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I.5 a quoi la structure sociale de l'anarchie pourrait ressembler ?

Sommaire

La structure sociale et politique de l'anarchie est semblable à la structure économique i.e., elle est basée sur une fédération volontaire de corps politique prenant des mesures sur la base de la démocratie directe. Ce sont les assemblées quartier et communauté et leurs confédérations. Dans ces unités politiques populaires, le concept d' "auto-gestion" devient celui d' "auto-gouvernement", une forme d'organisation municipale dans laquelle les gens reprennent à l'état bureaucratique et à la classe capitaliste le contrôle de leurs lieux de vie.

"Une nouvelle phase économique nécessite une nouvelle phase politique," soutenait Kropotkine, "Une révolution aussi profonde que celle rêvée par les socialistes [libertaires] ne peut pas accepter le moule d'une vie politique dépassée. Une nouvelle société reposant sur l'égalité des conditions, sur la possession collective des instruments du travail, ne peut pas tolérer en serait-ce qu'une semaine … le système représentatif … si nous voulons une révolution sociale, nous devons chercher une forme d'organisation politique qui corresponde aux nouvelles méthodes d'organisation économique … Le futur appartient aux groupements libres d'intérêts et non à la centralisation gouvernementale; il appartient à la liberté et non l'autorité." [Mots d'un Rebelle, pp. 143-4]

Ainsi, la structure sociale d'une société anarchique sera à l'opposé du système actuel. Au lieu d'être centralisée et de haut-en-bas comme pour l'état, elle sera décentralisée et organisée de bas-en-haut. Comme Kropotkine le dit, "le socialisme doit devenir plus populaire, plus communaliste, et moins dépendant de gouvernement indirect par le biais de représentants élus. Il doit devenir plus auto-gouverné." [Kropotkine, Tracts Révolutionnaires, p.185] Bien que les anarchistes aient différentes conceptions de comment ce système communal serait constitué (comme nous allons le voir), il y a un accord complet pour trois visions et principes basiques.

Ce renforcement du pouvoir des citoyens ordinaires par le biais de la décentralisation et la démocratie directe éliminera l'aliénation et l'apathie qui sont maintenant endémique dans les villes modernes, et (comme toujours lorsque les gens sont libres) libèrera un flot d'innovations pour faire face à l'effondrement social qui affecte nos décharges urbaines. La gigantesque métropole avec son administration hiérarchique et impersonnelle, ses "résidents" atomisés et isolés, sera transformée en un réseau de communautés à taille humaine (habituellement appelées "communes"), chacune avec son propre caractère unique et formes d'auto-gouvernement, qui sera co-opérativement liée aux autres communautés sur différents niveaux par une fédération, du municipal au bio-régional au global.

Bien entendu, il peut (et a été) soutenu que les gens ne sont tout simplement pas intéressés par la "politique". De plus, certains disent que ce désintérêt est la raison pour laquelle les gouvernements exiltent -- les gens délèguent leurs responsabilités aux autres parce qu'ils ont mieux à faire. Un tel argument, cependant, présente des défauts d'ordre empiriques. Comme indiqué en section B.2.6, la centralisation du pouvoir pendant les révolutions française et américaine s'est produite parce les ouvriers avaient trop d'intérêt pour la politique et les problèmes sociaux, et non l'inverse ("Attaquer le pouvoir central, l'extirper de ses prérogatives, décentraliser et dissoudre l'autorité, aurait été pareil que d'abandonner aux gens le contrôle de leurs affaires, de courir le risque d'une réelle révolution populaire. C'est pourquoi la bourgeoisie a cherché à renforcer encore plus le gouvernement central…" [Kropotkine, Mots d'un Rebelle, p. 143]).

Dit simplement, l'état est centralisé pour facilité la domination de la minorité en excluant les masses de gens des processus de prise de décisions dans la société. Il faut s'y attendre puisque les structures sociales n'évoluent pas par hasard -- au contraire, elles se développent pour combler des besoins et obligations spécifiques. Le besoin spécifique de la classe dirigeante est de diriger, ce qui veut dire marginaliser le gros de la population. Ses obligations sont pour le pouvoir de la minorité et cela se transforme en la structure de l'état (et l'entreprise capitaliste).

Même si on ignore les évidences historiques sur le sujet, les anarchistes ne tirent pas cette conclusion de l'actuelle apathie qui nous entoure. En fait, nous pensons que cette apathie n'est pas la cause du gouvernement mais son résultat. Le gouvernement est un système hiérarchique par nature dans lequel les gens ordinaires sont délibérément marginalisés. L'impuissance que les gens ressentent à cause des mécanismes du système assure qu'ils y soient indifférents. Garantissant ainsi que les élites riches et puissantes gouvernent la sociéé sans être dérangés par la majorité d'oppressés et d'exploités.

De plus, le gouvernement colle habituellement son nez dans les affaires pour lesquelles la plupart des gens n'ont que peu d'intérêt. Quelques choses, comme dans la régulation de l'industrie ou la sécurité et les droits des travailleurs, qu'une société libre pourrait laissé à ceux qui sont touchés pour qu'ils puissent prendre leurs propres décisions (nous doutons que les ouvriers s'assujettiraient à des conditions de travail dangereuses, par exemple). Ou bien, la question d'actes et moralité personnels, qu'un peuple libre n'aurait que faire (à moins qu'ils portent atteinte à autrui, bien entendu). Ceci, encore, réduirait le nombre de problèmes qui seraient discutés dans une commune libre.

Aussi, par le biais de la décentralisation, un peuple libre discuterait principalement les problèmes locaux, réduisant ainsi la complexité de bien des questions et solutions. Les problèmes plus larges seraient bien entendu discutés mais ça serait pour traiter de problèmes bien spécifiques et donc plus restreint de par leurs natures que ceux soulevés par le corps législatif de l'état. Donc, une combinaison de centralisation et un désir irrationnel de discuter toutes les questions aident aussi à faire penser que la "politique" est ennuyeuse et hors de propos. Comme mentionné ci-dessus, ce n'est pas le résultat d'un accident et la marginalisation des gens "ordinaires" est en fait célébrée par la théorie "démocratique" bourgeoise. Noam Chomsky note que :

"Les théorises démocratiques du 20ème siècle conseille au "public de rester en ordre," pour que "les hommes responsables" puissent "vivre libre du piétinement et rugissement de la horde déconcertée", "les outsiders ignorants et indiscrets" dont "la fonction" est d' "être des spectateurs intéressés de l'action", et non des participants, en donnant périodiquement du poids à l'une ou l'autre des classes dirigeantes (élections), puis retournant à leurs affaires privées. (Walter Lippman). La grande partie de la population, est "ignorante et mentalement déficiente" et doit être tenue en place pour le bien commun, nourrie par une "illusion nécessaire" et des "simplifications excessives qui soient émotionellement fortes" (Robert Lansing et Reinhold Niebuh, secrétaire d'état de Wilson). Leurs homologues "conservateurs" sont simplement plus extrêmes dans leur adulation des Hommes Sages qui sont les dirigeants légitimes --- au service des riches et puissants, une note de bas de page mineure et régulièrement oubliée." [Année 501, p. 18]

Comme discuté dans la section B.2.6 ("Qui bénéficie de la centralisation ?") cette marginalisation du public de la vie politique assure les riches puissent être "laissés seuls" pour utiliser leur pouvoir comme ils l'entendent. Autrement dit, une telle marginalisation est une partie nécessaire d'une société capitaliste fonctionnant pleinement. Donc, sous le capitaliseme, les structures sociales libertaires doivent être découragées. Ou comme Chomsky le dit, la "populace doit être instruite selon des valeurs de subordination et quête restreinte d'enrichissement personnel selon les paramètres définis par les institutions des dirigeants; une démocratie constructive, avec des associations et actions populaires, est une menace qu'il faut évincer." [Op. Cit., p. 18] Cette philosophie peut être vu dans la déclaration d'un banquier américain au Venezuela sous la dictature assassine de Jimenze :

"Ici, vous avez la liberté de faire ce que vous voulez de votre argent, et pour moi, cela vaut bien toutes les libertés politiques du monde." [cité par Chomsky, Op. Cit., p. 99] Empêcher toute alternative libertaire à l'étatisme est une caractéristique courante du système actuel. En marginalisant et affaiblissant les gens, la capacité des individus à gérer leurs propres activités sociales est ébranlée et affaiblie. Ils développent une "peur de la liberté" et acceptent les institutions autoritaires et les "dirigeants puissants" ce qui en retour renforce leur marginalisation. Cette conséquence n'est pas très surprenante. Les anarchistes soutiennent que le désir de participer et la capacité à participer sont en symbiose : la participation se nourrie d'elle-même. En créant les structures sociales qui permettent la participation, la participation augmentera. Au fur et à mesure que les gens prennent le contrôle de leurs vies, leur capacité à prendre ce contrôle augmente aussi. Le défi d'être responsable de décisions qui font la différence est en même temps une occasion pour se développer personnellement. Commencer à sentir le pouvoir, après s'être auparavant senti impuissant, gagner l'accès aux ressources nécessaires pour une participation effective et apprendre à les utiliser, est une expérience libératrice. Lorsque les gens deviennent des sujets actifs, en faisant se provoquer les événements et choses dans un aspect de leurs vies, ils sont moins susceptibles de rester des objets passifs, en laissant les choses arriver à leur insu dans d'autres aspects de leurs vies. Dans l'ensemble, la "politique" est un sujet bien trop important pour le laisser entre les mains des politiciens, des riches et des bureaucrates. Après tout, c'est ce qui touche les amis, la communauté, et au bout du compte, la planète Terre. De tels problèmes ne peuvent être laissés entre les mains de personnes que soi.

Ainsi, une vie communale constructive faite d'individus qui s'auto-responsabilisent est une possibilité distincte (en effet, cela s'est répété et avéré vrai tout au long de l'histoire). Ce sont les structures hiérarchiques de l'étatisme et du capitalisme, marginalisant et déresponsabilisant la majorité, qui sont aux racines de l'actuelle apathie de grande taille face aux perturbations sociale et écologique. Les socialistes libertaires font ainsi appel à une forme de système politique radicalement différente pour remplacer l'état-nation centralisé, une forme qui serait basé autour de confédérations de communautés auto-gouvernées. En d'autres mots, dans l'anarchisme "la société est une société de sociétés; une ligue de ligues de ligues; une communauté de communautés de communautés; une république de républiques de républiques. C'est la seul qu'il y a la liberté et l'ordre, seulement là qu'il y a l'esprit, un esprit qui est l'auto-suffisance et la communauté, l'unité et l'indépendance." [Gustave Landauer, Pour le Socialisme, pp. 125-6]

Créer un tel système demanderait de détruire l'état-nation et reconstituer des relations entre les communautés sur la base de l'auto-détermination, et de confédérations libres et égales par le bas. Dans les sous-parties qui vont suivent, on verra plus en détail pourquoi ce nouveau système est nécessaire et ce à quoi il ressemblerait. Comme souligné dans l'introduction, ce ne sont que des suggestions de possibles solutions anarchiques à une organisation sociale. La plupart des anarchistes reconnaissent que les communautés anarchistes co-existeront avec les communautés non-anarchiques après la destruction de l'état existant. Comme tout anarchiste, ici sont discutées les visions anarchiques. Les non-anarchistes sont libres de dépeindre leur propre futur possible.

I.5.1 Qu'est-ce que les communautés participatives ?

Comme Murray Bookchin le dit dans La Montée de l'Urbanisation et le Déclin de la Citoyenneté (ré-édité De l'Urbanisation aux Villes), la ville moderne est une annexe virtuelle du lieu de travail capitalise, un prolongement et homologue essentiel de l'usine (ici, "usine" renvoie n'importe quelle entreprise pour laquelle la valeur ajoutée vient des employés). Ainsi, les villes sont structurées et administrées principalement pour servir les besoins de l'élite capitaliste -- les employeurs -- plutôt que les besoins de la plupart -- leurs employés et familles. De ce point de vue, la ville doit être vu comme (1) un centre de transit pour importer des matières premières et exporter des produits finis; et (2) un immense dortoir pour les esclaves-salariés, les logeant comme par hasard près des entreprises où leur travail est exploité, leur fournissant des divertissements, des habits, des centres médicaux, etc. en même temps que des mécanismes coercitifs pour contrôler leur comportement.

L'attitude derrière la gestion de ces fonctions "civiques" par les servants bureaucratiques de la classe dirigeante capitaliste est purement instrumentale : les citoyens-travailleurs ne sont traités que comme des moyens pour des fins profitables, et non comme des fins en soi. Cette attitude se reflète dans les caractéristiques très largement aliénatrices de la ville moderne : sa taille inhumaine; l'impersonnalité glaciale de ses institutions et fonctionnaires; son sacrifice des considérations de santé, de confort, de plaisir et d'esthétique pour des besoins de performance en efficacité et en "rapport coût-efficacité"; le manque de la moindre véritable interaction communale entre les résidents autre que la consommation collective des commodités et des distractions; leur isolation sociale conséquente ainsi que la tendance à se réfugier dans la télévision, l'alcool, les drogues, les gangs, etc. De telles caractéristiques font de la métropole moderne la vrai anti-thèse de l'authentique communauté pour laquelle la plupart de ses résidents désirent ardemment. Cette contradiction au coeur du système inclue la possibilité d'un changement social et politique radical. La clé de ce changement, d'un point de vue anarchiste, est la création d'un réseau de communauté participatives qui reposent sur l'auto-gouvernement par le biais de la démocratie directe et en face-à-face dans les quartiers et assemblées communales populaires. Comme dit en section I.2.3 de telles assemblées naîtront de la lutte sociale et donc reflèteront les besoins de cette lutte et de ceux qui y participent. Ainsi les commentaires faits ici sont à considérer comme des généralisations de caractéristiques importantes de telles communautés et non de projets.

Traditionnellement, ces communautés participatives étaient appelées communes dans la théorie anarchiste ("La cellule sociale et économique de base d'une société anarchiste est la commune libre et indépendante" [A. Grachev, cité par Paul Avrich, Les Anarchistes dans la Révolution Russe, p. 64] Dans la pensée anarchiste, il y a deux conceptions principales de la commune libre. L'une des visions repose sur le principe de délégués d'entreprises, l'autre sur les assemblées de quartier. Chacune d'elle va être étudiée.

Bakounine avançait que la "future organisation sociale doit être faite seulement de bas en haut, par le biais de la libre association ou fédération de travailleurs, d'abord dans leurs syndicats, puis dans leurs communes, régions, nations et finalement dans une grande fédération internationale et universelle." Autrement dit, "l'Alliance fédérative de toutes les associations et organisations de travailleurs … formeront la commune." [Mikhaïl Bakounine : Ecrits Choisis, p. 206 et p. 170]

La vision de la commune a été créée pendant de nombreuses révolutions précédentes (comme en Russi en 1905 et 1917 et en Hongrie en 1956). Basée sur les entreprises, cette forme de commune a l'avantage de reposer sur des groupes de gens qui sont naturellement ensemble tout au long de la journée (Bakounine considérait les corps d'entreprises comme "l'organisation naturelle des masses" comme ils étaient "basés sur les différents types d'activité" qui "définissent leur présente vie quotidienne" [The Basic Bakunin, p. 139]). Cela faciliterait l'organisation des assemblées, des discussions des problèmes sociaux, économiques et politiques et le mandatement et rappel des délégués. De plus, ça allie les pouvoirs politique et économique en une seule et même organisation, assurant ainsi que la classe ouvrière gère vraiment la société.

Plus tard, cette vision a été soulignée d'autres penseurs anarchistes. Par exemple, l'anarchiste espagnol Issac Puente pensait que dans les villes " la part de la municipalité libre est tenue par la fédération locale … La souveraineté ultime dans la fédération locale de syndicats industriels appartient à l'assemblée générale réunissant tous les producteurs locaux." [Communisme Libertaire, p. 27] L'anarchiste russe G. P. Maximoff voyait la "fédération communale" comme "faite de milliers d'organisations et associations ouvrières agissant librement." [Le Programme de l'anarcho-syndicalisme, p. 43]

D'autres anarchistes contrebalancent les assemblées de quartier par des conseils de travailleurs. Ces assemblées seront des meetings généraux ouverts à tous les citoyens dans tous les quartiers, villes et villages et seront la source de "l'autorité" finale sur la politique publique pour tous les niveaux de coordination confédérale. De tels "meetings de ville" amèneront les gens ordinaires au coeur de processus politique et leur donneront une voix égale dans les décisions qui affectent leurs vies. Certains anarchistes prennent pour exemple la Révolution Française de 1789 et les "sections" de la commune de Paris comme l'exemple clé "d'un peuple se gouvernant directement lui-même -- selon possibilité -- sans intermédiaires, sans dirigeants." Il est dit que, basé sur cette expérience, "les principes de l'anarchisme … datent de 1789, et qu'ils ont leurs origines non pas dans des spéculations théoriques, mais dans les actes de la Grande Révolution Française." [Pierre Kropotkine, La Grande Révolution Française, vol. 1, p. 210 et p. 204]

Les critiques des conseils de travailleurs soulignent que tous les travailleurs ne travaillent pas dans des usines ou des entreprises. Beaucoup sont des parents qui s'occupent de leurs enfants par exemple. En basant la commune sur l'entreprise, ces gens là sont automatiquement exclus. De plus, dans la plupart des villes modernes beaucoup de gens ne vivent pas près de là où ils travaillent. Cela voudrait dire que les affaires locales ne pourraient pas être efficacement discutées dans un système de conseils de travailleurs puisque beaucoup qui prennent part dans les débats ne sont pas touchés par les décisions prise (c'est quelque chose que les personnes en faveur des conseils de travailleurs ont remarqué et ils sont pour des conseils qui sont délégués à la fois des habitants et des travailleurs d'une zone).

De plus, des anarchistes comme Murray Bookchin disent les systèmes basés sur l'entreprise génèrent automatiquement "des intérêts spécifiques" et excluent ainsi les problèmes de la communauté. Seules les assemblées de communauté peuvent "transcender les traditionnels intérêts spécifiques du travail, de l'entreprise, du status, des relations de propriété et créer un intérêt général reposant sur les problèmes partagés de la communauté." [Murray Bookchin, De l'Urbanisation aux Villes, p. 254]

Cependant, de telles assemblées de communautés ne sont valides que si elles peuvent s'organiser rapidement dans le but de prendre des décisions et de mandater et rappeler des délégués. Dans la ville capitaliste, beaucoup de gens travaillent loin de là où ils vivent et donc de tels meetings doivent être organisés sur un temps après le travail ou le weekend. Donc, le besoin clé est de réduire le temps de travail (jour/semaine) et de communaliser l'industrie. Pour cette raison, beaucoup d'anarchistes continuent de soutenir la vision de la commune reposant sur les conseils de travailleurs , complétées par des assemblées de communauté pour ceux qui habitent un certain endroit mais ne travaillent pas dans une entreprise traditionnelle (e.g. les parents qui élèvent leurs enfants en bas âge, les personnes âgées, les personnes malades etc.)

Ces positions ne sont pas des divisions dures et rapides, loin de là. Puente, par exemple, pensait que à la campagne la commune dominante serait "tous les résidents d'un village ou hameau se rassemblant en une assemblée (conseil) avec les pleins pouvoirs pour administrer les affaires locales." [Op. Cit. p. 25] Kropotkine soutenait les soviets de la Révolution Russe, en disant que "l'idée soviétique … de conseils de travailleurs et de paysans … contrôlant la vie économique et politique du pays est une grande idée. D'autant plus que cela suit nécessairement le fait que ces conseils soient composés de tous ceux qui prennent part à la production de la richesse naturelle par le biais de leurs propres efforts." [Tracts Révolutionnaires de Kropotkine, p. 254]

Laquelle de ces méthodes, conseils de travailleurs ou assemblées de communauté, sera utilisée dans une communauté dépendra des conditions locales, des besoins et des aspirations et il est inutile de tirer des conclusions sévères et rapides. Il est probable qu'un mélange des deux approches soit utilisé, avec les conseils de travailleurs complétés par les assemblées de communauté jusqu'au moment où la semaine de travail sera plus courte et la décentralisation des centres urbains aura eu lieu, alors les assemblées de communauté seront l'option la plus réaliste. Il est probable que dans une société totalement libertaire, les assemblées de communauté seront l'organisation communale dominante mais dans la période juste après la révolution cela pourrait ne pas être immédiatement possible. Des conditions objectives, plutôt que des prédictions, seront le facteur décisif. Sous le capitalisme, les anarchistes poursuivent les deux formes d'organisation, alliant commuté et syndicat industriel dans la lutte des classes (voir section J.5.1 et J.5.2).

Quelque soit l'exacte formation de la commune, il y aurait des caractéristiques identiques. Il y aurait des associations libres, reposant sur l'obligation auto-adoptée de ceux qui les rejoignent. Dans une association libre, la participation est essentielle simplement parce que c'est le seul moyen par lequel les individus s'affirment en tant qu'être unique dans une association, parce que l'association ne possède personne, parce que l'individu est celui qui possède l'association et qui la tourne à son propre avantage." Les règles gouvernant l'association sont déterminées par les associés et ils peuvent aussi les modifier (et donc une large amélioration pour ce qui est du "apprécie ou pars") comme le sont les politiques que l'association suit. Ainsi, l'association "ne s'impose pas comme pouvoir spirituel supérieur sur l'esprit de l'individu, qui n'a aucun désir de vouloir devenir esclave de ses maximes, mais qui les soumettrait plutôt à son criticisme continu." [Max Stirner, Ni Dieux, Ni Maîtres, vol. 1, p. 17]

Ainsi les communautés participatives sont librement rejointes et auto-gérées par leurs membres. Plus de division entre les donneurs d'ordres et les receveurs d'ordres telle qu'elle existe dans les entreprises de l'état et capitalistes. Au contraire, les associés se gouvernent eux-mêmes et tandis que les gens assemblés décident collectivement des règles gouvernant leur association, et y sont liés en tant qu'individu, ils y sont aussi supérieurs dans le sens que ces règles peuvent toujours être modifiées ou supprimées (voir section A.2.11 -- "Pourquoi est-ce que la plupart des anarchistes sont pour la démocratie directe ?" -- pour plus de détails). Comme on peut le voir, une commune participative est une nouvelle forme de vie sociale, radicalement différente de l'état puisqu'elle est décentralisée, auto-gouvernée and basée sur l'autonomie individuelle et le libre accord. Ainsi, Kropotkine :

"Le système représentatif a été organisé par la bourgeoisie pour assurer sa domination, et il disparaîtra avec elle. Puisque pour la nouvelle phase économique qui est sur le point de commence, il faut chercher une nouvelle forme d'organisation politique qui repose sur un principe assez différent de celui de la représentation. La logique des événements l'impose." [Mots d'un Rebelle, p. 125] Cette "nouvelle forme d'organisation politique doit être faite au moment où les principes socialistes entreront dans la vie des gens. Il est évident que cette nouvelle forme devra être plus populaire, plus décentralisée, et plus proche de l'auto-gouvernement de la petite gens que n'importe quel gouvernement représentatif puisse l'être." [Kropotkine, Tracts Révolutionnaires, p. 184] Lui, comme tous les anarchistes, considère que l'idée que le socialisme puisse être créé en prenant le dessus sur l'état actuel ou en créant un nouveau est voué à l'échec. Au lieu de cela, il reconnaît que le socialisme ne peut se construire qu'en utilisant des nouvelles organisations qui reflètent l'esprit du socialisme (telles que la liberté, l'auto-gouvernement etc.). Kropotkine, comme Proudhon et Bakounine avant lui, dit ainsi que "[c']est la forme que la révolution sociale doit prendre -- la commune indépendante … [dont] les habitants décident qu'ils mettent en commun la consommation des commodités, leurs échanges et productions." [Op. Cit., p. 163]

En un mot, une communauté participative est une association libre, reposant sur l'assemblée de masse des gens qui livrent dans une même zone, le moyen par lequel ils prennent les décisions qui les concernent, qui concernent leur communautés, bio-régions et la planète. Leur tâche essentielle est de fournir un forum pour soulever les problèmes publiques et les régler. De plus, ces assemblées seront un moyen clé pour générer une communauté (et l'esprit de communauté) et construire et enrichir les relations sociales entre les individus et, tout aussi important, pour développer et enrichir les individus par le processus même de participations dans les affaires communales. En discutant, pendant et écoutant les autres, les individus développent leur propre capacités et pouvoirs tout en gérant leur propres affaires, assurant ainsi que personne ne le fait à leur place (i.e. ils se gouvernent eux-mêmes et ne sont plus gouvernés par le haut par d'autres). Comme Kropotkine le dit, l'auto-gestion a un effet éducatif sur ceux qui la pratique :

" La permanence des assemblées générales des sections -- qui sont, la possibilité d'appeler l'assemblée générale quand c'est demandé par les membres de la section et de tout discuter dans l'assemblée générale … éduquera politiquement chaque citoyen … La section en permanence -- le forum toujours ouvert -- est le seul moyen … d'assurer une administration honnête et intelligente." [La Grande Révolution Française, vol. 1, pp. 210-1]

Tout comme intégrer la vie sociale d'une communauté et encourager le développement social et politique de ses membres, ces communes libres seront aussi intégrées dans l'écologie locale. L'humanité vivrait en harmonie avec la nature et avec elle-même :

"On peut envisager que leurs carrés seront entrelacés de courants, leurs espaces de rassemblement entourés de bosquets, leurs contours physiques respectés et aménagés avec goût, leurs sols nourris précautionneusement pour favoriser la diversité des plantes pour eux-mêmes, leurs animaux domestiques, et autant que possible la vie sauvage qu'ils supporteraient en marge." [Murray Bookchin, L'Ecologie de la Liberté, p. 344]

La commune elle-même aurait pour but d'équilibrer agriculture et industrie, comme décrit par Pierre Kropotkine dans son travail classique Terres, Usines et Ateliers. Ainsi, une commune libre aurait pour but d'intégrer l'individu dans la vie sociale et communale, la vie rurale et urbaine dans un équilibre global et la vie humaine dans une écologie à plus large échelle. De cette manière, la commune libre ferait de l'habitat humain complètement écologique, mettant fin à la division nette et inutile (et déshumanisante et désindividualisante) entre la vie haine et le reste de la planète. La commune serait un moyen clé de l'expression de la diversité dans l'humanité et la planète et améliorerait la qualité de vie en société :

"La Commune … sera entièrement dévouée à l'amélioration la vie communale de la localité. En faisant leurs requêtes auprès des Syndicats, Constructeurs, Santé Publique, Transport et Pouvoir, appropriés, les habitants de chaque Commune seront capable de gagner tous les agréments raisonnables pour vivre, l'organisation des villes, parcs, aires de jeux, arbres dans les rues, cliniques, musées et galeries d'art. Donnant, comme l'assemblé de ville médiévale, une possibilité à toute personne intéressée de prendre part, et influencer, les affaires de la ville, son apparence, la Commune sera un corps bien différent du conseil municipal…

Dans les temps anciens et médiévaux, les villes et villages exprimaient les différents caractères de différentes localités et de leurs habitants. En brique rouge, Portland ou granite, en plâtre ou brique, en hauteur de toit, agencements des bâtiments entre eux ou motifs d'ardoise et de chaume, chaque localité attisait l'intérêt des voyageurs … chacune s'exprimait en château, maison ou cathédrale.

Combien différent est l'ennuyeuse, morne, ou flashy monotonie ostentatoire de l'Angleterre moderne. Toutes les villes sont les mêmes. Les mêmes Woolworth, les mêmes cinémas Odéon et magasins divers, les mêmes 'logements sociaux' ou 'maisons semi-mitoyennes'… Nord, Sud, Est, ou Ouest, quelle est la différence, ou est le changement ?

Avec la Commune, la laideur et monotonie de l'actuelle vie en ville ou à la campagne sera éradiquée, et chaque localité et région, chaque personne sera capable d'exprimer sa joie de vivre, en vivant ensemble." [Tom Brown, Syndicalisme, p. 59]

La taille des assemblées de quartiers variera, mais fluctuera probablement autour d'une taille idéale, susceptible d'être découvert en pratique, qui fournira une échelle viable d'interactions en face-à-face et permettra à la fois une variété de contacts personnels mais aussi l'opportunité de savoir et se faire opinion personnelle de chaque individu dans le quartier. Certains anarchistes ont suggéré que la taille idéale pour une assemblée de quartier devrait être en dessous d'un millier d'adultes. Ceci, bien entendu, suggère que toute ville serait une confédération d'assemblées -- comme ça a été bien entendu très efficacement pratiqué à Paris pendant la Grande Révolution Française.

De telles assemblées se rencontreraient régulièrement, au minimum une fois par mois (probablement plus souvent, particulièrement durant les périodes qui demandent des prises de décisions régulières et rapides, comme une révolution), et auraient à faire à une grande variété de problèmes. Pour reprendre les mots de la CNT sur la résolution de communisme libertaire : "la fondation de cette administration sera la commune. Ces communes seront autonomes et fédérées à des niveaux régionaux et nationaux pour parvenir à leurs buts généraux. Le droit à l'autonomie n'empêche pas le devoir de s'accorder sur les bénéfices de la collectivité.

[La] commune … sans aucune restrictions volontaires entreprendra d'adhérer à n'importe quelle norme générale devra être accordée par la majorité du vote après un débat libre. En retour, ces communautés dont l'industrialisation … s'accordent sur un modèle de co-existence différent et sera donnée le droit d'avoir une administration autonome libérée des responsabilités et engagements généraux.

… la commune est autonome et confédérée par les autres communes … la commune aura le devoir de s'intéresser à tout ce qui puisse toucher l'intérêt de l'individu. Elle aura à superviser l'organisation, le fonctionnement et la béatification de l'endroit. Elle verra que ses habitants sont logés et que les objets et produits leur sont disponibles grâce aux syndicats de producteurs ou associations.

De même, elle sera concernée par l'hygiène, la tenue de statistiques de la commune et par des besoins collectif tel que l'éducation, les services de santé et par la maintenance et l'amélioration des moyens de communication locaux.

Elle orchestrera les relations avec les autres communes et veillera à encourager toutes les poursuites artistiques et culturelles.

De manière à ce que sa mission soit correctement remplie, un conseil communal sera désigné … Aucun de ces postes n'aura de pouvoir exécutif ou bureaucratique … [ses membres] joueront leur rôle de producteurs se réunissant lors d'une session après une journée de travail pour parler des sujets détaillés qui ne demande pas l'approbation des assemblées communales.

Les assemblées doivent être utilisées aussi souvent qu'il le faut pour les intérêts de la commune, sur requête du conseil communal ou sur le voeu des habitants de chaque commune … Les habitants d'une commune débattront de leurs problèmes internes entre eux… Les fédérations délibéreront pour les problèmes majeurs qui affectent le pays ou une province et toutes les communes doivent être représentées à leurs réunions et assemblées, afin de pouvoir permettre aux délégués de communiquer le point de vue démocratique de leur commune respective … chaque commune qui est impliquée aura son mot à dire … Pour les questions d'ordre régional, c'est le devoir de la fédération régionale de mettre en oeuvres les accords … Ainsi, le point de départ est l'individu, qui se déplace dans à la commune, à la fédération et tout en haut à la confédération." [cité par Jose Peirats, La CNT pendant la Révolution Espagnole, vol. 1, pp. 106-7]

Ainsi donc l'assemblée communale discute ce qui affecte la communauté et ceux qui la compose. Comme ces association de communauté locale seront membres de corps communaux plus importants, l'assemblée communale discutera aussi les problèmes qui concernent un périmètre un peu plus étendu, comme indiqué, et mandatera ses délégués pour les discuter lors d'assemblées de confédérations (voir section suivante). Ce système, il doit être noté, a été couronné de succès lors de la Révolution Espagnole (voir section I.8) et ne peut dont pas être rejeté comme un rêve qui serait pris pour une réalité.

Cependent, bien entendu, la structure actuelle d'une société libre sera mise en pratique. Comme Bakounine le fait justement remarquer, la société "peut, et doit, s'auto-organiser d'une manière différente [de ce qui la précédait], mais pas de haut en bas et selon un plan idéal" [Mikhaïl Bakounine : Ecrits Choisis, p. 205] Ce qui semble probable est que les confédérations de communes seront nécessaires. C'est l'objet de la prochaine section.

I.5.2 Why are confederations of participatory communities needed?

Since not all issues are local, the neighbourhood and community assemblies will also elect mandated and recallable delegates to the larger-scale units of self-government in order to address issues affecting larger areas, such as urban districts, the city or town as a whole, the county, the bio-region, and ultimately the entire planet. Thus the assemblies will confederate at several levels in order to develop and co-ordinate common policies to deal with common problems.

In the words of the CNT's resolution on libertarian communism:

"The inhabitants of a commune are to debate among themselves their internal problems . . . Federations are to deliberate over major problems affecting a country or province and all communes are to be represented at their reunions and assemblies, thereby enabling their delegates to convey the democratic viewpoint of their respective communes.

"If, say, roads have to be built to link villages of a county or any matter arises to do with transportation and exchange of produce between agricultural and industrial counties, then naturally every commune which is implicated will have its right to have its say.

"On matters of a regional nature, it is the duty of the regional federation to implement agreements which will represent the sovereign will of all the region's inhabitants. So the starting point is the individual, moving on through the commune, to the federation and right on up finally to the confederation.

"Similarly, discussion of all problems of a national nature shall flow a like pattern . . . " [quoted by Jose Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, p. 107]

In other words, the commune "cannot any longer acknowledge any superior: that, above it, there cannot be anything, save the interests of the Federation, freely embraced by itself in concert with other Communes." [Kropotkin, No Gods, No Masters, vol. 1, p. 259]

Federalism is applicable at all levels of society. As Kropotkin pointed out, anarchists "understand that if no central government was needed to rule the independent communes, if national government is thrown overboard and national unity is obtained by free federation, then a central municipal government becomes equally useless and noxious. The same federative principle would do within the commune." [Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, pp. 163-164] Thus the whole of society would be a free federation, from the local community right up to the global level. And this free federation would be based squarely on the autonomy and self-government of local groups. With federalism, co-operation replaces coercion.

This need for co-operation does not imply a centralised body. To exercise your autonomy by joining self-managing organisations and, therefore, agreeing to abide by the decisions you help make is not a denial of that autonomy (unlike joining a hierarchical structure, where you forsake autonomy within the organisation). In a centralised system, we must stress, power rests at the top and the role of those below is simply to obey (it matters not if those with the power are elected or not, the principle is the same). In a federal system, power is not delegated into the hands of a few (obviously a "federal" government or state is a centralised system). Decisions in a federal system are made at the base of the organisation and flow upwards so ensuring that power remains decentralised in the hands of all. Working together to solve common problems and organise common efforts to reach common goals is not centralisation and those who confuse the two make a serious error -- they fail to understand the different relations of authority each generates and confuse obedience with co-operation.

As in the economic federation of collectives, the lower levels will control the higher, thus eliminating the current pre-emptive powers of centralised government hierarchies. Delegates to higher-level co-ordinating councils or conferences will be instructed, at every level of confederation, by the assemblies they represent, on how to deal with any issue. These instructions will be binding, committing delegates to a framework of policies within which they must act and providing for their recall and the nullification of their decisions if they fail to carry out their mandates. Delegates may be selected by election and/or sortition (i.e. random selection by lot, as for jury duty currently).

Most anarchists recognise that there will be a need for "public officials" with specific tasks within the social confederation. We stress the word "tasks" as "powers" would not be the best word to describe their activities simply because their work is essentially administrative in nature. For example, an individual or a group of individuals may be elected to look into alternative power supplies for a community and report back on what they discover. They cannot impose their decision onto the community as they do not have the power to do so. They simply present their findings to the body which had mandated them. These findings are not a law which the electors are required to follow, but a series of suggestions and information from which the electors chose what they think is best. Or, to use another example, someone may be elected to overlook the installation of a selected power supply but the decision on what power supply to use and which specific project to implement has been decided upon by the whole community. Similarly with any delegate elected to a confederal council. Such a delegate will have their decisions mandated by their electors and are subject to recall by those electors. If such a delegate starts to abuse their position or even vote in ways opposed to by the communal assembly then they would quickly be recalled and replaced.

As such a person is an elected delegate of the community, they are a "public official" in the broadest sense of the word but that does not mean that they have power or authority. Essentially they are an agent of the local community who is controlled by, and accountable to, that community. Clearly, such "officials" are unlike politicians. They do not, and cannot, make policy decisions on behalf of those who elected them, and so they do not have governmental power over those who elected them. By this method the "officials" remain the servants of the public and are not given power to make decisions for people. In addition, these "officials" will be rotated frequently to prevent a professionalisation of politics and the problem of politicians being largely on their own once elected. And, of course, they will continue to work and live with those who elected them and receive no special privileges due to their election (in terms of more income, better housing, and so on).

Therefore, such "public officials" would be under the strict control of the organisations that elected them to administration posts. But, as Kropotkin argued, the general assembly of the community "in permanence - the forum always open -- is the only way . . .to assure an honest and intelligent administration . . . [and is based upon] distrust of all executive powers." [The Great French Revolution Vol. 1, p. 211]

As Murray Bookchin argues, a "confederalist view involves a clear distinction between policy making and the co-ordination and execution of adopted policies. Policy making is exclusively the right of popular community assemblies based on the practices of participatory democracy. Administration and co-ordination are the responsibility of confederal councils, which become the means for interlinking villages, towns, neighbourhoods, and cities into confederal networks. Power flows from the bottom up instead of from the top down, and in confederations, the flow of power from the bottom up diminishes with the scope of the federal council ranging territorially from localities to regions and from regions to ever-broader territorial areas." [From Urbanisation to Cities, p. 253]

Thus the people will have the final word on policy, which is the essence of self-government, and each citizen will have his or her turn to participate in the co-ordination of public affairs. In other words, the "legislative branch" of self-government will be the people themselves organised in their community assemblies and their confederal co-ordinating councils, with the "executive branch" (public officials) limited to implementing policy formulated by the legislative branch, that is, by the people.

Besides rotation of public officials, means to ensure the accountability of such officials to the people will include a wider use of elections and sortitions, open access to proceedings and records of "executive" activities by computer or direct inspection, the right of citizen assemblies to mandate delegates to higher-level confederal meetings, recall their officials, and revoke their decisions, and the creation of accountability boards, elected or selected by lot (as for jury duty), for each important administrative branch, from local to national.

Thus confederations of communes are required to co-ordinate joint activity and discuss common issues and interests. Confederation is also required to protect individual, community and social freedom. The current means of co-ordinating wide scale activity -- centralism via the state -- is a threat to freedom as, to quote Proudhon, "the citizen divests himself of sovereignty, the town and the Department and province above it, absorbed by central authority, are no longer anything but agencies under direct ministerial control." He continues:

"The Consequences soon make themselves felt: the citizen and the town are deprived of all dignity, the state's depredations multiply, and the burden on the taxpayer increases in proportion. It is no longer the government that is made for the people; it is the people who are made for the government. Power invades everything, dominates everything, absorbs everything. . ." [The Principle of Federation, p. 59]

Moreover, "[t]he principle of political centralism is openly opposed to all laws of social progress and of natural evolution. It lies in the nature of things that every cultural advance is first achieved within a small group and only gradually finds adoption by society as a whole. Therefore, political decentralisation is the best guaranty for the unrestricted possibilities of new experiments. For such an environment each community is given the opportunity to carry through the things which it is capable of accomplishing itself without imposing them on others. Practical experimentation is the parent of ever development in society. So long as each distinct is capable of effecting the changes within its own sphere which its citizens deem necessary, the example of each becomes a fructifying influence on the other parts of the community since they will have the chance to weigh the advantages accruing from them without being forced to adopt them if they are not convinced of their usefulness. The result is that progressive communities serve the others as models, a result justified by the natural evolution of things." [Rudolf Rocker, Pioneers of American Freedom, pp. 16-7]

The contrast with centralisation of the state could not be more clear. As Rocker argues, "[i]n a strongly centralised state, the situation is entirely reversed and the best system of representation can do nothing to change that. The representatives of a certain district may have the overwhelming majority of a certain district on his [or her] side, but in the legislative assembly of the central state, he [or she] will remain in the minority, for it lies in the nature of things that in such a body not the intellectually most active but the most backward districts represent the majority. Since the individual district has indeed the right to give expression of its opinion, but can effect no changes without the consent of the central government, the most progressive districts will be condemned to stagnate while the most backward districts will set the norm." [Op. Cit., p. 17]

Little wonder anarchists have always stressed what Kropotkin termed "local action" and considered the libertarian social revolution as "proceed[ing] by proclaiming independent Communes which Communes will endeavour to accomplish the economic transformation within . . . their respective surroundings." [Peter Kropotkin, Act For Yourselves, p. 43] Thus the advanced communities will inspire the rest to follow them by showing them a practical example of what is possible. Only decentralisation and confederation can promote the freedom and resulting social experimentation which will ensure social progress and make society a good place to live.

Moreover, confederation is required to maximise self-management. As Rocker explains, "[i]n a smaller community, it is far easier for individuals to observe the political scene and become acquainted with the issues which have to be resolved. This is quite impossible for a representative in a centralised government. Neither the single citizen nor his [or her] representative is completely or even approximately to supervise the huge clockwork of the central state machine. The deputy is forced daily to make decisions about things of which he [or she] has no personal knowledge and for the appraisal of which he must therefore depend on others [i.e. bureaucrats and lobbyists]. That such a system necessarily leads to serious errors and mistakes is self-evident. And since the citizen for the same reason is not able to inspect and criticise the conduct of his representative, the class of professional politicians is given added opportunity to fish in troubled waters." [Op. Cit., p. 17-18]

In other words, confederations are required to protect society and the individual against the dangers of centralisation. As Bakunin stressed, there are two ways of organising society, "as it is today, from high to low and from the centre to circumference by means of enforced unity and concentration" and the way of the future, by federalism "starting with the free individual, the free association and the autonomous commune, from low to high and from circumference to centre, by means of free federation." [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, p. 88] In other words, "the organisation of society from the bottom up." [The Basic Bakunin, p. 131]

Thus confederations of participatory communities are required to co-ordinate joint activities, allow social experimentation and protect the distinctiveness, dignity, freedom and self-management of communities and so society as a whole. This is why "socialism is federalist" and "true federalism, the political organisation of socialism, will be attained only when these popular grass-roots institutions [namely, "communes, industrial and agricultural associations"] are organised in progressive stages from the bottom up." [Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 402]

I.5.3 What will be the scales and levels of confederation?

This can only be worked out in practice. In general, it would be save to say that confederations would be needed on a wide scale, including in towns and cities. No village, town or city could be self-sufficient nor would desire to be -- communication and links with other places are part and parcel of live and anarchists have no desire to retreat back into an isolated form of localism:

"No community can hope to achieve economic autarchy, nor should it try to do so. Economically, the wide range of resources that are needed to make many of our widely used goods preclude self-enclosed insularity and parochialism. Far from being a liability, this interdependence among communities and regions can well be regarded as an asset -- culturally as well as politically . . . Divested of the cultural cross-fertilisation that is often a product of economic intercourse, the municipality tends to shrink into itself and disappear into its own civic privatism. Shared needs and resources imply the existence of sharing and, with sharing, communication, rejuvenation by new ideas, and a wider social horizon that yields a wider sensibility to new experiences." [Murray Bookchin, From Urbanisation to Cities, p. 237]

This means that the scale and level of the confederations created by the communes will be varied and extensive. It would be hard to generalise about them, particularly as different confederations will exist for different tasks and interests. Moreover, any system of communes would start off based on the existing villages, towns and cities of capitalism. That is unavoidable and will, of course, help determine the initial scale and level of confederations.

It seems likely that the scale of the confederation will be dependent on the inhabited area in question. A village, for example, would be based on one assembly and (minimally) be part of a local confederation covering all the villages nearby. In turn, this local confederation would be part of a district confederation, and so on up to (ultimately) a continental and world scale. Needless to say, the higher the confederation the less often it would meet and the less it would have to consider in terms of issues to decide. On such a level, only the most general issues and decisions could be reached (in effect, only guidelines which the member confederations would apply as they saw fit).

In urban areas, the town or city would have to be broken down into confederations and these confederations would constitute the town or city assembly of delegates. Given a huge city like London, New York or Mexico City it would be impossible to organise in any other way. Smaller towns would probably be able to have simpler confederations. We must stress hear that few, if any, anarchists consider it desirable to have huge cities in a free society and one of the major tasks of social transformation will be to break the metropolis into smaller units, integrated with the local environment. However, a social revolution will take place in these vast metropolises and so we have to take them into account in our discussion.

Thus the issue of size would determine when a new level of confederation would be needed. A town or village of several thousand people could be organised around the basic level of the commune and it may be that a libertarian socialist society would probably form another level of confederation once this level has been reached. Such units of confederation would, as noted above, include urban districts within today's large cities, small cities, and rural districts composed of several nearby towns. The next level of confederation would, we can imagine, be dependent on the number of delegates required. After a certain number, the confederation assembly may became difficult to manage, so implying that another level of confederation is required. This would, undoubtedly, be the base for determining the scale and level of confederation, ensuring that any confederal assembly can actually manage its activities and remain under the control of lower levels.

Combined with this consideration, we must also raise the issue of economies of scale. A given level of confederation may be required to make certain social and economic services efficient (we are thinking of economies of scale for such social needs as universities, hospitals, and cultural institutions). While every commune may have a doctor, nursery, local communal stores and small-scale workplaces, not all can have a university, hospital, factories and so forth. These would be organised on a wider level, so necessitating the appropriate confederation to exist to manage them.

However, face-to-face meetings of the whole population are impractical at this size. Therefore, the decision making body at this level would be the confederal council, which would consist of mandated, recallable, and rotating delegates from the neighbourhood assemblies. These delegates would co-ordinate policies which have been discussed and voted on by the neighbourhood assemblies, with the votes being summed across the district to determine district policy by majority rule. The issues to be discussed by these confederal meetings/assemblies would be proposed by local communes, the confederal council would collate these proposals and submit them to the other communes in the confederation for discussion. Thus the flow of decision making would be from the bottom up, with the "lowest" bodies having the most power, particularly the power to formulate, suggest, correct and, if need be, reject decisions made at "higher" levels in the confederation.

Ties between bioregions or larger territories based on the distribution of such things as geographically concentrated mineral deposits, climate dependent crops, and production facilities that are most efficient when concentrated in one area will unite communities confederally on the basis of common material needs as well as values. At the bioregional and higher levels of confederation, councils of mandated, recallable, and rotating delegates will co-ordinate policies at those levels, but such policies will still be subject to approval by the neighbourhood and community assemblies through their right to recall their delegates and revoke their decisions.

In the final analysis, libertarian socialism cannot function optimally -- and indeed may be fatally undermined -- unless the present system of competing nation-states is replaced by a co-operative system of decentralised bioregions of self-governing communities confederated on a global scale. For, if a libertarian socialist nation is forced to compete in the global market for scarce raw materials and hard cash with which to buy them, the problems of "petty-bourgeois co-operativism," previously noted, will have merely been displaced to a higher level of organisation. That is, instead of individual co-operatives acting as collective capitalists and competing against each other in the national market for profits, raw materials, etc., the nation or community as a whole will become the "collective capitalist" and compete against other nations in the global capitalist market -- a situation that is bound to reintroduce many problems, e.g. militarism, imperialism, and alienating/disempowering measures in the workplace, justified in the name of "efficiency" and "global competitiveness."

To some extent such problems can be reduced in the revolutionary period by achieving self-sufficiency within bioregions as Kropotkin argued (see section I.3.8). This should be easier to achieve in a libertarian socialist economy as artificial needs are not manufactured by massive advertising campaigns of giant profit-seeking corporations. As a social revolution would, as Kropotkin predicted, suffer (initially) from isolation and disrupted trade patterns such a policy would have to be applied anyway and so interbioregional trade would be naturally be limited to other members of the libertarian socialist federation to a large degree. However, to eliminate the problem completely, anarchists envision a global council of bioregional delegates to co-ordinate global co-operation based on policies formulated and approved at the grassroots by the confederal principles outlined above. As noted above, most anarchists think that the "higher" the confederation, the more its decisions will be guidelines rather than anything else.

In summary, the size and scale of confederations will depend on practical considerations, based on what people found were optimal sizes for their neighbourhood assemblies and the needs of co-operation between them, towns, cities, regions and so on. We cannot, and have no wish, to predict the development of a free society. Therefore the scale and levels of confederation will be decided by those actually creating an anarchist world. All we can do is make a few suggestions of what seems likely.

I.5.4 How will anything ever be decided by all these meetings?

Anarchists have little doubt that the confederal structure will be an efficient means of decision making and will not be bogged down in endless meetings. We have various reasons for thinking this.

Firstly, we doubt that a free society will spend all its time in assemblies or organising confederal conferences. Certain questions are more important than others and few anarchists desire to spend all their time in meetings. The aim of a free society is to allow individuals to express their desires and wants freely -- they cannot do that if they are continually at meetings (or preparing for them). So while communal and confederal assemblies will play an important role in a free society, do not think that they will be occurring all the time or that anarchists desire to make meetings the focal point of individual life. Far from it!

Thus communal assemblies may occur, say, once a week, or fortnightly or monthly in order to discuss truly important issues. There would be no real desire to meet continuously to discuss every issue under the sun and few people would tolerate this occurring. This would mean that such meetings would current regularly and when important issues needed to be discussed, not continuously (although, if required, continuous assembly or daily meetings may have to be organised in emergency situations but this would be rare).

Secondly, it is extremely doubtful that a free people would desire waste vast amounts of time at such meetings. While important and essential, communal and confederal meetings would be functional in the extreme and not forums for hot air. It would be the case that those involved in such meetings would quickly make their feelings known to time wasters and those who like the sound of their own voices. Thus Cornelius Castoriadis:

"It might be claimed that the problem of numbers remains and that people never would be able to express themselves in a reasonable amount of time. This is not a valid argument. There would rarely be an assembly over twenty people where everyone would want to speak, for the very good reason that when there is something to be decided upon there are not an infinite number of options or an infinite number of arguments. In unhampered rank-and-file workers' gatherings (convened, for instance, to decide on a strike) there have never been 'too many' speeches. The two or three fundamental opinions having been voiced, and various arguments exchanged, a decision is soon reached.

"The length of speeches, moreover, often varies inversely with the weight of their content. Russian leaders sometimes talk on for four hours at Party Congresses without saying anything . . . For an account of the laconicism of revolutionary assemblies, see Trotsky's account of the Petrograd soviet of 1905 -- or accounts of the meetings of factory representatives in Budapest in 1956." [Political and Social Writings, vol. 2, pp. 144-5]

As we shall see below, this was definitely the case during the Spanish Revolution as well.

Thirdly, as these assemblies and congresses are concerned purely with joint activity and co-ordination, it is likely that they will not be called very often. Different associations, syndicates and co-operatives have a functional need for co-operation and so would meet more regularly and take action on practical activity which affects a specific section of a community or group of communities. Not every issue that a member of a community is interested in is necessarily best discussed at a meeting of all members of a community or at a confederal conference.

In other words, communal assemblies and conferences will have specific, well defined agendas, and so there is little danger of "politics" taking up everyone's time. Hence, far from discussing abstract laws and pointless motions which no one actually knows much about, the issues discussed in these conferences will be on specific issues which are important to those involved. In addition, the standard procedure may be to elect a sub-group to investigate an issue and report back at a later stage with recommendations. The conference can change, accept, or reject any proposals.

As Kropotkin argued, anarchy would be based on "free agreement, by exchange of letters and proposals, and by congresses at which delegates met to discuss well specified points, and to come to an agreement about them, but not to make laws. After the congress was over, the delegates [would return] . . . not with a law, but with the draft of a contract to be accepted or rejected." [Conquest of Bread, p. 131]

By reducing conferences to functional bodies based on concrete issues, the problems of endless discussions can be reduced, if not totally eliminated. In addition, as functional groups would exist outside of these communal confederations (for example, industrial collectives would organise conferences about their industry with invited participants from consumer groups), there would be a limited agenda in most communal get-togethers.

The most important issues would be to agree on the guidelines for industrial activity, communal investment (e.g. houses, hospitals, etc.) and overall co-ordination of large scale communal activities. In this way everyone would be part of the commonwealth, deciding on how resources would be used to maximise human well-being and ecological survival. The problems associated with "the tyranny of small decisions" would be overcome without undermining individual freedom. (In fact, a healthy community would enrich and develop individuality by encouraging independent and critical thought, social interaction, and empowering social institutions based on self-management).

Is such a system fantasy? Given that such a system has existed and worked at various times, we can safely argue that it is not. Obviously we cannot cover every example, so we point to just two -- revolutionary Paris and Spain.

As Murray Bookchin points out, Paris "in the late eighteenth century was, by the standards of that time, one of the largest and economically most complex cities in Europe: its population approximated a million people . . . Yet in 1793, at the height of the French Revolution, the city was managed institutionally almost entirely by [48] citizen assemblies. . . and its affairs were co-ordinated by the Commune .. . and often, in fact, by the assemblies themselves, or sections as they were called, which established their own interconnections without recourse to the Commune." [Society and Nature, no. 5, p. 96]

Here is his account of how communal self-government worked in practice:

"What, then, were these little-know forty-eight sections of Paris . . .How were they organised? And how did they function?

"Ideologically, the sectionnaires (as their members were called) believed primarily in sovereignty of the people. This concept of popular sovereignty, as Albert Soboul observes, was for them 'not an abstraction, but the concrete reality of the people united in sectional assemblies and exercising all their rights.' It was in their eyes an inalienable right, or, as the section de la Cite declared in November 1792, 'every man who assumes to have sovereignty [over others] will be regarded as a tyrant, usurper of public liberty and worthy of death.'

"Sovereignty, in effect, was to be enjoyed by all citizens, not pre-empted by 'representatives' . . . The radical democrats of 1793 thus assumed that every adult was, to one degree or another, competent to participate in management public affairs. Thus, each section . . . was structured around a face-to-face democracy: basically a general assembly of the people that formed the most important deliberative body of a section, and served as the incarnation of popular power in a given part of the city . . . each elected six deputies to the Commune, presumably for the pursue merely of co-ordinating all the sections in the city of Paris.

"Each section also had its own various administrative committees, whose members were also recruited from the general assembly." [The Third Revolution, vol. 1, p. 319]

Little wonder Kropotkin argued that these "sections" showed "the principles of anarchism, expressed some years later in England by W. Godwin, . . . had their origin, not in theoretical speculations, but in the deeds of the Great French Revolution" [The Great French Revolution, vol. 1, p. 204]

Communal self-government was also practised, and on a far wider scale, in revolutionary Spain. All across Republican Spain, workers and peasants formed communes and federations of communes (see section I.8 for fuller details). As Gaston Leval summarises the experience:

"There was, in the organisation set in motion by the Spanish Revolution and by the libertarian movement, which was its mainspring, a structuring from the bottom to the top, which corresponds to a real federation and true democracy . . . the controlling and co-ordinating Comites, clearly indispensable, do not go outside the organisation that has chosen them, they remain in their midst, always controllable by and accessible to the members. If any individuals contradict by their actions their mandates, it is possible to call them to order, to reprimand them, to replace them. It is only by and in such a system that the 'majority lays down the law.'

"The syndical assemblies were the expression and the practice of libertarian democracy, a democracy having nothing in common with the democracy of Athens where the citizens discussed and disputed for days on end on the Agora; where factions, clan rivalries, ambitions, personalities conflicted, where, in view of the social inequalities precious time was lost in interminable wrangles. Here a modern Aristophenes would have had no reason to write the equivalent of The Clouds.

"Normally those periodic meetings would not last more than a few hours. They dealt with concrete, precise subjects concretely and precisely. And all who had something to say could express themselves. The Comite presented the new problems that had arisen since the previous assembly, the results obtained by the application of such and such a resolution . . relations with other syndicates, production returns from the various workshops or factories. All this was the subject of reports and discussion. Then the assembly would nominate the commissions, the members of these commissions discussed between themselves what solutions to adopt, if there was disagreement, a majority report and a minority report would be prepared.

"This took place in all the syndicates throughout Spain, in all trades and all industries, in assemblies which, in Barcelona, from the very beginnings of our movement brought together hundreds or thousands of workers depending on the strength of the organisations. So much so that the awareness of the duties, responsibilities of each spread all the time to a determining and decisive degree. . .

"The practice of this democracy also extended to the agricultural regions . . . the decision to nominate a local management Comite for the villages was taken by general meetings of the inhabitants of villages, how the delegates in the different essential tasks which demanded an indispensable co-ordination of activities were proposed and elected by the whole assembled population. But it is worth adding and underlining that in all the collectivised villages and all the partially collectivised villages, in the 400 Collectives in Aragon, in the 900 in the Levante region, in the 300 in the Castilian region, to mention only the large groupings . . . the population was called together weekly, fortnightly or monthly and kept fully informed of everything concerning the commonweal.

"This writer was present at a number of these assemblies in Aragon, where the reports on the various questions making up the agenda allowed the inhabitants to know, to so understand, and to feel so mentally integrated in society, to so participate in the management of public affairs, in the responsibilities, that the recriminations, the tensions which always occur when the power of decision is entrusted to a few individuals, be they democratically elected without the possibility of objecting, did not happen there. The assemblies were public, the objections, the proposals publicly discussed, everybody being free, as in the syndical assemblies, to participate in the discussions, to criticise, propose, etc. Democracy extended to the whole of social life." [Collectives in the Spanish Revolution, pp. 205-7]

These collectives organised federations embracing thousands of communes and workplaces, whole branches of industry, hundreds of thousands of people and whole regions of Spain.

In other words, it is possible. It has worked. With the massive improvements in communication technology it is even more viable than before. Whether or not we reach such a self-managed society depends on whether we desire to be free or not.

I.5.5 Aren't participatory communities and confederations just new states?

No. As we have seen in section B.2, a state can be defined both by its structure and its function. As far as structure is concerned, a state involves the politico-military and economic domination of a certain geographical territory by a ruling elite, based on the delegation of power into the hands of the few, resulting in hierarchy (centralised authority). As Kropotkin argued, "the word 'State' . . . should be reserved for those societies with the hierarchical system and centralisation." [Ethics, p. 317f]

In a system of federated participatory communities, however, there is no ruling elite, and thus no hierarchy, because power is retained by the lowest-level units of confederation through their use of direct democracy and mandated, rotating, and recallable delegates to meetings of higher-level confederal bodies. This eliminates the problem in "representative" democratic systems of the delegation of power leading to the elected officials becoming isolated from and beyond the control of the mass of people who elected them. As Kropotkin pointed out, an anarchist society would make decisions by "means of congresses, composed of delegates, who discuss among themselves, and submit proposals, not laws, to their constituents", and so is based on self-government, not representative government (i.e. statism). [The Conquest of Bread, p. 135]

In addition, in representative democracy, elected officials who must make decisions on a wide range of issues inevitably gather an unelected bureaucracy around them to aid in their decision making, and because of its control of information and its permanency, this bureaucracy soon has more power than the elected officials (who themselves have more power than the people). In the system we have sketched, policy proposals formulated by higher-level confederal bodies would often be presented to the grassroots political units for discussion and voting (though the grassroots units could also formulate policy proposals directly), and these higher-level bodies would often need to consult experts in formulating such proposals. But these experts would not be retained as a permanent bureaucracy, and all information provided by them would be available to the lower-level units to aid in their decision making, thus eliminating the control of information on which bureaucratic power is based.

Perhaps it will be objected that communal decision making is just a form of "statism" based on direct, as opposed to representative, democracy -- "statist" because the individual is still be subject to the rules of the majority and so is not free. This objection, however, confuses statism with free agreement (i.e. co-operation). Since participatory communities, like productive syndicates, are voluntary associations, the decisions they make are based on self-assumed obligations (see section A.2.11 -- "Why are most anarchists in favour of direct democracy?"), and dissenters can leave the association if they so desire. Thus communes are no more "statist" than the act of promising and keeping ones word.

In addition, in a free society, dissent and direct action can be used by minorities to press their case (or defend their freedom) as well as debate. As Carole Pateman argues, "[p]olitical disobedience is merely one possible expression of the active citizenship on which a self-managing democracy is based." [The Problem of Political Obligation, p. 162] In this way, individual liberty can be protected in a communal system and society enriched by opposition, confrontation and dissent.

Without self-management and minority dissent, society would become an ideological cemetery which would stifle ideas and individuals as these thrives on discussion ("those who will be able to create in their mutual relations a movement and a life based on the principles of free understanding . . . will understand that variety, conflict even, is life and that uniformity is death" [Kropotkin, Kropotkin's Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 143]). Therefore it is likely that a society based on voluntary agreements and self-management would, out of interpersonal empathy and self-interest, create a society that encouraged individuality and respect for minorities.

Therefore, a commune's participatory nature is the opposite of statism. April Carter, in Authority and Democracy agrees. She states that "commitment to direct democracy or anarchy in the socio-political sphere is incompatible with political authority" and that the "only authority that can exist in a direct democracy is the collective 'authority' vested in the body politic . . . it is doubtful if authority can be created by a group of equals who reach decisions be a process of mutual persuasion." [p. 69 and p. 380] Which echoes, we must note, Proudhon's comment that "the true meaning of the word 'democracy'" was the "dismissal of government." [No Gods, No Masters, vol. 1, p. 42] Bakunin argued that when the "whole people govern" then "there will be no one to be governed. It means that there will be no government, no State." [The Political Philosophy of Bakunin, p. 287] Malatesta, decades later, made the same point -- "government by everybody is no longer government in the authoritarian, historical and practical sense of the word." [No Gods, No Masters, vol. 2, p. 38] And, of course, Kropotkin argued that by means of the directly democratic sections of the French Revolution the masses "practic[ed] what was to be described later as Direct Self-Government" and expressed "the principles of anarchism." [The Great French Revolution, vol. 1, p. 200 and p. 204]

Anarchists assert that individuals and the institutions they create cannot be considered in isolation. Authoritarian institutions will create individuals who have a servile nature, who cannot govern themselves. Anarchists, therefore, consider it common sense that individuals, in order to be free, must have take part in determining the general agreements they make with their neighbours which give form to their communities. Otherwise, a free society could not exist and individuals would be subject to rules others make for them (following orders is hardly libertarian). Therefore, anarchists recognise the social nature of humanity and the fact any society based on contracts (like capitalism) will be marked by authority, injustice and inequality, not freedom. As Bookchin points out, "[t]o speak of 'The Individual' apart from its social roots is as meaningless as to speak of a society that contains no people or institutions." ["Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism", Society and Nature no. 8, p. 15]

Society cannot be avoided and "[u]nless everyone is to be psychologically homogeneous and society's interests so uniform in character that dissent is simply meaningless, there must be room for conflicting proposals, discussion, rational explication and majority decisions - in short, democracy." [Bookchin, Op. Cit., pp. 15-16] Those who reject democracy in the name of liberty (such as many supporters of capitalism claim to do) usually also see the need for laws and hierarchical authority (particularly in the workplace). This is unsurprising, as such authority is the only means left by which collective activity can be co-ordinated if "democracy" (i.e. self-management) is rejected (usually as "statist", which is ironic as the resulting institutions, such as a capitalist company, are far more statist than self-managed ones).

However, it should be noted that communities can expel individuals or groups of individuals who constantly hinder community decisions. As Malatesta argued, "for if it is unjust that the majority should oppress the minority, the contrary would be quite as unjust; and if the minority has a right to rebel, the majority has a right to defend itself . . . it is true that this solution is not completely satisfactory. The individuals put out of the association would be deprived of many social advantages, which an isolated person or group must do without, because they can only be procured by the co-operation of a great number of human beings. But what would you have? These malcontents cannot fairly demand that the wishes of many others should be sacrificed for their sakes." [A Talk about Anarchist-Communism, p. 29]

Nevertheless, such occurrences would be rare (for reasons discussed in section I.5.6), and their possibility merely indicates that free association also means the freedom not to associate. This a very important freedom for both the majority and the minority, and must be defended. However, as an isolated life is impossible, the need for communal associations is essential. It is only by living together in a supportive community can individuality be encouraged and developed along with individual freedom. However, anarchists are aware that not everyone is a social animal and that there are times that people like to withdraw into their own personal space. Thus our support for free association and federalism along with solidarity, community and self-management.

Lastly, that these communities and confederations are not just states with new names in indicated by two more considerations. Firstly, in regard to the activities of the confederal conferences, it is clear that they would not be passing laws on personal behaviour or ethics, i.e. not legislating to restrict the liberty of those who live in these communities they represent. For example, a community is unlikely to pass laws outlawing homosexuality or censoring the press, for reasons discussed in the next section. Hence they would not be "law-making bodies" in the modern sense of the term, and thus not statist. Secondly, these confederations have no means to enforce their decisions. In other words, if a confederal congress makes a decision, it has no means to force people to act or not act in a certain way. We can imagine that there will be ethical reasons why participants will not act in ways to oppose joint activity -- as they took part in the decision making process they would be considered childish if they reject the final decision because it did not go in their favour. Moreover, they would also have to face the reaction of those who also took part in the decision making process. It would be likely that those who ignored such decisions (or actively hindered them) would soon face non-violent direct action in the form of non-co-operation, shunning, boycotting and so on.

So, far from being new states by which one section of a community imposes its ethical standards on another, the anarchist commune is just a public forum. In this forum, issues of community interest (for example, management of the commons, control of communalised economic activity, and so forth) are discussed and policy agreed upon. In addition, interests beyond a local area are also discussed and delegates for confederal conferences are mandated with the wishes of the community. Hence, administration of things replaces government of people, with the community of communities existing to ensure that the interests of all are managed by all and that liberty, justice and equality are more than just ideals.

For these reasons, a libertarian-socialist society would not create a new state as far as structure goes. But what about in the area of function?

As noted in section B.2.1, the function of the state is to enable the ruling elite to exploit subordinate social strata, i.e. to derive an economic surplus from them, which it does by protecting certain economic monopolies from which the elite derives its wealth, and so its power. But this function is completely eliminated by the economic structure of anarchist society, which, by abolishing private property, makes it impossible for a privileged elite to form, let alone exploit "subordinate strata" (which will not exist, as no one is subordinate in power to anyone else). In other words, by placing the control of productive resources in the hands of the workers councils and community assemblies, every worker is given free access to the means of production that he or she needs to earn a living. Hence no one will be forced to pay usury (i.e. a use-fee) in the form of appropriated surplus value (profits) to an elite class that monopolises the means of production. In short, without private property, the state loses its reason for existence.

I.5.6 Won't there be a danger of a "tyranny of the majority" under libertarian socialism?

While the "tyranny of the majority" objection does contain an important point, it is often raised for self-serving reasons. This is because those who raised the issue (for example, creators of the 1789 US constitution like Hamilton and Madison) saw the "minority" to be protected as the rich. In other words, the objection is not opposed to majority tyranny as such (they have no objections when the majority support their right to their riches) but rather attempts of the majority to change their society to a fairer one. However, as noted, the objection to majority rule does contain a valid point and one which anarchists have addressed -- namely, what about minority freedom within a self-managed society.

There is, of course, this danger in any society, be its decision making structure direct (anarchy) or indirect (by some form of government). Anarchists are at the forefront in expressing concern about it (see, for example, Emma Goldman's classic essay "Minorities versus Majorities" in Anarchism and Other Essays). We are well aware that the mass, as long as the individuals within it do not free themselves, can be a dead-weight on others, resisting change and enforcing conformity. As Goldman argued, "even more than constituted authority, it is social uniformity and sameness that harass the individual the most." [Red Emma Speaks, p. 93] Hence Malatesta's comment that anarchists "have the special mission of being vigilant custodians of freedom, against all aspirants to power and against the possible tyranny of the majority." [Life and Ideas, p. 161]

However, rather than draw elitist conclusions from this fact of life under capitalism and urge forms of government and organisation which restrict popular participation (and promote rule, and tyranny, by the few) -- as classical liberals do -- libertarians argue that only a process of self-liberation through struggle and participation can break up the mass into free, self-managing individuals. Moreover, we also argue that participation and self-management is the only way that majorities can come to see the point of minority ideas and for seeing the importance of protecting minority freedoms. This means that any attempt to restrict participation in the name of minority rights actually enforces the herd mentality, undermining minority and individual freedom rather than protecting it. As Carole Pateman argues:

"the evidence supports the arguments . . . that we do learn to participate by participating and that feelings of political efficacy are more likely to be developed in a participatory environment. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that experience of a participatory authority structure might also be effective in diminishing tendencies towards non-democratic attitudes in the individual." [Participation and Democratic Theory, p. 105]

However, while there is cause for concern (and anarchists are at the forefront in expressing it), the "tyranny of the majority" objection fails to take note of the vast difference between direct and "representative" forms of democracy.

In the current system, as we pointed out in section B.5, voters are mere passive spectators of occasional, staged, and highly rehearsed debates among candidates pre-selected by the corporate elite, who pay for campaign expenses. More often the public is expected to choose simply on the basis of political ads and news sound bites. Once the choice is made, cumbersome and ineffective recall procedures insure that elected representatives can act more or less as they (or rather, their wealthy sponsors) please. The function, then, of the electorate in bourgeois "representative government" is ratification of "choices" that have been already made for them!

By contrast, in a direct, libertarian democracy, decisions are made following public discussion in community assemblies open to all. After decisions have been reached, outvoted minorities -- even minorities of one -- still have ample opportunity to present reasoned and persuasive counter-arguments to try to change the decision. This process of debate, disagreement, challenge, and counter-challenge, which goes on even after the defeated minority has temporarily acquiesced in the decision of the majority, is virtually absent in the representative system, where "tyranny of the majority" is truly a problem. In addition, minorities can secede from an association if the decision reached by it are truly offensive to them.

And let us not forget that in all likelihood, issues of personal conduct or activity will not be discussed in the neighbourhood assemblies. Why? Because we are talking about a society in which most people consider themselves to be unique, free individuals, who would thus recognise and act to protect the uniqueness and freedom of others. Unless people are indoctrinated by religion or some other form of ideology, they can be tolerant of others and their individuality. If this is not the case now, then it has more to do with the existence of authoritarian social relationships -- relationships that will be dismantled under libertarian socialism -- and the type of person they create rather than some innate human flaw.

Thus there will be vast areas of life in a libertarian socialist community which are none of other people's business. Anarchists have always stressed the importance of personal space and "private" areas. Indeed, for Kropotkin, the failure of many "utopian" communities directly flowed from a lack personal space. One of the mistakes made by such "utopian" communities within capitalism was "the desire to manage the community after the model of a family, to make it 'the great family.' They lived all in the same house and were thus forced to continuously meet the same 'brethren and sisters.' It is already difficult often for two real brothers to live together in the same house, and family life is not always harmonious; so it was a fundamental error to impose on all the 'great family' instead of trying, on the contrary, to guarantee as much freedom and home life to each individual." [Small Communal Experiments and Why they Fail, pp. 8-9]

Thus in an anarchist society, continual agreement on all issues is not desired. The members of a free society "need only agree as to some advantageous method of common work, and are free otherwise to live in their own way." [Op. Cit., p. 22]

Which brings us to another key point. When anarchists talk of democratising or communalising the household or any other association, we do not mean that it should be stripped of its private status and become open to the "tyranny of the majority" or regulation by general voting in a single, universal public sphere. Rather, we mean that households and other relationships should take in libertarian characteristics and be consistent with the liberty of all its members. Thus a society based on self-management does not imply the destruction of private spheres of activity -- it implies the extension of anarchist principles into all spheres of life, both private and public. It does not mean the subordination of the private by the public, or vice versa.

So, in other words, it is highly unlikely that the "tyranny of the majority" will exert itself where most rightly fear it -- in their homes, how they act with friends, their personal space, how they act, and do on. As long as individual freedom and rights are protected, it is of little concern what people get up to (included the rights of children, who are also individuals and not the property of their parents). Direct democracy in anarchist theory is purely concerned with common resources and their use and management. It is highly unlikely that a free society would debate issues of personal behaviour or morality and instead would leave them to those directly affected by them -- as it should be, as we all need personal space and experimentation to find the way of life that best suits us.

Today an authoritarian worldview, characterised by an inability to think beyond the categories of domination and submission, is imparted by conditioning in the family, schools, religious institutions, clubs, fraternities, the army, etc., and produces a type of personality that is intolerant of any individual or group perceived as threatening to the perpetuation of that worldview and its corresponding institutions and values. Thus, as Bakunin argues, "public opinion" is potentially intolerant "simply because hitherto this power has not been humanised itself; it has not been humanised because the social life of which it is ever the faithful expression is based . . . in the worship of divinity, not on respect for humanity; in authority, not on liberty; on privilege, not on equality; in the exploitation, not on the brotherhood, of men; on iniquity and falsehood, not on justice and truth. Consequently its real action, always in contradiction of the humanitarian theories which it professes, has constantly exercised a disastrous and depraving influence." [God and the State, p. 43f] In other words, "if society is ever to become free, it will be so through liberated individuals, whose free efforts make society." [Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays, p. 44]

In an anarchist society, however, a conscious effort will be made to dissolve the institutional and traditional sources of the authoritarian/submissive type of personality, and thus to free "public opinion" of its current potential for intolerance. In addition, it should be noted that as anarchists recognise that the practice of self-assumed political obligation implied in free association also implies the right to practice dissent and disobedience as well. As Carole Pateman notes, "[e]ven if it is impossible to be unjust to myself, I do not vote for myself alone, but alone with everyone else. Questions about injustice are always appropriate in political life, for there is no guarantee that participatory voting will actually result in decisions in accord with the principles of political morality." [The Problem of Political Obligation, p. 160]

If an individual or group of individuals feel that a specific decision threatens their freedom (which is the basic principle of political morality in an anarchist society) they can (and must) act to defend that freedom. "The political practice of participatory voting rests in a collective self-consciousness about the meaning and implication of citizenship. The members of the political association understand that to vote is simultaneously to commit oneself, to commit one's fellow citizens, and also to commit oneself to them in a mutual undertaking . . . a refusal to vote on a particular occasion indicates that the refusers believe . . . [that] the proposal . . . infringes the principle of political morality on which the political association is based . . A refusal to vote [or the use of direct action] could be seen as an appeal to the 'sense of justice' of their fellow citizens." [Carole Pateman, Op. Cit., p. 161]

As they no longer "consent" to the decisions made by their community they can appeal to the "sense of justice" of their fellow citizens by direct action and indicate that a given decision may have impacts which the majority were not aware. Hence direct action and dissent is a key aspect of an anarchist society and help ensure against the tyranny of the majority. Anarchism rejects the "love it or leave it" attitude that marks classical liberalism as well as Rousseau (this aspect of his work being inconsistent with its foundations in participation).

This vision of self-assumed obligation, with its basis in individual liberty, indicates the basic flaw of Joseph Schumpeter's argument against democracy as anything bar a political method of arriving at decisions (in his case who will be the leaders of a society). Schumpeter proposed the "mental experiment" of imagining a country which, democratically, persecuted Jews, witches and Christians (see his famous work Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy). He argues that we should not approve of these practices just because they have been decided upon by the democratic method and, therefore, democracy cannot be an end in itself.

However, such systematic persecution would conflict with the rules of procedure required if a country's or community's political method is to be called "democratic." This is because, in order to be democratic, the minority must be in a position for its ideas to become the majority's via argument and convincing the majority (and that requires freedom of discussion and association). A country or community in which the majority persecutes or represses a minority automatically ensures that the minority can never be in a position to become the majority (as the minority is barred by force from becoming so) or convince the majority of the errors of its way (even if it cannot become the majority physically, it can become so morally by convincing the majority to change its position). Schumpeter's example utterly violates democratic principles and so cannot be squared with the rules of democratic procedure. Thus majority tyranny is an outrage against both democratic theory and individual liberty (unsurprisingly, as the former has its roots in the latter).

This argument applies with even more force to a self-managed community too and so any system in which the majority tyrannises over a minority is, by definition, not self-managed as one part of the community is excluded from convincing the other ("the enslavement of part of a nation denies the federal principal itself." [P-J Proudhon, The Principle of Federation, p. 42f]). Thus individual freedom and minority rights are essential to direct democracy/self-management.

It should be stressed, however, that most anarchists do not think that the way to guard against possible tyranny by the majority is to resort to decision-making by consensus (where no action can be taken until every person in the group agrees) or a property system (based in contracts). Both consensus (see section A.2.12 -- "Is consensus an alternative to direct democracy?") and contracts (see section A.2.14 -- "Why is voluntarism not enough?") soon result in authoritarian social relationships developing in the name of "liberty."

For example, decision making by consensus tends to eliminate the creative role of dissent and mutate into a system that pressures people into psychic and intellectual conformity -- hardly a libertarian ideal. In the case of property and contract based systems, those with property have more power than those without, and so they soon determine what can and cannot be done -- in other words, the "tyranny of the minority" and hierarchical authority. Both alternatives are deeply flawed.

Hence most anarchists have recognised that majority decision making, though not perfect, is the best way to reach decisions in a political system based on maximising individual (and so social) freedom. Direct democracy in grassroots confederal assemblies and workers' councils ensures that decision making is "horizontal" in nature (i.e. between equals) and not hierarchical (i.e. governmental, between order giver and order taker). In other words, it ensures liberty.

I.5.7 What if I don't want to join a commune?

As would be expected, no one would be forced to join a commune nor take part in its assemblies. To suggest otherwise would be contrary to anarchist principles. We have already indicated (in the last two sections) why the communes would not be likely to restrict individuals with new "laws." Thus a commune would be a free society, in which individual liberty would be respected and encouraged.

However, what about individuals who live within the boundaries of a commune but decide not to join? For example, a local neighbourhood may include households that desire to associate and a few that do not (this is actually happened during the Spanish Revolution). What happens to the minority of dissenters?

Obviously individuals can leave to find communities more in line with their own concepts of right and wrong if they cannot convince their neighbours of the validity of their ideas. And, equally obviously, not everyone will want to leave an area they like. So we must discuss those who decide to not to find a more suitable community. Are the communal decisions binding on non-members? Obviously not. If an individual or family desire not to join a commune (for whatever reason), their freedoms must be respected. However, this also means that they cannot benefit from communal activity and resources (such a free housing, hospitals, and so forth) and, possibly, have to pay for their use. As long as they do not exploit or oppress others, an anarchist community would respect their decision. After all, as Malatesta argued, "free and voluntary communism is ironical if one has not the right and the possibility to live in a different regime, collectivist, mutualist, individualist -- as one wishes, always on condition that there is no oppression or exploitation of others." [Life and Ideas, p. 103]

Many who oppose anarchist self-management in the name of freedom often do so because they desire to oppress and exploit others. In other words, they oppose participatory communities because they (rightly) fear that this would restrict their ability to oppress, exploit and grow rich off the labour of others. This type of opposition can be seen from history, when rich elites, in the name of liberty, have replaced democratic forms of social decision making with representative or authoritarian ones (see section B.2.6). Regardless of what defenders of capitalism claim, "voluntary bilateral exchanges" affect third parties and can harm others indirectly. This can easily be seen from examples like concentrations of wealth which have effects across society, or crime in the local community, or the ecological impacts of consumption and production. This means that an anarchist society would be aware that inequality and so statism could develop again and take precautions against it. As Malatesta put it, some "seem almost to believe that after having brought down government and private property we would allow both to be quietly built up again, because of respect for the freedom of those who might feel the need to be rulers and property owners. A truly curious way of interpreting our ideas." [Anarchy, p. 41]

So, it goes without saying that the minority, as in any society, will exist within the ethical norms of the surrounding society and they will be "forced to adhere" to them in the same sense that they are "forced to adhere" to not murdering people. Few people would say that forcing people not to commit murder is a restriction of their liberty. Therefore, while allowing the maximum of individual freedom of dissent, an anarchist community would still have to apply its ethical standards to those beyond that community. Individuals would not be allowed to murder, harm or enslave others and claim that they are allowed to do so because they are not part of the local community (see section I.5.8 on crime in an anarchist society).

Similarly, individuals would not be allowed to develop private property (as opposed to possession) simply because they wanted to. Such a "ban" on private property would not be a restriction on liberty simply because stopping the development of authority hardly counts as an authoritarian act (for an analogy, supporters of capitalism do not think that banning theft is a restriction of liberty and because this view is -- currently -- accepted by the majority, it is enforced on the minority). Even the word "ban" is wrong, as it is the would-be capitalist who is trying to ban freedom for others on their "property." Members of a free society would simply refuse to recognise the claims of private property -- they would simply ignore the would-be capitalist's pretensions and "keep out" signs. Without a state, or hired thugs, to back up their claims, they would just end up looking silly. "Occupancy and use" (to use Tucker's term) would be the limits of possession -- and so property would become "that control of a thing by a person which will receive either social sanction, or else unanimous individual sanction, when the laws of social expediency shall have been fully discovered." [B. Tucker, Instead of a Book, p. 131]

Tucker explains this system further:

"Suppose that all the municipalities have adopted the voluntary principle, and that compulsory taxation has been abolished. Now after this let us suppose that the Anarchistic view that occupancy and use should condition and limit landholding becomes the prevailing view. Evidently then these municipalities will proceed to formulate and enforce this view. What the formula will be no one can foresee. But continuing with our suppositions, we will say that they decide to protect no one in the possession of more than ten acres. In execution of this decision, they . . . notify all holders of more than ten acres within their limits that . . . they will cease to protect them in the possession of more than ten acres . . ." [The Individualist Anarchists, pp. 159-60]

A similar process would occur for housing, with tenants "would not be forced to pay [the landlord] rent, nor would [the landlord] be allowed to seize their property. The Anarchistic associations would look upon . . . tenants very much as they would look upon . . . guests." [Op. Cit., p. 162]

Therefore anarchists support the maximum of experiments while ensuring that the social conditions that allow this experimentation are protected against concentrations of wealth and power. As Malatesta put it, "Anarchism involves all and only those forms of life that respect liberty and recognise that every person has an equal right to enjoy the good things of nature and the products of their own activity." [The Anarchist Revolution, p. 14]

This means that Anarchists do not support the liberty of being a boss (anarchists will happily work with someone but not for someone). Of course, those who desire to create private property against the wishes of others expect those others to respect their wishes. So, when the would-be propertarians happily fence off their "property" and exclude others from it, could not these others remember these words from Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land, and act accordingly?

"As I went rumbling that dusty highway
I saw a sign that said private property
But on the other side it didn't say nothing
This land was made for you and me"

While happy to exclude others from "their" property, such owners seem more than happy to use the resources held in common by others. They are the ultimate "free riders," desiring the benefits of society but rejecting the responsibilities that go with it. In the end, such "individualists" usually end up supporting the state (an institution they claim to hate) precisely because it is the only means by which private property and their "freedom" to exercise authority can be defended.

So, as a way to eliminate the problem of minorities seeking power and property for themselves, an anarchist revolution places social wealth (starting with the land) in the hands of all and promises to protect only those uses of it which are considered just by society as a whole. In other words, by recognising that "property" is a product of society, an anarchist society will ensure than an individual's "property" is protected by his or her fellows when it is based purely upon actual occupancy and use. Thus attempts to transform minority dissent into, say, property rights would be fought by simply ignoring the "keep out" signs of property owned, but not used, by an individual or group.

Therefore, individuals are free not to associate, but their claims of "ownership" will be based around use rights, not property rights. Individuals will be protected by their fellows only in so far as what they claim to "own" is related to their ability to personally use said "property." As Kropotkin argued, "when we see a peasant who is in possession of just the amount of land he can cultivate, we do not think it reasonable to turn him off his little farm. He exploits nobody, and nobody would have the right to interfere with his work. But if he possesses under the capitalist law more than be can cultivate himself, we consider that we must not give him the right of keeping that soil for himself, leaving it uncultivated when it might be cultivated by others, or of making other cultivate it for his benefit." [Act for Yourselves, p. 104] Without a state to back up and protect property "rights," we see that all rights are, in the end, what society considers to be fair (the difference between law and social custom is discussed in section I.7.3). What the state does is to impose "rights" which do not have such a basis (i.e. those that protect the property of the elite) or "rights" which have been corrupted by wealth and would have been changed because of this corruption had society been free to manage its own affairs.

In summary, individuals will be free not to join a participatory community, and hence free to place themselves outside its decisions and activities on most issues that do not apply to the fundamental ethical standards of a society. Hence individuals who desire to live outside of anarchist communities would be free to live as they see fit but would not be able to commit murder, rape, create private property or other activities that harmed individuals. It should be noted, moreover, that this does not mean that their possessions will be taken from them by "society" or that "society" will tell them what to do with their possessions. Freedom, in a complex world, means that such individuals will not be in a position to turn their possessions into property and thus recreate capitalism (for the distinction between "property" and "possessions," see section B.3.1). This will not be done by "anarchist police" or by "banning" voluntary agreements, but purely by recognising that "property" is a social creation and by creating a social system that will encourage individuals to stand up for their rights and co-operate with each other.

I.5.8 Que dites-vous du crime ?

Pour les anarchistes, "le crime" peut être décrit comme un acte anti-social, ou un comportement qui fait du mal à quelqu'un d'autre ou qui envahit leur espace personnel. Les anarchistes soutiennent que la cause radicale du crime n'est pas une perversité de la nature humaine ou d'un "péché originel", mais existe en raison du type de société par lequel les gens sont modelés. Par exemple, les anarchistes montrent qu'en éliminant la propriété privée, le crime pourrait être réduit de 90 pour cent, puisque 90 pour cent des crimes sont actuellement motivés par des maux provenant de la propriété privé, tels que la pauvreté, la sans domiciliation, le chômage et l'aliénation. De plus, en adoptant des méthodes anarchistes pour instruire et éduquer les enfants de manière non autoritaire, la plupart des crimes restants pourraient aussi être éliminés, en raison du fait que la "pulsion secondaire" de l'anti-social, du pervers et du cruel qui se développent à cause des pratiques autoritaires, de l'éducation par plaisir-négatif (Voir la section J.6- "Quelles méthodes pour l'education des enfants les anarchistes recommandent-ils ? ")

"Le crime", donc, ne peut pas être dissocié de la société dans laquelle cela se produit. La société, selon les mots d'Emma Goldman, a les criminels qu'elle mérite. Par exemple, les anarchistes ne pensent pas inhabituel, ni inattendu que le crime explose sous les régimes de capitalisme de pro-marché libre de Thatcher et Reagan. Le crime, un symptôme des plus évident de la crise sociale, a pris 30 ans pour doubler en Grande-Bretagne (de 1 million d'incidents en 1950 à 2.2 million en 1979). Pourtant, entre 1979 et 1992 l'indice de la criminalité a plus que doublé, excédant 5 millions de faits en 1992. Ces 13 années ont été marquées par un gouvernement fermement engagé dans le "libre marché" et la "responsabilité individuelle". C'était entièrement prévisible que la perturbation sociale, l'atomisation des individus et l'augmentation de la pauvreté provoquée par la libération du capitalisme des controles sociaux ait déchiqueté la société et augmenté l'activité criminelle. Aussi sans surprise (d'un point de vue anarchiste), sous ces gouvernements pro-marché, nous avons aussi vu une réduction des libertés individuelles, l'Etat a augmenté la centralisation et la destruction des collectivités locales. Comme Malatesta le dit, le libéralisme classique que ces gouvernements ont représentés pourront n'avoir eu nul autre effet, pour "les pouvoirs du gouvernement de répression de devoir augmenter du fait que la libre concurrence amène à plus de désaccord et d'inégalité." [L'anarchie, p. 46]

Dorénavant le paradoxe des gouvernements engagés dans "les droits individuels", le "marché libre" et "faire que l'Etat cesse de nous défendre" augmentant le pouvoir d'Etat et réduisant les droits durant leurs mandats pendant une explosion de crime est non paradoxal du tout. "La conjoncture de la rhétorique de liberté individuelle et une vaste augmentation des pouvoir d'Etat", argumente Carole Pateman, "n'est pas inattendue à la fois du fait que l'influence de la doctrine du contrat s'étend dans les derniers recoins, les plus intimes et petites parcelles de la vie sociale. Posé dans ses conclusions, le contrat sape les conditions de sa propre existence. Hobbes a montré depuis longtemps que ce contrat - de toutes sortes - exige l'absolutisme et l'épée pour tenir la guerre à distance." [Le Contrat Sexuel, p. 232]

Le capitalisme et la théorie du contrat, sur laquelle il est construit, déchireront inévitablement la société. Le capitalisme est fondé sur une vision de l'humanité en tant qu'individus isolés sans connexion autre que l'argent et le contrat. Une telle vision ne peut empêcher d'institutionnaliser des actes anti-sociaux. Comme Kropotkine l'a argumenté "ce n’est ni sur l’amour ni même sur la sympathie que la société est basée dans l’humanité : c’est sur la conscience de la solidarité humaine, - ne fût-ce même qu’à l’état d’instinct ; - sur le sentiment inconscient de la force que donne à chacun la pratique de l’entr’aide, sur le sentiment de l’étroite dépendance du bonheur de chacun et du bonheur de tous, et sur un vague sens de justice ou d’équité, qui amène l’individu à considérer les droits de chaque autre individu comme égaux aux siens."[L'entr'Aide, p. 16]

L'atomisation sociale exigée et créée par le capitalisme détruit les obligations fondamentales de la société - à savoir la solidarité humaine - et la hiérarchie écrase l'individualité qui exige de comprendre que nous partageons une humanité commune avec d'autres et de comprendre ainsi pourquoi nous devons être étiques et respecter les droits des autres.

Nous devons aussi montrer que les prisons ont de nombreux effets négatifs sur la société tel que le fait de renforcer le comportement criminel (c'est-à-dire anti-social). Kropotkine a fait la description exacte des prisons comme "des Universités du Crime" où le criminel débutant apprend au sein des prisons de nouvelles techniques et s'adapte aux normes étiques prévalentes entre eux. Dorénavant, les prisons auraient l'effet d'augmenter les tendances criminelles entre ceux qui ont étés envoyés là et de ce fait prouve que cela a un effet contre-productif. En plus, les prisons n'affectent pas les conditions sociales qui alimentent beaucoup de ces formes criminelles.

Nous ne disons pas, pourtant, que les anarchistes rejettent le concept de responsabilité individuelle. En reconnaissant que le viol, par exemple, est le résultat d'un système social qui réprime la sexualité et qui est fondé sur le patriarcat (le viol a plus à voir avec le rapport de pouvoir que de sexe), les anarchistes "ne se défilent pas" et ne disent pas que "c'est la faute à la société". Les individus doivent prendre la responsabilité de leurs propres actes et qu'ils reconnaissent les conséquences de ces actes. Une partie du problème actuel avec les "codes de lois" est que les individus ont étés privés de leur responsabilité à développer leur propre code étique et qu'ils sont donc probablement moins propice à développer des normes sociales "civilisées" (voir la section I.7.3).

Donc, pendant que les anarchistes rejettent les idées de loi et d'un système judiciaire spécialisé, ils ne sont pas aveugles du fait que l'action anti-sociale peut ne pas disparaitre complètement dans une société libre. Donc, une sorte de système "de cour de justice" serait toujours nécessaire pour s'occuper des crimes restants et pour juger des disputes entre les citoyens.

Ces cours de justice fonctionneraient d'une à deux façons. Une première possibilité est que les personnes impliquées concordent pour mettre leur cas dans les mains d'une tierce personne. Alors "la cour de justice" en question serait l'activité faite par ces personnes. La deuxième possibilité consiste en ce que quand les personnes ne peuvent pas être d'accord (ou si la victime est morte). Alors la scéance pourrait être suivie par une assemblée communale et "une cour de justice" nommée pour regarder la scéance. Ces "cours de justice" seraient indépendantes de la commune, leur indépendance renforcée par des élections populaires plutôt que de payer des juges pour venir (comme actuellement), tout en protégeant un système de jurés de citoyens sélectionnés au hasard par tirage au sort et en informant les jurés de leur droit de juger la loi elle-même, selon leur conscience, aussi bien que par les faits du cas en question. Comme Malatesta l'a montré, "Et en cas de contestation, l'arbitrage volontairement accepté, ou la pression de l'opinion publique, ne serait-ce pas là un moyen plus apte à donner raison à celui qui a effectivement raison plutôt qu'une magistrature irresponsable ayant le droit de juger tout et tout le monde, et nécessairement incompétente donc injuste ?"[L'anarchie, p. 43]

Dans le cas d'une "force de police", cela n'existerait aucunement comme un corps spécialisé public ou privé ou une compagnie. Si une communauté locale a vraiment estimé que la sécurité publique exigait un corps de gens qui pourraient être appellé pour de l'aide, nous imaginons qu'un nouveau système serait créé. Un tel système ne serait pas "confié, comme c'est aujourd'hui, à un organisme officiel spécifique : on appellera tous les habitants en bonne santé [d'une commune] pour faire à tour de rôle les mesures de sécurité instituées par la commune." [James Guillaume, Bakounine sur l'Anarchisme, p. 371]. Ce système serait basé autour d'un système de milices volontaires, dans lequel tous les membres de la communauté pourrait servir s'ils le désirent. Ceux-là qui auront servi ne constitueront pas un corps de professionnels ; plutôt, le service serait fait par la population locale qui adhérerait pour de périodes courtes et serait remplacés s'ils abusaient de leur position. Dorénavant la probabilité qu'une milice communale devienne corrompue par le pouvoir, comme les forces de polices actuelles ou une firme privée de sécurité exercant une fonction de police, serait considérablement réduite. De plus, en habituant la population à intervenir dans l'anti-social comme faisant partie de la milice, ils leur seraient donnés le droit d'en faire autant d'une manière active hors de la milice, ainsi réduisant de plus en plus le besoin pour ses services.

Un tel corps n'aurait pas de monopole sur le fait de protéger d'autres, mais serait simplement appelés si d'autres communards exigent leur service. Ce ne serait pas plus un monopole de défense (c'est-à-dire "une force de police") que les pompiers ne sont un monopole. Les individus ne sont pas interdits d'éteindre le feu aujourd'hui parce que le service de pompiers existe, de la même façon les individus seront libre d'aider à arrêter des crimes anti-sociaux par eux-mêmes, ou par association avec d'autres, dans une société anarchiste.

Évidemment il y a des actes anti-sociaux qui se produisent sans témoins et où la personne "coupable" ne peut pas être clairement identifiée. Si de tels actes se produisent, nous pouvons imaginer une communauté anarchiste prenant deux actions en cours. La personne blessée peut examiner les faits elle-même ou nommer un agent pour le faire ou, mieux, on mandaterait un groupe d'un assemblage approprié de communauté pour enquêter sur les crimes spécifiques de cette sorte. Ainsi, on donnerait à un tel groupe "l'autorité" nécessaire pour enquêter sur le crime et seraient soumis à un mandat revocable de la communauté s'ils commencent à essayer d'abuser de l'"autorité" qu'ils ont eus. Dès que le groupe enquêtant a cru qu'il avait assez d'évidence, il informerait la communauté aussi bien que les personnes affectées qui organiseraient ensuite une cour de justice. Évidemment, une société libre produira différentes solutions pour de tels problèmes, des solutions que personne n'a réfléchi encore et donc ces suggestions ne sont juste que cela, des suggestions.

Comme c'est souvent exposé, la prévention est mieux que la cure. C'est aussi vrai pour le crime que pour la maladie. Autrement dit, le crime sera mieux combattu par la traque des causes par opposition au fait de punir ceux qui agissent en réponse à ces causes. Par exemple, il est à peine surprenant qu'une culture qui promeut le profit individuel et le consumérisme produise des individus qui ne respectent pas les autres gens (ou eux-mêmes) et se voient comme purement des moyens vers une fin (habituellement augmentant la consommation). Et, comme tout le reste dans un système capitaliste, comme l'honneur et la fierté, la conscience est aussi disponible au prix juste - rarement un environnement qui encourage la considération pour les autres, ou même pour soi-même.

En plus, une société basée sur l'autorité hiérarchique tendra toujours à produire une activité anti-sociale du fait que le libre développement et la libre expression est réprimé. Ainsi, l'autorité irrationnelle (qui est prétendument la seule cure pour le crime) aide actuellement à produire cette criminalité. Comme Emma Goldman le disait, le crime "est rien d'autre qu'une énergie mal orientée. Aussi longtemps que chaque institution d'aujourd'hui, économique, politique, social, moral conspire à orienter l'énergie humaine sur de fausses directions ; aussi longtemps que la plupart des personnes sont mises à faire des choses qu'ils detestent faire, le fait de mener une vie qu'ils détestent vivre, le crime sera inévitable et toutes les lois sur les statues ne peuvent seulement qu'augmenter, mais jamais supprimer, le crime" [Red Emma Speaks, p. 57]

Eric Fromm, des décenies plus tard, fait la même remarque:

"Il semble que la quantité d'effets destructeurs trouvés chez les individus sont proportionnels à la quantité auquelle l'expansivité de la vie est réduite. Par cela nous ne faisons pas allusion aux frustrations individuelles de ceci ou de ce désir instinctif mais à tout ce qui contrarie la vie, le blocage de la spontanéité de la croissance et de l'expression des capacités sensibles, émotionnelles et intellectuelles de l'homme. La vie a un dynamisme intérieur propre ; elle a tendance à grandir, à être exprimé, à être vécu... le trajet pour la vie et le trajet pour la destruction ne sont pas des facteurs mutuellement interdépendants mais sont dans une interdépendance inversée. Plus le trajet vers la vie est contrarié, plus fort est le trajet vers la destruction ; plus la vie est prise en compte, moins fort est l'effet destructeur. L'effet destructeur est le résultat d'une vie non vécue. Ces conditions individuelles et sociales qui font que la suppression de la vie produit la passion pour la destruction qui forme, pour ainsi dire, le réservoir duquel les tendances hostiles particulières - contre d'autres ou contre soi-même - se nourrissent" [La peur de la liberté, p. 158]

Donc, en réorganisant la société pour qu'elle donne le droit à chacun et encourage activement l'utilisation de toutes nos capacitées intellectuelles, émotionnelles et sensibles, le crime cesserait bientôt d'être l'énorme problème qu'il est actuellement. Quant aux comportements anti-sociaux ou aux affrontements entre les individus qui pourraient toujours exister dans une telle société, ils seraient traités dans un système basé sur le respect pour l'individu et une reconnaissance des racines sociales du problème. La restriction serait utilisé au minimum.

Les anarchistes croient que l'opinion publique et la pression sociale seraient les moyens principaux pour prévenir les actes anti-sociaux dans une société anarchiste, avec de telles actions, tel que le fait de boycotter et le fait d'exclure, utilisé comme des sanctions puissantes pour convaincre ceux essayant des voies erronnées. La non-coopération étendue par les voisins, les amis et les copains de travail serait le meilleur moyen d'arrêter les actes qui ont fait du mal à d'autres.

Nous devrions noter qu'un système anarchiste de justice aurait beaucoup à apprendre des sociétés aborigènes simplement parce qu'elles sont des exemples d'ordre social sans Etat. Effectivement beaucoup d'idées que nous considérons comme indispensable à la justice aujourd'hui peut être trouvé dans de telles sociétés. Comme Kropotkine disait, "quand nous imaginons que nous avons fait de grandes avancées dans la présentation, par exemple, le jury, tout ce que nous avons fait doit revenir aux institutions des soi-disant 'barbares' après avoir changé cela à l'avantage des classes dirigeantes. "[L'État : Son Rôle Historique, p. 18]

Comme la justice aborigène (comme documenté par Rupert Ross dans Returning to the Teachings: Exploring Aboriginal Justice) les anarchistes affirment que les contrevenants ne devraient pas être punis, mais que la justice devrait être accomplie par l'enseignement et la guérison de tous ceux impliqués. La condamnation publique des méfaits seraient un aspect clé de ce processus, mais le malfaiteur (NDT : wrongdoer) resterait une partie de la communauté et verrait ainsi les effets de leurs actions sur d'autres du point de vue du chagrin et de la douleur provoquée. Il serait probable que les malfaiteurs essaieraient de s'amender de leurs actes par le travail d'intérêt public ou l'aide aux victimes et leur familles.

Ainsi d'un point de vue pratique, presque tous les anarchistes s'opposent aux prisons autant sur le terrain pratique (ils ne travaillent pas) que sur le terrain étique ("Nous savons ce que les prisons signifient - elles signifient le corps et l'esprit écrasé, la dégradation, la consommation, la folie" Voltairine de Cleyre, cité par Paul Avrich dans An American Anarchist, p. 146]). Les Makhnovistes ont pris la position anarchiste ordinaire sur les prisons :

"Les prisons sont le symbole de la servitude des gens, elles sont toujours construites pour seulement subjuguer les gens, les ouvriers et les paysans... Les gens libre n'ont aucun usage des prisons. Où que les prisons existent, les gens sont non libre... Conformément à cette attitude, ils [les Makhnovistes] ont démolis les prisons où qu'elles étaient." [Peter Arshinov, The History of the Makhnovist Movement, p. 153]

À l'exception de Benjamin Tucker, aucun auteur anarchiste important n'a soutenu l'institution. Peu d'anarchistes pensent que des prisons privées (comme les agents de police privé) sont compatibles avec leurs notions de liberté. Pourtant, tous les anarchistes sont contre le système "de justice" actuel qui leur semble être organisé autour de la vengeance et des effets punitifs et le fait de ne pas s'occuper des causes.

Cependant, il existe des psychopathes et d'autres gens dans n'importe quelle société qui sont trop dangereux pour leur permettre de se mouvoir librement. La restriction dans ces cas-là serait la seule option et de tels gens devraient être isolés des autres pour leur propre sécurité et celle des autres. Peut-être que les hôpitaux psychiatriques seraient utilisés, ou qu'une zone de mise en quarantaine pour leur utilisation serait créée (peut-être une île, par exemple). Pourtant, de tels cas (nous l'espérons) seraient rare.

Ainsi au lieu des prisons et d'un code juridique basé sur le concept de la punition et de la vengeance, les anarchistes soutiennent l'utilisation de l'opinion et la pression publique pour arrêter les actes anti-sociaux et la nécessité de la réhabilitation thérapeutique pour ceux qui commettent des actes anti-sociaux. Comme Kropotkine l'a énoncé, "la liberté, l'égalité et la pratique de la sympathie humaine sont les plus efficaces barrières que nous pouvons opposer à l'instinct anti-social de certains parmi nous" et non un système juridique parasite. [The Anarchist Reader, p. 117]

I.5.9 Que dites vous sur la liberté d'expression dans l'Anarchisme ?

Certains expriment l'idée que toutes les formes de socialisme mettraient en danger la liberté d'expression, de presse, etc. La formulation habituelle pour cet argument est en rapport avec le socialisme d'État et va comme suit : si l'Etat (ou la «société») posséde tous les moyens de communication, alors seuls les points de vue qui appuient le gouvernement auront accès aux médias.

C'est un point important et il doit être abordée. Toutefois, avant de se faire, il convient de souligner que sous le capitalisme les grands médias sont effectivement contrôlés par les riches. Comme nous l'avons soutenu dans la section D.3, les médias ne sont pas les défenseurs de la liberté indépendante tels qu'ils aiment à se présenter. Cela n'est guère surprenant, puisque les journaux, les compagnies télévisuelles, et ainsi de suite sont des entreprises capitalistes appartenant à des riches et à des directeurs généraux et des éditeurs qui sont aussi de riches individus ayant un intérêt dans le statu quo. Il y a donc des facteurs institutionnels qui assurent que la «presse libre» reflète les intérêts des élites capitalistes.

Toutefois, dans les Etats capitalistes démocratiques, il y a peu de censure manifeste. Les éditeurs radicaux et indépendants peuvent encore imprimer leurs journaux et des livres sans intervention de l'Etat (même si les forces du marché font en sorte que cette activité puisse être difficile et ingrate financièrement). Sous le socialisme, il est soutenu, du fait que «la société» possède les moyens de communication et de production, que cette liberté ne pourra pas exister. Au lieu de cela, comme on peut le voir dans tous les exemples de «socialisme réellement existant», une telle liberté est écrasée en faveur du point de vue du gouvernement.

Comme l'anarchisme rejette l'Etat, nous pouvons dire que ce danger n'existe pas sous le socialisme libertaire. Toutefois, depuis que les anarchistes sociaux soutiennent la communalisation de la production, les restrictions sur la libre expression ne pourront-elle pas exister encore? Nous soutenons que non, pour trois raisons.

Tout d'abord, les maisons d'édition, les stations de radio, et ainsi de suite seront gérées directement par leurs travailleurs. Elles seront alimentées par d'autres syndicats, avec qui ils concluront des accords, et non par une «planification centrale» de fonctionnaires, qui n'existeraient pas. En d'autres termes, il n'y a pas de bureaucratie de fonctionnaires répartissant (et donc contrôlant) les ressources (et donc les moyens de communication). Par conséquent, l'auto-gestion anarchiste fera en sorte qu'il y ait un large éventail d'opinions dans différents magazines et journaux. Il y aurait des journaux communautaires, des stations de radio, etc, et évidemment ils joueront un rôle accru dans une société libre. Mais ils ne seront pas les seuls médias. Les Associations, les partis politiques, les syndicats industriels, et ainsi de suite auraient leurs propres médias et / ou auraient accès aux ressources des syndicats des travailleurs de la communication, assurant ainsi qu'un large éventail d'opinions puisse être exprimée.

Deuxièmement, la puissance «Ultime» dans une société libre sera dans les personnes qui la composent. Cette puissance sera exprimée dans les assemblées des communes et des travailleurs qui peuvent rappeler les délégués et révoquer leurs décisions. Il est douteux que ces assemblées tolérent un ensemble de bureaucrates déterminant ce qu'on peut ou ne peut pas lire, voir, ou entendre.

Troisièmement, les individus dans une société libre seraient intéressés à entendre différents points de vue et d'en débattre. C'est l'effet secondaire naturel de la pensée critique (que l'autogestion encouragerait), et ainsi ils auraient tout intérêt à défendre l'accès le plus large possible aux différentes formes de médias pour les différents points de vue. N'ayant pas des intérêts acquis à défendre, une société libre n'encouragerait ou ne tolérerait guère la censure associée aux médias capitalistes ("j'écoute la critique parce que je suis gourmande. J'écoute la critique parce que je suis égoïste. Je ne pourrais pas me priver d'un autre aperçu"[The Right to be Greedy]).

Par conséquent, l'anarchisme va augmenter la liberté d'expression par de nombreux et importants moyens, en particulier dans le milieu de travail (où c'est actuellement refusé en raison du capitalisme). Ce sera le résultat naturel d'une société fondée sur la maximisation de la liberté et du désir de profiter de la vie.

Nous tenons également à souligner que, durant les deux révolutions espagnoles et russes, la liberté d'expression a été protégée dans les zones anarchistes.

Par exemple, les makhnovistes en Ukraine ont "pleinement appliqué les principes révolutionnaires de liberté d'expression, de pensée, de presse, et des associations politiques. Dans toutes les villes et les villages occupés... Une totale liberté d'expression, de presse, de réunion et d'association de toute nature et pour tout le monde a été immédiatement proclamée." [Peter Arshinov, The History of the Makhnovist Movement, p. 153]. Cela est confirmé par Michael Malet qui note que « sur les réalisations les plus remarquables des makhnovistes a été de préserver une liberté d'expression plus étendue que par n'importe lequel de leurs adversaires." [Nestor Makhno in the Russian Civil War, p. 175].

En Espagne révolutionnaire, les républicains, libéraux, communistes, trotskistes et de nombreux et différents groupes anarchistes, tous avaient la liberté d'exprimer leurs points de vue. Emma Goldman écrit que «à ma première visite en Espagne en Septembre 1936, rien ne m'a surpris autant que l'expression de liberté politique, que j'ai trouvé partout. Certes, ça ne s'étendait pas aux fascistes... [mais] tout le monde du front anti-fasciste jouissait de la liberté politique qui existait à peine dans l'une des soi-disant démocraties européennes." [Vision on Fire, p.147]. Cela est confirmé par une foule d'autres témoins oculaires, dont George Orwell dans Hommage à la Catalogne (en fait, ça a été la montée des républicains pro-capitalistes et des communistes qui ont introduit la censure).

Les deux mouvements (NDT : les révolutionnaires anarchistes en ukraine ou en espagne) se battaient dans une lutte pour la vie ou la mort contre les armées communistes, fascistes et pro-capitalistes et cette défense de la liberté d'expression, étant donné les circonstances, est particulièrement remarquable.

Par conséquent, en se basant autant sur la théorie que sur la pratique, on peut dire que l'anarchisme ne mettra pas en danger la liberté d'expression. En effet, en brisant l'oligopole capitaliste qui existe actuellement et en introduisant l'autogestion des travailleurs de la presse, un éventail beaucoup plus large d'opinions deviendra disponibles dans une société libre. Plutôt que de refléter les intérêts d'une élite fortunée, les médias reflèteront les intérêts de la société dans son ensemble et des individus et des groupes qui la composent.

I.5.10 What about political parties?

Political parties and other interest groups will exist in an anarchist society as long as people feel the need to join them. They will not be "banned" in any way, and their members will have the same rights as everyone else. Individuals who are members of political parties or associations can take part in communal and other assemblies and try to convince others of the soundness of their ideas.

However, there is a key difference between such activity and politics under a capitalist democracy. This is because the elections to positions of responsibility in an anarchist society will not be based on party tickets nor will it involve the delegation of power. Emile Pouget's description of the difference between the syndicalist trade union and elections drives this difference home:

"The constituent part of the trade union is the individual. Except that the union member is spared the depressing phenomenon manifest in democratic circles where, thanks to the veneration of universal suffrage, the trend is towards the crushing and diminution of the human personality. In a democratic setting, the elector can avail of his [or her] will only in order to perform an act of abdication: his role is to 'award' his 'vote' to the candidate whom he [or she] wishes to have as his [or her] 'representative.'

"Affiliation to the trade union has no such implication . . . In joining the union, the worker merely enters into a contract -- which he may at any time abjure -- with comrades who are his equals in will and potential . . . In the union, say, should it come to the appointment of a trade union council to take charge of administrative matters, such 'selection' is not to be compared with 'election': the form of voting customarily employed in such circumstances is merely a means whereby the labour can be divided and is not accompanied by any delegation of authority. The strictly prescribed duties of the trade union council are merely administrative. The council performs the task entrusted to it, without ever overruling its principals, without supplanting them or acting in their place.

"The same might be said of all decisions reached in the union: all are restricted to a definite and specific act, whereas in democracy, election implies that the elected candidate has been issued by his [or her] elector with a carte blanche empowering him [or her] to decide and do as he [or she] pleases, in and on everything, without even the hindrance of the quite possibly contrary views of his [or her] principals, whose opposition, in any case, no matter how pronounced, is of no consequence until such time as the elected candidate's mandate has run its course.

"So there cannot be any possible parallels, let alone confusion, between trade unions activity and participation in the disappointing chores of politics." [No Gods, No Masters, vol. 2, pp. 67-68]

In other words, when individuals are elected to administrative posts they are elected to carry out their mandate, not to carry out their party's programme. Of course, if the individuals in question had convinced their fellow workers and citizens that their programme was correct, then this mandate and the programme would be identical. However this is unlikely in practice. We would imagine that the decisions of collectives and communes would reflect the complex social interactions and diverse political opinions their members and of the various groupings within the association.

Hence anarchism will likely contain many different political groupings and ideas. The relative influence of these within collectives and communes would reflect the strength of their arguments and the relevance of their ideas, as would be expected in a free society. As Bakunin argued, "[t]he abolition of this mutual influence would be death. And when we vindicate the freedom of the masses, we are by no means suggesting the abolition of any of the natural influences that individuals or groups of individuals exert on them. What we want is the abolition of influences which are artificial, privileged, legal, official." [quoted by Malatesta in Anarchy, p. 50]

It is only when representative government replaces self-management that political debate results in "elected dictatorship" and centralisation of power into the hands of one party which claims to speak for the whole of society, as if the latter had one mind.

I.5.11 What about interest groups and other associations?

Anarchists do not think that social life can be reduced to political and economic associations alone. Individuals have many different interests and desires which they must express in order to have a truly free and interesting life. Therefore an anarchist society will see the development of numerous voluntary associations and groups to express these interests. For example, there would be consumer groups, musical groups, scientific associations, art associations, clubs, housing co-operatives and associations, craft and hobby guilds, fan clubs, animal rights associations, groups based around sex, sexuality, creed and colour and so forth. Associations will be created for all human interests and activities.

As Kropotkin argued:

"He who wishes for a grand piano will enter the association of musical instrument makers. And by giving the association part of his half-days' leisure, he will soon possess the piano of his dreams. If he is fond of astronomical studies he will join the association of astronomers. . . and he will have the telescope he desires by taking his share of the associated work. . .In short, the five or seven hours a day which each will have at his disposal, after having consecrated several hours to the production of necessities, would amply suffice to satisfy all longings for luxury, however varied. Thousands of associations would undertake to supply them." [The Conquest of Bread, p. 120]

We can imagine, therefore, an anarchist society being based around associations and interest groups on every subject which fires the imagination of individuals and for which individuals want to meet in order to express and further their interests. Housing associations, for example, would exist to allow inhabitants to manage their local areas, design and maintain their homes and local parks and gardens. Animal rights and other interest groups would produce information on issues they consider important, trying to convince others of the errors of eating meat or whatever. Consumer groups would be in dialogue with syndicates about improving products and services, ensuring that syndicates produce what is required by consumers. Environment groups would exist to watch production and make sure that it is not creating damaging side effects and informing both syndicates and communes of their findings. Feminist, homosexual, bisexual and anti-racist groups would exist to put their ideas across, highlighting areas in which social hierarchies and prejudice still existed. All across society, people would be associating together to express themselves and convince others of their ideas on many different issues.

Hence in a anarchist society, free association would take on a stronger and more positive role than under capitalism. In this way, social life would take on many dimensions, and the individual would have the choice of thousands of societies to join to meet his or her interests or create new ones with other like-minded people. Anarchists would be the last to deny that there is more to life than work!

I.5.12 Would an anarchist society provide health care and other public services?

It depends on the type of anarchist society you are talking about. Different anarchists propose different solutions.

In an individualist-mutualist society, for example, health care and other public services would be provided by individuals or co-operatives on a pay-for-use basis. It would be likely that individuals or co-operatives/associations would subscribe to various insurance providers or enter into direct contracts with health care providers. Thus the system would be similar to privatised health care but without the profit margins as competition, it is hoped, would drive prices down to cost.

Other anarchists reject such a system. They are favour of socialising health care and other public services. They argue that a privatised system would only be able to meet the requirements of those who can afford to pay for it and so would be unjust and unfair. The need for medical attention is not dependent on income and so a civilised society would recognise this fact. Under capitalism, profit-maximising medical insurance sets premiums according to the risks of the insured getting ill or injured, with the riskiest may not being able to find insurance at any price. Private insurers shun entire industries, such as logging, as too dangerous for their profits due to the likelihood of accidents or illness. They review contracts regularly and drop people who get sick. Hardly a vision to inspire a free society or one compatible with equality and mutual respect.

Moreover, competition would lead to inefficiencies as prices would be inflated to pay for advertising, competition related administration costs, paying dividends to share-holders and so on. For example, in 1993, Canada's health plans devoted 0.9% of spending to overhead, compared to U.S. figures of 3.2% for Medicare and 12% for private insurers. In addition, when Canada adopted its publicly financed system in 1971, it and the U.S. both spent just over 7% of GDP on health care. By 1990, the U.S. was up to 12.3%, verses Canada's 9%.

As can be seen, social anarchists point to what happens under capitalism when discussing the benefits of a socialised system of health care in an anarchist society. Competition, they argue, harms health-care provision. According to Alfie Kohn:

"More hospitals and clinics are being run by for-profit corporations; many institutions, forced to battle for 'customers,' seem to value a skilled director of marketing more highly than a skilled caregiver. As in any other economic sector, the race for profits translates into pressure to reduce costs, and the easiest way to do it here is to cut back on services to unprofitable patients, that is, those who are more sick than rich . . ."

He concludes:

"The result: hospital costs are actually higher in areas where there is more competition for patients." [Alfie Kohn, No Contest, p. 240]

As Robert Kuttner notes:

"The American health-care system is a tangle of inequity and inefficiency -- and getting worse as private-market forces seek to rationalise it. A shift to a universal system of health coverage would cut this Gordian knot at a stroke. It would not only deliver the explicitly medical aspects of health more efficiently and fairly, but, by socialising costs of poor health, it would also create a powerful financial incentive for society as a whole to stress primary prevention. . . every nation with a universal system spends less of its GDP on health care than the United States . . . And nearly every other nation with a universal system has longer life spans from birth (though roughly equivalent life spans from adulthood) . . . most nations with universal systems also have greater patient satisfaction.

"The reasons . . . should be obvious. By their nature, universal systems spend less money on wasteful overhead, and more on primary prevention. Health-insurance overhead in the United States alone consumes about 1 percent of the GDP, compared to 0.1 percent in Canada. Though medical inflation is a problem everywhere, the universal systems have had far lower rates of cost inflation . . . In the years between 1980 and 1987, total health costs in the United States increased by 2.4 times the rate of GDP growth. In nations with universal systems, they increased far more slowly. The figures for Sweden, France, West Germany, and Britain were 1.2, 1.6, 1.8, and 1.7 percent, respectively . . .

[. . . ]

"Remarkably enough, the United States spends most money on health care, but has the fewest beds per thousand in population, the lowest admission rate, and the lowest occupancy rate -- coupled with the highest daily cost, highest technology-intensiveness, and greatest number of employees per bed." [Everything for Sale, pp. 155-6]

In 1993, the US paid 13.4% of its GDP towards health care, compared to 10% for Canada, 8.6% for Sweden and Germany, 6.6% for Britain and 6.8% for Japan. Only 40% of the US population was covered by public health care and over 35 million people, 14% of the population, went without health insurance for all of 1991, and about twice that many were uninsured for some period during the year. In terms of health indicators, the US people are not getting value for money. Life expectancy is higher in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Britain. The USA has the highest levels of infant mortality and is last in basic health indicators as well as having fewer doctors per 1,000 people than the OECD average. All in all, the US system is miles begin the universal systems of other countries.

Of course, it will be argued that the USA is not an anarchy and so comparisons are pointless. However, it seems strange that the more competitive system, the more privatised system, is less efficient and less fair than the universal systems. It also seems strange that defenders of competition happily use examples from "actually existing" capitalism to illustrate their politics but reject negative examples as being a product of an "impure" system. They want to have their cake and eat it to.

Therefore, most anarchists are in favour of a socialised and universal health-care system for both ethical and efficiency reasons. Needless to say, an anarchist system of socialised health care would differ in many ways to the current systems of universal health-care provided by the state.

Such a system of socialised health-care will be built from the bottom-up and based around the local commune. In a social anarchist society, "medical services . . . will be free of charge to all inhabitants of the commune. The doctors will not be like capitalists, trying to extract the greatest profit from their unfortunate patients. They will be employed by the commune and expected to treat all who need their services." Moreover, prevention will play an important part, as "medical treatment is only the curative side of the science of health care; it is not enough to treat the sick, it is also necessary to prevent disease. That is the true function of hygiene." [James Guillaume, Bakunin on Anarchism, p. 371]

How would an anarchist health service work? It would be based on self-management, of course, with close links to the local commune and federations of communes. Each hospital or health centre would be autonomous but linked in a federation with the others, allowing resources to be shared as and when required while allowing the health service to adjust to local needs and requirements as quickly as possible.

The Spanish Revolution indicates how an anarchist health service would operate. In rural areas local doctors would usually join the village collective and provided their services like any other worker. Where local doctors were not available, "arrangements were made by the collectives for treatment of their members by hospitals in nearby localities. In a few cases, collectives themselves build hospitals; in many they acquired equipment and other things needed by their local physicians." For example, the Monzon comercal (district) federation of collectives in Aragon established maintained a hospital in Binefar, the Casa de Salud Durruti. By April 1937 it had 40 beds, in sections which included general medicine, prophylaxis and gynaecology. It saw about 25 outpatients a day and was open to anyone in the 32 villages of the comarca. [Robert Alexander, The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, vol. 1, p. 331 and pp. 366-7]

The socialisation of the health care took on a slightly different form in Catalonia but on the same libertarian principles. Gaston Leval provides us with an excellent summary:

"The socialisation of health services was one of the greatest achievements of the revolution. To appreciate the efforts of our comrades it must be borne in mind that the rehabilitated the health service in all of Catalonia in so short a time after July 19th. The revolution could count on the co-operation of a number of dedicated doctors whose ambition was not to accumulate wealth but to serve the afflicted and the underprivileged.

"The Health Workers' Union was founded in September, 1936. In line with the tendency to unite all the different classifications, trades, and services serving a given industry, all health workers, from porters to doctors and administrators, were organised into one big union of health workers

[. . .]

"Our comrades laid the foundations of a new health service . . . The new medical service embraced all of Catalonia. It constituted a great apparatus whose parts were distributed according to different needs, all in accord with an overall plan. Catalonia was divided into nine zones . . . In turn, all the surrounding villages and towns were served from these centres.

"Distributed throughout Catalonia were twenty-seven towns with a total of thirty-sex health centres conducting services so thoroughly that every village, every hamlet, every isolated peasant in the mountains, every woman, every child, anywhere, received adequate, up-to-date medical care. In each of the nine zones there was a central syndicate and a Control Committee located in Barcelona. Every department was autonomous within its own sphere. But this autonomy was not synonymous with isolation. The Central Committee in Barcelona, chosen by all the sections, met once a week with one delegate from each section to deal with common problems and to implement the general plan. . .

"The people immediately benefited from the projects of the health syndicate. The syndicate managed all hospitals and clinics. Six hospitals were opened in Barcelona. . . Eight new sanitariums were installed in converted luxurious homes ideally situated amidst mountains and pine forests. It was no easy task to convert these homes into efficient hospitals with all new facilities. . ." [quoted by Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives, pp. 99-100]

People were no longer required to pay for medical services. Each collective, if it could afford it, would pay a contribution to its health centre. Building and facilities were improved and modern equipment introduced. Like other self-managed industries, the health service was run at all levels by general assemblies of workers who elected delegates and hospital administration.

In the Levante, the CNT built upon its existing Sociedad de Socorros Mutuos de Levante (a health service institution founded by the union as a kind of mutual benefit society which had numerous doctors and specialists). During the revolution, the Mutua had 50 doctors and was available to all affiliated workers and their families.

Thus, all across Spain, the workers in the health service re-organised their industry in libertarian lines and in association with the local collective or commune and the unions of the CNT. As Gaston Leval summarises:

"Everywhere that we were able to study the towns and little cities transformed by the revolution, the hospitals, the clinics, the polyclincs and other health establishments have been municipalised, enlarged, modernised, put under the safekeeping of the collectivity. And where they didn't exist, they were improvised. The socialisation of medicine was a work for the benefit of all." [quoted by Robert Alexander, Op. Cit., p. 677]

We can expect a similar process to occur in the future anarchist society. Workers in the health industry will organise their workplaces, federate together to share resources and information, to formulate plans and improve the quality of service to the public. The communes and their federations, the syndicates and federations of syndicates will provide resources and effectively own the health system, ensuring access for all.

Similar systems would operate in other public services. For example, in education we expect the members of communes to organise a system of free schools. This can be seen from the Spanish revolution. Indeed, the Spanish anarchists organised Modern Schools before the outbreak of the revolution, with 50 to 100 schools in various parts funded by local anarchist groups and CNT unions. During the revolution everywhere across Spain, syndicates, collectives and federations of collectives formed and founded schools. Indeed, education "advanced at an unprecedented pace. Most of the partly or wholly socialised collectives and municipalities built at least one school. By 1938, for example, every collective in the Levant Federation had its own school." [Gaston Leval, quoted by Sam Dolgoff, The Anarchist Collectives, p. 168] These schools aimed, to quote the CNT's resolution on Libertarian Communism, to "help mould men with minds of their own -- and let it be clear that when we use the word 'men' we use it in the generic sense -- to which end it will be necessary for the teacher to cultivate every one of the child's faculties so that the child may develop every one of its capacities to the full." [quoted by Jose Periats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, p. 70] The principles of libertarian education, of encouraging freedom instead of authority in the school, was applied on vast scale (see section J.5.13 for more details on Modern Schools and libertarian education).

This educational revolution was not confined to collectives or children. For example, the Federacion Regional de Campesinos de Levante formed institutes in each of its five provinces. The first was set up in October 1937 in an old convent with 100 students. The Federation also set up two "universities" in Valencia and Madrid which taught a wide variety of agricultural subjects and combined learning with practical experience in an experimental form attached to each university. The Aragon collectives formed a similar specialised school in Binefar. The CNT was heavily involved in transforming education in Catalonia. In addition, the local federation of the CNT in Barcelona established a school to train women workers to replace male ones being taken into the army. The school was run by the anarchist-feminist group the Mujeres Libres. [Robert Alexander, Op. Cit., p. 406, p. 670 and pp. 665-8 and p. 670]

Ultimately, the public services that exist in a social anarchist society will be dependent on what members of that society desire. If, for example, a commune or federation of communes desires a system of communal health-care or schools then they will allocate resources to implement it. They will allocate the task of creating such a system to, say, a special commission based on volunteers from the interested parties such as the relevant syndicates, professional associations, consumer groups and so on. For example, for communal education a commission or working group would include delegates from the teachers union, from parent associations, from student unions and so on. The running of such a system would be based, like any other industry, on those who work in it. Functional self-management would be the rule, with doctors managing their work, nurses theirs and so on, while the general running of, say, a hospital would be based on a general assembly of all workers there who would elect and mandate delegates, the administration staff and decide the policy the hospital would follow. Needless to say, other interested parties would have a say, including patients in the health system and students in the education system.

Thus, as would be expected, public services would be organised by the public, organised in their syndicates and communes. They would be based on workers' self-management of their daily work and of the system as a whole. Non-workers who took part in the system (patients, students) would not be ignored and would also place a role in providing essential feedback to assure quality control of services and to ensure that the service is responsive to users needs. The resources required to maintain and expand the system would be provided by the communes, syndicates and their federations. For the first time, public services would truly be public and not a statist system imposed upon the public from above.

Needless to say, any system of public services would not be imposed on those who did not desire it. They would be organised for and by members of the communes. Therefore, individuals who were not part of a local commune or syndicate would have to pay to gain access to the communal resources. However, it is unlikely that an anarchist society would be as barbaric as a capitalist one and refuse entry to cases who were ill and could not pay, nor turn away emergencies because they did not have enough money to pay. And just as other workers need not join a syndicate or commune, so doctors, teachers and so on could practice their trade outside the communal system as either individual artisans or as part of a co-operative. However, given the availability of free medical services it is doubtful they would grow rich doing so. Medicine, teaching and so on would revert back to what usually initially motivates people to take these up professions -- the desire to help others and make a positive impact in peoples lives.

I.5.13 Won't an anarchist society be vulnerable to the power hungry?

A common objection to anarchism is that an anarchist society will be vulnerable to be taken over by thugs or those who seek power. A similar argument is that a group without a leadership structure becomes open to charismatic leaders so anarchy would just lead to tyranny.

For anarchists, such arguments are strange. Society already is run by thugs and/or the off-spring of thugs. Kings were originally just successful thugs who succeeded in imposing their domination over a given territorial area. The modern state has evolved from the structure created to impose this domination. Similarly with property, with most legal titles to land being traced back to its violent seizure by thugs who then passed it on to their children who then sold it or gave it to their offspring. The origins of the current system in violence can be seen by the continued use of violence by the state and capitalists to enforce and protect their domination over society. When push comes to shove, the dominant class will happily re-discover their thug past and employ extreme violence to maintain their privileges. The descent of large parts of Europe into Fascism during the 1930s, or Pinochet's coup in Chile in 1973 indicates how far they will go. As Peter Arshinov argued (in a slightly different context):

"Statists fear free people. They claim that without authority people will lose the anchor of sociability, will dissipate themselves, and will return to savagery. This is obviously rubbish. It is taken seriously by idlers, lovers of authority and of the labour of others, or by blind thinkers of bourgeois society. The liberation of the people in reality leads to the degeneration and return to savagery, not of the people, but of those who, thanks to power and privilege, live from the labour of the people's arms and from the blood of the people's veins . . . The liberation of the people leads to the savagery of those who live from its enslavement." [The History of the Makhnovist Movement, p. 85]

Anarchists are not impressed with the argument that anarchy would be unable to stop thugs seizing power. It ignores the fact that we live in a society where the power-hungry already hold power. As an argument against anarchism it fails and is, in fact, an argument against capitalist and statist societies.

Moreover, it also ignores fact that people in an anarchist society would have gained their freedom by overthrowing every existing and would-be thug who had or desired power over others. They would have defended that freedom against those who desired to re-impose it. They would have organised themselves to manage their own affairs and, therefore, to abolish all hierarchical power. And we are to believe that these people, after struggling to become free, would quietly let a new set of thugs impose themselves? As Kropotkin argued:

"The only way in which a state of Anarchy can be obtained is for each man [or woman] who is oppressed to act as if he [or she] were at liberty, in defiance of all authority to the contrary . . . In practical fact, territorial extension is necessary to ensure permanency to any given individual revolution. In speaking of the Revolution, we signify the aggregate of so many successful individual and group revolts as will enable every person within the revolutionised territory to act in perfect freedom . . . without having to constantly dread the prevention or the vengeance of an opposing power upholding the former system . . . Under these circumstance it is obvious that any visible reprisal could and would be met by a resumption of the same revolutionary action on the part of the individuals or groups affected, and that the maintenance of a state of Anarchy in this manner would be far easier than the gaining of a state of Anarchy by the same methods and in the face of hitherto unshaken opposition . . . They have it in their power to apply a prompt check by boycotting such a person and refusing to help him with their labour or to willing supply him with any articles in their possession. They have it in their power to use force against him. They have these powers individually as well as collectively. Being either past rebels who have been inspired with the spirit of liberty, or else habituated to enjoy freedom from their infancy, they are hardly to rest passive in view of what they feel to be wrong." [Kropotkin, Act for Yourselves, pp. 87-8]

Thus a free society would use direct action to resist the would-be ruler just as it had used direct action to free itself from existing rulers. An anarchist society would be organised in a way which would facilitate this direct action as it would be based on networks of solidarity and mutual aid. An injury to one is an injury to all and a would-be ruler would face a whole liberated society acting against him or her. Faced with the direct action of the population (which would express itself in non-co-operation, strikes, demonstrations, occupations, insurrections and so on) a would be power seeker would find it difficult to impose themselves. Unlike those accustomed to rulership in existing society, an anarchist people would be a society of rebels and so difficult to dominate and conquer.

Anarchists point to the example of the rise of Fascism in Italy, Spain and Germany to prove their point. In areas with strong anarchist movements the fascists were resisted most strongly. While in Germany Hitler took power with little or no opposition, in Italy and Spain the fascists had to fight long and hard to gain power. The anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist organisations fought the fascists tooth and nail, with some success before betrayal by the Republicans and Marxists. From this historical experience anarchists argue that an anarchist society would quickly and easily defeat would-be thugs as people would be used to practising direct action and self-management and would have no desire to stop practising them.

As for self-management resulting in "charismatic" leaders, well the logic is astounding. As if hierarchical structures are not based on leadership structures and do not require a charismatic leader! Such an argument is inherently self-contradictory -- as well as ignoring the nature of modern society and its leadership structures. Rather than mass assemblies being dominated by leaders, it is the case that hierarchical structures are the natural breeding ground for dictators. All the great dictators the world have seen have come to the forefront in hierarchical organisations, not libertarian structured ones. Hitler, for example, did not come to power via a libertarian organisation. Rather he used a highly centralised and hierarchically organised party to take control of a centralised, hierarchical state. The very disempowerment of the population in capitalist society results in them looking to leaders to act for them and so "charismatic" leaders are a natural result. An anarchist society, by empowering all, would make it more difficult, not less, for a would-be leader to gain power -- few people, if any, would be willing to sacrifice and negate themselves for the benefit of another.

As would be expected, given our comments above, anarchists think an anarchist society must defend itself against attempts to re-introduce the state or private property. The question of defence of an anarchist society is discussed in the next section and so we will not do so here.

Our discussion on the power hungry obviously relates to the more general the question of whether ethical behaviour be rewarded in an anarchist society. In other words, could an anarchist society be stable or would the unethical take over?

It is one of the most disturbing aspects of living in a world where the rush to acquire wealth is the single most important aspect of living is what happens to people who follow an ethical path in life.

Under capitalism, the ethical generally do not succeed as well as those stab their fellows in the back, those who cut corners, indulge in sharp business practises, drive competitors into the ground and live their lives with an eye on the bottom line but they do survive. Loyalty to a firm or a group, bending over backwards to provide a service, giving a helping hand to somebody in need, placing friendship above money, count for nothing when the bills come in. People who act ethically in a capitalist society are usually punished and penalised for their ethical, moral and principled behaviour. Indeed, the capitalist market rewards unethical behaviour as it generally reduces costs and so gives those who do it a competitive edge.

It is different in a free society. Anarchism is based on two principles of association, equal access to power and wealth. Everybody in an anarchist society irrespective of what they do, or who they are or what type of work they perform is entitled to share in society's wealth. Whether a community survives or prospers depends on the combined efforts of the people in that community. Ethical behaviour would become the norm in an anarchist community; those people who act ethically would be rewarded by the standing they achieve in the community and by others being more than happy to work with and aid them. People who cut corners, try to exercise power over others, refuse to co-operate as equals or otherwise act in an unethical manner would lose their standing in an anarchist society. Their neighbours and work mates would refuse to co-operate with them (or reduce co-operation to a minimum) and take other forms of non-violent direct action to point out that certain forms of activity was inappropriate. They would discuss the issue with the unethical person and try to convince them of the errors of their way. In a society where the necessities are guaranteed, people would tend to act ethically because ethical behaviour raises an individuals profile and standing within such a community. Capitalism and ethical behaviour are mutually exclusive concepts; anarchism encourages and rewards ethical behaviour.

Therefore, as can be seen, anarchists argue that a free society would not have to fear would-be thugs, "charismatic" leaders or the unethical. An anarchist society would be based on the co-operation of free individuals. It is unlikely that they would tolerate such behaviour and would use their own direct action as well as social and economic organisations to combat it. Moreover, the nature of free co-operation would reward ethical behaviour as those who practice it would have it reciprocated by their fellows.

One last point. Some people seem to think that anarchism is about the powerful being appealed to not to oppress and dominate others. Far from it. Anarchism is about the oppressed and exploited refusing to let others dominate them. It is not an appeal to the "better side" of the boss or would-be boss; it is about the solidarity and direct action of those subject to a boss getting rid of the boss -- whether the boss agrees to it or not! Once this is clearly understood the idea that an anarchist society is vulnerable to the power-hungry is clearly nonsense -- anarchy is based on resisting power and so is, by its very nature, more resistant to would-be rulers than a hierarchical one.

I.5.14 Comment une société anarchiste pourra-t-elle se défendre ?

Les anarchistes sont bien conscients du fait qu’une société d’anarchiste devra se défendre des tentatives venant de l’intérieur ou de l’extérieur pour ré-imposer le capitalisme et l’état. En effet, chaque anarchiste révolutionnaire a argué du fait qu’une révolution devra être défendue. Malheureusement, les marxistes ont, uniformément, mal représenté les idées des anarchistes à ce sujet. Lénine, par exemple, a argué du fait que « le prolétariat a besoin de l’état seulement temporairement. Nous ne sommes pas du tout en désaccord avec les anarchistes sur la question de l’abolition de l’état comme but. Nous maintenons que, pour réaliser ce but, nous devons temporairement nous servir des instruments, des ressources et des méthodes de puissance d’état contre les exploiteurs, de la même façon que la dictature de la classe opprimée est temporairement nécessaire pour l’abolition des classes. Marx choisit la manière la plus pointue et la plus claire d’énoncer sa position contre les anarchistes : Après le renversement du joug des capitalistes, les ouvriers devraient-ils ’baisser leurs armes’ ou les employer contre les capitalistes afin d’écraser leur résistance ? Mais qu’est-ce que l’utilisation systématique des armes par une classe contre l’autre, si ce n’est pas ’une forme transitoire’ d’état. »["The State and Revolution", Essential Works of Lenin, p. 316]

Heureusement, comme Murray Bookchin le précise, les anarchistes ne sont « pas aussi naïfs pour croire que l’anarchisme pourrait être établi d’un jour sur l’autre. En imputant cette notion à Bakunine, Marx et Engels ont obstinément déformé les vues des anarchistes russes. Les anarchistes ne croyaient pas que l’abolition de l’état impliquait « de baisser les armes juste après la révolution. » [Post-Scarcity Anarchism, p. 213] Même une connaissance de base du travail des penseurs anarchistes suffirait au lecteur pour constater que Bookchin ne se trompe pas. Comme nous le verrons, les anarchistes ont uniformément argué du fait qu’une révolution et une société d’anarchiste doivent être défendues contre ceux qui essayeraient et réintroduiraient la hiérarchie, la domination, l’oppression et l’exploitation (quand bien même, comme avec les léninistes, ils se proclameraient « socialistes »). Comme Malatesta l’a dit en 1891 :

« Beaucoup supposent que ... les anarchistes, au nom de leurs principes, souhaiteraient voir respectée cette liberté étrange qui permet de violer et de détruire la liberté et la vie d’autres hommes. Ils semblent presque croire qu’après avoir réduit le gouvernement et la propriété privée, nous permettrions à tous les deux d’être tranquillement remis en place, en raison du respect pour la liberté de ceux qui pourraient sentir la nécessité d’être des gouverneurs et des propriétaires. Une manière véritablement curieuse d’interpréter nos idées ! » [Anarchy, p. 41]

Les anarchistes rejettent l’idée que défendre une révolution, ou même l’acte de la révolution lui-même, représente ou exige un « état. » Comme Malatesta le disait, l’état « signifie la délégation de compétences, qui sont l’abdication de l’initiative et de la souveraineté de tous dans les mains de quelques-uns. » [Op. Cit., p. 40] Luigi Fabbri souligne ceci quand il a argué du fait que, pour des anarchistes, « l’essence de l’état ... [ est ] la puissance centralisée ou pour le dire d’une autre manière l’autorité coercitive dont l’état a le monopole, dans l’organisation de la violence désignée comme ’le gouvernement ’ ; dans le despotisme hiérarchique, juridique, la police et le despotisme militaire qui impose des lois à chacun. » ["Anarchy and ’Scientific’ Communism", in The Poverty of Statism, pp. 13-49, Albert Meltzer (ed.), pp. 24-5] Par conséquent l’état est la délégation de compétences, la centralisation de l’autorité dans les mains de quelques uns dans la société plutôt que les moyens de défendre une révolution contre la classe dirigeante expropriée. Confondre la défense d’une révolution et celle de l’état est, donc, une grande erreur car il introduit une inégalité de puissance dans une prétendue société socialiste. Pour reprendre les mots de Voline : "Tout pouvoir politique crée, inévitablement, une situation privilégiée pour les hommes qui l'exercent (...). S'étant emparé de la Révolution, l’ayant maîtrisée, bridée, le pouvoir est obligé de créer son appareil bureaucratique et coercitif, indispensable pour toute autorité qui veut se maintenir, commander, ordonner, en un mot: «gouverner» (...). Il forme ainsi (...) une sorte de nouvelle noblesse (...): dirigeants, fonctionnaires, militaires, policiers, membres du parti au pouvoir (...). Tout pouvoir cherche plus ou moins à prendre entre ses mains les rênes de la vie sociale. Il prédispose les masses à la passivité, tout esprit d'initiative étant étouffé par l'existence même du pouvoir (...)." [La révolution inconnue, p. 249]

Unsurprisingly, anarchists think a revolution should defend itself in the same way that it organises itself -- from the bottom up, in a self-managed way. The means to defend an anarchist society or revolution are based around the organs of self-management that revolution creates. In the words of Bakunin:

"[T]he federative Alliance of all working men's associations . . . constitute the Commune . . .. Commune will be organised by the standing federation of the Barricades and by the creation of a Revolutionary Communal Council composed of one or two delegates from each barricade . . . vested with plenary but accountable and removable mandates . . . all provinces, communes and associations . . . reorganising on revolutionary lines . . . [would] send . . . their representatives to an agreed meeting place . . . vested with similar mandates to constitute the federation of insurgent associations, communes and provinces . . . [which would] organise a revolutionary force capable of defeating reaction . . . it is the very fact of the expansion and organisation of the revolution for the purpose of self-defence among the insurgent areas that will bring about the triumph of the revolution. . .

"Since revolution everywhere must be created by the people, and supreme control must always belong to the people organised in a free federation of agricultural and industrial associations . . . organised from the bottom upwards by means of revolutionary delegation. . . " [Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings, pp. 170-2]

Thus we have a dual framework of revolution. On the one hand, the federation of workers' councils based on self-managed assemblies nominating mandated and accountable delegates. On the other, we have a federation of barricades, again based on self-management and mandated delegates, which actually defends the revolution against reaction. The success of the revolution depends on spreading it and organising joint self-defence. He stressed the importance of co-ordinating defence two years later, in 1870:

"[L]et us suppose . . . it is Paris that starts [the revolution] . . . Paris will naturally make haste to organise itself as best it can, in revolutionary style, after the workers have joined into associations and made a clean sweep of all the instruments of labour, every kind of capital and building; armed and organised by streets and quartiers, they will form the revolutionary federation of all the quartiers, the federative commune. . . All the French and foreign revolutionary communes will then send representatives to organise the necessary common services . . . and to organise common defence against the enemies of the Revolution, together with propaganda, the weapon of revolution, and practical revolutionary solidarity with friends in all countries against enemies in all countries." [Op. Cit., p. 178-9]

As can be seen, the revolution not only abolishes the state by a free federation of workers associations, it also expropriates capital and ends wage labour. Thus the "political revolution is transformed into social revolution." [Op. Cit., p. 171] Which, we must add, destroys another Marxist myth that claims that anarchists think, to quote Engels, that "the state is the chief evil, [and] it is above all the state which must be done away with and then capitalism will go to blazes," in other words, the "abolition of the state" comes before the "social revolution." [Marx and Engels, The Marx-Engels Reader p. 728] As can be clearly seen, anarchists consider the social revolution to be, at the same time, the abolition of the state along with the abolition of capitalism.

Therefore, Bakunin was well aware of the needs to defend a revolution after destroying the state and abolishing capitalism. It is clear that after a successful rising, the revolutionary population does not "lay down their arms" but rather organises itself in a federal to co-ordinate defence against reactionary areas which seek to destroy it.

Nor was Bakunin alone in this analysis. For example, we discover Errico Malatesta arguing that during a revolution we should "[a]rm all the population." The revolution would have "armed the people so that it can resist any armed attempt by reaction to re-establish itself." This revolution would involve "creation of a voluntary militia, without powers to interfere as militia in the life of the community, but only to deal with any armed attacks by the forces of reaction to re-establish themselves, or to resist outside intervention by countries as yet not in a state of revolution." Like Bakunin, Malatesta stresses the importance of co-ordinating activity via free federations of workers' associations -- "the development of the revolution would be the task of volunteers, by all kinds of committees, local, intercommunal, regional and national congresses which would attend to the co-ordination of social activity," the "[o]rganisation of social life by means of free association and federations of producers and consumers, created and modified according to the wishes of their members," and so be "under the direct control of the people." Again, like Bakunin, the revolution would abolish state and capital, and "the workers . . . [should] take possession of the factories . . . federate among themselves . . . the peasants should take over the land and the produce usurped by the landlords." Ultimately, the "most powerful means for defending the revolution remains always that of taking away from the bourgeois the economic means on which their power rests, and of arming everybody (until such time as one will have managed to persuade everybody to throw away their arms as useless and dangerous toys), and of interesting the mass of the population in the victory of the revolution." [Life and Ideas, p. 170, p. 165, p. 166, pp. 165-6, p. 184, p. 175, p. 165 and p. 173]

Malatesta stresses that a government is not required to defend a revolution:

"But, by all means, let us admit that the governments of the still unemancipated countries were to want to, and could, attempt to reduce free people to a state of slavery once again. Would this people require a government to defend itself? To wage war men are needed who have all the necessary geographical and mechanical knowledge, and above all large masses of the population willing to go and fight. A government can neither increase the abilities of the former nor the will and courage of the latter. And the experience of history teaches us that a people who really want to defend their own country are invincible: and in Italy everyone knows that before the corps of volunteers (anarchist formations) thrones topple, and regular armies composed of conscripts or mercenaries disappear." [Anarchy, pp. 40-1]

The Spanish anarchist D. A. Santillan argued that the "local Council of Economy will assume the mission of defence and raise voluntary corps for guard duty and if need be, for combat" in the "cases of emergency or danger of a counter-revolution." These Local Councils would be a federation of workplace councils and would be members of the Regional Council of the Economy which, like the Local Council, would be "constitute[d] by delegations or through assemblies." [After the Revolution, p. 80 and pp. 82-83] Yet again we see the defence of the revolution based on the federation of workers' councils and so directly controlled by the revolutionary population.

Lastly, we turn to the Spanish CNT's 1936 resolution on Libertarian Communism. In this document is a section entitled "Defence of the Revolution" which argues:

"We acknowledge the necessity to defend the advances made through the revolution . . . So . . . the necessary steps will be taken to defend the new regime, whether against the perils of a foreign capitalist invasion . . . or against counter-revolution at home. It must be remembered that a standing army constitutes the greatest danger for the revolution, since its influence could lead to dictatorship, which would necessarily kill off the revolution. . .

"The people armed will be the best assurance against any attempt to restore the system destroyed from either within or without. . .

"Let each Commune have its weapons and means of defence . . . the people will mobilise rapidly to stand up to the enemy, returning to their workplaces as soon as they may have accomplished their mission of defence. . . .

"1. The disarming of capitalism implies the surrender of weaponry to the communes which be responsible for ensuring defensive means are effectively organised nationwide.

"2. In the international context, we shall have to mount an intensive propaganda drive among the proletariat of every country so that it may take an energetic protest, calling for sympathetic action against any attempted invasion by its respective government. At the same time, our Iberian Confederation of Autonomous Libertarian Communes will render material and moral assistance to all the world's exploited so that these may free themselves forever from the monstrous control of capitalism and the State." [quoted by Jose Peirats, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, vol. 1, p. 110]

Therefore, an anarchist society defends itself in a non-statist fashion. Defence is organised in a libertarian manner, based on federations of free communes and workers' councils and incorporating self-managed workers' militias. This was exactly what the CNT-FAI did in 1936 to resist Franco's fascists. The militia bodies that were actually formed by the CNT in the revolution were internally self-governing, not hierarchical. Each militia column was administered by its own "war committee," made up of elected delegates, which in turn sent delegates to co-ordinate action on a specific front. Similarly, the Makhnovists during the Russian Revolution also organised in a democratic manner, subject to the decisions of the local workers' councils and their congresses.

Thus Anarchist theory and practice indicate that defence of a revolution need not involve a hierarchical system like the Bolshevik Red Army where the election of officers, soldiers' councils and self-governing assemblies were abolished by Trotsky in favour of officers appointed from above (see Trotsky's article The Path of the Red Army in which he freely admits to abolishing the soldiers "organs of revolutionary self-government" the Soviets of Soldiers' Deputies as well as "the system of election" of commanders by the soldiers themselves in favour of a Red Army "built from above" with appointed commanders).

As can be seen, the only armed force for the defence of the an anarchist society would be the voluntary, self-managed militia bodies organised by the free communes and federations of workers' associations. The militias would be unified and co-ordinated by federations of communes while delegates from each militia unit would co-ordinate the actual fighting. In times of peace the militia members would be living and working among the rest of the populace, and, thus, they would tend to have the same outlook and interests as their fellow workers.

Instead of organising a new state, based on top-down command and hierarchical power, anarchists argue that a revolutionary people can build and co-ordinate a militia of their own and control the defence of their revolution directly and democratically, through their own organisations (such as unions, councils of delegates elected from the shop floor and community, and so on). Where they have had the chance, anarchists have done so, with remarkable success. Therefore, an anarchist society can be defended against attempts to re-impose hierarchy and bosses (old or new).

For more discussion of this issue, see section J.7.6 ( "How could an anarchist revolution defend itself?")


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