Political engagement… what are my politics I imbue into my work, anyways?

Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 2.13.01 PMI’m an anarchist – plain and simple. Not a democrat, I tried that. Not a socialist, tried that. Anarchism is the political identity I return to, again and again, since my teenage years and into my 30s. My understandings of anarchism are ever-evolving & ever-deepening. Decolonial anarchisms, international anarchisms, and intersectional/black anarchisms have been brought to the forefront in the movement.

Anarchism is a wonderful feminist action-oriented approach to government, the state, empire, and most importantly – our relationships with one another, nature, and all life.

“What, then, are the objections? First, Anarchism is impractical, though a beautiful ideal. Second, Anarchism stands for violence and destruction, hence it must be repudiated as vile and dangerous. Both the intelligent man and the ignorant mass judge not from a thorough knowledge of the subject, but either from hearsay or false interpretation” wrote Emma Goldman in 1917 in her essay to define anarchism.

This was her definition then: “ANARCHISM:–The philosophy of a new social order based on liberty unrestricted by man-made law; the theory that all forms of government rest on violence, and are therefore wrong and harmful, as well as unnecessary.” We are born into modern militarized capitalist governance and forced to stay in it. That is coercion, it is not consensual. Governments are forced by settler colonialism and war onto others. All relations must be consensual and free from inequitable power instead. Consent. That’s the core.

Can we relate to each other and dismantle oppression through loving, kind, social relations with each other and nature? Absolutely!

Emma Goldman continues in her 1917 essay: “There is no conflict between the individual and the social instincts, any more than there is between the heart and the lungs: the one the receptacle of a precious life essence, the other the repository of the element that keeps the essence pure and strong. The individual is the heart of society, conserving the essence of social life; society is the lungs which are distributing the element to keep the life essence–that is, the individual–pure and strong.”

I have a lot to obviously say and write about the subject. Here is a 103 year old essay on the subject, might not be the most accessible, but what a fun time capsule.

Author: Andrea Haverkamp

Andrea Haverkamp is a doctoral candidate in environmental engineering with a minor in queer studies. Her dissertation research explores the support systems and community resiliency of transgender and gender nonconforming undergraduate students in undergraduate engineering education.

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