Introduction: The Primacy of Everyday Life
David Graeber chose, as the epigraph to his book Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, a quote from Pyotr Kropotkin’s article on Anarchism for the Encyclopedia Britannica. In it Kropotkin stated that, in an anarchist society, harmony would be
obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free arrangements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.
The interesting thing about this is that it could serve as an accurate description of virtually any anarchist society, including the libertarian communist sort favored by Kropotkin, Goldman or Malatesta, the kind of anarcho-syndicalism favored by most of the Wobblies and CNT, the anarcho-collectivism of Bakunin, the mutualism of Proudhon, or the market anarchism of Thomas Hodgskin and Benjamin Tucker. And it’s appropriate that Graeber chose it as his epigraph, because his affection for “freely constituted groups” and the “free arrangements” concluded between them is bigger than any doctrinaire attempt to pigeonhole such groups and arrangements as business firms operating in the cash nexus or moneyless collectives.
Graeber, as we already saw to be the case with Elinor Ostrom, is characterized above all by a faith in human creativity and agency, and an unwillingness to let a priori theoretical formulations either preempt either his perceptions of the particularity and “is-ness” of history, or to interfere with the ability of ordinary, face-to-face groupings of people on the spot to develop workable arrangements—whatever they may be—among themselves. …
This study is continued: Center for a Stateless Society No. 17 (Winter-Spring 2014) PDF