Anarchy In Action

The editorial in this week’s [January 2013] Forest Review newspaper cheered the numerous neighbourly and community efforts to clear snow and ice so people could get out and about – the overused phrase “Dunkirk spirit” was used. To me it seemed like a perfect example of anarchy in action.

Shamefully, I admit, I arrived too late to help my partner dig her car out for work, and just caught three sets of neighbours shovelling the last compacted snow and sheet ice away from the car and pouring grit on the road. A neighbour across the road from my parents, who they’ve hardly exchanged words with previously, cleared my folks’ entire path without being invited.

In contrast, I heard horror stories about the Co-op/district council car park in Coleford and elderly people sliding around with their trolleys and almost falling and breaking their necks. It seems no one in the supermarket or council had given the order to make the paying car park safe for patrons, so it didn’t happen. And the council-contracted gritter finally got down our road a few days after neighbours gritted our road themselves.

Another FOD Anarchists supporter reports that he and his neighbours cleared their entire lane up to the main road, which benefited them all, including the rich folks with the classic cars collection (who didn’t take part in the community self-help operation).

So, people helping each other out, on their own initiative, without being given orders from above, simply because it needed to be done… without any help from government or the authorities…

And they keep telling us that anarchy would never work, that it would be “chaos” because “human nature” and “greed” would take over?

Humans of various kinds have been roaming the planet for three million-plus years; the current settlement in Britain post-ice age, for up to 15,000 years. For only 2,000 years has there been a government, and yet without it for the majority of the time we all flourished. I will go into this in more detail (if you’re interested) in a future blog, but increasingly it’s becoming clearer that humans have endured because of co-operation, NOT competition.

Yet a massive flank of unrelenting propaganda keeps trying to reinforce the message that people are greedy, they can’t help it, it’s in our nature – the rich rule over the poor because it’s the natural way of things… that without politicians “representing” us and running things, we’d all go stark raving mad and murder each other over the last scraps of booty…

This Spencerian survival-of-the-fittest, natural-hierarchy mantra helps to perpetuate this unfair system and the notion that we MUST have monarchs, lords, MPs and gods to bow down to because we are incapable of managing our own affairs. This idea, outlined by Hobbes in 1651, has endured post-Enlightenment because it is in the ruling class’s interest that THIS is our pre-ordained path as human beings. Indeed, the idea the poor deserve their lot and the rich are rich by natural right is being revived by the current government.

The more of us realise this is nonsense as soon as possible the greater the chance we have of averting environmental catastrophe and an ever-greater divide between rich and poor. As part of FOD Anarchists I hope that we can spread the idea, rather than keeping it to ourselves. That anarchy, in small and large ways, is and can be an everyday thing – not some utopian dream.

The 1% have continued their stranglehold on our society and communities using illusion… In a small way, I hope the recent snowfall and how we dealt with it might dent it, perhaps even shatter that illusion for more of the 99%?

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