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0 votes
If there is no government or police force we are all left to fend for ourselves, right? So, what would stop someone from stabbing me, stealing my wallet, and running away other than myself? That is the one glaring problem of anarchy to me. Please explain.
You know you're an anarchist when people are asking you how you plan to resolve and mediate violence and crime more often than they do the police.


2 Answers

+1 vote
One of the many critiques of anarchist theory is that it lacks a solid constitutional framework for individuals to use as a reference to live and organize within society at large. This is not to suggest that theoreticians of anarchist ideas were/are naive to the problems and challenges society had/has to contend with or anarchist sympathizers (in general) promote chaos and/or lawlessness. On the contrary, by investigating the various anarchist "schools of thought" such as anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, anarcho-capitalism etc, there are a plethora of ideas and theories on how to deal with crime. Here lies the beauty of anarchism.

One of the fundamental principles of anarchism suggests that central authoritarian rule is immoral and should be replaced with non-hierarchically based organizations and voluntary associations.  Within this framework, individual members of society will have to bare the responsibility of solving the major issue of crime in a dialogical manner. Let's not forget, unless a policy which allows for the extermination of sympathizers of the pre-revolutionary society were to unfold, social organization would include criminal experts, lawyers, statisticians, criminal psychologists, judges, police etc and clearly their expertise would be of great importance in solving the issues of crime.

Obviously, crime is a very difficult problem. A problem that most if not all cultures and societies have yet to solve conclusively and so there should be little reason to believe anarchism could provide a panacea. However, dialogical analysis could suggest solutions and alternatives to state authorized capital punishment, high rates of incarceration, unauthorized police force, crime due to mental illness, domestic abuse, capital crimes, drug related crimes, serial crimes etc.

Some believe that crime prevention through education and social development would be an obvious byproduct of an anarchist society. Although not ideal, police may have a very limited mandate in order to protect individual rights. Violent individuals may be treated using the latest psychological and neurological techniques as opposed to simple methods of incarceration. Petty crimes and personal safety may be dealt with on a community level. Justice and the law of the land would protect civil liberties.

The problems and solutions are truly limitless. It has become very hard for the laymen to understand the scope of the issues and their respective solutions but this may be the result of the transfer of reason and responsibility to the system of central authority. Clearly, governmental individual members of society engineer policy, however, within a completely different system such as anarchy, those same expert resources would be needed to tackle the issues at hand.

This answer is intentionally vague in the spirit of critical consciousness (as opposed to conclusive, irrationally biased, authoritarian opinion).
by (150 points)
edited by
+1 vote
What I find frustrating about these kinds of questions is that they imply our current carceral system has solved crime.  How do politicians, police and judges deal with crime?  The answer is a criminal justice system that simply doesn't work.  It fails to protect the safety of individuals and it fails in reforming criminals.

As far as stabbing you and running away, nothing can really stop this and I'm sorry if this happens to you.  This can happen in any kind of society, but the chances of this happening in a community without poverty and alienation is probably much less.
by (250 points)
This is a very good question, in our current society crimes are solved by punishing criminals but, the question is: what do we seek with the criminal justice system? answer: (in a perfect society) we would seek to prevent the crime from happening again and educating to the person who commited the crime to be a person of society and not an anti-social, but in our current state we seek another goal: vengance, vengance of society taking the liberty from the criminal, punishing him, making him even more anti-social, "vengance only creates more vengance", so we already know that prisons and punishments are not the solucion.
        crime is the illness of the society and it should be erradicated just like any other desease with a vacine (education, healthy environment, equallity) that is the solution, i know it may seem a bit utopic but it isn't at all.

edited to make a comment