A common accusation that “an”caps make of anarchists is that we’re not real activists because we “spend all our time arguing with them on the internet”. The only place they see us is on the internet and that’s therefore the only place we are. It doesn’t occur to them that the reason they’ve never see us at an anti-war rally is that they would never attend an anti-war rally. They never see us on the picket line but that is only because they are never on the picket line. We’ve never joined forces with them for a direct action, but only because they’ve never been involved in a direct action.
I intend for this to be the first in a series of articles about the ways in which anarchists work towards the society we desire. I hope to look at the many organizations, both anarchist and not, through which anarchists unite to combat the issues we feel are important, and at the ways in which we try to effect change through direct action.
But before moving on to industrial unions, the animal rights movement, prison abolition, and so on, I want to look at a very strange beast indeed: “anarcho”-capitalist activism.
Of course, when discussing “an”cap activism you can only discuss one thing, the only known example of “an”caps trying to make a “difference”: the Keene “Robin Hooders” who hassle low-wage parking attendants.
If you ask an anarchist what is wrong with government you could expect a range of responses, probably including some, or all, of the following: war, the protection of private wealth and power, its’ authoritarian nature, corruption, or the lack of a genuine democratic voice for the people. If you ask an “an”cap, you’ll get: “taxes and business regulations”. The Keene “Robin Hooders” at least manage to expand the “an”cap critique of government to a third topic: parking tickets.
Never mind the arming of dictatorships in third-world countries to enable the free exploitation of markets and resources by capitalists, the REAL problem with government is that they fine people for parking where they’re not supposed to or without paying the stated fare.
That this also happens in the private sector is of no concern to the “Robin Hooders”. Indeed, the only change “an”cappers actually want to the situation is for it to be privatized. If the road were privately-owned and the “meter maid” worked for a privately-owned organization then the actions of the “Robin Hooders” would be considered a violation of the NAP and would be loudly condemned by the “an”cap “movement”.
Most anarchists agree that activism should reflect its’ goals. If you want worker control of the means of production then the best method is surely to organize within the workplace. “An”caps seem to agree with this attitude, and that is why their activism is nothing more than an attack on workers in the interests of private profit.
By targeting those with the least ability to effect change, all they are doing is hassling those who are tring to put food on their tables, and driving them to quit their jobs and face the perils that entails. Somebody else is then hired and has to deal with them.
“An”cap activism: dealing with minor problems by attacking those who can’t change anything, and only if you think private interests have something to gain by doing exactly the same thing themselves.
PS: The myth of Robin Hood is that he stole from the rich to give to the poor, the exact opposite of capitalism, whether “anarcho” or not.