As an anarchist I constantly face a demand from critics to prove anarchy will bring utopia. The conditions to reach anarchy people claim are utopian. Many ask how the absence of a government will solve problems the government has failed to solve. This shows the complete lack of understanding for what it is we are working to obtain. How will anarchy end crime? How will anarchy end rape or murder?
The claim that anarchy will end crime, rape or murder was never one I made and I do not know many anarchists who have made that claim. Can anarchy have more crime? That is doubtful seeing that the majority of murder is done in the name of the state. What about interpersonal violations or crimes? Will it curb or end those? There is a problem and a misunderstanding with this question. How will anarchy end or cure any ailment of society? It won’t bring many if any solutions. The push for state is often under the guise that they will end these problems. The push for anarchy is an acceptance of the fact that we can better our lives and that by embracing more murder and violence we will accomplish little. How does a constitution, a republic or democracy solve problems? It does not and can not.
Let us look at democracy. How does a democracy deal with murder? Democracy does not end or deal specifically with murder. Only solutions implemented through a democracy are what some look to for an answer to the given problem. The democratic system does not bring a solution to the table with it, this is true of a constitutional republic or any form or rule. They are corporate systems not solutions. The people involved invent what they see as a solution and implement it under the conditions of democracy. The same is true of anarchism. The same people will work within a stateless society to bring a solution to the table and implement it. The absence of a state is not an assurance of utopia, but a condition that is more ethical than the use of force to implement the solutions we create. I Anarchy is not utopia any more than a republic or a democracy are. It is the ethical approach to order society. If one fails to see the ethical dilemma of the rule of force I will not address this here, you might start with: A Case Against Government: State Violence.
To solve many crimes we can begin to look at new systems that bring about results. We do not all have to cling to the same model. There are forms of alternative dispute resolution such as contract ratings, Dispute Resolution Organizations, restorative justice and more. We are not limited to these. The positive of this concept in anarchy as opposed to in democracy is that the 51% can keep the solutions they feel are proper while the other 49% can look to the solution they feel is proper and works best for them. These do not claim to have the utopian edge of being the one and only solution. Unlike the state it embraces the idea that there may be fault with our solutions so we should be able to move on when one solution fails us.
Ending the state is not the solution to all things. It does solve some problems. It addresses the extortion racket that fuels the state. It addresses the murder justified by the state. It addresses the unjust caging of human beings. To create a stateless society we must reject the notion that it is honorable for some to commit those crimes. That being said, there will be a plethora of problems that will exist without the state. Those problems are not to be minimized or overlooked. I am sure if you are a skeptic of anarchism you can name plenty of issues you have concerns about. The goal is not to just eliminate the state and leave problems unaddressed. Nor is it to deny the presence of those problems.
We must work on stateless solutions. The most common objections I get are those of police and a justice system as mentioned before. The beauty of a stateless society is that we have the multiple options that can co-exist. Do they exist naturally? Not all. This is why we must begin to build and improve on those alternative solutions. When one has a grievance they often turn to the existing state justice system. If that system fails them they only have that one system. As that system has proven to fail over and over we have nowhere else to turn. Obviously it does work for some to some extent. It does not work for all.
In a stateless system the process we see here is relevant to any other process or solution we create. Now we no longer have the system monopolized. We have other alternatives to turn to as one fails us. When I speak of competing solutions this is the aspect I am seeking. Perhaps the Dispute resolution does not work in every situation and a need to look towards restorative justice will arise and be available. We begin to look at how now we have a way to expel the entity that does not work because we can begin to go to the ones that do. The tendency to cling to the idea that one form of resolution is superior to having alternatives is the more utopian ideal. Anarchism is an acceptance that the one cure to the illness is not enough. It is the acceptance that there is no one answer and that other solutions do exist. They will fail and we will have to move to alternatives. In the state when you are failed by the state you often have no other alternative. It is the state, the final, the end all.
Is Anarchy utopia? No, but it is not the solution. To see anarchy as the solution or as utopia is a lack of comprehension of what anarchism is. It is a challenge once again to strike the root of problems and to create new and civil solutions. It is a challenge to improve current and proven alternatives building on those and moving further on theoretical alternatives. We can build a civil anarchist society, but we must build it.