Anarchy in the UK
| 12 December 2016

The word anarchy is derived from the Greek word ‘anarchos’, literally meaning ‘without rulers’. However, over the years the word has become synonymous with words such as ‘chaos’ and ‘disorder’. I suspect that this is because over hundreds of years people have been taught that society cannot function without leaders. While that may be true in some parts of the world (Somalia, for example), I think that an anarchic region in England could prosper.


While discussing anarchy with various people, I have on several occasions had unproven and somewhat random hypotheses thrown at me, such as “everyone would just kill each other”. I can see where this argument comes from; a lack of law means that there would be fewer disincentives to do bad things. After all, without a police force, acts such as vandalism, robbery and rape would become more common. That’s obvious, isn’t it? Perhaps not. Most people aren’t bad. That’s what I like to think, anyway. Most people, in a closely knit anarchist community would not take kindly to one of their friends being hassled. Without laws to stop them, they could take matters into their own hands and serve justice how they saw fit. I think that thought alone would be enough to prevent immoral acts at least as well as a police force does. At any rate, anyone who wants to kill will likely find a way of killing, with or without laws.


On top of that, many crimes are money related. In a society without tax, perhaps even without money at all, financial pressures would be lessened. In an anarchic region, where trade with other countries would be difficult, members of the community would have to support each other. As long as someone was useful, they would do well. For example, a farmer would ensure that the blacksmith who makes the tools was well fed. Without each other, without a sense of togetherness (which this country often seems to lack), the community would fail. That means that if the farmer smashed up the blacksmith’s workshop, the farmer would not be able to make food, due to his lack of metal tools, and would become useless. Over the course of my life so far, I have noticed that most people try to avoid death wherever possible. This aspect of human instinct would ensure that the hypothetical farmer would try to avoid harming the figurative blacksmith. By defending the blacksmith, the farmer defends himself.


Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of how an ideal anarchist society would function. There would be hundreds of relationships like that of the farmer and the blacksmith, all woven together in order to create a community that would not only survive, but thrive, without anything that even comes near to resembling a government.


So it is clear that an anarchist society, made up of rational and intelligent people, could work as well, or perhaps better than, a democracy. But this is not even the main point of anarchy. Anarchy is about freedom from the rules laid down by others. What right does a politician have to make decisions that will affect the lives of thousands of people? The politician may have a good education, they may be intelligent, and they may have the interests of the people in mind. But even if that is the case (which, it seems, it rarely is), it doesn’t erase the fact that they are ruling the lives of other people.


It is easy to talk in hypotheticals, so I feel some examples are necessary. In the United States, there is a farm called the Acorn Community Farm. While they do have to live under the laws of their state, the community itself has no leader, and operates solely through mutual cooperation. So efficient is this system that they are able to not only grow enough food for themselves, but also enough to support those who live in poverty nearby. Then there are the kibbutzim, in Israel. These have been around for over 100 years, and they are similar to the Acorn Farm in the US. They are based around a strong sense of community in which each person is as important as everyone else. They all work together to ensure that the community thrives.


Some people may be happy under rulership. That’s their decision to make and I won’t interfere. I am merely suggesting that people should at least have the option to live how they want to live. Make of this what you will. Do what you feel to be right.

James Routledge 2016