As an “individual anarchist”, I find your thoughts interesting. You said, “One of those assumptions is that [everyone] who claims to be a member of “our community” isn’t really.” It would appear to me that you are defining a term, “our community”, however, I am having a problem understanding what the difference between “our community”, which I define as a unified body of individuals to which those participating in the conversation belong to, and your definition “our community”. Could you please define your definition?
This gets further acerbated by your next sentence, “[a]nother of those assumptions is that anyone should try to “enforce” nonviolence on the members of that community.” Here your appear to redefine the word “enforce”, again without establishing any definition. So, that my meaning is not misunderstood, I define “enforce” to mean using force against another without their consent. Perhaps, there has been a misunderstanding of what has been proposed. I do not think that anyone purposes the use of force against someone whom, while speaking of committing violent acts or using violent words, and absent of any actual action beyond pontificating the contents of their bowels, is not using force against another human being.
You follow up with “[s]till a third assumption is that any of us have a right to define membership in “our” community.”, which further confuses me, as it appears to redefine the word “our” in some other definition. To be clear, “our” refers to relating to us or ourselves.
I appreciate your position in your paragraph referring to your world view. I have to argue, however, that you appear to say that you, and you alone, define you. Regardless, if I understand you correctly or not, the fact remains that no one, alone, defines anything. Human beings are after all, factually speaking, social animals. We can not exist alone, by this I mean the fact that anyone exists at all is because two humans of the female and male gender got together and engaged in an act of procreation that caused the creation of another human being. This is evidence, that at least more than one person is required to define anything, as I have been defining my perceptions of reality. Further, anyone can define and redefine words, though my experience has been that those who choose to redefine words tend to do so to take advantage of others, as you have stated in pointing out the differences in the meaning of the word “anarchist” from the anarchist view point and non-anarchist view point.
To these points, I add, people within an actual community may define that community in one sense, and those outside that community may define it another sense. Subjectively, right or wrong, the real meaning of the word community, are individuals who share something, to which both groups are also communities.
I too typed “me too” the FSP letter of intent, before I defined my values as anarchist, mind you, and since it isn’t a lawfully binding document, and since I didn’t lawfully sign a non-lawfully binding document, and I am free to exit any agreement that I later find violates my natural existence. Allow me to point out, that the “agreement”, here I define this word to mean something other than an actual agreement, included the word “government”. This word, simply put, is the compounding of “govern”, which I define to mean “to control”, and “-ment” which I define to mean “that which does”, which I further define “government” to mean “that which controls”. So, my understanding is that you “signed”(not really) an “agreement”(not really) to which you “agreed”(not really) to enter a state of being which acknowledged that there would be some form of control, and are surprised when you experience other “signers”(not really) who feel that controlling others is okay? Further, people are allowed to believe what they wish, the universe isn’t obligated to keep a straight face. If those, in the first part, who believe they belong to the true FSP run up against those who, those in the second part, believe it is them, the parties of the second part, that belong to the true FSP, who am I to quibble with insane people?
It is my hope, that those who claim to be “libertarians”, which I define as those who uphold the principles of individual liberty, which I claim includes anarchists, since libertarian ideals were first defined by anarchists before they were claimed by those who uphold the principles of individual liberty except when they mean to control others.
I don’t think you can get away from the idea of community, or any idea for that matter, in so much as such a thing being a concept and having no actual existence in reality can be escaped from. As afore mentioned, human beings are social animals, those ideas relating to social constructs, in my opinion, are hard to “get away from” once they have been spoken into “existance”(metaphorically speaking). I think, in the same way, you may define anarchism, or I may define anarchism, or someone who doesn’t “believe”(metaphorically speaking) in anarchism, the idea of anarchism, whatever form that takes, will still exist as an idea, and so to will the idea of community.
I’ve participated in Jehovah Witnesses communities, and Mormon communities and witnessed what is called “shunning” which is more like ostracism, defined as the mutual agreement of those involved to social exile and individual or group of individuals, isn’t, in my definition of the word, isn’t an attempt to control another, but rather to social acknowledge that an act by that individual was deemed outside the community’s social norms. It may have the effect of causing the individual being ostracized as if they are trying to be controlled, but it is no more different then me offering to make and sell bagels to people, and choosing to not sell them to you because you said something to me 20 years ago that I didn’t like. Am I controlling you, or am I controlling who I have a right to sell to?
You said, “I have no desire to be a member of any group that wishes to control me”, and “I am registered independent for voting purposes”, do you not find these statements oxymoronic? First you say you don’t wish to be a member of a group that wants to control you, but then you voluntarily sign up to participate in an system(otherwise defined as a group), that as part of it’s defining purpose, is to control others. “Majority rules” and “tyranny of the majority” and so forth. Don’t misunderstand me, if you choose to accept anarchist principles as fact, then violate those same principles for some perceived benefit, who am I to disagree? But, if a man believes that his life is own, and chooses to control others, it speaks to the character of the man. I don’t know you well enough to know if I like you or not.
Finally, you said “We don’t need communities. We need cooperative ventures.” Please, explain the differences between these two ideas. Maybe, I’m here to show your flaws in your reasoning, or you are here to show me mine, either way, I’m happy to have met you.