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“Be the inferior to no one,
OK, in case you’re wondering how come you’d never heard of Bicycology before, we’ll come clean. We made it up. Well, we made the word up - the ideas behind Bicycology have existed for a long long time. Sometimes, the reverse of this happens. Sometimes a word exists, and people make up their own meaning for it. Like George Bush has done with the word ‘freedom’. The same has happened with the word anarchy – and the problem here is that so many people have misused the word that its original meaning has largely been forgotten. Ask most people in Britain today what they think of when they think of anarchy, and they’ll probably picture either the Sex Pistols or a man dressed in black throwing bricks at the police. So what is anarchism, and what does it have to do with Bicycology?
Anarchism is about getting rid of leaders, doing away with the idea that some people can tell others what to do. This doesn’t mean (and this is where lots of the confusion comes from) that anarchists think they can do whatever they want. Just because anarchists don’t blindly follow orders doesn’t mean that anarchy is about disorder and chaos. Far from it. Anarchy means negotiating to find an order that is acceptable to all. It is about debate and consensus, not orders issued from above and carried out ‘or else’…
In fact, anarchists have strong ethical beliefs about care and respect, cooperation and freedom. But they believe that people are more likely to be caring, respectful, cooperative and free if they are able to make important decisions themselves. And it works in practice. Bicycology works along anarchist principles. There is no Bicycology Boss – all decisions are made collectively, and if someone is unhappy about something, the group discusses it until a satisfactory solution – satisfactory to everyone – is found. All our activities are organised along these principles. This piece of text was edited with these principles. And anarchists - and Bicycologists – believe the whole world could and should be run on these principles.
Sound naive? You might ask, “If anarchism existed, how would the trains run on time?” We tend to find problems we might face with proposed solutions, and to forget about the problems we already face today, with this system that is supposed to offer us so much. Our trains don’t run on time now!
This isn't an isolated example. Our elderly aren’t properly cared for. Our communities are sacrificed so friends of important people can build more supermarkets and roads. The world we live in is run by a tiny minority of people, and, of course, they run it the way they want it, so they profit off the backs of everyone else. They impose their will on the rest of us and we have no say in what happens to the world that we all inhabit: how is that so great? Anarchy offers everyone the chance to get involved in the decisions that affect them. It offers us the chance to build a free and equal society. In short, anarchy is democracy taken seriously: rule by the people. This is why it is sometimes called Direct Democracy.
“Wouldn‘t we all just kill each other, without rulers and the authority they impose?” is another question people often ask. Well, it’s hard to imagine that there would be more death and destruction in an anarchist society than there is now. For a start, there couldn’t be war in the way we have it today because there would be no armies, generals or politicians giving the orders to kill. In the trenches of World War I there were times when the fighting stopped and both sides decided to communicate (famously to play a game of football in no-man’s land on Christmas day but this was far from a one-off). What kept the mass slaughter going were the orders from the generals, miles behind the battlelines, to keep killing (and behind them the orders of their political masters).
Our ‘civilisation’ has supported slavery and genocide, environmental destruction and extremes of inequality. Why are we so keen to defend it? We are told ‘There Is No Alternative’. But there is, and across the world millions of people are not just thinking this... they’re doing it. Anarchy isn't about waiting for some far-off revolution, but about taking action now to build a better world. Thousands of small communities, social centres, projects, groups and individuals live daily according to the principle that everyone has the right to be their own representative. Anarchy is not about everyone for themselves, it is about everyone together.
Of course, the fact that anarchism threatens those in power – those who give out orders backed up by violence – by taking away their power and daring to question their authority, perhaps goes some of the way to explaining why politicians and those in the media are so keen to dismiss the term without
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