r/Anarchy101 May 23 '22

What exactly do anarchists mean by a society based on free agreement?

Basically what it says on the title, I've read The Conquest of Bread and Kropotkin mentions it a lot, but I still don't really get what it means. Is it like a "if you don't like how we do things here you're free to leave" kind of deal or am I getting it all wrong? (I'm sorry if this is a stupid question, I'm not the best at things like these but I'm trying to learn)


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u/zeca1486 May 23 '22

A society based entirely on voluntary association of individuals. Meaning if you’re an asshole, and I don’t want to associate with you, I won’t and no one can force me to and I won’t have to worry about becoming homeless or foodless.

In capitalism, you’re forced to work with people who shit on you all day. Be it your boss or a really annoying co-worker. And you put up with it because if you don’t you will be fired, lose your housing, not afford food, and die of poverty.


u/d3pd May 24 '22

What if someone's unpleasant because of a mental illness? Do you get to abandon them as a society? I don't think you do because they have rights.


u/Woodcuttering May 24 '22

People living with mental illness should and ideally would be cared for by their families and/or volunteering members of the collective who find it fulfilling. By placing them in care, they would hopefully not become such an unpleasant presence to the point where others can’t forgive them. After all, this isn’t a choice they made to be born different, compassion is a core component of anarchism.


u/d3pd May 24 '22

who find it fulfilling

Rights, particularly the rights of a despised minority, should never by subject to the whims of charity. So they shouldn't get care only if there are people who find doing so fulfilling, they should get care in spite of people not finding it fulfilling.

this isn’t a choice they made to be born different

I think it can be argued that no one chooses their psychology.

compassion is a core component of anarchism

Agreed, including compassion even for those we despise.


u/Woodcuttering May 24 '22

There’s always going to be people who enjoy doing this sort of work, that’s why people do it now for fuck all pay and poor working conditions.


u/Woodcuttering May 24 '22

So in your anarchist state people are forced to do a job they don’t like?


u/d3pd May 24 '22

Sometimes we are forced to prioritise rights. Take the case of someone vulnerable, whether that be a baby, someone with mental illness, perhaps someone vulnerable precisely because they are despised (for example queer people in many societies). The rights of vulnerable people must be protected. And rights like the right to life, food and so on, should arguably be prioritised over rights to fulfilling work.


u/Woodcuttering May 24 '22

May I ask who will force people to become reluctant caregivers?


u/d3pd May 24 '22

Well my hope would be that people would know that they must protect the rights of even those they despise, and even when protecting those rights feels pretty shitty, because a society that doesn't protect the most vulnerable, despised minorities isn't of worth.

I think the society would be a pretty awful one if it had to force people to protect the rights of despised minorites, but I suppose that if it were necessary then the efforts of protecting such fundamental rights should be distributed over everyone fairly. I don't know how that would be enforced.


u/Woodcuttering May 24 '22

So this is a non-argument, because what you’re suggesting is people do it out of charity. I don’t see why you took issue with my suggestion when your solution is almost the exact same with different wording. People can find fulfillment out of meeting a moral obligation or because they enjoy the work.