School of the Tillers

From Anarchy In Action

From David Graeber, The Democracy Project:

In China around 400 B.C., for example, there was a philosophical movement that came to be known as the "School of the Tillers," which held that both merchants and government officials were both useless parasites, and attempted to create communities of equals where the only leadership would be by example, and the economy would be democratically regulated in unclaimed territories between the major states. Apparently, the movement was created by an alliance between renegade intellectuals who fled to such free villages and the peasant intellectuals they encountered there. Their ultimate aim appears to have been to gradually draw off defectors from surrounding kingdoms and thus, eventually, cause their collapse. This kind of encouragement of mass defection is a classic anarchist strategy. Needless to say they were not ultimately successful, but their ideas had enormous influence on court philosophers of later generations.[1]

  1. David Graeber, The Democracy Project: A History, A Crisis, A Movement (New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2013), 188-189. Graeber cites Angus Graham, The Inner Chapters (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 2001).