Anarchists for Bigger Government?

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.

10 thoughts on “Anarchists for Bigger Government?

  1. esun67 January 31, 2008 at 08:14

    Who are the Anarchists supporting bigger government candidates ? Just checking your premise . . .

  2. Francois Tremblay January 31, 2008 at 15:31

    I talk to Anarchists all the time- on Skype, on message boards, on blogs. I don’t have anywhere near the memory necessary to remember any of them. There are people bleating this bromide all the time.

  3. Aahz January 31, 2008 at 23:49

    You’ve clearly stated what the solution is NOT, but have failed to educate us on what the solution IS. What, exactly do you suggest we DO to bring lasting freedom?

    And yes, I absolutely agree that those who support bigger government in hopes of fomenting revolution are confused at best. But where do you expect the government defeats to come from so that we have something to rejoice?

  4. Francois Tremblay February 1, 2008 at 00:26

    Well, that’s not what my entry was about, so your questions are off-topic. But I’ll answer anyway.

    The solution to bring down government is two-fold:

    1. You need to have an ever-growing area of black market, a “safe space” for Anarchists to survive and flourish within. Even if you have a million people agreeing with you, you need a channel for those energies and a “safe space”. This is what agorists do.

    2. You need to have people who actually understand how they are being screwed and who are ready to use direct action against the State. This is what Market Anarchists do. Even if you have a giant black market, all you’ll have is an eternal war between government and the black market, like in the novel “Alongside Night.” You need to not only build an alternative society, but a way to topple the existing system too.

  5. Aahz February 1, 2008 at 00:46

    1. But you’ve agreed that there seem to be no agorists actually DOING this. Or have you found some since we last discussed the group?

    2. This is what we’re trying to do with our writings.

    But eventually change requires ACTION. You talk of direct action, what direct action do you suggest? Where should our energies be going?

    Feel free to take this conversation into a fresh post since you consider it off-topic. You know I read here regularly, but I must have missed those posts.

  6. Francois Tremblay February 1, 2008 at 01:12

    I don’t know where your energies are going, except for promoting democracy and politicians. My energies are going towards projects that can actually help instead of hurt. I don’t have any resources, so I can’t do much at all, but at least I try.

    Yes, there are probably no agorists out there. But we need them. If necessary we’ll build the whole thing, but we need them. Without a safe space for Anarchists to develop a new society, there’ll be no lasting growth.

  7. Aahz February 1, 2008 at 11:09

    More swipes, bust still no answers.

    Are you DOING anything or not? Is all the “direct action” talk just bullshit or what?

  8. Francois Tremblay February 1, 2008 at 16:04

    I invited you to come talk to us for yourself, but you refused. You are having a hostile attitude and I’m not going to continue this conversation.

  9. roma38 February 3, 2008 at 18:43

    Some Turkish Muslims fought on the side of the Nazis in WW2 arguing that if the Germans won the war because they were so efficient the end would be reached sooner. I suppose this is the same ‘logic’ being used by ‘anarchists’ wanting a big government…because they think this will accelerate the death of the state.

    BTW I have been reading your book, reached chapter 2 so far so good. You did know that during the French Revolution they tried to get Catholic priests to pledge alligence to the secular State (in other words make Christianity a State religion subservient to the secular state) and those who refused were murdered. The atheists who brought the French Revolution into being murdered hundreds of thousands of people and their model of the State finished by Napoleon is the adopted model world wide for all modern States. Even the language of ‘commetee’ and ‘citizen’ and ‘verticle deportation’ (for drowning hundreds of ‘non citizens’), ‘tolerance’ all find their origins in the French Revolution.

    The French Revolution is justified by modern States on grounds that ‘things were really bad’ before and after they were improved…in fact this is a lie. The atheists revolted and created a monster worse than they claimed to be replacing. As you say in your book democracy is possibly the worst form of totalitarianism we can have, and the distinction between ‘dictatorship’ and ‘democracy’ is in actual fact superficial…the ‘citizen’ in both states more or less has the same experience of the state. It is based on Napoleons model whether Nazi, or US they are the same in experience.

  10. adamfreedom March 26, 2009 at 17:22

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that “big government” vs. small government is what most anarchists are concerned about. I believe the discourse around “big government” was created by the right in the US. It is usually a smokescreen to oppose funding for social programs and education, while supporting corprate welfare, militarism, police and other repressive aspects of the state.

    Often I find the rhetoric of the ‘libertarian party,’ free market and Ron Paul types often parrot these themes. I don’t see what they have to do with anarchism whatsoever.

    The overwhelming history of anarchism across the world has focused on building movements of workers and oppressed peoples to challenge both the state and capitalism. Only they have ability to remake society into popular and bottom up socialism that is based on freedom, equality and mutual aid.

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