John Boehner accused tea party anarchists of promoting violence. But the truth is that anarchists promote peaceful choices, individual freedom, and opposition to institutionalized aggression.
“I’ve been to my share of tea party events,” House minority leader John Boehner (R) of Ohio told a Monitor luncheon for reporters this summer. “Let me tell you about these events. Yep, there are some disaffected Republicans there. There are always some Democrats there. Always a couple of anarchists who want to kill all of us in public office.”
Huh? Anarchists want to kill all politicians?
Rep. Boehner’s crude attempt at a joke odiously mischaracterized anarchist philosophy and painted an inaccurate portrait of its core values. Anarchism is an ideology based on individual freedom and opposition to institutionalized aggression, not some insane love of public mayhem.
Yes, when people hear the word “anarchist,” they call to mind images of molotov cocktail-wielding, black bandana-wearing street fighters at G20 protests.
That impression is more a product of 200 years of Boehner-style smear rhetoric than an accurate perception of what anarchism means or what anarchists do. It’s on par with any other stereotype – the “lazy/violent Negro” used to justify racist Jim Crow laws, the “potential pedophile” trotted out to support discrimination against homosexuals and other sexual minorities, the hopped-up robber or rapist offered up as justification for the war on drugs.
Yes, there are violent and insurrectionary anarchists, just as there are people who resemble those other stereotypes. No, those particular people are not representative of this diverse movement any more than those other stereotypes are representative of African-Americans, LGBTQ persons, or recreational drugs users.