One one hand, perhaps we should be happy that Teen Vogue has fully transitioned from providing detailed guides on the mechanics of anal sex to the tween crowd, to promoting violent opposition to “Fascism.” On the other hand, there’s a lot of space between the two topics Teen Vogue could have covered.
But here we are.
Over the weekend, Teen Vogue took on the timely and pressing topic of “anti-Fascism,” the cultural significance of “anarchy,” and how high schoolers can get involved with their local black-clad resistance, should they decide that simply tweeting about President Donald Trump is proving ineffectual (not that Antifa has really scored many points in that direction, either).
The guide, authored by a “New York City anarchist” and buried in between think pieces on Ariana Grande and skin care for the acne-ravaged, begins by setting out a definition of anarchy that sounds startlingly like a definition of socialism, disguised as anarchy.
“Anarchism is a radical, revolutionary leftist political philosophy that advocates for the abolition of government, hierarchy, and all other unequal systems of power,” she writes. “It seeks to replace what its proponents view as inherently oppressive institutions — like a capitalist society or the prison industrial complex — with nonhierarchical, horizontal structures powered by voluntary associations between people.”
Most of all, though, “anarchists” in the vein of Antifa are “opposed” to anything that isn’t totally intersectional, and the ones the author associates with view themselves as … of course … radically socialist. Her form of “anarchism” involves a vast collective, where no one owns any personal property and the people engage in “community ownership of the means of production.”
The only difference between anarchism and communism, she points out, is that communism requires that a small group still be in control of the vast collective, whereas under anarchy, everyone has an equal part in the governance of everything, which belongs to everyone.
If that sounds confusing and ineffectual, that’s because it is. But really, that doesn’t matter, because anarchy doesn’t really lend itself to organization (in fact, it’s the opposite), which sort of makes overthrowing the bourgeoisie difficult. Fortunately for the author, she’s also actively involved in the pro-labor movement (which is weirdly anti-anarchic) so she’s really tapping into the best of both worlds, even if she happens to be a walking example of irony.
The piece wraps up much like Teen Vogue’s other explainers: by suggesting that dabbling in anarchism doesn’t just have to be a “punk rock” phase you go through on your way to getting a real job, paying taxes, and laying aside your youthful hatred of collectivist fantasies. The page then quickly shifts over to why Rowan Blanchard wants to bleach her eyebrows.
In fairness, eyebrow bleaching is pretty punk rock.