Saturday, 18 September 2010


"There will be a qualitative transformation, a new living, life-giving revelation, a new heaven and a new earth, a young and mighty world in which all our present dissonances will be resolved into a harmonious whole." - Mikhail Bakunin

"A good man and a good citizen are not exactly the same thing." - Augustine

WE don't have to rely on ministerial expense scandals, corruption in high places and lying politicians to convince us that parliamentary democracy is a sham; the system itself is rotten to the core.

In the past, the political process involved small groups of chieftains, warriors and holy men, each of whom would get together at regular intervals to discuss the needs and aspirations of their respective communities; particularly in relation to security and wellbeing. Politics has always been open to abuse, of course, but the Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) tradition of the Witenagemot - also known as the Witan - was one of the more decentralised examples of how our ancestors would exert a form of political authority that had been channelled up from the grassroots. Those involved felt a sense of duty and responsibility to their people, quite unlike the politicians of today with their noses firmly stuck in the trough.

The Witenagemot began as a distinctly tribal phenomenon and even the meeting place for these folk gatherings were pretty indeterminate and sporadic. Unfortunately, however, in the wake of the Norman invasion of England in 1066 the Witenagemot was transformed into the more elitist Curia Regis, which served as an advisory body to the monarchy and soon became the first parliament. This subtle change made it very convenient for the Norman establishment to centralise power in the hands of an ever-diminishing number of people. After the English Civil War of the seventeenth century, the power of the monarchy was curtailed and parliament became more powerful. But rather than make it easier for ordinary people to express their opinions on the issues of the day, it became a tool for the landowners and the ruling classes.

The main problem with parliamentary democracy is the fact that it is representative. Indeed, whilst it is possible for people to vote for a political party and elect a politician from their immediate locality, that individual cannot be recalled or replaced for several years - depending on the country concerned and the parliamentary system in question. However, as we know only too well, politicians are not very good at keeping their promises and tend to get elected and then make a series of treacherous u-turns. So whilst a politician claims to represent your interests he or she actually represents the interests of a party. The term 'party' relates to a part of the whole, so despite a Member of Parliament supposedly representing people residing within a specific area, only a mere section of the community - i.e. those who voted for the MP in the first place - is able to have its wishes expressed. And that's without taking into account that a minority of people even bother to vote in the first place, let alone the fact that politicians rarely bother to fulfil their promises!

Instead of representative democracy, through which politicians serve their own interests at the expense of the community on behalf of the state, National-Anarchists believe in participation. In other words, instead of voting for politicians every few years and then allowing them to go on and act precisely as they wish, we believe that people should take an active role in politics themselves. Not on a national scale, but within their own localities. Instead of politicians, National-Anarchists favour delegates, people who must either reflect the wishes of the people or be replaced immediately. This process would safeguard against corruption and unaccountability and make sure that people had a real say in the running of their own areas. This will mark a return, if you like, to the old Witenagemot system. And whilst National-Anarchists do not believe in applying centralised 'rule' we do accept that the actual form of decision-making is something that will be particular to each community. And community is the key word.

The fact that people have put so much power in the hands of the state has meant that the traditions and values of our communities are becoming eroded at an alarming rate. National laws and constitutions are a relatively modern phenomenon and to suppose that humans are incapable of organising themselves into close-knit communities is to hand over total responsibility to the state. Think about it, do you really wish to leave things to the businessmen, the politicians, the councillors, the judges, the bailiffs, the tax collectors, the landlords, the soldiers, the police and the teachers, or would you prefer to see power, wealth and arms restored to the community where it belongs? The less we depend on the state and its institutions, the more irrelevant it will become. Once that happens, of course, it will become superfluous to requirements and will be swept aside. We fight, therefore, for the communityagainst the state.

Further reading:
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Grafton, 1976.
Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange, Penguin, 1984.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Grafton, 1977.
Peter Kropotkin, The State: Its Historic Role, Freedom Press, 1987.
Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid, Freedom Press, 1998.
George Orwell, Nineteen-Eighty-Four, Penguin, 1983.
Muammar al-Qathafi, The Green Book, World Centre for Research, 1977.