Monday 29 April 2013

The True meaning of Freedom

Are you Free? A Thousand words here says you're not!

 Capitalist politicians jabber about freedom, liberty, democracy, and more freedom. Revolutionary anarchists point out that freedom under capitalism is limited and hypocritical. Mostly the bourgeois (capitalist) politicians mean the freedom to get rich, including capitalists’ “freedom” not to be bothered by unions or by pesky anti-discrimination laws or environmental regulations. Capitalists want the “liberty” to not promote African-Americans or women at work or to rent out apartments without having to modify them for the physically disabled. This is the “freedom” to oppress others (to deny others their freedom). Needless to say, what I am for is the freedom of the oppressed to be free of their oppression!

Even the most democratic bourgeois state protects the rule of its capitalist minority. This minority gets rich by exploiting the working class majority of the population. The people vote for one or another candidate of the rich to rule over us for 2 or 4 to 8 years. But day-to-day we go to work and take orders from unelected bosses who serve the unelected minority which owns the economy. These capitalists decide (under the pressures of the market) whether employment should go up or down, whether prices should rise or fall, whether or not pollutants should be spewed into the atmosphere, and so on. There is “free speech,” but one side owns the printing presses, the radios, and the television, while dissenting voices can barely be heard over the roar of the mass media. That is why even a capitalist democracy is rightly called a “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.” 
Every bit of freedom which the people enjoy was won by the struggle and blood of the people, fighting against the feudal lords or against the capitalists themselves. This makes these freedoms precious to us. They are ours. We mean to hold on to them

After World War II, in the anti-Communist McCarthyite Red Scare, the capitalists benefited greatly from the fact that everyone knew that the Communist Party was antidemocratic. Everyone knew that if the Communists ever came to power, they would do as they had done in Eastern Europe and set up a one-party police state. So why defend their free speech? people asked themselves. Similarly, the capitalists have previously attacked the anarchists by portraying us as bomb-throwing terrorists, a danger to everyone, and not deserving of free speech. In our own time we have seen how the fear of terrorism can be used to justify the denial of civil liberties — and that many ordinary people were willing to accept this denial out of fear of being blown up by random bombs. Therefore it is important that we do not make it easy for the state to portray anarchists as terrorists and anti-free speech.

People of oppressed nations, like everyone else, learn to want anarchist revolution only by open debate, new experiences, and living the alternatives. They will not learn if anarchists turn our backs on them and their struggles, refuse to engage with them, and refuse to show solidarity with them against their imperialist and colonialist enemies.
What we advocate is no small change in society but a total one, involving a complete transformation of popular consciousness and practice. That is why anarchists are advocates of extreme freedom and radical democracy, of popular participation in every sphere of society and in every way.

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