Palestinian Anarchists in Conversation: Recalibrating anarchism in a colonized country

Institute for Anarchist Studies

By Joshua Stephens

“I’m honestly still trying to kick the nationalist habit,” jokes activist Ahmad Nimer, as we talk outside a Ramallah cafe. Our topic of conversation seems an unlikely one: living as an anarchist in Palestine. “In a colonized country, it’s quite difficult to convince people of non-authoritarian, non-state solutions. You encounter, pretty much, a strictly anticolonial – often narrowly nationalist – mentality,” laments Nimer. Indeed, anarchists in Palestine currently have a visibility problem. Despite high-profile international and Israeli anarchist activity, there doesn’t seem to be a matching awareness of anarchism among many Palestinians themselves.

“Contemporary discussion of anarchist themes shifts emphasis towards more of an approach to power: rejecting power over, in favor of power with. “When you talk about anarchism as a political concept, it is defined as rejecting the state,” explains Saed Abu-Hijleh, a human geography lecturer at An-Najah University in Nablus. “It talks about…

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