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–1 vote
Just kind of a random hypothetical. I'm still a anarchist, this question isn't being asked in an antagonistic way. What if your home alone, you don't own a gun, and a psycho enters your house. Say maybe your neighbors don't own guns. Are you fucked?
Another question: Would you call the police if a killer entered your house now and you had no gun and your neighbors had no guns? The whole idea of police and calling on them for help rubs me the wrong way as a budding anarchist. I know this is a really dumb question and i'm sorry. I'm new to this anarchy thing. This site has been really respectful so far and I hope that it stay's that way. Thanks!
by (240 points)
i'd do everything in my power to get away if I felt threatened...I imagine the details of what that would entail would depend on the particular circumstances, how threatened I felt, how quickly I could react and think at the time, what assessments (if any) I could make regarding the other person's state of mind and intent, and so on.

I haven't called the police in any situation thus far in my life (50+ years), and I doubt I'd start now. if I could reach a phone and thought it would help, I'd likely call people I know (and I thought could help me) who live nearby...but again, it would all depend on the situation.
Thanks bornagainanarchist! I would like to pose another question: How would you feel about community run "Watch Groups" or something. Within your community, there would be a watch group, anyone can join, unless a majority has an objection to that person joining. Say they would set up a phone number like 911, or some other form of quick communication (maybe intercom or something as I don't know how one would go about setting up such a short number directly after anarchy is established, I guess we would have to sort that out later), and that one would call when feeling threatened, and would arrive at the area were someone was feeling threatened and detain the perpetrator. It would then be left up to the community to decide what would happen to the perpetrator. I feel a system like that would be fairer then our laughable current governmental system, as it would be controlled directly by the people of that community. Also, it would always be in the best interest of the community. What do you think?
my pleasure, Freed Thought.

i generally like your idea about having a network of people in a community who trust each other enough and desire to help out in times of crises (whether a stranger breaks into someone's home, a fire at the home, or any situation where people need immediate help).

i see the second part of your idea about "deciding what would happen to the perpetrator" as another topic, different from the initial question of what i would i do when the break in occurred. again, for me, it would depend on a lot of factors whether or not i thought something needed to "happen" to the person who broke into my house, what i would want to do, and who i would want having a say in the matter.

as far as "would it always be in the best interest of the community" question, i don't know how to answer that satisfactorily.
Thank you. I would have to think about the second part more. What do you think ought to happen to someone who broke into your house to kill/rape/rob you? What would be the next logical step if a community protection group doesn't end up killing the perpetrator? Thank you for your kindness and respect.
FreeTh:  This isn't a dumb question, it's one that keeps resurfacing; even if it was, there's no reason to apologize for asking it - we learn by asking questions, we learn more by trying to explain it to someone else (which forces us to admit we don't understand something nearly as well as i pretended).  Read through the Related Questions at the bottom of the page as well, they will have comments from people who may not be with us right now, and we benefit from breadth of discussion.

To the specifics of your question - we don't live in an anarchist society, and we aren't given the option of doing so; so everything we do to live is a compromise (ok, everyone has to compromise - we're just much more aware of that compromise and how much it sucks.)
Whether calling the cops would help is a different question altogether.  Despite a hundred years of propaganda and the vigorous efforts of Hollywood trying to make us all believe that "Mr. Policeman is there to protect you!", well he's not, they make an appearance to sort out the paperwork for the insurance companies and to keep the neighborhood from getting uppity and lynching some dumb bastard.  If someone _really_ wants to kill you (or steal your car, or...) then he will and will be long gone before any cop bothers to darken your doorstep.  They aren't gonna protect you - that's not their job.  (Doesn't mean i wouldn't call them for backup if i thought i had to, but i'd ask for an ambulance first.)

Bo@::  excellent discussion, as usual.
I really like the idea of neighborhood/community responding to its own emergencies - especially first aid, fire and rescue, basic counselling and conflict resolution,...  (yeah, i'm having an attack of unfounded optimism, sigh.)
Thanks clodbuster! That's what I started to think a little while after I asked, we are bound by the shackles of our society and government and sometime we must do things we normally wouldn't do under an ideal, anarchic society. Thank you for your respect and intelligent answer.
thanks, clodbuster. i enjoy reading your comments, even those with a dash of optimism. :)

1 Answer

+1 vote
This is kinda similar to clodbuster's comment, but I am taking it on a tangent:

Probably I'm fucked. I'd still fight back. Not having guns doesn't mean I don't have other weapons, nor does it mean I can't either retreat or resist.

As to your deeper question about cop calling, I think it is better problematized not in a first-person scenario, but in thinking about if I knew that the person I care most about was taken against their will (my child, partner, elderly parent etc.) Would I call the cops then? I think this is very different than questions about people shoplifting from anarchist book stores or being pied at a book fair (or even calling the cops because someone robbed your house).

The answer is maybe so. If I thought someone was in danger in a way that I could not intervene, and that the current reality was that there were cops and laws (and that we live in a mass society where we often have few real relationships with our actual neighbors) I might just call the cops. I would hate it. I would hate myself for it, and I wouldn't trust them to resolve it in a way that sat well with me, but if I felt like I had no other options, I would quite possibly do so. I would like to think I'd find them first (and the voice in my head asks me, "and then what?" - and I don't know the answer), but we don't live in an action movie or a utopian anarchist society, and as much as I don't like it, that is reality.
by (22.1k points)
edited by
"questions about people shoplifting from anarchist book stores or being pied at a book fair (or even calling the cops because someone robbed your house). "

Oh my shit... X-D These questions seem to always come back in anarchist circles all around the world.

What if I'm a poor person, and have been exploited by the anarchist bookshop that employed and fired me, and then I steal non-anarchist books from them (because such stores, even self-managed, always have non-anarchist books : right ?) : is it fair ? ;-)
Okapy - I think stealing from a place that screwed you over, whatever their stated politics or ideology, is totally understandable. There are certainly folks who equate anarchist with good, and so anything that might hurt what is deemed anarchist is bad in their minds, but that is definitely not my take on it. While I am not likely to start shoplifting from my local anarchist book store, I hardly think that doing so would somehow endanger the entire milieu.

Part of what I was trying to get at with my answer is the ugly places where beliefs and real life crash in to each other. The reason I dismissed scenarios where it is an anarchist setting or where it is just me (and my things - replaceable) is that this creates a larger dilemma to think about. I don't have kids, so I don't know how it would feel to know that one of them was in trouble and I couldn't help them. I can imagine that I might in that or similar situations feel like adhering to strict ideology (ie never call the cops) would feel less important than doing whatever I could and leveraging whatever tools to get that person out of trouble. Again, I don't know. I haven't (and hope I never am) faced with this situation (other than when it is the cops themselves endangering those people I care about - again, a much simpler scenario to suss out).
I'm sorry because I think I was making fun of a serious question. But I think it's because I'm getting quite tired of reading often the same questions coming back from anywhere. It feels like most of people living with a "citizen mentality" (there is no despite in my words, just trying to picture the situation), especially in western world (as far as I'm concerned) are sooo dependant to State institutions (also because they desperatly trust in it, even there is no reason to do so) that they almost forget they can fight back if they are attacked, they can kill if they reasonnably think someone's threatning their lives, etc. It feels to me that we are often reduced to be like domesticated big sad dogs who would just have forget we have teeth, and that we can incidentally use it when we feel it's necessary.

That being said, I'm also not a "dogmatic" anarchist, and in the risk of choking some people right there, I don't think that "calling the cops" is the worst thing that can happen ever. I would say that I would highly advise against calling them in any possible situation, but in very specific case : when it's this or being killed (for example), I couldn't juge someone who did it : especially if it's a comrad, or someone I know would not have done it if there were any other possible solution. As I'm against prison, but also against people letting themselves killed or even being threatening of death...

I don't want to talk about specific situations or give exemples because I guess anyone can picture him/herself how you can find yourself in such a situation.

And I also hate the fact that some people are using the fact that most anarchists or even "simple people" who just hate the cops won't ever call them to commit abuse or threatening. IDK if you see what I mean, but to me it's a known fact that scumbags viciously benefit of the temporary disorganisation of poor people, and of the hatred of police so as to behave like little capitalist scavengers : looting you, beating you, exploiting you, killing you.

Of course it's not the police that's going to put an end to this. I think that it should be intersting to think about something like a form non-authoritarian collective selfdefense. I'm not suggesting anything like "militias" or leninist-alike stuff like this but I'm thinking of an exemple I was told by a friend who used to live in greece.

In the district where they were living, there is a lot of revolutionnary, anarchists and anti-authoritarians, and so they basically organize several open assemblies every week. Of course these assemblies were (and maybe are still) discussing about problems concerning social struggles and stuff, but they also were opened to daily life problems people face. So basically, a friend was regularly threatened and harassed by someone living in the building. So they just decided to make a group of people to go talk to that guy and told him that if he didn't stop, he was going to be in serious trouble. And then the friend never heard about him again. I'm not feeling very confortable with any kind of "popular justice" practices, but I think it's an intersting alternative to calling the cops when you can't defend by yourself. The think is that it requires a bit of organisation and strong ethics. By that I mean trying to priviledge de-escalation techniques rather than transforming any conflict into a little civil war.
Okapy - We seem to agree here. The issue might be in the choosing (on my part) of particular examples of flippant police-calling (i.e. state-reliance) that are specific to contexts I am part of (West coast North America... we have lots of circular and boring debates about this shit here...)
I think this kind of boring debates are taking place everywhere in the world and maybe epsecially in western europe and USA in anarchist (or even some so-called revolutionnary) circles and movements.

Until there is no police ! ;)
kill the cop in your head!
That's a good start. At least, I'm not going to prison for this one. :-D