On the crime of being an anarchist

It’s become rather clichéd to invoke the nightmarish police state envisioned by George Orwell in 1984, but damned if the old boy isn’t vindicated on an almost daily basis.  The most recent move to making thoughtcrime a reality comes, unsurprisingly, from the UK:

…next to an image of the anarchist emblem, the City of Westminster police’s “counter terrorist focus desk” called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.”

The move angered some anarchists who complained that being an anarchist should not imply criminal behaviour. They said they feel unfairly criminalised for holding a set of political beliefs.

This wouldn’t be so worrisome, had the police characterized anarchism in the uninformed and sensationalist fashion still common in mainstream media: that of radically leftist vandals intent on dismantling not just the state but the capitalist infrastructure that in their view props it up.  Violent thugs, in other words; the kind who show up at G-20 summits to smash windows and set fires.  Yet these people make up a minuscule fraction of anarchists, despite the disproportionate amount of TV time they receive.

Now, however, the police are prepared to view anyone who promotes a stateless society — from old hippies to free-market Rothbardians — as potential criminals, regardless of which values they promote, and what crimes they’ve actually committed.  Which, for the vast majority of anarchists, is none at all.

Given their Stasi-like call on citizens to serve as snitches (at least it’s still voluntary…for now), it makes one wonder what the police are truly afraid of: the infrequent real crimes of self-styled “anarchists”; or the growing popularity of the ideas advanced by peaceful radicals — property, prosperity, and the end of the criminal, Leviathan state.

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  • Your papers please, Comrade. You look a bit suspicious.

  • I figure I am safe until blogs like this one are blocked. Then I will … Then I will. Heck I don’t know. Cry maybe.

  • “Violent thugs, in other words; the kind who show up at G-20 summits to smash windows and set fires”

    Right, cause no one who is pro-State has EVER done anything remotely similar to this.

    People need to relearn that anarchy is not a dirty word.