David Flood: Anarchism in Practice Is Often Radically Boring Democracy

Anarchists have been an easy scapegoat for violent events in recent months. But anarchism, as a political philosophy, is fundamentally about collective deliberation and responsibility.

Sapiens, February 22, 2021

Two hours into a weekly planning session, the 15 or so black-clothed, tattooed, and pierced activists were getting cranky. People wanted action, and tempers were flaring. I thought that my research on leftist organizing might finally get exciting.

But then the meeting facilitator quickly reminded everyone of the group’s commitment to discussion and consensus, and called a 10-minute break.

After milling around and getting snacks, everyone filed back into the cold, uncomfortable break room at the back of a small bookstore. It took another full hour of orderly debate before the group finally achieved consensus on a strategy for its next action: a weekly food collection for hungry families.

Curiously, the word these activists used to describe this commitment to group accountability was “anarchy.”

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