What is Anaculture?
Anaculture is a method by which we can abolish the State and implement a gift economy based on self-determination, horizontality, mutual aid, and solidarity. One where people contribute what work they can, doing what they are passionate about, and share in the more mundane responsibilities of the community. As anarchist our understanding of freedom is that it is a process that people engage in together. We believe that rigid laws actually undermine our freedom, and therefore don’t aspire to the creation or worship of canonical texts.
The anarchist analysis of capitalism, reformism, patriarchy, colonialism, and the State have already proven useful to many social movements over the past several decades. Now we must offer a critique of the environmental movement in order to help it become what it could be. These movements always leave their mark on Anarchism as well, informing and influencing anarchist theory and life.
For Anaculture the ends must be the means. The values we want to see in the world must be the methods by which we bring it about. We will never oppress our way to liberation. None are free, until we are all free. Anaculture puts the mutual survival of all people at the front of the list of values it promotes. Everyone has the right to pursue their own means of survival, as long as it doesn’t threaten the well-being of another. Every person and community also has the absolute right to self-defense from exploitation and oppression. There are enough resources for all, and there is no reason for any extermination of any cultures in order to ensure this mutual survival.
Another central principle to any ethical system will be decolonization. Colonization has been a critical component of capitalism and it’s consequences for the planet. Landback must be a primary goal of the movement, the right of Indigenous and colonized people to reclaim their lands and cultures. We also must dismantle all settler societies in order to start to heal from the wounds of our colonial past. This process must be defined and lead by those people themselves to count for anything.
Another vital component of this movement will be reparations for the crimes of genocide of Indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Black and brown people across the world. We must end the bigotry towards these marginalized communities as they are integral to the current power structures we aim to abolish. Land that has been previously worked by slave should be given over to Black people, as well as the wealth of historically slave owning families. Communal expropriation of these resources should take place in order to address historical implications of the practice of slavery and the subsequent generations of racist policies. Gentrified neighborhoods should be reclaimed by the original working class inhabitants, and poor residents should be moved to affluent neighborhoods. Truth and reconciliation committees are needed to address the long list of atrocities committed in the name of racist colonial systems.
New ways of well-being
The way we relate to land must be altered in a future ethical society. No longer would land be thought of a property to be exploited and hoarded. We realize that land is alive, and it is not a commodity to be divided up and bought and sold. Land will belong to those who manage and care for it, holding it communally for the benefit of all. To defend the land is to defend ourselves and it something we should undertake at all costs. We must all come together to design the lands we care for in such a way that they may heal from the centuries of capitalist degradation.
An ethical consideration of water usage will show that all communities need to be returning the water they use to the river, lake, or aquifer it came from, as clean as they found it. We all have the responsibility of cleaning and purifying the watersheds after so much pollution wreaked by capitalism. Water scarcity is a new fact of life in our changing climate, we must take water efficiency seriously when designing future systems. The ability to exist with the least amount of water possible will be advantageous. Pollution of waterways is a threat to mutual survival and should be treated as an act of aggression.
There are many natural borders on the planet but the Nation State borders we are familiar with have been used by those States to homogenize or genocide diverse cultures within it’s borders. They are mechanisms for State sponsored murder, and must be abolished. People can decide for themselves which communities they want to be a part of and how to organize those communities. This is the anarchist principle of voluntary free association. Negotiations and discussions can allow us to develop principles for free movement between such communities, as any community deserves some expectation of privacy from unwanted tourists. Any migrants should be taken care of though, whether travelers or climate refugees, basic hospitality should be extended to these vulnerable people. Between these communities, based on natural borders and watersheds, federations might pop up to coordinate actions across territories.
The need for secure housing is a human right and should be defended as such by our future society. As Malatesta pointed out, capitalism is the system in which builders go homeless because there are too many houses. Houses will belong to those who occupy and care for them, much like the land. No one has a right to more housing than what is needed for their chosen family. This does not mean one house one family, but it does mean that communities should allow for enough housing to meet the needs of every person, however they constitute themselves. We will encourage design that changes the ways people come together in public space, promoting more communal experiences when it comes to child-rearing and kinship.
The commodification of land under capitalism has led to the destruction of whole cultures, and the wholesale destruction of the planetary climate systems. Additionally, this current system has cause the 6th mass extinction, mass starvation, pollution, and the murder of the living soil and torture of non-human animals. The way we feed ourselves says a lot about our values as a society. Safe, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods should be a right under Anaculture. Making sure everyone is fed is the responsibility of all. Food shouldn’t be commodified, it should be produced by workers…for workers, not for the profit of the capitalist class. Farm land and food production facilities should be expropriated to serve this purpose. The Indigenous knowledge assembled into permaculture can inform the future design considerations of our food systems.
A topic not usually confronted by permaculture in depth is healthcare. Most written on the subject is about medicinal plants and herbs used to treat common maladies. The issues of trans rights, neurodiversity struggles, medical racism, and women’s access to birth control are rarely discussed. Under Anaculture health care would be a human right, including preventative therapies. People will determine for themselves what constitutes a healthy life, and be able to access the resources needed to achieve it. People will have the ability to freely alter their bodies for any purpose, including gender expression. The knowledge of healing will not be gate-kept by educational institutions but shared freely with communities so that they may begin to treat themselves with more autonomy. These institutions, along with hospitals, will be anarchized and the worker’s will do their best to equalize treatment for historically marginalized populations.
Education has historically been used by the State and the Church to produce a subservient population. This institution is cancerous and must be abolished. But the continuation of learning is desirable, in this new system knowledge will be free and available to all who want it. Normal barriers to education need to be removed for marginalized people. We must unschool ourselves away from the normative style of mass education and embrace more varied and individualized methods. In unschooling people of all ages are free to determine their own coursework and pace of study. The resources and knowledge of schools and universities will be expropriated for the good of the communities.
Scientists can organize themselves to provide training and maintain laboratories. They will have to discuss and agree on ways to further the scientific pursuits they are engaged in without capitalizing on knowledge production. Science will be conducted for the betterment of all people. This is because the knowledge a scientist uses is given to them through the community, and therefore their work should provide a benefit in return. There will need to be further reconciliation processes around the abuses carried out by scientists historically, such as the development of fossil fuel and nuclear technologies, or the creation of weapons of war.
Under Anaculture production will be ran by workers for workers, instead of being ran for the profit of the capitalist class. We will adopt the term ex-worker to describe the situation of seizing our workplaces and deciding what their resources should be used for. Workplaces should be organized to produce something socially useful. This productive force of ex-workers would constitute the only economic driver, absent the State and capitalist economy. Federations made up of ex-workers would self-organize themselves into federations whose delegates would be responsive to the mandate of it’s collective. If not they would be immediately recallable.
There will be no such thing as forced labor in our new world. This is an ethical imperative, but we must extend this logic to the traditionally gendered domestic labor that currently goes unpaid. This gendered labor will also be abolished. A balance will be struck between the creative needs of the ex-workers and the productive needs of the community, and planet as a whole. Destructive capitalist and “green” energy systems will be decommissioned and deconstructed as safely as possible. We will decide among ourselves what technology to pursue and develop. We will keep in mind the “seven generations” outlook that seeks to protect the earth systems for at least seven generations to come.
When people can meet their needs from a small local network they are freed from reliance on exploitative socioeconomic systems. We should seek to keep our food systems as localized as possible to distribute the power that comes from production of food. It will be necessary for different communities to organize distribution across territories for mutual benefit. With no borders travel will be unimpeded, when done respectfully, and this should be encouraged by anarchists.
We will abolish all monetary systems and debts, instead the exchange of goods will be accomplished through voluntary compacts between consumer and producer, or through a gift economy. Communities should pursue food sovereignty, meeting the majority of their survival needs from their local land base, but beyond that, infrastructures should be maintained to encourage exchange and travel. We must ensure the safe travel of all climate refugees, nomads, the gender non-conforming, and those fleeing domestic violence. We will also apply these principles of self-determination and horizontality to the current communications systems, reorganizing them to produce useful content for the revolution.
Mechanisms of Safety
Police and prisons are to be abolished. The officers will be held accountable for the harm they have cause, and those unwilling to step down will be considered Statist paramilitaries, and defended against. There are a variety of alternative ways of dealing with societal harm that aren’t punitive but recognize the human ability to growth and redeem themselves. Instead of police communities will assemble themselves and decide for themselves how best to resolve conflict, and heal harm. We will spread the skills and knowledge of how to address these hard conflicts as widely as possible.
Prisoners will be sent to communities that will take them in and work with them through transformative justice to heal the harms that they committed in the past. Anyone not taken in by a community will be worked with by committees of people with transformative justice experience to find a consensual solution. Anarchists must be present to offer suggestions on other ways of dealing with the small minority of people who murder, assault, or abuse others. Working with communities to discuss this hot button issue and find reconciliatory ways of dealing with this harm when possible. Special attention will be given to all acts of gender and sexual violence, especially those that had been normalized under the patriarchal, punitive regime that is to be abolished. People active in opposing such violence will suggest appropriate structures and practices for communities to adopt.
We will reject the notion that you trade security for freedom, this is a tool of the State, used to legitimize it’s own power. Our safety depends, not on the State being all powerful, but upon taking care of each other. We have the right to defend against those who would seek to exploit and harm this new world or it’s inhabitants. But the way in which we approach this defense may cost us our freedom if we are not careful.
We can crate voluntary services to protect against various forms of aggression and harm. The focus must be on de-escalation and reconciliation, not punishment or arrest though. These rotating volunteers would merely be responsible for responding to emergencies, the process of justice would be handled by the community as a whole. They will not be any more armed than the community, and will not be allowed to use any measure of force in this volunteer capacity. Gendered violence should be treated with special care by some sort of inclusive committee or group.
Free militias will be needed as well to defend liberated zones from he lingering remnants of Statist imperialism. They must be dedicated to several principles such as voluntary free association, horizontality among fighters, collective decision making in regards to discipline, and responsibility and deference to the whims and needs of the community defense initiatives. They will not operate outside of their respective territories as conquerors. The two goals of these forces are defensive warfare and revolutionary warfare, fighting in solidarity with those trying to free themselves from oppression. The goal is not elimination of enemies, but safeguarding the health of all people; the goal is peace. Anarchists will define peace as the outgrowth of happiness, freedom, and self-actualization. We should seek to encourage cross cultural sharing, not violence.
Anarchist models of organization of the community prioritize well-being and promote the principles of self-determination, mutual aid, and voluntary association. We should design systems that decentralize power of all kinds. The will be no central space where decision making is legitimized, people will self-organize into associations of ex-workers, educators, or bio-regional territories, instead of relying on representatives and citizenship. If a region or community doesn’t fulfill the needs of it’s members, then neighboring communities should offer those residents safety and refuge, but taking care to prioritize the participation of those affected. Communities should otherwise strive to not intervene in the affairs of their neighbors, instead accepting the difference between each other and aiming to engage in discussion that bring about love and understanding.
Capitalism has wrought havoc on all the earth’s ecosystems. It is not enough to destroy this system, we must unlearn the manner of relating to the land that capitalism engendered in us. It is our collective duty to care for and heal the planet after the destruction of capitalism. We must protect and defend our communities regional ecosystems from the effects of climate change. Scientists and ex-workers will collaborate to share resources for tracking global pollution and emissions.
Anaculture is a new proposal, a shift in mindset from the old way of thinking about oneself as the heroic farmer, to one of mutual aid and cooperation. These are long time anarchist principles that form the basis of Anaculture. This design philosophy realizes that only through universal emancipation can we say we are taking care of the people of this planet. When the means of producing the society rests in the hands of the wealthy elite we can never hope to provide more than a window dressing to the oppression of billions. This is not something that any ethical system can allow. The people must challenge the ability for the State to do it’s business by any means necessary.
It is not enough to choose metal straws over plastic ones, we all know this. It’s time to recognize that it’s not enough to ask for reform from those who oppress you, you must organize to take what you need. We must organize to take the land that is needed for our projects. The politicians will not listen to out demands, and this is what permaculture needs to learn from anarchism. That demands don’t work, and this is not a dialogue. This is a war, and there is no neutral position on this battlefield. Being non-capitalist is not enough, we need to become anti-capitalists. Seizing state authority is not enough, we need to become anti-authoritarians.
If permaculture is to survive it must be willing to critique and change itself.
If not it will become another institution and cease to be a movement at all. It will calcify and rot from neglect and disinterest. The next generation is getting bored of the current politics of feigned neutrality and ethics that don’t line up with the actions of the movements participants. So let this article stand as one critique. I love the concepts of this design system, I hope that we can develop a better system that takes the good from what was there and learns from the bad.
We may soon be living in a post-permaculture world, where the movement was gutted before it really got a chance to take off. Let’s come together to create something new collectively. Thank you to Bill for getting us all together, but we need something new now, and Anaculture can offer the way forward. The intelligently designed systems of permaculture combined with the political militancy of anarchy will make a potent force in today’s political landscape, one that can both resist and act.