So when I was seventeen or so I started thinking a lot about legitimate authority, I couldn’t see any real justification for it beyond force theory, read up on theories of law, and only found weak and convoluted justifications for the state/authority. I eventually rejected the idea of government as arbitrary and inherently violent, but didn’t really have an alternative.
I had some friends who were libertarians, (modern right wing, not classical libertarians,) and tried that on for a few years. I read some of the literature, including the popular stuff like Rand, but I always found most an-Cap logic to be pretty circular and self-defeating even while I ID’d as one. Not to mention I’m incredibly socially liberal and the conservative undertones in the movement bothered me. During this time I started reading philosophy, some individualistic stuff, and the longer I was a libertarian the more I stepped away from being an Anarcho-Capitalist and towards just a general anti-state Anarchist. I stayed in this limbo, leaning towards different philosophies back and forth, for two or three years.
Volunteerism intrigued me for a bit, though I figured, (not just by personal rationalization but stuff I’d read, of course,) that a lot of the Voluntarist models made government replacements look like insurance companies. This didn’t bother me for a while, until I realized what shit-bags insurance companies are. I eventually agreed that modeling government replacements, (where/when/if such replacements are necessary,) after decentralized, confederate unions focused on their own communities was a better system.
I had socialist sympathies and believed that A. everyone has a right to live and B. people are entitled to their own production. The latter was something I’d strongly believed since I was a teenager, but I was deluded into thinking the best way to obtain that was through the free market. (I believed the free market was the most efficient way to solve economic problems, since things could evolve and compete organically like evolution. Eventually I learned more about evolution and holy shit! Evolution is inefficient as fuck, favoring expedient solutions that very rarely result in longevity for the mutated species. Most mutations are detrimental. It wasn't terribly hard to learn where and how Capitalism creates incredible waste, too.)
The real sticking point that pushed me into seriously considering communism was my inability to find any legitimate principle to justify the owning of land. I could justify owning a shirt. Person A makes the shirt, Person B provides a good or service of equal value and trades it for the shirt. That seemed like legitimate exchange to me. But nobody makes land or natural resources. From Rothbard to Hume, every justification for land ownership boiled down to a complicated justification for empiricism. ‘I have the power to take and/or colonialize the land, so I do it.’
Questions of land ownership in part lead to my initial disillusionment with right wing libertarianism in general. (That and the question, ‘the government is just a giant corporation, and aren’t corporations just microcosms of government?) Anyway, if I owned land, couldn’t I make any laws I wished on that land, and force compliance of kick someone off my land? And wouldn’t all land eventually be claimed, each with its own laws, and the only advantage of ‘free capitalism’ over monarchy to a non-land owner is you might be able to choose your king?
This lead to a new understanding of means of production in general that I don’t need to go into, suffice it to say it is fairly typical communist rhetoric. Any sentiment I had towards Capitalism I threw off, and now hold that like Leninism, Capitalism is another name for Feudalism, where the proletariat is the surf and the Lord is the corporation, (in Capitalism,) or the State, (in Leninism.)
I believe strongly in self-determination of all people’s, and visualize a world where individual communities govern themselves, and within those communities individuals govern themselves as well, without a central economy or political structure. Social justice is important to me as well, I think all hierarchal structures that inform society are intertwined, and in my mind fighting patriarchal and white supremacist and heteronormative norms counts as legitimate Anarchistic work even if that work doesn’t center anti-government or financial socialist values.
Perhaps I am less radical than some others, in that I don’t really mind if some communities want to do things I don’t like, like work vouchers, or even have people willingly cooperate to create social structures similar to a modern business. I wouldn’t try and stop that sort of enterprise as long as exploitative contracts aren’t binding. If someone truly does want to subjugate themselves under someone else in some work or religion project, as long as the subjugated individual can leave at any time without penalty, and the means of production are freely available so the subjugated person isn’t coerced into finding a new master after leaving, I see no non-violent means to stop such an affiliation. That doesn’t mean I’m pro-hierarchy, but people who choose to treat someone else as superior can’t be stopped from doing that.
I also figure that in a post-State society there would still be order to the distribution of goods, with trade unions and individual laborers directing the flow of their own product rather than anyone just taking what they feel they can use. For this to work would require the populace to have a different mentality than what most people have today. Ideally, it would develop into a gift/need based economy built on communism principles, but I recognize this could also turn into something akin to medieval debt economies if manipulated.
I’m sure even in such a world there would be people similar to capitalists in that they would accumulate wealth as traders who travel from community to community and keep a cut of traded goods. But as long as they never leveraged that to seize means of production or natural resources, I wouldn’t have anything against such a person. Though I would find it to be an odd way to live one’s life in a post Capitalist world.
For the last year and a half or two years I’ve said I was a socialist when asked, but even some close friends and family probably don’t know that, or else didn’t know it until I became more political vocal about a year ago in response to fascism.
So, yeah, point being, I’m still relatively young as a true Anarchist, (since I was a pro-Capitalist pseudo-Anarchist for a while,) and am wondering what schools y’all would recommend I research next? Either because, “You sound like X type of Anarchist, you’d like this,” or even to challenge my ideas or point me to a school I may have never heard of.