This guest blog is courtesy of my friend Oliver, who is a graduate student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City working towards his Master of Arts in Economics. Oliver is also a “slave to capitalism” who is “practicing to become an anarchist.” I asked him to write on the topic of anarchism since I feel most people have a big misunderstanding about it. Many thanks to Oliver for his contribution.
Anarchy? Anarchy you ask? What about it? Truly Anarchy/Anarchism in its many forms is quite complex to the trained eye. Most public information on the subject is coming from an organized and centralized source that is at odds with the very notion of freedom and randomness.
How society manages itself is dependent on a dichotomy between chaos and control, or this is how people in control want you to think. Whether it is a capitalist society, where capital is polarized or centralized and then this capital controls human behavior, or a communist society, where a state or centralized electorate or party centrally organizes human behavior, or a blend between the two, the ultimate result is some group arbitrarily setting up norms, enforceable laws, or social demands that benefit themselves at the expense of someone else.
Anarchy despises this; it despises most, if not all, laws because they usually and unjustly serve a few over the many, i.e. property rights. Many people are starving while large tracts of land are undeveloped. These people could be squatting and growing their own food. We have millions on the streets while good houses sit vacantly or are in foreclosure. Patent rights are there to protect businesses at the cost of dying people who are unable to afford medicine.
Laws are merely an example of concrete measures controlling human nature against its wishes; unknown mental slavery. Popular culture and prevailing social wants of the massive majority are determined by a small elite minority through advertising, propaganda, and what is and is not covered on your news.
Freedom is a loaded word. If you read all the laws on all the books for your area, you would probably find that freedom is possibly impossible. Anarchists want to set this straight, and there are many types that have many well-thought ideas.
Anarcho-primitivism wants a return to a hunter-gatherer style of organization of human productive action, gift economies, harmony with the planet, and group consensus over immediate social norms.
Green anarchists are fighting for resource use to be decided only collectively and only used locally.
Anarcho-communism wants society to be restructured, having local governments be the largest available.
The list goes on and on, and the point ends up similarly. Power of masses corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely; there is a sliding scale. The only thing centralization ends up achieving is exploitation.
Anarchism is anti-authoritarianism. People make sounder decisions with the people they know well; hence the reason for these collectives or groups to have the autonomous power to determine their own lives. Next time you need something at the store, ask the clerk if he or she would like to trade that something for something else, now or at a later date, or if he or she would consider giving it to you as a gift, with only your trust in return.