ILLEGALISM: A FALSE OPTION FOR TODAY'S WORLD:
Molly has commented on this matter before on this blog in relation to why her anarchism is "reformist". What Molly has to say here is predicated on the fact that anarchism, outside of the Peoples' Republic of China, is a force only in countries that have at least the appearance of "parliamentary democracy" and a restricted concept of "human rights". Molly simply argues realism here in that if there are 2,000 ways that you can spread the "anarchist message" in a "legal way" that DON'T result in any "adverse consequences" such as anarchists being portrayed as "thugs"; then you should fore swear the 50 ways of "propaganda" that have such unfortunate consequences. Neither the 2,000 nor the 50 are automatic "game winners". Perhaps it would be rational to choose the tactics that have less "cost" in terms of public perception. It would also be rational to choose the tactics that give the least opportunity for undesirable people to gain power within a so-called "oppositional movement". May I suggest that an ideology of "militant confrontation" is exactly the sort of field where the weeds of primitive authoritarianism can grow. This is quite different from a movement that accepts the usual moral restraints of "Non-violent civil disobedience" because the "leaders" in such movements are both required to prove !!! their truth by action (ie being arrested or brutalized by the forces of "order") while the ersatz "leaders of violent confrontation" "prove" their worthiness by not being caught. The leaders of the confrontations with the police at any number of demonstrations make it a point of pride not to get caught. Only their foot soldiers suffer. Sometimes (usually!!!!! in the case of the ideologues) they simply are not there to be arrested.
All that is fine and dandy, and young people who come to anarchism today should be aware that there are a lot of middle aged people (and a few old farts such as Molly, though time wipes out the exploiters by natural selection) who see nothing wrong with sacrificing people's lives to an ideology. The basic truth test that you should apply is obvious: the greater the degree of "apparent radicalism" and the greater the degree of "commitment to violence" that the person requires the more likely that that person is somebody who is cultish and not a real anarchist. No "real anarchist" would ask you to sacrifice all of your future life for a symbolic "action". Unless, of course, you had fully understood the moral implications. Something that would guarantee that violent action was off the board of "things to do".
Watch out and beware. The exploiters in our own ranks are a much more serious threat to a rising movement, as anarchism is today, than the state is-even when the state deliberately infiltrates and promotes violence. We have more "internal nuts" than the state could ever plant,people who don't give a flying fuck about the eventual success of anarchism and only care about their own satisfaction. They can only do this in a "liberal culture" that makes excuses for counterproductive actions because of the psychology of the perpetrators. When anarchism, in a majoritarian way no matter what its internal ideological divides, is quick in condemning violent actions that are counterproductive and slow in producing "justifications" for such actions, then and only then will we know that we have a mature anarchist movement that can move on from its present successes.