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+1 vote
Particularly for free-market anarchists or left libertarians, but for anarcho-communists as well: what is the proposed mechanism which would prevent a local coal deposit from being exploited?
by (220 points)
Why are you people downvoting this question? What don't you like about it?
I downvoted because your use of "free-market anarchist" and "left libertarian" versus "anarcho-communist" led me to believe that you're an anarcho-capitalist (or at least influenced by anarcho-capitalist ideas) and are using the phrase "anarcho-communist" to refer to all tendencies within anarchism, i.e. anti-capitalist anti-authoritarians.

That and the fact that I don't find prefiguration all that interesting most of the time.
I'm not an anarcho-capitalist. But what if I was? Does that somehow invalidate the question? Note also that I think the question is much harder to answer for pro-market anarchists - I think possibly even to the point where it might serve as a refutation.

Excuse my conflation of anti-market anarchism as anarcho-communism...nobody answer the question, since I used loose language.

I'm not sure what you mean by prefiguration. If by that you mean "how things would actually work post-anarchy" I think you're dead wrong not to be interested in it. Do you propose we work toward a society that can't possibly work? Are we not obligated to take a look at all the implications?
If someone self-identifies as an anarcho-capitalist or makes use of lines of thought or language that gives me such an impression, yes, I'm much less likely to be interested in what they have to say or ask.

To be fair, I'm bitter after a long stream of moronic arguments on the internet between various radical sects, and thus less likely to even bother interacting with concepts that I see as being rooted in some ideology that I hate.

As for the question of how things would work post-anarchy, I'm afraid I'm one of those anarchists that is much more concerned about why and how I would like things to be different in the present, as opposed to making detailed predictions about the micro-level functioning of a hypothetical future anarchist society.
Please let me elaborate on the question.

Suppose you had a coal mine in the possession of a worker co-op. The members of the co-op make their living from the produce of this coal mine.

Nobody can tell the co-op what to do with their mine, ex hypothesi. Furthermore, they can't decide to stop up the mine and prevent anyone else from exploiting it, for as soon as they give up working possession of the mine they give up any property rights they had through their utilization of it, also ex hypothesi. Another co-op or group could therefore move in and begin to exploit the mine.

It would appear therefore that in the absence of a world-wide agreement on a moratorium on coal-mining - which, again ex hypothesi, no worker or group of workers would be bound by - the mine is doomed to be exploited, against the best interests of mankind and therefore the workers themselves.

So again I ask, in all sincerity, and with the utmost desire to see some form of social anarchism succeed: what precise mechanism would prevent exploitation of the world commons against the best interests of the commoners?

2 Answers

+2 votes
As a green anarchist I imagine some form of direct action in defense of biological and ecological communities would prevent further fossil fuel extraction, such as the current blockades by indigenous and others of the Tar Sands projects and others. Perhaps in some communities it would be a norm of mass civil disobedience, and in others something more like arson, and in still others something more like sabotage by the workers, all of this targeting either transportation access to the deposits or extraction and refinement facilities themselves, or the corporate or state social infrastructure required to facilitate overall production.

The Movement For the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, a not anarchist but still relevant tendency in Niger, has reduced fossil fuel output by about 20 using fourth generation warfare styled speedboat attacks on Shell pipelines that were horrendously polluting the landbases and making them uninhabitable for the locals.
by (8.9k points)
Peter Gelderloos attempted an anarchist-without-adjectives type response to this in "An Anarchist Solution to Global Warming"
Thank you for your responses. Note though that I'm not looking for answers to "what should anarchists be doing right now" but rather a theoretical concern about the commons. Apologies if I've misunderstood your answer.
0 votes
Anarchists realize that ecological impacts are more fundamental to human existence than economic transactions could ever be (collectivist, market-based or whatever else). Many ecologically minded people (some anarchists, many not) have intentionally done things to disrupt the economic feasibility of resource exploitation or otherwise hinder such operations. Anarchists utilize a variety of means, from "precise mechanisms" to blunt instruments. The only way to find out what works is to try.
by (6.1k points)