Dear Anarchist Aunt,
Today at school I got detention for not doing my homework. I told father but he said both he and grandad had to do their homework, so I should as well. Something about it creating hardworking values. I told Sally the Socialist about my predicament, and she said if I could not do it other people should step in to help me, and I should do the same for others if they need any help. As nice an idea as this is, it seems like a lot of hard work for the hard-working people, such as myself, while everyone else can be very lazy and take advantage of me fuelled by the sense of victory and will think they’re better than me which would make me constantly anxious. Can you imagine, people taking advantage of one another? I would not stand for it. I really don’t want to do the detention, or the homework, but father said I should look at the school, as a bigger entity than myself, and I should try and keep the school running as calmly as possible, so I should just stop moaning and do the detention. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about this ghastly predicament I find myself trapped in.
All the best,
Anarchist Aunt replies:
My dearest Eddy,
Very nice to hear from you again. I do hope you are keeping well, and the manor is still as big as ever. In terms of your predicament, I find it infuriating that schools are still standing by pointless syllabi and demanding regular homework from you all. The rigid structure of your day cages you into a rhythm that beats all that creativity out of you. Teachers should not have the authority to demand that you spend your time in a certain way.
I would suggest you do not turn up to detention. May I point you the way of Mr. Karl Marx, who suggests rising up as a body against the oppressive dictators that tyrannically exploit your time and effort. I would advise against forming a communist regime within your school, but you should certainly rid yourselves of authoritative figures who stand between yourself and freedom. Also, whatever your father says, the school is certainly not more important than you are. If it must have a syllabus then let it benefit you however that may be. After all, Einstein said “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” You must not be judged by society due to your tree climbing abilities if you a talented swimmer. It is your life, and you must choose how you live it – school has no right to dictate to you how to spend your time.
I also believe you that still attend chapel. Not only is this outrageous compulsory use of your time distasteful, but it is filling your young impressionable head with religious beliefs. As Emma Goldman puts it, religion encourages uncritical obedience, something that severely hinders humans’ progression.
Just because your father and grandfather did something, it certainly doesn’t mean you should do it. Good heavens, if that was the case you would still have slaves working for you, although when I imagine what you are paying your workers it does strike me we haven’t moved that far from those days.