Jesus summoned them, and said to them, "You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all." Mk 10, 42-43
For me, there is faith in another human, something that stops me from enclosing myself in my own small world, become complacent or let myself be defeated by fatigue and discouragement. There is something that is pushing me to go outside to the people, it is the burden of responsibility but also joy of cooperation. It is space in which I can fulfill my calling, develop myself, love. Let me tell you about anarchism. The Golden Era of anarchism is XIX century. From the very beginning it was not a homogeneous idea. It was developed in many different currents, often combining radical views, at first glance, completely contradictory. Whereas it was an idea which enraptured British workers, united in socialist movements, French intelligentsia, or even Russian aristocrats like Bakunin or Kropotkin - main theoreticians of anarchism. Christian current in this doctrine gained many followers especially due to Lev Tolstoy's novel "The Kingdom of God Is Within You". However, in reality, ideas of democratic communes, rejection of state institutions and every sovereignty inspired by faith in God, can be found not only in medieval scriptures of Polish Brethren, teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, or attitude of Jesus. Anarchist thought is overfilling even ancient, oldest written, saint scriptures of Israel - The Old Testament. Dangers associated with power are mentioned directly in Book of Samuel, and following the history of Israel people on pages of Holy Bible, it can be safely said that dissent was ever-present. Furthermore, despite of that people rejected subsequent kings and sovereigns, they were still in God's favor. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, â€œGive us a king to judge us.â€? Samuel prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Samuel, â€œListen to the voice of the people in all that they tell you; for they have not
rejected you, but they have rejected me as the king over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, in that they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so they also do to you. Now therefore listen to their voice. However you shall protest solemnly to them, and shall show them the way of the king who will reign over them.” Samuel told all Yahweh’s words to the people who asked him for a king. He said, “This will be the way of the king who shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them as his servants, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and they will run before his chariots. He will appoint them to him for captains of thousands, and captains of fifties; and he will assign some to plow his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the instruments of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, to be cooks, and to be bakers. He will take your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, even their best, and give them to his servants. He will take one tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give it to his officers, and to his servants. He will take your male servants, your female servants, your best young men, and your donkeys, and assign them to his own work. He will take one tenth of your flocks; and you will be his servants. You will cry out in that day because of your king whom you will have chosen for yourselves; and Yahweh will not answer you in that day.” 1 Sm 8, 6-18 Of course, The Old Testament was written by different authors over the centuries, political thought contained in it evolved, gained various meanings. It is important, however, to remember that we can find in it not only approval to obedience and statements validating existence of authorities, but very often (if not in general!) inspiration, call to living in truth, respecting
reason and dignity of human, which are His most beautiful divine boons, without any other sovereignty than God Himself. We are not accustomed to reading The Holy Scripture in this way, maybe it is difficult to us to imagine nonhierarchical Church. Such were the origins of Christian church: the first Christians lived in small groups, sharing all they had, jointly gathering on prayers and meals. Even between Himself and the people, God abolished any sort of hierarchy through The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Even though Jesus was teaching, He did not place Himself above His students, He did not treat them as subjects, but like His brothers. It shows only fullness of His love! (...) even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mt 20, 28 But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for one is your teacher, the Christ, and all of you are brothers. Call no man on the earth your father, for one is your Father, he who is in heaven. Neither be called masters, for one is your master, the Christ. Mt 23, 8-10 One said to him, “Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you.” But he answered him who spoke to him, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” He stretched out his hand toward his disciples, and said, “Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Mt 12, 47-50
Modernly, Christian anarchism is only one of many branches from common tree, however even many anarchists that believe in God use our main slogan "no gods, no masters" seeing in it fulfillment of the first commandment - "thou shalt not have strange gods before Me". That which binds us all together is belief that we can contribute to society over all divisions, that differences in appearance, descent, religion, are not relevant, that profit is not the only value that should guide us. Out struggle take various forms - formerly, for example in times of the Spanish Revolution or World War II it was the armed struggle - today in Poland we propagate idea of direct democracy, we support workers unions and cooperatives, we defend rights of tenants, oppose gentrification, solidarize with political prisoners all over the world, hand out free meals, publish periodics and books, engage in protection of Nature. Although we are focusing on positivist "working with the basics" we do not lose our objective which is not utopia. Evidence for this can be found in two modern societies functioning on anarchist principles: neozapatistas - residents of Mexico, who rebelled in 1994 and decided to independently constitute their own lives, regardless of the central government, and Kurds, who are fighting with Daesh trying also to achieve political autonomy. Our movement takes human in its centre, his freedom, but it is never expression of egoism - human is a social being, always he or she is a part of the greater whole. Among anarchists, we can find many theologians, and even Catholic priests, like Fr. Alavro Ulce Chocue originating from Colombia. We are very close to Liberation Theology which is based on marxism, and was developed in Catholic Church, accepted then mainly in Latin America - and spread by many Jesuits.
To claim our rights, to recognize limitations, which until now we were not aware of, to begin struggle for our life, to know the truth about it - we need lots of courage. Nevertheless, the Christian faith, God's Love as well as anarchism, are a challenge - a call to constant growth.
If you are interested in anarchism, you can read more on sites:
www.libcom.org You are also welcome to send us a message on our email address or Facebook fanpage: email@example.com www.facebook.com/FederacjaAnarchistycznaKrakow
There is also something that probably already is on your bookcase - The Holy Bible. ;)
What we have here is a brochure for World Youth Day created by members of Anarchist Federation Section Kraków in Poland. It presents a reade...