Book Review

On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

more anarchism on the blog thank you for reading

18th August, Tottenham

I bought this little book a couple of months ago and read it four weeks ago, at least. Maybe longer.

I’ve lost the habit of writing this blog again.

I’ve lost the habit of everything again.

At least it’s rained again!


Anarchism, as I think I’ve written on this blog before, is the only manner of societal organisation that possesses ethical justification; anyone who isn’t an advocate for anarchism either doesn’t understand what the word means or is revealing that their personal greed and duplicitousness outweighs any optimism or hope they may have for other people and the future.

All power, as powerhouse intellectual anarchist Noam Chomsky explores in these five pieces of writing collected from across his very long career, must always justify itself. There are benefits to collaboration, of shared responsibilities and labour, of course, but one should never confuse mutual benefit with exploitation, centralisation with efficiency, &, alas, this is what frequently occurs in the capitalistic world we live in.

Anarchism opposes colonialism, opposes exploitative extractive industries, opposes the “financial growth” motive that has been used to justify and exacerbate the catastrophic environmental destruction we are evermore affected by.

The profit motive is a death drive – the hoarding (and existence of) capital should be considered an assault on human rights, on planetary life.

Producing more than is needed, the persistence of financial structures that subjugate and crush the physical & intellectual freedom of the vast majority of the world’s peoples should be considered an act of aggression.

Who does the current system benefit? It doesn’t benefit me, it likely doesn’t benefit you, either, if you have the inclination to read a few hundred words by a depressed, bald, unemployed English hippie on how all institutions are morally invalid.

The commentariat wonder why there is no community, no society, in the “West” anymore, and it’s fucking simple to see: we have all been subsumed into these meaningless existences, we have been normalised, programmed to expect and to accept only this bizarre, detached, lazy, digitised existence.

Under capitalism, rather than feudalism, we may have the “right” to “own” property, we may have been spared the tithing theft of money spunked to the church, but instead we are cursed by accepting of something that is functionally the same: profit.

Every transaction we take part in, every time we exchange our labour for money or our money for goods or services from all but the tiniest of ethical, independent producers or cooperatives, we are subsidising and acquiescing to profit, we are paying more than we should, because there is an entire class of people (who the vast majority of the world will never encounter) whose entire lifestyles of luxury and corruption are paid for not by the work that they or anyone else do/does, but instead by those tiny extra payments (that run from fractions of cents through to millions of [insert currency]) that we accept as the cost of existing in the world: this is theft, this is expropriation, & all this is facilitated by the existing institutions and power structures that are only ever able to materially justify themselves to those with the pre-existing power and capital to benefit from it.

Anyone else, anyone who isn’t incredibly rich, who genuinely thinks “democracy”, the police, the financial system, the legal system, all the other institutions, are in any way “a good thing” have been blinded by the propaganda we are (tbf) assaulted by daily.

If billions of people across the planet were not kept in positions of food scarcity, of health and shelter and comfort and leisure and hope scarcity, then we wouldn’t need militaries and regulations and “laws” and other crap to “keep them in their place”.

The world, humanity, life, isn’t inherently greedy: no other species have driven themselves near extinction by destroying their own habitat, by over-hunting their own prey. It’s a basic rule to not shit where you eat, and we haven’t just been shitting, we’ve been dumping toxic waste.

Societies existed for thousands, tens of thousands of years, before capitalism expanded across the world from Europe like a nasty fucking virus and tricked our species into thinking excess production – i.e. profit – was preferable to sustainability, to cohesion, to feeling the practical consequences (both positive and negative) of your own actions.

& that is the promise of anarchism: to destroy the detachment from life that is facilitated by institutions. We all benefit, yes, sure, fine, from shared knowledge of medicine (for example), but we all lose from the shared ideologies that have forced this planet into an ecological death spiral.

We must replace institutions and capitalism with hope, with communication and with a return to realistic understandings of the value of ourselves and the things around us. Because all of this *gestures at the world* isn’t worth a thing. is 10 years old! Celebrate by sharing this post – or others – with friends (if you have any), family (if you have any), lovers (which I presume you have because this website isn’t for children), or by donating to the site via the below link so that I can maybe take a day off work some time and enjoy being alive for a few hours.

3 comments on “On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky

  1. You can’t implement and maintain “anarchism” without the state and its police and military. “Anarchism” is a euphemism for communism in modern terms. Libertarian socialism and Democratic socialism are other terms for the same affliction but are much more intellectually honest and genuine in describing the philosophy. Communism doesn’t work because humans have evolved into something that does crave excess in general. We want the security that comes with excess. Do you not want to know where your next meal is coming from? Or where tomorrow’s breakfast is now?


  2. Pingback: The Government of No One by Ruth Kinna – Triumph Of The Now

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