Anarchist-communism is a theory of anarchism that advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wages and private property and in favour of common ownership of the means of production and direct democracy. It calls for a horizontal network of voluntary associations and workers’ councils, with production and consumption based on the guiding principle ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’.
It is often attacked as being a utopian dream; the argument goes that both government and money 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!
A society without rulers will create new communities and ways of organising that asserts the equality of all individuals in decision-making. It will depend on full access to, and the communication of, information and participation in assemblies at the neighbourhood, district or regional level, instead of electing politicians to make decisions on our behalf. Given that there will be no coercive state apparatus to enforce decisions the aim throughout will be to achieve results on the basis of consensus and compromise.
Anarchist-communist society will be moneyless. Goods and services will be made available on the basis of need with society as a whole determining priorities for production. This will need careful planning 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 instead education about the benefits of sharing, solidarity and cooperation. All of this will naturally limit demand and allow production and consumption to be balanced.
It may be objected that this basis of social organisation is fine for 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 cooperation and federation, which would still allow for freedom and equality. Even within capitalism huge organisations are often little more than clusters of small groups organised within a given structure. Local small?scale efforts are channeled 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 streets and neighbourhoods and not boardrooms.
For an anarchist-communist society to operate effectively, education in the widest sense must prioritise personal growth and a love of freedom together with a sense of responsibility and cooperation. Capitalist education has destroyed a natural social solidarity by stressing individualist competition and an allegiance to queen, country and company. An anarchist-communist approach to education would allow natural, social tendencies to develop so that individuals could participate in society with confidence and respect for others.
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, pointing the way forward to survival and well?being.