JamesAIGI wrote:You also make some assumptions. It is not socially necessary to have a job. I won't go into every example but really, if you think about it, it is not necessary at all in some people's cases. "Things we need, need to be produced by someone, somewhere" is true. But this is only true due to the system being like it is, that in itself is not a good enough reason to remain in the system (just because it exists). If a large enough number of people (like you said), a mass movement of the popular classes worked together, then of course capitalism could be overthrown. I think this could only be achieved by working outside the system, in order to disrupt, damage and destroy the system, not by aiding it's already obvious lethal effect on the world's population. Remaining within the system can not be a good thing at all....
I also do not believe an individualist act is at odds with anarchism. It might be at odds with socialism but not anarchism.
Dropping out the system would damage the system if enough people were engaged in doing so....
I think that this discussion is conflating two separate issues into one.
Production and consumption IS NOT THE SAME AS capitalism.
For humans to survive, heck, for any thing to survive, calories, shelter, etc needs to be produced, and then consumed. This arrangement can be fully free, as gatherers probabaly did in the Pliocene, or it can be authoritarian, like slavery, and many shades in between. Capitalism is one method of organizing production and consumption.
The reality is that people who "drop out" still need to consume. Their rebellion is great, but it isn't directly challanging Capitalism either. It sidesteps direct confrontation or attacking the system. It is similar to taking a job in many ways and working to end capitalism part time.
I do not begrudge the will of those who resonate with dropping out. I think that we need more folks doing that. However, to present it as a romantic alternative that is pure revolution in itself seems to inflate the "anarchist" lifestyle with unearned power and unreal expectations.
If anything, syndicalism, the actual taking over of the means of production by workers, like the workers who took over a tile factory in Argentina a few years ago, is the most direct form of challange to Capitalism. Taking over entire areas, like in Chiapas, is closer to a real challange to Capitalism.
I think it is great that folks squat, and that folks dumpster food. However, to point to that as a *more legitimate* form of attack on Capitalism thatn the myriad other activities is just poor judgement. That's what I often see from the lifestyle anarchists in practice.
Instead of just sticking to one tactic, to succeed we'll need a myriad of tactics. Accountants that are anarchists that've honed their skills through years of working in Capital's heart. Doctors who know allopathic as well as natural medicine. Folks who know how to live in the margins, and folks who've managed to keep their souls while living at the heart of the beast.
That's my only real problem with CrimethInc. It's a one size fits all narrative.
Having been to several anarchist conferences, I've noticed that this "drop out" narrative most appeals to those anarchists who are from privaledge. I think that is a valuable observation, and it is not full of judgement.
I think that in the current system, it is BOTH the oppressor AND the oppressed who are trapped. In a prison, a CO cannot more end the prison than the prisoner. In fact, a warden can no more end the prison than the CO or the prisoner.
In that way, I think that dropping out has a value that isn't even explored in CrimethInc's books: the value of freeing yourself from she soft fetters of power. Most folks who are born into priviledge always have the option of coming back home. They can shed the garb of difference, and if they get back on track by the time they are out of college, they're welcome back to the country club.
I think that the whole "dropping out experience" really can affect a person profoundly for the whole of their life, the same as being a worker and participating in a successful strike, or a successful certificaiton campaign, or being in AR and freeing animals with action. There is a value to direct experience.
Dropping out, at worst, allows a person to experience that there is a world outside of capitalism. It allows a person to know that there is prodound richness, and profound poverty in the world.
That's a profound and very useful experience especially for anarchists who have unearned privaledge. It opens up the possiblity of a better world.
If a person decides to drop out indefinately, we also have the benefit of people practicing anarchism directly; hashing out challanges, and experimenting with solutions. That's useful to all anarchists. So those who stay outside of dominant culture are a boon to us all. I applaud them.
However, like I said before, to think that dropping out is the whole Revolution, then the Revolution will never show up.
If there is to be a Revolution, it need to be done by workers taking the means of production back, by families operating with respect and freedom, by folks who've dropped out and found ways to make anarchism work, and by folks who've had practice counting beans to make sure that what is produced (by what ever means) still gets to those who need it.
"The worker has the right to leave his boss, but can she do it? And if she does quit him, is it in order to lead a free life; where she will have no master but herself? No, she leaves to sell herself to another employer. She's driven by the same hunger. Thus the worker's liberty is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means of realization; an utter falsehood."