When I think of the future anarchist world in which we will live, I see our cities so abundant with food and shelter and clothing and knowledge that there is no want by anyone. In anarchism, as property and ownership are absent, as well as its children capital, authority, and money, it is clear that such a new society must conceive of wealth in a far different manner than it does in the ownership construct.
As one reads Marx and others, we discover that capital itself, is quite much a result of accumulated labour. This means that whenever you do anything: build a house, repair a window, grow a plant for food or clothing, make a fabric — it creates wealth. In anarchism, nobody owns that new something or other which you have helped bring into existence, it just now exists, unalienated from anyone or anything. Nobody owns it.
In such a world, no one is apart from another as we all simultaneously live in the knowledge that we are one living, breathing, being.
Sustaining the abundance of all is about consciously, together, saving a portion of surplus and putting it to work for our collective self. When you put labour into saving and planting a seed in its season, you invest a portion of surplus which will give you greater and greater benefits later. You will in the future have a tree to give you shade and fruit to eat or a plant to give you food or fabric in its season. Maintenance is no different.
As all time in anarchism is leisure time, is play, is joy, yes one might consider spending a portion of your time growing food as an investment of your existing time, but more so, you and we understand a principle of wealth and abundance in order to continue to live your life and everyone’s lives in leisure. Such thinking though separates our work from play, when they are not really apart, but for the sake of understanding abundance itself, it seems good to speak of it separately here.
As such, we will want to make such “investments” of free time, of play time, to keep the abundance long lasting, growing and dynamic. When we add a new room to a structure or build a new structure entirely, we will invest mental and physical “labour” to make the structure (a form of wealth) to last as long as possible and to need as little maintenance as possible. If you repair something, you also would make sure that you won’t have to keep repairing it.
Clothing and shoes wear out, water channels to gardens may need repairing, roofs too with time, but our actions are not because we are a wage slave, or a landlord, or a renter, or a consumer, or a producer – children of the ownership construct – but because we live to live, and realize too that when other people are not free of the ownership construct, no one is.
And in this living, even among all of one’s “investments”, in the end, they mean nothing, or little to the extent that: life is play. If someone, in their wandering and play for whatever reason, accidental or otherwise, catches a hillside on fire and it burns to the ground a nearby settlement, but no one is hurt, so be it. We must laugh at what has occurred. If some people die in the incident, as no one can rule over anyone else, the most one could do is talk to the person to help reason with them that they have brought harm to another so as to help such physical harm from coming upon anyone else. If they are mad, then they are mad. So, little or no reasoning will do. One might choose to companion them to make sure they don’t bring harm to others more, but truly the “mad”, they are the most at play. And the most free.
In the life of play, to destroy and build up — there is no difference. If our pursuits are sedentary, then we might build the world to grow in the diversity it can give us, but we can also live to build up or take down without thought, living in the fullest moments of play, as the fire in the field, the squirrel in the tree, and ‘the hurricanes of nature’ are no different than ourselves.
So to sum up, labour creates wealth. And in our world of play, we can individually or collectively help expand the so called “purse” which we all partake of, by investing in the long term sustenance of ourselves and all others. It means planting edible plants and fruit bearing trees everywhere, it means moving close to clean waterways or making clean the waterways around us, it means making buildings last, it means learning and teaching others how to make fabric and clothes from plants and animal skins, and freely sharing all knowledge so that together we will all live lives of play and abundance, but also knowing that life is limitless, and the pleasure to build up is no different than the pleasure to destroy.
Such is the wonder of anarchism, it is the total liberation of all – offering all truth and all liberation, for a world of the truest peace.