by Jessica Pacholski
I was recently told that I’m not a “real” anarchist by several people who call themselves anarcho or libertarian socialists. Most people like to think of themselves as being reasonable and logical, rarely is this the case. A side effect of this is that once they have an idea they are usually pretty dogmatic in their ideologies. Many accuse others of this same trait and are lacking enough self awareness to see how wedded to their own ideas they actually are, this is just the pot calling the kettle black. As for me I am trying to augment my education, on my own time and under my own direction. The result is that I expand my mind and explore new ideas. As I learn I grow. However, once I find an idea that I see as logical and cogent I am tenacious about it. Is this rigidity? Maybe it is, however my ideas can be swayed if the counter point is reasonable and logically coherent. However, most of the debates I have had recently have offered nothing of the sort, they are emotional and reactionary arguments made by people who believe they are being logical. It’s a case of rationalization usurping being rational.
Recently I was called “authoritarian” because I am an agorist. According to my critic I am more a “classic liberal than an anarchist”. I would like to ask the question: And your point is? Classic liberalism is the basis of the libertarian philosophy when taken to its logical conclusion is market anarchy, agorism. It is the belief that people should not only be free politically, but economically as well. The original leftist radicals were laissez-faire capitalists, they believed in the right to property, the free trade of goods and tolerance to diverse ideas.
I am a believer in a totally voluntary society, I see the free market as the ecosystem where people are free to exchange goods and services according to any arrangement they wish. Agorism includes syndicates, co-operatives, straight barter, mutualism, etc., as long as it is peaceful and voluntary. Ergo, if a group wished a communitarian approach to their survival, I would not be opposed to that, as long as they respect my choice to own personal property. I have no wish to tell people how to live, on the contrary I want people to live however they want. So, if someone thinks that makes me “authoritarian” I would love to know exactly what is their definition of “authoritarian” or if it’s simply an accusatory they lob at anyone who disagrees with them.
I have also been accused of being pro hierarchy because I don’t believe in social ownership of all property. This is based on the premise that all hierarchies are bad, including voluntary ones. I ask, would you rather a nurse or a surgeon do brain surgery on your child? Or even better would you rather a doctor right out of med school do the surgery or the head of neurosurgery? Experience and talent count in most spheres and people are rewarded on merit. This doesn’t bother me, I do not waste my energy cursing all hierarchy, what I oppose is forced hierarchy.
If I choose to work for someone else, I enter into a voluntary association to our mutual benefit. There are times when another person has better judgment and expertise that I do not possess. I can earn a living by offering my skills and talents to an employer in exchange for not having the full responsibility of the company on my shoulders. If I choose to learn the skills of my employer, through such employment, I am being paid to learn them. In the final analysis I have bettered my own situation either way. How is this unfair or coercive? If I feel I am being mistreated I can leave and if I don’t perform my duties competently I can be dismissed. Those are all terms of the contract. The truth is there are situations that I think a chain of command is necessary, that someone with experience has to make decisions and there are decisions that aren’t subject to a vote. To deny that is to deny human nature and the existence of reality.
I was also informed that I advocate the use of “mercenaries” because I advocate private security. Of course I advocate private security, I’m an anarchist, who else would supply security without a state? It would be illogical to call myself an anarchist and support public policing and standing armies. Those are the functions of a state. There is a glaring lack of understanding involved in this, they don’t seem to understand that thousands of people and companies already employ their own security from private contractors and they don’t use them as mercenaries. All you have to do is look at all the private security firms already operating to see that this is an alarmist’s argument.
For the record it has been the state that has had a long history of employing assassins and mercenaries. Blackwater isn’t contracted by private citizens, it’s contracted by the government. Our military has long been used as mercenaries by the corporations and the central bank that own our government in this country, how exactly has the state stopped the use of mercenaries then? I don’t see the logic there. No one company in private sector could ever amass the wealth necessary to do this in a truly free market, that is why certain corporations have commandeered the mechanisms of the state for this purpose. They need our taxes to finance their monopolies and international dominance, the military- industrial complex is the unholy union of industry and state. It’s not capitalistic in nature it’s a result of a mixed economy, in other words we already have a socialist economy known as corporatism. Without this union the opportunity to control the peoples of this country, and others, would be impossible. It is the state that makes exploitation of the many by the few possible.
What I have found is that it’s those people who call themselves anarcho socialists that are not really anarchists at all, they still want a state structure and they are just deluding themselves. They just want to engineer a perfect society and as one critic told me he favors the Platonic idea of democracy and the people taking over the mechanisms of the state. How can you be anti state and pro Platonic social engineering? I have come to believe that the whole premise of socialism rests on a hatred of humanity at its core, an idea that humanity is inherently evil and people must be made to act differently. This is why the ends of every socialist revolution have been tyranny and genocide, the means define the ends and the anarcho socialists have historically resorted to violence to advance their ideas. Emma Goldman found out the hard way where her beliefs led, she was horrified by the bloodshed. Of course Kropotkin made excuses for the brutality of the Bolsheviks saying that the “statists” had taken control but the syndicates would soon rise and help finish the evolution from state to anarchic socialism.
It never materialised, why? Because the fundamental idea of socialism and communism rests on public sector power, it has to, you cannot have common ownership without a common use of force to ensure compliance to the ideal. Collective use of force is government. Ultimately socialism becomes the ultimate purveyor of public power, not personal power. It is the only outcome that can happen when your premise is that the whole is greater than the individual. It makes human life cheap, they are nothing more than eggs to break for the omelette of Utopia. When we lose our sense of unalienable individual rights all rights become provisional, this way of thinking leads not only fascism but to super fascism. That’s why I no longer believe that socialism is humanitarian or preferable to free markets. From everything I have learned I’ve come to think that the free market is the only economic system that can keep people free, no other way is possible because there is no freedom of speech, press, religion, or right to privacy, without the right of private property and economic freedom. There is no greater good served if you are not protecting the rights of every individual. You cannot protect the rights of humanity when you don’t believe every human life is valuable, no matter what rhetoric you use.