Rutger Bergman wants to ‘make the state think like an anarchist’

This New Statesman interview with Rutger Bregman has me intrigued about the book he’s promoting.

“We need a completely different kind of democracy, a society where you don’t think purely in terms of representation,” Bregman explained, citing the Brazilian city Porto Alegre’s pioneering experiments in participatory democracy (citizens’ assemblies, for instance, determine public spending priorities). “I call it the anarchist state. The anarchists want to abolish the state; what I want to do is to make the state think like an anarchist.”

In a way, this quote matches nicely with my own politics. I tend to approach things first from the anarchist view, asking questions like: How can this be done with little or no state intervention? What is the most democratic, least authoritarian way to do this? What’s the fairest, most equitable way of doing this? And so on…

And then, as needed, I step back and start inching upward or rightward on the political compass until I reach what I feel is actually practical and achievable at this moment in time. Often, this ends up looking more like social democracy than libertarian socialism.

I suppose this means, as much as I can bluster and shout about revolutionary politics, I’m still fairly pragmatic when it comes down to it. Nevertheless, I like this concept of making the state more anarchist as a reformist step toward an anarcho-communist utopia.