In the fires of Ferguson, the people placed their mark upon a twenty four hour convenience store in spray paint, the economic treatise of the new revolution: take what you need, burn the rest. I do not come to turn aside that doctrine, but to affirm it, and to destroy every obstacle which stands in the way of its full realization. My loyalties lie with the spirit of revolution. All who bleed for justice are my kinsmen.
Even the briefest analysis will show that the greatest threat to the revolution is internal. In all of America, how many recognize the institution of racial and economic subjection in which they are complicit? Of those who recognize it, how many are willing to make personal sacrifice to combat it? How many hide in their homes while the protests are in the streets?
Are there too few proletarians in America to stake claim to their birthright? Or are they powerless compared to the bourgeoisie? They are not powerless: the bourgeoisie number only in the thousands, and they are only men. It is the proletariat which creates value through our labor, it is we who fight in their wars, and enforce their authority. Without us, they are nothing; their power is a mere phantom.
From whence does their power then arise? It arises from the endorsement of the proletariat; only the lack of class consciousness permits the continued existence of class. Therefore our role has become this: to counteract the propaganda of the ruling class in all of its manifestations, to guide our fellow proletarians in the examination of their assumptions and the breaking of their habits of thought, so as to enable the unhindered procession of their own self determination. Our purpose is the restoration of free will.
So we have had to become a conscience for America, condemning all that distracts it from the cancer which is killing it, rallying the people time and again to action, bearing the whips not for our enemies but for our friends to compel their attention. We have made ourselves the opposition to the threat within our own society.
If the only difference between ourselves and all proletarians is class consciousness, then the source of our capacity to remove obstacles to the self determination of others must also be class consciousness. And we find in America the greatest class distinctions in the developed world, and yet it is a conservative bastion. Are we American revolutionaries too few to incite the people to lay claim to their own fate?
No, we are too powerless, and such because our thought is insufficiently free. America is a great beast to be slain, and the pseudo-democracies which have dominated economics in the socialist movement for this last century will not be sufficient for our purposes. A superior form of workplace democracy is needed. We must kindle the fire within, the spirit of revolution, by reexamining our own assumptions and breaking our own habits of thought. Communism is insufficiently communist. Communism must become more communist.
The tide of history no longer runs red; communism is a specter upon the earth. If we continue to look to the failed ideologies of the last century, we will also fail. These abysmal strains lead, and always have led, not to socialism but to capitalist dictatorship in socialist dress. This is the spirit of revolution- to break all chains. We radicals are enemies of power first, sworn to the liberation of slaves and the protection of the most vulnerable; proselytizers of the brotherhood of all men. We cannot also be slavers, militarists, and vanguards.
If we become ourselves, then we may do the deeds which we have set out to do; if we become our opposite, then we will do the deeds of our opposite. Revolutionaries must be radicals, as much from their own perspectives as from those of the societies which they seek to change. Only by becoming this can we hope to stand against the ruling classes.
This is the state of nature: every human being in love with every other. Egoism is the primal corruption from which all misery in our history has arisen: war, slavery, hatred, apathy, fear, domination and exploitation. Love is fundamentally egalitarian. The very concept of a “valuable person” is incomprehensible to love; a person is neither simply valuable nor simply loved, as if as inseparable or objective characteristics of their identity. A person is both valued and loved by others. In love, people are not important; rather, people are important to people. The only value which love recognizes is that which it creates: subjective value.
Our advanced sociality was meant for this purpose. We were to be a race defined by empathy, constantly and fluidly creating and reforming structures of the very highest functional complexity in the universe: not human beings, but human relationships, in an infinite number of possible recombinations. It is little surprise that meaning in human life arises from relationship; all of the most brilliant things our race is capable of are relational. This is the principle difference between a human tribe and a swarm of ants: an ant is only a component of the whole, serving a predetermined role, analogous to an organ in a body. A human is an open ended subjective consciousness of infinite possible natures and intrinsically unique substance. An ant colony knows what it is building when it spawns a new worker or queen, but a human tribe’s subjective characteristics are utterly unpredictable; the function surpasses the design.
What is the role of the self in the state of nature? It has no role. It is not maligned: lovers do not exactly think of themselves as bad, rather they do not think of themselves at all. They are themselves, and they concern themselves with their loved ones. In the state of nature every individual is concerned intimately with the benefit of other individuals and not at all with their own benefit or the benefit of “humanity” as a whole except as it exists as a set of individual others. The people have no rational reason to harm one another; doing so could not possibly be in the harmed person’s interests as an individual. Violence in the state of nature is equally taboo to self harm in our present, corrupted state, and by the same impulse. (The exceptions to our taboo against self harm are rooted in instinctive rebellion against the base corruption of egoism, and have no counterpart in the state of nature.) All would do as they could, yes, but never independently of their free will. And all would have as they needed only if there was plenty. All would have as was produced.
The state of nature has never been realized. Egoism has always stood between humanity and its natural state. Perhaps it always will, though I do not think that that is certain. But an individual may be freed from egoism even now. And that is what is truly significant to we individuals, controllers of one self and possessors of one life.
A man does not, all other things being equal, desire for other men to be injured. Coercion brings the will around to the harm of others, from the starting point of egoism. With the breakdown of our natural empathy, harming others ceases to be inherently counterproductive as the benefit of individual others ceases to be our goal. Yes, injuring another man is to his detriment, but it is not necessarily to mine. Thus the way is opened to violence of all kinds: violence from anger, from jealousy, from fear, and from hatred; but none has proved more influential than violence from greed.
Coercion is, at its most basic, the clear communication and ready defense by evidence of the great If-Then Statement to whose transmission most of early education is now devoted: “If you do what I will, Then I will help you, If you do not, Then I will hurt you”. Taught in this form it has the added benefit of establishing egoism as an unspoken axiom, but it can also be adapted to enslave altruists: “If you do what I will, Then I will do good. If you do not, Then I will do evil.” The system of coercion allowed the successful egoists to establish themselves in enforced positions of power over the unsuccessful egoists. Originally this occurred on the basis on physical strength and, to a lesser extent, cunning. In truth, this is the primordial origin of patriarchy. Nothing deeper than this: in the competition for power by capacity for violence, males dominated by physical strength.
Violence is made rational by coercion as an enforcing agent of power. Before power dynamic have become sufficiently internalized, (as they were among African slaves in the United States owing to the campaign of terrorism and insidious brainwashing perpetrated against them, which in some cases allowed them to be deceived for a time into remaining on their masters’ plantations after the end of the American Civil War,) the most important attribute of coercion is credibility. Beating a man to within an inch of his life for disobeying you may serve as supporting evidence in his mind thereafter that your promises to make him suffer if he does not obey you are credible. Even killing a man can benefit you if you have a reputation to protect. If the slave who produces least each month is publicly hung, production increases.
As violence is inherently irrational from the perspective of altruism, coercion (with its basis in rationalized violence) can only follow from egoism. Accordingly, the will it enforces is always an egoist will, which, as for itself, is a repressed altruist will. Lacking real connection to other human beings and unable to silence its will any more than it can cease to perceive, think, or feel, the mind of the egoist directs its trusting, benefitting, and affirming faculties, those faculties involved in love, inwardly. “Love of self” is the most accurate description of pride, as love is the fundamental impulse, and pride is the frustration thereof in the absence of successful socialization; the self directed behavior of egoists is identical in form to the relational behavior natural to humans. From our experience with love, we may notice that seeking the benefit of one’s lover is by no means the only impulse which love entails: one also desires contact, sees them as in some way good independently of their actual characteristics, (and is far more inclined to see positive characteristics in them,) and desires to write poems or songs about them, and to learn every detail of their lives, and to move them into a palace and put a crown on their head, and have them create and design and imprint upon things; for there to be more of them, for them to be greater, to be affirmed. In egoism, all of this is inverted. Egoists desire for themselves not only food, shelter, and safety from harm, but also palaces, crowns, songs, influence, honor, dignity, specialness. This second impulse may appear to be less fundamental, but it is in fact the deeper and more compelling of the two.
Coercion can only be used in service of these two ends: the pursuit of personally beneficial resources, and the pursuit of self affirmation. This creates the dynamic which underlies all of civilization: master and slave. The master, the actor with the greater capacity for coercive violence, controls the slave’s behavior, rewards him for obedience, punishes him for disobedience, demands respect, dignity, and affirmation from the slave while withholding these from him, and uses his control over the slave for his own benefit, benefiting disproportionally from the slave’s labor.
The basis of egoism is the double standard. The egoist says, “all men who have ever lived and all who live now are to be held to one standard of behavior, and those who do not meet this standard are the very lowest kind of contemptible men, and should be punished severely, with the exception of accountant Conner Hunt of Sussex, 34.” When asked why this particular person is fundamentally different from every other person who has ever lived, the egoist feels that you are the missing the point a bit. After all, he is the self, he needn’t be in any other way distinct to merit special treatment. “You shall have to give up your share of what we two have produced,” says the egoist, “but I can keep my share and yours both. I can strike you, but you can by no means strike me. I can stand in the place of honor, but you must come in through the back door. I can and will do to you everything that you are not permitted to do to me.” It is, in that respect, noticeably irrational. No argument is typically made for why one’s own self is distinct from and superior to all other selves, though the arguments “I am a genius,” (Mao) “I am a god,” (Caesar) “I am an immoralist,” (Nietzsche) and “I am enlightened,” (European Colonists) have been proposed. The truth is simpler: as one’s lover need not be a genius or god or ubermensch to be loved, but is loved simply because of what they are to their lover, the egoist really loves himself simply because he lacks sufficient connection to others to function in a psychologically healthy manner. Egoists, lacking the capacity to establish affirmational relationships, become consumed by the desire to be special.
There is no Egoist Party, but there is a KimJongIlist party, there is a Stalinist party, there is a Maoist party, and there is a Rand Institute. In truth, no two egoists espouse the same ideology. Our Conner Hunt espouses Huntism, which posits that the purpose of society is to benefit Conner Hunt, and Ayn Rand espouses Randism. There is no common goal between these two simply because they are both egoists: on the contrary, the fact that they are both egoists ensures that they will have contradictory goals. On the other hand, altruists all, by and large, want the same thing: the good of the greater whole of the human race.
As egoists cannot live in a spontaneous, consistent, egalitarian society, it has became necessary for them to relate their dominions to one another. The result is hierarchy. The only way that one dominion can relate to another is on the same terms which predicate its existence: dominance and submission. Anywhere two dominions come into contact, they must compete with one another for supremacy. Hierarchy consists of dominions which are themselves dominated; masters who are themselves slaves. There is no theoretical upper limit to participation, stratification, or number of classes; numerous manifestations have formed in differing environments.
Any group of slavemasters must always, necessarily, be in competition. The highest egoist seeks to retain his dominance and expand his influence, and values the mid level egoists for their utility at dominating the slaves on his behalf. The mid level egoists seek to advance their position, and replace the highest egoist if they can. Some, for various reasons, lose their ambition or do not believe that they could successfully challenge the highest under any circumstances. Most of these do not rise very far. The slaves, for the most part, suffer.
Wherever dominions come into contact, each attempts to enforce its will upon the other for its own benefit, and each attempts to resist the other’s influence upon itself. The result is typically war: each side attempting to mutually punish the other for disobedience until the other, for fear of the punishment, ceases to disobey. If one cannot conquer the other, it will seek to destroy the other, as two dominions cannot coexist. All dominions are in competition for the same power base, that is, human beings, and their interests must necessarily come into conflict as each seeks personal gain. The foundation of this incompatibility lies in the psychological process of self affirmation, which is predicated upon the desire to be distinct, uniquely good in comparison to other men. An egoist cannot increase his feeling of dignity except by in some measure nullifying others, doing to them that which he will not suffer them to do to him, for this is the very basis of dignity. Altruists constitute a complete reversal, as what harms one harms all altruists, and what benefits one benefits all altruists. The altruist does to others as he would have them do to him, for to him all humanity is bound together in one garment of destiny. At the core of this fundamental divergence are two antithetical view of specialness- to the altruist it is subjective, grounded in the relationship between one self and another, to the egoist it is objective, grounded in the unique nature of a single self.
The only thing which can prevent one dominion from establishing dominance over or destroying another is the case that the cost of war is greater than the benefit of dominating the other’s territory. For a time, the relative cost of war was high enough to keep many civilizations from centralizing greatly, leaving coercion on the tribal level and preventing any one tribe from establishing dominance over its neighbors. Now, huge, powerful states controlling populations of tens or hundreds of millions are the standard, and their power over the population extends to what in the recent past would have been considered magical. As globalization progresses, this trend continues.
The inevitable endpoint of coercion is the formation of coercion syndicates, present in the modern world as gangs, paramilitary organizations, and states. A coercion syndicate controls a particular territory, and excludes all other coercion from its territory. As a consequence, it holds a monopoly on control within its borders, which it uses for its own benefit. It operates through the use of a hierarchy, as defending territory requires more than one person, and anywhere multiple coercive agents cooperate their relationship is hierarchical.
Coercion syndicates will always seek to gain more power in order to reap more benefit. Power exists outside of the syndicates, but where it requires coercion, any other entity in operation must operate through the syndicate. This relationship is, at least to some extent, mutually beneficial, but the rewards are nearly always unevenly shared. Those with power which is not coercive use their abilities to preserve the authority of the syndicate, and in exchange, the syndicate provides for their more coercive needs. The church and economic elite are two prototypical examples of this arrangement. When there is a strike to be broken, or an eviction to be compelled, it is not corporate executives, nor corporate workers, nor even corporate mercenaries which arrive- it is state police.
A coercion syndicate must always strive to expand its sphere of influence as widely as possible. As men’s power over one another has increased, the potential influence of any given coercion syndicate has grown, allowing for larger states. But a larger dominion faces heightened competition both internally and externally for power. This has forced coercion syndicates to grow as large as is physically possible, even though in so doing they have far exceeded the point at which those actually operating the coercion syndicates are the ones chiefly benefitting from the system. If a coercion syndicate forms alliances with fewer assets superior to itself in order to retain more benefits for itself, it can be otherthrown by a competing coercion syndicate willing to “work for lower wages,” so to speak. In the modern day, states are hard pressed to retain their monopolies on legitimate violence within such large territories, and to this end, have needed to establish particularly elaborate sociopolitical and economic organizations. The overt structure of any such organization is a network of alliances, in which the state is not typically the stronger actor, between those with the capacity for coercion and those with other forms of power: the skilled economists, generals, medical professionals, and stage psychologists of the world. We will defend your property rights and grant you influence over our policies, the state tells these ones, and you will use your abilities to increase the productivity of our economy and the effectiveness of our army.
In spite of the structure of international politics as competition for power by force, those who do not dirty their hands have exceeded those who do in power. The general has only the violent capacity of one man, but the army which has his aid outmatches the one which does not. The “captain of industry” has no significant capacity for violence at all, but the military which levies taxes on his city can outspend the one which levies taxes on another city. The coercion syndicates compete for valuable assets, empowering assets beyond their own capacity to control their syndicate. The power of an asset exceeds that of his syndicate when the total military force designated to competition for his services exceeds the military force of his syndicate. Before that point, a military can only offer to defend large amounts of property on the behalf of an economist it particularly likes to attract him to their territory. Beyond it, it is the economist who is the master, and the military which is the slave; just as within a military the officer is the master, and the soldier is the slave. The world has long since passed beyond this point.
Liberty is the extent to which men have personal freedom without political freedom: that is, when once excluded from coercion, that they are excluded from little else. There is in fact no contradiction between statism, or even police statism, and liberty. A coercion syndicate does not generally need to, nor does it have the means to, control every aspect of its people’s lives. Instead, coercion syndicates tend to grant their people the maximum degree of liberty consistent with retaining their military supremacy. It has been noted that authoritarianism has tended to decrease as technological advancement and globalism have progressed. The reason is simple: both decrease the relative cost of military supremacy, allowing for more fatal wars (necessary to keep up with the increasing population) lower thresholds for rulers to remain in power, which allow them to grant the people more liberty, and, most significantly, decreased capacity for rulers to be defied or overthrown. This does not imply a decreased capacity for states, if they displease the bourgeoisie, to be replaced, or for militaries, if they displease the state, to be replaced, or for soldiers, if they displease the military, to be replaced. It implies a decreased capacity for states, militaries, and soldiers to be replaced in any other way, for actors at any level to defy the level above, and for the bourgeoisie to be challenged by anyone. It is tempting to consider an increase in the groundwater levels of power an improvement, because it results in more liberty. It is not. Liberty is a false freedom, it is only and always a freedom to do that which does not matter, provided you never, under any circumstances, do that which makes life worth living. This is not because coercion is what makes life worth living, but because to become an altruist is to become unconquerable; something which no coercion syndicate will ever allow.
All authoritarianism is reactionary because authority is and always has been the sole barrier to equality of access and the distribution of resources according to need within the bounds of consent. Herein lies the abject failure of anarchism: anarcho-capitalism first, and also anarcho-communism. It has failed to be what it claims: that is, the abolition of authority; instead it has made itself merely another form of authoritarianism, demanding the highest conceivable level of liberty. What the two great currents of anarchism have chiefly failed to understand is that what they describe, all coercive authority gathered in the hands of one ruling body (whether that be a decentralized network of militias or a vanguard party), excluding any other coercion, is, precisely, the function of the state. It is not able to limit itself solely to excluding violence, intimidation, and hoarding or theft, (depending on the school,) because it lacks the power to do so. Within the current constraints of military technology and politics, it is necessary for the state to form alliances with a network of economic elites, it is necessary for it to serve the interests of special interest groups, and it is necessary for it to affirm the pride of the powerful in order to preserve its monopoly on violence. Anarchism is, at best, naïve in that it calls for the continuation of the state’s work alongside the abolition of its tools, and, at worst, insidious in that the only way its goals could be achieved would be if globalism, technological advancement, mass manipulation, or political stratification: methods of population control, advanced to such a point as to make it possible. Anarcho-communism is not the abolition of the state, it is its final triumph, the point at which its power has advanced so far, and revolution is so unthinkable, that it can retain political stasis with only bombs, and not laws. Only a devoted statist would think this utopia. If global anarcho-communism after the likes of Marx’s vision is achieved, then we have finally, truly lost. It is only world government with perfect population control and post-scarcity economics.
Our purpose is at every point to attack the most vulnerable point in the power of the powerful. We direct our rage at the military, not because it is the stronger actor in international politics, but because it is the enforcement apparatus of the bourgeoisie. We compromise military action by civil disobedience because this is the weak point of military action. We turn individuals from egoism to altruism because this is the weak point of coercion. All this we do to turn the people against their rulers, because that is the weak point of power. If the bourgeoisie cannot use the military to enforce its property rights, then its ownership ceases to exist. If it cannot use the military to enforce its laws, then its will is of no more account than the orders of a general with no army. Its legs kicked out from under it, the power of the ruling class falls away from beneath. If the military attempts to compel others by coercion, and they will not be coerced, it may kill them, but it cannot succeed in its mission to acquire their acquiescence in their own subjection. If compulsion is attempted and answered, “I reject all coercion out of hand, and will even die before granting you a single inch against conscience,” then the compulsion has failed. If a person desires the benefit of every other human being because of metaphysical faith, it is impossible that they might kill anyone, and as such, impossible that they might coerce anyone, exploit anyone, or set themself above anyone. And if they practice civil disobedience, neither can they be coerced, exploited, or degraded. They will therefore degrade the establishment of power and advance the restoration of the state of nature. The cause of good.
When this is done, what will happen next? The egoists desire personal benefit, both material and psychological, and use coercion only for this. Confronted with widespread civil disobedience, the bourgeoisie will no longer be able to coerce, but may choose to kill or not kill. By joining egalitarian society, capitalists may take for themselves the same share of an advanced and prosperous society for which the greater whole of the population has been fighting so long. By ineffectually massacring their own people, they will have an analogous share, but of a crippled society lacking the modern comforts which they have fought so long to retain. . Not only would this be against their interests, but it would mark a sudden and inexplicable reversal of their most defining characteristic up to this point. To assume that the upper class will suicidally murder its own workforce rather than join an egalitarian system is to assume it will suddenly stop caring about making money.
If there is one thing upon which we can rely, it is the greed of capitalists.
Decreasing the power of the state will not profit man. Overthrowing it with arms will not profit him. Decreasing stratification will not profit him. Increasing liberty will not profit him. Making the state into a democratic state will not profit him. The only thing which will profit him is degrading the efficacy of coercion. This is possible in one way and one way only: by answering the great If-Then Statement, each time it is reiterated, with “You are wrong. Harming another person, as you are threatening to do, is morally wrong, and no one but yourself can be responsible for your moral choices. As for me, I will do what is right, and my decision to do what is right cannot possibly harm another person’s soul. Coercion, which is what you are attempting, is also morally wrong, and has leads to all kinds of injustices and atrocities. Even if doing so results in my harm, I will not be complicit in it. To do so would be to assent another master than God and another consideration than what is right, which is blasphemy. I will not obey you, nor will I resist you by violence, but I will act without reservation in the benefit of all men.” Nonresistant civil disobedience interrupts the inner workings of coercion, and thereby degrades all hierarchy and property while advancing egalitarianism, mutualism, and economic equilibrium. The powerful may attempt to destroy the nonresistant if they recognize his power to undermine their authority, but only until he succeeds at spreading civil disobedience throughout the population and making violence suicidally counterproductive. Attempts to strike at nonresistants in the meantime, will, ironically, be the fuel to the fire which renders them unstoppable.
We are not anarcho-communists. We are anarcho-pacifists. Fear us, for we will destroy all that holds you in safety apart from the victims of your crimes. Fear us, for we will take your power away from you and then we will take from you everything that you have tried to keep for yourself. Rejoice, for we will free you from your possessions and the dehumanizing roles of society. Rejoice, for we will embrace your identity and offer you joy, love, and the greatest heights of human experience. You have only two choices, and you will not be able to delay the choosing long. Join us, or shoot at us.
The misconception that socialism constitutes “absolute state control over the market” and laissez-faire capitalism “absolute state disregard for the market” is irksomely common. ‘State socialism’ is not particularly socialist; nor is laissez-faire capitalism particularly laissez-faire. In fact, both are, outside of the black market, entirely state-run economies. The difference between the two lies in the question of which specific actions the state chooses to take: will it enforce the ‘property rights’ to the means of production on its own behalf, or on the behalf of corporations? As long as the means of production are owned, the greater body of workers will find themselves engaged in more or less the same system of wage labor whether the flag outside their factory is red or white. This is why I reject Marxist-Leninism and Maoism and the rest: ownership of the means of production by a state which is not democratic is not workers’ ownership. For its part, “free market” capitalism is scarcely free when the corporations control the government, the government enforces ownership of the means of production by the corporations, and the corporations are not democratic. The most fundamental characteristic of capitalism is not a lack of state intervention in the market. It is the ban on larceny. And the anti-capitalist economic program, as distinct from the state capitalist, is the abolition of the ban on larceny.
Take what you need, burn the rest. This is the law of anarcho-pacifism, the law which inhibits all predation: take what you need. If the people cannot be prevented from taking what they need, if no one can be prevented from doing so, if the very mechanisms by which the people might be prevented from doing so are disabled, there can be no hierarchy, there can be no ruling class, and there can be no starvation in any society with the means to produce sufficient food for all its people.
What is communism made more communist? It is this- not that the means of production be publicly owned, but that they be res nullius, property of no one. The anti-capitalist renders property non-excludable with respect to himself because he will not be excluded- by disempowering others to coerce, he disempowers them to own. The anti-capitalist economy is one in which any can work, any can take, and the good or ill of one is the good or ill of all; its founding tenet is equality of access. Anarcho-pacifists can be best understood as anti-propertarians- we recognize no right to keep apart from need, and consider all authoritarianism reactionary as coercion is the only obstacle to economic equilibrium.
Value arises from the labor of the working class, and yet it is directed and consumed by the owning class, which is a tiny fraction of its size. Not by strength of arms but by lies and misdirection the owning class maintains this arrangement- drawing its armies from among the working class in exchange for food and money which it only controls through its armies. The goal of the owning class being to prevent the self determination of the greater number of their countrymen, they have made use of self serving praxis cycles, mechanisms which lock individuals into repetitive patterns of harmful behavior and are very difficult to break. The source of a praxis cycle is its taboo: that course of action against which actors have an irrational bias. Their bias against the taboo limits actors’ impression of their range of possible options, resulting in repetitive actions which reinforce the praxis cycle. Where the reinforcing act is harmful, its negative effects compound indefinitely. A praxis cycle can only be broken by taking its demonized option in spite of the taboo. This is possible through consciousness of the praxis cycle’s self-reinforcing nature and of the weight of its resultant harm.
The reinforcing act of the working class’ exploitation is wage labor, and its taboo is refusal of work. The individual is convinced that if he does not work on his boss’ terms, he will not eat, because production is controlled by the upper class. He does not consider that if everyone did not work, his bosses would not eat; that the working class, if it can band together behind this threat, will have the power to dictate its own terms. By working, he makes it a reality that production is controlled by the upper class. By striking, he would have made it otherwise. Likewise, the reinforcing act of the state’s coercion is obedience, and its taboo is crime. The individual is convinced that if he does not obey the police, he will be killed. He does not consider that if he was known not to respond to any threats, but nonetheless determined to strive for the benefit of all men, the police would be fools to kill him. He does not consider that if everyone refused to be coerced, the police would lose all power. By obeying, he makes it a reality that the police would kill him if he did not obey. By disobeying well, he could have made it otherwise. Larceny lies at the intersection of the two, and it is doubly taboo. The individual is convinced that because the rich are powerful, they can destroy him if he steals from them. He does not consider that they are only powerful because they are rich, and only rich because he has not yet stolen from them. By recognizing their property, he makes it a reality that they are powerful. By denying their property, he would have made it otherwise.
Unlike the communist stage of Marxist theory, which is dependent upon the end of scarcity, anarcho-pacifist economics are relevant only while it continues. Scarcity is the engine which circulates wealth from those who have to those who need, and inspires the labor required to meet those needs, through the operation of the one great market force: larceny. An anarcho-pacifist economy is in place only when civil disobedience has sufficiently inhibited coercion for the means of production to have become non-excludable. The case in which the means of production are non-excludable, the goods produced thereby are excludable, and these goods are traded freely according to a labor theory of value, has the same characteristics as the case in which the goods themselves are non-excludable, albeit on a lesser scale. Using the concept of “need” in both its altruistic and egoistic manifestations, what follows can be summarized in a few practices upon which any such society will likely converge:
1. Take what you need. No one can stop you. If it isn’t nearby, try to find it somewhere else.
2. Maximize production of the things you need. You can’t stop anyone else from taking what they need. If there isn’t enough to go around, you have absolutely no assurance that you will have enough. The only way to improve your chances of having enough is by making the things you need more abundant. Since anyone can take anything at any time, everyone else’s benefit and your benefit are inseparable.
3. Don’t steal selectively. It seems like a good idea if you want to maximize production to steal less from people who are contributing more to it if there’s a chance they might die, but it jams the free flow of goods, creating hierarchies which hurt everyone. It’s better if the most productive people have to try to meet their needs by working as hard as they possibly can to improve the entire economy, rather than working as little as they possibly can while still accomplishing slightly more than everyone else. Do try to get people who can contribute more to production the tools to do it as effectively as possible. The simplest way to get food is to become a farmer, but if you’re an expert on oil refining, you’ll probably be able to improve yields more by refining oil for tractors.
4. Don’t strike. Everyone else’s detriment and your detriment are inseparable, which means no one will ever concede your demands. Even if you increase production by returning to work, the loss of their share makes it not worth it for anyone else.
The result will be the reorganization of the economy in the order of the hierarchy of needs, as self assessed by the sum (significantly: not the average) of all freely willed endeavor in the nation, judging for themselves whether or not it is worth its cost in labor. Certain industries will surely cease to exist entirely- one cannot conceive of an individual choosing to make advertisements or dollar-store merchandise in the absence of artificial incentivization. Really, this is not so unusual as it seems- only the growth of the third economic sector to overwhelm the first and second. This economy will also be classless, and egalitarian in outcome except for the random distribution of goods in shortage, with most possessions facing a high turnover.
This is not the economy of the distant future. This is the economy which already exists in small pockets within family units, tight-nit villages, communitarian neighborhoods and close friendships everywhere. It is growing, and will continue to grow, everywhere, as power is deteriorating in preparation for the final revolution. I did not invent it. I testify to it.
One final note on striking, and the anticipated bloodless revolution. It is very unusual for us, in this day and age, to conceive of a power which we cannot use to coerce others. We have become accustomed to being somewhat protected from the consequences of our actions- and unaccustomed to promotive interdependence- cases in which our benefit is inseparable from the benefit of others and our harm inseparable from the harm of others. But in the age of nuclear weapons, it is a reality which we must come to understand, or die. Everyone knows you’ll never start a nuclear war, because it would kill you too. There’s no possible consequence of not starting one that’s worse than the known consequence of starting one. Everyone knows this- so is it even a deterrent anymore?
But I do have hope that we may begin to understand what it means to be property of no one; the internet age has brought us many opportunities to do so. We have begun to understand it of information. May the day come when we can understand it of ourselves.