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Anarchism and Unitarian Universalism

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Anarchism and Unitarian Universalism

I vividly remember my first real encounter with anarchist thought; it was at a Young Religious Unitarian Universalist (YRUU) conference. I saw a girl Sonja, wearing a shirt with some sort of anarchist phrase and drawing on it. I found it odd that someone would wear an anarchy shirt, especially since she seemed so intelligent and figured that the appeal of chaos really only lied in the young angst-ridden punks I came across on occasion. Later I overheard Sonja tell of how she bought the shirt at her favorite anarchist bookstore. This told me that 1)there was actually entire books on the ideas of anarchy and that 2) if she bought it from her “favorite” store there must be other anarchist bookstores. I decided to research it. I typed in anarchy and came across the Anarchist FAQ. Soon I realized that anarchists did not in fact believe in chaos, and actually felt that order could be maintained in ways other than the state and hierarchy. Thus my journey into anarchism began.

Today I am a self-declared anarchist and Unitarian Universalist. While I can attribute my introduction into anarchism to YRUU and many of my UU friends are also anarchists, the fact remains that on both sides ignorance about the other is rampant. It’s a shame that this is true, especially because I feel that the anarchist movement and Unitarian Universalist religion could greatly compliment one other in their commitment to a better world.

Anarchism and Organized Religion

While not all anarchists absolutely reject religion, many do and many (anarchists and non-anarchists) equate anarchism with atheism. Even more reject organized religion. There’s great reason for these beliefs. The idea that one must acquiesce to the power of a “divine” or supernatural force flies in the face of the anarchist values of freedom, individuality along with their rejection of hierarchy and authority. Similarly, creed-based religions’ assertion that their way is right, even if that way is non-hierarchical, is incompatible with the anarchist notion that absolute Truth is a farce and to have one set of morals placed upon all to be coercive and destructive to creativity and individuality. Most organized religions are oppressive institutions that anarchists seek to abolish along with the state and capital. However, to throw out organized religion all together would be a grave mistake.

Many anarchists may all-out reject the idea of an organized religion, for the above-said reasons, but since when have anarchists been opposed to organization? The popular IWW cry is “Don’t mourn, organize!” And it was the Italian anarchist, Ericco Malatesta who declared that "Anarchism is organization, organization and more organization." Just as anarchists wish to create non-hierarchical institutions which satisfy our material needs in place of the existing oppressive ones, we should be establishing institutions which satisfy our spiritual needs. This is not a call to form an anarchist church which all anarchists must subscribe to. This is, however, a call to explore the possibility of anarchistic organized religions. Fewer and fewer people are attending church regularly. The right would attribute it to the ever-increasing moral decay of our society, but perhaps it is because more people have a hard time subscribing to one, narrow interpretation of the Bible or expression of spirituality. More and more marriages are crossing religious lines, leaving parents in a bind when wishing to raise their children in a supportive community, but also one that would be open to more than one belief system. Just as “a human being in isolation cannot even live the life of a beast, for they would be unable to obtain nourishment for themselves” materially, so may they wish for spiritual nourishment from others as well. While people are becoming disillusioned with organized religion, the healthy, self-liberating alternatives are small and virtually unknown to the populace. Again drawing from Malatesta, “When a community has needs and its members do not know how to organize spontaneously to provide them, someone comes forward, an authority who satisfies those needs by utilizing the services of all and directing them to their liking.” In this case, that authority is the religious right. When we as anarchists abandon religion and in particular organized ones, we allow the right to move in and provide for that community instead. If we cannot offer a community to help assist parents in raising a family and serve as a support group, they may simply pick the lesser of evils. It is for this reason that we must support those organized religions which are based upon the same principles that we are striving for in an anarchist society. It is my feeling that Unitarian Universalism, is one of those religions.

Self-Liberation and Religion

A significant part of anarchism is the idea of self-liberation. We must unlearn oppressive axioms instilled in us. We are socially conditioned through myriad avenues: family, school, media, etc; one which has a dramatic impact on people’s conditioning is religion. Many point to the Judaeo-Christian foundation of American society to be the root of oppressive thought such as patriarchy, white-supremacy, colonialism, etc. If we are serious about people liberating themselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually it makes sense that we be offering places for people to go that seek a religion which promotes the individual and free search for truth and meaning. The religion I wish to address in this essay is Unitarian Universalism.

Unitarian Universalism: What the Heck Does It Mean?!?

Despite the long, multi-syllabic name and relatively small “membership” base (about 218,404 in the United States), Unitarian Universalism (UUism) is far from a cult. In fact, it could quite possibly be the anti-thesis of such. UUism is unique from other religions in that it is non-creedal. Thus, there is not one singular belief that binds Unitarian Universalists together. Instead, much like anarchy, UUs are brought together by a set of principles, interpreted and expressed uniquely by each individual. The principles of UUism are the following:

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person

2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations

3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning

5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large

6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The Connection

As can be seen, while all the principles may not necessarily speak powerfully to all anarchists or be relevant enough to “convert” one to UUism, it can be said that each one of them is compatible with anarchism. None of the principles espouse the need for hierarchy, the domination of others, nor the presumption that life be based on competition. In fact, upon reading them, it can be drawn that the essence of anarchism (as taken from the Anarchist FAQ), “free co-operation between equals to maximise their liberty and individuality” is strongly imbedded in these principles, particularly the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth.
L. Susan Brown describes anarchism as the belief in “the inherent dignity and worth of the human individual," almost identical to the first principle of UUism. Hence, the basic premise of UUism springs from a reverence for the freedom of the individual. Hierarchy and domination is directly opposed to this, as well as against the fourth principle “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” It is up to the individual, not some higher authority (be that person, word or deity) to decide what is right and true. It can be said then, that UUism and anarchism both spring from the principle of liberty.

Both UUs and anarchists realize that liberty does not exist in a vacuum, thus the word “responsible” being present in the fourth principle. Along with that, they understand that humans are social beings and interaction is inevitable. What must be asked then, is how should we interact so as the most freedom can be attained? UUs point to the values of “justice, equity and compassion” as those which should be present in our relations with one another. Anarchists would agree, claiming that voluntary cooperation (mutual aid) is the principle on which we should base our interactions. Further, UUs call for the “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Once again, the respect for liberty as well as the rejection of domination over another. It could also be said that it acknowledges the need for solidarity, for we are all connected.
The last principle of anarchism, equity, is also among the values of UUs. When we speak of equity, we mean not the subjugation of people to fit a certain model, but rather ensuring that opportunities are open equally to all. UUs have demonstrated this in thought, calling for “equity” in human relations and a world based on “justice.”

UU History- The Fight For Religious Freedom

UUism was born from two faiths, Unitarianism and Universalism, eventually uniting in the sixties. Both these religions came out of the fight that anarchists have taken on now- rejection of authority and hierarchy.
Unitarian comes from the word “one god.” Unitarians rejected the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and the deification of a human being, in this case Jesus, as serving them in any way. Rather than worship Jesus, they followed him. Like the Unitarians, Leo Tolstoy, probably the most influential character in the Christian Anarchist movement, drew his inspiration from Jesus’ actions and words rather than obsessing over whether or not he was divine and the one Son of God. In biblical texts he saw “the voluntary poverty of Jesus, his comments on the corrupting effects of wealth and the Biblical claim that the world was created for humanity to be enjoyed in common have all been taken as the basis of a socialistic critique of private property and capitalism.” The idea that Jesus was a person rather than a deity also rejected the notion that no one can be as great as Jesus, but that indeed all can live out the examples he set forth.
While the Unitarians rejected absolute authority, the Universalists took on hierarchy. Universalism comes from the idea of universal salvation. At the time, pre-destination: the idea that people’s souls are stamped as good or evil the moment they are conceived on thus only certain people will reach heaven, was commonly held. Predestination was an effective tool in justifying the positions of the ruling class and their nobility, for they were good and deserved their unequal amount of power while the poor were kept down. Universalists cried out against this, claiming that God was a loving and compassionate God and that anyone and in fact all people were capable of reaching heaven. And from this position came the first principle- The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Along with the courage to put forth these beliefs in freedom and equality; UUs have consistently been at the forefront in regards to accepting marginalized and persecuted people. “The Gloucester church included a freed slave among its charter members, and the Universalists became the first denomination to ordain women to the ministry, beginning in 1863 with Olympia Brown.” UUism has also been a leader regarding glbtq rights, establishing a Gay Affairs Office in 1973. Openly gay men and women can and are ministers within the faith. UU Ministers also ordain same-sex marriages. UUism is rich in dissent as well as the continued fight against oppression towards a more accepting, free world.

Unitarian Universalism has also popularized many ideas that anarchism embraces as well. The best example of this is probably Henry David Thoreau, Unitarian and transcendentalist. Thoreau’s essay, Civil Disobedience is without a doubt one of the most influential writings in the history of radicalism. His statement that "How does it become a man to behave toward this American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.... Under a government which imprisons any injustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison" galvanized people into going against the government and refusing to comply with the rules. It is from this idea that one of most highly regarded tactics by anarchists, direct action, emerged. Another influential radical Unitarian is singer/songwriter and labor activist Pete Seeger. In the same category is Utah Phillips, outspoken proponent for anarchism and UUism. The Unitarian Universalist movement also has strong ties with women’s rights movements and feminism. Mary Wollstonecraft herself was both an anarchist and Unitarian and was bold in her radical politics and challenges of the church. Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Louisa May Alcott, to name just a few, were all Unitarian women who fought for the rights and respect of women. Historically, many UUs have been an active force in radical politics, living out the seven principles and the essence of Unitarian and Universalist belief.

UUism's Liberal Reformist Downfalls

There’s no doubt that Unitarian Universalists have been some of the more daring religious peoples of our time, since Michael Servetus (one of the first to preach the Unitarian faith) was burned at the stake, UUs have confronted ridicule and suppression for their belief that each person should have the right to choose his/her religious beliefs.
And while there have been many a brave Unitarian and Universalist, the religion and its past is far from perfect. Yes, the religion has offered sanctuary for the persecuted, but not consistently. It was in the sixties that Unitarian Universalism lost a great deal of its supporters, people of color. It was because a great deal of UUs were uncomfortable with being “too vocal” about civil rights. As a result, people of color left the faith betrayed. To this day, the majority of UUs are white, are middle to upperclass and liberal reformists. There have been steps made to mend the wrongs of the past, but most UUs’ involvement in the political arena is flawed in the same way liberals’ involvement is- issue-oriented rather than holistic, minimalistic and ineffective (ie: voting, typical boring protests) and paternalistic.
Another flaw I see with the faith is what many people are calling “the gap.” That is, once young UUs leave the house they also leave the church. According to the UU World, as many as 90 percent of UUs leave the church after graduating high school. The biggest reason for this is a simple one- the UUA doesn’t provide for what young adults are looking for. Most don’t care for the traditional, sit-down and listen to someone speak, format but are also ageing out of Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU). They need something unique for them as well as an understanding of what they are going through. Unfortunately, many UUs are out of touch with young adults as well as their passions. Thus a mass exodus of young adults from the faith is the current reality.

But There's Hope!

Luckily, steps are being made to rectify these failures by the church. Many anti-oppression programs have been starting up, challenging many UUs’ privileges as white, upper-class individuals. The Diverse and Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) formed in 1997 to “create a support and advocacy organization for People of Color working in professional capacities within Unitarian Universalism.” (www.druumm.org/2.html). Since its inception, the organization has expanded to include all members of the UUA, not just professionals. The new president, Bill Sinkford, was popularly elected because of his determination to put issues such as race, multiculturalism and anti-oppression work to the forefront as issues for the UUA to focus on. Also, more and more congregations are becoming “welcoming congregations,” meaning that they have completed programs that bring awareness to the unique situation that the glbtq community is faced with and what sort of role UUs can take in ending the oppression and hardship felt by them.

Just as UUs are working towards being better anti-racist allies with people of color and other oppressed groups, they are also working towards meeting the needs of young adults. The Mind the Gap campaign was started up to address the age gap between youth and adults. The campaign successfully raised 2 million dollars to offer services specific to the needs of young adults.

UUs have certainly made mistakes before and continue to do so now, but our strong focus on being consistent in our values as well as a strong tendency towards critical thinking has kept the religion fresh and ever-evolving. The above-mentioned steps being made towards becoming a truly free and equal religion, despite the strong reformist and privileged nature of many UUs, is proof that working with this religion is worthy of our time and effort. If we as anarchists are more vocal within the movement, these sort of changes will be stronger and quicker. In fact, many of the UUs involved in putting on anti-oppression workshops, fundraising for campus ministries, etc. are anarchists. As anarchists, our understanding of privilege, power and oppression are invaluable to those seeking to take on such projects. Also, the anarchist movement is comprised mostly of young adults, precisely the populace the UUA is seeking to reach out to. If we become active in the religion, those issues which Unitarian Universalists are working on will be deepened by our own experiences and knowledge. It has always been when UUs have had a healthy understanding of power and privilege along with the ability to create non-hierarchical organizations, that they have provided spaces for people to exercise their faith freely and to the fullest. If a strong anti-authoritarian strain consistently runs through the faith, programs such as Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) will continue to empower youth, Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network (UUYAn) will grow, more congregations will prioritize anti-oppression work, the organizational structure of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) will become more horizontal and less hierarchical and other facets of the faith will be truly democratic, accepting and libertarian in nature.

What's In It For Us

Of course, this offer of the hand, like any, would not be one-sided but mutually-beneficial. I’ve known many an anarchist to get burned out, grow jaded and bitter. A perfect example is a recent discussion regarding the A-Zone, a long running infoshop in Chicago. When putting out a call for help, many people responded with ambivalence because of the elitist, pretentious attitude they come up against when offering to help in the past. This isn’t the case everywhere, but it certainly exists enough to be taken serious note of. In many ways it has been my spirituality, cultivated within Unitarian Universalism that has kept me grounded, energized, positive and hopeful. I’m not saying that UUism will magically erase the police harassment, the horrific injustice anarchists face when fighting against capitalism or even the toll that just knowing the destructive effects of capitalism takes upon us, but I do feel that for many anarchists: UU circles have the potential to offer support, understanding and an intimacy with people that is always vital when working for positive change.

There are, in fact, UU circles that have taken on an explicitly radical tone: UUIgnite- for UU radicals engage politically and UU Prophets, “an effort to reclaim radical Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist history and kindle the UU legacy of social justice.”

Along with curbing rampant cynicism or hopelessness, the UU church’s services are ones that many anarchist parents could benefit from. As was mentioned at the beginning of this piece, many parents would like a supportive community to raise their children. UU religious education is extremely positive for children, offering the diverse views of world religions, encouraging an understanding of the many spiritual views out there. Rather than telling kids what to do, they simply show them what is out there and then let them decide for themselves what fits them best. YRUU basically saved me in high school because it was the only place where I could be accepted for who I really was. It was also there that I learned many of the activist skills I posses now: making decisions based on consensus, putting on conferences and holding successful workshops.

UU congregations oftentimes offer services beyond Sunday such as book clubs, women’s and men’s groups, pagan clusters, daycare services, etc. Church doors are often opened to protesters during summits or conferences as well as concerts, benefit shows, and other events. If we have a healthy relationship with the local church these resources are available to us: Food Not Bombs could use their kitchen, the sanctuary could be opened up for an Anarchist Black Cross benefit show or people traveling could just spend the night inside away from the cold. These bonds have already been made in some areas and in others they can be developed and strengthened.
The Unitarian Universalist church is one that shares the most basic principles as we anarchists do:
freedom, solidarity and mutual aid. It’s about time we begin to actualize these principles by reaching out to one another. Here are some ideas to facilitate such networks:

1. Hold a workshop on anarchism at a youth or young adult conference, esp. social justice conferences.

2. Give a service or presentation on anarchism (or emma goldman, abolition movement, etc. ) to a congregation.

3. Start an anarchy book club and invite UUs to attend

4. Combine efforts on campaigns that both UUs and anarchists are interested in: food not bombs, same-sex marriage, fighting against religious bigots, pro-choice rights, etc.

5. If you stay at a UU church or use their building for an event be respectful and try to engage in honest, sincere discussion with UU members about your beliefs so as to dispel any myths they may be holding about you.

6. Attend a service or program put on by UUs that interest you: debate about the existence of god, anti-oppression training, etc.

7. Approach UU booths if you come across them at events and talk to them about anarchism and the commonalities you share.

Related Links:

www.uuignite.net

www.uuyan.org

www.uua.org

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sources:

Anarchism and Organization,” by Errico Malatesta

Anarchist FAQ, A.2.1 What is the essence of anarchism? Quoted from Anarchist FAQ, A.2.1 What is the essence of anarchism? [The Politics of Individualism, p. 107]

Anarchist FAQ, A.3.7 Are there religious anarchists?

Harris, Mark W. Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith http://www.uua.org/info/origins.html

UU Prophets. Continental Conferences. http://www.uua.org/ya-cm/conferences/ Jan 26, 2004.

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Anarchism and Unitarian Universalism | 65 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
comment by pannekoek
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 08:00 AM CDT
not all UUs believe in god. like the article said, Unitarianism does not have a creed. i personally am an atheist anarchist UU. none of us are told what to believe.
comment by Brad Religion
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 08:09 AM CDT
Umm...I think Utah Phillips was kidding.
comment by nothing to say to this article
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 06:39 PM CST
since i don\'t know anything about this tradition and don\'t trust mass-organized spirituality; but it is interesting that i was just talking to some friends about the lack of care-taking (or community stability) we feel in our circles - and one of the models that came up for groups that take good (better) care of each other is the church.

if nothing else, it\'s interesting to think about how we can take back the idea of care-taking that the church got from communities in the first place.

comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 07:34 PM CST
\"Damn Utitarians burnt a question mark on my front lawn\" - Anarchist folk singer Utah Phillips

Utah Phillips has a number of stories/songs where he debates politics/social change at the Unitarian Church, all with a light-hearted, warm attitude toward the UU church. In fact, he often performs at UU churches.

Actually, I just discovered thisquote from Utah Phillips, \"I\'m a lay preacher for the Unitarian Universalists, and I do anarchist weddings.\"
http://ani-difranco.net/articles/04-22-01(2).html

Utah Phillips\' albums are available from the AK Press at: akpress.org
comment by Hunimund
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 07:41 PM CST
I think the chosen symbols can be a barrier. A religious group tends to divide people; both areligious anarchists and religious anarchists who may not agree with the narrower senses of \'unitarian\' and \'universalist\'.

I also think this could be helpful. We need to bring communities together, not only of action but of people, with an awareness of each other and our needs and our concerns. And of our spirits. People will turn to anything to end the overpowering spiritual isolation: drugs, money, Chick Tracts, anything. Could this be a helpful alternative?
comment by pannekoek
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 08:34 PM CST
I personally can\'t believe any religion that preaches that there is a God above me, or that believes in the bible which is such a load of crap... So I guess this prevents me from being a UU, but hey I liked the idea of the oversoul and such
comment by Clayton
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 08:59 PM CST
From the comments it seems like people are sort of missing the intent of the essay, which is to demonstrate a group that anarchists could enter into a meaningful coalition with. I don\'t think that requires those on either side to become or take on the label of the other. So I don\'t really see UUism as creating a barrier between religious and areligious people. I mean, some religious anarchists may not even dig the church to begin with.
Also, pannekoek- just to clarify, you don\'t have to believe in a God above you to be a UU. Unitarianism and Universalism were both originally Christian in nature, but have evolved since then. Basically if you\'re down with the 7 principles you can be UU. There\'s actually a pretty strong humanist and atheist strain through the faith.
comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 11:30 PM CST
How in the hell is mariage a patriarchical construct? Sure, of course, their is patriarchical marriage, but how in the hell is an expression of love a patriarchical construct? How is a union of people patriarchical? That is absurd. Marriage is institutionalized rape? What the fuck are you talking about?

I suggest you step outside of your ideoligical lense.

As for your distrust of \"spiritual needs\", that is a personal problem.
comment by tomorrowsashes
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 09:27 PM CST
I don\'t really consider UUism a religion. I went with my parents when I was younger, but, as you mentioned in the article, it didn\'t appeal too much to me. It seemed to be mostly feel-good reformists, mellowed out hippies. They never really preached anything when I was there, and there wasn\'t a minister, but people who wanted to talk would get scheduled in and do so. The youth classes were boring because we didn\'t do too much besides study other religions. We celebrated Christmas, and Christian holidays, but also those of a lot of other religions. A lot of the people there didn\'t believe in God. For me, it just seemed too much like a random group of people who talked a bunch and never did anything.
comment by Brad Religion
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 26 2004 @ 10:38 PM CST
While I\'m not opposed to the idea of offering critical support to UUs, and in turn, accepting it, I see the matter as similar to any other advent of Anarchists cooperating with non-anarchist groups. Sure, I\'ll march with Trots, but when it comes done to it . . .
Yes, perhaps \"Anarchist UUs\" are one-up on your average authoritarian leftist, but, honestly, I don\'t trust any group that talks about \"spiritual needs,\" because it seems to me as though the \"spirit\" is another one of those lovely little abstractions like gender, race, etc. that anarchism rather demands the destruction of.
Honestly, there are enough silly ideas that seperate humans from the objective, physical, universe, without heaping spirituality on top. It\'s my feeling until we\'ve learned to deal with the fact that we are actually 100% natural products of real material conditions, the more interesting (In my opinion) cousins of minerals and gasses, rocks and trees, etc. we;re not going to be able with other real-life situations.

On an unrelated note, what the fuck is an \"anarchist wedding\"? The anarchists\' own institutionalized rape? Because moronic patriarchal constructs are a-ok when prefaced with \"Anarchist\"? Because even anarchists need their status as lovers to have a rediculous label applied to it? Need a fucking ceremony? Seriously, my respect for Utah Phillips just plumeted.
comment by guttersnipe
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 12:05 AM CST
I don\'t think that\'s really what UU is all about. I\'ve known UUs who were Buddhists, Baha\'is, atheists, Wiccans, etc. From what I gather, I think it\'s mostly about people wanting to follow their own unique spiritual pathways but doing so with a knowledge that human spirituality includes social dimensions, and people wanting not to be isolated but instead to enjoy a supportive sense of community while they explore their own personal spirituality.
comment by pr
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 01:04 AM CST
Distrust of spiritual needs is hardly a personal problem when fringe groups of buddist\'s, pagans, and UU\'s,etc are circling anarchism with a view to glomming onto us.I am with you Brad.At present two nutty bunchs of metaphysical right wing nuts are dominating the world. The Shrub Xians Vs the Islamonazi\'s and you want us to get religion!
Fuck that shit. It IS religion whatever bs you spout about about it.
If we need to ally with any of these loony tunes lets make it one that has a mescaline or psilocybin sacrament and federal funding, right Reverend?
comment by Morpheus
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 02:17 AM CST
I suggest you read Emma Goldman\'s writings on this topic.
comment by 23ofMe
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:26 AM CST
Hah! Brad Religion, not everyone sees spirituality as a problem. Institutions will use tenets and dogmas to enslave people\'s minds and lives. But it doesn\'t matter whether it is religion or politics. Not all spirituality is enslaved. Sometimes it is born out of the desires of people who create it. If you have a problem with that, than too bad.
comment by 23ofMe
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:33 AM CST
\"Fringe groups of buddhists, pagans, and UUs\"? Yeah get real. What the feck do you care if someone has a particular spriritual practice so long as they don\'t bother you? \"Metaphysical Nuts\": While I agree that Bush and the Ladens of this world are fundy nuts, their issue isn\'t metaphysics, baby. Their issue is power. The fact that you would suggest an equation between Bush, Laden, and other fundies with all other people from diverse traditions such as Buddhism or Paganism betrays your ignorance. Take a walk around the block...or better yet...build a bridge and get the fuck over it.
comment by guttersnipe
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:48 AM CST
uh, yeah ... like maybe how in \"Living My Life\" she goes from a vehement diatribe against marriage on one page, then not long thereafter later mentions, without any explanation whatsoever, that she decided to marry a Welsh anarchist miner: \"In June I had married the old rebel James Colton.\" (Living My Life, Vol. II p. 981). [Look, E.G. was hella cool, but rational and consistent she was not. And no problem: as Emerson so memorably said, \"foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.\" My point is that doctrinaire, pat answers to the question are ... well, doctrinaire and pat.]

Anarchists are supposed to support free association: so if two free people want to solemnize and ritualize their voluntary association with each other, what business is it of ours to object? I\'m not talking about forced marriages, which for a long time in many places were (and in some places still are) essentially business deals with woman-as-commodity -- I\'m talking about the fact that a lot of free people actually want to solemnize their relationships by means of the rituals that so many people find so important on a psychoogical level -- not to mention the legal advantages that come along with marriage (ask your geriatric queer friends, young parents seeking family-coverage from health insurers, etc. about that one).

WTF?! If people want to get hitched, at least in the US and western Europe it\'s not like they can\'t change their minds about it. Instead of criticizing marriage, why not focus your energies on fighting against, say, orthodox Jewish law that prevents a wife from divorcing a husband without his permission for a \"get,\" or the Indian practice of \"suttee,\" or something else that actually impinges upon people\'s freedoms?
comment by Hunimund
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 08:21 AM CST
I wrote \"spiritual\" because I did not mean \"religious\" or anything of that nature. I meant the needs, apart from food and water and air but just as real, for trust and friendship and for wonder and curiosity...
comment by prole cat
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 08:35 AM CST
\"..Distrust of spiritual needs is hardly a personal problem when fringe groups of buddist\'s, pagans, and UU\'s,etc are circling anarchism with a view to glomming onto us.\"

Mainstream anarchism threatened by \"fringe groups.\" I love it!!
comment by prole cat
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 08:42 AM CST
I like this article
comment by zenanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 09:17 AM CST
people are forgetting (or not knowing) that there is a loong history of religious anarchism. not just are many of the \"original,\" medieval anarchists Christains (the Diggers, the Brethern of the Free Spirit - look at \'Lipstick Traces\' and other books), even at the height of \"classical\" anarchism, there were many, many religious anarchists - Tolstoy come quickly to mind (although he rejected the label, he was close to Kropotkin and Woodcock gives him a whole chapter in his standard history \'Anarchism.\') The Catholic Worker-sect has always had strong and close ties, especially to the Wobblies, and continue to to this day in NYC.

There have, in the US since the 60s, also been strong links between Buddhism and Taoism and anarchism (Ken Knabb, who edited the \'SI Anthology,\' is a practicing zen buddhist, and ordained rinzai zen monk and Beat poet Gary Snyder has an essay on Buddhism, Ecology & Anarchism, which you can find online) - as well as the pagans -- many eco-feminists were coming to anarchism in the 80s and 90s (think Starhawk). Hakim Bey now likes to spend his time thinking & writing about the connections between gnosticism & the hermetic tradition & anarchism.

In fact, the whole consensus-based organizational structure that is found in almost all anarchist groups these days comes from structures developed by the .. Quakers i believe, one of the \'peace churches\' (the seven main pacifist christian sects)

my point, anyway, is that, whether you like UUs or not (they\'re not to my taste, but they\'re fine), these connections between socially-conscious religious groups and anarchism and already there, already deep in the anarchist heritage, and i think as anarchists, we are not here to \"tell people what to do\" (leave that to the marxists), but rather to ask people to form non-hierarchical, decentralized organizations, to express their own desires and needs, and to form their own demands and look for their own solutions to the problems that they/we all face. if they choose to do it as a \"church,\" i think that\'s fine.
comment by radicalized
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 09:36 AM CST
Clayton, and others who believe that the UU organization is a serious coalition-building force would do well to hear two points of view: 1) The reality of seeking coalitions with ideological Leftists in Spain (which, when anarchists were no longer needed, betrayed them) and 2) my own experience of betrayal.

In one way you might say that this ultra \"liberal\" UU group in Michigan radicalized me, but the way in which the leadership went about it is typical of when they put their ideals to any real test (the Quakers on the other hand, in that same city, lived up to their ideals, basically, even tho hype pushed from many sides).

To make this story short and to the point, I basically came into the open with non-fascist/non-authoritarian ideas that are not accepted in this society at this time. The minister (or one of his staff) called the cops and sicked them on me even though I had done absolutely nothing wrong. But had DARED voice a truth I knew in my heart that is not easily allowed or understood today, with the climate of continual ideologically-challenged hysteria (Luckily, by then I knew my \'rights\' and stood up for them, and was somehow able to avoid the worst of the cops attack).

Want to know the details? (Rest assured that they are probably not printable in any ideological text whatsoever, since the ideas do not \"fit in\" with the needs of the propaganda game that almost everyone plays)
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 12:00 PM CST
You forgot in the sixites that it was in the black churches that the civil rights networks begin to form and bus rides marches and nonviolent direct actions were planned
comment by Svidrigali
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 12:32 PM CST
>>\"The fact that you would suggest an equation between Bush, Laden, and other fundies with all other people from diverse traditions such as Buddhism or Paganism betrays your ignorance...\"

What do they have in common? Irrationality. The \'power\' question is an interesting one though. The \'Starhawkes\' and the Hakim Beys seem pretty good at getting their little cult followings. (I, for one am glad that Hakim Bey DOESN\'T have acces to nukes.)

OTOH the Unitarian sounds like it\'s based mostly on REASON and Unity and has a healthy dose of atheism - well, seeing as we can\'t avoid religion I\'d rather work with the less nutty and the least hierarchical. But people who claim some \'special\' insight or revelation and use it to manipulate others should be ignored.

- Claud Saint-Simon (anarcho-captechnotheocracy) UTOPIAN 1760-1825
- Enfantin - Saint-Simonian offshoot- 1796- 1864 (known as \'The Industrial Pope\') industrial/mystical/theocratic. (source: Theodore Zeldin- Politics and Anger. france 1848-1945)

\"Imagination, deserted by reason, begets impossible monsters. United with reason, she is the mother of all arts, and the source of their wonders.\" Francisco Goya


comment by Eric
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 01:08 PM CST
As an anarchist who is also part of a UU congregation (as well as regularly sitting at a Zen center and attending local pagan workings) and as someone who has been a part of the black bloc and the pagan bloc (twas nice to see a bit of solidarity and sharing down there in Miami) I was really really happy to see this article.

I have often thought that the source of my anarchism (and activism in general) comes out of a deep place of connection with all other beings which can only be described as spiritual. As mentioned above, buddhism, UU, and a lot of neo-pagan groups have nothing in them to counter an anti-authoritarian, anti-Statist, cooperative, LOVING, view of the world.

Why are the anti-religious arguments so strongly reactionary and harsh rather than being offered in a spirit of a mutual exchange of ideas and an openness to understanding how each other feel?

At a particularly nice workshop at NCOR over the weekend we talked a bit about how any strong consensus process must function around deeply respecting and listening to each other, I find this much more evident in the UU youth groups that I attend than most meetings of anarchists I get together with......
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 02:35 PM CST
Fundamentalist atheism annoys me as much as fundamentalist theism.
comment by Svidrigali
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:06 PM CST
>anti-Statist, cooperative, LOVING, view of the world.
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
---------------------
...noble ideals indeed, which are often conflicting in themselves. Don\'t expect all anarchists to agree as to how to achieve these ideals or expect us to all be loving and \'nice\' people. Co-operative and LOVING I have a few problems with. Should I be co-operative and loving with capitalists, tyrants and power-hungry politicians? Do THEY care to show those they exploit and dominate the same courtesy? Perhaps I should give a fascist a hug today?

>>Why are the anti-religious arguments so strongly reactionary and harsh...

Sorry if you see it that way. I am not anti-religion as such and have no problem with religious people in general or against\'feelings\'.
But I am always wary of people who claim to have a \'higher\' revelation as it can be used to manipulate others. This is the danger with any religion or even with \'spirituality\'. People who just want to \'dabble\' in spirituality, witchcraft etc. are IMO deluding themselves - and should be prepared for the pitfalls and the ultimate outcome of taking their \'quest\'to its logical conclusion. I only write from my own experience of 15 wasted years in the new-age/mysticist/buddhist/theosophist/christian/ religious quagmire. I guess ex-religionists are like ex-smokers! - the most vocal critics. (btw, I listen to the \'Unitarian Half-Hour\' on the radio and find it quite useful - usually topical and critical of power) I won\'t be rolling up for church any time soon though. Peace.







comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 01:19 PM CST
You mentioned the Catholic Workers which is an odd ordeal because they do good things. However, they cling to the patriarchical church which continues to exploit people around the world.

Their is a difference between an anarchist rooted spirituality and \"anarchists\" that cling to a patriarchical church.

Of course, the Catholic Workers are our allies. However, all of our critiques of leftism apply fully here.
comment by ctresca
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:21 PM CST
Why do you assume that those who support anarchist marriages haven\'t read the criticisms of it?
comment by Clayton
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:33 PM CST
Firstly, to radicalized- What happened to you angers and frustrates me. These are the components I certainly am not proud of when it comes to my connection with UUism. I\'d like to hear more about it, if you feel comfortable just email me.
Secondly, it seems like of the posters didn\'t really read the article. It\'s a bit on the long side, but I\'d really encourage you to at least read the bit about what UUism is. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding. UUism is not purporting to be the end all be all for spiritual needs and no one is claiming a \"higher way\" in order to manipulate others. It\'s non-creedal, which makes such problems a bit diffuclt.
Also, in response to Svidrigali\'s comments on the 7 principles- esp. the \"respect for the inherent worth and dignity\" is typically interpretted as respecting the person but not their actions or oppressive attitudes. I don\'t really want to repeat my essay, so I\'ll leave it at that.
Also, I want to address prolecat\'s perception that I underplay UU\'s reformist and liberal characteristics. I think when looking at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) as a whole that\'s probably true. I guess I unconsciously underplayed it because I\'ve avoided a lot of that! :) Most of my experiences has been with the youth and young adult community, which is definitely much more radical (although there are some really rad adults). I think bonds with anarchists are much more feasible in those areas, but still I think that if we as anarchists would get off our high horses and work and talk with people we don\'t completely agree with on every single thing we could bring some great things to the UU faith. I\'ve already seen this happen with the youth and young adult movements. It was youth and young adult activity that has helped push more anti-racist work within the faith as well as adopting globalization as the working issue for the UUA. These are things that are now in the whole relgion, not just YRUU or YA. So I think that radicals understanding UUism and entering into a respectful relationship with them can bring more of this about. And like I mentioned in the essay, there are even explicitly radical UU groups emerging (UU Ignite and UU Prophets) that i see as pushing the faith to be more radical and in my opinion more in sinc with the 7 principles.
comment by Jonathan Nil
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:34 PM CST
However, they cling to the patriarchical church which continues to exploit people around the world.

Some (many?) of them probably do. Many of the Catholic Workers I know aren\'t even Catholic (or Christian) at all (and the Catholic Worker movement exists throughout the US and perhaps other countries, NYC isn\'t the only place it\'s \'left\'). Others relationship with Catholicism and/or Christianity is more complex, but that sentence definitely doesn\'t apply to them---few of them have much good to say or offer much support of any kind to the Roman Catholic Church as an institution.

And then, of course, not all Catholic Workers identify as anarchists either. (And those that do may or may not be christians).

Anyway, the Catholic Worker movement is an interesting thing, is my main point, and more diverse and complex than Camendur\'s comment might lead some to believe. There\'s really no formal organization or structure or centralization to the movement, so every Catholic Worker community (not to mention the individuals in it) can be quite different than others. They are worth checking out, if there\'s on in your area, I suggest.
comment by Redbeard
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:49 PM CST
I as well am an anarchist and a UU. I was very glad to see this article and the conversation that followed it appear. I think we need to be conscious as a community of secular fundamentalism- it can only isolate us. The most important thing to know about UUs in general in regards to our form of activism is that they have a lot of resources and options that aren\'t always open to generally overtaxed anarchist projects. I\'m not suggesting coopting UUs for anarchist use but as the article says points out there area lot of us UUs who are down in the first place.
comment by Redbeard
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 03:49 PM CST
I as well am an anarchist and a UU. I was very glad to see this article and the conversation that followed it appear. I think we need to be conscious as a community of secular fundamentalism- it can only isolate us. The most important thing to know about UUs in general in regards to our form of activism is that they have a lot of resources and options that aren\'t always open to generally overtaxed anarchist projects. I\'m not suggesting coopting UUs for anarchist use but as the article says points out there area lot of us UUs who are down in the first place.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 04:30 PM CST
Sometimes it\'s necessary to have the tax break, common health insurance and to be able to visit your partner in the hospital. I know a lot of folks who take on legal marriage for these reasons. Becoming legally married is not always a matter of needing the state to give sanction to love. Don\'t simplify things.
comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 04:41 PM CST
I believe your statements elaborates my criticism as well as my feelings of solidarity with CWers. I could not agree more.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 04:48 PM CST
I\'m also an anarchist UU. At NCOR, I ran into a friend I used to go to YRUU conferences with back in my late teens and early twenties. We talked about the similarities of the two and they were hard to ignore. I feel like I developed a lot of skills and perspectives from the YRUU that have heavily influenced my anarchism. The YRUU is oftentimes much more radical than the church in general. The conferences I went to were pretty damned eye opening. Lots of strong empowered women, youth organized, open acceptance and celebration of queer/trans folks, anyone could set up workshops on anything, and conversation constantly (and lots of play and kissing). Also, a lot of the work at cons really is done on the basis of spontaneous self-management.
The general church is depressingly liberal in most areas but some are very open to events. Recently, we held public teach-ins and report backs to the community after Miami and the church will be opening up its kitchens for the local activist community when some of the local Catholic Workers have their big trial.
I feel its important to have as good a relationship with them as possible without hoding any illusions about it. As always, keep dialogue open. I\'ve had some pretty good conversations with liberals that have brought them to deeper levels of understanding and opened newer perspectives to them.
The YRUU conferences are an incredible resource and anarchists should think strongly about teaching workshops at these events. I attended them for about six years. One every month and a half. Like a weekend long TAZ.
comment by Cemendur
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 04:57 PM CST
Of course I have, Emma Goldman is one of my favorite anarchist philosophers and activists.
comment by Eric
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:03 PM CST
to Svidrigali:

Co-operative and LOVING I have a few problems with. Should I be co-operative and loving with capitalists, tyrants and power-hungry politicians? Do THEY care to show those they exploit and dominate the same courtesy? Perhaps I should give a fascist a hug today?

hmmm, well I can\'t really answer this :) maybe if more of us hugged fascists they would feel less alienated....don\'t get me wrong, I\'m not a fuzzyheaded peace and love hippie (though you might find me barefoot and wearing a skirt at a phish show) that thinks the world will be changed through holding hands and hugging (though it would be nice for US to do more holding hands and hugging), but I don\'t think that capitalism is going to disappear until we replace it with anything either, and as of right now, I\'d rather have my social interactions structured on more open respect/love/joy/listening than I tend to find in anarchist circles but often find at say, a rainbow gathering, or UU meeting

But I am always wary of people who claim to have a \'higher\' revelation as it can be used to manipulate others. This is the danger with any religion or even with \'spirituality\'. People who just want to \'dabble\' in spirituality, witchcraft etc. are IMO deluding themselves - and should be prepared for the pitfalls and the ultimate outcome of taking their \'quest\'to its logical conclusion. I only write from my own experience of 15 wasted years in the new-age/mysticist/buddhist/theosophist/christian/ religious quagmire. I guess ex-religionists are like ex-smokers! - the most vocal critics.

scratch a cynic and you\'ll find a disappointed/wounded idealist......

Sorry you view the years you spent exploring various forms of spirituality as \"wasted\" -- and while all religions are prone to various degrees of guruism and charismatic leader syndrome, UU is specifically anti-hierarchical in terms of \"truth\" and of course if you\'ve explored Buddhism you know that there\'s a wide range of attitudes and (in)compatibilities with an anti-authoritarian philosophy - I find american zen practice to be fine and dandy

Since UU is non-creedal I see it more as a community to gather with in a spirit of mutual aid, fellowship, and seeking after a multiplicity of truths. In our hyper-alienated competitive society, I\'ll take whatever respectful, tolerant, welcoming, intelligent, active communities I can find
comment by Clayton
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:30 PM CST
wow, sorry for that last post without the paragraphs and with the typos.

To all these other UU anarchists posting- there\'s been the idea kicked around of putting out a radical uu zine. are any of you interested? you can email me or talk about it on the uuignite listserve if you are. you can find that at riseup.net, just search for uuignite.

also, i totally agree with the above poster about developing skills through YRUU. I mean really, radical activism is the most logical use for what people learn in the YRUU movement: consensus, leading workshops, organizing conferences, etc. What I always loved about YRUU was also how youth-centered it is. Even the adult advisor trainings are run jointly by youth and adults. It\'s when youth are in charge that conferences were always the best. I think it\'s really YRUU where i saw the amazing effects non-hierarchical means of organizing can have.
comment by mogglord
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 05:51 PM CST
I have considered anarchy to be my religion. To me, an anarchist religion is redundant. As the writer stated, the ideas are very similar.

I often have wondered about the anarchist rejection of religion. I think it\'s just an attitude that Karl Marx and punks screaming \"FUCK RELIGION\" have instilled in the movement/philosophy. I have found spirituality in the form of self-exploration. I am a \"spelunker of the subconscious,\" and I even do it without hallucinogens. To me, anarchy is something that applies to EVERYTHING - politics, economics, religion, and even the structuring of my mind. (ie the \"ruling party\" or ego and the \"lower class\" or subconscious) To Brad Religion, if humans are only physical beings, then why even have anarchy? Why do we need equality and peace and happiness? Because we are also emotional beings, and emotions have not yet been classified by scientists as a form of matter or energy yet. I think spirituality is just the way in which a person explores itself and his/her emotions, which is vital to a political philosophy that calls for one to be individualistic.
comment by hope rising
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 06:07 PM CST
I agree with everything said in these last few comments. I came to anarchism through Unitarian Universalism. YRUU was the most liberating, empowering experience of my life, especially powerful in its orientation toward (and operation by) people who are in a particularly vulnerable, confusing time in their lives. For anarchists with kids I don\'t think I could recommend it enough.

Like anything else, there is a great deal of diversity within UUism. Of course there are spineless liberals and even reactionaries, but I don\'t think I need to repeat in detail Clayton\'s point that the basic 7 principles are entirely compatible (and even complimentary of) anarchist thought and practice.

One of the basic values of UUism (and I believe of anarchism as well) is a rejection of all fundamentalisms. This I think includes atheist fundamentalism as well, something which I don\'t think there is a big enough critique of in our movements.

I think that one of the most degrading cultural effects that capitalism has wrought has been a mechanistic reductionism to which we are all subordinated. \"Rationality\" as such is nothing more than the framework within which we can be compartmentalised and then subdued. We are not rational creatures - our motivations and experiences are much more complex, including emotional and spiritual dimensions. THis is not a rejection of our rational dimensions but a realization that we need to honor all aspects of our being if we are going to have healthy communities and a healthy society, if we\'re going to stop this horribly violent industrial juggernaut that daily assaults our lives and the earth.

That said, when I first saw this article I expected alot of negativity in the comments below, but I\'m actually heartened by the generally constructive nature of the feedback. I don\'t know how much I want to see a \"coalition\" between anarchists and UUs - I think both are much more powerful within their own histories and traditions. But I think that recognizing a commonality between the two is important, as mutual aid and understanding can evolve from that. Also, on a personal level, if you are looking for an anti-authoritarian form of spirituality UUism may have alot to offer. Just as none of us is purely rational, none of us are purely anarchists, and need other communities and dimensions in our lives that are compatible with our values.
comment by Robert
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 07:28 PM CST
One thing the author doesn\'t make clear enough is that UUism no longer follow the \"narrow senses\" of Unitarian and Universalist. There are UUs today who identify as atheists, buddhists, humanists, agnostics, pagans or just generally spiritual people.
comment by Pax
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 08:37 PM CST
interesting that folks mention Gary Snyder..

I\'m an anti-authoritarian AND a practitioner of Zen Buddhism, which, it should be noted, is also non-theistic.
comment by Robert
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 09:27 PM CST
As another UU anti-authoritarian, I couldn\'t agree more with the general sentiments of the other UU anarchists: the \"depressingly liberal\" politics of most UUs, the radicalizing influence of YRUU in my life, the learning of basic non-hierarchical organizing skills and principles, the truer sense of community experienced in UU youth groups than in the many radical groups I\'ve been involved in.

I dare say 1) UUism has the highest percentage of anarchists of any religion 2) search the anarchist community of any major city and you\'ll probably find at least one UU at its heart. I recently led a discussion on \"social action\" at a UU youth conference and those young folks were dieing to hear and discuss ideas of the failures of reformism, direct action, direct democracy, grass-roots dual power.

I disagree slightly with the thesis that UU principles are completely compatible with anarchist principles. Many ideologies are compatible with anarchism on the most generic level. I would say that UUism is the ideal incubator for creating anti-authoritarian radicals and an ideal \"sanctuary\" and/or \"launch pad\" for those anarchists who wish to engage religion for political and/or personal reasons.
comment by mj
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 10:11 PM CST
I might be a data point in your \"incubator\" idea, having been raised a UU and having very positive experiences in YRUU...

but, I really can\'t stand UU culture, and have avoided it since radicalization. The worst of liberalism is ingrained in its core... and don\'t get me started on the class composition of the organization... blech.

Interesting to hear people weighing in though...
comment by zenanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 10:24 PM CST
Gary Snyder is a fucking anarchist, along with the rest of the Beats! Ken Knabb is SFZC, so was anarchist-poet Diane di Prima. Kerry Thornley wrote a book called \'zenarchy.\' Crass quote Lao Tse and and admire Buddhism. it\'s all there.
comment by zenanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, January 27 2004 @ 10:30 PM CST
this is great. it makes me feel ( ie all these people realizing, suddenly, that they came to anarchism in the same way) that anarchism is just something that people naturally DO, not a historically-situated \"movement.\" People just ... have the ability to act this way and conceive of the world this way, and so anarchism will always rise in all times and all places... because it is just one of the ways (we think the best) that humans can do things.
comment by 23ofME
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 01:44 AM CST
That\'s how I see anarchism...
comment by Chase
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:57 AM CST
To be honest I haven\'t finished reading the hole artical yet I would just like to say I don\'t think the concept of chaos is necessarily a bad thing and the popular use of it alines it with a nagative meaning, much like anarchy. Usualy when I think of chaos I just think of the ability of ramdom happenings witch is present and can be adapted to in a healthy natural system. I feel too much order, which discourages flexabibly and adaption(to new ideas and ways of doing things), can be as distructive as to much chaos. I usualy try to use the word entropy because of the meaning offten enterprated from the word chaos. Now back to the artical.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 09:25 AM CST
No matter how pious the religion, I still have to shrug it off. There\'s a difference between generosity and revolution.
comment by Mogglord
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 10:49 AM CST
You know, to zenanarchist, maybe that\'s why I considered anarchy to be a religion. Because it\'s me, and everyone. What\'s at humanity\'s heart.

Oh, by the way, when I said an anarchist religion was redundant, by no means did I intend to say that we should not cooperate with the UUists. I\'m fine with working side-by-side with anyone, even people with really messed up ideals, if it means making the world a little better (but it stops there).
comment by Clayton
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 12:38 PM CST
Throughout the posts there\'s been hints of where we stand with the UU church. I\'d like to talk more about this. It seems the spectrum goes from those who out and out want nothing to do with it and take the \"religion is religion is religion\" stance to the \"i won\'t bother you if you don\'t bother me\" approach and then others who are more towards working with those elements of UUism that are already quite radical (YRUU and YA) all the way to trying to influence the main liberal facets of the faith.
I think those just dismising it all together are making a mistake because revolution involves community aspects, something religion is definitely tied to. I know a lot of anarchists who were involved in UUism have abandoned it altogether. I haven\'t done much different honestly. But is there a place for radicals in the faith? I think there should be if there isn\'t. Is this institution one worth trying to change from the inside? or should we create our own spaces like UU Ignite from outside the mainstream liberal strain? As radical UUs and UU sympathizers, what do we do with things like General Assembly, the elections and whatnot? I know I\'ve always liked the idea of putting up some kind of squatters camp at GA to protest the ridiculous costs.
To answer my own questions I\'d say I\'m much more comfortable working with movements like YRUU and YA, especially since in my own district I\'ve learned through my younger brother that adults are really taking on very dominating, patronizing roles. Also, a sexual assault happened at a conference and it\'s being dealt with in a very fucked-up disempowering way. I think it\'s very important that the anti-authoritarian strains in YRUU stay strong so these sorts of things are avoided.
I also think that strong solidarity amongst UU radicals would help push the UUA in a more radical direction, like what I saw at GA in Cleveland. This begins to dabble in electoral politics, which maybe is not something that should be brought up here... I\'d like to hear what others think about this though.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:45 PM CST
I think that we need to build autonomous space for radical UUs outside the formal uua / church structure, which doesn\'t preclude membership / participation in those structures, if so desired. But while I still see my faith and values grounded in UUism I no longer feel these nurtured within formal UU channels (I haven\'t gotten involved in YA, and left YRUU a while ago). The mind-numbing liberal, middle-class retiree nature of UU congregations to me is to blame. Yet, I think alot of us (judging from these comments) still feel connected to UUism and ought to have a space within it to support one another and practice the radical values that are at its core. In turn, strengthening radical currents / movements within UUism might have the effect of radicalizing the rest of the faith. But I think on a basic level we need to develop an
(a)theology that is youth-centred and liberatory, grounded in anti-authoritarian values and practice. UUignite has alot of potential I think but there\'s not much activity there. Maybe its time to really push forward with it. I think there are alot of former / potential UUs that are still looking for that element that YRUU once offered that would really respond to something like this
comment by Hunimund
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 03:55 PM CST
Nice ideas.

I wonder if we should not try to seperate religion (practice, ritual), spirituality (making wonder real), and theology; trying too tie them too closely has caused a great deal of trouble.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 05:48 PM CST
uh, yeah ... like maybe how in \"Living My Life\" she goes from a vehement diatribe against marriage on one page, then not long thereafter later mentions, without any explanation whatsoever, that she decided to marry a Welsh anarchist miner

Uh, how about because she needed to marry someone to gain citizenship.
comment by guttersnipe
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 08:54 PM CST
There were places other than the UK where she could have gone, and she never said that she married him for citizenship purposes. In fact, not too long before she married him, she consciously considered and then rejected the idea of marrying for citizenship purposes. See Living My Life, Vol. 2, pp. 957-958.
comment by Lefty
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 29 2004 @ 01:54 PM CST
Blaming the actions of one on an entire group is counterrevolutionary.
comment by Lefty
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 29 2004 @ 02:44 PM CST
I ALSO am a lifetime UU and an anarchist. I came to anarchism through UUism. The first place I heard the word \'anarchy\' was at a YRUU con. I would go so far to say that the VAST majority of youth and young adults that are involved on the continental level are anti-authoritarian and left (because really its a double axis spectrum). But you can\'t put everyone in a box. And yes, some UUs are assholes. The general liberalness of most adults in the church frustrates the hell out of me. So I say this only after reading all the other comments and making sure no one else said it:
UU CHURCHES NEED SECULAR ANARCHISTS TO SHOW UP AND GUIDE THEM INTO A MORE ANTI-AUTHORITARIAN PLACE. We the youth have been trying for a long time now and make small inroads but get frustrated. I\'m not saying it is going to be easy. But you aren\'t going to find another source potential allies with this much resources and energy. It would be foolish for \'anti-religionists\' to pass this up without seriously considering it. and by the way, the UU principles are only suggestions, in case anyone is still hung up on that.
comment by Lefty
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 29 2004 @ 02:03 PM CST
Whether you want to admit it or not, people have emotional/spiritual needs. Sure they are constructs that ultimately need to go. But you are never going to get anywhere by ignoring them. Coalition building is important. Closemindedness is inherently Authoritarian. Are you an anarchist or not?
comment by Lefty
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, January 29 2004 @ 02:07 PM CST
word.
comment by zenanarchist
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, January 30 2004 @ 12:52 PM CST
i just meant to say that in NYC Catholic Worker people actively work with self-identified left anarchists, and this is the first place i have witnessed (or heard of) this - not that NYC is the only place CW is \"left.\"
comment by question
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, February 08 2004 @ 08:49 AM CST
i\'m a uu activist, anti-capitalist womyn of color dabbling in anarchist thought and communities. although many of my closest friends are anarchists and uus, i can\'t envision myself ever calling myself an anarchist because most of those that i meet give off a cold and elitist vibe. i don\'t understand this aspect of anarchist groups, which i struggle to see as idea communities--communities are warm, and i rarely feel that from anarchist \"communities.\" but maybe i\'m just not an anarchist.
comment by Owen
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, September 26 2004 @ 07:33 PM CDT
I personally view the principals of anarchism to not differ all that much from those humanistic aspects of very early Christianity before it was co-opted by the state.

The primary difference in principal is that anarchism as a rational secular belief takes human destiny out of the hands of unprovable supernatural forces and places it squarely into the hands (and minds) of living humans were it properly belongs.

Personally I am an agnostic. I simply believe that it is impossible to prove or disprove divinty. I do tend towards an athistic outlook however when it comes to the probability of a god as proposed by the theistic beliefs.

There are so few anarchists or anarchist organizations (there is a Food Not Bombs chapter about 40 miles away)out in my area that I\'m thinking of looking into the Unitarian Universalist Church for the potential it might give to me to become an active memeber of my community and not just remain isolated in my own thoughts and actions.

Owen


The anarchist Herbert Read on religion:

\"It is natural in relation to the morphology of society; supernatural in relation to the morphology of the physical universe. But in either aspect it is in opposition to the artificial authority of the \'State. The State only acquires its supreme authority when religion begins to decline, and the great struggle between Church and State, when, as in modern Europe, it ends so decisively in favour of the State, is from the point of view of the organic life of a society, eventually fatal.\"

From the essay; The Philosophy of Anarchism, 1940

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/bright/read/philsofanar.html



comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 28 2004 @ 07:36 PM CST
The CW folks I know in my town don\'t really seem cling to the patriarchal church - they are at the head of movements to open Catholicism to GLBTQ\'s, allow women priests, etc. A number of them perform the rituals of catholicism themselves, at home, in small groups with rotating roles and are catholics primarily in the sense that they make use of the archetypes and symbols of catholicism (think the \"virgin of guadalupe\" symbolic appropriation of many latino/indigenous folks). Symbols have a lot of power and it doesn\'t have to be power over. There\'s plenty of history of radicals appropriating them for their own use as a number of other posters have given props to.
comment by
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, November 28 2004 @ 07:52 PM CST
There is nothing inherently wrong with the irrational. Dreams, emotions, passion, non-linear thought, music, dance, art, singing, humour. Certainly some types of irrationality can lead to awful things but the same can be said of rationality. All those little white men in white coats cooking up the latest GMO, nano-weapons, psychiatric pharmaceuticals. Very rational people carried out the Holocaust - step by carefully planned methodical step. Factory farms are extremely rational. Shit, capitalism is pretty rational. I mean, justice and equality and what have you are abstract, qualitative, subjective, right? They are irrational and they are beautiful worthy goals and ways of life. When I break down crying in the middle of great lovemaking, it\'s not \"rational,\" it\'s gorgeously, beautifully irrational. Nothing rational I can see about getting up early and watching the sunrise, but hey, it feels really good and I feel my connection with the world around me and that\'s spiritual to me. The connection and interaction between me and the cosmos. Balance is the key to just about everything as near as I can tell. Ugh. I\'d hate to live in a world that was just \"rational.\" Boring, boring, boring.

Anarchism and Unitarian Universalism
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:15 PM CDT
I'm a athiest, anarchist, Unitarian Universlaist who sees Saint Francis as one of her heroes. If you think that in order to be one thing you have to perscribe by its "mold" then you are not an individual free thinker and I'd dare say don't have the capacity to judge others. the second you say you know whats correct and what's wrong you say you are a jackass. It's only in admitting we can't know things for sure but that we're willing to look for truth that you are intelligent enough to delve deaply into what truth may be.