Opinion: The American Dream and the Anarchist Dream

By Jake Carman

Throughout the years, much has been written about the American Dream. We learn from our schools, our families, the churches and the media that to achieve this dream -- namely to own a home, to gain material wealth, and the freedom to buy; to have both leisure and convenience -- is to achieve happiness. In a word, the American Dream is to prosper, to carve out a life of prosperity for you and yours in a highly competitive society.

For millions of Americans, this dream is slipping away. The American Dream is being replaced by the stark reality of American Life: a constant struggle to survive capitalism, to have food on the table and a roof under which to sleep. People are increasingly realizing that the American Dream is unattainable. This realization comes from the recent and obvious failure of the capitalist system, represented by the global economic collapse and ensuing depression that grips us all by the stomach and by the throat.

Except for a small minority of people, the American Dream has never been and could never be more than a dream. And to maintain the Dream is to condemn the vast majority of people to a lifetime of thankless toil, to produce for the privileged few their vaunted spoils of leisure and convenience. Without the sweat of the working class, there is no American Dream. Thus, it is not only a false dream for all but the privileged few, it is also a selfish dream, because its realization for anyone dooms the rest of human society to economic slavery.

The myth of the attainable American Dream is perpetuated by those who have achieved it, in order to keep the rest of us working hard to produce the wealth, leisure and convenience they enjoy. So let us, then, explore another dream: the Anarchist Dream. Springing forth from the very nature of humanity, a vision of society as old as society itself, it was given a name (Anarchism) late in the process of departmentalization and segregation of civilization into a system of classes, castes and nation-states. The assignation of a name marked the birth of a movement against the slavery and bondage to which the majority of us are subjected. Our masters consider the Anarchist Dream a dangerous dream indeed. These masters, those leeches who enjoy the benefits of the American Dream by sustaining our nightmare, call it dangerous, foolish and unattainable. In a way, these condemnations are true. The Anarchist Dream is dangerous -- for the rich -- because in this beautiful dream there are no rich. And there are no poor to make them the rich. There are also no homeless and no hungry, for where there are people with hands, brains, skills and talents, we can create. And where humans can create, we can produce, gather and distribute vast quantities of all the necessities, more than enough for us to all live good lives. And when we are free, there's no reason not to share. Just look at the things we've already created! Vast cities of skyscrapers, incredible labor-saving technology and inspiring environmentally-sustainable methods of producing energy, food and everything else.

All of these and more are the accomplishments of an enslaved humanity. Imagine what we can do together once we are free, once we are inventing, not for the profit of corporate bosses, not for the dominance of this government or that military, but to dream up, invent, produce and create for a life of enjoyment for our communities.

The Anarchist Dream is dangerous for the rich because the rich cannot control workers infected by it, they cannot dominate societies that fill their cups to the brim and boil over with the revolutionary spirit, and they cannot divide and conquer a people who recognize each other as siblings whose lives are interconnected.

The Anarchist Dream is foolish and unattainable because, according to the leeches and parasites, it can never happen. Except it has happened: In short breaths of life in Greece in December of 2008; in Oaxaca, Mexico in the summer and fall of 2006; in the neighborhoods, factories, hotels, restaurants and other recovered workplaces in Argentina, 2001 and 2002; rising from the Kabylie region and spreading across Algeria throughout 2001; in much of Spain from 1936 to 1939; in southern Ukraine from 1918 to 1922; in the countless revolts and revolutions of peasants and workers throughout the middle ages; and for all of human history before the class of parasites established its dominance over free societies by hoarding food and land with violence and treachery.

According to our masters, the Anarchist Dream is foolish and unattainable, and so they will do everything they can to destroy us. They will try to stop us from spreading our ideas to others, to plant them like the seeds of hardy weeds or the particles of an infectious virus.

But they cannot kill us all. Each time they've tried, the Idea, the Dream escapes their slippery, sweaty fingers and surfaces again. They will never kill the Idea, the Dream, nor the rebellious nature of the hardy weeds, constantly trampled underfoot, but always refusing to stay down.

We, foolish dreamers and romantics who profess the Anarchist Dream, will never give up, for we know another thing they wish we'd forget: While their dream, the American Dream, is obtainable only by the privileged few, our dream includes everybody -- even them, if they're willing to abdicate their thrones and toss their paper crowns aside. Anarchism, by name, nature, Idea and practice, promises freedom and equality to everybody. A far cry from the misplaced dream of the toiling, slaving millions, dreaming only to stand in the place of their oppressors; to be their own masters.

So give up the American Dream, for it can never be yours. Even if it is yours already, it comes at the expense of the rest of humanity, that strong and rebellious breed who will shun you and fight you for freedom until the last breath and the final ounce of blood. Embrace, instead, the Anarchist Dream, the beautiful vision of an liberated humanity, in which we are all free to dream and where the collective creativity of emancipated thought and labor will turn the brightest of dreams into vivid realities. Defect, siblings, to the revolution, that righteous insurrection of dreamers.

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