Anarchists are repeatedly accused by their detractors of being idealist, utopian and impractical. One matter, on which the libertarian perspective is often seen as particularly weak, is the thorny topic of crime. It would be fair to say that the “all coppers are bastards”-type polemics trotted out with tiresome regularity do little to convince the potential convert that revolutionaries have anything of substance to offer as an alternative to the crime ridden status quo. Moreover, this continued failure to adequately address lay people’s basic questions with satisfactory answers surely goes a long way in explaining why contemporary anarchism has failed to gain a firm foothold in the collective psyche of the population. Here we offer one contribution towards addressing this perennial shortcoming.
crime, profit and power
Opponents of capitalism and the state point to the fact that the existing law making and law enforcement infrastructure acts primarily for the rich and powerful. In effect, the wealthy elite, who live in untold luxury from the proceeds of property and labour time stolen from the masses, are just thieves on a grand scale. Their institutionalised theft, however, is perfectly legal. Take the recent cases of the big 6 energy companies that hauled in record profits by introducing unprecedented price hikes that consigned thousands to fuel poverty; or the City speculators who made millions by gambling on the misery wreaked by the economic downturn.
Capitalism is organised gangsterism. Driven by the need to expand and chase profit, transnational corporations and governments collaborate to pursue their interests by spending millions on arms, destroying nature, polluting the environment, dominating other nations, enslaving the poor and depriving many of access to the basic means of life. Further, in protecting the profits of big business, governments regularly commit mass murder by sending young men and women to war, and by bombing, interning and otherwise terrorising innocent civilians.