Submitted by gnome_chomsky in Anarchism

So my question is, how would things like hospitals, fire service etc work in an anarchist society? Mutual aid can only get you so far... How would people like murderers be brought to justice? I personally agree with ACAB, but someone has to stop child rapers and murderers... For the healthcare and fire service, could large mutual aid groups be set up? Or would people be expected to look after themselves?

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yiiikes wrote

'A society is a group of individuals involved in persistent social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.'

There is no 'anarchist society.' Stop this.

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gnome_chomsky OP wrote

Ok sorry I used the wrong words, but you all know what I meant...

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southerntofu wrote

Is there a specific reason you believe a hospital could not exist in an anarchist world? Sure it would be radically different in the relationship between patients and care providers, in the instruments and materials used, etc.. But if anything, the coronavirus fiasco has shown that doctors and nurses on the frontlines were really determined and creative to get people treatment. This, despite their low pay, the contempt the government and media have shown them, the actual repression of their social movements, all them missing funds/equipment. At least this is the situation in France.

I'm not saying a hospital is the universal solution to health problems. In fact i believe addressing the root causes would help a great deal, and like @rot said sharing medicinal knowledge would take us even further. Let's not forget that under the rule of the catholic church, study of medicine was forbidden, and the femicide known as the "witch hunt" made sure to concentrate this power into "holier" hands. That is, many years before the patent systems were invented, and also long before something we could call the pharmaceutical industrial complex started to influence doctors, advertise their products on television, and made sure legislation banned natural remedies and traditional forms of medicine.

So while i don't think the hospital is a universal solution, it's a very popular solution and a self-organized hospital would make sense. You can find examples of self-organized cliniques in Athens (Greece), or in the history of the US with the Black Panther and other revolutionary groups of that time.

About pedophiles and murderers, we should definitely do something. The current system is broken: does not bring justice to the victims (except rarely, through vengeance), does not bring change in the perpetrator (prison does not help anyone), and perpetuates existing power dynamics where oppressed minority groups will be imprisoned for minor infractions, while well-known rapists (such as France's interior ministry, or the current and upcoming presidents of US) will never be held accountable. A magical solution? I don't know. Can't blame people for getting revenge when justice is denied to them. But i'm sure there's a lot of possibilities to make things considerably better than they are.

Then again, it's important (for me) to remember that anarchy is a horizon, not a pre-determined state. It's the practice and goal of struggling against all forms of domination and exploitation, and as such it's impossible to envision "what is perfect anarchy", because it cannot exist. Maybe some anarcho-communists would like a hospital, but some anarcho-primitivists would rather not. And in any case, "an anarchist society" is not just "anarchists", because every person is an individual before they are (or are not) an anarchist. In this case, an anarchist principle of least-authority would dictate (pun intended) that folks interested in self-organizing a hospital would do just that, while others would do something else entirely.

So, if your question was more specifically about how such infrastructure should be organized, there's plenty of experiments and theory on the subject. Maybe anarcho-syndicalism could have some interesting reads for you, for example about self-organization in the farmlands and the factories during the spanish revolution of 1936? Or about workers cooperatives as a popular strategy to oppose capitalism? The baseline is when you have a society based on trust and mutual understanding, one can trust the comrades from the hospital to run the hospital best, and the comrades from the canteen to make food best. As long as they have no formal hierarchies and keep a critical spirit to organize collectively.. David Graeber (RIP) had a talk along those lines at the last CCC: From managerial feudalism to the revolt of the caring classes.

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gnome_chomsky OP wrote

Yeah, I agree. Thanks for helping :) the reason I was confused about hospitals btw is that nowadays hospitals are funded by government/taxpayers, so I was confused as to how anarchist hospitals would get what they needed

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southerntofu wrote

I was confused as to how anarchist hospitals would get what they needed

Well this is a concern not just for hospitals but for everything. How do you get food? How do you get housing? In the capitalist system, every initiative has to struggle on its own for resources through the mediation of money.

Money cannot be abolished in a single field. That is, you can't get free bread if the bakers have to pay for rent and flour. But in an anarchist setting, nobody has to afford anything and therefore is free to provide services/resources to their neighbors for free, because they like to do so or because they find meaning in it.

Take the example of the ZAD in Notre Dame des Landes. Though the situation has changed over the years, there is still this expectation that everything you need on zone ("sur zone" en français) is free-price. It's free price because everyone within this Commune agrees to work for the common good and not for personal profit, which constitutes an ecosystem in which money is less needed. So people will take according to their needs, and contribute according to their abilities.

Although, some (little) money is still needed (free price is not free) because there is still reliance on the market economy for some things: we're not entirely self-sufficient. For example, despite local herb-growers making amazing natural remedies, some more complex medicines still need to be bought, such as insulin. Some construction materials are also still paid for: while some people are happy to build their cabins entirely from gathered materials, you may not have good materials at hand, or you may not have a local forge/foundry to build nails from scrapped metal.

Full material autonomy on a super-local level (self-sufficiency) as promoted by the hippies and some primitivists is in my view a limited perspective:

  • first, because it cannot ever address everyone's needs: some more complex processes (eg. building glasses for sight-impaired people) will require resources you may not have at hand
  • second, because relying exclusively on local materials may not be good for your local environment: is it better to gather and burn tons of woods from your surroundings for heating a badly-isolated house, or to fetch/trade lime/clay once from further lands (they are reusable materials) so you can have heat from very dry materials?
  • third, because what do we do in the meantime, in this fucked up market economy? the most privileged of us have connections and/or resources to start a new life in an autonomous commune, but most of us are trapped in the cities or in any case in the capitalist system. So what are tools within our reach to develop autonomy in this context?

On this last point, i'd say revolutionary cooperativism (not social-democrat bullshit social economy) is an interesting path. It's a hack around the system which enables to take resources out of the commercial system to develop autonomy: worker's autonomy as in self-organization of the cooperative and collective autonomy as in developing shared infrastructure for the good of the community.

On a local level, a revolutionary cooperative enables to develop a business which creates collective goods. For example, self-organized farms typically have a commercial activity to sustain their existence within the system, while at the same time providing free food for squats, migrant camps, and slums.

On a more global level, a revolutionary cooperative can and should be a part of a greater revolutionary movement. Associated with other revolutionary cooperatives, one can build greater material autonomy. So a food-growing coop, along with a cooking equipment (pots, burners) forging coop and a canteen coop form a whole which is more autonomous than its individual parts, is more resilient to crisis of the capitalist system, and can actually both encourage social agitation and materially sustain it when needed. This example is based on a real example from France, though limited in scale.

I don't believe in the false "cooperative"/"revolution" dichotomy. In my view, one without the other is doomed to fail in its goals. I don't admire highly-privileged student revolutionaries who have contempt for workers cooperatives and self-organized workers unions, and i don't admire "social economy" workers who have contempt for theory-fed revolutionaries. I'm interested in the concept of an "integral cooperative" which can grow into a stronger revolutionary force to oppose the capitalist system.

The capitalist grip on our lives does not only rely on the cop in our head, but also on our material dependence on it for survival. Thinking we can overthrow the most powerful regimes in history without a strong base for solidarity and material autonomy is in my view a risky strategy.

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rot wrote

people with medical knowledge heal people who are sick/hurt. moreover healthcare could be further decentralized with more people learning basic medical care. same with fire department, firefighting is often a voluntary position anyway. So yeah lots of mutual aid.

as for the rape and murder thing we aren't doing anything to stop those now, just punishing the perpetrators (sometimes)

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existential1 wrote

This is an unanswerable question as there are infinitely many anarchisms.

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Hopium wrote

Zapatistas have their own functioning healthcare system, their own clinics, doctors, etc.

Mutual Aid for defense is fine and normal. The Second Amendment exists partly so that people can self-organize violent defense.

Rojava and MAREZ both have functioning justice systems based on a jury of your peers (See heading 'Justice System' here).

And there are many many examples of indigenous justice systems in stateless societies. You think murderers weren't punished by their peers before the state?

The bulk of Kropotkin's book on Mutual Aid is concerned with listing various example of defense/justice/organized force governed by Mutual Aid principles.

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_caspar_ wrote

the idea of something "[working] in an anarchist society" is a primary concern of politicians. justice is a primary concern of judges.

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d4rk wrote

Economic Consequence, since most jobs would either be phased out due to tech or the voucher-central market system would be implemented, as a consequence everyone who works, earns, not on quality of work but by just working.

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Voucher based economics is a fucking shit idea. And especially in this context fucking abhorrent. If disabled people dont put in enough raw hours of labor they dont get medical care. Fucked up and ineffective.

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d4rk wrote

i'm pretty sure homes exist which also have workers. The system I'm envisioning is supposed to be post-corporate meaning that everybody even the disabled have a role to play, and i know not everyone can work and that "not everyone" is a minority. Enough of a minority for the system to still work.

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Y u edit?

Now ur comment dosnt make any sense.

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[deleted] wrote

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote (edited )

Damn, I just wanted u to elaborate on why u disagree so we can discuss market anarchist ideas for distributing necessary services and agree that vouchers are god awful.

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[deleted] wrote

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Nah it is kinda. They are referring to voucher based economics. Tho dark is a conservative anarchist so most of their takes are shit.

I like hearing new peoples opinions on stuff. I'll go easy on u dont worry. Would u want to talk about some of the strategies ur interested in to make the world less shitty?

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d4rk wrote

it's not voucher based economics since vouchers aren't money, its just a proof of contribution. the real economics happen coop to coop. Also, I'm against the free market as much as possible, individual humans allowing their libidinal desires to affect the scarcity of materials is immoral.

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Why should people do X amount of hours of work just to get healthcare?

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d4rk wrote

they don't, it's not measured, work is itself, defining humans in metric terms is kinda immoral in itself. Just working, everyone from the streamer to the sweeper get a voucher daily, with the exception of terminal morbidity or human inability, since they get their needs voucher-free.

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

I guess I just dont understand the whole voucher thing. It just seems like a convoluted way to get people to work.

Could u explain or link a resource that made u like the idea of vouchers?

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d4rk wrote

i just tweaked bakunin's idea since bakunin's theory was corporatist. so no resources on this version of vouchers for now.

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Ok, but why do you like it/ think it's an effective goal to work towards. What benefit is in having monetary value based on labor hours rather than value to others made and forcing people to work an arbitrary amount of time to live? Also who is deciding prices, controlling vouchers and deciding who's labor is valid to get vouchers?

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d4rk wrote (edited )

again, its not money. I don't value the idea of money as a way for people to work as I've outlined in another thread. The whole point of the central market system is full mobilization of all available resources. I also outlined that on an article of my own. Basically instead of money it is direct aid from one coop to another in terms of productive resources rather than monetary exchange value. The vouchers just mean you're a shareholder/worker in this enterprise and can use it however you want however it will affect the overall market.

A market in this instance is redefined from an exchange-based entity to a self serving ngo of sorts, it is comprised of coops that deal in and be ok with it. the vouchers give personal consumer freedom unknown to capitalism and the coops exchange towardly with homeostasis in mind,

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[deleted] wrote (edited )

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d4rk wrote

Full mobilization requires the absence of Capitalism and the state to fully "lubricate". Everyone does whatever they want and it's considered work. It isn't Utopian to think that people do things, to make things. It isn't utopian to think that not all people want money. However it is utopian to expect that people without that expertise can somehow spontaneously become the role they don't intend to. Although I do agree people can be things in an emergency, I do not believe they are professionals who can be trusted when real emergencies arrive. Can a riot medic surgically remove a bullet without either prior knowledge nor equipment? no..

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[deleted] wrote

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d4rk wrote

All I said was that Healthcare would be free as a consequence of economy, I don't know where whitey went with the discussion.

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RichOldWhiteMan wrote

Ah, vouchers are a medium which holds value and is used to exchange resources. How silly of me to confuse that with money.

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d4rk wrote

again, Vouchers do not have value, they are not exchanged, it is a proof of contribution. It's a receipt for your services. The exchanges are confined to the coops not longer to individuals.

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