Anarchy & the State
The central core of anarchist aspiration and aim is the end of every domineering power and compulsory institution. The modern territorial national state represents the most domineering and compulsory institution and so it needs to be put aside and overcome if free individuals and voluntary communities are to emerge and flourish.
In the past the idea of the abolition of the state for all was the common
thread that linked all anarchists. However, that position has been developed
and defined in more precise and realistic terms by some anarchists, namely
by Gustav Landauer.
In Weak Statesmen, Weaker People! (1910) he wrote that the state is not something that one can smash in order to destroy it.
“The state is a social relationship, a certain way human beings relate to each other. It can be destroyed by creating new social relationships, by human beings relating to each other differently."
Gustav Landauer, Schwache Staatmänner, schwächeres Volk!, 1910
This is a very important point that clarifies the fact that the primitive idea of changing society with violence and bombs has nothing to do with anarchy. Defense against open aggression is acceptable, but the use of violent means in order to get rid of the state is senseless because those actions do not build new social relationships (free and voluntary) and so are not conducive to anarchy
Concerning the state, another anarchist, Max Nettlau, examined the following question: "What ought to be done with the reactionaries, who cannot adapt to liberty and want to preserve the institution of the state?" and answered to it in a very original way:
“They may retain their State, as long as they want it. But for us [the anarchists] it would become unimportant. Over us it would have no more power than the eccentric ideas of a sect which are of interest to no one else. Thus it will happen, sooner or later. Freedom will break a path for itself, everywhere.”
Panarchy, A Forgotten idea of 1860, 1909
This idea of parallel societies-communities, some with and some without the state, all living on the same territory, had been previously developed by the botanist Paul Emile de Puydt. It is an idea of social methodology i.e. it offers an answer to the question of which method and form of social organization is more in tune with the realization of free voluntary choices. And it provides a solution that is the most anarchist of all solutions: let each one decide to which social organization he/she wants to be or not to be member (voluntary choices) and let no one impose on anyone his/her own choices (principle of non aggression).
The proposition of voluntary communities and voluntary states is truly anarchist
because the anarchist is against the monopolistic territorial state imposing
itself on everybody but is not against the state freely chosen and accepted
by certain individuals as an entity regulating-organizing their life as voluntary
This aspect should be made very clear. The distinctive mark of anarchy is voluntarism (voluntary personal choices), not the end of the state for everybody.
What needs to be eliminated is the state territorial monopolistic sovereignty (territorialism) because this represents the problem. A voluntary state should not constitute a problem for an anarchist (like the voluntary affiliation to a church).