Sunday, 7 June 2020

Anarchy & Covid19.

What Might an Anarchist Society Look Like?

     1 The world’s resources would be held in common and shared with all the diverse life on Earth.
    2 People would manage their own lives, work and communities, and everyone would have a say in decision making through decentralised forms of organisation.
   3 Relationships in all areas of life would be based on mutual respect and equality regardless of gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, disability, age, culture etc.
    4 Work wouldn’t be boring and repetitive, but instead would be a means of voluntary self expression and fulfillment; unpopular or difficult jobs would be shared.
    5 Education would be integrated into daily life to produce free individuals who think for ourselves.
     6 Goods and services would be produced ecologically for human needs based on the principle “from each according to ability, to each according to need”

      Anarchist, by word and deed, strive for that better world for all, anarchism has the books, the leaflets, the history, the road map, and there has been the experience in several places in the world where these became practice. However the world changes and anarchism like that world must also change. We have to convince people that our philosophy would work in drastic situations, pandemic is the most resent event that anarchist must show that it could cope with, and better than, the present centralised autocratic state/capitalism system. That requires honest debate, co-operation and open mindedness.
     The group Anarchist Writers has produced an interesting article that perhaps will open and encourage that debate among anarchists and the general public.

Anarchy and Covid-19

       A standard reproach against anarchism is that it would not be able to withstand crises as well as hierarchies. This is often the underlying assumption of Marxist diatribes against Anarchism – although these usually invoke euphemisms to avoid admitting that what is really being suggested is that they and their party should be in power. Hence the assertions on the need for a centralised “workers’ State” to organise defence against the counter-revolution (i.e., anyone who disagrees with them), plan the economy, and so on – skilfully avoiding discussing the grim inefficiencies and tyrannies of the Bolshevik regime or the various counter-examples which show the opposite (most obviously, the response of the CNT-FAI to Franco’s coup).
      The coronavirus crisis – like any crisis – sees people “rally to the flag” and be more willing to view those in power in a good light. This happened in the UK with the serial lying, incompetent, self-serving, waffling, racist, sexist, homophobic lazy waste of space known as “Boris” but better called Johnson (and not only because that is his surname). It even happened with Trump – although his bump in the polls was both smaller in size and shorter in duration. Still, Trump does serve a purpose – making even Johnson and his response to the crisis seem better by default.
     Which raises a question – what would an anarchist society, an anarchy, do in the face of a coronavirus crisis?
This is no idle question for addressing a serious issue and the concerns it generates in the general public (i.e., people we want to become anarchists) should be something anarchists do. We must apply our ideas to real events if we take our ideas seriously and seek to see them applied – rather than an excuse to sound ultra-radical.
Now, there may be a tendency for some anarchists – as with “crime” (i.e., anti-social behaviour) – to simply say that a free society would not have any. This, as with crime, is not very convincing and, for example, Kropotkin did not suggest that. He argued, like other anarchist thinkers, that anti-social behaviour would, indeed, be vastly reduced in a decent society, but it would never disappear completely. Therefore any which remained would be dealt with via free arbitration between the parties in conflict, as well as community solidarity and self-defence conducted as humanely as an illness would be.
     The same can be said for Covid-19. Yes, a free society would be one based on workers’ control, so it is unlikely that it would be lacking in safe and hygienic working conditions. It would not have the same pressures from bosses to cut corners to maximise profits (and in non-mutualist anarchies there would be no market pressures to do likewise). It would not experience the hollowing out of society and its various institutions (not least health-care) that neo-liberalism has produced nor would it have people with low-paid, insecure jobs who have to drag themselves into work because they have bills to pay but, by so doing, spread the virus. It would not have obscenities like billionaires having a net worth far in excess of the costs of paying their workers decent sick pay for months.
Visit ann arky's home at

No comments:

Post a comment