Thursday, 11 February 2010

On Anarchy

I've been rather busy, what with real world work and the like, consequently my blogging has been rather light - let's fix that.

For some time I've been mulling over whether I should air my politics publicly, they are to say the least, unconventional.  The more observant of you may have noticed the little collection of anarchy symbols that adorn my blog on the left hand side, couple that with my obvious adoration of religion, organised systems of control, our political system and the individuals who inhabit those spaces - you've probably guessed but please permit me a little explanation.

After years of political indolence interspersed by engagement - through those periods of frustrated inactivity modulated by almost manic participation in organised politics it became apparent to me that our natural born expectations of freedom and happiness appear to run contrary to conventional political structures.

Nothing I tried quite fitted, I couldn't quite put my finger on it - the differing cuts of the parties and systems just pinched in wrong places. Its been a long journey which has concluded in my belief that, no matter how passionate or motivated an activist is to join a political party and attempt meaningful change from within, the existing structures cannot deliver empowerment and freedom; this is no more realistic a prospect as my very real desire as a child to fly.

'Change from within' - that oft expressed desire of those who are politically motivated - is an acknowledgement of failure; an admission that despite many decades of trying, our democracy has failed miserably to deliver what feels naturally like equitable freedom. If democracy was such a success story, as some would have us believe, why would change be needed? A success would not require new laws every parliamentary term, new legislation on old legislation restricting freedoms further, it would not take human lives, be indifferent to suffering, raise armies and be so open to corruption.

A prison called democracy; that's how I see our political system and its manipulation of our society - it locks us, our desires, passions, natural rights and freedoms in a constructed environment, one that gives our undeserving jailers free reign to exploit their unhealthy passions for power and acquisitiveness.  We are born in prison and we die there; in an unhealthy political system so cocksure and certain of its veracity, its unquestioned superiority, that it will brook no dissent, no discussion required, no debates called for - whilst all the time failing to represent its constituent's rights to basic freedoms.

You got it, I think - I'm an anarchist, I think...

I don't however have the answers, a better system?  Sure let's discuss that seriously, it's important, more important than anything else, ever, anywhere - we have but one life; to spend that in chains in a version of freedom dictated to us by our 'betters', who all the time suspiciously reassure us it's the best we can expect, is wrong.

What I do know is that our current structures, the accepted truths, seem all too often to mitigate against freedom, maybe less so than others, but that is no excuse for refusing to discuss change - what sane man or woman would compromise their life, accept second best?  Life is our only one and true possession of import.  Why would we surrender a worthwhile and free existence to others?  Why is there no serious discussion of exactly how we organise society and politics for the maximum benefit of the individual, now and in future.  Have we accepted this because we are told by others that this is the best we can expect?

The last word goes to Emma Goldman from her essay "Anarchism: What it really stands for"
To achieve such an arrangement of life, government, with its unjust, arbitrary, repressive measures, must be done away with. At best it has but imposed one single mode of life upon all, without regard to individual and social variations and needs. In destroying government and statutory laws, Anarchism proposes to rescue the self-respect and independence of the individual from all restraint and invasion by authority. Only in freedom can man grow to his full stature. Only in freedom will he learn to think and move, and give the very best in him. Only in freedom will he realize the true force of the social bonds which knit men together, and which are the true foundation of a normal social life.

But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism?
Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed?

John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities?

Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities.

Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.
...rant fin


  1. Lets nail Polaris Philosophy in one


    would you choose to go out without
    a) your makeup on
    (b) your Knickers on
    (c)do not wear either

  2. I suppose I a an agnotic anarchistish.

    Just like I am a presbyterian atheist.

    Sometimes I think I know I am a panda.

    I have problems but, nothing that a couple of glasses of red biddy won't solve.

  3. Although I have had a touch of the anarchic in me ever since I started thinking about these things, I can't in all conscience say that I believe it is the answer. If anyone could tell me in what way anarchism is different from the rule of the strong and selfish, I would be interested to hear it. Freedom is great; mob rules, lynch mobs, illiterate crowds attacking the house of a paediatrician - these are not great, and I haven't yet heard how they could be addressed in an anarchic society. What we have may be bad, but it's a whole lot better than rule by Kray and Rachmann, which is the logical outcome of 'an-arkhos'.

    I've said more about this over at mine.

  4. Basically I'm a minarchist myself in that I see the need for some sort of government, merely the bare minimum of it.
    I believe that the best person to decide how my money is spent, is me, I don't think it's the government either national or local, though I'm willing to concede that there should be a government and that some of my taxes should go towards certain things like defence and transport infrastructure on a national level and streetlighting and rubbish removal on a local level if only to avoid 16 different rubbish collections over 7 days of the week. I do believe however that a lot of the things that national government does ought to be devolved down to local levels, the lowest local level being me.

  5. So we could just have 66million political parties in the UK.

    I'm inclined to the view that anybody who wants to enter politics should be disbarred on the grounds of unsuitability. If those who ran the Country didn't want to do it, they'd do as little as possible before sloping off home. As far as SW1 is concerned, less "work" equals less damage!

    Alternatively, can I make a UDI?

  6. Minarchist - not come across that one before, but it kinda describes me quite well. As a rule of thumb, I'd say let's see what sort of state we could run on a tax rate of 5p in the pound on incomes over £10k - and then build the state on what we could afford, not what the state would like to be. It wouldn't be much, but it might be enough. And if 5p was inadequate, well let's go for 6p. Hang the expense.

  7. What do you call an anarchist in a suit?
    The defendant.

    A red anarchist and a green anarchist are riding together in a car. Who’s driving?
    A cop.

    Why don’t anarchists drink Earl Grey?
    Because proper tea is theft!

    How do anarchists change a lightbulb?
    From the bottom up.

    How many anarchists does it take a lightbulb?
    Forget change. We say smash the fucking bulb.

    What does a trotkyist taxi service look like?
    They tell you where you're going and how to get there.

    What does an anarchist taxi service look like?
    The driver-passenger relationship represents an essential hierarchical relationship which must be broken down through long co-operative discussion and decision-making. Once all the occupants of the taxi are on equal terms, and those external to the taxi are aware and comfortable with their freedom to associate or disassociate with those within the taxi, discussions of possible destinations can begin in earnest. ...

  8. I doubt if I'm an anarchist, perhaps more libertarian in some ways. Why do we all have to be put in a box though?

    Like QM and others, I prefer minimal government - the opposite of what we've had most of my life.

    Yet still I support independence for Scotland but unfortunately I don't see an independent Scotland having strong politicians. If labour MPs decide Westminster's no longer for them and to 'infiltrate' Holyrood, that spells disaster for all of us.

  9. Thanks to all of you for your comments, they are greatly appreciated. As you probably guessed from my post I am expressing more frustration than logic - but hey that's why I blog - no aspirations to see my name in print here.

    @Mr M - (b)

    @Bugger - "Presbyterian Athiests" that explains the black and white collar!

    @Richard - Thanks for the counter-post, very flattering. You elucidate the nub of the problem with Anarchy as an organised system - it is the very antithesis of organisation - Minarchy is the reasonable alt I guess, the problem for me is finding a group that represents the minarchist interest that isn't a Right Wing nutjob...

    @QM - I agree, what gets me though is there is no discussion of how we break down the current governmental behemoth and rebuild it - sometimes an extreme stance can provoke that?

    @Mick Anderson - LOL, UDI it is - the land of Polaris has abolished tax, today - fortunate cos I'm doing my billing.

    @Doug - Ouch, very funny - Taxi trips by committee - LOL. On the subject of lightbulbs I've just bought a 10 pack of 100 Watt lovely incandescent bulbs - My home has been transformed from a frugally lit energy saving dingy home to somewhere I can read without getting pink eyes in 2 minutes.

    @Subrosa - I don't really know if I am, but freedom sounds better to me than oppression - I think the philosophy is one to aspire to, a society by the people for the people...

  10. Iv'e always thought of myslef as a bit of an anarchist, not in an Activist or intellectual sense but, as I responded to someone who asked me what, as an anarchist, I wanted the Government to do.
    I replied that I didn't want the government to DO anything, just go away and leave me alone.

  11. The biggest obstruction to someone being an anarchist is the popular conception of anarchy, if you ask me. Not helped by all the post-apocalyptic films and the like...

    I don't think anarchy would be disorderly or violent. Quite the opposite, government brings us much disorder and violence.

  12. @ banned - my gut response as well...

    @ adamS - I agree, there is a nihilistic interpretation that terrifies those that are afraid of not having a controlling influence is their life. There is absolutely no reason why we could not tear down the current structures of government, civil service, police and other vehicles of control - and replace them with a more representative infrastructure, accountable to the people and controlled directly by local democratic structures.

    @ muddypaws - so I am told... :-)