On Anarchy and the Nature of Authority

Proletarians of the world, look into the depths of your own beings, seek out the truth and realise it yourselves: you will find it nowhere else”

-Peter Arshinov The History of the Makhnovist Movement

The Anarchist Question

The problem that confronts us today . . . is how to be one’s self and yet in oneness with others, to feel deeply with all human beings and still retain one’s own characteristic qualities.”

-Emma Goldman(anarchist writer- this is teremed “the anarchist question”)

In other words, how can we create a society in which the potential for each individual is realised but not at the expense of others? In order to achieve this, anarchists envision a society in which, instead of being controlled “from the top down” through hierarchical structures of centralised power, the affairs of humanity will,to quote Benjamin Tucker, “be managed by individuals or voluntary associations.”

Quated from “an anarchist faq”


My understanding of and commitment to anarchism is a direct result of the same process that lead me to come to the conclusion that there is only one being in existence. That process was and still is one of uncovering what is real by striping away what is illusory

I have not always been an anarchist nor have I always believed that there is only one being in existence and arriving at both these conclusions was not what I set out to do five years ago when I began this journey. Arriving at them was something that happened to me when I began, through a series of events to question what was real. And it was this questioning that brought me to the conclusions that I am left with today those conclusions are….1. that other/separation is not real and there always has and always will be only One Being in existence…. And 2. that government and authority are not real and there can only be has been and will only ever be Anarchy

So to first of all say a bit about Anarchism …Anarchism in itself is not a complete social theory it is the bases on which we can build a social theory. Anarchism branches of into many different theories and directions all prefixed with the word anarcho for example anarcho syndicalism, anarcho Communism and many other anarcho’s. There are many theories and many arguments for or against all of them. I won’t be going into any of those arguments here. Instead I will talk about what is at the root of all these theories and is the foundation of any anarchist theory. It is that which the word anarchy means in itself. Anarchy on its own is not enough to form a social structure it is a premise from which to start and is intended to be built on. All “anarcho’s”have one fundamental and undeniable truth from which they are all built on and that is anarchy and that is what I am going to talk about

Anarchy is undoubtedly the most misunderstood and misused term. It is widely misrepresented to mean chaos and disorder. And for many people who call themselves “anarchists” it might well mean that. But that is not what I mean when I use the word anarchy nor is it the true meaning of the word.

An-archy” …. “An” meaning (“Lack off” or “without”) and archy” meaning (“a ruler” or “authority”) so “without a ruler,” or “without authority,”

That is… without “a ruler” not without rules. Anarchists (true anarchists) do not believe in a world without rules. Rules (rules in the sense of defining an order) are part of a social structure and they help to maintain an order but if and only if(and this is the most important premise which anarchist believe)

Those rules can be only be justifiable, moral and effective in a sustainable way if they are entered into freely.

If they are not entered into freely and are forced on others by “a ruler” or “authority” then by definition there is oppression and the rules then without exception become very damaging to the individual’s on the subservient end of the resultant authoritarian relationship and the order that results is an imposed fixed order which will always lead to suffering and injustice ..

It is also vital to understand what I mean when I say “authority”. There is the authority that is given to someone that displays an aptitude for or has knowledge, skills or experience in a particular area this is an authority which is agreed to by both sides of a relationship and is engendered through a mutual respect… Anarchists would have no problem with this type of authority this is not the type of authority I am referring to here and in fact it can be said that this type of relationship is not one of authority at all but one which delegates responsibility due to a imbalance in knowledge or skill thereby creating for some people a level of dependency specific to a particular person with superior skills in particular area of knowledge. These types of relationships occur naturally in complex social beings and are in no way authoritarian provided they satisfy three basic conditions 1. The relationship has consennt from both sides 2. Both sides remain autonomus within the relationship 3. The relationship can be terminated by either side at any time . (Theses conditions come naturally to most relationships anyway which is why anarchist maintain that the following types of “authoritarian” relationships are un-natural and must be questiond)

Then there is the type of authority that is assumed by one party because of their status or position. This type of authority is imposed by one side because of nothing other than that person’s position as an authority. This type of authority is not one that requires an agreement from both sides it is an authority which one assumes over another whether that other agrees to it or not, it is imposed or enforced by one side upon the other resulting in the oppression of that subserviant side… This is an oppressive authority.. and I am talking about this type of authority. This type of authority is “authority by force” and the reason it is allowed to exist is because we as human beings have formed a system of beliefs that allow it and in fact it is our belief in it which gives it its very existence

I am talking about the use of authority by force as a means of control. This is what I mean by authority.

Anarchy……is the absence of this authority. …Anarchy does not ask that that authority be replaced by something else it only asks that it be removed

Anarchy is letting go of the control that that authority imposes and allowing a natural order to emerge. That order the “real order” does not come from human beings involved in hierarchical relationships or delegating who has the right to rule. It does not come from imposition of force by an individual or a group of people. This is the distinction that anarchists make. “a ruler” is someone who imposes his will on others. Whereas true anarchists believe that rules are not fixed, but are agreement’s and are something that should be allowed to emerge and should, once they show themselves be entered into freely and the agreements therefore reflect the natural order and like the natural order the agreements are never fixed but always open to change. .In my personal opinion the overwhelming majority of people will recognise and respect rules or agreements that come about in that manner and are entered into freely because people are essentially good and this is what anarchy represents for me. It is the trust in humanity to find its natural order and be able to organise its affairs in a compassionate and respectful way without the need for forced control and authority.

Almost all of the instances of injustice in the world today have their root in systems of belief which stem from one core belief, that is the belief in the requirement of authority by force. Flip through the pages of any history book and you will see that most of the injustice in the world was not the result of people disobeying an authority but it was the result of people believing in and enforcing an authority on others. The evils that have been committed in spite of authority are trivial compared to the evils that have been committed in the name of authority

Forced authority is not a noble idea that sometimes goes wrong. It is not a basically valid concept that is sometimes corrupted. It is from top to bottom a horribly destructive form of oppression which results in untold suffering. The belief in authority often gives rise to people doing things they would otherwise never consider because it removes personal responsibility.(refer to the Millgram experiments) It removes all compassion and ability to use one’s own moral judgement. Forced authority as a belief is a completely irrational concept which has no place in a just society.

Anarchy means the removal of authority by force and more importantly the removal of the belief that force is necessary. So when we as individuals let go of our belief in the need for an authority to control us by force then we as a society remove the permission to be ruled by force then what we are left with is anarchy. Anarchy is not something that has to be imposed because it is already there waiting to be revealed. Every time you meet a friend in the street that meeting involves people voluntarily co-operating and is anarchist in nature, every time you sit down for a meal with your loved ones that is anarchist in nature, social gatherings are anarchist, meeting a friend for lunch is anarchy, meditating in a group is anarchy. Any interaction that occurs without forced control or hierarchical relation is anarchy. Anarchy is happening now all around you and is the natural state of humanity. Anarchy is what is left when you remove the embellishment of forced and authoritative control.

Since government is by many magnitudes the biggest representation and wielder of authority by force and it has at its core a complete dependence on a need to force compliance through the threat of violence so it is the case that addressing the nature of government and our “belief” in it is unavoidable when addressing anarchy and the nature of authority.

And since anarchy is in direct opposition to the hierarchical systems of government and a government is generally deemed to be necessary to “maintain order” ..it is little wonder that the tendency is to assume that should that government be removed then the order would go with it.

The absence of government is not the absence of order. People falsely assume that many of the useful and legitimate things that benefit society require a government but people can organise for mutual defence (should it be necessary) , people can work together to achieve common goals, people can find ways to co-operate and get along peacefully and come up with agreements and plans that would better allow human beings to exist and thrive in a mutually beneficial and non-violent way all of this is entirely possible without a government and the forced authority that it brings. The only thing that government bring is the threat of force and violence with our permission. The overwhelming majority of people would, can and do chose to enter into mutually beneficial agreements without the need for force and the vast majority of problems only arise because we are operating under the false assumption that force is necessary

No man has the right to rule over another man by force this is a basic fundamental natural law … one of the universal natural laws that like anarchy exists in the very core of our being, despite the man made embellishments that cover them up. It is the law of “free choice and invitation” meaning you can only ever enter into something of your own free choice and you can only ever invite others to join you in those choices. Ask in yourself if this true your heart will tell you. If we do not have the right to forcibly rule over our fellow man then we certainly cannot delegate that right to someone else therefore government and authority have no legitimate existence. People think it is this way because it has to be, because we don’t have a choice, we do have a choice, we can let go of our beliefs and step into the unknown, or we can keep things the same. The one constant in this life is change and one thing that is stagnant right now is our beliefs and assumptions about the nature of authority. Anarchy in itself does not have any of the answers to the problems that face human beings on this planet but in my opinion it is absolutely essential that it is recognised as the only foundation on which we can build

Anarchy does not mean chaos or disorder in fact anarchy in its truest sense represents the highest form of order, order which is not imposed but is allowed to arise through free associations and voluntary co-operation with self aware individuals who understand their relationships to other people and have agreed to take full personal responsibility for their actions. Anarchy is being allowed and allowing an order to show itself through you. Anarchy is accepting there is an order and we cannot control it. If you love something you allow it to be exactly what it is without trying to control it or change it, you accept its apparent imperfections and don’t try to change them….. that is anarchy. Anarchy is the field beyond right and wrong, Love allows things to be as they are. Anarchy is love

Peace Love Anarchy

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