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which occupations would be the most compatible with anarchy+which occupations would be the least compatible?

+3 votes
I know no jobs would be compatible with anarchy but surely some would be more compatible than others(for example being a cop is particularly incompatible as is being a CEO).
asked Dec 23, 2015 by anonymous

4 Answers

0 votes
Pretty much anything not having to do with controlling other people
answered Dec 23, 2015 by anarchistterror (370 points)
+2 votes
For me, any job would be in conflict with my values as an anarchist, as it would only be something I did due to the economic constraints of capitalism. As such, it is hard to say what is most "compatible" with being an anarchist.

Some of the jobs I see anarchists holdling commonly include: working in social services (homeless or dv shelters & drop-ins, etc), non-profits (environmental/human rights oriented stuff), healthcare (alternative medicine, nurses, EMT's, etc), education & childcare (pre-school teachers, nannies, the dreaded ivory tower...), tech industry (programmers and whatever else people int he tech industry do), food service (kitchen, waitstaff, delivery), bike messengers, sex work, and crime.

I used to know a lot more folks who did union work (either they saw working in a unionized industry as connected to their anarchism, or they worked as union organizers), but that was a long time ago at this point. Not that they aren't out there (I have friends who still do this stuff), but I think the idea of organized labor as somehow being anything other than another locus of recuperation to capital is pretty well dead.

The two common threads I see are people choosing roles where they can at least feel good about how their work impacts other people, or choosing employment where they have a relative degree of freedom (either because the job is disposable or because they have a lot of freedom/autonomy to define their limits of their role, the hours, are their own boss, or operate beyond any legal oversight). Honestly, in my opinion none of these potential benefits means that you aren't still trading in your freedom for a certain degree of capitalist-provided comfort.
answered Dec 23, 2015 by ingrate (20,130 points)
I would be really curious to see an answer from someone who tends to the more red (anarcho-syndicalist or anarcho-communist) side of the rainbow on this question. It seems like a couple more recent contributors might tend that way without totally Lantzing the conversation.

I also didn't address least compatible, though probably cop, politician, prison guard, and soldier are good starting places on that piece...
there are a number of threads here that i would love to see red participation on, but when they come (and before they get chased off), those are not the places they seem to linger.

as for "least compatible"-- i agree except for the story that vietnam vets coming back were what really made the 60s what they were (as far as they went). ie there is some thought that getting into positions where the skills learned are of a certain sort might be where rebels could make more of a difference (or a different kind of difference).

of course, it's truly difficult to get very far along that road. but still, a thought.

"...the story that vietnam vets coming back were what really made the 60s what they were"

that sounds like perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but no doubt some vets came back with very different perspectives, and some very useful skills. 

hayduke lives!

'without totally Lantzing the conversation'

ingrate, that made me giggle a bit. they've now become descriptor for communicative malfunction.

'i would love to see red participation on, but when they come (and before they get chased off)'

dot, fwiw, for my part i'm working on just this, that is, more empathy for where folks come from. in everyday living i often find it easier than online. for those of you who went through leftist dogmatism it must be difficult sometimes as well. for me, i didn't realize how deeply reaction became embodied.

It's a weird balance - I refuse to pull punches or mediate my perspective just to accommodate someone whose views I disagree with (especially when there is a seeming history of bad faith there - is it weird that that seems to be 50/50 split between ancaps and reds?). On the other hand, I truly think that our conversations could be deepened by perspectives that fall outside of the green/anti-civ/post-left/anti-left/nihilist/egoist fields most of us here seem to plow (that was a bad joke about domestication, in case you missed it).
AF and ingrate: :)

fwiw, it occurs to me that the kind of people who are likely to search out a site like this and espouse their beliefs in the face of many who disagree with them are probably also more likely to act like they know all the answers, and not have time for our disagreements. (i will call this the bob black effect.)

but maybe some day we'll get a lapsed red who will answer all our questions.
a kid can dream...
0 votes
I think, as is hinted before, the jobs least compatible with anarchism are those that involve controlling people, cops, managers, manipulative business people, ect.....In the legal system, anything where you act on behalf of the state would certainly be hypocritical to do as an anarchist.

the part about which jobs are "more consistent with anarchy" is a little trickier to decide, it always depends...but I think running a business without people working under you in a hierarchy (for example, making art and selling it, making your own commodities) would be something that would be more consistent with anarchy than most other jobs, because your acting entirely on a voluntary basis and you don't have to act against your principles when you don't want to.
answered Dec 24, 2015 by anonymous

"because your acting entirely on a voluntary basis and you don't have to act against your principles when you don't want to"

hard to imagine an anarchist running their own business (even without employees) and NOT acting against their principles.  

if your going to criticize my post i would appreciate it if you included some details; i would like to point out again, im talking about someone who's entirely self-employed, who does not hire people to work for them, and who actually does the work to make the things he's selling rather than taking advantage of a situation to make money off the backs of other people.

also, i feel that most of us here think that working for money is by itself contradictory to anarchist principles, so im including this example as something i feel is more anarchistic than other forms of work

that wasn't intended as a criticism (you sound a bit defensive there, rs666), just challenging one particular comment you made.

an anarchist acting in a capitalist world, engaging in the capitalist concept of self-employment, is not likely to be acting entirely voluntarily, and is likely to be acting against some of their principles.

did i misunderstand you?
i just would rather that since you were "challenging" my comment (which i don't understand how that's any different from criticizing it) then I would like you to tell me why, im no stranger to people disagreeing with me

and to further challenge your line of reasoning, i don't understand how its possible to act entirely voluntary in the world of work in general, it exists within the world of capitalists...but the difference is that if your working entirely for yourself you don't necessarily have to lose all your livelihood on the flip of a switch just because you displeased someone like when you work for someone else

obviously we are not on the same page. oh well.

" i don't understand how its possible to act entirely voluntary in the world of work in general, it exists within the world of capitalists"

that is exactly the point i was making. it is not possible, not even for the self-employed. the quote of yours that i was challenging said the opposite, unless i have completely misunderstood.

working for oneself can have definite benefits, including some you mentioned. but it also can have drawbacks, and one of them is that you are never truly working just for yourself, not if you expect to be paid (or get some value exchange) for whatever it is you produce/provide; and/or if you do not have free access to all the resources you need to produce/provide. you are now smack dab in the middle of definitively capitalist relations, on your own.

i think the expectation of having more freedom as your own boss, is often (but surely not always, maybe not even the majority of the time) far more promising than the reality. even from an anarchist perspective.

curious: do you see any disagreement with you as criticism? edit: i am not trying to be a wise-ass, it's a serious query. challenge, question, disagree, critique, criticize, ... these are words that all carry a thread of commonality, but there are some useful and nuanced differences.

the confusion that i had was that i felt the premise of this whole discussion was that we are comparing which jobs are least anarchist to which that are more anarchist, and when i said "entirely voluntary" i meant that you can't get fired and that you have total control over the general actions of your business. I'm perfectly aware that running a business can end up enslaving you more than a full time job if your not careful, and especially if you just jump into something

but i guess the idea of total autonomy and acting totally voluntary  even in a world that can be considered anarchistic is illusory, no? You still will have to contend with social pressures to a certain extent.

"curious: do you see any disagreement with you as criticism? edit: i am not trying to be a wise-ass, it's a serious query. challenge, question, disagree, critique, criticize, ... these are words that all carry a thread of commonality, but there are some useful and nuanced differences."

well, as in a situation such as this one where the forum really only exists as an intellectual discussion, then pretty much yes. I don't like it when people express disapproval of what i say but then don't tell me why, even in real life, perhaps even more so in real life...there were times in the past when people have downvoted my answers but didn't respond to them at all and that made me pretty angry...

i guess another problem is i generally just feel a certain level of hostility and paranoia in general, and i feel to a certain extent that i need to guard myself from attack, i mean, people often don't like to make themselves vulnerable anyways

 

+1 vote
Since the question mentioned  job and didn't specify on what is meant by a job, then I'm gonna say panhandling. A job can just be an activity one does and doesn't necessarily imply employment. Panhandling is considered a job and involves nothing more than sitting/standing there with or without a cup and/or sign, and gives a degree of freedom.
answered Dec 24, 2015 by human (3,800 points)
i don't see panhandling as much different from any other kind of working for yourself (ie it mostly provides the same benefits and drawbacks). really all these things have been addressed in previous threads about work, but just to state it here, working for others allows you to resist your boss, which is harder to do when your bosses are all your clients (working for yourself means you have more bosses, not fewer).
It basically is the same as working for yourself. ;)
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