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What do anarchists think of state-funded organizations and programs meant to help build communities?

+4 votes
The example that brought this question to mind:
My city funds community gardens in various areas around town, mostly in low-income areas where many Hispanics, as well as Somalian and Burmese refugees live. A plot of land (nothing too big) is set aside by the city for a neighborhood block or sometimes a whole neighborhood, and the plot is farmed throughout the summer (I am unsure as to what determines if someone can farm there and how much each farmer gets). I will admit that it does fulfill its purpose of bringing local residents together and helps to integrate and mesh the refugees' cultures with other ones here, and most of the organizing is done voluntarily and more or less horizontally, but is this something anarchists should participate in? Or should anarchists work without any help from the state?
asked Feb 23, 2013 by anonymous

2 Answers

+4 votes
this argument comes up a lot (at least *i* think it's a similar argument) in relation to schools.
"i had a good teacher once, who introduced me to anarchy, so some teachers are ok." for example. or sometimes "i am a good teacher, i introduce anarchist principles and talk about anarchists to my students."
or - to be a bit more inflammatory - "that policeman just stopped me from getting raped."

good things occasionally come in limited circumstances from state-run and -controlled situations.
but

a) the state is contributing as a way to maintain power (whether the actors in the state realize it or not), and

b) people coming to rely on the state for things that they could do more easily if the state weren't in the way, is exactly one of the ways that we are manipulated into not depending on ourselves.
answered Feb 28, 2013 by dot (50,590 points)
–1 vote
"but is this something anarchists should participate in? Or should anarchists work without any help from the state?"

Seems to me like a great way to meet the neighbors, have some fun, and build community, while providing a stepping stone to inspire others into organizing the same project and similar without the state. It also sounds like a great place to bounce around some ideas like food justice and mutual aid.
answered Mar 10, 2013 by formyinformation (2,500 points)
I'm really curious about the downvotes... would anyone mind explaining?

Maybe I should have mentioned that dot's analysis was great but that I feel like if you didn't participate because anarchists don't support the state, you'd be wasting an opportunity to connect and inform in order to shed the state. Act as a virus within it.
I suspect your answer was downvoted due to the "stepping stone" theory of social engagement. Any activity sponsored by a governmental agency is bound not to encourage anything like you want, despite your best intentions.
Thanks lawrence. Admittedly I can't speak from experience here. I wonder if you or others could? I think I'll make this into a related question actually.
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