Authoritarian Demonization of Anarchists

Authoritarian Demonization of Anarchists

Rafael Uzcategui

Publishing date: Feb 7, 2012


The possibilities anarchism points toward have many enemies. Its fiercest opponents, however, are those authoritarian regimes which, distorting and subverting the ideas of socialism, have promoted themselves historically as embodying the values of liberty, equality and fraternity. In every situation, state capitalist governments, applying religious categories to secular contexts, have over-simplified conflicts by defining them as being between “the faithful”--those who support them, and “heretics”--those who oppose them. In this alleged confrontation between the two positions (in religious terms the struggle of “good” against “evil”), the authoritarians need to claim that all the world’s revolutionaries are with them confronting the forces that oppose them--even though this isn’t certain.

As we know, ever since the Russian Revolution of 1917, nationalists and authoritarian leftists who have come to power have developed various strategies to dismantle, co-opt, and fragment whatever revolutionary organizations remain. They do this precisely because such groups constitute opposition to their plans from the left, because they denounce the contradictions and abuses of the ongoing process of the centralization of power. In the case of anarchism--an attitude and way of thinking which is highly resistant to bureaucratic reorganization of power and authority--tragic examples abound. In Russia (and later the Soviet Union), China, Spain, and dozens of other examples, statists have systematically persecuted and exterminated anarchists. The killing, however, has been accompanied by lies, misrepresentation, and the creation of nonexistent support to confuse and paralyze the international anarchist movement.