Anarchist communism is often attacked as being a utopian dream since it is both anti-capitalist and anti-state. The argument goes that both of these are necessary because of “human nature”. Won’t new forms of exploitation and new classes arise? Isn’t it inevitable that some people have more power than others? Isn’t the state necessary to keep order? We say a loud “no!” to these arguments.
Anarchist communist society will be a moneyless society. Goods and services will be made available on the basis of need with society as a whole determining priorities for production and levels of consumption. People will need to think about and plan this but the horror stories of ‘feeding frenzies’ or people stockpiling goods are sheer fantasies. There is a limit to the number of things that people can consume, possessiveness will become an aberration not the norm, there will be no ‘wealth’ to accumulate, no advertising to over-stimulate demand and education about the benefits of sharing, solidarity and co-operation; all will naturally limit demand and allow production and consumption to be balanced. One of the functions of money is to act as a “store of value”. This allows individuals in capitalist societies to accumulate enormous sums well in excess of what they can ever spend. In a moneyless society there is no mean accumulating wealth, thus creating another obstacle to the re-emergence of a ruling class.
It may be objected that this basis of social organisation is fine for local village-sized populations but is unworkable on a large scale. However, there is no reason why it could not operate on a larger scale if it is based on the principles of voluntary co-operation and federation, which would still allow for freedom and solidarity. Even within capitalism huge organisations and corporations are often little more than conglomerations of small groups organised within a given managerial structure. Local small-scale efforts are channelled in a particular direction. There is no reason those efforts could not be organised voluntarily for the common and individual good with the initiative coming from below.
For an anarchist communist society to operate effectively, education in the widest sense must prioritise a socialisation stressing personal growth, a love of freedom together with a sense of responsibility, and solidarity. Capitalist education has effectively gained an acceptance amongst most of the population of a system that exploits them through a subtle process of brainwashing and a distortion of the natural tendency towards social solidarity by stressing patriotism, nationalism or loyalty to the company. An anarchist communist approach to education would allow the natural tendencies to develop so that individuals would be able effectively to participate in the new society with confidence and the mutual respect that comes from a desire to associate and co-operate.
Most other ideologies aim to dominate and control nature and indeed the last centuries have witnessed a total transformation of the natural world as it has been twisted and distorted to fit the supposed needs of human beings. Now nature is giving its reply, to such an extent that the very existence of humanity is threatened. Anarchist communism seeks to work in harmony with natural forces, utilising appropriate levels of technology to meet people’s needs. There are enough resources on the planet to provide a living for all, without destroying the planet in the process.
Anarchist communism is the only ideology which challenges all exploitation and oppression, whether it be of workers by bosses, women by men or the environment by human beings. It alone emphasises both freedom of the individual and solidarity within the community and struggles for a society which is free of both economic exploitation and the oppressive state. Anarchist communism alone can point the way forward to survival and well-being.
An extract from ‘Aspects of Anarchism‘ published by the Anarchist Federation