This short article was written by a member of the Thames Valley Solidarity Federation for inclusion in the upcoming fourth issue of 'The Ox-Fly', Oxford's radical newsletter, asking whether government is really the common foundation of our day-to-day lives...
‘Anarchy’ is a word that has a very bad reputation these days. The mere mention of it causes most people to imagine nothing but rows of burning cars, roaming gangs of looters and senseless violence in the streets. Anarchy, we are told, means nothing but the very breakdown of social order itself. Yet is it the truth? Is government really the vital foundation of our society?
To say that we would tear our society apart without a government standing over us, brandishing the stick of authority, is to say we are in reality no more than helpless infants. That everything we have built and shared only exists by the grace of our loving masters, protecting us and saving us from ourselves. Society is government, government is society forever and ever, amen .
Yet where is this government in our day to day lives? Is it the government who care for the sick and the dying in our hospitals? No, it is the nurses and the doctors. Is it the government who drive the trains and the buses? No, it is the many transport workers. Is it the government who build and repair our homes? No, it is the construction workers. The government may employ these people, but that makes them no different from any other boss; they do none of the work but take all of the credit. Yet if it is the working people who take care of the day to day practicalities of life, where then is this invaluable government without whom we would all be so lost? What functions does the government provide that we could not replicate ourselves?
We are not a society of infants. We do not need a government to save us from ourselves. Anyone can look at the state and see that it is not the all-knowing, all-caring power it pretends to be. No, in truth it is we who must save ourselves; from a system in which profit is more important than living life, which looks down upon the very working people without whom modern society could not exist.
That is what the word ‘Anarchy’ truly means. It describes a time when ordinary people will run society together in common, running it in our own interests and not in the interests of the rich and powerful. To paraphrase a very famous revolutionary slogan: ‘The government needs us, we do not need them’.