Disclaimer: animals are animals and also individuals and projecting human intent onto their behaviour is never going to make much sense, but this was fun to write.
Cats are the poster animals of anarchism.
They’re independent, mischievous and demonstrably don’t give a fuck about any rules, all qualities which we often think of as being inherently anarchistic. As Earnest Hemingway once said ‘No animal has more liberty than the cat, but it buries the mess it makes. The cat is the best anarchist.’
Anarchy cat is a recognisable symbol which is available for purchase in both sticker and in patch form. There’s even a Facebook group called “A place for anarchists to post pictures of their cats in” (if you haven’t liked it already, 10/10 would deff recommend). Popular anarchist phrases are sometimes reappropriated into All Cats Are Beautiful (ACAB) and No Dogs No Masters. Cats are like, our thing.
[Anarchy cat: Available in both sticker and patch form.]
Dogs, meanwhile, are not anarchists. They’re good pals, sure, but they’re daft, clumsy and notoriously pack animals with, many believe, a fairly strict adherance to hierarchy. They’re also known for being obedient, and their complete adoration of their human owners (along with the concept of ownership as a thing) doesn’t really tie in too well with the whole “No Gods No Masters” thing.
So the surface it makes sense. But let’s think about this. What are we actually trying to say here; that cats embody the most anarchist principles and cats are independent and self reliant. So, logically, the same should be said of the ideal anarchist?
Well, I mean, sure, if you’re an asshole.
Meanwhile, let’s think a little bit more on dogs. Dogs are loyal. They have strong values and they stick to these. They protect the ones they love and, assuming they’ve been treated well, they are full of love and joy for most creatures. They are caring and adventurous and have excellent instincts. These are all excellent and valuable qualities for anyone involved in community organising. Obviously the point about obedience to owners is fair and correct – but that’s a human imposed quality, not something inherent to the animal’s nature. What’s more, in many cases (historical species based oppression and domestication aside) the relationship between human and dog companions is give and take, as human companions will provide care, warmth and sustenance for the dog companion, which in my opinion helps us to develop better qualities in ourselves which are vital for community action and support.
[Famous Greek Anarchy Dog Loukianos fronts negotiations with riot police in Athens, Greece]
Anyway, my pal Rory tells me that pack hierarchies in dogs only usually materialise in domestic situations and in the wild they become much more non-hierarchical.
When you think about it, cats are those kind of creepily slick dudes who turn up to protests with a sign up sheet and stand at the side looking slick and not really doing anything to help.
But dogs? Dogs are your slightly mangy pal who always brings a full pot of food for the free community potluck. Dogs carry compost and wood to help in the local shared guarden space. Dogs phone up their pals following their “I’m really mentally ill, halp” status to ask if they what them to come over and do the dishes.
Dogs are the anarchists who won’t betray you. Who won’t make excuses when you call someone out for abuse. Who will do everything in their power to help out those who are in trouble. Who will research wage inequality laws and do boring shit like fill out complaint forms.
Cats are libertarians.
Dogs are perfect.
Hemingway was lying.
All Cats are Bastards.
Here’s a song.