Spectral Anarchism

I’ve just coined this neologism so feel free to adopt/reject it. Spectral Anarchism, or Sparkism, approaches society as though it were a continuum or spectrum, a multifaceted world in which social constructs are interwoven and dependently-arisen. (Other possible terms include Continuous Anarchism, Intersectional Anarchism, Fluid Anarchism, Fluid Democracy, Inter-anarchism, Rainbow Anarchism, Spectral Democracy and Interocracy). It is a simultaneous critique against all hierarchies reasoning that one hierarchy will lean on another in such a way that all must be torn down – for if only one or a few are torn down the remaining ones will go on the defensive and strengthen each other. I have written about these different facets of Anarchism before, but not been able to formulate a unifying concept until now (well, I hope I have managed it with this post.) What follows is for the most part copy-pastes I have gathered into a comprehensive narrative from other blog posts I’ve made.

 

Anarchism

For me anarchism means no hierarchies. Hierarchies are social constructs that can’t be justified. In reality there are only differences between people, differences in muscle strength, experience, colours, desires. We must prevent these differences from being formalized and becoming static. The gender binary of men and women is an example of how gender, which is really a fluid concept, has been made into a solid social structure that influences people subconsciously and consequently influences other social constructs.

We must establish a society that does not contain these hierarchies, but instead allows sentient beings to interact on mutual terms without preset boxes within which they are allowed to act. This means going beyond the critique of the state and going beyond the binary of class war, despite the fact that statism and capitalism are the two most powerful structures in society at the moment.

It means building networks between individuals, one at a time, from the bottom to however high it reaches (or rather, in a flat organization, however wide it spreads.) These networks must offer an alternative to current hierarchies and simultaneously challenge parliamentarism, property, patriarchy, militarism, fascism, homophobia, imperialism, nationalism, transphobia, racism, speciesism, ableism et cetera. People who fight these systems of oppression, whether for refugees, for indigenous rights, for the Romani or for sex workers’ rights and so on, are our allies, but they are also limited in their focus. The struggle must be intersectional and inclusive. The discourse can’t be restricted to one target or enemy, because the enemy is a combination of these hierarchies which help support each other, so to get rid of them, we need to get rid of all of them. This somewhat holistic approach helps us realize the big picture, in which all sentient beings, and the environment we all depend upon, must learn to co-exist to the best of our abilities.

 

Government

How to organize society would not constitute a separate branch, as with politics. Instead, the organization would be the effect of interactions between humans rather than defining these interactions. The issues of both organization and economy can be resolved while ignoring the lack of a universal solution; indeed, anarchism can be described as fundamentally opposing universal solutions in favour of individual, situational, temporal and local solutions.

Anarchism starts with a relationship between two individuals. This relationship might be emotional or economical. It might concern a specific object or a large number of abstract values. It might exist in isolation or as part of a complex network of many relationships between any number of individuals. It might be a silent agreement or a very precise and fixed written formulation. It might include stipulations like demanding that a signatory is informed on specific issues prior to signing the agreement. It might also include punishments for breaking the rules, ranging from being quietly disliked to being executed.

This may seem chaotic and in a sense it is, but it is also evident that given a sufficient number of these agreements we end up with a world that is very complex. It’s possible that cities would be less densely populated in this anarchist world, as a result of less efficiency of flat organizations on a larger scale, but exactly how efficient is difficult to say. It wouldn’t be as efficient as a dictator supported by an army, but on the other hand, the end result might still be favourable, perhaps even surprisingly efficient and allowing a much more high-tech lifestyle than today as well as the opportunity for e.g. anarcho-primitivists to live as they choose, even within cities. An additional note on hierarchy and organization.

 

Economy

Property can’t be justified and alienates us from ourselves and from the world. Full text on the deconstruction of the concept of property here.

Within the context of economy I have defined the self (property) as the experience of electrochemical activity in the nervous system and defined this experience as the only thing of real value in the universe. It is not necessary to define property, or any other concept, to enter into an agreement. The agreement can address specific relationships or items without using predefined social constructs, thereby circumventing universalist labels and building networks that can’t be generalized and simplified into either constructs, isms or identities.

  • Government is anarchist, organized bottom-up
  • Property is limited to what you are
  • Wealth is limited to what you are, thus slightly unevenly distributed
  • Focus is on common achievements but only for the sake of individual well-being
  • People need a compromise between personal freedom and the external milieu
  • When people work more or less together by free organization, they achieve the most
  • Everybody doesn’t need the same things and can’t achieve the same things, but everyone has the same right to need a thing and the same right to attempt an achievement.
  • Government should organize the economy, or facilitate logistics, and solve disputes, preferably at the lowest level, which means between two individuals

 

Two further suggestions 

Gift economy, in my system, can be summed up as: “To give and to hope.” Essentially, the production is based on volunteer labour and neither the means of production nor the products are owned by anyone, not even the collective. The people will then grab what they desire. The fundamental idea is that humans wish to lead a meaningful life, be creative, constructive and productive. A sufficiently efficient economy of production, distribution and recycling would demand only a tiny amount of total labour to cover the basic needs of all people. Given the state of modern technology available in theory, although not in practice in the current system, this might mean that each person only has to work, say, an hour a month or so. Obviously, many people would prefer to draw pictures and play football over cleaning toilets, however, entertainment is a valuable product as well and even if half the world played football, that would still only amount to two hours a month for the rest. If choosing a profession is limited only by preference, one may assume that those who are passionate about their jobs would not only be more efficient, but also want to work more than two hours a month.

Advisory laws. This concept should be easy enough to grasp, although, as with many other ideas, it might be difficult to envision. I’m not sure if advisory laws is part of any anarchist schools, but I’m pretty sure it is and either way, it has always been a part of my anarchism. The easiest example is road signs, so keep that example in mind. Laws wouldn’t be written by parliament, nor upheld by military and police. Instead, rules are written when needed, by those who are sufficiently informed. The people can then choose to ignore the rules, but if they trust the expertise of the rule-makers they are themselves sufficiently informed by the rules to make sound choices as to when it is best to obey and best to disobey.

For further information I’ve also written on why anarchism isn’t part of the Left and on the subject of anarchism and violence. Also some thoughts on the path towards anarchism.

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