Memes: Anarchism, Anti-capitalism, Communism, Direct Democracy, Mutual Aid
Main Stations: Locus (Jovian Trojans)
Anarchists eschew power and hierarchy, promoting horizontal and directly democratic methods of organization. Individual empowerment and collective action are cornerstones of their philosophy, as is economic communism enabled by equal access to cornucopia machines and shared resources. In anarchist stations, private property has been abolished above the level of personal possessions—nobody owns anything, it’s all shared. There are no laws and no one to watch over what you do—reputation networks encourage positive behavior and anti-social acts are likely to draw a response from locals or even the entire populace, with disputes handled through ad hoc community conflict resolution. The mesh and various networking tools are used extensively to strive for group consensus decision-making in real-time. AIs and robots are relied on for most mundane and demeaning tasks. Various self-organized collectives, syndicates, worker’s councils, and affinity groups, often with rotating membership, take on different tasks and services that are important to a habitat’s community, including everything from communications and space traffic control to backup and resleeving services. Participatory militias organize collective defense against external threats.
Among the anarchist stations there are many variations and permutations on how things are organized, as everything is fine-tuned at the local level by whom- ever is involved. Larger decentralized confederations handle inter-habitat affairs and resource-sharing, even trading with the hypercorps. Though a hypercorp presence is allowed on some habitats, they are treated just like everyone else.
Posted by: Pablo Dolgoff, Anarchist <Info Msg Rep> To the average citizen of the Consortium and other sunward polities, the anarchists are are the bogeymen of the rim planets, widely misunderstood and feared as terrorists and insurgents. This is to be expected, as anarchism rejects both capitalism and the state and so is as opposite of hypercorp ideologies as you can get. What do anarchists believe? In simple terms, we are opposed to social, economic, and political hierarchies. At its core, anarchism is a critique of power and how it is used to exploit and oppress others. Anarchists therefore seek a social system that abolishes authority and power relationships to maximize freedom and equality.
Misconceptions and Reality
Thanks to capitalist propaganda over the centuries, the definition of anarchism has been distorted and anarchists demonized. So let’s clear up some common misconceptions. First, though anarchism and anarchy are sometime used interchangeably, anarchism is not chaos. Anarchists do not defy organization; they seek horizontal methods of working together that minimize hierarchies and give everyone involved an equal say. They are not even opposed to rules, as long as such rules are collectively decided upon by those that follow them, as opposed to being decreed on others from above. Anarchists do not believe in might-is-right, survival-of-the-fittest, anything-goes social disorder. They believe that cooperation is a better survival strategy among sapients than competition.
Detractors often like to say that anarchism looks nice in theory, but that it wouldn’t work in practice. After all, someone will shirk their collective duties, or step in and take charge, or resort to murder and rape with no rules to stop them. Putting aside for a moment the numerous practical methods anarchists wield to collectively deter anti-social behaviors, this is a question of ethics and social responsibility. Anarchists do not rely on threats of punishment in Hell or violence from government thugs to back up their moral behavior, they simply recognize that as social creatures, it is in our own selﬁsh best interests to treat those with whom we deal with the same respect as we wish from them. This is not idealism, it is a pragmatic approach to how most people already live their daily lives.
All that shit you’ve heard about human nature being selfish, self-centered, greedy, and generally willing to screw over our fellow being in order to get ahead? It’s just that: shit. Your average hypercorp exec may like to wax rhapsodic about their favorite animal and how they’re totally like that animal because they’re the biggest, baddest apex predator out there, willing to cut the throat of the guy next to them for a handful of credits. Well, that sociopathic crap isn't how things really work. Humans exist as a species because we’re able to cooperate, to share, and to communicate information with each other that helps us all out. Put another way, the core of the hypercapitalist inner system is a certain pessimism that people are bastards, rotten to the core, and will sell you out given a chance. I don’t know about you, but this isn’t the kind of world I’d want to live in. Our view is a much more optimistic one: people will, given even half a chance, help each other out and do what they can for each other. This isn’t to say we live an idyllic life free of crime or want or hardship, but only that when these things happen we tend to aid each other, even when it’s not our problem, because we know that when it is our problem, those other people will step up to help us out.
Finding Our Roots
Anarchism in its various forms has a long history, going back well before the Fall. It helps to understand where we came from, the mistakes and the lessons of the past, and how we got to the here and now. Mind you, you don’t need to know this history to be welcome among us. Hell, plenty of anarchists live in complete ignorance of our historical roots. There are also many different versions of the story I’m gonna tell you—that’s part of what we are, a collection of stories all told from different perspectives. There is no one, singular true account of the past. It is always better to get your info from many sources, be skeptical of the tellers, and ﬁnd your own path through the stories. Anarchism as a concept has been around since ancient times, ever since the ﬁrst peasant or thrall of some power-hungry lord or priest ﬁrst thought “What makes him better than me?” Many primitive societies were in fact anarchistic, operating with gift economies or similar need-based systems. Both the Greeks and the Chinese had words for it, and even then those in power warned against “the masses.” The idea that people could organize themselves without creating institutional inequality was something those ancient despots feared back in the days when all they had to retain order were groups of thugs bought off with extra privileges and irrational beliefs that some cosmic power barely within our ken had set forth an immutable order that decreed some should rule and others grovel in subservience.
For centuries, anarchism was an idea that frightened the monarchs who liked to use force to stamp on citizens who dared question their authority. Modern anarchism, as a fully realized political philosophy that questioned those basic assumptions of rule and power, grew up out of the death throes of the European monarchies in the 18th and 19th centuries. The other siblings of the revolutionary period—democracy, socialism, and communism—got more play in the years that followed, but anarchism too was growing and spreading its wings. Though anarchists seized the moment in many struggles—the Paris Commune, the radical unionism that brought the 8-hour workday, the Ukrainian peasant uprising in the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War, the Zapatistas of Chiapas, to name but a few—it failed to hold ground for long. According to some, anarchism was too revolutionary for the times, too egalitarian for even the radical democrats of France and America, and too challenging to the authority of the ideologues and vanguardists of the various communist revolutions.
Working against the anarchists in these early years was that it was an age of technologies of expansion, growth, and immensity. The problem of the day was not ﬁnding out how to let small communities govern themselves, but how to link them in to ever-larger polities to harness the economies of scale. Capitalism was reaching an apex, promising a wave of economic prosperity that would raise all up with it to a new era of wealth. Against this rising tide, anarchism seemed quaint and backwards, unable to compete against capitalism’s entrenched totality. Some anarchists even grew reactionary, turning against technology, blaming it for increasing human oppression and facilitating the pillaging and destruction of the natural world.
The decades before the Fall saw a shift back in anarchism’s favor. The ongoing eco-catastrophes and crises within capitalism on Earthwere leading to widespread inequality, social fragmentation, and radicalization. As governments failed and began to spiral out of control, citizens and communities rose up. Both communism and democracy had been disgraced by past failures, turning many towards anarchism. The populist protests of these groups won them many recruits, but they also resulted in mass imprisonments, especially for the anarchists who were much more willing to use direct methods of confrontation.
Many of these convicts ended up as indentures on hypercorp space projects. There they found themselves working among scientists, engineers, and other technical professionals, many of whom had been happy to leave behind cultures on Earth that were still stiﬂed by religious doctrines and social conservatism and were sympathetic if not supportive of anarchist ideals. Still other anarchists took to space as a new frontier for their projects that was outside of government/corporate control. Together, these groups laid the groundwork for anarchist habitats to come. Mesh and nanofabrication technology now made it easier than ever to live equally, without need, apart from government or corporate domination. A new way of life arose in the outer system, drawing many to it.
When the Fall came, these anarchists embraced everyone, turning no infugees away. Unlike the inner system polities, which are always seeking ways to control their populations, the anarchists promised new lives and new bodies to everyone—and they delivered. Though we’ve had our share of problems and growing pains—no system is perfect—most anarchist habitats have ﬂourished.
From Each, To Each
Many travelers from the core habitats are taken aback by the nature of anarchist habitats. Though we are often dismissed as utopian, our ways are not the capitalist ideal to which many of them aspire. We have no private habitats that are paradises for the privileged few, where the stinking masses are kept out. Our practices are an inversion of the way most non-anarchists are taught to think about the world. We do not idealize wealth and power, the acquisition of rare goods, or the ability to make others do your bidding whether they will it or not. Those beliefs, the ideologies of the inner system, hold that we are all in competition and the only way to get that better life is by crushing your peers beneath you, climbing ever upwards, leaving your lessers behind. They are the philosophical basis for a system that elevates a lucky few to dizzying heights of wealth, risen to the level of celebrities to lord their riches over the rest, held forth as aspirational models to the less fortunate. These people are the enemy, the opposite of everything we believe in.
Instead we look not up but down, to those who have less. We measure the worth of our society not on the wealth and opulence of the richest and most well-to-do, but on the least fortunate, the least able, and those who have had to do without. In our habitats everyone eats, everyone has a place to sleep, everyone has work that they do, not because they must, but because they want to. Everyone has a body if they want it, oxygen if they need it, and freedom as long as they don’t oppress others. Our medical clinics and educational resources are available to all. This is the basis of our society, and anything less would be a barbarity, the stripping away of human dignity for the beneﬁt of a few. We gladly do without jeweled trinkets and rare mineral-encrusted status symbols so that everyone may fabricate the essentials.
The new anarchist credo, “From each according to their imagination, to each according to their need,” is an old quote by Marx reworked and repurposed for the times we now ﬁnd ourselves in. What this means is that within anarchist spaces, the basic needs of everyone are provided for: shelter, clothing, food, water, air, education, healthcare, and security. Nanofabrication and other advanced technologies make this automatic and readily available. On anarchist habs, community nanofabbers are everywhere and unrestricted. This leaves us to use our time to follow our desires in creative endeavors.
It is a common fallacy among capitalists that anarchists are lazy. They are right in that anarchists reject work—that is, the compulsory devotion of life to production and consumption, the prostitution of our labor in return for a small percentage of what it is worth. Instead, anarchists voluntarily pursue their own interests, “working” on projects that they find personally fulfilling, creative, or supportive of others. Many devote their lives to expertise in a particular ﬁeld, proving that the desires to create, excel, and to devote themselves tirelessly to projects are not unique to societies which force people to work. Without the need to increase production and proﬁts, of course, most anarchists only “work” for a few hours a day, dedicating the rest to leisure. Those that do “work” often game-ify the process to make it more entertaining.
What about menial work? Thankless jobs that no one wants to do? Who gets to clean out the sewage ﬁlter traps and scrape the barnacles off the habitat’s hull? That’s what AIs and robots are for, my friend. If a sapient’s involvement is required, there’s usually someone willing to do the grunt work voluntarily, or more commonly, a group of volunteers will rotate an assignment. Such a sacriﬁce is almost always rewarded with positive reputation boosts.
With everyone on an anarchist habitat having everything that they need, money and similar systems have been abolished. All property beyond the level of personal possessions is considered to be communally owned. If something is in limited supply, its use is rotated among people that need/desire to use it (with a simple AI handling the schedule). If you need to jump the line to get access to something rare in an emergency, or need to use something that’s important to the community as a whole (like taking a shuttle or spaceship), your rep will be a large factor in whether the locals decide to fulﬁll your request or not.
Sidebar: Star Hike
Star Hike is the mesh service that facilitates travel between anarchist habitats, especially in local neighborhoods of space. Via Star Hike, you can easily hook up with a spacecraft crew that is going your way. If you’re taking a shuttle on a one-way trip, Star Hike is an excellent resource to ensure the shuttle has return passengers and isn’t heading back to its home station empty.
No Gods, No Masters
So, how does it actually work? Who makes decisions? Who calls the shots? Who enforces the rules? Simply put, we all do. Everyone affected by a decision has a say in it. This may sound like a nightmare, but it’s simply an organizational issue, easily facilitated by the mesh and our muses.
At the smallest level, anarchists organize themselves in groups appropriate to the location, interest, or project. Community assemblies, worker’s councils, project co-ops, afﬁnity groups, various collectives, and similar bodies are each composed of their participants. Everyone in these groupings is on equal footing; there are no formalized hierarchies, and informal hierarchies are intentionally discouraged. Leadership positions are sometimes granted, particularly in situations where quick decision-making is essential or a coordinating person is needed, but these are only enabled by universal vote and their decisions are subject to immediate critical peer review and possible recall. When interacting with other groups, delegates are elected to convey the groups’ decisions. Such delegates are not representatives, meaning that they are not empowered to make decisions on the group’s behalf, and must similarly answer to their peers.
Decisions within groups are made most often by a consensus process that seeks out unanimity, though some groups settle for two-thirds or even simple majority on contentious issues. Objections to a stated proposal are discussed, potentially leading to amendments that reﬂect such concerns. Those with minor disagreements are often content to let a proposal pass, as long as their dissident views are reﬂected in the record. Major disagreements that are unable to be resolved can sometimes lead to a division within a group, with those objecting leaving. This sort of split is considered a feature, not a bug—when such divergent opinions are held, it is often better for people to go their separate ways. Proposals, discussion, polling, and voting are quite often handled entirely online, in real-time. Many anarchists have trained their muses to respond to these matters automatically according to their preferences, to provide them with regular summaries, and to notify them only of major issues that deserve closer personal attention.
On a larger scale, these small bodies network together in a decentralized, confederated fashion. When a decisions affects an entire syndicate, confederation, or similar assembly of groups, the individual groupings and members are polled in the same manner as local decisions. The algorithms and programming for these decision networks are very sophisticated, enabling anarchist groups across the solar system to coordinate efﬁciently and quickly—quite often more rapidly than hierarchical command structures.
Crime and Justice
So you’ve arrived in your ﬁrst anarchist hab and, like most ﬁrst-timers, you may be put off by the fact that there are people wandering around with weapons hanging from their hips or that the corner fabber’s menu lists “Molotov” under its directory of cocktail choices. Or maybe you’re visiting a scum barge and are offered a cutting edge narcoalgorithm right as you step out the airlock. Or your muse gets pinged with the newest Experia OS, the one that’s still in beta back on Venus, and you may get to wondering, “Is this legal?”
Anarchism doesn’t mean “do whatever the hell you want.” We have rules—not laws, but rules, guidelines, suggestions for behaviors. The difference is, unlike a law, they are mutable and often change from situation to situation. Also our rules are something we have arrived at by consensus, unlike the laws of many other habitats, which are often made by those in power to protect their interests without any feedback from the people who will be subject to those laws. Everyone in an anarchist habitat has had a say in the rules that will affect them.
With no money and no need, there is no motivation to pursue many of the crimes that are common in inner system habitats, such as theft. With no laws, there is little in anarchist habitats that counts as crime. Nevertheless, there is occasionally “rule breaking” and anti-social behavior. Interpersonal violence is, of course, frowned upon, though small scale scufﬂes, such as a ﬁght between friends, are surprisingly tolerated and viewed as a private personal dispute. Sometimes, people just need to brawl to get it out of their system. Murder or other savage attacks are taken more seriously, as is any sort of large-scale destruction. Most anarchist habitats have collectively decided to ban WMDs out of simple common sense.
As a general guideline, anarchists consider ego crimes to be far more serious than violent offenses. Forknapping, non-consensual psychosurgery, cyberbrain or infomorph hacking, involuntary mental manipulation—these are the sort of things that will get a mob of angry locals on your neck right quick. Who responds when infractions occur? The community does. With no prohibitions on weapons, your average anarchist tends to be fairly well armed, and many will intervene if they see someone needing help or some other antisocial activity in progress. Most anarchist areas have volunteer militias that can be quickly mustered when needed to act in the community’s self-defense, backed up by a complement of heavily armed and armored security drones. Similarly, volunteer collectives also man the weapon systems that defend their colony from outside aggression. Most anarchist stations also practice transparency in public areas, enabling locals to keep an eye on potential problems. You might be able to print up some plastic explosives at that corner nanofab, but the entire local community will be alerted to the fact that you are doing so.
When it comes to crime and conﬂict, anarchists also have a much different take on resolution. The most immediate thing is that pissing off other anarchists can very quickly tank your rep score. “Punishment” for crimes is largely considered a barbaric holdover from the past. If someone is acting in an anti-social manner, odds are there is a reason for it and they need help. A typical anarchist response will be to select an impartial group of peers from the affected community to assess a situation, with rehabilitation and conﬂict resolution overseen by volunteers from a community crisis center as the preferred method of handling offenders. Justice is also held as important, and the opinion of the person who is the victim of a crime is strongly considered. Anarchists have no prisons, so an offender is expected to comply with a community’s judgment of their own free will.
Those that don’t—or who are repeat offenders—will be rewarded with a quick ticket off the habitat and temporary or permanent exile. Some stations are known to ban those exiled from allied colonies. Only in the most extreme cases—mass murder, treason, slavery—have some anarchist communities been known to condemn someone to permanent death.
Daily Life of an Anarchist
So what’s day-to-day life like in an anarchist colony? Pretty much the same as it is everywhere else, except you won’t have a boss breathing down your neck, rent to pay, or cops staring you down. We work less, play more, treat each other like equals, and have largely forgotten about weird fetishes like consumerism. There are other ways in which we diverge from inner system lifestyles, but many of them are subtle and nuanced.
Sex does not suffer from the social stigmas and guilt that still linger in the inner system, nor is it commodiﬁed. People are fairly open about their kinks and desires. Relationship-wise, most anarchists tend towards polyamory. Marriage is rare, though some couples still opt for long-term monogamy. Group relationship arrangements are growing more common.
Skill and expertise are still valued among anarchists, though it doesn’t come with the elitist privileges common elsewhere. Being good at what you do might get you more rep and prestige and probably means people will listen to your opinions more, but it doesn’t give you wealth, nor does it give you authority over others unless they grant it.
Creative expression is more common in our habitats, a beneﬁt of more leisure time. Our walls are covered with artwork, murals, or simply grafﬁti because many of us feel that blank walls equal blank minds. Sculptures, entoptic designs, and eclectic AR sensory feeds abound. Impromptu theater and musical jam sessions are not an uncommon occurrence in public areas. Flash mob pranks, MARGs, and other group games are popular and widespread.
Private residences are not bought, but are assigned by a housing AI according to availability. Most stations feature common living areas for travelers and itinerants. These range from bunk-bed barracks to coffin capsules to individual quarters depending on available space.
You won’t ﬁnd the private sensor nets common elsewhere, of course, but ubiquitous surveillance is common and transparency is the order of the day. In our society, there aren’t any big secrets regarding day to day stuff. Most people’s lives are open books. If you’re the sort of person who craves privacy, keeps to yourself, and carefully constructs a false persona to display to the world, you’re going to have some issues. While most of your neighbors aren’t really going to obsess over where you go and what you do, if you present one account and then try to hide or lie about the truth, it’s going to get around and make people suspicious, and also make them wonder what else you may be lying about. It’s not that we don’t have privacy, but we don’t have it in the way you do in the inner system. You can keep to yourself, but that only goes so far, and attempts to lie or falsify your actions usually come back to bite you in the ass.
You’ll likely see a bit more variety among morphs, bio-mods, and accessories in anarchist habs. Individuality is prized over uniformity, so you won’t see as many of the cookie-cutter cosmetic looks. There’s also no stigma to running around in a clanker or unusual chimeric design. In fact, synthmorphs are incredibly common due to their versatility. One major change from the inner system is that many biomorphs here are modiﬁed to be equipped with cyberbrains rather than biological models. This enables easier forking and resleeving.
Forking also doesn’t suffer from inner-system limitations. Many people fork for days or simply keep a fork companion on hand for all purposes. Alphas are not considered property and forcing one to re-merge against its will is considered offensive. Most anarchists, however, do not consider beta forks to be fully sapient—though this is challenged by some, and some stations treat betas as they do alphas.
Uplifts and AGIs are both considered sapients and treated as equals in anarchist societies. Though there is some lingering AI paranoia from the Fall, most AGIs ﬁnd they are accepted and treated as people on anarchist habs. In recent years, there has been an inﬂux of both AGIs and uplifts to the positive environments of the outer system.
Problems with Anarchy
Though we paint a rosy picture of life in anarchist colonies, we’d be remiss if we said it was perfect. We have our share of problems and difﬁculties, though most of these are at least acknowledged and addressed rather than ignored or institutionalized.
Foremost among our challenges is the creeping nature of informal hierarchies. Even though we create organizations designed to counter the accumulation of power, sometimes we grow lax, or fall back into old habits ingrained on Earth, or simply fall prey to deceptive persons. Sometimes this enables individuals to amass a sort of social leverage over others. On a recent trip to another hab, I had the pleasure of dealing with an unhappy man who had entrenched himself in the local bureaucracy to the point where he was exerting inﬂuence over the morphs available for new arrivals to resleeve in. The bastard actually had the gall to try to coerce me into committing some dirty work for him before giving me the morph I requested. I did it, and then I exposed him. While he took a rep hit, I fear that the locals failed to take it seriously, and he still holds on to that position.
The same problem occasionally pops up with people who have accumulated a high rep score—particularly if it shot up overnight. Some of these take the rep boost as an invitation to act like jackasses since they can get away with it a lot more easily; it just goes to their head. Thankfully, the problem is usually short-lived and self-correcting, as their rep eventually gets trounced.
Second is integrating outsiders—particularly short-term visitors. Some inner system socialite brats have made a fun game out of visiting anarchist habs under fake identities and taking advantage of the lack of laws and police to act like complete hooligans and create some sort of ruckus before quickly leaving. Even if they get caught, they usually just get expelled anyway. While a nuisance, the same problem occasionally pops up with other outsiders who take advantage of how our society is more open. This is basically a failure of accountability—among anarchists, we can keep tabs on who’s a jerk in our communities and exert social pressures to keep them in line. With outsiders, that recourse is gone as soon as they leave. We don’t want to treat every non-anarchist that visits as a potential problem, but we’ve learned to collectively keep a closer eye on them, give the inﬁltration of Stellar Intelligence agents and hypercorp saboteurs.
We face other challenges too. Since our habitats are often physically isolated and focused on communalism, local residents sometimes develop cliquish behaviors towards outsiders. Conﬁned to the rim, without armies of indentured slaves at our disposal like the capitalists have, we sometimes run short on fuels, metals, or other critical resources. Lacking any central authority to force agreement, local schisms sometimes escalate into larger conﬂicts. These issues are widely recognized, discussed, and worked against.
Finally, there’s the ever-present challenge of super-empowering technology. Since we don’t restrict tech like the hypercorps do—and in fact, with our open science programs, make it even more available to everyone—there’s always the chance that someone will endanger those around them. On the positive side, since the tech is more widespread, it also enables us to collectively enact countermeasures more quickly, though this usually just limits the damage. To some degree, our tech enthusiasts, experts, and scientists all police themselves, but the environment we foster has occasionally attracted exhumans, singularity seekers, or other sociopaths.
Anarchy for Everyone?
Even we admit, anarchism is not for everyone. There are plenty of people for whom this type of life sounds like a version of hell, and honestly we’d just as soon not have them here either. When you get down to it, we only really want people who want to be here. Unfortunately, many people grew up under capitalism and can’t hack the paradigm shift or have other … behavioral issues that would just make them perennial ﬂies in our otherwise communally harmonious ointment.
First among those who have trouble adjusting to life among the anarchists are egos that were born into privilege and entitlement. They quickly learn that we don’t give two fucks about any of that shit and acting like you know better or are better is a quick way to a rep dump. A lot of us toiled under shitty economic systems prior to the Fall and remember the way we were treated by our “betters,” so many of these spoiled brats are lucky if all they encounter is a lack of sympathy.
Equally self-entitled are those whose upbringing or culture instilled in them a sense that they were better due to their gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, or physical ability. Welcome to the future assholes, none of that shit matters anymore. That you were born a fully able hetero cis white male in the States doesn’t mean dick to me or any of the rest of us. It’s not who you were, or what you’re used to, but how much you’re willing to contribute to the collective. Tolerance for prejudice of any sort is thin on anarchist habs.
There are others that don’t ﬁt in. People that just can’t get over the need to hoard things, even when it’s more than they can possibly use themselves. People that get off on ordering others around. Sociopaths. Misanthropes. Loners. We have our own outcasts that live on the fringe, getting by with meager rep scores and as little participation in collective affairs as possible. They are tolerated, and sometimes pitied, but as long as they don’t mess with others, they are left alone.
It sometimes takes new arrivals—recently unarchived infugees, escaped indentures, exiled criminals—some time to fully grok how we anarchists do things and adjust to the collectivist lifestyle. We try to smooth over their integration with orientation sessions and helper AIs. Some collectives and syndicates go out of their way to “adopt” the noobs and show them the ropes. Some of them are afraid their past lives will make anarchists reject them, particularly if they were a cop, banker, or criminal. For the most part, we try to give everyone a chance to start over. It’s only how you act and who you present yourself to be among us that we care about. If you’re leaving behind a corp job or a life as a Martian ranger and you want to start over with no one knowing? Good for you, we won’t hold it against you.
Sidebar: Of Isms and Privileges
Anarchism has always been critical of the various “-isms”: racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, speciesism. It has also drawn connections between these prejudices and the larger oppressive institutions of hierarchy and power (government, capitalism, patriarchy, religion, etc.), and noted how certain segments of society were granted privileges in order to keep the less privileged strata down. Though uploading, genehacking, and resleeving technology broke through many of these prejudicial attitudes, most anarchists remain cognizant of the lingering effects. For example, anarcha-feminists point out how egos in male morphs ﬁnd it easier to adopt leadership roles and tend to be extended more privileges—in a subtle, but measurable way—than egos in female morphs. In certain cultures, morphs with speciﬁc ethnic features are treated differently due to lingering racism, and so on. Though no anarchist would ever call for non-consensual psychosurgery, some anarchists have deliberately opted to attempt to excise these biases from their own minds. Experimentation with other morphologies, to “walk a mile in their shoes,” is common practice.
By Ji Ligong,
Posted to Your Opinion: Your Voice, Experia News Net
“Fuck them, fuck ‘em all. Those anarchists? Yeah, they talk a good game about freedom of expression and the rights of individuals but, really, it’s all bullshit. And, no, this isn’t just sour grapes because they kicked me out, alright? I wasn’t doing anything wrong but apparently I got their panties in a bunch because they accused me of anti-social crimes and of violating the rights of a sapient. Over a fucking fork? Can you believe that shit?
OK, so yeah. Let me start over, tell you how it went down. First thing you gotta know is that I know that I’m a deviant. Yeah, yeah, I like what I like, that’s why I didn’t bother trying to even apply for citizenship on Mars or somewhere else, I ﬁgured it would just be a matter of time before I got scooped up and thrown in prison. But I heard the outer system was different, like anything goes there, you know?
So I found this little hab, run by some ex-scum, and you know how they like to party, yeah? So I ﬁgured it’d be right up my alley, my kind of pervert right? But, no, turns out that if you’re the kinda guy that likes to take forks of people and turn them into virtual pleasure slaves, that’s not OK. So much for anything goes! And, like I said, they’re forks! Not even real goddamn people! Who the fuck cares if I do sick shit to your fork! Of course I wasn’t going to ask them for the fork, I’m not stupid, I know I’m a sick fuck. But I ﬁgured, hey, anarchists, they’re anything goes sorts. Not so much as it turns out. The fact of the matter is that they’ve kinda got a real stick up their asses about rights and self-determination and that kinda shit.
So fuck ’em. They’re just as bad as some of those moral communities you see popping up on the hinterlands of Mars.
As you might expect, anarchists are an opinionated bunch. Though most of us work as a united front, there are a few distinct groupings within our big extended family identiﬁed due to their outspoken stances on a handful of issues.
The vast majority of self-identiﬁed anarchist habitats are collectivist in ideology and practice. Also known as anarcho-communism, libertarian socialism, anarchosyndicalism, or just plain anarchism, collectivist anarchism argues in favor of egalitarianism and the abolition of hierarchies, money, property, and wage labor. Though various tendencies exist within the collectivists, they mostly boil down to minute differences in organization and focus (syndicalists favor ordering society around the workplace, for example). The black ﬂag or red-and-back ﬂag is their symbol. Most anarchists who don’t favor broad-scale collectivism have gravitated towards the scum or mutualist Extropians instead.
Along with being collectivists, most anarchists, if pressed, would probably espouse something close to what is now called blue anarchy, or anarcho-transhumanism. They believe broadly in using anarchist principles along with transhuman technologies to structure a new, more equal society. Blues see the current proliferation of anarchist habitats as realization of this new anarchist dream, and the increasingly ubiquity of cheap, easy-to-use fabrication technologies as the means to spread it to more willing habitats. The anarcho-transhumanists and anarcho-primitivists hold opposite and hostile viewpoints.
The prevailing consensus among anarchists is that they should be continuing to actively ﬁght for the liberation of everyone—in particular, those who are still living under the oppressive regimes of the core planets, the Jovians, and elsewhere. Anarchists across the solar system provide material aid when possible to free unions, worker’s cooperatives, mercurials, hacktivists, and other anarchist and lefty groups that are working for social change in their respective polities—particularly those that seek to set up a dual power structure, laying the groundwork for a new society in the shell of the old. While they support social struggles elsewhere, however, rimward anarchists are wary about actively entering into direct conﬂicts with these governmental powers. Some argue a ﬁne line must be trod between solidarity and putting the existing gains they have made at further risk. Clandestine support and memetic campaigns are preferred to open warfare. According to some viewpoints, it is the duty of the oppressed to liberate themselves.
The insurrectionists go further. They think the current focus of anarchists everywhere should be in liberating the people living under hypercorp domination. They believe that as long as any inequality exists, no anarchist should be content with the gains that have been made. They also consider the system to be in a state of undeclared war between the inner and outer factions, and to that end they rail against the core planet powers, the Jovians, and the ultimates, constantly agitating for overt direct action against the oppressive regimes that are still in existence in addition to ongoing covert efforts. They point out that this is not just a matter of liberating others, but of protecting the Alliance itself from inevitable aggression by their militaristic and autocratic neighbors. Many are also critical of the Titaniansfor being too hierarchical and the Extropians for exploiting people with their capitalist enterprises.
The primitivists believe that all of industrial and technological society is coercive and oppressive. They argue that hierarchy and domination began with the invention of agriculture itself and cannot be eliminated until we return to a small-scale society of hunter-gatherer tribes. Though they abhor the TITANs and the destruction of the Fall, they believe that transhumanity’s population reduction is a positive step that needs to be taken even further. Most primitivists seek to establish colonies of like-minded people on habitable exoplanets, or work with the reclaimers to re-take the Earth. A few, however, actively agitate for the destruction of both the Planetary Consortium (and other governments) and the Autonomist Alliance. These extremists are responsible for numerous acts of sabotage and terror around the solar system.
Anarchist Groups of Note
A few collectives, networks, and other anarchist formations stand out.
All Queer is a network of anarchists that pinpoint their gender and sexual identity as outside of the conﬁnes of straight, binary norms. An outgrowth of radical queer groups that countered oppression before the capability to resleeve created a massive social shift, All Queer argues that biases still exist against people that have non-binary gender identities or sexual orientations outside of the mainstream. More than just countering phobia and privilege—in both autonomist and capitalist societies—All Queer opposes assimilation and instead promotes the idea that all of transhuman society needs to be—and is well on its way towards being—thoroughly genderfucked. All Queer activists have been instrumental in designing morphs, bio-mods, and psychosurgical hacks that explore a wide range of sexual biology, orientation, and practical activities.
Black Marshall's Brigade
Notorious within the inner system, this syndicate had a humble beginning. It started as a simply named Volunteer Adjudication Collective, composed mainly of people trained in psych backgrounds and social work who offered themselves as a third-party conﬂict resolution service. They were of particular use for incidents when two or more collectives had a dispute where an outsider opinion was needed. Over time, they developed an investigatory capacity, as they were frequently called in to handle a dispute that could not be settled internally or that was muddied by contradictory information or missing facts. They developed a rep for satisfactorily resolving a number of high-proﬁle mysteries and disputes.
Much like a police investigator, only volunteer and with no legal authority behind them, members of this group are brought in to ferret out the most accurate account of any given situation and then present their ﬁnding to the collective(s) with whom they are working. If asked to, they will also supply a resolution to the groups or people that brought them on.
What really set this group apart, however, was their willingness to hunt down and capture people that had ﬂed to inner system polities. They have on several occasions captured egos that were wanted on suspicion of being hypercorp saboteurs. These operations often turned messy as the Marshals were not adverse to inﬂicting signiﬁcant damage against hypercorp assets in pursuit of their targets. This led to the group developing a reputation that was fanned by sensationalist inner system media exposes. In response to these reports, the syndicate adopted the name of the Black Marshals Brigade.
One secret to the Marshals’ success is that many of them come from backgrounds where they worked for hypercorp security or mercenary groups. As an offshoot of their other projects, the Brigade also assists in training anarchist collectives on maintaining a good security culture. According to rumors, the Marshals work with Special Outreach, maintaining a database of suspected hypercorp informants and inﬁltrators within anarchist space.
Blue Rose is an informal network of experienced insurrectionist anarcho-transhumanists, most of whom were active militants fighting to liberate anarchist spaces in the outer system before the Fall. Having seen many of their dreams realized, they have turned their minds towards fostering revolution in the inner system and Jovian Republic. Though rarely involved in direct action anymore (with a few notable exceptions), their intellectual efforts are exerted towards undermining the memes of their opponents, analyzing the current state of the authoritarian polities for weaknesses, and developing actual revolutionary strategy to overthrow them.
Several members of Blue Rose are also prominent chrome advocates, a fact that unsettles some supporters (and other members).
The Charcoal Tower
This loose confederation of intellectuals, scientists, and think tanks operates the largest informal open educational project in the system. They have programmed thousands of tutor AIs, training programs, and skillsofts. Unlike traditional education systems, they do not focus on standardized tests and abstract learning; most of their programs are designed to create a hands-on, practical learning experience that requires interaction with real-world situations and enables a student to learn at their own pace and along their own primary areas of interest. The Tower also publishes a number of abstracts, theses, and studies that counter the more established intellectual efforts of the Consortium and the Junta’s think tanks. The Tower has close ties with the argonauts.
Cienfuegos Revolutionary Anarchist Movement (CRAM)
CRAM is the largest insurrectionist network, composed of anarchist groups embedded within non-autonomist polities and their supporters in anarchist space. These groups employ a wide range of open-source insurgency tactics, encouraging dissent and revolution as appropriate to the local situation. Sometimes this amounts to little more than supporting existing social movements, spreading memetic campaigns, lending material support, and doing what they can to turn up the heat. In others it involves actively establishing anarchist-oriented counter-institutions and unions, building an infrastructure for the new economy while cultivating a culture of resistance to the transitional/old one. Along with these efforts go tactics such as militant demonstrations, labor strikes, sabotage efforts, hacktivist campaigns, and other creative but illegal actions. In a few instances, CRAM groups have engaged in armed struggle, including bombings and assassinations, though they seek to limit the casualties to their actual enemies and don’t just wage indiscriminate attacks, which could mean losing popular support. CRAM is ofﬁcially outlawed in the Consortium, Jovian Republic, and Lunar-Lagrange Alliance. They have signiﬁcant inﬂuence on both Mars and Luna and are in good standing with Barsoomian groups.
Company of Equals
A band of refugees and political dissidents from mainland China started this assembly of collectives on Mars before they were ousted by the Consortium. Now scattered across the solar system, they are notable for their melding of anarchist and Taoist thought, seeing the natural order of the universe as being simultaneously harmonious and in a constant state of change due to the ﬂux of opposing and dynamic forces. Most Company collectives make it a point to live in non-anarchist habitats, and so they often serve as crash space, local guide, and general waystation for anarchists traveling to other polities and in need of assistance. Likewise, they have also helped to funnel indentures, dissidents, uplifts, and AGIs out to seek asylum on anarchist stations.
Jovian Anarchist Cells (JAC)
This underground group operates in Junta space, quietly seeking to be a thorn in the side of the Jovian regime. If Jovian media feeds are to be believed, JAC members are regularly arrested and imprisoned. The JAC makes a great bogeyman for propaganda purposes, something the anarchists willingly embrace. Their logo, an impish ﬁgure holding a candle to a burning Jovian Republic ﬂag, is a common—if temporary—sight on spray-bombed habitat walls, along with the slogan “JAC up the Junta!”
Another insurrectionist network like CRAM, but smaller and with far less local involvement, Lingg’s Words is an insurrectionist cadre cell network active around the solar system. The Words, however, focus on ﬁghting battles that aren’t being fought by anyone else, especially in situations where the anarchists can take risks that local oppressed populations cannot. They target the corporations, government ofﬁcials, and military assets they consider to be the most oppressive or an active threat to anarchist holdings. Though less numerous and active than CRAM, Words cells have pulled off a number of devastating attacks and pioneered the modern tactic of fork “suicide” bombing. Citing the ubiquity of backups, they have no qualms with collateral damage.
Louis Lingg's Words
I repeat that I am the enemy of the “order” of today, and I repeat that, with all my powers, so long as breath remains in me, I shall combat it. I declare again, frankly and openly, that I am in favor of using force. I have told Captain Schaack, and I stand by it, “if you cannonade us, we shall dynamite you.” You laugh! Perhaps you think, “you’ll throw no more bombs;” but let me assure you I die happy on the gallows, so conﬁdent am I that the hundreds and thousands to whom I have spoken will remember my words; and when you shall have hanged us, then—mark my words—they will do the bomb throwing! In this hope do I say to you: I despise you. I despise your order, your laws, your force-propped authority. Hang me for it!
Love and Rage
The guardians of the Fissure Gate, this group works extensively with the autonomist Fissure Gate Task Force to expand anarchist/autonomist exoplanet operations.
Though there is no ofﬁcial anarchist space naval force, the Sabaté Swarm is the next best thing. Effectively a volunteer militia of anarchist spacecraft crews, drone operators, and sensor specialists, the swarm stands ready to be called into action should an anarchist colony come under attack. Lacking a centralized organization, the swarm adheres to Tielhard Liu’s Doctrines for its space combat strategy and tactics. Among their ranks are a few military ships that survived the Fall, with their crews either mutineering afterwards or simply ﬁnding themselves without a government to serve. More recently, a group of AGIs defected from their work in a Starware shipyard in the Belt, bringing a recently constructed frigate with them to join the swarm. Observers are still watching to see if Starware will attempt to repossess their ship.
The most famous bioconservative anarcho-primitivist tribe, this group has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on nanotech facilities, mesh servers, and bio labs. They have stated their hatred of all things technological and seem willing to target anarchist scientists and engineers just as quickly as hypercapitalist ones.
Anarchist Views on Others
Broadly speaking, most anarchists are friendly but critical of the other autonomists—with the exception of the non-mutualist Extropians, who are widely loathed. The Titanians are considered a benevolent neighbor that needs to be watched closely lest they turn. The scum are kin in spirit, though their hedonistic ways and lack of organization and accountability are critiqued. The mutualists are viewed positively, if quaintly. Most anarchists consider the term anarcho-capitalist to be an oxymoron, believing capitalism to be inherently oppressive.
Outside of the Alliance, most anarchists take no issue with the rank-and-ﬁle populations of other polities, unless they happen to be conservative or bigoted. The leaders, ofﬁcials, and elites of these other factions are viewed as parasites that eventually must be removed if transhumanity is ever to be completely equal and free.