James C Scott, the author of Two Cheers for Anarchism, is a political scientist who has spent his career studying nominally powerless people who resist the power of the state. These people – citizens and employees in industrialised economies; farmers and peasants in pre-industrial economies; and protesters and socially marginal people in every society – mostly do this by simply avoiding the attentions of the state.
Scott is not an anarchist as such, yet he examines the ideas of anarchism and sees how they – rather than being threatening to social order – actually conform more closely to the nature of the human animal in its natural habitat. Anarchism provides natural tools and weapons which allow people to fight back against corporate and government power that is becoming restrictive and pervasive.
He explores these ideas in the context of the environment and food production; education; architecture and urban planning; and politics.
One of his most powerful points is that left to their own devices, people will engage in voluntary co-operation, without any requirement for hierarchical control. He supports his ideas with illustrations, such as the trend towards removing traffic lights, which – counter intuitively – slow down traffic and increase the likelihood of accidents.