A curious growth in progressive politics is grabbing hold of the Texas college students who possess any concern for the efforts of the up and coming Democratic hopeful for governor, Wendy Davis. Living in San Antonio, just an hour south of the Capitol where Democrats attempted to block Senate Bill 5, which was the controversial legislation pushed by Republicans this summer that creates new abortion regulations in Texas, we’re witnessing a resurgence in the serious talk of organized feminism casting its lot with the fate of progressivism. Feminist campaigns are resurfacing back to the mainstream where organizations like the National Organization for Women are assuming the lead in gathering not only the college youth, but those who can’t help but wish for equality. While some of these groups identify themselves not only with a deep concern for women, but also sympathetic to LGBTQ struggles, they are choosing that the political process of electoral politics is the only answer to their problems.
As anarchists, the question becomes: how do we sell the idea of a stateless society to not just statists, but feminists?
The truth is, as some of us might know, anarchism is already essentially feminist, with its central aim being to abolish hierarchy and inequality. Anarchists cannot perpetuate a patriarchal society in free and cooperative-based communities because it is the state that does nothing but welcome institutionalized violence by demonstrating itself as an apparatus that acts as a parasite upon its constituency. Historical perspective presents the case that only a ruling autonomy is capable of mass subjugation upon classes of people, while consensual societies demonstrate themselves as solely built upon a voluntary doctrine. Rulers are states. They are the political-managerial class that engineer social and economic reality. States overbear, expropriate, obstruct, and promote coercive action to punish both compliant and defiant individuals by encapsulating those who would rather live with their affairs apart versus violently enforced as partnered.
As we grow our student networks, my advice to fellow student libertarians and anarchists is simply the notice that many of us need to consider placing convincing effort forward on voicing our sympathy with other students who exhibit a concerning ideological program such as feminism. I believe a job of ours should be to greatly assert anarchism’s inherent truth and present counter arguments to feminists who offer a variety of solutions to male authoritarianism, but side with relating the struggle of women with laws and regulations created and enforced by a male dominated state. Patriarchy and patriotism are inseparable with the nation-state is the argument of the anti-authoritarian feminist. As Carol Moore put in her manifesto, patriarchy and patriotism are “two sides of the same authoritarian coin. Patriarchy is the ideology that males should rule. Patriotism is the worship of male-dominated states.”
As revolutionaries opposed to centralized power, it should be no wonder that male values are held as superior in the world arena of political debate — such bureaucracies are based off male dominance. This isn’t the sole evidence we call for abolishing Leviathan. We call for state abolition because violence, monopoly, taxation, exploitation, surveillance, war, and “borders”, have no place in mature, cooperative, lawfully conscientious societies. It just so happens that feminism, as the radical notion that women are free people, is at a power differential with oppressive institutions (i.e., the state).
Anarchists must take on building better institutions and more worthwhile grassroots organizations than those which are obedient to the nature of the state. We must not only side with those of progressive flavor, like mainstream feminists, in aiding their causes but inform them that the nation-state is the epitome of concentrated male violence. Radicals have an obligation to encourage women in becoming economically self-sufficient, psychologically independent, and to challenge the abridgment of individual rights by any government on the basis of gender — even if it involves neglecting an election involving a female candidate. It is the radical’s argument that voting for political-betters fails to properly represent the emancipatory imagination. We must argue that voting is not an act of free people and not the route toward liberty, no matter if it is in the process of turning a red state like Texas blue. While the progressive may argue such a route will create gradual change for the oppressed, this authoritative practice only trims the branches of a fundamentally virulent structure at best.
Anarchists must take on the model of Against Equality, the online publishing collective focused on critiquing mainstream gay and lesbian politics. As queer thinkers, they are committed to challenging the centrality of equality rhetoric and by doing so, openly suggesting the need to engineer social safe havens that provide the most for self-governing individuals while sponsoring mutual aid through these engineered intermediaries. There is no reason why feminists can not assert and construct the need for similar alternatives.
Rather than siding with the state, which in turn legitimizes its coercive actions and begs to aspire to be as tall and male-dominating as an object like the Washington Monument, anarchists should suggest to feminists an increase in love and respect, expanded choices for familial design, and an end to political oppression while desiring the termination of male-dominated establishments. Anti-authoritarian women and men, anarchists, libertarians, and other decentralists must come together against the cruelest patriarchal institution, the state, and grasp these proposals before acting on them. Speaking as a radical feminist, I believe it is in the interest of those who will call themselves “anarchists” to take up this proposal and collaborate with who we can in creating equitable outcomes.