Article by Colonel Nogov on Aug. 4, 2015
Anarchists understand free markets, but I don’t think they understand what it actually means to compete on a free market. “We’re going to educate the people”. “We’re going to use reason and logic”. Have you heard these phrases or similar? Don’t get me wrong, education is an important part of any marketing campaign. No one buys a widget without understanding what it is.
Here, buy my widget.
What does it do?
Oh, that doesn’t matter, just buy it.
But, if we’re waiting for everyone who’s on board with ending the state to understand anarchism on a deep philosophical level, we’re going to be waiting a long time.
Education alone is a very passive sales technique. It’s like the car salesman who won’t close the sale on the car until you understand everything about it. By the time he’s explaining the tiniest details of the O2 sensor, the guy’s already down the street having coffee and donuts and getting a free toaster if he buys today.
Churches, governments, and fascist corporations all use time honored, effective marketing techniques. Because of that, a lot of anarchists are reluctant to use the same effective marketing techniques and stick only to education. I guess so we don’t appear to be like those organizations?. This is misguided thinking. Criminal organizations use effective marketing techniques because they’re effective, but the techniques themselves are not criminal or evil or sleazy or immoral. Marketing techniques are just a tool like a gun. A gun can be used for both good or evil, but the gun itself is neither good or evil.
An effective marketing campaign consists of more than just education. It’s about slogans and logos and symbols and selling images of the noble anarchist struggling to free people in a world of tyrannical governments trying to keep them down, or some such. It’s about billboards and bumper stickers and T-shirts and coffee mugs and key chains and getting a free calendar just for signing up. It’s about sponsoring little league teams and having booths at the local farmer’s markets and organizing community barbeques. It’s about training an army of salesmen to go out and make the sale instead of waiting for the sale to come to us. It’s about destroying your competitors image and replacing it with another or even taking it as your own. “Politicians are your rulers not your representatives” “police are oppressors not protectors” “every traffic stop is an armed robbery” “Anarchists are the true guardians of freedom” “government school teachers aren’t honorable, working a thankless job of educating our youth, they’re narcissistic, petty dead beats who want to work less and get paid more and receive more benefits and care nothing for results”
In a communist country marketing isn’t necessary. There’s only one choice in toilet paper. You get what you get. But on a free market there are competitors all competing for business.
Make no mistake about it. We are competing on a free market. That free market is the market of ideas. There are two competing ideas. The idea that society should have a governing ruling class and the idea that society should be free.
Government has a very aggressive marketing campaign to sell the idea that there should be a ruling class. Think about a football stadium. Before the game the government flies its war machines overhead. Then the national anthem is sung. The government’s flag is flying at every entrance. This is part of its marketing campaign. It’s campaigning where the people are. The government has its “education” facilities. It has slogans: “U.S.A.” “U.S.A.” “U.S.A.” “The land of the free” “The home of the brave” It has its logo, the flag. The flag is on every product imaginable. It puts images of honor and glory in the heads of young men and women. “Aim High” “Be all you can be” “The few, the proud”. It uses free gifts to buy loyalty: Welfare, food stamps, cushy government jobs. Its salesmen are everywhere. Every person’s house that has a flag flying off the porch. Every person’s bumper sticker: “support the troops” “freedom isn’t free” “Proud parent of a marine” “I make a difference, I vote” The muscular young stud in his board shorts with the american flag on it. The hot young beauty in her red, white, and blue bikini. It also destroys images of anarchy. “Anarchy is chaos” “Anarchy is violent and scary” The government uses the technique of stealing our image(freedom) so well that people believe being ruled is being free.
If we are unwilling to wage this type of aggressive marketing campaign to counter the government’s marketing campaign and stick solely to education, we’ve already lost. Wave the white flag.
We’ve got the greatest product known to man: Freedom. Yet we act like the man who has invented the greatest product on earth sitting in his little shack in the middle of the desert and there’s not another person around for miles. He flings open his door believing the people will be beating down his door to buy his product and lo and behold, there’s no one there. The greatest product in the world still has to be sold.
At the end of the day, the average Joe has a mortgage and a car payment and he’s trying to take care of his family and all he wants is to be able to relax occasionally and go fishing and drink some beer with his buddies, he has no interest in philosophy. He’s not reading our literature. He’s at the football game. He’s driving back and forth to work. He’s at his kids little league games.
The average Joe doesn’t need to understand anarchism on a deep philosophical level. If his choice is a free society or a society governed by rulers, all he really needs to know is that a free society is better.
And in order to convince him of that, we must go to him and make the sale. He’s not coming to us.