the Development of Free and Voluntary Relationships to Accomplish Shared Aims
An Anarchist Revolution
Is There an Alternative to Government?
The state needs to be replaced. It is a useless mechanism, perhaps fit for society thousands of years ago, but not today. Its only purpose, according to its own constitutions, is to express the general will of the people. But people everywhere are dissatisfied with it. Anarchy, or the abolition of all government, is not considered very seriously, because there is little confidence that it will be able to make immediate changes. Even if it were considered a good idea, how would the common individual bring it into reality? The state is this vast, powerful beast, with its influences thrown far and wide. What can one single person do to rip its claws out of the flesh of the society?
The government does represent the system of violent oppression: prisons, capital punishment, police, military, secret service departments, and every type of backdoor and secret diplomacy between nations that can be imagined. Hundreds of millions of people are bound to agreements that they have never even read or heard of, because of their willing obedience to a single master. The desire to get out from underneath this system is constantly expressing itself, but in different ways: the "Right-Wing" accusing the top-down government of being too Socialist, and the "Left-Wing" accusing the it of being too Fascist.
Such political associations are "opposed" to Statism, but only where it is a marketable quality they can use on voters. They are not truly opposed to the State -- their plan is not to create Anarchy and the abolishment of law, but their plan is to be the new masters of government. With the right people in the seat of power, then power does not get abused. They never say it explicitly, because the statement itself is very suspicious. Yet, this is exactly what they imply when they accuse the government of being "too governmentalist," and offer their own political party as "the real alternative."
The only alternative, of course, is to pick someone else for the same exact task. Or, specifically, vote for B, because A has been a problem, and B won't be a problem. The constant shuffling of all "representative" governments shows that there has never been a B that had no problems of their own. Such offers by the political parties are not real alternatives. They simply wish to replace King George by King Charles. They'll criticize the institution of Kings until their candidate takes power, and then they'll cease to point out the weaknesses of this social organization.
This is the type of back-and-forth that typically occurs between the Left and Right parties of the world. Everyone wants some type of alternative to the top-down, hierarchical forms of authority. But so far, this message has only been used deceptively by opposing political parties. They never offered any real alternative. Their system, like the last one, essentially leaves the people with no power except to trust their masters. So, if we are going to establish Anarchy, overthrow government, and abolish all oppressive parts of society, then how?
The Obedience Model of State Domination
The state's power is actually very abstract. It holds its power not solely through the armed aggression of police and prisons. What allows them this power, however, is the willingness of the people to obey and follow their masters. If nobody listened to their leaders, then the size of the navy and the army would mean nothing. What use is a soldier or a sailor to the kings and queens of the world, except that they obey in exploiting the people? It is not just the troops, but the workers, who also obey the state, in paying their taxes and in producing vast oceans of wealth.
It is from the state that people expect to have their say in how society ought to be organized. Every person naturally has a right to a voice in the decision-making in any environment where they live or work. Supporting government, by voting for particular candidates or political parties, is seen by many as the only exercise of this right. They may not even be conscious of this impulse at all, and if asked why they want to fight "big business" or "big government," they would say something that meant nothing -- "because that is where you can find the greatness of our nation," or "because that is where you can find the greatness of our economy." But like the tax they pay on their commodities, they don't immediately realize that they can't satisfy their desires, without building up an oppressive government.
It would also be absurd to say that Socialists are the only ones guilty of wanting to use the state to change society, even though this is commonly asserted. The Nationalistic government would try to make its people "patriotic," to make its military forces "respected," and to make a public worship of "tradition." These are expressions of the same desire of the individual to effect the environment around them, except the changes thought needed are not the same.
Liberals and Conservatives, Greens and even the self-described "Libertarian" Party, Nationalists and Socialists -- every political party represents this desire of some people trying to become socially empowered. And so, without anyone noticing it, the State comes into existence. It is an abstraction, like the market where people trade and exchange. We imagine trading in the public square to be one concrete concept, but when we examine its details, we find everything dependent upon the unplanned interaction of thousands.
We cannot imagine "half a government," or "half a market," though we can imagine "a small government" and a "small market." In proceeding up to the point where it becomes its own thing, there is only one trend: the increased interactions of many individuals, each seeking something of their own, but together, without planning, they end up creating something unique in the end. The result is called their social organization. The state, too, does not exist solely as a single entity -- it is the product of when people come together, each seeking their own thing, with no one aware of what the end result may be.
Everyone "hates the government," in some way or form, no matter how it's expressed. Politicians and political parties won't come out with this message, because it is through the government that they wish to cure their problem. The complaints of "brutal militarism" and "oppressive bureaucracy" meet each other in the voting booth. They look each other in the eyes and shake hands. But without the people using the state to express their criticisms of society, the problems created by the government would evaporate.
Replacing the Functions of Government
When the Nazis invaded and occupied Poland in 1939, Polish Socialists, Catholics, and Nationalists joined together to form the Polish Underground State. It was a secret government which tried to express the will of the Polish people, since they had been prevented from doing this by the German occupation. While the primary desire was the removal of the invaders, there was much more to the Polish Underground State than that. In some areas, they were able to secretly resume schooling, courts, and even the police. [*1]
Much of their activity was organizing resistance to the Nazis. By withdrawing the need of the Polish citizen to interact with the Nazi dictatorship, the Polish Underground State was able to limit the amount of amount given to the state by the domination of the people. In Belgium, resistance groups saw the same end, but used a different means: the universal implementation of slow-downs at work, sabotage of supplies, and mismanagement of the Nazi-controlled economy. [*2]
To create Anarchy, we must be ready to build an alternative organization to the state that will empower people in regards to their social environment. It must be organized to appeal to the student, in providing a means of anti-Authoritarian education. It must appeal to the worker in applying pressure against Capitalist exploitation; to the individual in resisting the dominating effect of a consumer culture; to the community member in creating neighborhood solidarity; and to the "professional" laborer seeking to boycott the oppressive nature of state and Capitalism.
A true Anarchist organization would make its appeals to the unemployed and to the homeless, as well as to those who are considered "middle-class." The only part of the Old World that we shall reject are those who live by being a master of state or capital. In some ways, it does resemble the Polish Underground State. We seek to provide a cooperative, voluntary method for people to work together in satisfying their needs; more than that, we understand that self-reorganization among the people is the greatest way of weakening the state. Unlike the Polish Underground State, though, we seek to abolish the State and the Law, as well as Capitalist exploitation.
Such an organization would be a federation of many, autonomous groups, each in their own alliances formed when thought beneficial by the participants. Unions would represent the individual as a worker; and then confederations of these unions would represent the worker who wants to quit and find another union job. Student resistance groups would represent the individual as a student; and then Left-wing, Libertarian education experiments would represent teachers and pupils alike trying to make an alternative to Authoritarian schools. Community groups would represent neighborhoods, as activist groups would represent particular causes.
Yet, one single person may fulfill every one of these roles, active in many organizations, since they each advance the interests of the individual. For true development of the individual, they would be students at one time, workers at another, and community members at yet another time. As the Shakespearian phrase describes, "And one man in his time plays many parts..." [*3] Government maintains its power by taxes and profits, and while the masses may see themselves only as eating and sleeping, it is this which makes the state immense. If we can provide a way for people to eat and sleep without supporting government, then we will have found a start to overthrowing the state. But to do this, we must have a mass, all-inclusive, anti-Authoritarian organization.
*1. Stanisław Salmonowicz, Polskie Państwo Podziemne, Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, Warszawa, 1994, ISBN 830205500X.