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Journal shomon2's Journal: Anarchism

Activism, opposition isn't everything. At home I'm plagued by indecision about what is my home and what is the life I want. I want to go all the way with the communities side but it causes me suffering because I know anarchy is just another political system which if taken to the extreme is just as bad as any other. It's based on means and methods, structures and theory. Still it's strange to think about the left wing now that I've learnt about anarchism.

In that sense it's about giving everything to the state, rather than in capitalism where private owners control everything. And neither of these is as free sounding as anarchism's communities, collectivisation and opposition to all kinds of power structures. I know though that the left is more permissive of anarchism, and my cousin Muchy from Cuba, in her descriptions of life there showed that the state provided for about 75% of what was needed each month, and the rest is up to your own initiative. This initiative was a mix of stealing, scavenging, odd jobs and community strength. It works because everyone knows each other and takes care for each other. But at the back there is state authority. And that's where Anarchism comes in.

I wonder how it proves it's basic premise, if there is anyone who has written about this in detail. They say it's reflected in tribal systems dating back to the ancient civilisations whose workings and reasons we've forgotten, via Taoism and the various revolutions squashed by both Stalinists and Capitalist states. And I've an inkling that at a small level - kibbutz-sized, it can work, whereas at a higher level you need something else, more formal and structured, but still transparent and not based on power - maybe more like the UN in theory?

How does Buddhism fit with this? As a soka gakkai member this is really important to me. We have a supposed structure which is bottom-up, and yet there is so much stuff about Sensei - which is what I've had a problem with for so long and really want to get to the bottom of. Districts are the basis for this: a basic unit of maybe 10-20 people in a local area. This is where real activity is based. And where buddhist sociologists like Jim Cowan apply comparisons with local councils - the real power is at this level, and everything above it should only function in bringing districts together and allowing large scale decision making. But if this is the case, why doesn't most of our guidance and study material come from other members from other districts around the world? I really want to work towards this being the case. But the truth is I'm an example of the laziness in many people where yes, I can learn from Sensei so he's still up there and so are the top leaders giving guidance and dashing about on planes everywhere.

I need to gain the same experience through buddist practice. I'm also so interested in organisational methodologies though. So I need to read studies on the district in buddhism and draw comparisons to maybe collectivised farms in republican spain during the civil war or other large anarchist controlled systems and see how this can form a part of society. Ultimately we work towards the best society we can and by practicing buddhism I can stay on a realistic path and not get caught up in means and methods, or in vegging out in front of the tv. Kosen rufu and chanting each day for no more Soka Gakkai. One day it won't have to exist anymore because we'll be there with things in our hearts and in our trust and we won't need these structures. In my lifetime I hope!

In October there's the next gathering of Radical Routes. A weekend dedicated to meeting with other members of housing coops and communities working for positive social change. But Bush would say go work for halliburton. Positive social change is in the eye of the beholder. And Trets. Both really important.

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982