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+1 vote
Clearly the police and other government agencies perform functions that are directly linked to the maintenance of the political status quo.  On this basis, they must be challenged.  However, the majority of us would feel compelled to call the police should we be under attack.  How may an anarchist society reconcile this need for protection, with the need for liberty and freedom from authority?

edited to add crime tag
by (170 points)
edited by
Calling the police does not not always bring about "protection". Protection vs liberty and freedom from authority, may be more closely linked then we are otherwise lead to believe. It could be that perhaps these "need" no reconciliation whatsoever.
Thanks for this...
I upvoted this because I feel it is a good question. There are still some circumstances where people feel the need to call the police (at times for good reason) and addressing this question can be tricky

2 Answers

+2 votes
many people do not call the police now when they are threatened - not just anarchists. the protection the police (claim to) offer is pretty specific and extremely limited.
the fact that some people still don't think they have any other recourse has as much to do with the fact that police are seen to be the only legitimate users-of-force in this society, as it does with actually protecting ourselves. police, for a variety of reasons (not all of them even in their control), also tend to escalate conflicts rather than actually resolve anything.
one of the basics of anarchist thought is direct action, which means that we handle things ourselves. handling things can mean a wide variety of things, from violence to mediation (or all of the above), and could include various numbers of people (ie - who "us" is could be contextual).

also: what skitter said. ;)

edit: i did not answer the question that was asked in the headline because it has been asked directly (and alluded to) so many times. but once again (because this question is more direct than some others):

people would have to figure out for themselves and each other how they would want to address bad behavior, either before or after such behavior happened.
there would be some groups that value safety more, and there would be other groups that valued adventure more, and one hopes that there would be appropriate fluidity between such groups, since people change... and when there was disagreement, people would use a variety of tactics to figure it out, and some people wouldn't agree with the tactics, and probably some people wouldn't agree with the resolution, and NOT EVERYONE WOULD BE HAPPY.
anarchy is not a guarantee of happiness. anarchy is a way to allow us to do the best we can, which right now, we are actively (and on multiple levels) kept from attempting.
by (53.1k points)
edited by
–1 vote
Does survival of the fittest really make sense or doe more of a herd mentality.  Strength and protection can be attained to a great degree just by numbers and communty.  But not from outside forces such as threats of war or terrorism.

Still people do crimes of violence against each other, often in anger and hate.  Theft for the most part is physically nonviolent unless the theives feed off of the terror or injury they can inflict.

If there is no money and adequate comfort and quality of lifestyle there would be little need for crime except of an emotional or psychological nature.

Could there be a group of volunteer or trained protectors to ensure the safety of a community (fire, accident, or violence), each appointed to a group of families and independent of other protector?  Not to arrest or become aggressive.
by (2.0k points)
no, there could not be such a body. you're talking about a police force, nascent or otherwise. with such bodies, what prevents them from acting against others themselves (and with greater ability and license)? we won't be equal, of course, because equality doesn't exist, but we are all responsible; we all have to be prepared to intervene in bad things happening--and we have to have a broad array of possible interventions in order to respond best and most effectively... that means that many people's skills will be necessary, not a single specialized group.