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An edition of Anarchy Works (2010)

Anarchy Works

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April 12, 2020 | History
An edition of Anarchy Works (2010)

Anarchy Works

  • 4.50 ·
  • 2 Ratings
  • 4 Want to read
  • 0 Currently reading
  • 3 Have read
Publish Date
Ardent Press

Previews available in: English

Anarchism is the boldest of revolutionary social movements to emerge from the struggle against capitalism, it aims for a world free from all forms of domination and exploitation. But at its heart is a simple and convincing proposition: people know how to live their own lives and organize themselves better than any expert could. Others cynically claim that we need a government to protect us. They claim anarchy is impractical and utopian: it would never work. On the contrary, anarchist practice already has a long record, and has often worked quite well. The histories in this book show that an anarchist society can succeed at enabling all its members to meet their needs and desires.

This book takes examples from around the world, picking through history and anthropology, showing that people have, in different ways and at different times, demonstrated mutual aid, self-organization, autonomy, horizontal decision making, and so forth–the principles that anarchy is founded on–regardless of whether they called themselves anarchists or not. Too well documented to be strictly mythology, and too expansive to be strictly anthropology, this is an inspiring answer to the people who say that anarchists are utopian: a point-by-point introduction to how anarchy can and has actually worked.

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Edition Availability
Cover of: Anarchie funguje
Anarchie funguje
2016, Nakladatelství Anarchistické federace
Paperback in Czech
Cover of: Anarchy Works
Anarchy Works
2010, Ardent Press
Paperback in English

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Book Details

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San Francisco, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Anarchy would never work 1
What exactly is anarchism? 2
A note on inspiration 4
The tricky topic of representation 7
1. Human Nature 11
Aren’t people naturally selfish? 11
Aren’t people naturally competitive? 16
Haven’t humans always been patriarchal? 22
Aren’t people naturally warlike? 27
Aren’t domination and authority natural? 32
A broader sense of self 44
2. Decisions 48
How will decisions be made? 48
How will decisions be enforced? 65
Who will settle disputes? 70
Meeting in the streets 72
3. Economy 76
Without wages, what is the incentive to work? 76
Don’t people need bosses and experts? 81
Who will take out the trash? 90
Who will take care of the elderly and disabled? 92
How will people get healthcare? 94
What about education? 97
What about technology? 102
How will exchange work? 108
What about people who still want a consumerist lifestyle? 111
What about building and organizing large, spread-out infrastructure? 112
How will cities work? 118
What about drought, famine, or other catastrophes? 128
Meeting our needs without keeping count 129
4. Environment 134
What’s to stop someone from destroying the environment? 134
What about global environmental problems, like climate change? 143
The only way to save the planet 148
5. Crime 152
Who will protect us without police? 152
What about gangs and bullies? 165
What’s to stop someone from killing people? 168
What about rape, domestic violence, and other forms of social harm? 170
Beyond individual justice 178
6. Revolution 184
How could people organized horizontally possibly overcome the state? 184
How do we know revolutionaries won’t become new authorities? 203
How will communities decide to organize themselves at first? 218
How will reparations for past oppressions be worked out? 223
How will a common, anti-authoritarian, ecological ethos come about? 226
A revolution that is many revolutions 238
7. Neighboring Societies 242
Could an anarchist society defend itself from an authoritarian neighbor? 242
What will we do about societies that remain very patriarchal, or racist? 249
What will prevent constant warfare and feuding? 251
Networks not borders 257
8. The Future 260
Won’t the state just reemerge over time? 260
What about other problems we can’t foresee? 264
Making anarchy work 265
It Works When We Make It Work 268
Bibliography 272

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