Usually, what’s on paper doesn’t play out well in actual lived reality. It is the critique of all theory, from both left to right alike. But the written word, whether it be by “democratic process” or by executive orders, seems to be the end-all-be-all for liberal politics (and by liberals I mean in the classic sense, supporters of the state that includes Democrats and Republicans).
Legal fiction is private property. Consider the Marxist interpretation of the capitalist economy. Appropriation of the labor of workers is essential in defining the relations of the capitalists via the workers. Alienation in effect, is perpetuated by the fictional legality of who owns the labor, despite the actual reality: the worker created it, and therefore the worker owns it in fact. By the rules of the law, capitalism extracts their production into the property of the capitalists.
Consider then, banks and their holdings to property as well. In capitalist as well as state socialist economies, either the banks, corporations or the state own capital. Land, shelter, food – basically, the means to life have been stolen by force and protected by the state. Rent, interest, and other such charges are all moot and pathetic excuses to charge for the use of appropriated personal property (read: stolen property), despite being unable to traverse borders or be carried on one’s back. Yet, through legal fiction and force, the individuals using the property cannot own it, despite their personal usage of it, and perhaps, labor required to maintain it.
Perhaps the most powerful and coercive representation of legal fiction is the corporation itself. Transnational corporations require the legal system to derive its existence from the political state. On paper and documents, through law and force, the material and political relations of the corporation is made real. Outside of it though, the corporation does not exist – it cannot be felt, though it can be ‘seen’ mostly through the particular logos and symbols that explicitly claims otherwise.
Eliminating legal fiction should seem to be the goal of anti-state/anarchist politics. Establishing a simplification of politics is essential in reinstating genuine social relations between people. A society that is anti-hierarchical must then, be also anti-bureaucratic. Anti-bureaucracy cannot exist with the power of the state, as it is the epitome of legal fiction – composed of the unseen, untouchable, and unreal.
Movements aiming at the power of the state, with no bottom-up approach and without a simplification of politics, can only change reality according to the legality of what’s written. It’s change, but it is a farce. They assume that the structures at be can be used as a weapon – that the most horrid and brutal aspects of the state are, at most, neutral. With the proper leadership, they reflect class character. They cannot realize the workings of racism in Cuba, where the apparent lack of race equality should have solved with the improvement of economics along with it. When a diplomat of Cuba was asked at San Francisco State University about this problem, he, being white and obviously, possessing a higher state, laughed. “My grandma is black! There is no racism in Cuba if we’re all related.” Of course, the room erupted in silent laughter. There’s more to the so-called improvement of the conditions, despite what the statistics and laws “showed”.
Anarchist theory has already done major advances in thinking of re-establishing social relations without the law, and in many cases exploring where to undermine it totally. There is still debate over its partial existence beyond capitalism – for this reason, a simplification of politics would be closer to the idealized and actual reality in the elimination of legal fiction and bureaucracy. Murray Bookchin’s idea of libertarian municipalism, of which will be reviewed later, seems to be gaining traction in the Kurdish controlled zones such as Rojava. Time will tell if cities themselves take upon a role in the resistance of Trump’s America – or if they will merely be safe havens for the global capitalist seeking their chance to reinstate themselves in the US state.