Anarchy For An Anarchic Village

Reading Tolstoy in a Sri Lankan protest village

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Leo Tolstoy with his grandchildren (via)

In Sri Lanka, protestors have occupied a patch of ground in the shadow of five-star hotels and luxury apartments for over 50 days now, in what is called GotaGoGama. It means [the President’s name] Go [village]. This community has no particular permission to be there and is democratically organized literally from the ground up. There is no leader, there is no one in charge. The government sent a mob to bust it up on May 9th, but again it has re-formed.

People in this community don’t call themselves anything, but what they’re doing vibes with one definition of anarchism. As Noam Chomsky explains, “Anarchy as a social philosophy has never meant “chaos” — in fact, anarchists have typically believed in a highly organized society, just one that’s organized democratically from below.”

Indeed, GotaGoGama is highly organized. There is housing of sorts, food, a library, tent universities, medical facilities, and a rotating cast of people and events. These are people who advocate for complete system change, while elites try to undercut them within a system that’s increasingly deranged.

I went to visit a friend there and speak to a few of his friends about anarchy, as expressed by Leo Tolstoy (who also didn’t label it either). I’m styling this…

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Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.