I thought I’d point out a discussion going on in /r/anarchism where various subscribers explain what made them turn to this political theory. We’ve done one of these before, but it’s always interesting to see new stories.
This time we have more people who got radicalized by state violence.
I’ve said this quite a bit recently, but: police brutality. It was seeing students get beaten at the London protests that made me question the role of police, as well as realising how much money is spent protecting politicians who are no different than the ordinary person.
A lot of other expressed something similar to my coming out story, in that they were always ideologically anarchists but didn’t know it until they discovered the theory.
It’s a bit complex but when I was younger my best friends were people of color but something bothered me. Their parents worked much harder than mine and longer yet they were poorer. It struck me as not equal and unfair so I sorta developed a rudimentary socialist idea from early on. Obviously I was a kid so it wasn’t anything impressive. I was pretty much a social democrat (although I labeled myself a liberal at the time). Around 2007 I became increasingly aware of how oppressive the government can be and sorta had a 2 month flirtation with Ron Paul until I realized that the ideology is tyrannical in it’s own sense. I wanted something that was anti government and anti capitalist to fit in with my views of inequality. Someone told me I was an anarchist around 2009ish and decided to explore it more. Read the philosophers..etc and pretty much had the same ideas that I developed on my own except a lot more refined. So here I am today!
And then others were affected by culture
I’d say it was a combination of exposure to punk rock and academia. As a teenager, I was into Bad Religion and Propagandhi. I gravitated into more underground punk stuff that leaned quite left. Then majored in Sociology and learned about inequality on a global scale and read a lot of Marxist theory. Then a band I liked – Stanford Prison Experiment – included a 30 minute lecture by Noam Chomsky at the end of one of their albums, which lead me to his writings. For the past 15 years now, I’ve been reading up on Anarchist thought.
Apropos Chomsky; there’s quite a lot of people who were converted by Chomsky in there as well. Just shows how effective a popular anti-authoritarian/anti-imperialist face can be, even if they otherwise espouse some very contentious positions.