SMOKE: Anarchy Rules! Rules? Doh!

Originally published: 12 May 2005

I discovered an article on News24 yesterday about a bunch of Greek student anarchists - calling themselves the "Athens Polytechnic Anarchist Comrades" - who held over 100 people hostage for a few hours after one of their rioting comrades got shot in the foot by the bodyguard of a minister who happened to be visiting the campus.

According to the police the group of about 50 riotous anarchists attacked the minister's cars and bodyguards then got pissed off when a bodyguard shot one of them in the foot.

They grabbed a bunch of hostages and held them for six hours before school authorities intervened and defused the situation.

The anarchists were apparently protesting the presence of armed officers in the university complex, but for some reason decided to take it out on the convoy of bodyguards.

They started breaking windows and throwing rocks and no bodyguard I've ever heard of would be happy with that state of affairs.

You attack armed men and you get shot, you know? Apparently the anarchists didn't. Twatties.

You must have known kids at school with you who were big fans of the anarchy symbol and who painted or drew it on their satchels, bags, pencilboxes and anywhere else they could think of. I knew a lot - I was one of them.

I wasn't mad about it or anything - I didn't tag everything I saw - but I was a big fan of anarchy. No rules? No teachers? No school? Hell yeah!

But I never really got into anarchy in a big way as even at a tender age I realised that believing in anarchy meant I had to be prepared to fall victim to anarchists myself, and while the thought of killing someone who pissed me off without fear of recrimination seemed cool enough - I sure didn't want to be on the receiving end of it.

I became a pacifist instead for a month or two, when a flower-child chick showed a brief interest in me before she discovered that I ate meat and drank milk.

She was a vegan and a tree-lover and believed all people had either a cowboy spirit or an Indian one, and, well ... you know me. Cowboy spirit my ass. Have a steak, Pig, and relax.

Why can't people simply believe something without buying the entire hype of it?

Why do pacifists have to speak as though they're holding in a lungful of ganja (which they probably are) and wear tie-die or Indian print clothing?

Why can't satanists just believe in the devil and not go around dressed in black and trying to look mean? I mean - you can love the devil if you're wearing a suit and tie and have a decent haircut, can't you? Surely you can dream of peace and still wear a brassiere?

Which brings us back to anarchy, of course, because if a core, fundamental belief of anarchy is that there is no cohesive principle - such as common standards or purpose - then how can you possibly believe in anarchy? It's an extremely cohesive principle, and has ordered beliefs which give it its very definition.

It's like non-conformists - their very act of non-conforming is conformity in itself, but somehow that seems to escape the earnest devotees.

Anarchists believe that all coercive structures should be abolished, like capitalism, money, property, markets and - most importantly - the concept of a state or government. Anything, basically, that doesn't allow people full, sovereign rights to themselves.

That's all very well - sounds great in principle. We are born free and thus no man has a right to dictate anything to us.

The problem is that when two free people choose to voluntarily interact they will automatically start creating structures, and thus a system. You want my coat? Give me your hat. You want my big dog? Give me three small ones in return. You want my house? Give me your Harley, your girl and a sack of wine and it's yours.

You want- ... oh this is silly. Can't we come up with something better? I know - let's create a circle out of this piece of metal and if you give me ten metal circles I will give you my finest turnip. And I'll give you those ten circles back - plus another ten - if I can have two of your juicy watermelons.

And there it starts - money, capitalism, marketing and ultimately government and procedures. A bunch of anarchists turned capitalists.

Still - I guess anarchy beats nihilism. Nihilists had their big moment in the Coen brothers' movie The Big Lebowski (one of my favourite films of all time), and the Coen's were merely highlighting the ridiculousness of such movements, albeit in slightly exaggerated fashion.

Nihilism literally means "belief in nothing" - nihilists don't believe in anything. According to Wikipedia nihilism is "the view that the world, and especially human existence, is without meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value."

Nihilists believe that all religions, political systems, morals and laws are totally false and that existence itself is senseless.

Why they don't all kill themselves is beyond me. Miserable sods.

I just think that sometimes folks look a little too hard for the meaning of their existence and when they find what they believe that meaning is they get a fraction too involved in it all.

Since anarchy and nihilism are never going to be mainstream philosophies it makes sense for followers of those lines of thought to drop them - it's never gonna happen.

Stop whingeing and get a job. Get over the fact that you have to pay bills and buy groceries and live in a house - or go be a bum. And if you truly think anarchy's for you, then invite me over to kill you and take whatever I fancy.

I'd be glad to.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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