Covid19: Why I believe we should all be anarchists and communalists

I will speak in terms of beliefs, because at the core there is a point where the choice of our political system becomes a matter of philosophy rather than fact.

I believe that hierarchies are inherently destructive. Human beings should not organise themselves in top-down orders, but rather operate in a manner that is cooperative and consensus based.

I believe that the only true form of high leadership is self-governance. We must be sovereign individuals. Each person able to stand physically and mentally independent in their own power, rather than a supplicant to the power of others.

That being said, collective power is greater than individual power, so our individual powers should be pooled and shared to create a creature stronger than any of us are able to be alone, something akin to the traditional village.

I perceive humans to be like the cells in an organ, villages to be the organs, and the global society to be the body of our humanity. In that sense, it seems obvious that though we may be individuals, and though we may be unique, we are also the same as everything around us. This idea of self sameness resonates with me.

The mathematical patterns that govern all life on earth are scattered like clues throughout the cosmos in the fractal patterns that trees use to choose their leaf positions, or the recurring strength and beauty of spirals in shells, or the complex geometries of protein folding and DNA.

These recurring patterns speak to the common constraints that govern our universe and set us up in a particular configuration unique to our place in time and space. These patterns are also present in the behaviour of computational systems like AI systems that mimic the neural pathways of the human brain, and show the way that these basic physical constraints of the universe have set us up to evolve particular forms.

These forms have, repeatedly over more than four and a half billion years, evolved mutuality and interdependence as a survival strategy. Who am I to judge the universe on their evolutionary design skills? They have had more time than I have to field test the notion.

If it’s good enough for trees and fungusses, or bees and flowers, or gut bacteria and humans to work together, I think I can manage to figure out how to collaborate a little with people who are totally unlike myself. We just have to work out how it works, but I know there’s a way.

I have faith in collectivism, because I have the evidence of my eyes that is has served this planet for millenia.

My eyes tell me a different story about unconstrained growth. Things that grow indefinitely look to me like the infections that fell ash woods, or the collapse of waterway ecosystems when certain invasive plant species become dominant and change the oxygen levels in the water, or when farms grow monocrops that decemate the insect ecosystems and even impact on surrounding wilderness, or cancers that destroy a body.

These to me seem to be the same shape as the philosophy of capitalism which posits that there is always room to grow more profit and more wealth and a bigger market.

The earth is a closed-loop ecosystem. What goes up must come down. We are star dust to be sure…but we are also the ashes off our ancestors both human and non human, both animate and non-animate life.

All things must die and return to the earth to provide the substrate upon which a new generation will grow. In that sense, a corporation which will never die and will only ever grow seems an abomination to me.

Capitalism was birthed out of the heat of the death of the rule of kings and the collapse of empires…and it resonates still with that energy. There are ideas that still hearken back to a time when men owned other men, and the earth was thought of as food to be consumed, not a mother and a home.

The beliefs of those who shaped the philosophies of capitalist governance were archaic. Many held only room for a unitary theistic religion in their reckoning of things and took the eradication of other religious faiths as a given. All these considerations and many more to boot mean that the minds who contemplated Capitalism did not contemplate of an earth or a human race as we do. What they valued is not what we value.

And your style of governance absolutely MUST proceed to take shape out of your values and beliefs. To proceed from the bottom up, from the everyday outcomes and lived conveniences, will only leave us rudderless and lost in a way of being that is in no way going to serve our core needs and resonate with our most precious values.

And so for me, while the current observable evil effects of capitalism are heinous and only serve to firm my resolve against it, it is at this high abstract philosophical level that I find my most powerful arguments against capitalism, and where my conviction that anarchism (which is not chaos but self-sovereignty) and some form of mutuality (syndicalism, collectivism, etc.) are the only acceptable forms of governance.

Only mutuality could plausibly resonate with the things I see painted on the face of our earth in such vivid colour in everyday illustrations of what survival will look like, but also with the beating heart of my deepest, most cherished values– that are not ideas I can put into words, but which are written in the poetry of trees sharing resources via the pathways of fungusses, or bacteria sharing their genetic information horizontally, or wild animals nursing the abandoned young of other species, or the fact that every language on earth has a word for loving someone, or the truth that pupae must dissolve themselves entirely into mush to become butterflies, and seeds are destroyed growing into the mature plants they are destined to become.

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7 Responses

  1. I agree, and more if the human race doesn’t realize this sometime relatively soon I do not think we’ll stick around in the long run.

    1. Bad behaviour will be self limiting in an environment that values self governance. Put simply, no other sovereign nation will treat with you or deal with you if you do not obey their sovereignty and sanctity also. It rapidly renders life unlivable if you have literally nobody to connect to. One benefit is that each entity will have the right to self govern as they see fit rather than to the same degree of social conformity we currently have enforced by the authorities that be.

      Much of what you perceive as “cruel character” however is nothing of the sort. In reality most of the misbehaviour in society takes it’s origins from our depraved society in which good people are driven to extremes and depravity to survive. You see this sort of craven and cruel behaviour in nature too when resources are unusually constrained or human intervention has destabilised the ecosystem. For example the famous experiment in which so called “alpha wolves” were observed turned out to be not at all what wild wolves in healthy packs are like…it was the result of being forced into a too small territory in close proximity which made that particular pack start picking at each other.

      I do think humans no longer know what we are really like, we have been so thoroughly warped by this civilisation. But I know that we are neurobiologically wired for care and communality and that is enough to persuade me that that is the way nature intends for us to exist.

      1. So you’re just going to completely ignore resource scarcity and the tragedy of the commons? Also how exactly do you respond to global pandemics or natural disasters without a universal sense of responsibility? It sounds to me like you’re looking to justify human nature in a vacuum as an ideal, but this is reality and at any moment half of civilization could be wiped out. Anarchy has no plans for how to accommodate global emergencies. When it does, it is no longer anarchy, it is a government of rules and laws and taxes.

        If everyone is responsible for themselves then no one is a steward for the world we all live in. To survive in a globally connected society, it requires the ability to store communal wealth and decide how and when to disperse it as needed in order to accommodate massive scale emergencies that affect things far larger than a non-hierarchical group could accommodate. Anyone who’s been in a meeting with more than 20 people in it to discuss the solution to a problem can attest to how difficult it is to accept a solution without an authority figure present. If you can’t defer to a court, or a law to prove your point, you’re relying on human beings as rational objects. This has been disproved time and time again.

        There is no incentive for a person to donate money to a tragedy in Haiti when their responsibility is exclusive to their own environment, and the act of giving means you’re removing your safety net that you’re responsible for. There is no ability to invest in global scale necessary projects like the LHC, or the global weather satellite system because in your world there is no reason to coordinate on a global scale and there would be no individual or group with the wealth and power to pay for people to focus on things that won’t provide society benefits for a hundred years after the initial investment.

      2. “or wild animals nursing the abandoned young of other species,”
        and what of all the wild animals that eat their own young, or all the animals that eat the young of other animals and then force those animals to raise their children? Or all the animals that lay their eggs in other animals and cause those animals to die slow, agonizing, painful, miserable deaths as they’re eaten alive from the inside?

        There are thousands of species who’s entire mode of existence is to destroy the host, and have no ability to survive without destroying something else. This is the world you wish to return to?

  2. “If it’s good enough for trees and fungusses, or bees and flowers, or gut bacteria and humans to work together, I think I can manage to figure out how to collaborate a little with people who are totally unlike myself. We just have to work out how it works, but I know there’s a way.

    I have faith in collectivism, because I have the evidence of my eyes that is has served this planet for millenia.”

    How does parasitism fit into this? It comes across as though you’re claiming flora and fauna were all symbiotic until capitalism came around. Do you know how many trees, fungi, bees, flowers, and gut bacteria have killed humans before we could even speak or write as a species? There’s anthropological evidence of just how brutal the world was any type of government was ever even fantasized about, so to claim that a lack of government is the solution to our modern problems is extremely myopic.

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