To rulers, no law-makers, no laws, no police,

To
many people like Bakunin, Kropotkin, Proudhon and the recent radical-left
Bookchin, human-human relation is what the defines human-nature relations in
the society. In this competitive capital-acquiring, resource-exploiting society
of ours, the extent to which we have damaged the nature becomes
self-explanatory if human relations indeed change the course of our interaction
with nature. However, to blame something on the relation we have today with the
fellow humankind, we first need to acknowledge that the form of government in
the society is what that heavily influences our behavior, imposes and
internalizes certain thinking patterns and can change the course of an entire
society as a whole. While political philosophers have long been arguing about
how to form the most efficient government, who to rest power with, how to make
laws that do not cause any damage to the nature and the environment, we often
forget to consider this one form of government that absolutely denies any form
of hierarchy whatsoever: anarchy.

There
seems to be a lot of misconception attached to the word itself that anarchy (or
anarchist) has become a synonym for vandalism and chaos. There have been
numerous references to the word as something destructive. Any violent crowd on
street is referred to as ‘anarchy’1.
The word anarchy in latin means ‘without ruler’ and hence the misunderstanding.
However, anarchism as an ideology does not refer to chaos or destruction in any
sense, it is just a form of government that does not have a hierarchy of any
sort; there are no rulers, no law-makers, no laws, no police, no army. In fact,
anarchism refuses any position that is set aside in governing (managing) the
society. That, at the same time, also does not mean an absence of governance
itself. The difference lies between Government and governance (as an activity).
Anarchism refuses the presence of State as an institution but does not refuse
self-organizational forms of governance.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

In
the present day modern world where who we are is defined by what we do or what
we own, we are put in the race by default. In such a rigorously competitive
society, running behind the ‘development’, we have created a tremendous loss to
the environment around us. So much that with capitalism and anthropocentricism,
we have come up with ecocentricism as an ideology that puts nature first other
than anything (as much as such ideologies are relevant and need of the times, we
should also acknowledge that by ecocentricism, we have differentiated the human
from nature). There are many anarchist schools of thought and green anarchy is
what that attempts to present a political answer from an environmental
perspective. There’s also anarcho-primitivism which is an anti-civilization ideology
because anarcho-primitivists believe that our society should go back to
hunting-gathering as agriculture is what that had created a hierarchy in the
society. But not all green anarchists are primitivists.

To
understand how anarchism can provide an ecologically-sensitive political
solution to the unsustainable world, we need to understand few key
characteristics of anarchism. To start with, while there are such differences
in ideologies and schools of thought, there is one thing that every anarchist
stands for: decentralization. Especially in a complex and diverse society (India,
for example), there cannot be one static answer to any problem. The solution
needs to be localized and that is what anarchists aim for. Gandhi’s vision for
India lies in decentralized local self-ruling villages. Also, if somebody else
from somewhere is taking a decision for you and your village, it implies a
power dynamic between the two parties and there starts a hierarchical
relation.  Any institution that tends to
create a hierarchy is abolished in anarchist thinking. Private property could
be another characteristic. There has been a huge literature critiquing the
concept of private property from different perspectives. Proudhon’s famous line
“property is theft” from the book What is Property? where he writes “Property
. . . violates equality by the rights of exclusion and increase, and freedom by
despotism . . . and has perfect identity with robbery.”2.
The line “property is theft”
implies two things- the first recognizes that land, and all other resources of
the earth cannot be possessed by any single individual, but are commonly
inherited by all. Secondly, with ‘private’ property, that is when someone owns
something and someone doesn’t, there’s a chance of the former exploiting the
latter for personal benefits. People are expected to work cooperatively with
each other without creating any harm. Commons could be the best example to
explain a situation like the above. Contrary to what Hardin3
argues, every traditional society creates exclusive institutions for itself to
make sure that people of the village get access to the commons and not be
exploitative at the same time. The institutions could be religious,
profession-based or could even be a myth sometimes. While Hobbes argued that
humans are inherently violent by nature and tend to war in ‘state of nature’,
the Russian scientist and philosopher Peter Kropotkin explains how mutual aid4
and cooperation are the key factors for a healthy coexistence.

Green
anarchists (not all) think civilization is the logic and reason behind
domination, oppression and control. For a primitive society, anarchy does not
have anything surprising to offer. But for a modern industrial technological
society that runs on capitalism, anarchy would remain a utopia for many
reasons. Although anarchism is not essentially anti-civilization, considering
the complexity of the society, it is furthermore complicated to aim for a step
back. Hence the answer should lie ahead within the anarchist framework. The
reason why we do not see any modern societies moving towards anarchy is because
there is nowhere to start. Marx had defined the road to communism, but such a
trajectory seems to be missing in the anarchist framework. The immediate characteristic
of an anarchist society is the absence of State. So the true-blue anarchists
aim at abolishing the State. To fight an institution as powerful as the State,
non-violence is definitely not an immediate option and hence the violent
bomb-throwing. This explains about what I had written earlier about the
misconception about the word. But in the stead, if only we could start with
anarchist traditions like decentralization, mutual cooperation etc. Many green
anarchists reject science because it creates a sense of disempowerment and
disassociation. Science is ‘observation’ and understanding of things; either
constructive or deconstructive in nature. But, ‘to observe’ is to detach
yourself and distance from. The rejection of technology too, for being exploitative,
creating indifferences between producer and labor etc. But Murray Bookchin
argues that modern industrial societies have abundant technology for the
betterment, only if used sensitively. In one of his essays, he writes “The certainty that technology and science
would improve the human condition is mocked by the proliferation of nuclear
weapons, by massive hunger in the Third World, and by poverty in the First
World.”5
Simply to pit “society” against “nature,” “humanity” against the “biosphere,”
and “reason,” “technology,” and “science” against less developed, often
primitive forms of human interaction with the natural world, prevents us from
examining the highly complex differences and divisions within society so
necessary to define our problems and their solutions. He offers social ecology
as an intellectual school of thought to understand the problems better before
striving for a solution. It eliminates the reductionist approach and the
simplicities of dualism. Social ecology, according to Bookchin, attempts to
help understand how nature transform into societies without forgetting to
acknowledge the difference between the two. In Bookchin’s collection of essays,
he writes that what we need is a liberating technological inventions and
scientific advancements that are ecologically sensitive. He adds on arguing
that only decentralized societies will be able to use for the betterment what
he proposed. In any case, decentralized societies tend to have a deeper
understanding of the problems and localized answers always provide a better
solution than a centralized happy-go-lucky one.

We
need to acknowledge the complexity of the present day modern society throughout
its entirety. There’s a sense of dependence in most of the aspects of a
society. Be it technological, cultural or political. With such an advancement
in science and technology, by also acknowledging the convenience it has brought
upon without forgetting to note the dependency it has created, we cannot
imagine a society without these developments. Within the box, anarchy
definitely seems to be an ideal and a sustainable form of governance in a long
run. But the problem seems to lie in moving towards it: establishing an
anarchist society. The starting point seems to be blurred. Sure we understood,
it is not the bomb-throwing at police and parliament. For starters, the Spanish
city Marinaleda seems to have achieved a utopian socialist dream. No
unemployment, no police, no crime, mutual cooperation, no private property for
over a decade now. Although not completely anarchist, Marinaleda could be an
example worth looking at. As much as there is a need for a clear theoretical
understanding, we should not forget the pragmatic possibility of it and that
solely seems to be the problem in the case of anarchy.

1
 “Portland Police: ‘Anarchy’ in
Streets.” WND. N.p., 11 Nov. 2016. Web.

2
(Proudhon, 1996)

3
(Hardin, 1968)

4
(Kropotkin, 1955)

5
(Bookchin, 1993)