Mindless looting and vandalism are not true anarchy

It may have looked like anarchy but don't blame the anarchists. The rioting in Vancouver was not the work of anarchists despite what police Chief Jim Chu says. He blamed the riots on: "Anarchists... disguised as Canucks fans" who were politically motivated.

But an investigation into the causes of the riot pointed to excessive booze and poor police deployment, not anarchists.

Anarchists are convenient scapegoats wherever mayhem breaks out. Despite appearances, mindless looting and vandalism are not true anarchy. Anarchist Thomas L. Knapp laments "I wish very much that I could report the riots now tearing across England as the opening gambit of anarchist revolution. They are a phenomenon born of rage, and rage is irrational, no matter the reason or unreason of the original spark." In Vancouver's case, drunken vandalism is not the basis for a revolution.

Anarchy is not mayhem, it is governance without government.

The roots of modern anarchy emerged in the mid-1800s from two schools of thought that targeted capitalism. The followers of Karl Marx wanted to seize control of government and overthrow capitalism. The followers of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon wanted to abolish government and allow individuals to govern themselves.

Since then, anarchy has sprouted two branches: "individualist anarchism" and "free-market anarchism."

Individualist anarchism is explained by Uri Gordon in the New Internationalist magazine. "Anarchists consistently steered the revolutionary course towards stateless socialism by stateless means. What do these anarchists want? The answer is simple," says Gordon, "Anarchists want a social order without rulers or hierarchy. Anarchists want a world with no borders and no social classes, no gods and no masters, where power is as decentralized as possible and every individual and community can determine their own destiny."

A twig of the individualist anarchy branch can be found in Kamloops where "freeman" Brian Alexander (aka: brian-arthur: alexander) says our laws don't apply to him. As a member of the Freemen Association of Canada, Alexander says that Canadians have been enslaved by government. Freemen purport to be governed by "common law," not the Criminal Code or other Canadian legislation, which they describe as "admiralty law." Thomas Hobbes described this type of individualist anarchy in 1651: "a free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do"

North Americans are familiar with free-market anarchism but not under that name. Here it's commonly known as libertarianism. Libertarians believe the anarchy of individuals should be replaced by the anarchy of markets in a kind of free enterprise free-for-all. They believe that competition in the marketplace will reduce the costs of goods and services.

Prime Minister Harper is a self-described libertarian and he plans to redefine conservatism with the guiding principles of libertarianism he learned at the University of Calgary. His teachers learned free-market anarchy from the University of Chicago where it had been taught by Leo Strauss. While our PM is candid about his belief in libertarianism, he is more guarded about his plans. Straussian libertarianism encourages secrecy: an inner circle of elite thinkers decides what's best for the country and uses "noble lies" to keep the rabble in check.

True anarchy can't be recognized by superficial appearances. To recognize individualist anarchy, look for purposeful confrontation that is calculated to reduce the oppression of the state, religion or society.

To recognize free-market anarchism, look for privatization of services previously done by government and deregulation of the marketplace. Look for noble lies like "law and order" agendas that purport to protect us from crime at a time that crime is decreasing.

David Charbonneau is the owner of Trio Technical.

He can be reached at dcharbonneau13@shaw.ca

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