from June 11th
June 11, 2022 statement from Sean Swain
Fewer and fewer people seem to be suffering from the hierarch delusion these days. I say “delusion” because hierarchy is a diagnosable mental illness. The delusion of hierarchy is dependent upon a number of irrational and illogical premises– all provably and observably false.
To be a hierarch is to say that we are better off with the few ruling the many rather than everyone ruling themselves. The argument goes, people are messy and cannot be trusted to self-rule. This is obviously and observably irrational, to suggest that we are better off under the rule of a privileged few “messy people” who have inordinate power concentrated in their hands, as if the concentration of power in the hands of a few “messy people” will somehow make them less messy rather than more corrupt. This is clearly a delusion, as proven by eight thousand years of hierarchy never working as advertised.
To be a hierarch is to also say that we are better off with government, that without government we will experience violence and upheaval, chaos and death. This is obviously and observably irrational to suggest that we are better off under the rule of a privileged few with nukes and air craft carriers and attack helicopters– a privileged few who do not know our names, let alone what our needs are –and we will somehow experience less violence, upheaval, chaos and death. This is clearly a delusion, as the Fraternal Order of Police have murdered more people than all of the other gangs in the United States combined; as continuous wars and upheaval and chaos continue to escalate everywhere– school shootings, pandemics, terrorism, war, road rage, suicide, toxicity of the ecosystem, famine, inflation, and all forms of disaster looming on every horizon. This belief that we are “better off” is clearly a delusion, as proven by eight thousand years of hierarchy never working as advertised.
It appears fewer and fewer people are suffering this hierarch delusion each day. It used to be that everyone accepted that we “need government,” and that capitalism “rewards hard work and merit,” and that our system of justice isn’t perfect but “it’s the best one we’ve got.”
Nobody accepts any of that now. Some people go along in self interest, motivated by practicalities like food rewards, but nobody buys the sales pitch anymore.
Our collective mental health is improving. The hierarch delusion is losing power over us. Millions quit their jobs, simply opting out of the pharaoh’s stone-dragging exercise. Millions more stopped paying rent. An epidemic of flash robberies plagues corporate chainstores like biblical locusts. Hundreds of supply ships linger off the coast with millions and millions of products that require unloading, and nobody gives a shit.
Government, capitalism, systems of control have become obsolete and irrelevant to most people. As those in power concentrate more and more authority into fewer hands, as they impose harsher measures to maintain this matrix, more and more people find themselves alienated, disenfranchised, floating like flotsam and jetsam in the wake of this machine. While they likely have no theoretical analysis for their experiences, and while they may not identify as anarchists, they are no longer hierarchs. They may not have a kind of political or ideological framework for tearing down the existing order, but they have resolved to not lift a finger to keep it going.
The system is no longer theirs.
They have gone from delusional to disillusioned. Their passive withdrawal from hierarchy, while not active opposition, leaves the existing system far more hollow, vulnerable and unstable.
In terms of the prison complex, some states like Virginia are closing prisons and finding ways to divert larger numbers of prisoners to nonprison alternatives, simply for a lack of prison guards. Toledo Correctional in Ohio has long advertised on its sign out front, “NOW HIRING HEROES.” It seems they are, more accurately, hiring no one. No applicants are seeking the unionscale jobs. As a consequence, the skeleton crews of the prisons are working double shifts on a regular basis, emotionally exhausted and demoralized, leading to more attrition. The overtime is crippling the state budgets. Some prisons have reduced themselves to simply carrying out essential activities like feeding meals and dispensing medications, all other programs canceled, maybe forever.
Is this a temporary hiccup? Can the larger system recover? Perhaps. It has recovered before. But the real question for those who actively oppose the existence of this system of control is: What can be done now, in this very opportune moment, to further along the collapse?
Abolition is not impossible. In fact, it may be inevitable. It may be happening all on its own right now and only needs us to help it occur a little faster. What can be done? Well, it isn’t brain science or rocket surgery. Imagine yourself the person in charge of these vast and sprawling complexes. Ask yourself, what would you NOT want to see happen?
Then do that.
Consider, all industrial complexes are dependent upon logistical networks of administrative offices and warehouses and suppliers and distributors to keep those complexes operating. None of those are behind impenetrable walls or fences; none of them are under armed guard by an army. All of them are vulnerable and fragile and flammable.
Every location has parking lots. Every vehicle in every parking lot is vulnerable and fragile and flammable. Every vehicle has tires, and enters and exits the lots through choke points that are, themselves, vulnerable.
Perhaps with imagination, we can develop low-risk and high-yield methods of making these complexes completely unmanageable, ushering in an era where they no longer exist.
A great resource that reimagines abolition is available at detroitabc.org.
We own the future. The more we do, the faster it gets here.