Having been mostly apolitical throughout my life, and certainly extremely cynical with respect to the two major parties here in Britain and their 'promises', during the writing of my stories (which involved various moral and / or emotional dilemmas) I slowly realised I was heading towards a system that possessed no government or explicitly defined social structure. I must admit this surprised me, for I'd always thought of both society and government being necessary for a formal system, but as I unconsciously gave my characters greater knowledge and hence autonomy (which were in any case required by the plot so that empowered individuals could solve their own crises), the more I realised where things were heading. So began my journey through the centuries, and it led me to William Godwin's An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, which though a little dated in some of its references is still a nice blueprint from which to work, and some of the more radical authors of the early 20th century whose successors questioned the reigning orthodoxy such as Emma Goldman and Mikhail Bakunin; and for philosophy, Epicurus and Nietzsche, who more than most has been completely mis-represented (how many of those who criticise him have read what he actually wrote rather than what someone else wrote about him?).

As with the dreaded 'A' word Atheist, my new political outlook is described perfectly by another misunderstood 'A' word: Anarchist. For those who think they know what this means but actually don't, it is not disaffected yobs running around blowing themselves up after following idiotic instructions in the self-styled 'Anarchist's Cookbook', or people with middle-European accents dressed in black out to destroy everything in sight; nor is it unfettered social chaos: it is simply a lack of government, not of rules or systems of behaviour. It is not to be confused with Communism (though many ardent capitalists try to do so, even throwing the word Liberal into the mix and trying to use it as an insult, or Libertarian if they know what that means), for anarchy is totally opposed to state control of any kind — in fact there is no state, that's the whole point.

I would probably have to say that anarchism is a fundamentally naive approach, for it is predicated on some critical assumptions: that people are free, educated, responsible, and want to contribute to society in a constructive manner. The biggest problem for the first two is that not only do they have to want to be free and educated (for neither can be given), but also recognise when they are not. Most people, at least those who live in some form of elected-representative democracy and therefore have a choice denied to so many others, seem more than happy to elect governments that are increasingly repressive of personal freedom yet all the while acting in "the name of the people", or who increasingly represent corporate rather than personal and global (by which I mean environmental, not multi-national) interests. As for education, it's something to be scorned and despised as useless except for getting a better-paid job: as long as there are half a dozen soap-operas for the adults to watch and endless cartoons for the children to be plonked in front of all evening (heaven forbid the parents should actually talk to and play with them or teach them anything), then they're happy; the occasional factual or historical / scientific documentary is aimed at an audience whose knowledge is less than that of a teenager of 30 years ago. Anyone for bread and circuses? This sounds elitist, I know, for everyone, regardless of their education (or lack of), has the right to have their opinion heard, and many people are able and willing to change when presented with new evidence, but my point is this: how can the opinion be informed if they are not interested, and if information and alternatives are withheld from them by corporate censorship, government misdirection, and general platitudes? Regarding the will to work (that is, for those who can, rather than those such as pregnant women or the severely disabled who are unable to, whether temporarily or for all their lives), if someone isn't going to put their time and effort into creating a society that benefits everyone, then should they be allowed to take from it more than the absolute necessities for living, or even that much? It's hoped that the lazy person's conscience comes into play (assuming they have one), but if not, then they are effectively parasites and should be left to their own devices. The final group, that of the deliberately anti-social and destructive, has always presented a problem for any society (some Socialist / Anarchist thinking is so naive as to deny such people exist, or if they do, that with proper education they would 'recognise the error of their ways'), and there is no easy answer. Someone who is merely anti-social or a-social has the right to be left alone and do as they will because they do not adversely affect anyone else, but those destructive sociopaths should be treated as are the lazy and shunned until they do something useful, and don't think they will 'take over' because anyone who has fought for freedom will fight again to maintain it.

What irks me ever more as I grow older, apart from the utter futility of war of any kind and the increasingly self-righteous reasons used to justify it (the most puerile is based on "we're invading you to protect ourselves from your differing ideology (and maintain our commercial interests)", the arguments of which are identical to those used by religions during their conquests, is how various British politicians rail against the loss of sovereignty we would experience if we fully joined Europe, yet readily suck up to the Americans and agree with every paranoid xenophobic whim of the White House, regardless of who's in power. Britain is part of Europe (though the concept hasn't managed to get up to the politicians yet, who still maintain borders across what is supposed to be a union), and Europe is part of the world, though just saying I'm a citizen of the world is better. Why do people still insist on their petty nationalism when, vast economic imbalances notwithstanding (and those could be eradicated easily and simply enough), every country is part of a global system of weather, landscapes, commerce, travel, and information? If everyone treated the whole world as their domain instead of the local valley or town, then would they perform atrocities on their own families with the same ease as they currently do on their neighbours? If people who might be soldiers didn't take any notice of the orders to kill, then the Generals would be left impotent. I know, it's far too simple and naive, for many people use such occasions as an excuse to rid themselves of the outsider, but why do they behave that way in the first place?

The only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is their degree of isolationism and protectionism, but both are so in league with the companies that finance their electoral campaigns their entire concept of democracy is shown to be no different from the bribery and corruption that pervaded the Communist regimes they so feared and despised, especially when the government deliberately sets and maintains a foreign policy to strengthen those same companies (the setting up and maintaining of all the U.S.-friendly dictatorships in South America is a typical example, with anyone opposing it deemed a communist agitator or even a terrorist). As for anarchism with its 'bottom-up' democracy, it goes against everything they and we allegedly stand for: the 'top-down' approach required for the vast system of bureaucracy to maintain itself, for as the old saying goes: "it doesn't matter who you vote for, the government always gets elected". Our entire political system is a media circus of the most embarrassing kind (witness Blair's pathetic launch of the 2001 election campaign in a school, on a par with an American politician bleating to God), whose cost could feed and house the population of a small country, with the nation's flag and the logos of corporate sponsors paraded as symbols of fervent nationalism that is at times hard to distinguish from the blind unquestioning loyalties of Fascism or Communism, whose critics are branded traitors of their country and betrayers of those who died in its defence. No, I do not hate Western civilisation, nor am I a Palestinian apologist, but just because I strongly disagree with a system of religious and / or political belief (especially the repressive regimes of Islam & Christian fundamentalists) does not mean I should (or have the right to) impose my viewpoint on them and claim "mine is the only way", and should they try to impose their will on me, I shall resist.

The so-called 'special relationship' Britain has with the U.S. is called jumping through their hoop when they crack the whip: we are little more than their European branch, the 52nd state, with Israel being their Middle-eastern office. At least over here we don't yet have our flags hanging from every town lamp-post, outside public buildings (preferably a dozen or more, the larger the better, to indicate a higher profit… I mean sense of nationalism), in every school class-room (talk about indoctrination, or are the children so ignorant they don't even know which country they're in?), court-room, police office, and waving outside the home of government employees and on front-porches and in gardens, or pasted to windows; also, the flag makes a lovely table-top decoration, or can be framed and hung on a wall (as in A.D. Skinner's office in The X Files). There is even an unbelievable piece of legislation called the Flag Code on how where and when to show this piece of coloured fabric (seriously, there are ways to hang it depending on the orientation of the street), and they're trying to make it illegal to destroy your own property if it's flag-shaped and -coloured. It even has to be buried with all the mournful ceremony of a long-loved pet, or else burned in a special way (not in an Arabian street), presumably with tearful onlookers sobbing woefully. Create son of SDI (NMD)?, and yes, unlike some people, I know the original wasn't actually built. Sure, why not spend billions on a defence system which won't work when we don't even have decent schools and hospitals, when some modern housing estates are virtually indistinguishable from (and are in some cases more violent than) the Victorian slums they replaced, and industrial waste is spewed uncaringly into the environment because it's cheaper than treatment, and if the companies really cared as much as they claim to, they would advocate their own green policies and continually improve them, not oppose the already diluted ones proposed by governments who are beholden to those same companies for support. Remember, this is done by companies whose public slogans are some faceless variation of "we really care" (formalised in the utterly meaningless ISO9001) that is broadcast with the same robotic vacuity as "have a nice day"; the same companies who purchase tame politicians to represent them and thus ensure company-friendly laws are passed — low / no taxes, no worker representation, no responsibility for the environment, slaves in foreign Export Processing Zones, etc., etc..

Having said that, I most definitely think you should use your vote, even if it's as a block against someone you don't like, otherwise the only people who will vote regularly are those activists and extremists who have vested interests, thus leaving the apathetic and cynical majority of the population with a government they didn't vote for — which means they will become even more disillusioned and vote less.