We are Anarchists
The following brief statement was read by a bunch of anarchists, with big smiles on their faces and a red & black flag in hand, at the general assembly (GA) on Thursday, October 13, 2011, at the occupation in Philly, using the “call and repeat” technique of the people’s mic. Several anarchists—who like hundreds of other people of diverse political persuasions, have been participating in numerous wonderful ways in the do-it-ourselves Philly occupation—took the initiate to craft this statement. The words were motivated by an electronic firestorm of derogatory attacks against anarchists—including specific anarchists by name—that same day, largely initiated by one person who had admin privileges on the Occupy Philly Web site, Facebook page, and Twitter account, and basically booted off all the other admin people. Fortunately, both online and especially in person, the divide-and-conquer tactic not only failed but instead actually backfired. The vast majority of folks at the occupation stood solidly behind anarchists and solidly behind the direct democracy that we’ve created together; if anything, the assault seemed to bring people together a bit more, and many folks said it made them curious to learn more about anarchism! Still, many anarchists at the Philly occupation also felt the need to proudly, loudly, fabulously, and strongly offer a public statement that tevening. Here’s a text, culled from handwritten notes, so while it’s not exactly what was said, it’s a close approximation. Feel free to share. (Alas, the live stream footage of our GA and this reading was allegedly lost by accident; if anyone taped this reading, please upload and post it widely, including onto our Web site: https://radoccupyphilly.wordpress.com/).
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We are anarchists. We don’t speak for anyone else, just ourselves.
You’re right. We have an agenda:
- Mutual aid
- Direct democracy
We’re people just like you. We’re parents, teachers, we walk your dog, we serve your coffee (etc.).
We are not violent. In fact, we’re critical of the most violent people here: the police.
The kind of divisive tactics of fearmongering that took place today through rumors will shut down what all of us are doing! Groups will be targeted as bad people versus good occupiers on the basis of ideology, race, and so on.
Anarchism is inherently against all forms of domination, so no, we’re not hijacking the Occupy Philly movement.
We’re here talking about and trying to practice what it means to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, pro-labor, queer friendly, anti-classist, anti-ableist, anti-ageist, and so on.
We’re here with everyone else, practicing power-with not power-over.
And lastly, we really respect the directly democratic process. We use consensus-based decision making in many, if not all, of our own spaces and projects.