Saturday, March 21, 2009

Anarchy - a compeling choice

I have read a bit of the Batswana history and an interesting fact is that they have never had a paramount Chief like your Moshoeshoe or Shaka. This was borne out of a fact that since they were nomadic they preferred to have loose relations and they would change their allegiance to leaders depending on their needs at a particular time. Batswana were slave traders and chieftainship arose out of people owning slaves and fights over slave trade. Slaves would be freed and they would group themselves into a tribe but these would disintegrate or get assimilated into other groupings depending on what interests the group wanted to protect. In short there were no rigid governing authorities, a group of individuals could move away from a certain authority and from their own authority. Batswana are the people who are least dogmatic about their culture.

Now what does this have to do with the topic above. I believe Batswana practiced some form of anarchy before the majority pledged their allegiance to the Queen during the wars of conquest. Because of their loose alliance practice you will find Batswana in most of the SADEC countries, though they go by different names. Here in South Africa you will find them scattered in all the provinces.

Anarchy is derived from the Greek word "anarchos", which means without rulers. Anarchist believe that the state as compulsory government is unnecessary, undesirable and harmful. Anarchist are diverse in their outlook and you have to choose which strand you identify with best. I have not delved much in which kind of anarchism I am comfortable with but this from of government is becoming more appealing to me.

Anarchy is becoming more appealing to me because indeed the state and its monopolies does not have the interest of the masses at heart besides control and exploitation. Morden states have committed a lot of attrocities in the name of national security and self determination. One has to look at the behaviour of countries like America, Israel, Russia to see how many people have been made to suffer under the banner of homeland security.

Here in South Africa apartheid is a prime example of how the state can be used to subjugate other groupings. The end of apartheid has also seen the emergence of a democratic state where people have become even poorer. Corruption and cronyism is becoming much more entrenched. Our country is facing banananisation and every day comes with new examples of how state structures are used to benefit a few. Prime example is how the state has dealt with the scorpoins, the travelgate scandal, Shabir Shaik, Tony Yengeni, corruption within municipalities, the prison department, the land bank and so forth. There are so many examples of the subversion of the rule of law by the state in pursuit of partisan interests. In the end one has to ask whether it was really worth it.

The opposition parties do not offer any alternatives from what the ruling party is offering. Elsewhere in the world we are seeing the adoption of communist tendencies by the state in order to bail out the rich and the monopolies that are struggling as a result of their collapse. These tendencies are meant to benefit the rich only, however.

I am getting more attracted to the idea of a stateless society, where people will rely on their inherent goodness to conduct relations. There is a lot of goodness in this world but the existence of a state has corrupted this goodness.


  1. Moremogolo, o tsa' kae dikgang tse? boLetsie, Pilane and others, what were they? chief slave traders? Nnyaa, I am ashamed to accept that I have not read as much as I should on my own history. Regarding the matter at hand, I am equally fascinated by anarchy but my fascination was dealt a serious blow by that movie with Tom Hanks stuck in the airport because he did not have a state . . .

  2. There is actually a good book on slavery and how Pilane and them took part. It is called Captive Labour on the Dutch Frontier eds, EA Eldredge and F Morton. It shows the ever changing alliances of Batswana and what I found fascinating was that I am married into a family of ex slaves. A must read is also a historical novel by Botlhale Tema called The People of Welgeval. It documents how the Moloto came to end up in the former Western Transvaal.

    There are the Moloto's in your township who ended being there as a result of slave trade. I have always wondered how my family ended up in the former Western Transvaal also and it is something that I need to research. There is also a possibility that we were slaves at one point also.

    Bakgalagadi were on of the slaves to the Batswana hence if you one to belittle someone in Setswana you have to call him/her Mokgalagadi.

  3. You really educated me here, I didn't know anything about the Batswana people being involved in slavery...

    It is interesting to me that you want to get rid of the provinces... but then on the other hand you want to see a state-less society! Surely getting rid of provinces to moving towards *more* centralised control... not less?

  4. There is a lot about Black history that is hidden away somewhere or has not been written. One has to really make a concerted effort to learn about that other history.

    Provinces are a real waste of resources and an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Real service delivery is happening at local level and that is where the skills and resources should be concentrated. This idea that provinces are autonomous is just a fallacy because they get their budget from the national government and Trevor Manuel is pulling the strings.

    Governments don't care for a poor man on the street and it is about time they acknowledged and let the people know the truth. Anarchy is beginning to really appeal to me and it is somethnig that I am going to find out more about.