Book Review

The Government of No One by Ruth Kinna

anarchism is hope

As regular readers of this blog will know, I have recently outed myself as an anarchist.

I’d never really known anarchism as something to even consider until I accidentally found myself reading anarchist-inspired literature (i.e. novels), and it was only through this anarchist fiction to anarchist essay pipeline that I ended up… not necessarily recalibrating my worldview, but becoming able to define, explain and understand it.

Obviously, capitalism is bad.

Obviously, the focus on growth as an essential prerequisite for economic/business and organisational success, is a huge barrier towards the planet (and the societies upon it) remaining and becoming more liveable.

I have long felt an adherence to accelerationist ideas regarding climate change and I very much continue to believe that this planet will not be saved by good will within the existing system, as those with power and political and financial power-

hello, where are you going?
Where are you off to?
Very nice.
What grows this time of year?
But do you plant things now like over the?
but you can do?
oh that makes sense.
Yeah, vegetables are a year round thing, right?
Sorry, I gotta follow Cubby.
Yeh, he usually poos up here.
I don’t want to lose eye contact in case I can’t find the poo.
OK, see you later.

Sorry, composing this with voice-to-text. I was speaking to a friend about their allotment while walking my dog in the park.

///

Those with political and financial power are not going to give that power away for as long as not giving it away remains an option, and in the current political and economic climate it very much is an option for them to continue to do nothing.

That’s why (I think) society has to completely collapse – likely due to ecological destruction – for the planet (and for those who remain living on it) to have any chance of a pleasant, sustainable existence.

Yes, in many ways it is a sort of a pastoral human infancy that I’m implicitly advocating for here, but I think that the need for this is evidenced by the planet and its response to what we have done to it as homo economicus.

///

This book, a new Pelican, by Ruth Kinna is both very detailed and very expansive introduction to the history of anarchism as an idea, both in theory and in practice.

It is split into sections and initially looks at the ideological beginnings of anarchism and the ways in which “anarchism” has always had advocates who approach the reduction of government from “both ends” of “the political spectrum”. This means that discussion of anarchism as an idea has always been fraught with issues arising from the fact that although most of its adherents approach it from an optimistic, environmentalist, socially progressive, anticapitalist perspective, some of its loudest proponents are (for want of a better word) dickheads who fantasise about the absence of state only because they want to be warlords.

That right wing libertarian anarchism isn’t anarchism at all: it is laissez faire cruelty;

it is not anarchism if you believe property rights need to be respected;

similarly, communistic anarchism also fails to provide an optimistic and sustainable reality for humans and the planet, because this ideology presumes that the existing literal infrastructures and social structures of capitalism are fine to remain as they are, provided the ownership of industries and institutions is shifted to a more egalitarian base.

That’s also bullshit: we do not need to have factories, we do not need to have mechanised production, we do not need to have satellites, supercomputers, smartphones, rare earths extraction…

there are so many things that exist in the world that we do not need and the existence of most of them is used as a justification for the continuation of the industrial practices that cause and maintain the climate crisis and these will continue until it becomes impossible for them to do so.

We don’t need robots.

We don’t need cars.

What we need is a planet and a society that is not governed from above by anyone.

We need to be free of authority, free of expectation, free to exist in a manner that allows us engagement with our place in the world, and the things we require to survive in it.

If everyone had to grow their own food, there would be an awareness of the deep issues of the climate crisis;

if people had to slaughter their own meat, there would be far more of an understanding of animal cruelty and less of it.

If profit didn’t exist, if shareholders weren’t a thing, if nothing happened that affected a person’s life that they hadn’t directly and actually been able to influence

representative democracy is no kind of life-

///

The Government of No One is a super interesting, super engaging book that explores key thinkers, key practitioners, key anarchist organisations and key moments in history, including the Spanish Civil War, the Paris Commune and the Haymarket affair.

The book looks at the ways in which anarchism and communism arose at a similar time and split irrevocably, for good reason…

///

any ideological system
that upholds industrialisation
as a
net positive
is not a
net positive

///

If your hope for the future does not contain a severe change in the way we live-

mass production benefits no one in the long term:

we can only have cheap food and cheap clothes in the “global North” if people are exploited and lacking in opportunities and autonomy in the “global south”.

Industrialised communism cannot exist without import and export arrangements with external capitalist nations, and capitalism cannot benefit some without diminishing others.

The only way for a more equitable, more enjoyable, more fulfilling world for the most amount of people is anarchism:

we should all be fucking subsistence farmers, and we should all be able to live without bureaucracy, without authority, and with responsibilities to ourselves and those around us that are maintained not by authoritarian groups (army/police etc) but are maintained by awareness of the mutually beneficial ways in which we need to cohere with other people and with our habitats in order to survive.

Anarchism is hopeful and anarchism is optimistic

anarchism is the only possible depiction of the world that does not keep some people living forever in an inescapable hell.

If governments did not uphold the privileges of the elite, they wouldn’t exist.

A good world does not have an elite in it.

We should all be the same.

with anarchism we can be

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