Fuck Neoliberalism… And Then Some! by Simon Springer is a short pamphlet that is currently free to download. Get a brief overview of how hierarchies destroy us and the planet and how we have the power to enact networks of mutual aid and cooperation where we do everything different. I highly recommend reading Springer’s brief Power to the People statement on his faculty webpage.
From that page:
Challenging the narrative
So anarchy does not involve even just a little bit of burning and rioting?
“If we look at the root of the word we recognize that ‘archism’ signifies a system of rule, or a mode of domination. ‘An-archism’ then is against such an arrangement of power, and represents a challenge to its coercive application,” Simon explains.
“So, any time we enter violence into our repertoire, whatever it is we are doing ceases to be ‘anarchism’ and simply reproduces a system of domination.”
That’s not to say there is no struggle involved with Simon’s research.
Ironically, one of the biggest barriers to the societal rejection of domination is the reactionary response that some people have to an anarchist critique of society.
“Some assume that authority, hierarchy, and domination are ‘natural’. But as social scientists have long known, our systems of governance and the way we organize ourselves are constructed through cultural values,” Simon explains.
“If we want a more equitable society where inclusion and social justice are foregrounded, then we have to stop repeating the fictional narrative that we, as humans, are somehow inherently prone to domination and that hierarchies are the natural order of things.
“This argument is essentially a suggestion that some people have more worth than others and those who supposedly have less value need to be ruled.”
From the pamphlet:
“There is nothing about neoliberalism that is deserving of our respect, and so in concert with a prefigurative politics of creation, my message is quite simply ‘fuck it’. Fuck the hold that it has on our political imaginations. Fuck the violence it engenders. Fuck the inequality it extols as a virtue. Fuck the way it has ravaged the environment. Fuck the endless cycle of accumulation and the cult of growth. Fuck the Mont Pelerin society and all the think tanks that continue to prop it up and promote it. Fuck Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman for saddling us with their ideas. Fuck the Thatchers, the Reagans, and all the cowardly, self- interested politicians who seek only to scratch the back of avarice. Fuck the fear-mongering exclusion that sees ‘others’ as worthy of cleaning our toilets and mopping our floors, but not as members of our communities. Fuck the ever-intensifying move towards metrics and the failure to appreciate that not everything that counts can be counted. Fuck the desire for profit over the needs of community. Fuck absolutely everything neoliberalism stands for, and fuck the Trojan horse that it rode in on! For far too long we’ve been told that ‘there is no alternative’, that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’, that we live in a Darwinian nightmare world of all against all ‘survival of the fittest’. We’ve swallowed the idea of the ‘tragedy of the commons’ hook, line and sinker; when in reality this is a ruse that actually reflects the ‘tragedy of capitalism’ and its endless wars of plunder (Le Billon 2012). Garrett Hardin’s (1968) Achilles heel was that he never stopped to think about how grazing cattle were already privately owned. What might happen when we reconvene an actual commons as a commons without presuppositions of private ownership (Jeppesen et al. 2014)? What might happen when we start to pay closer attention to the prefiguration of alternatives that are already happening and privileging these experiences as the most important forms of organization (White and Williams 2012)? What might happen when instead of swallowing the bitter pills of competition and merit we instead focus our energies not on medicating ourselves with neoliberal prescriptions, but on the deeper healing that comes with cooperation and mutual aid (Heckert 2010)?”
I’m an anarchist. As a decolonizing, anti-racist, feminist, doublequeer, intersectional environmentalist, I see that mutual aid and cooperation are the only way forward, the only way to have a better world for all.
What have I been doing as an anarchist during this pandemic? Redistributing what little wealth I have and planting and tending Giving Gardens, where anyone who wants food can take food. I planted them in the boulevards around my home. I didn’t ask permission. I just did it. Neighbors LOVE IT. The gardens bring joy to people whether they take food or not.
Yesterday, I added a Take Food/Leave Food shelf. That’s anarchism. That’s power to the people. That’s a gift economy.
Neighbors have contributed mulch, edging, a hose, limestone, and plants for the gardens. I’ve also been gifted homemade jam. That’s the world I want to live in, and the world I’m creating with others starting where I am.
Love & Solidarity!