This editorial continues the attempts to persuade political anarchists to move outside politics and into other forms of activism. Carl reiterates the point that patience is required for change and the best focus one can have is on improving oneself. However, in this editorial he and Paul also point out the importance of creating new voluntary associations:
“We must be dedicated to razing the State, but we must also raise new voluntary associations which allow people to be self-responsible. We have to contribute to the development of constructive alternatives to State services and attempt to get people to understand that they do have the capabilities of providing for themselves without government. Only then can we be assured of having taken care of the means; realizing that right means are the only route to our final destination.”
Much of the disappointment I think many Voluntaryists have with those who spend a lot of time, money, and energy in the political realm revolves around this idea. If we are constantly trying to battle and change the system and ignoring the problems of the system itself, then we are not working to build alternatives. And if there are no alternatives to move to, people will be hesitant to leave, even if they understand all that’s wrong with government.
As is usual, I can best relate to this personally in terms of education. If we really want to improve education and educational opportunities, then we are just wasting our time trying to reform the coercive government system. It’s best to just get out completely, ignore the state and do it yourself while building networks and creating alternatives that help others do the same.
I’ve been a part of a group in Indiana that’s been doing that for some time now and it’s been rewarding and fun. What I like about the way we’ve set up the group is that it’s very informal. It’s been great because as individuals network and connect locally, they voluntarily and spontaneously develop plans and ideas that work for the people involved at any given time.
But even though this group has helped literally thousands of people network and collaborate, even this isn’t completely necessary to help others consider alternatives. Because as each individual takes action and does something outside the realm of government, whatever it may be, others who come in to contact with those individuals see an example right in front of their eyes.
And eventually, some of those people will become curious, want to learn more and figure out if they can do it too. My husband and I had this experience quite a few times when we were homeschooling as friends and acquaintances came to us asking questions, after observing how homeschooling was working in our family. Most of these people were concerned and afraid that they just couldn’t do it, for a variety of reasons, but as we talked to them, we tried to help them see that it was possible, that they can do it. Our respect and confidence in their ability helped move some of them to make the same decision we did and they did just fine, as we knew they would.
What associations, organizations and groups do you know of that are good examples of people working together to develop alternatives to state services?