Can rules be something subversive?
Anarchists aren’t against rules. Against laws, of course, but laws are just one particular type of rule. The law is an authoritarian type of rule, with pretension of universality and coercion. The law, definitively, is associated with the paradigm of rightful obedience, the general vision held by people that believe that for a reason or another others must be obeyed. The law implies a separate body, representative of the will of the rest and tied to the incidence of the powerful sectors.
Against the law we anarchist propose the agreement. The agreement always implies the voluntary and explicit acceptance of the agreed, fact that is broken by the representation of will, political power. The instance in which that happens can vary, it can be an assembly or something more informal. If we talk about a more complex kind of organization, economic or of fighting, agreement can undoubtedly be tied to certain “formalities”, but it never will be a law with a separate power behind.
Therefore, if agreement and law are rules, only the first is applicable to an antiauthoritarian organization, In this sense, agreement is subversive in itself. If we think about its generalization, we immediately see that it couldn’t coexist with the capitalist and hierarchical kind of society in which we are. Of course that doesn’t mean that the key of the social revolution is the simple generalization of a way of deciding.
Societies have increasingly been deprived of the capacity to decide for themselves. The principle of authority, of separate power, acts as well like a psychological principle of contention pretending to be something “natural”. The falsehood that complex societies can’t be organized from the bottom up, and without exploitation, maintains the destructive authoritarian organization of the currently standing society.
We people already make rules constantly with others, the majority of the time without necessity of bureaucracies and representatives. Day to day we live in common and not by the cohesion of laws. Capitalist society sinks the individual in loneliness and desperation turning the rest in enemies and competitors. The rules of the masters don’t align with the interests of the peoples. Not subversive are the “more social” laws and the “more fair laws”, created always by others, as if they gifted us something. Subversive are the rules which we give ourselves and accept freely and in equality. That’s why we make assemblies without headmen and autonomous societies from the bottom up. No more, no less.