The Washington Post has a story up today about an anarchist dog walking collective:
The seven people present belong to Brighter Days, a dog walkers’ collective founded on anarchist principles. Last year, the five-year-old business grossed more than $250,000. Its members have equal ownership and make business decisions by reaching consensus during weekly meetings such as this one. Any of them can block any decision. They split their earnings evenly, have a group health insurance plan and cover for each other on days off. They even get paid vacation — seven weeks of it.
Not only that, but a former member of the collective has started his own dog walking collective and seems to be doing pretty well with it:
Stephens went on to start a second anarchist dog-walking collective that encompasses Washington, Baltimore and New York, where he now lives. Members of the new collective don’t get to participate in decision-making for a year while they take a course in animal behavior and study texts on cooperative business management, the politics of revolution and alternative economics.
When people say that no one can Do Anarchism, this is what anarchism is. The article goes into some interesting discussion of the ways these collectives have had to adapt within a larger statist framework, but I think that just goes to show how durable anarchism is – even in adverse conditions. It isn’t all just about smashing the state, it’s about how we conduct ourselves with our fellows and making sure we’re engaging in partnerships of equals and not hierarchies. As Stephens says in the article:
His main focus in organizing the business was eradicating all forms of hierarchy. “Anarchism,” he says, “is about turning all relationships of domination into relationships of cooperation.”
Yep. And most of us love dogs, too.