“Anarchy is Order whereas Government is Civil War” ~ Proudhon
As a small youthful minority run riot, vandalising and looting a few areas of a small handful of UK cities I think it timely to draw a distinction between this kind of violence and ‘Anarchism’. No doubt the press are bandying about the word ‘anarchy’ as I type as if these riots are somehow examples of ‘anarchism’ in action, thus helping to perpetuate the authoritarian myth that anarchy means violence and disorder.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Disorder results directly from an authoritarian structuring of society, directly from the idea that a small group of people or a single individual, elected or otherwise, think they have a right to tell everyone else how to live, and to use force and coercion if they don’t comply. This assumed right of non-consensual control creates conflict and strife within the minds of all those they attempt to control, and all those who sympathise with those who the government or other authority attempts to control. The ruling elite create strife when they attempt to divide society, granting rights for themselves whilst denying them for those they seek to control.
Time and again, various individuals and groups of authoritarian persuasions attempt to use riots such as the ones currently occurring as proof that society needs even stricter authoritarian methods to deal with this resulting disorder. Even when such tactics work however, they only do so by suppressing the symptoms whilst exacerbating the underlying social cause by alienating the disaffected from society even further.
Only actual anarchism addresses the underlying cause. An anarchist society attempts to suppress and control no-one, only to prevent any one group or individual imposing non-consensual control over any other. As a result, whilst those with an authoritarian agenda of control may feel thwarted in their ambitions, they can still live their personal lifestyle the way they choose, within the boundary of consent, so will unlikely feel the level of resentment and strife that an authoritarian society generates.
Hence anarchism promotes a harmonious and peaceful society whereas an authoritarian approach directly causes disorder and strife. What authoritarians call ‘restoring order’, actually means ‘controlling the disorder’. If by ‘order’ they meant harmony, they’d abandon authoritarian policies of control altogether and pursue a path to anarchism. However their greed and power lust prevents them from seeking such a simple truth.