AUTHORITARIANISM

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Authoritarianism: it's all the rage these days

Here's what former Black Panther, Black Liberation Army member, and present anarchist activist Ashanti Alston said in response to a questioner who wanted to draw a distinction between anarchists and Marxists by tagging the latter as "Bolsheviks": "We all have a little authoritarian inside of us."

Yes, but what about when you have a big authoritarian outside you? (Like George W. Bush, for example.)

Of course, but Alston's comeback, it seems to me, is not a "get your house in order first" sort of argument, but rather an anti-sectarianism reminder that authoritarianism is not only "out there." While some forms of authoritarianism, like those characterizing governing regimes, have greater effects, the authoritarianism that sometimes occurs in left movements-and Alston's point seemed to be that it sometimes rears its head even among anti-authoritarians-also needs to be challenged.

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