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How's Anarchism gonna work?

Time to get down to the details
I've read all the theoretical posts. I've read about "rules" not "rulers" and I've seen Anarchists and Leninists and god-knows-what-else argue their case in the most esoteric terms.

I've seen quibbling over dictionary definitions. I've seen everything but a concise description of how this new, Anarchy based world would work.

So, a few questions:

Who will fix the roads, railways, and power stations?

Who will come to my aid when I fall off my bike and hurt myself, or conduct the investigation when I'm murdered or robbed?

Who will decide if I'm taking advantage of my employees, or if I am being taken advantage of?

Who will decide when it is appropriate to cut a tree, dig a quarry, or fish the river?

Who will decide where we put our trash?

Who will determine when an external threat is indeed a threat, and marshall the force to defend us against it?

These are only a few of the many questions that could be asked. It could go on, but I'm just looking to get a rough idea. You're the anarchists, tell me how it's done -- not that I don't understand the theory, not that I ought to read this or that, but tell me how these very basic government functions would be performed in a world without leaders.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.

LMFAO 15.Oct.2002 00:05

Chris Pangle

"Who will decide if I'm taking advantage of my employees" -are you serious?

I would respond to your questions if I really thought you have read anything about it or cared... but your questions are quite uninformed and show the beginning of your post to be either a blatant lie or you do not retain information well...

-me

XWY glad you brought it up! 15.Oct.2002 00:32

arm chair anarcho

Your questions may seem very simple but they need to be asked and deserve to be answered. Anarchists, themselves should be asking and discussing these questions constantly.

To start with we always assume that things wouldn't get done 'under' Anarchism. That society would collapse and people would just run amoke, stealing and killing each other. That 'human nature' is inherently selfish and sick.

But you can't learn anything about the behaviour of birds, from a caged bird, to paraphrase an old quote.

Anyway to answer your questions:


"Who will fix the roads, railways, and power stations?" Who fixes them now? Why do we need a government to get these tasks done? The same people will fix them because they need to be fixed. Maybe a communtiy might be arranged into councils of a dozen people who can coordinate such tasks.

Who will come to my aid when I fall off my bike and hurt myself, or conduct the investigation when I'm murdered or robbed? Again, same thing. People will still have jobs to do. There might not neccesarily be a 'police force' but there might be a comittee of people who will be elected to find your murder and work out what to do with him/her.

Who will decide if I'm taking advantage of my employees, or if I am being taken advantage of? There will be employees or employers. Anarchism means no hierarchy. Why do you need a boss? What can't people work out who does the tasks that need to be done by themselves? Say you work in a factory there is no reason why a line worker should earn less than the fore-person. All workers will have an equal say and equal compensation (although most anarchists would probably argue for the abolition of the wage system entirely, based on the principles of mutual aid*).

"Who will decide when it is appropriate to cut a tree, dig a quarry, or fish the river?" Perhaps neighbourhood councils. Each street, neighbourhood might discuss the issue, then by consensus work out how they want to deal with it, and elect someone to take it to a bigger, say, town council and so on. (see below for details)

"Who will decide where we put our trash?" Same as above.

"Who will determine when an external threat is indeed a threat, and marshall the force to defend us against it?" Again that will need to be decided in small groups who might then take the decision to a wider group as in Argentina right now. You and ten neighbours can work out your postion as will the people the next street down and then you elect your re-callable spokesperson to take your postion to a committee of neighbourhood representatives. Say SE, NE, NW and SW each have a rep, who all get together to work out PDX's postion and then the PDX rep meets up with other cities' reps to work out Oregon's position. Note, all representatives/spokespeople might only be elected for one specific purpose and probably will be 're-callable' if they abuse their role.

Although, I am not much of a theoritician and I know my answers are very crude (I don't dig computer discussions) I did not pull these ideas out of my ass. They have been put into practice, throughout history. They are put into practice everyday. Spain in the 1930s. Paris in '68. Primitive tribes. Critical Mass bike rides ever month. IWW meetings every week.


I suppose it is about breaking hierarchy and the power structure so the individual feels as though they have more of a say in the running of their own lives and the world around them.

Please, lets keep this discussion going. There are many people out there, I know, who can do a better job than me.


Mutual Aid: Where people work not for wages or pay but because the community needs it to function. If you are a baker you give your bread away free to the garbage man because he takes away your garbage, free to your surfboard shaper because he just made a board for you. People's "worth" will not be based on what work they do. After all how can you determine who ensures the health of a comminuty more, the garbage collector or the doctor??

Not to worry 15.Oct.2002 00:33

James carr

The people need to get together first. That will take years at least if by some miracle we or someone leads us into revolution too soon the result would be worse than now. We as the AWAKE have to be fearless teachers that educate with compassion. We must un-learn what we have learned from the american capitalist school system. Also we need like you said to learn that we don't need leaders or dictators or big imperialist,new fuedalist government. Dig! Though I will say this again don't stress over it we are hunted by the biggest baddest war mongers of the whole fucking world and that is enough worry for now. I think yeah there are too many people and that some yahoo wants to lead us all into his will-dead or alive. Like all these damn ism's the revolution of today don't need them cause the one's of yesterday teach that it all failed and why? Easy just another dictaor. A dead one. If we take a little socialism and a little marxism and so on, plus we have to break it down like before, towns little quaint towns would work world totalitarian government based on money does not. All collective run business's for sure after the REV and let me say this we will follow are desires for once do what are love and talent dictates- get into adventures and NO T.V. Last idea, I personally am a person who feels driven to help and stop a fight and or fix problems. after the REV if so elected I would love to be an officer of the people's law. Not the army of the rich terrorist of today but one who wont put you in jail if defend youself against your abusive spouse. Just some thoughts. JAMES

the anarchist society in my head 15.Oct.2002 01:20

anonymous or made up

Let me preface this by my disclaimer: I am an aspiring anarchist. I can't feel comfortable or free in a society which is built upon hierarchy and capital. However, I have not studied history enough, and don't know the experiences of past anarchist movements enough to know if what I have in my mind of an anarchist society would be workable. More likely, we won't know until we try.

To begin with, some basic ideas that aren't necessarily covered below:

  • An anarchist society I envision would be anti-hierarchical, but acknowledge that hierarchies have a way of springing into being and must be watched closely.
  • It would be moneyless, as money would lead to concentrations of money and therefore power.
  • It strives to leave decisionmaking in the hands of those affected (let individuals decide their stance on drugs, let the community decide its policy on roads, let communities get together to work on larger-scale trade).
  • I envision organization within a shop/collective of all its workers to make its decisions. Perhaps there would be a larger-scale organization by industry to deal with issues that affect that industry across different shops.
  • There would be community organization, with representatives to neighborhood councils and larger community councils. All representatives could be immediately recalled by their constituents.

I don't have a terribly clear idea on the organization of the community representation part, and of course it would depend on the community. I use "community" here something like "city": a somewhat geographically distinct group of people. Our Portland-Metro area would be too big. Perhaps on the order of Portland itself? I would hope to see smaller, more connected communities "after the revolution," but I'm not sure if large cities are incompatible with anarchism. Communities would be autonomous but always in contact with others.

Who will fix the roads, railways, and power stations?

Maintenance of this basic infrastructure would be the responsibility of the community. They would have to find collectives willing to do this and arrange for the ongoing effort necessary to maintain such things. Power stations are perhaps not what I would group in this category, rather the power infrastructure (distribution, not production). Production of power would be organized by collectives dedicated to the task.

Who will come to my aid when I fall off my bike and hurt myself, or conduct the investigation when I'm murdered or robbed?

When you fall off your bike and hurt yourself, it will most likely be the same people who would help you right now: caring folks who happen to be nearby.

If a murder or use of force against another community member occurred, it would have to be investigated by the community, probably by some group which is dedicated to doing so (elected, of course, and freely recallable. Would it have to be a rotating committee? Hopefully the committee itself wouldn't be too necessary). This is something I don't think I've developed enough in my thought. The punishment option I can think of would be expulsion from the community, which is all that a community can do to protect itself without interfering greatly on the freedoms of the individual who was judged to have violated the basic rules of living in the community.

It seems to me that a lot of anarchist thought I've read does some handwaving at the "murder/use of force" question, and says "this won't be an issue after the revolution." I fear I'm doing that here, too.

Who will decide if I'm taking advantage of my employees, or if I am being taken advantage of?

Employees? Where did the employees come from? This is an anarchist society, right?

However, job issues will always be problematic. There must be free enterprise, that is the right to work on any project you feel is necessary, and to "compete" (offer similar services as another group). Competition is not geared towards eliminating a different collective, but rather to offer an alternative source of goods/services so that others may have freedom of choice. Collectives must be able to decide who is or is not a member, and any collective member must be able to leave at any time to work on any other project. Thus, it is your responsibility to decide if you are being taken advantage of, and do something about it if necessary.

Who will decide when it is appropriate to cut a tree, dig a quarry, or fish the river?

All of those who enjoyed that tree, the land where the quarry would be built, or the fish in the river. And not just enjoyment by way of harvesting it, but also those who may place value on it for its existence alone (I find value in forests, even if I'm not in them all the time).

This will make these "environmental" decisions the most difficult of all. The discussions of these questions will never end! However, I believe that will be part of a healthy society. Anarchism won't magically make these decisions easy. However, there would be a better way of making decisions. Communities would have to work together to decide issues of land management outside of the direct living areas, and if things go right at the end the decisions will be more representative of what people actually want, rather than what the bureaucrats we elected a few years back (or who were appointed by the bureaucrats we elected a few years back) arbitrarily decide.

Who will decide where we put our trash?

I bet you can guess my answer. The people who are making the trash and find the need to collectively dispose of it rather than keeping it themselves. There would then be people working at handling the trash of the community and storing it in a proper manner.

Note that with the answer to "who decides when to cut a tree?", there will probably be less extraction of natural resources as people decide that keeping a particular forest is more valuable than harvesting it, or that the environmental impacts of mining in an area will be less valuable than the raw materials it would provide.

Therefore, more recycling and reuse would be necessary. If we don't have a money economy, the necessity to make profit off of recycling or levying taxes to support it wouldn't be necessary. I don't think there is a problem of actually recycling a lot of our "trash," but with the costs of resource extraction hidden and a value system based on money, we don't do a lot of the things that could be done. Community recycling centers, like the one in Portland or Goodwill or other thrift stores would also be a basic part of this process.

Who will determine when an external threat is indeed a threat, and marshall the force to defend us against it?

Another question that will require much debate, as I'm sure many people in an anarchist society will be pacifists, and most people have pacifist tendencies. However, I don't see anything incompatible with anarchism and there being militias organized for common defense when necessary. In the Spanish Civil War, from what I've read, anarchist militias were organized where soldiers chose their own leaders. I'm interested in learning more about how this worked and what problems came up.

If you're talking about an external threat as militarized as the US, I don't know what could be done, besides working between all communities for common defense. But then, everyone else is working on this issue, too.

These are only a few of the many questions that could be asked. It could go on, but I'm just looking to get a rough idea. You're the anarchists, tell me how it's done -- not that I don't understand the theory, not that I ought to read this or that, but tell me how these very basic government functions would be performed in a world without leaders.

All I've got is rough ideas, and I'd be wary of people with more than that. And I'd be worried if we're supposed to tell you how it's going to be done. You're just as valuable in deciding that as any of "us."

Something that I've heard discussed quite a bit in various left-leaning groups I've been involved with is the issue of leadership. For some its "we are all leaders," for others it's "we have no leaders," and for others the leaders are chosen at some point and remain for a specified term. I'm more of the mind that leaders exist because people follow them. We should choose our leaders based on their knowledge and ethics, and be open to changing leaders whenever necessary. We should not build leader roles into our organizations, but always be aware of who becomes a leader and whether we are comfortable with that.

You asked for a "concise description", and this is what I can provide of what I think so far. It definitely changes. And there is far more to ask. One is, will our quality of life in terms of material wealth decrease in an anarchist society, and will it matter? That is related to a big question: will people be motivated to work when it is not directly necessary for them as an individual to do so, and will demotivation eventually cause breakdown of society? What would the decisionmaking process be at various levels, and particularly between the autonomous communities on decisions that affect a number of them? Does a community decide what jobs are valuable to it and warn/expel those who don't work, or work on projects that aren't valued? How do we create a situation in which this society could become possible?

"These are only a few of the many questions that could be asked." :-)


Just to be clear 15.Oct.2002 02:42

arm chair anarcho

I meant to say there will be NO employees or employers, incase people didn't catch my typo.

ABSOLUTELY NO BOSSES. Horizontal organization.

beautiful 15.Oct.2002 06:56

lemon

This was a good post and made this whole topic of anarchism a little more clear to me. The flock of birds analogy was especially good. Perhaps the day will come when ideology such as this will meet reality but certainly not in my lifetime. Not in 100 lifetimes. The answer, then, to who will take care of infrastructure and defense of the people is No One. Yea, there will always be those few willing to work for the greater good but talk about waking up! YOU wake up. You think people will willingly break their backs to do road work, clean sewage, run into a fire, or chase some homicidal nut with a gun because it is the right thing to do? You think the brilliant genuis that creates buildings like the Empire State or does the surgery on my eyes would or even should do it out of the kindness of their hearts....for equal compensation as the trash man. Hey, I love my trash collector but I want the man cutting my eye or into my brain to be compensated like a friggin king. When I get on an elevator to the 33rd floor, I want to know that it's not working just because someone felt like doing their job that day. Finally, when I call because my house is on fire or someone is forcing their way through my door, I want to know that a fire truck is on the way or badges with guns are racing to my home.

Lets keep the discussion civil and fruitful 15.Oct.2002 09:53

arm chair anarcho

Lemon: You missed the point! The doctor nor garbage man would not be "compensated as a king" becasue everyone will receive equal or no pay. Personally, I would rather have a doctor who is motivated by an interest in medicine and healing people rather than someone motivated by wealth.

You say that no one will do something out of the goodness of their hearts, but do you think because somone is getting paid (poorly usually) and has a boss barking at them that the elvator you ride is any safer?

The defense and infastructure, as you say, is taken care of by the same people as those that might do it, only there would be more of a democratic process keeping things in check.

Why do you think there will be no Fire Brigade??

Some scientists who have studied evolution argue that our species is just as capable, if not more capable of cooperation than competition. That we evolved the most not because of survival of the fittest but due to cooperation and Mutual Aid.

As for not ever happening. I will say it again. It is happening on the local level in Argentina. Has happened amongst primitve tribes. Happened in parts of Spain in the 1930s. Happens on communal farms. Maybe even in your family or workplace.

An anarchist might argue that people are not as lazy when they can see the alue of their work. A present we work becasue for money in turn to pay for food clothing and shelter.

This works, say when people live in a house together. Shit gets taken care of because no one wants to live in a dump. If somone is slack and doesn't do their share, you aks them to leave or you simply don't cooperate with them. In the end it is in evreyone's interest to work together.

This works well on such a small scale and that us why power has to be totally decentralized. So each 'unit' 'council' 'community' 'commune' whatever can make its own decsions. But, no doubt everyone can agree we need a fire brigade and so people will work to ensure one exists. There is no need for a government to ensure that one.

Yeah, Anarchism is a tough one to imagine. But are things really 'working' now? Why do teachers in Cananda go on strike. People in Portland live under bridges? Kids suffering from malnutrion throughout THIS country and the world? -because of capitalism, the ever present forging by the elite for the concentration of wealth. Why not abolish wealth, privilige, authority all together? If we think this is impossible then we may as well give up right now.

Lemon: I'm sorry some people lower themselves to petty insults in their frustration to try and make others understand anarchism. If you want to continue this discussion I hope eveyone can remain civil.

I also apologize that I an unable to adaquately offer the explanations that people need to hear but I'll keep trying. I know this is a cop out but why not check out some of the texts that were mentioned?

Good discussion but point missed 15.Oct.2002 10:22

O'neill

Most of these posts are good discussions but may I suggest that all of you are utterly missing the point. The Industrial-technological system as we know it will not last much longer. This is because we as a species are subject to the same ecological constriants as any other species. It is ludicrous to talk about wage-slave type jobs, the national infrastructure and so on. Technology and the "system" as we know it will not save us. In fact technology is what is killing off the earth and our own species. We are in the midst of a selfinduced species suicide, the cause of which is technology itself, we as a species must work to help bring about the complete collapse of the capitalist, industrial-technological system.
In reality the "system" is already falling, but don't think that technology can save us by getting, "a little better." or, "a little more efficient." I am not trying to sound preachy merely discussing the facts of the plight humanity is facing. If the global-consumer (westernization) civilization goes on we will destroy ourselves. The only hope for humanity is that the system will fall, therefor that should be our sane goal-to induce its collapse.

Read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, it will change your life.....

We don't need government to drive buses 15.Oct.2002 10:55

Anarcho-kid

Whether or not we should even have an industrial society is an issue between fiercely debated within anarchist circles, I personally think that the people should revolt against industrialization to the degree that it fucks up the environment and offers incentive for conquest and war. I do not consider myself "anti-technology" because even if the industrial infrastructure were to collapse, there would still be useful technologies lying around everywhere.
That question aside, the fact that the whole "who will take out the garbage" thing always comes up is, I feel, a measure of the profound degree to which people are disempowered and indoctrinated by government. Who will take out the garbage? The garbage collectors. Duh. And perhaps if their are no garbage collectors, than the people generating garbage will have to take it all out themselves. No where in this social equation arises the need for jackbooted thugs to run around pepper-spraying infants in the name of the greater good.
Here's a story that was in an anarchist publication that I really liked:
In Spain, after the facists had suppressed the civil war / popular revolution, a bus driver gets fed up in the middle of his routes, jumps off the bus and runs down the street, quiting his job. The riders look at eachother, stunned. Then a woman gets up, drives the bus to her stop. She gets off and then another rider takes her place and drives the bus to his stop. And on, and on.

The Good 15.Oct.2002 15:17

lemon

Thanks, arm chair, for your comments. I suppose I am a synical product of my environment and life experience. I have no faith that people, the masses of people, can behave as you say.

That's the right question to ask!!! 15.Oct.2002 20:52

Patrick Ångstrom Poore

This is a great discussion.. as someone said, it's the one that really needs to happen, and it needs to happen all of the time.

But time is short here, if I want people to read.

What we need is new language about social organization, and new communicative strategies to help us organize ourselves. Physics technology has gone a long way, but we haven't really developed any new social tools since communism in the 1850s.

Look: to answer the original poster's questions: If there's someone motivated to pick up the garbage, then the garbage will get picked up. In this society, there's the police that pull you over when you litter -- and there's the neat freaks who pick up cigarette butts from the ground -ALL BY THEMSELVES!!! The questions are very real, but they need to be asked within the context of the personalities and the social organization that exists. When an earthquake strikes, no leaders are necessary to motivate people - leaders are useful, though, sometimes to coordinate people. Spontaneous, anarchic, helping, non-dominating social activity.

Here's a statement that will rock "anarchist" community... Ready?

SOMETIMES, LEADERS ARE GOOD!

Yeah! Say it! Because, even though leaders often are a source of domination, they are not equal to domination. Parents are leaders to their children, teachers lead classes, revolutionaries inspire people to work together - but nobody should say they are essentially dominators.

I don't think the question is: how do we live in a world without leaders (or without money, or TV, or cars, the combustion engine, margarine, KISS dolls, or PEEPS...) the questions is: how do we live in a world without domination? If we were to decide that the essential question of anarchism is to avoid or mediate structures that dominate, instead of rigidly proclaiming one of the infinite number of social arrangements are the source of all evil, I think we'd all get along a little better. I know I've got two anarchists in my house, and they can't even have a conversation without screaming at each other. Whatever... my revolution looks nothing like that. If they need daddy to tell them to play nice, then let's hire a daddy. and when daddy's done, he goes away and serves as someone else. He doesn't get to also decide the color of the walls and hold the checkbook, answer the phone and order all the meals.

If you want to see a living example of 30,000 people living in a world without domination, check out Black Rock City's Burning Man. You should really go, XYZ, because addresses your questions viscerally and much more eloquently than words here do. It's not anarchism - at all. there is a leader, even. But a few factors contribute to the absence of domination (well, for the most part - you can't control individual's relationships to each other). It's a temporary city where practically everybody is a volunteer (It costs to get in). An experiment in Radical Community. and it's just one of so many options.

 http://www.burningman.org

also, check out this excellent example of an existing multinational corporation (in Spain) that's entirely a worker owned cooperative. It's probably not what most people would call anarchism... but It's a living example of non-dominating work.

 http://www.mondragon.mcc.es/ingles/menu_ing.html

Everything we need already exists... we just have to learn to talk to each other about it.

thanks to all 15.Oct.2002 21:20

xyz -- the OP

God, it feels like its been weeks since there was a discussion on this board that went on this long without turning into a shit-throwing contest. Appriciate the courtesy from everybody. I've got a marginally higher appriciation for anarchy as a concept, and a far higher appriciation for anachists -- the ones who posted here anyhow.

The last post about burning man got me to thinking, and while I haven't been there, I've got plenty of friends and accquaintances who have.

I guess the real issue here is, something like burning man is only possible as sort of a mutation of the larger society. It's very much dependent on the larger world, everything from the roads and cars that get people there, to the portapotties, to the bottled water and preserved foods. It's a week-long event, and as such, it works well...but how long could it go on?

The bus during the spanish revolution tale seems kind of similar -- what happens when the revolution has been in force for ten, fifteen, twenty years and the bus dies? While there may be some place in the world where all of the raw materials needed to build a new bus are readily at hand, most places aren't like that. What happens in, say, Central Madrid when the block council -- living in a cash-free society, mind you -- decides it's time to get a new bus?

Ah, I'm rattling on...keep up the respectful tone: I'm learning something, and I hope all of you are as well.

Participatory Economics 15.Oct.2002 21:20

Josiah Groff josiahgroff@yahoo.com

I'd like to suggest that anyone interested in how an economy could function in a way consistent with anarchist values should look towards Participatory Economics.

I won't try to explain it here, rather, I'll direct you towards the excellent web site:
www.parecon.org

I will point out that Participatory Economics ("parecon" for short) is *not* a political system. That is, it does not deal with issues of law enforcement, judicial procedure, or political interference in the economy (say, to protect wilderness areas). The authors (and myself!) do hope that someday soon someone will imagine and detail a system for taking care of these things that would also be consistent with anarchist values.

As a small example, there's a cafe and bookstore in Winnipeg, Manitoba, that is run according to parecon principles. They're not doing stunning well, but they've been getting along fine for several years now. I've visited it and chatted with several employees. They have no bosses, all relevant decisions are made collectively, and pleasant and onerous tasks are divided equally. I have faith that these concepts could be applied to an entire society. You can visit their web page at:
 http://www.a-zone.org/mondragon/
They also make great soup and serve Fort Garry Dark Ale, a locally-produce beer that is amazing.

Solidarity,
Josiah Groff
www.parecon.org

Breath of fresh air! 15.Oct.2002 22:07

Older guy

Just wanted to add one more post to this discussion. I have not followed Indymedia for very long. In the time that I have though, I've noticed that articles published on the "open newswire" with over...lets say 8 or 9 comments, are always a mess of name-calling and/or other forms of disrespect. This discussion on anarchism is great though. It's the firdt time i've read such a long string of comments without feeling a little bit stressed out afterwards. Keep up the good work kids!

no ideology 16.Oct.2002 04:34

jorgg

who will take out the garbage? and so forth? the answer is the same as today we will, but in a free and classless society every person in the community would have a say in how and what tasks are important there is no set ideology no absolute or restrictive program i think there is an misconception of anarchists and small "c" communists, in that, they think humans will become perfect after the rev. what is perfect? i don't even think people will be fully cooperative or non-violent. anarchism is the simple idea that government's are inherently tyrannical this is something the founding fathers of the u.s.a understood that is why they tried to limit the power of the gov. democracy, defined as people's rule, does fairly closely approximate anarchy, that is, democracy w/o representation, moreover there wouldn't be perfect agreement among people. there would still be problems, but with the difference that we would have some control over handling our own problems, and our triumphs would be our own as well, our lives would be our own

Your cliched story sucks 17.Oct.2002 03:20

chris christopherprice@alumni.uwaterloo.ca

"In Spain, after the facists had suppressed the civil war / popular revolution, a bus driver gets fed up in the middle of his routes, jumps off the bus and runs down the street, quiting his job. The riders look at eachother, stunned. Then a woman gets up, drives the bus to her stop. She gets off and then another rider takes her place and drives the bus to his stop. And on, and on."

No offense, but this proves jack-fuck-all. One example of people co-operating, so what?

I've got another story for you. I lived in a co-op house in the summer of 2000, in downtown Toronto. There's an organization called Campus Coop that owns a bunch of old Victorian houses around Spadina and Bloor, and they are run on a coop basis. ( http://www.campus-coop.org/).

Anyways, the idea is you rent out a room and then of course share all the facilities such as bathrooms, the kitchen and the laundry machine. Ah, the kitchen. As soon as entering, one would notice a large pile of dirty dishes in the sink? Why? Because some people didn't wash their dishes. Why? Because they're lazy. Because they know they get away with it. Because they don't have to - they know that eventually, someone else will do them out of need/disgust. So what ends up happening is honest people, like me, when they needed to use dishes, would wash them twice - once before I wanted to use them, because they would be lying dirty in the sink, and once after. And the lazy fucking assholes would use dishes and just leave them in the sink.

Now, if people are basically honest, good, etc., etc., like anarchists are always claiming they are - why won't they do their fucking dishes? Driving a bus - big fuckin' deal!! Somebody HAD to drive the bus, because they all HAD to get somewhere, didn't they?

So how do I know that people won't co-operate, won't do their share? Because I've seen it in action. Hell, I see it every day. We've got a kitchen here at work, and it's always a mess at the end of the day, because people - does this sound familiar? - are too fucking lazy. They don't even have to WASH their dishes here - they just have to put them into the dishwasher. Even this, it seems, is far too much effort.

So who's going to put out the garbage? Probably me, but not the lazy gobshites that abuse the commons and rely on other people to clean up after them.

chris

PS What would be a simple solution to all of this? Simple. Fine people $5 whenever they don't do their dishes. And then the place would be spotless. But of course, that involves rules and authority and all that.

Loading the dishes 17.Oct.2002 12:53

anonymous or made up

Yes, a single example like that bus is bad. However, I don't think your dishes are a good example either. Did you talk to specific people when they didn't load their dishes? Or did you just come to a sink of dishes, heave a sigh, and load them?

We all (I think) have problems with confronting people with antisocial behavior. I've several times cleared the mess left by my friends after they left the cafeteria, because I was ashamed to leave it for the cafeteria workers. Instead, I should have said, "Hey, clean that shit up" when they were getting ready to leave.

This is why most of us, perhaps including me, are not ready for an anarchist society. I'm still working on it. One flaw of this discussion here is we're just talking about "how do these following things work in an anarchist society," without dealing with how we as individuals would have to change before this is a possibility. One thing that I think should be clear: We need to be selective of who we allow in a forming society, and be willing to exclude people who aren't cooperating minimally later on.

For this particular example, though, what would be anti-anarchist about getting together and agreeing "okay, each of us is going to do dishes once a week, we can schedule nights for each of us, and failure to do the dishes may result in reevaluating your membership in this coop" or whatever?