Musings of a Former Anarchist: CHAZ (…or CHOP)

Before I grew up, I was an anarchist and wanted to be an anarchist when I grew up.

And then I grew up and wasn’t an anarchist anymore.

I became a dirtbag conservative centrist instead.

For those that aren’t familiar, Anarchism is a political/social philosophy that claims governments have no legitimate right to exist. Anarchists also believe that hierarchies are unnatural and oppressive. If we were to abolish all forms of discrimination and hardships, we need to eliminate top-down structures and institute co-ops in the workplace and communes in our communities. Doing this will allow everyone to make their own decisions and live their lives without external intervention.

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Although anarchists are typically tied with the common image of window-smashing, graffiti-spraying arsonists, they don’t necessarily believe in violence and wanton destruction. No, anarchism is a legitimate philosophy in the same manner that fascism, socialism, and democracy are legitimate schools of thought.

The question is, of course, are these philosophies objectively doable? Do they comport with reality? Are human beings capable of living in a society without a hierarchy?

Of course, the answer is no. Absolutely not.

Anarchism, like socialism and democracy, is a fuzzy-wuzzy idea. It’s a dream for idealists and nothing more.

Something I have learned since leaving college and working real jobs is that some people are simply more assertive and dominant in workplaces and social circles. In turn, most people are simply more submissive and comfortable being a follower.

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I myself have found that I’m more of a follower. And that’s totally okay. I don’t see it as an inferiority or a weakness. A big part of growing up and gaining confidence is knowing who you are and what role you’re meant to play in the grand scheme of things. Whether you’re a follower or leader, society has an equal need for someone like you.

A machine cannot operate unless all its gears are in the right places.

The leader/follower dynamic exists across species, such as apes and wolves. It’s ironic how we point to the so-called “pack mentality” among wolves when preaching the importance of looking out for others. Why? Because wolf packs are extremely cutthroat and individualistic.

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When the pack finds a dead animal, guess who gets dibs on the meat? Yeah, the Alpha!

If all the wolves were Alphas, there would be constant discord and infighting. Ultimately, the pack would not survive.

Being weak in the hierarchy isn’t a weakness in itself. It means you have a different role that society needs you to play. It’s your way of providing balance to the scales of civilization.

Back to humankind: The Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) in Seattle, or (by its most recent moniker) the Capital Hill Organized Protest (at the time of this writing, they’ve already surrendered half their territory to the City in exchange for concrete road barriers). CHOP is a piece of the city that’s been taken over by anarchists. They’re attempting to turn it into a worker’s commune straight from the writings of Karl Marx and Piotr Kropotkin.

They’ve been attempting to fertilize their own farmland and produce crops to feed their community. Because of their limited land space, they’ll need to ration everything they grow if they distribute it. Thing is, there needs to be a form of authority to dictate the amount that everyone gets (majority vote or otherwise). But what if I’m a bodybuilder and want more carbs?

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What if I’m a fat sack of shit and want to stay that way? Hey! It’s my right to be a glutton! You don’t get to dicate how I live my life!

Therein lies the problem. Anarchists claim to be for freedom, liberty, and abolishing the concept of power, but society needs a degree of centralized power in order to keep its ship afloat.

Some people are naturally stronger both physically and mentally, and are more suited for leadership roles. If you were to abolish the titles they get through military force or democratic elections, congratulations! These people will still rise to power through unofficial means! Some people have the intrinsic need to be led by somebody. Most people have no interest in holding an equal stake in the workplace or politics as everybody does.

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That’s just the way it is. Anarchism is a pipe dream that ignores the human condition.

At the moment, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and President Trump are playing good cop/bad cop with this group of radicals. The Mayor is saying the Zone/Protest is as dangerous as a block party (which it probably is) and the President is threatening them with Military action. It’s very possible Trump is only using his bark to force the anarchists to capitulate. Whatever the case may be, every side wants to minimize the loss of life while using the least amount of resources necessary.

I mean, not a single shot has been fired and they already surrendered half of their occupied territory! They’re calling themselves an Organized Protest now. Whatever happened to Autonomous Zone???? Not so edgy anymore, eh?

Our society doesn’t have to be 100% equal in terms of political/economic power among the populace. In fact, it can’t be 100% equal: most people are simply apathetic and are concerned with themselves only.

We don’t have to be as strong as the leaders near our home or the ones in our Nation’s capital. In fact, it’s likely we can’t be as strong or influential as they are. Our deeply-rooted personalities would prevent us from becoming an authority. Some of us just aren’t meant to be in power or gain authority.

And that’s okay.

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