Nimue was right (in comment of previous post), my perspective of anarchism has been informed greatly by Taoism, and my idea is that “anarchy” is the natural state of all things, including humans, when we just stop interfering with natural processes and let everything, including ourselves, work “self-so” (Peter Kropotin’s idea of Mutual Aid, a later discovery, fits in well with this).
So now onto revolutions: I once said on a message board “We need a revolution in society” and the reply was “but revolutions tend to be bloody and violent, you want that?” Good point, thanks for that, and no I don’t. What I meant was that society, and more specifically the people, need a radical psychological change, but “revolution” is not quite the word due to its political overtones (I think I should have said “paradigm shift”).
Reform should be the norm in a society, because it represents a gradual advancement that is in tune with current political and social realities. It is sure and stable change, which means that society will be a safer and more stable place to be. Revolution means that the current status quo is out of sync with the lives of the people and that the need for small changes (reform) accumulated to the point that revolution became inevitable. Societies suffering revolutions are, in general, unstable and unsafe, violent and even dangerous – and since they arise out of the most primal and reactive depths of the human mind, they may not take a desired or enlightened direction, they may go against our own nature. Even if a revolution is “successful”, it will just produce more of the same if the minds of the people have not changed with it.
If the political class doesn’t keep up with or anticipate well the changes within its own society and make the appropriate reforms, conflict will build up and threaten the status quo. The unreformed pressure in society will build up and blow. This is why I think a constant and progressive reform is necessary to keep pace with the developments of society – there must be no rest for reform.
Within reform there will be disagreement, but it will be done within a legal and constitutional consensus – this represents the “broad” will of the people (as long as reform keeps pace) and so marks the limits of what the people will accept or not. I cannot force the world into a shape I desire if the world is nor ready for it. Also, I cannot stray too far out of the prevailing political reality without becoming disconnected with the world’s issues as they exist in the present. If I disagree with this consensus, it will not help to advance as though it doesn’t exist – I can work to change it, acknowledging that there is something to change and take steps in the relevant direction. So really, my anarchism is very lowkey and I feel I must somehow acommodate the dominant political forces as they exist and not deny their realworld influence in my life. Even if my ideal is “anarchism”, I will still engage with conventional politics to reach it.
As I said before, my anarchism is based on the idea that imposing my will on another’s is somehow “wrong” (or unnecessary), so on balance, reform is more preferable to revolution (I must be some weird, rare breed of anarchist or something). As mentioned above, revolution happens when the general political will of the people has been ignored by the political class over time and has reached boiling point, reform happens when there is a good equilibrium between the political class and the general political will of the people.
Ultimately, my ideal revolution is to make society function so well, efficiently and harmoniously that governments simply become obsolete without any fuss. One day the last Prime Minister/President in the world realises that they’re actually doing nothing for (or to) anyone, so they might as well go and start a veg patch (their ministers had all disappeared anyway, so they were feeling quite alone).