Shutdown for Now—How to Shut It Down for Good!

The United States government recently shut down for the longest stretch in history: the government spent one-month in deadlock between its Democratic-majority Congress and Republican President Donald Trump over a budget resolution. President Trump proposed a deal temporarily reinstating protections for people who immigrated to the United States without documentation while minors in exchange for $5.7 billion towards funding a physical barrier across the southern border between Mexico and the USA, but this deal was rejected. Currently, the government has reopened the closed branches temporarily, with a short-term funding bill which does not include the $5.7 billion wall funding.

Perhaps the strangest revelation from this long stalemate is the continuation of business as usual while the state was “shut down.” While politicians continued to receive their salaries unencumbered, many government workers were either furloughed or working without pay while under legal restrictions which prevent them from organizing to strike. These same workers found welfare benefits largely unfunded and relied on the charity of strangers and their local communities to keep them alive. The situation for some became perilous, and the need for anarchist structures of support has only become more glaring.  

Reliance on government structures puts people at the whims of politicians and coerces them into protecting the state. It is absolutely necessary as a tactic for anarchists to take over these structures and provide support for their communities separate from and in opposition to the governments which attempt to hold these people’s safety and welfare hostage over a manufactured crisis. The politicians both uphold their own desire to be indifferent to a shutdown by continuing to receive their own salaries while also making it illegal for other government workers to organize to strike until their back-pay is received. The hypocrisy of the state stands naked before us: One set of rules for me, and another set of rules for thee.  

The darker reality is that when we do not have our structures in place to take over during these false crises, then the state will simply reestablish itself and levy the debts of temporary closure upon us while simultaneously assuming more control over our lives. The dual oppression of the state and its politically manufactured fear is that the workers that are punished today by receiving $0 paychecks and facing no safety nets will be paying the personal and public debts that are incurred from this temporary insanity with the more constant insanity of the usury inherent to a corporate state. Tomorrow’s taxes somehow will not reflect the supposed savings of benefits not doled out but will instead bear the interest of the salaries due to (but withheld from) these workers.

By creating the structures today that define the world in which we wish to live, our actions become a proof of concept to our future society. To properly build the stateless society that will replace the corporate-state we need to create structures that take over the perceived benevolence of government and render its pseudo-benefits obsolete by delivering into the hands of people the power to control their own futures. When we establish community structures through our own gardens, gyms, transportation networks, and social safety nets, we render the corporate state inadequate and prove to all people the working reality of the philosophy that guides us.

Of course the government was not really shutdown; the state was largely on pause, if only in the elements that claim to support working people while continuing in those elements which oppress us. We must claim this opportunity for what it is by agitating for increased vigor in our works which replace the structures of the state-capitalist system. There is no need to wait for the destruction of the capitalist state to create the anarchist world. It is for us to create the world that replaces the state system when it inevitably collapses. We must build today the stateless society we aim to live in tomorrow so that we will be properly poised to end the state for good.   

The Anatomy of Escape
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist