Someone wondered the other day why I would ever want to identify as an individualist. Unfortunately, “individualism” is a term that today is very misunderstood and sometimes maligned. So what does it mean to me to be an individualist anarchist?
It means that:
Like Benjamin Tucker, I advocate artisanal socialism. I believe in the law of equal liberty, that “interest is theft, rent robbery, and profit only another name for plunder.”
Like Federica Montseny, I advocate the liberation of women in a world dominated by men, and believe that the “emancipation of women would lead to a quicker realization of the social revolution.”
Like Emile Armand, I stand for the right of those whose sexuality and gender identification is outside the established norm to pursue love and happiness in their own way free from the oppression of the state and society.
Like Joseph Labadie, I stand for Labor against capitalist domination and advocate social change through trade and industrial unionism.
Like Enrico Arrigoni, I think there’s a time when you try to pop Fidel Castro, just because he fucked with your friends. There’s a time to say, ‘fuck it, I’m a keep throwin’ rocks!’ And there’s a time when you stroll in like ya own the place, even though you don’t have your “papers”, because you can.
Like Max Stirner, I believe that people only have as much liberty as they are willing to take.
Like Han Ryner, I am an anti-racist, believing that race is “a dangerous idol”, “…especially when it is allied to religion”.
Like Maria Lacerda De Moura, I am an anti-militarist.
My main reason for rejecting state socialism is, as Miguel Giménez Igualada said, “[t]hat which we call capitalism is not something else but a product of the State, within which the only thing that is being pushed forward is profit, good or badly acquired. And so to fight against capitalism is a pointless task, since be it State Capitalism or Enterprise capitalism, as long as Government exists, exploiting capital will exist. The fight, but of consciousness, is against the State.”
Echoing Adeline Champney, I ask, “For who is society but myself and yourself and all selves? And what is human joy but my joy and your joy and the joy of each? And every joy of mine and every joy of yours and every joy that you or I can bring to any, all are so much added joy in the world. For how shall humanity rejoice while you and I are sad? ”
Like Rachel Campbell, I don’t believe in state marriage.
Like Voltairine De Cleyre, “Sometimes I dream of this social change. I get a streak of faith in Evolution, and the good in man. I paint a gradual slipping out of the now, to that beautiful then, where there are neither kings, presidents, landlords, national bankers, stockbrokers, railroad magnates, patent right monopolists, or tax and title collectors; …”
Like Luigi Galleani, I see communism as the final fulfillment of individualism.
And like the countless individualists of yesterday and today, who are out there practicing individual reclamation, smoking pot, breaking “dress codes”, black-blocking, dodging the draft, squatting, hoboing, going topless at the beach as a post-op transwoman, and otherwise thumbing their nose at “The Man”, I know that individual acts of disobedience create political instability, which in turn creates pressure for social change.
That’s what it means to be an individualist.
Don’t hate, appreciate.