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Anti-social Acts in an Anarchist Society
Anti-social act, anti-social deed or anti-social behaviour (anti-social behavior US English) is the label that is used to differentiate the behaviour that is damaging to the community from the crime that is defined by the law of the government. Also, unlike crime, anti-social act is subjective as it depends upon the person, time, and community.
- Physical causes are causes that deal with the physical nature of the universe.
- Physiological causes come directly from the structure of the brain.
- example: mental illness
- Social causes are influencing our behaviour through our social interaction and the structure of our communities.
It must be noted that one more cause is obviously missing:
- Individual choice is influencing all behaviour, especially that of the average human.
- examples: vigilanteism,
Anti-social behaviour can be broken down into the following categories:
- Hierarchical crime is an action intended to place a person (possibly oneself) above that person's peers.
- Economic crime is an action to increase one's wealth, without regard to others.
- Mental illness is a totality of actions that result from the physiological causes.
- Hate crime is an action taken out of intollerance for another group.
 Things to note before deciding what to do
 Question of violence
In the documentary "Anarchism in America" (person unknown) said "to be an anarchist you must be non-violent, and to be non-violent you must be an anarchist". Many if not most anarchists would disagree with that stance, but most anarchists non-the-less work towards a non-violent society; and since we cannot justify means with ends violence cannot be used as a punitive measure in either anarchist society or anarchist revolution.
 Question of decision
The decisions as to what to do with anti-social acts must be made by the whole of the community, secretive or representative actions must be viewed as a form of an anti-social act themselves.
 Dealing with anti-social behaviour through example
The strongest and the most successful approach to the elimination of anti-social behaviour in the free society is leading by example. All the measures that do not start with taking personal responsibility over one's own actions will fail.
Drawing on the quote from Emma Goldman's letter to the prison warden of Jefferson Prison in 1917 which said "it can not be the purpose of prisons to so unfit the inmates as to make them hardened and brutalized and return them to the world with deeper resentment and hatered for society." (published in Mother Earth 1917 Between Jails) we can state that a goal of any free community is to make people want to participate in it. And form of forced labour or punitive actions go against such a goal.
- See also: peer pressure
 Elimination of idea of vengeance
Much (if not most) of the intentionally anti-social behaviour in our society is the result of the vengeance. The religious dogma of "a tooth for a tooth" is a strong belief in most of the contemporary society. It is important to remember that one of the core differences between anarchism and state socialism is that the latter is based upon science alone, while former uses science while bringing ideas of ethics and spiritual liberation into the realm of discussion.
This is brought to light in relation to opposition to hate crimes (while is still important to eliminate many other forms), however, the effects of acceptance by already non-anti-social population will not be imidiately seen. Because of that hate crimes will not be eliminated through this alone.
A person cannot be a productive member of the society when one is not accepted into that society on the basis of factors beyond that person's control. As such it is responcibility of every member to ensure that one is leading by example and is accepting of all cultures and groups.
 Acceptance of change
An anti-social member of society must feel confident that in the event of change one will be accepted in the society. This is important to ensure that nobody ends up "in the corner" out of which there is no escape.
In order for this not to be abused, an anti-social member can and should be expected to not simply end the anti-social behaviour, but to go the extra mile in order to lessen the negative effect upon the community that was caused the that person's actions.
 Dealing with anti-social behaviour through change of society
 Economic equality
The simpliest and the most direct way to remove the crimes such as theft and robbery is to eliminate the status symbolism of wealth and to build the society that is economically equal.
 Social equality
Where economic equality will not be enough the complete social equality will stop a lot of anti-social acts. Acts of rape and molestation and brought into this world largely because our society puts pressure on each individual to dominate others or be dominated. By removing this pressure many people will find it easier to find releases to their desires through non-hierarchical means.
 Dealing with remaining anti-social behaviour
It is foolish to believe that all anti-social behaviour can be dealt with and eliminated. Some will always remain, especially the acts done from idividual choice, the mental illness, and accidental behaviour.
However, it is important not to reinvent the prison system, deportation, or the "nut houses" when working on the sollution to these acts.
It is not only foolish, but is criminal in its own right to demand any time to be used up by community to deal with the individual who made an honest mistake. This time is much better used to rectify the effect of that accident and eliminating the possibility of that accident from taking place in the future.
 Mental illness
We must remove the belief in the devil and stop trying to exorcise the people who are simply ill. "The insane asylum is always a prison" says Peter Kropotkin (ibid), and later he describes the Belgian village, Gheel, in which peasants have taken mentally ill people into their homes and field work, by doing that they have stopped the anti-social parts of the behaviour of the insane.
Today there are some simmilar communities. Of course, mentally ill person will be different to the person of an average intelligence; however, it does not necessitates that we must treat that person as a sub-human and lie to ourselves that cruelty towards an will help anyone.
 Personal decision
Without removing the acceptance of change stance of the free society, it is possible to ostricise an individual from the community that the person actively shows hostility towards. Ostracism can be only social (not dealing with that person) or geographic (disallowing the person from being in the area used by the community. It can be temporary (for a set amount of time, unless person changes) or semi-permanent (forever, unless person changes).
Counter-revolutionary acts most commonly arise from the personal decision, the exception to that is when the social environment leads the person to be confused about what one actually wants. The exceptions are easy to deal with, since they usually only require leading by example to show the individual one's incorrect position. Personal choice counter-revolution can be seen as a borderline hate crime because the purpose of the individual is to destroy the social structure of the anarchist community. In this case it is important to have a firm stance and disallow the individual to destroy the community through prevention of propaganda and violent acts, expulsion (whether social or geographical) can be used. Violence must not be used as the means of punishment.
 Examples from history
Some of these examples contradict each other, but that's life, history isn't pretty.
- See also: past and present anarchist communities
 Ukraine and the Makhnovist movement (1918-1921)
People decide on the punishment. There are no prisons, but flogging and executions are allowed. For smaller "crimes" community just tells the individual off.
 Spanish revolution (1936-1939)
An anti-social elements (capitalists, nationalists, etc) get 2 warnings, after which they are given a plot of land
Killers were forced to talk to the family of the victims, with the community present.
 Place unknown
- (I can't remember where that was)
After an anti-social act the tribe meets together and everybody begins to recite everything good that the accused has done that they remember. The meeting usually lasts for days. At the end the person is left with feeling of joy about doing good things for the community. Cases where it doesn't work aren't discussed unfortunately.