On the Idea of Anarchy

ANARCHY MEANS WITHOUT GOVERNMENT OR AUTHORITY, it is derived from the Greek anarchia. Thus a society without government is an anarchist society.

Submitted by Reddebrek on September 5, 2016

Anarchy, however, is universally used to denote disorder and confusion. Owing to the belief that government must be necessary for the organisation of social life, and that consequently a society without government must be disordered, the word anarchy is misused. Such a use of the word anarchy signifies a pre-judgment — it is possible to believe that anarchy would entail disorder, yet it can be argued that anarchy would mean the greatest order. If one is to be objective anarchy must be described unemotionally as a society without government. Anarchists, it should be stressed, do not believe in the absence of order, they believe in a society functioning without the State. They believe in anarchy — no government — they do not believe in or advocate chaos as a social ideal.

The State is the executive committee of the ruling class, it is what may be loosely termed, the Establishment. That collection of political, legislative, judicial, military and financial institutions who manage the affairs of the people are the Establishment. The heads of these institutions are the State, the supreme central administration of a country,

To the anarchist there are two types of society, on the one hand the open life-centred society that must be decentralised and federalist, and on the other the closed power-centred society that is authoritarian and totalitarian. He sees the former as springing from the impulse of love and spontaneity, whilst the latter is rooted in the impulse to coercion, authority and guilt. In social living we find power, fear and guilt or we find love, freedom and spontaneity — the anarchist seeks the latter.

It may be objected that anarchism is desirable but unattainable and impracticable. Yet if this is so then it follows that justice and equality are unattainable. If one rejects anarchism one accepts the institution of government which entails privilege and injustice between those who rule and those who are ruled.

And so the anarchist advocates a social revolution. Yet we must carefully note that this does not mean a coup d'etat, for it would be inconsistent and worthless for an anarchist to capture power. It must be a revolution from the bottom, a grass-roots revolution. Anarchism favours a regionalised society, a free, untidy community. Organisation is only encouraged to achieve ends, there is no particular liking for organisation. In an industrialised society syndicalism and worker's control, with possibly increasing automation and increased leisure, could be the basis for the free society.

If one is to change a society based on threats, fear, competition, guilt and hatred there can only be one way of doing it. Action which rejects these things opposes the system by an alternative way of living. One sets out to engender a different attitude to life, an attitude that in action shows itself to be healthier, more dignified and of greater value.