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Can you have money and still be an anarchist?

+1 vote
Hi,

Is it possible to have a high-income and yet be an anarchist?
asked Oct 5, 2016 by Holden Rye
read those links from dot and baa.

there is no reason someone with a higher income can't be an anarchist. the ethical quagmires they might have to explore could be complicated, and the chance that they will end up prioritizing their income level and standard living over their politics is greater than if someone perhaps didn't have as much to lose if everything falls apart.

That said, Kropotkin and Bakunin were both from well-to-do families. Berkman's family was middle class. Many folks from middle class backgrounds are drawn to anarchism (myself, for example). Some people who have wealth leverage it to further their aims as anarchists.
Money only has value because the guy with the gun tells you what its worth. Pretty anarchistic if you ask me.
I use my privledge so that I can work very little, but the issue with my strategy so far is that it's a pretty aimless life. I don't currently have any grand plans.
" I don't currently have any grand plans."

given your handle here, isn't that kind of a given? :-)

do you have no strong desires for where/how you would like to live or things you would like to do? are there no places/beings/activities that bring you joy? those are the kinds of basic questions i'd be asking myself. and then i'd be doing what i can to realize those desires/joys.

eg: long ago, i realized that not only do i despise most things about modern human existence, but there is nothing i am capable of doing that can possibly change that. depressing, no question. but i finally realized that what i wanted was to be as disconnected as possible from all that i despise. which required me to create a life for myself where i was as self sufficient as i could be (given constraints of age, resources, relationships, desires, etc). i have been doing that ever since (and will be till i kick it), and i have never enjoyed my life more. part of my journey was letting go of the idea that my life has to have some "meaning" outside of whatever meaning i choose to give it in any given moment. including NO meaning at all.
funky, I completely resonate with what you say. I too disconnect myself from people who like to control me and all the alienating things that go on in politics, like during the last election I payed as little attention to it as I could, and if I talked about it it would be in encouragement of feeling hopeless about both options.

However, I am entirely unable to completely disconnect myself from the system, and I still have desires to change "the world" as dellusional as that is. There are plently of things I enjoy doing, and I would like to do them better. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is still a hole that I'm trying to fill, I'm still trying to figure out what it means to live well. Currently, im very strongly feeling that we all need to figure out how to better integrate what goes on in our heads and what we do with out bodies, or atleast, i need to figure out how to better integrate what goes on in my head with what i do with my body
nihilist: i doubt anybody is able to completely disconnect themselves from "the system". and i would say having desires to change the world makes a lot of sense in today's world; it is when they become expectations that disappointment and depression are sure to follow. your own life is ultimately the only thing you have control over - and even that is hugely limited by the system. but at least you have a starting point for change, if that is truly what you want.

i agree that the chasm between theory/thought and action is far too massive for most of us. part of that is imposed by the system, but part is also within our own control. it is, for me, about understanding what i want, and setting my priorities accordingly. of course that changes over time.

I'm with you Nihilist. It is refreshing to read real-life, real-time emotions and experiences of fellow amateur truth-seekers. Money was always a motivation for me; not that I wanted money, per se, but I wanted to do something meaningful, and I saw one's profit as a reflection of the value of one's existence.

In recent years, however, my business has gone from highly unprofitable to fairly profitable. And yet I find it completely, utterly unsatisfying. Like you, Nihilist, I could afford to stop working altogether right now, and that is a very disturbing feeling. I don't want to grow my business because that would require hiring an employee, and I am morally very strongly opposed to employment. 

Since I consider money a means of communication to encourage those one appreciates, I can't just give it away. Nothing is more degrading than welfare and charity in my opinion. People want to earn respect.

The way I've decided to deal with it is by the unusual tactic of paying my business/trading partners much more than than they expect or ask for.  It is fascinating to see what happens. Some people take you as naive and suck you dry; others respond in kind, and an odd negotiation takes place where each party insists the other takes more.

This will, of course, run my business into the ground. But anyway, struggle is more fun than success.

(so now I've got the tax auditors on my ass; they don't seem to understand what I'm doing!)

syrphant, i have repeatedly said how much i disagree with your overall perspective on life, and also how i still find you rather interesting and someone i would like to meet.

i will add to that: while i have strong aversions to your motivations, you demonstrate (according to your words) a kind of integrity that i can definitely appreciate.

lol!!!! re the auditors not getting it...

1 Answer

0 votes
when money is a means and not an end to a philosophical position it serves a valid purpose ...  $$$  used in anti capitalist anti statist ways should be the defining arbiter of any individual commitment to freedom ... freedom by nature does not entail security ($$$) ... the system must be manipulated before it can be weakened and dismantled ... the best means to dismantle and weaken the system can be the same the tools that are employed by the system to contract individual choices ... risk is attendant to such a commitment but the accumulation or possession of $$$ can veil a higher purpose
answered Oct 19, 2016 by jack pot (310 points)
I like jack pot's answer, and probably should just comment on it, but I could use a good down-vote and I know how much dot enjoys demoting answers to comments; so I'm raising the stakes and charging in balls-out with my own answer ;) (you're welcome dot)

I propose that the concept of money is corrupted by anyone who uses money as anything other than a form of communication.  Unfortunately, it seems not many people look at money in the only way I think it should be viewed, so, yeah, the money in circulation today is pretty much fully corrupted and I long for its replacement by new money freely printed by any individual as a promise to deliver a product of his/her labor to the bearer of the note.

Money only makes sense if one accepts the idea of property. For me, legitimate property is pure embodiment of labor, the only things people can reasonably claim to own and therefore trade.  Money is, in theory, a pretty good way to barter among multiple individuals and give credit by deferring fulfillment of some parts of the complex barter transaction.

Individuals can print and circulate their own money. It's still money; the value of the notes depends on the value of its issuer's products and its issuer's credibility to supply said products in the future. Frankly, I think "having" money issued by governments and backed by property that is at best imaginary and at worse stolen is stupid. However, "using" that money to communicate with exchange partners seems no different than using words or body odors ;), at least for the moment.

I predict we'll soon see a massive rise in alternative forms of communication to facilitate complex labor exchanges. Because state money is just too unfairly distributed and corrupted to serve its purpose much longer.

To sum it up: an anarchist can accept the notion of legitimate property --> can accept the notion of exchange value --> can accept the notion of money as a way to communicate exchange value --> "has" money to the extent he or she has the ability to labor and credibility in commitments --> doesn't need state money --> might as well use it to communicate with others until it becomes totally worthless to everyone

I've changed my mind about taxes lately. I felt like taxation was theft. Now I think giving people state money in exchange for real labor is theft. So if the worthless services of the government want to be paid for in worthless currency that's fine with me. I will try to move towards creating my own damn currency. I'm going to try to move as close as possible to barter.
edit: i made a mistake. you should make your post an answer again (SORRY!)

changing posts from answers to comments is not a demotion. it is a recognition of whether the post answers the question (even badly, in which case it gets downvoted, perhaps) or not.
 

continuing edit: actually, i made a mistake. (i'd re-answerify it, but then it would look like my answer). sorry. i should be kept from the keyboard until after i finish my tea... :(
Let's zero-in on an important word in the question: have.

A good answer might resemble the old saying "you can't have your cake and eat it, too."

Whether income or money, the relation to anarchy is in its control by authority. It seems to me that someone who strongly dislikes the conventions and symbols of authority would seek to use it, not have it, not need it and certainly not be dependent on it.
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