance of the Papuan people to Freeport and the Indonesian state apparatus, the resistance of the urban poor who were evicted in Pandang Raya and the actions of the Bojong community that occurred several years ago, or the rampage of freelance miners in Bangka Belitung in mid-2007, can be considered closer with the insurrectional principle because it indicates a contradiction to capital.


Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

Leave a Reply