The political arena leaves one no alternatives, one must be either a dunce or a rogue.
--Emma Goldman

If you believe everything you read, see, and hear, you'd think we're in the freest, most democratic world that has ever been. In some senses, this is true: compared to the cultures of the past, people today are freer than their forebears.

However, this has been the result not of the wisdom of rulers and governments, but from the tireless work of everyday people like you and me who fought to establish previously unrecognized rights. Civil society (which today is eroding worldwide in the face of capitalist corporate wealth and power) is the end product of the efforts of people who've come before, sacrificing time and in many cases, lives, to make the world a more livable place.

It is in this respect that anarchists again stand out as the only group of people who honestly believe in democracy. Again, we hear a lot about democracy, freedom, liberty, and justice out of the mouths of political leaders, but they have no understanding of what these things mean--they are merely appropriating the positive associations you have with these images for their own personal gain.

Anarchists favor direct action. That is, everyday people getting involved in directly improving their situation in their respective communities. We don't favor people pinning their hopes on representatives to manage things for them.

That's bourgeois "democracy" in action, in fact. Sedate, apathetic masses blindly ratifying decisions already made FOR them by all-knowing leaders. Only fools would consider this democracy, and accept it as a justifiable and desirable system.

Anarchists believe in direct democracy, in people not waiting for leaders to decide for them what to support or not support, but in people doing things themselves.

The reasoning behind this belief is thus: WE know what's best for us, in our given communities; and WE don't need someone else telling us what to do--moreover, we don't want that!!

That's democracy, REAL democracy: popular self-rule based on the active and informed consent of the governed. Only in anarchy is this even possible. See, anarchists alone believe that no one should be trusted with power, and that positions of power shoud consequently not be institutionalized, but made situational, and rotated about, so a ruling elite doesn't spring up.

We alone favor active, responsible people taking care of themselves instead of relying on government or business to bail us out, and thereby forfeit our independence and autonomy. Wherever capitalism and statism appear, liberty, equality, freedom, and democracy go right out the window.

Today in the bourgeois "democracies" we see this in action. The people are "free" to do whatever is permitted them by the government. In other words, you can do whatever THEY say you can do, which is no freedom at all, nor democracy, either.

Here's how these villains get away with it: they adopt Rousseau's idea of the "Social Contract", a spurious and self-serving piece of political mythology if ever there was one. This selfsame "contract" says that we all agree to give up some of our liberty and freedom for the "security" provided by the state. And the fine print is this: our silence in this matter is taken as our consent!!

Now think for a minute: government exists to protect property; that's its sole purpose. Those with much property have much freedom in propertarian society; those with less have less freedom, and those with none have no freedom at all. We're expected to believe that the poor AGREED to be poor??! But leaders pretend that the silence of the poor is in fact their consent to this state of affairs, which is plainly ludicrous. The Social Contract is an act of usurpation, a way for leaders to claim unearned legitimacy.

Now, they even go further in pretending that the electoral system as it stands is your voice. In other words, the very people who usurped your freedom now decide how you can respond to this! Again, no freedom at all, here, and even less democracy.

Anarchists propose a vital alternative: the bad guys choose to believe that your silence gives them a blank slate to do as they wish--so the most important thing for you to do is to be as vocal as you can, on the issues that interest you, and to NOT rely on leaders to deliver you, but to deliver yourself!

Anarchists are the only unequivocable supporters of direct democracy out there, folks. That's one of our greatest strengths, which is why we've locked horns with government for over a century.

Government wants you passive and obedient--that's a necessary mindset to get along in governmental society. Society can function that way, but forget liberty, freedom, justice, and equality. Forget solidarity and cooperation--they die in such a stagnant environment.

Anarchy is the only way to achieve lasting, true democracy. It's up to you what you get. Our society has the veneer of democracy without the vital substance--people are "free" to do what they're told!! Everyone pretends it's democracy, but in fact it isn't. It's a sham.

Anarchists alone call attention to this and seek to bring democracy into daily practice for each of us, so we can each live our lives as we see fit, so long as we respect one another's liberty. That's a just world, and one we hope to build from the ashes of this one.