Natural disasters–what would an anarchist do?

In every major catastrophe such as that now confronting New Zealand we see images like these.



Now I can’t even begin to imagine what The Anarchist Guide to Natural Disaster Relief and Management would look like. Can anyone? Does this not reveal that anarchism is merely the ultimate pie in the sky, a political philosophy that is, when it comes down to it, no more than self-indulgence stretched to the point of absurdity?

This guy had a go at defending the proposition: In Praise of Anarchy.

This site asks the right questions.

I personally believe that Anarchy is a utopian ideal which cannot be reached. The following questions reflect why I am skeptical of a stateless society.

1) How would a stateless society deal with an invasion by an organized army ?

2) How would a Stateless society deal with famine or plague?

3) How would a stateless society deal with environmental disasters like the recent one involving British Petroleum ?

4) How would a stateless society deal with ethnic/religious/cultural tensions ?

5 ) How would a stateless society deal with natural disasters like hurricanes,tornadoes, etc ?

6) How would a stateless society deal with organized crime ?



6 thoughts on “Natural disasters–what would an anarchist do?

  1. I’m as ignorant about anarchism as the next person, but have bookmarked something I overheard 40 odd years ago. I was waiting in line for the magistrate to hear my Conscientious Objection case. The man ahead of me was applying for CO status on the grounds that he was an anarchist. The prosecuting counsel (not the correct term, but you know who I mean) asked some of these questions. The young anarchist surprised me and the equally unlearned counsel by citing chapter and verse for why his kind of anarchism would certainly have enough organisation to deal with crime, natural disasters and so on. He was confident, and had some degree of practicality in his confidence, that a high degree of organisation was possible without exploitation or the surrender of rights by one group of people to another, more privileged group. It would be interesting if such an anarchist were to comment here. (The few anarchists I know are a long way from denying climate change. That’s mainly the right-wing commentariat, isn’t it?)

  2. I agree on your point that anarchists — at least the ones I know — are unlikely to deny climate change.

    As to chapter and verse, see Michael Bakunin Stateless Socialism: Anarchism. And that’s just a start on traditions that include people like Petr Kropotkin.

    It’s also true that many anarchists are fantastically dedicated activists in all manner of good causes.

    Nonetheless, I’m afraid I still see anarchism as in the long run utterly utopian and even infantile.

    I still look forward to The Anarchist Guide to Natural Disaster Relief and Management .

  3. An old friend of mine has long described himself as a ‘non practising anarchist’. I have never felt moved to ask him what he means by that. I am, however, obsessed by the fact that he beats me at snooker every time.

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