Kropotkin's book 'Conquest of Bread' is a classic statement of what an anarchist society of the future would actually be like; how society would be organised and why all the problems that people imagine would come up in a stateless, classless society really wouldn't be problems at all.
|Rojava in northern Syria|
What do we want?
Anarchists claim that society is currently organised along authoritarian grounds. I split these into 3 main areas - political authority, economic authority and social authority. We will transform these 3 areas of life:
Instead of government we will have communal ways of making decisions. Issues that effect a group of people will be decided on together but issues that mainly just affect an individual will be left up to that individual - and this will be maximised. As far as possible communal decisions will be decided on by consensus - but direct democracy by majority vote on some issues will probably have a place too. There will be no more feeling like you're powerless, insignificant and passive.
|Zapatistas in Mexico|
Instead of having a social hierarchy where people's life outcomes can be predicted based on their race or gender or sexuality or other categories that are part of the established hierarchy we will have social equality and freedom for everyone.
|The Paris commune|
It's important to note that this is not just a product of some great thinker having tried to dream up the coolest way for a society to work that we've all decided we like the sound of. These are a summary of what tens of thousands of people have sought to express through books, pamphlets speeches or just over a drink with their friends. These are relevant goals that attempt to sum up what most of us are yearning for - not to be bossed around, to have more free time, to have security, more fulfilment and the chance to dedicate ourselves to something we feel is meaningful and make a real contribution to society, to be taken seriously and treated equally to others. This is absolutely crucial because none of this would work if these goals had to be preached to people and imposed on them as some kind of external doctrine. Of course this won't appeal to the people who run society now, who have all the authority and all the money and privileges, they're going to use everything they've got to hold on to it, but that struggle is what we always talk about. This post is about reflecting on why we do any of this in the first place.
|Anarchists in the Spanish revolution|
It's about working together to get the good things in life, the things we're currently expected to have to strive for alone, the things that most people will live an die and never experience precisely because they're alone and powerless and poor. As part of a mass movement we're not striving on our own and we're not trying to grab the good things at anyone else's expense.
Note the pictures. All of them are photographs of the times when we've actually glimpsed some of the goals that we're talking about working out in practice. All of them show evidence that they are still engaged in a struggle but there is also an element of celebration, colour, smiling faces. It's not going to be shit you know.