Addiction and the State
As an idealist and an anarchist, I must adamantly oppose the use of recreational drugs, pharmaceuticals and all forms of addicting, damaging distractions. I deplore the use of such substances because of their harmful, stagnating effects on the progress and growth of the individual and the community. Addictions are formed, whether to opiates or television, to alleviate the discomfort of imposed work, to assuage the burden of coerced education, to aid in forgetting one’s alienation and isolation if only for a moment. Addictions are formed, therefore, to dull the pain of being enslaved – enslaved to the family, enslaved to Society, enslaved to the government, enslaved to Capital. Addictions consequently grow, and multiply cancerously, to stave off the frighteningly suicidal aspirations birthed unconsciously in the field, the factory and the classroom. It is a hard decision to make: whether to willingly kill one’s soul or to sacrifice one’s body.
Addictions are undoubtedly detrimental due to their health effects, but they are even more so individually and communally. When an individual numbs his mind with smoke or projected images, it disallows itself the ability to educate itself during its recreation. When a community numbs its collectivity, whatever that may be, by collectively partaking in distraction, it disallows itself the ability to spread ideas, educate each other and guide the young. When an individual or community impedes its functions they prevent themselves from destroying or creating, and in so doing allow for the consolidation of State power and the masses’ increased addiction and decreased self-determination. Addictions are direct barriers to revolution because they impede an individual from bettering itself, and therefore impede a community of individuals from progressing. This also prevents the free construction of communities, which allows for the perpetuation of the permanent Society and its increased stagnation. This itself is the basis of the State’s power and the influence of Capital among individuals and communities, and this is why anarchists must oppose all forms of dependence because addiction is itself an institution that facilitates the continuance of authority.
The State’s use of institutions such as the police, military, education, marriage, family, etc. as a means of oppression and maintaining its authority has always depended on addiction. The institutions themselves are designed to perpetuate reliance on the State, which itself is a form of dependence, and the members are drawn from various addicted demographics. The addiction to money breeds capitalists and necessitates banks. The addiction to sex breeds prostitutes and necessitates brothels. The addiction to abuse and violence breeds police and soldiers and necessitates war, at home and abroad. The addiction to arbitration, control and punishment breeds judges, bureaucrats and legislators and necessitates courthouses, prisons and governments. And, the forced addiction to being controlled breeds weak-willed, apathetic individuals and compels them along the rat race, into institutions of addiction, and eventually into their allotted graves. The cycle of addiction and dependence must be shattered in order to do away with oppressive institutions, Capital, the State and Society. The addiction to comfort, ease and convenience naturally leads to the permanence of Society, which necessitates the rise of Capital and governance in order to ensure the smooth functioning of social interactions. Permanent Society and the establishment of Capital and the State in turn allow for the oppression of the majority by a minority. Ultimately, oppression and its accompanying privation lead to addiction, which in turn perpetuates Society and all forms of authority and even necessitates their maintenance. This is due to the fact that the more an individual becomes dependent on a substance, be it marijuana, a cellphone or the police, the less able they are to become self-reliant and independent from the State and authority because they count of the constant availability of their specific substance. This empowers governments because an addict will not readily break from his dealer, and empowers capitalism because an addict will pay any price for his addiction. The State depends on addiction because it makes the masses dependent on them. Initially it was for what one could call “natural addictions,” like food, water, some time off, whatever an individual desires, which are not so much addictions as they are obvious desires. But now, in the post-modern age, things like rapidity, technology, protection, even good feelings – things that are not normally considered consumables – have been commoditised and substantiated into something that a person can become dependent on.
The State’s method of manipulating substances, whether physical like cocaine or more ethereal like the distraction a computer provides from reality, is not fresh and has not changed over the years of social struggle. It is instead the addictions that have changed according to the tastes of the addled masses. Some substances have remained as a constant tool of distraction and oppression – sex, alcohol, wealth, the ideals of comfort, luxury and leisure (all false) – while new addictions have been born along the way. Technology, especially the television and internet, have replaced the spectacles of public punishment, gladiatorial games and other similar distractions, barbarous or just lewd, from reality where one can watch, read, write and film whatever makes them cry with joy, cringe with horror or wet with lust and perversion.
It is not enough to assume humanity is simply a species of addicts, or that because of our intellect we are condemned to seek an escape from real life. There have been “savage” tribes that have existed beside forests and fields of psychedelics, and within the situations that could give rise to debaucheries and perversions, yet were never once tempted, never once desired, the use of such substances beyond their obvious benefits nor the creation of exploitative institutions. This must be due to the lack of oppression, the lack of inequality and privation, the lack of antagonism among such peoples. Therefore it is the omnipresence of such misfortune, disparity and savagery in modernity that has created the Society of addicts existing today. Nowhere on earth can you find an individual not addicted to caffeine, painkillers, or recreational drugs of some sort, nor a community not addicted to technology, electricity and machinery at least in part if not in whole.
The entire world is tainted by the addictions and substances needed to maintain Capital and the State, but these are nowhere more prevalent than in the West. The masses’ addiction to the ideas of comfort, wealth and leisure have manifested with the unconscious realisation that these are undoubtedly unattainable for the majority into physical addictions to drugs, which make us relaxed and apathetic, to technology that keeps us distracted and lazy, to institutions that keep us down. Even the wealthy classes are not free of addiction. Indeed, they can be credited as the engineers of not only the misuse of distracting substances, but also of the institutions that perpetuate them. It is not surprising then that the West is the centre of addicted Society, for it is to the rest of the world what the rich are to the poor in wealth here. The West is the propertied segment of the property-less, addicted earth. We consume drugs and the notion of comfort with the rapidity that the wealthy eat the realities of such ideals because we have facilitated the privation of the globally deprived in our perpetuation of and addiction to depravity.
So, it falls naturally to the anarchists – the desperate renegades and rebels – to shatter the cycle of dependence, to burn all distractions and addictions, in order to abolish Capital and the State. Authority will unceasingly exist as long as humanity is subject to the power of external substances, as long as humanity still seeks escape from reality instead of confronting oppression with all its strength and resolve. It is up to the free women and men, humans who acknowledge no authority and disrespect all superiors, to quit the contemporary Society of addiction and form new communities of self-reliance, mutual aid, solidarity and universal respect. Anarchists must perpetuate the eternal revolution, which is the constant battle against all oppression. Anarchists must not only advocate and propagate the ideal of anarchy, they must realise it and live it to avoid the notion of a libertarian socialist world becoming just another distraction. Anarchists must seek the destruction of Society and the establishment of permanent revolution in order to prevent anarchy becoming another smoky substance of addiction.
Indeed, the ideal of anarchy – that is the existence of a freely organised, peaceful and egalitarian world – has always been used by the State to distract the masses from the dystopia they are confined to. What is democracy if not the formal, promised power of the people? What is the wage system if not an incremental step from slavery towards complete emancipation? What is republicanism if not the lessening of disparity between the superfluous and the deprived? This is why anarchists must avoid the idealisation of anarchy as opposed to its realisation: to repossess the idea, and reality, of liberty from the exploiting classes, and to disallow it from becoming a means of distraction and, therefore, stagnation.
Anarchists have always had an overwhelmingly difficult task before them. It is much easier to manipulate the masses, including oneself, with distractions, promises and substances than to repudiate addiction in all its vile, paralysing forms. It is much simpler to make one’s life more comfortable at the expense of others, or to bow one’s back before the godhead of authority and power, than to cast off all comfort and privilege in order to lift up one’s contemporaries at the expense of oneself. Despite the hardships, this is the lot of the anarchic individual. We must deride all means of oppression, self-induced or coerced. We must inspire the addicted masses to social insurrection through our personal prohibition of all distractions. An individual is not truly free until it is free of all forms of oppression, internal and external. It is up to the anarchists to influence the masses positively, as the elites continue to do negatively, in order to instill in them an appreciation of reality and all it entails, instead of desiring to escape it. This cycle – of addiction breeding dependence and in turn perpetuating reliance on the State – can only be broken through the manifestation of anarchy as reality, not as a distant utopia to be waited for expectantly and obediently like some heaven, pension or other reward after a life of subjugation and slavery.
Anarchy is, therefore, the antithesis of addiction. It is rehabilitation free of professionals and prisons. It is freedom from not only Capital, the State, Society and their institutions, but also from all constraints and restrictions. It is unlimited liberty that cannot be promised, guaranteed or expected, but which must instead be striven for, envisioned and realised through constant struggle, perpetual revolution, and the abolition of all distracting, addicting forms of oppression and power. Anarchy is the negation of distraction and the affirmation of self-determination and self-reliance. It is the unconditional escape into reality from the surreal lives of misery and dejection we lead. Anarchy is individual empowerment and communal attraction. It is the enemy of Society, because Society is the despotic nemesis of individuality. Anarchists are the predators who attack sheep and shepherd alike in order to take a snap at the staff dividing them…
FIRE TO ADDICTION AND SOCIETY FOR THE NEGATION OF ALL AUTHORITY!
POWER TO THE INDIVIDUAL FOR ANARCHY!
-Louis Redd, just one anarchist (Mississauga Territory – February 2, 2013)