Anarcho-Communism a hypothetical alternative to Capitalism
Whenever public protests ignite into violent behavior, the mainstream media is often seen to blame it on ‘anarchy’ and ‘anarchists’.
Our world is consumed with a myriad of social problems. Inequality runs rampant- a few people have abundance of wealth while the others live off of scraps. The police conveniently turn a blind eye towards the crimes of politicians and the wealthy. The government preaches austerity and free market when the poor ask for help, but shower the rich with bailouts. Wars are for the benefit of the rich and powerful. Decades have gone but we still haven’t received equality for women, homosexuals and racial minorities. The corporate greed keeps on multiplying , causing damage to the environment.
To solve these problems, and make the society better , scholars suggested an ‘anarchy’. The etymology of the term is that it comes from the Greek word ‘anarchia’ , meaning absence of authority and rulers. They want to have a state without any authority, domination or power.
Imagine living in a society where all of us can do whatever they choose, except interfere with the ability of other individuals to do what they choose. That is anarchy. When we are living in anarchy, there is no hierarchy, there is no state , there is no government. You dictate your own terms of living, much like a freshman at college ; away from your parents' authoritarian rule, you decide everything for yourself. You can choose to have breakfast at 2 pm and nobody will object. It also means that the rich don’t get richer, and there’s no top 1% population that has accumulated all the wealth. Systematic homophobia and patriarchal laws do not exist, because there is no system that promotes it. There would be no class differentiation, everyone would live equally, but still lead an individualistic lifestyle.
However it's not as liberal as a college student's life, there are norms to be followed. The key principles that dictate this ideology are self-organization, voluntary association, freedom, autonomy, solidarity, direct democracy, egalitarianism and mutual aid. Based on this we can say that anarchism rejects both capitalist economy and a nation state that is governed by means of a representative democracy. Similar to any other form of ideologies, this one also is divided into multiple smaller groups, however the two significant divisions amongst the anarchists are the Anarcho-communists and Anarcho-capitalists.
Anarcho-capitalism is a utopian vision rooted in capitalism, but it suggests that both human beings and institutions renounce force and compulsion. They argue for a society based in voluntary trade of private poverty and services in order to maximize individual liberty and prosperity. Alternatively, this is also known as ‘right wing anarchism’.
Contrastingly, there is left-wing anarchism, which is also known as ‘anarcho-communism’. It advocates the abolition of state, private property and capitalism; in favor of common ownership and control of the means of production. The actual tasks of governance and production would be carried out directly under anarchist communism through a horizontal network of voluntary associations, workers' councils, and a gift economy in which everyone would participate solely to satisfy his or her true needs.
Transformation of the economic system has always partly arisen through recuperation of critical ideas, when the usual remedies are no longer working and the search for alternatives intensifies. Capitalism's current unprecedented crisis is simultaneously social, environmental, moral, economic and financial, and the number of initiatives that seek to diagnose the disease that plagues us and propose change is increasing.While anarcho-capitalism might still have ideas about property and ownership involved, in anarcho-communism, the state and property no longer exist. The radical difference between anarcho-communism and anarcho-capitalism could make the former a more suitable alternative for capitalism.
However, as thrilling as this lifestyle seems, it has its own set of struggles, so does anarcho-communism. If everyone is allowed to make their own decisions, will anyone actually want to earn for themselves, humans have the tendency to find the easier way out so they will find an alternative that could be illegal. Again, what is the definition of anything being legal or illegal considering there is nobody to make the rules?
In an anarchist society, there is also very little possibility of criminal and civil justice. How do we enforce agreements and protect people's legitimate interests in the absence of state coercion? For example, suppose you and I agree to work together and I pay you to do a specific task, such as painting my house. Assume I pay you the full amount but you do not finish the job. How can I protect my interests in an anarchist social order when there are no legal sanctions or deterrents? What would my options be if there were no laws and no state authority to enforce them? What's to stop everyone from duping each other?
It’s quite amusing to think that there is a possibility that even the basic human needs might not be met, is anyone going to build a school? Is there going to be a hospital? Will people be willing to work there? Who will determine the school fees and the wages for the doctors? There is an extreme case scenario where this society fails to function and people just thrive off of the money they made in the past or looting or killing each other.
This was all imaginary but even realistically in history, no society has truly been able to be a functional anarchist society, whether it was the Paris commune in the 1800s or the Federation of Northern Syria (today, Rojva). While the Paris commune was defeated and conquered by the local government, the Rojva community separated from the Syrian government and still has its own hierarchy. However we have awareness of the hazards of capitalism, and we are now equipped with global communication, political unity and integrated technology, will this be an advantage that finally leads to an established anachro-communust society?
It is also imperative to ask, can capitalism actually be replaced? Can a world with 8 billion people, switch from a capitalist society, where there is structure to an anarcho-communist society with individualism and chaos? The take-away from this should be the self-correcting nature of the world. Whenever we see a problem, we try to come up with creative solutions for it. We saw a problem with capitalism and tried to make anarcho-communism the hypothetical alternative for it.