The old joke goes like this: What’s the biggest impediment to Anarchism? Anarchists! Hah!
The new joke is, of course, that people still pay attention to Anarchism. No, it’s not a particularly funny joke – it’s actually kinda sad. But it does make ya think.
When you take a close look at the development of Anarchism, you see that it grew out of the socialist philosophies of St. Simon and Rouseau, both of whom are credited by various sources as the originators of Socialism.
Both men dreamed of a better world than the ruthless conquistador reality of their day. They wished to see humankind freed from the shackles of economic domination by the elite, the wealth of the nations shared amongst the population, each according to their needs. Yet both envisioned a strong centralized state to enforce not only the distribution of material goods, but also to see to it that noone escaped from their production. Indeed, if the slogan “To work is to be free,” has any relevance to the world outside nazi death camps (the slogan was written above the entrance to Auschwitz), then the socialist state of the originators of socialism is where it finds its greatest fruition. I can’t restrain myself from mentioning that fascism, without the victimization of a certain segment of the population, is the socialist dream realized. The terrorizing of the population in order to impose the all-powerful state is the fascist’s only contribution to the original vision of the socialist state. This argument deserves a longer observation than I am prepared to give it now. The point I am trying to arrive at is that socialists have never strayed from their belief in the need for a strong centralized state, whether run by, for or against the people.
In this context, William Godwin and Pierre-Joseph Proudon argued that the needs of society, the goods produced by skilled workers, unskilled laborers and peasants – the proletariat – could be met by the organization of the workers themselves, supporting one anothers efforts through mutual aid.
Mutualism, the voluntary cooperation of the proletariat, did not question the need for an industrialized society. Nor did the later Anarchism of Mikhail Bakunin, Pietor Kropotkin or Errico Malatesta, three members of their nation’s ruling elite who forsook their titles to join with the working classes to challenge the rights of the privileged to determine other people’s fates. By failing to challenge the notion that the industrial society was necessary, Anarchism entrenched itself into the socialist camp as it’s far-left wing, arguing in favor of a less powerful – yet still existent – nation state. In what amounted to a mere shift in form, the legislative powers of the state were to be handed over to the working class, who would then proceed to vote some of their class into legislative power. Though they wanted to allow for more power by the voters to influence the decisions of the representatives, the fact that time and distance would separate the two would make the system of recall a constant battle over the influence of the legislative body. Despite their objections and safeguards, the socialism projected by Anarchism would have inevitably resulted in a representative legislative body which would eventually take the guise of a state, complete with a bureaucratic support system and judicial system to enforce its decisions on the voters.
The greatest flaw in the thinking of the 19th century Anarchists was their attachment to the idea of Progress, the rationalistic view that everything was getting better all the time, that each new gadget and innovation would help usher in a new era of further – in their minds – enlightenment. Thereby, people would one day be able to use their talents and abilities for the better of society, and thus create a more equal, just society.
In retrospect, you can’t really fault them too much for their limited critique. After all, many technological innovations were, if not labor-saving, at least fascinating. Is there truly a need for a telephone, for instance? Hasn’t the telephone actually helped create a more alienated society by isolating and limiting us into a small circle of family and friends? Hasn’t telephone service made possible – or at least, more palatable – distance between people, making it easier for people to be separated from their families and friends while going to some distant place to work!?!
In the past, it was difficult to find people who would readily part with their homes for long periods to travel to distant places. Conquering armies from Europe were often made up of criminals, misfits, glory-headed gentry, and the aristocracy’s bastards. All the merchant and Naval fleets of the colonial era used press gangs to kidnap men to serve on their vessels.
Most people just wish to be left alone to find their place in their communities. Has the telephone helped this endeavor? Go to the public or University library in your town sometime and watch the users of the on-line computers, those global communicators at their keyboards. How often do they lift their eyes from the screen and greet their neighbors? Ever? No, in the end, the machine is only capable of ensnaring the user into its own reality. Consider the car owner – how many hours of every month must the car owner devote to making money for the support of the vehicle; the cost of purchase, the interest on the loan, the insurance, the feeding, maintenance, and personalization of the vehicle? In many cases, more than the car owner will spend on any children in the family.
So, in the 19th century, people had to take a great leap to challenge not only the notion of a strong, centralized state, but the industrialized society which would give birth to it. The proponents of classic Anarchism were not up to the task. That is why I feel the imperative to call for the end of Anarchism, for the abandoning of socialism in any aspect. Furthermore, this hellish society, which equates death with freedom and calls slavery liberation, must be obliterated from the lives of those who truly desire to live their lives for themselves.
Anarchism is a part of the Great Crusade, in which the higher moral principles which come from the enlightened mind shall guide the Masses – those wretched, poor souls – to a better world. This crusade must be given up by anarchists. Anarchy cannot be imposed through force on a world unwilling to embrace it. What is to be done with the great majority of the population who wish to see everything stay just the way it is, only better for them, personally? For every anarchist who values the right to act according to unrestricted passions, there are likely several dozen people who fear their desires, fear the desires of others, and need to be held in check by the fear of the consequences of their actions. These people are not capable of rule, not even of themselves. They must be taken care of, comforted, reassured, fed, clothed, told what to think – given limited options, of course. Are these walking dead to be killed outright by anarchists? Of course, they would fight like berserkers to protect their right to watch TV in the comfort of their nuclear-powered homes. And, they would have the backing, training, and arms of the industrialized nation state to support their right to do so. No, the Great Crusade hasn’t a chance in the fight against a system that provides the opium to the addicts and tells them that all is well, even while imprisoning the addicts to check their over-zealousness.
No, anarchists should abandon the Great Crusade and do all they can to make their lives their own, NOW! To hell with society. What has society ever done for you? Oppressed, lied, blinded, gagged, bound, and sold you into slavery – all the while trying to convince you that it was all done in your best interest, and to get you to enjoy participating in your own oppression and annihilation.
The time is long past due when anarchists must separate themselves from Anarchism, a disassociation from a belief system based on the Rationalistic nightmare of domination (of nature, people, the entire universe!) and the free association of autonomous individuals.
Those who struggle for personal liberation in their lives would do well to denounce any labels, even anarchist! A life of autonomous interactions based upon the realization of desire in the omnipresent now is nothing if not chaos!
Chaos, unbound by definition and forms, doesn’t hold individuals captive in idealogical cages. Free to interact as circumstances dictate, the chaotic individual’s relation to society is more akin to a stingray lying in wait, buried in the sand; a covert berserker, a warrior constantly on the attack against societal constraints and imposed roles and morals, who chooses when to strike, when to blend into the background while moving on to the next battle, as benefits the struggle against oppressive forces; rendezvousing with other beserkers to celebrate their liberated times and places, to share their plunder, their joy, their love of life!
Come along now! With every paycheck, you sign away more of you life, a life you’ll never be able to buy back! Every payment of the rent or mortgage further ties you to the industrial state and weakens your resolve to fight it, as you grow soft and comfortable, sucking on the teat of your own repression. We’ll never liberate ourselves by going along with the social order we were born subjected to.
Cut the ties, take the plunge into the unknowable, take what you need and begin to spend your time in delirious insurrection!