Why I am an anarcho-socialist.

I have noticed that people throw around the words “capitalism,” “socialism,” “state,” “government,” and “anarchism” without knowing what they are talking about, or using these words in some idiosyncratic way.

So, let me explain to you how I understand these words.

“Capitalism” — as I keep repeating — is a political stance which bars people from free access to subsistence land. It is a system which creates a class of proletarians. These are people who have to work for wages or become homeless.

“Socialism” is a political stance antithetical to capitalism; thus, it allows free access to subsistence land. [Granting everyone a basic income or, as Bertrand Russell called it, a “vagabond’s wage,” would compensate for not allowing free access to subsistence land.]

“State” and “government” are not synonymous. A government is a set of rules regulation social life — however formulated: either by informal agreement, direct or indirect democracy.

A “State” is a centralized government ruling over hundreds, thousands, or millions of people over some territory.

“Anarchism” is a government ruling over a small community of about 150 families through direct democracy or through a council (the Russian word for a council is “soviet.”

By combining the idea of a small community ruling itself with the idea of granting everyone in the community free access to subsistence land, we get the hyphenated idea of “anarcho-socialism.” It can also be called “libertarian socialism” since by “liberty” is meant the self-rule of a small community.

The idea of “anarcho-capitalism” is a contradiction caused by not knowing how to define capitalism. The usual idea given is that capitalism involves free-trade. But free-trade, although a necessary condition for capitalism, is not a sufficient condition — simply because free-trade has existed under slavery and feudalism. The other necessary condition is the barring of people from a free access to subsistence land. Yet, those who call themselves “anarcho-capitalists” also want to grant everyone a homestead. But granting a homestead is equivalent to granting free access to subsistence land. Hence, a puzzling situation for the anarcho-capitalists. Does “ideal” capitalism really allow free access to subsistence land?

Below is the flag for anarcho-socialism. A red flag represents socialism. A black flag represents anarchism.

Land and Survival

My wife, Kathy, and I are addicted to the series “Naked and Afraid,” in which a man and a woman are paired, transported to various “raw” environments, stripped of all clothing, and given each a tool of their own choosing. Usually the choices are rational: a machete or a large knife and a flint firestarter. Sometimes, however, some odd choices have been made. Once a woman chose a magnifying glass, another woman chose a cooking pot, and still another chose a tarp.

Given that the couple is naked, a major concern is temperature — especially at night. And with the additional possibility of rain, hypothermia is a danger. So, a shelter and fire are very important. A machete will help in the construction of a shelter as well as for other uses, like making a spear, as well as preparing food. And a fire is needed for warmth, boiling water, and cooking. Let me point out that without a fire starter, people had to twirl sticks to create an amber — and sometimes this proved to be impossible.

It is said that without water a person can survive for a week, and with water but no food, for a month. Perhaps for this reason the producers of the show made the duration of coping with nature 21 days.

So, in the order of priorities: shelter, fire, water, food.

So, why is this show so fascinating? Because this show makes explicit the human needs for survival. And survival is the bare bones of human life. Everything else is luxuries and psychological quirks.

Other than making such mistakes as drinking unboiled water and eating the wrong food (e.g. green figs), or not knowing how to hunt and fish, the main obstacle for successful cooperation is an individual’s character traits. Some individuals cannot endure the physical discomforts or psychological distress; others cannot cooperate because of laziness or ignorance, or because of being too bossy or too needy — and some are downright mean.

What this show teaches is that humans can survive even in the harshest environments as long as they have access to these environments. However, modern States which favor capitalism, forbid such a free access to subsistence land.

Below is an example of the show:

A very interesting movie is Walkabout (1971) (below). It depicts how a young Australian aborigine boy copes with a harsh primitive environment by contrast with the hopeless efforts of two young “civilized” children.

Anarchist and other strategies for defeating capitalism: views of James Herod

I have just discovered the existence of James Herod, who has a website at [here].

I am in sympathy with all his ideas which I have heard in the videos below. His main book is: James Herod, Getting Free: Creating an Association of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhoods, 2007. pdf file

Below is a talk he gave at Tufts University, Boston, on Nov. 28, 2012: “Introduction to Anarchism”

Here is another of his talks: Anarchist Revolutionary Strategy, Nov. 2011, Boston

Dana Ward on Anarchism

Dana Ward, to me, is the most dedicated and influential promoter of anarchism on the internet. For many years he has uploaded with the assistance of his students the classics of anarchism on his website at Anarchy Archives. I was pleased to find the following videos of three of his lectures.

“Anarchist, Insurrection, and Revolutionary Memory,” at the 2011 Clark Symposium: Pissarro’s Politics in Context – Anarchism and the Arts, 1849-1900.

2017 Classical Anarchism: An Overview

2018 “Anarchist History of Thought from Godwin to Occupy”

Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution

If my readers have not figured it out yet, I am a self-conscious anarchist.   Since people who call themselves anarchists have different interpretations of what anarchism is, I will be blunt and tell you what I mean by anarchism.  Anarchism strives to do everything through actual — rather than through delegated — agreements.  This means that it is based on direct democracy; not on a representative democracy. These agreements start with a small community of people, of such a size that everyone can know everyone else.   And the first thing that has to be agreed to is that anyone who wants to live independently of others may do so through receiving a free homestead adequate for subsistence.  It would, of course, be wiser to pool resources together for mutual benefit.

Now, given that the unit of government is a small face-to-face community which elects a council or councils for different functions,  grouping  of communities are organized through delegates to a higher level council of some workable size, and so on until the highest council is formed.  This is bottom-up democracy; rather than a top-down democracy, which exists everywhere in democratic States, where thousands or millions vote for a political candidate.

In order for people to learn and understand what anarchism is, I have tried to collect as much literature as I could find into one comprehensive bibliography, with links as I found them. Here is the link:

Anarchism: The Unfinished Revolution

Nine Lives of Nestor Makhno [Девять жизней Нестора Махно] in Russian

Although anarchists worldwide have known about the self-conscious Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, and celebrated him; however, in the Soviet Union he was portrayed as a bandit. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, his life and activity has been the subject of many books and a 12-part television series which aired July 6, 2007 in Russia. It was filmed in Ukraine in the following places: Bila Tserkva, Dnipropetrovsk, Kamyanets-Podilsky.

Below are the twelve episodes.








Andrew Chrucky’s speech at the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument, Forest Home Cemetery (Waldheim), Forest Park, IL — May 1, 2018

Transcript of Andrew Chrucky’s speech:

First of all, as I was riding here … anyway, I became an anarchist somewhere in 2000. The rest of my life I have been in philosophy, studying epistemology and logic … until it hit me in 2000, roughly. . . . Anyway, as I was biking over here I was thinking about what is the significance of this? … Well, when I woke up this morning I said, shit it’s May 1st, its the labor day for the whole world, and this is the greatest monument … this is the Mecca of the laboring people of the world. This is it, its like the Muslim Mecca. So, I said, what does this mean? I felt like it was like Easter for Christians. Why Easter? Well, I was talking with a fellow here and he said it was like Christmas for him. Well I said, Christmas was when Christ was born, and there is a promise of things to come. But Easter is the big event. Easter is the promise of heaven, of resurrection. Well, perhaps these people are buried here and they are dead, but their spirit has resurrected . . . it spread all over the world, so in a sense this to me is Easter.

Here we are.  I was listening to you talking about and thinking about workers.  And I want to talk to you about capitalism. What is the definition of capitalism? There is a movement called anarcho-capitalism. It is bullshit. I’ll tell you why its bullshit. They think that capitalism is free trade. Well, free trade is just barter. It always existed. It existed under slavery, it existed under feudalism. What is unique to capitalism is what came after the French Revolution. It came after the end of feudalism, at the end of slavery. But what happened? Well, you had wage workers, you had wage-slaves. You had to work because what was the alternative? The alternative was starvation, or being homeless, going around looking in garbage for food. Now, why is that? Why if you don’t work you don’t have food, you don’t have shelter? Well, it’s a simple thing: you don’t have access to land. You cannot grow your own food. All land is privatized. You cannot be a free man if you do not have access to land. This has been recognized throughout history. It was recognized in Roman times…you have a problem of people not having access to land. You had the Mexican Revolution … what was their slogan? Tierra y libertad. Tierra is land. After that you had the Russian Revolution in 1917. What do you think their slogan was? Zemlia y volia, which translates into land and freedom. They were fighting for land. Then in 1936 to 1939 you had the Spanish Civil War. What do you think their slogan was? [Someone in the audience says “Tierra y libertad”] Tierra y libertad! It’s all about land. Capitalism cannot exist if people have access to free land. All these other definitions of capitalism make so sense. They say its free trade. No. Free trade has always existed. If you don’t have free access to land, then you have to sell yourself. All right. Glory to the anarchist Easter!