I often have the same conversation with folks about anarchism. People want to know what an anarchist world would look like. I tell them, that if someone has a plan for that future, an answer to that question, run in the opposite direction.
Anyone who says they know what will work is probably a liar. And of course any move towards an anarchist society needs to avoid recreating hierarchies. Anyone with a set idea in their head, is likely to work towards that idea, creating power around it and themselves. We need to avoid ego and avoid placing ideas on unwilling persons and communities to move forward. We have to respect autonomy of communities and individuals.
Trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is ridiculous. I argue that our current society does exactly that. We are so wrapped up in the system of capitalism and ‘democracy’ that most don’t even see how these systems will never give us what we want. If what we want is freedom, justice, liberty, sustainability, etc. We have a ton of historical examples that can be drawn from to move forward – from worker co-ops, to income sharing communities, to publishing collectives, to radical unions and more. I think the trick here, is to not be sold on any one tactic off the bat.
Identifying with an idea is a dangerous start. When we create our identities we often become defensive about them. Working towards a better world, we are going to make mistakes. The key, in my opinion, is to not fear mistakes. The system we currently have does not work.
Let me say that again, the system we currently have does not work.
What are we so scared of? If we try something new, and it doesn’t work, then we have learned something important.
Fear generally, and fear of failure specifically, holds us back from attaining better things.
But if we start off identifying with an idea, building power around an idea, we will be less willing to admit when the idea does not work out. Instead, we could try ideas for set periods of time, or until the results were obvious. The possibilities are fairly endless.
We need ideas, and we need communities willing to try various ideas. And we probably need to create a method of documenting successes and failures of different ideas, so no one is forced to reinvent the wheel. Touring speakers, zines, books, documentaries, online articles and more could be our methods of dispersing ideas and lessons learned from their implementation.
This should also all be done in the context of recognizing that different things will work for different people in different places. Realities of environment and natural resources will impact what different communities will be able to do that will work for them. The more locally specific we make our ideas for communities, the better they will work out in the long run.
What would an Anarchist Society look like? What do you think?
A society which values autonomy, mutual aid, sustainability, non violence, liberty, AND experimentation sounds like a good start to me.