Mr. Anarchist, we need to have a chat about colonialism

“Walking and asking questions” is the core principle that the Zapatistas defined in their effort to move beyond predetermined and narrow conceptualizations of revolutionary struggle. The Zapatistas see revolution as a process in which the people build their freedom from below and learn to govern themselves in the process. This principle rejects the traditional Marxist-Leninist notion of the historical vanguard and immunizes the revolutionary process from authoritarian tendencies “in the name of the revolution” — a contamination that was all too common in the state-socialist regimes of the 20th century. In the very same way, the revolution in Rojava is construed as a process, not an application of ready-made formulas. The eager use of Western terminology and the attempt to classify the Rojava revolution accordingly end up giving the impression that the real reason why these supposedly critical “anarchists” are skeptical is simply because some unknown brown people are refusing to follow the instructions of their Cookbook. Of course, all this is done without any practical evidence because it turns out that these “anarchists” might have read the Cookbook but are somehow awful cooks (…) Blinded by frustration with their own marginality and isolated by the incapacity to adapt their ideas to reality and to build a social force that is actually capable of challenging capitalist modernity and the nation state, some Western anarchists still prefer to retreat into their own ideological ivory towers and claim superior knowledge and righteousness through empty statements about the “spineless” radicalism of other people — especially those in the Global South. Clearly, such sectarian positions negatively affect the ability of “anarchist” groups in the West to actually produce radical and meaningful alternatives to capitalism and the state. It ends up restraining the revolutionary anarchist ideal in the chains of an arrogant self-serving dogma that ultimately renders these groupuscules impotent in their supposed ideological purity.

Petar Stanchev in Mr. Anarchist, we need to have a chat about colonialism (Roarmag)