Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Death of the family

Anarchist News

An overly generous doomsday narrative is circulating in popular media: the nuclear family is on its way out. [1][2] While I’m not so optimistic, fewer people are getting married and “intentional childlessness” is a more defensible position than in previous decades.

While it’s not inherently anarchist to not have kids or to choose to remain unmarried, it opens up the topic of how we hope to relate to others and form lasting relationships without the burden of familial obligation or coercion—to put it another way, the ability to “choose our own family.”

Voluntary association, like this, opens up a variety of possibilities the traditional family form attempts to shut, though this creativity in relating to others is a difficult lived practice. Old habits die hard and it’s a challenge to not bring too many seeds from the old world into the new. For example, anarchists aren’t immune from participating in petty drama, abuse, superiority complexes, hostile impatience, and the uncomfortable silence of “off limit” conversations that avoid conflict. This type of behavior may fly within a family forced to endure one another’s company, but is less tolerable to a group of individualists or egoists.

What familial dynamics between anarchists would you undo with a wave of your magic wand? And what does it look like to gesture toward that change? What are the biggest impediments to anarchists developing long term, stable relationships with one another?

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1 reply »

  1. Who cares? Who will care? I will be glad not to be around when all this come to fruition,,,, “Life “ takes a ‘new’ turn,,,, Not God’s plan,,,, ‘n I won’t even wish ‘u ‘good luck’ even tho’ ‘u ‘r certainly going to need it! ‘n more!

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