Steven Kurlander posted a piece on the Huffington Post that attempts to call anarchists terrorists. To begin with Kurlander shows a lack of knowledge of the anarchist movements or any anarchist history. He makes sweeping comparisons to people such as ‘Timothy McVeigh’ who have absolutely no connection to anarchism but somehow he is attempting to frame the bombings he was responsible as ‘anarchism’.
Back in the early 20th century, “terrorists” were referred to as “anarchists” (basically the same thing) and carried out what would be termed these days as “acts of war.”
-Steven Kurlander: A Lesson of the Boston Bombings: Stop Classifying Criminal Anarchist Violence as Acts of War
Kurlander’s most bold statement was “terrorists were referred to as anarchists (Basically the same thing).” Here Kurlander makes one quick accusation based on absolutely nothing besides his prejudice. Anarchists are self proclaimed as anarchists. In response to this those who oppose the political philosophies of anarchism have at times used anarchist as a negative much in the same way an angry republican screams ‘damn liberal’ or Joe McCarthy screamed ‘evil communist.’ He continues this by speaking of two people Leon Czolgosz and Luigi Galleani. As an anarchist who associates with many other anarchists I can truly say that I have yet to speak with anarchists who defend the actions of Czolgosz or Galleani. So, if we are to define every person of a political alignment by the actions of a select few minorities we should look at Kurlander’s political alignment. Kurlander campaigned for McCain / Pailin who actively promoted warfare and bombing of people. In fact their political party is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. In this sort of logic he was using it would really make sense that Republicans and terrorists are basically the same thing. They sure have far more acts of terror on their hands. Kurlander is able to point to specific individuals who held anarchist beliefs or in the case of Czolgosz attended an anarchist rally. He is able to point to specific individuals who committed these acts because they are an extreme minority amongst anarchists. I however can not begin to list the countless bombs and shooting inflicted by the party Kurlander supports because they are so common. As a whole anarchists tend to reject this type of violence and opposition to these kinds of horrors are why many align themselves as anarchists. The statement really only amounts to nothing more than a typical example of Orwellian doublespeak. And might I add that Orwell stood beside the anarchists and reds of Spain against the fascists.
The reality is that some anarchists have committed acts of violence. At the same time many communists, capitalists, republicans and democrats have committed countless acts of violence. Anarchists in general tend to oppose these acts of violence. The anarchists of the early 20th century opposed WWI and the acts of violence there and in turn faced excessive violence from the U.S. government. We have stood beside opposition to every war that has been waged and in solidarity with peace movements throughout the world. Myself as an anarchist I have been involved with peaceworks, Iraq Veterans against the War, Vets for Peace and countless other groups and efforts to promote the cause of peace and oppose violence on many levels. I have stood on the side of peace against citizens who perpetuate violence against citizens, against governments against citizens and every other form of violence. As an anarchist i have stood against bombing, shooting, violence against women, violence in media and accepted violence in society and the list goes on.
Kurlander goes on to state that ‘The Tsarnaev brothers were nothing more than immigrant anarchists…’. This statement is not based in anything but the misuse of the term anarchism based on Kurlander’s own prejudices against anarchists. There has been no actual evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were even anarchists. This is coming from Kkurlander’s attempt to define anarchism as violence and then in turn using it to describe the Tsarnaev brothers as anarchists. Anarchism literally means no rulers. Anarchism is a diverse set of beliefs that oppose hierarchy and rulers of all sorts. This would include the use of bombs and violent acts against others. This shows a use of power to kill or harm others and stands in stark contrast to the philosophies of anarchism.
Steven Kurlander owes anarchists everywhere an apology. I hope the response by anarchists to his article will prompt Kurlander to at least research the history of anarchist thought and see that his own lack of knowledge fuels the accusations in this article.