In the wake of the Ron Paul campaign, there are some Anarchists who bizarrely insist that we should not only refuse to support Ron Paul (which I am fine with either way), but that we should support Big Government candidates and ideas. The reasoning, as scant as it is, goes like this: the bigger government gets, the more people will realize how evil government is, and the better off the Anarchist movement will be.
Isn’t that kinda like cutting off your nose to spite your face? Because people don’t support Anarchy enough, you want them to suffer more so they’ll cry “uncle”? That’s not the spirit of cooperation. That’s not the spirit of non-violence. We should refuse to participate in any violent act, and that includes helping Big Government.
Should an Anarchist rejoice when he sees more exploitation in his society? No! Otherwise he becomes himself an exploiter.
Besides, even if an Anarchist was greedy enough to try to exploit people’s misery for his movement’s gain, but was smart enough to look at the data, he would find that the correlation between size of government and Anarchist movements is simply not there. The success or regress of Anarchist movements is based mainly on the actions of government, not how big it is. The World Wars have proven to be disastrous for our movement because dissent in times of great wars is violently attacked and suppressed. War creates a daze of patriotism which is always seen as trumping ideological considerations (“we need to rally together now for our country!”) and therefore silences issues which are perceived as more abstract.
Big government, or more oppressive government, would not help our movement. But smaller government would help our movement, in addition to helping the working class. Less intrusive government means more possibilities for Anarchist speech, for the development of the parallel economy, less need for secrecy and less risks. A government that disrupts markets less means more examples of freedom that we can use. The psychological wounds wrought by government are profound and horrifying: any minor healing of those wounds must be a cause for celebration.
Now, I hope no one will misinterpret me as being a proponent of the Libertarian Party or a proponent of voting for Ron Paul or any other (supposed, in most cases) small government candidate. As the Libertarian Party itself has proven, attempts to use incremental change leads to pragmatism and ideological defeat in practice. Also, the use of political means can engender nothing but more political means.
What does this all mean? It means that if we promote democracy, the method of our enemies, to try to make government smaller, we will fail, and as we keep failing we will compromise our principles. And to compromise the freedom of Anarchy with the slavery of democracy would mean that we have already given up on Anarchy. All we would be doing is feeding the machine of democracy, giving more legitimacy to the ruling class, giving more legitimacy to the democratic doctrines, and making our movement appear as nothing more than another political movement hellbent on imposing its absolutist values on the rest of society. We would have no more credibility. Our chances of bringing about Anarchy by this method would fall to zero.
The solution to the current statist monopoly is not to promote bigger government or smaller government. We should rejoice when government is defeated on any single issue, but we should keep in mind that no government action or inaction is of an Anarchist nature, and no political action is compatible with Anarchism except the disintegration of the State and the repossession of the infrastructure and resources that belongs to the working class, that should be ours, as it was in the past. Nothing else in the political realm will bring about Anarchy.