anarchism is not a form of society it is the cutting edge of individualism…
Originally published as an article in Free Life, the journal of the Libertarian Alliance (U.K.), in Vol. II, No. 2 (Spring 1981), “My Anarchism” defends a bracing individualism, and opens up a challenge to communist theories of ownership: if access to the means of production is mediated entirely through social relationships and communal connections, does this mean social liberation? Or does it just mean a new social capitalism, with the individual finding herself at the mercy of new monopolies, administered “horizontally” by the majority?
“The common ownership of the means of production would confront me with the choice: integrate or perish. Any group, or federation of groups, can be as powerful as any state if it monopolises in any given area the potentialities of action and realisation. The result would be social totalitarianism. . . .”
“What power could I exercise for example if I were stuck at the base of the pyramid of workers’ councils proposed as the administrative structure for industries in the communist society? At best, and in its purest form, such a system might produce an ‘anarchism’ of groups. It would not produce an anarchism of individuals…”
“There is no vertical authority exercised by a State, but there is horizontal authority exercised by ‘society’ in the form of customs that are often more ubiquitous and despotic than modern governments. . . . All collectivities need norms to which their members must conform if they are to function. And these norms need sanctions to ensure that they are obeyed. Anarchism has never existed as a form of society, nor is it ever likely to. Indeed, I consider it a grave mistake to conceive of anarchism as a social theory. Anarchism is not a form of society. It is the cutting edge of individualism. . . .”
Sidney Parker was a prolific individualist anarchist writer and editor best known for his long-running egoist journal Minus One, later retitled The Egoist and Ego, which ran from 1963–1993.
Introduced December 2013.