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Commentary :: International
Are Anarchists Crazy?
30 Aug 2004
Lack of evidentiary support is why so few of us are anarchists at all.
NOTE TO EDITORS:

Please read this article first. There is nothing against the "Principles of Unity" or any mention of the group you have used to ban the original posting or the other individual who has traditionally appeared in the same threads. The article is well written and objective. Dont hide it for the wrong reasons!



Are anarchists crazy? I think so. These people believe in a capitalist utopia through the complete abolition of government, including courts, police and the military. One anarcho-capitalist I met recently excitedly explained to me the virtues of a world without police, where private "defense companies" would defend our lives and our property, somehow without resulting in a "thugocracy", or "fascist dictatorship" wherein these heavily-armed defense companies become the new government. Yeah, right. In order for such an unlikely event to occur, the sum total of ALL nations with militaries and governments would have to SIMULTANEOUSLY disintegrate and re-integrate into this new utopia.

Anarcho-capitalists are crazy.

I met a friend of a friend of a friend who was some sort of left-wing anarchist. That is, I forget whether he called himself an anarcho-syndicalist or a socialist anarchist or whatever, but he believed in a communitarian utopia wherein there is no government and, for some unspecified reason, people produce according to ability and consume according to need. Yeah, right. Such a community could (and does) exist in unindustrialized nations, but there is STILL a hierarchical "government" in place, albeit less complex and expensive, since there are fewer resources to control. There is absolutely NO reason why people would "produce according to ability". Each person potentially could produce in prodigious quantities, but would not CHOOSE to.

Socialist anarchists are also crazy.

What's remarkable, though, is this: anarcho-capitalists and socialist anarchists support exactly the same insane public policy (that is, none) and, yet, the naked eye can tell that they are very different varieties of insane. They share few values, have vastly different visions for their government-free utopias, and, I expect, each realize that the other group is insane. Their identical policy views put them at opposite ends of most crudely-drawn political spectrums.

It is common for two political philosophies to prescribe different policies toward the same end. Liberals support affirmative action and conservatives oppose it because both wish to create a society with a level racial playing field. Isn't that interesting? I am a member of a minority, and I feel that "affirmative action" is merely another way of saying REVERSE DISCRIMINATION. I am a bi-racial black/white man who sees affirmative action as justification based on "we discriminated against blacks in favor of whites, now lets discriminate against whites in favor of blacks". Not a good idea, and not in keeping with the Constitution of the United States.

What's odd about these anarchists is that they support the same policy in order to reach vastly different ends. That is (at least in the realm of policy-making) the difference between anarcho-capitalists and socialist anarchists is one of fact, not opinion: they disagree over what will happen if government is abolished. At least one of these groups is wrong about the fact of this matter. (I'd bet a lot of money that both are wrong, but we can stick with the proveable "at least one" for now.) The sticky point is, many of the arguments that anarchists make in favor of anarchy (especially on the anarcho-capitalist side) are about means, not ends. They claim not only that the government produces negative results, but that its mere existence is a fundamentally unjust imposition on people's rights. To the extent that anarchists believe this, they should be inclined to stick by anarchy as a political philosophy even if it does not produce the capitalist (or socialist) utopia which they expect.

I doubt, though, that many would. If you're an anarcho-capitalist, it's probably because you see the government as a threat to property rights; if it turns out that those rights are even less protected in the absence of government, you will probably come around to supporting some form of a state. Similarly, socialist anarchists are as such because they believe that the government reinforces nefarious property rights and inequality; if anarchy resulted in the capitalist utopia that anarcho-capitalists believe it would, the socialist anarchists would probably join a more moderate redistributivist movement, like the Democratic Party. Once again, we would have government, no matter which anarcho-foolhardiness one chooses.

Until the time when we actually get to see what result anarchy produces (which is probably never, because anarchists will never take "a new government, eventually" as the only substantiated answer) we will still have anarchists at opposite extremes of the political spectrum, separated mainly by their vastly different leaps of faith about the effects of anarchy. At least some of these anarchists are very, very wrong, but they'll never know which ones for sure.

But then, maybe this lack of evidentiary support is why so few of us are anarchists at all.

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Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
30 Aug 2004
This is a very narrow and uninformed view of anarchism that seems designed only to annoy anarchists and thus disrupt or discredit this website. Anarcho-capitalism and "socialist anarchism" are either extremely marginal strains of the anarchist movement (after 10+ years in the movement I've never met an individual using those exact titles, and or sharing the views described) or non-existent. Basically this analysis seems to have been cooked up in isolation, it is not based on fact or reality.
Perhaps, Pete...but is there any validity to what was said?
31 Aug 2004
The posting of this article was not to antagonize anarchists (per se). At least the "generic" left wing activist (i.e. the Greens, the Democrats, the Libertarians, the Socialists and Communists can look back and see their system and its history (all of those mentioned have failed in their applications). There are examples to point at. The anarchists are adhering to their ideaology without reason. There can be NO anarchist system which will work because it is contrary to logic and social order as determined by our very genetic makeup.

The same could be said of fascism and monarchism, as well as totalitarianism or religious theocracies. Once again, those systems have HISTORY (albeit a failed history). I have singled out anarchism because it is the only apple in the barrel of oranges. Anarchism seems to have been cooked up in isolation. IT CANNOT BE MADE WORKABLE. You say that "it is not based on fact or reality"? Are you so sure about that Pete?

All animals, from one celled organisms to the most complex organisms, plants and insects NATURALLY organize themselves into hierarchial social structures (government). There are very distinct functions performed in these structures which benefit the community in very specific ways. That is why the hierarchy is predetermined by our genes (not because I want it to be). That is reality. That is a fact.

In the physical world, atoms and molecules also organize themselves into a hierarchy. The strong atoms determine the placement of the weaker atoms in the hierarchy. Groups of matter (organized structures of atoms and molecules) organize in greater and greater structures from grains of sand to galaxies. Heaviest to lightest, strongest to weakest, etc. More reality. More facts. Nature is not open to interpretation. The laws of physics are not open to interpretation. What exists exists. Does that sound like an "analysis cooked up in isolation"?

What exactly is a "strain" of anarchist? Anarchy (by definition) is the belief that order and hierarchial structures should be removed. As soon as order (of any sort) is brought into the picture, anarchy ceases to be anarchy and becomes something else. Am I missing something here?
P.S. ......THANK YOU
31 Aug 2004
Finally, an editor with a conscience. The "disruptive individuals" may think twice before posting something overtly antagonistic if they think that it may stimulate a healthy debate with the Left. I dont think anything is accomplished by flame wars or posting "bait". I am really looking for an understanding of why anarchists become anarchists without analyzing its viability.
Learning...
31 Aug 2004
If anybody is truly interested in learning about anarchist ideology and history a good place to start is the book "Anarchism" by Daniel Guerrin. It's a primer and talks about the different schools of thought as well as the historical victories anarchists have won, and the experiments that were allowed a short time to live by the opposition.

For more modern theory and analysis there is a bevy of magazines and journals to choose from. Anarchy magazine, Green Anarchy, North Eastern Anarchist (published in Boston), and more. Head on down to Lucy Parsons Center at 549 Columbus Ave for a good selection as well as books and periodicals on almost every other radical or progressive movement under the sun.

I do not have time to rewrite all the theory here. Not to mention I personally still hold a grudge because your usual posts are generally a real drag for us.
Thanks for the tip. Sorry about the past posts.
31 Aug 2004
I apologize for the disruptive posts (that goes out to Matt as well). Im sick of being hidden here! I actually have a lot to say (and a lot to learn). I am definitely Right Wing, but Im curious about some of the anger and the protests going on lately. I was forced to take notice at the "tens of thousands" of protesters in NY shouting "No more Bush"

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/08/29/gop.main/

I plan to vote for Bush again, but I want to know why so many people are protesting the war. According to the latest polls, 70% of all Americans support the action we took against Iraq. Perhaps they are protesting the CONTINUED involvement...Im not sure, but nobody can ignore the voices of that many people.

I bought a book by Albert Meltzer titled "Anarchism: Arguments For and Against" a couple of years ago. Im still left with the obvious: what to do with the genetic predetermination towards order and away from chaos (which I equate with anarchy)? People will not magically shed such nasty traits as greed, protectionism and the sexual/social competition for females and territory.

I admit that I have been sent on angry tirades upon reading material from my "adversary" whose name shall go unspoken here. Now, I am genuinely curious about ALL of the dissent, from all of the Leftist groups. Its kinda hard to get an overall picture with so many individual struggles that the IMC network covers. There is no "top" source for the Left (the Democratic Party doesnt count). I am NOT a Republican, I would be considered a Neo Conservative, and I plan to vote for Bush because Kerry makes me physically ill. I will see if I can find that book by Guerrin. Thanks
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004
"Not a good idea, and not in keeping with the Constitution of the United States."

Who gives a shit about some rag drafted up by a bunch of affluent WASP slave holders?
That doesnt make any sense. YOU should give a shit.
31 Aug 2004
"Who gives a shit about some rag drafted up by a bunch of affluent WASP slave holders?"

That "rag" became the most important political document on the plamet a scant 150 years later. It is the foundation of the most powerful governmental system on the planet today. You could pretend that that "rag" doesnt mean anything, and you can sit in frustration about the "WASP slave holders" if you want to. You can even speak out against its contents and march in the streets to call for change of its contents. Why? That "rag" contains your rights to do so. That's more than can be said about other "rags" which belong to other forms of government.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004
Aside from the fact that I don't have any respect for the written word of slaver-owners, nor do I care what "rights" they supposedly granted me, the very basis of liberal democracy is faulty... as soon as capitalism or State power is challenged significantly, those in power will do as they please to suppress dissent, constitution be damned... as they have done countless times in the past.

Really, read some history, it's all right there.
You have a point, but you missed the point too.
31 Aug 2004
"as soon as capitalism or State power is challenged significantly, those in power will do as they please to suppress dissent"

Youre right about that. This is a capitalist country, and its not going to become something else. Lets use an analogy. Should one walk onto the football field with a soccer ball and expect the football team to play? In fact, if you hang around and get in the way with your soccer ball, the team will eventually take action to remove you from the field (or at least shove you off to the sidelines). The "system" of America is not going to change unless the people want it to, and evidently they dont want it to. The VOTE is the engine of change. Majority rules, and your ideaology (if anti-capitalist) is not it. So we play football for now.

Okay, now the "State" represents the coaching team and the management. If you try to go to the management and demand that soccer be played instead of football, the players might have something to say about that. They might feel very strongly about any changes being made to the game, and (because the whole unit is a DEMOCRATIC unit), the team can call for the removal of managers and/or coaches who are making the trouble. The "State" is comprised of the people of this nation. WE are the government, and the Left trats government as though it is somehow an independent entity which is static and unmutable. If you dont like your elected officials, then VOTE THEM OUT. organize voting blocs, create lobby groups, do what WORKS. Marching in the street and making signs accomplishes nothing at all. It is a big emotional expression, but little else. Our football team is not affected by boos and cheers, only by the other players and the gameplay and score. Are you getting any of this?
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004
"This is a capitalist country, and its not going to become something else."

That's kind of funny because I don't remember ever seeing any mention of 'capitalism' in any founding documents, such as Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights.

Let's be clear about one thing, this is a capitalist country because very powerful and wealthy people used systematic violence, theft, and exploitaion to ensure that it would be.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004
My personal favorite as an introduction to anarchism is "Reinventing Anarchy, Again", edited by Howard Ehrlich. (The "Again" is because it's a second edition.) It's an anthology of contemporary anarchist writings--something I much prefer to all the introductions to anarchism that focus on the nineteenth century. Not that history isn't important, but contemporary anarchism is different in many ways from the nineteenth century varieties.
Maybe they did. They won.
31 Aug 2004
You are right. The wealthy HAVE used their influence, violence, theft and exploitation to make things the way they are. Humans DO that. Yeah, its distasteful, but its reality. If you were taken away from your nice and neat supermarkets and McDonalds (oops...I meant Whole Foods), you might just have to watch how your turkey breast with mayo and endive gets to your plate. You might have to see the "poor turkey" get its neck snapped, then plucked and dismembered into neat little pieces and cooked over fire (made from trees which have been cut down, or oil which has been drilled by nasty machines which pollute the environment). You might have to watch the migrant workers pick your lettuce for you, and collect the eggs from the cooped up chickens to make your mayo. GET REAL. People exploit other people. Violence is part of human behavior:

SIDENOTE: Did you read about the "peaceful protesters" who beat an undercover cop unconscious?

Capitalism as practised in the United States isnt even actual capitalism (http://www.capitalism.org/faq/capitalism.htm). Whatever the case, I dont see any need to trade it for something less desireable like socialism or communism, which are both failed systems. The Constitution is a living document. It can be changed and amended by The People. Nowhere in those documents does it say that "if enough people bitch and whine in the streets and march with signs, the majority vote and established systems shall be immediately overruled", does it?
Nineteenth Century? So much is different now.
31 Aug 2004
"My personal favorite as an introduction to anarchism is "Reinventing Anarchy, Again", edited by Howard Ehrlich. (The "Again" is because it's a second edition.) It's an anthology of contemporary anarchist writings--something I much prefer to all the introductions to anarchism that focus on the nineteenth century. Not that history isn't important, but contemporary anarchism is different in many ways from the nineteenth century varieties."

Interesting. I have studied how the Christian religious theocracies functioned much like the Federal Government functions today. We can see the ancestor of Socialism in the principles of ancient Monarchism, and we can see the practice of Communism in the history of farming communities in the midwest in the 1700s. Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO history for "applied anarchism". Unless you count the extremely short lived anarchy which occurs after a major war, or the toppling of an established system (like Iraq, or any American city during riots or an extended blackout), the "History of Applied Anarchy" is conspicuously missing.

We live in an interconnected society now, with the atomic bomb, with space travel and the Internet. Can anarchy co-exist with the modern day world and its NECESSARY structure? I dont think so. There is no way to do it that I can see. All other governments in the Leftist camp have viability EXCEPT anarchy. I hate to sound like a broken record!
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004


Well, short-lived as they may be, there are certainly examples of constructive anarchism (or non-statist, directly democratic, council-based socialism) applied on a largescale...

France 1871
Mexico 1910-11
Russia 1917-18
Ukraine 1918-22
Germany 1918
Spain 1936-39
Hungary 1956
Czechoslovakia 1968

Even today there are anarcho-syndicalist unions in France, Sweden, Spain, Italy and elsewhere that number in the tens of thousands. There are literally thousands of collectives, cooperatives, largescale non-statist agrarian movements (such as in Brazil), and anarchist-oriented projects all over the world.

Seems pretty applied to me.
No, Im afraid youre wrong.
31 Aug 2004
Its very easy to create "anarchist collectives" within a much larger Democratic country which can protect it with its military and economic might.

France 1871 - The French Civil War (postwar anarchy, as I said)

Mexico 1910-11 - The Mexican Revolution (postwar anarchy)

Russia 1917-18 - The Russian Revolution (put a tick in the COMMUNIST column, not the anarchist column)

Ukraine 1918-22 - The Proletarian Insurrection (postwar anarchy)

Germany 1918 - The overthrow of the Imperial government (that one belongs to the SOCIALISTS, not the anarchists)

Spain 1936-39 - Okay, Ill give you this one, but it only took place in the Basque Provinces and Barcelona. "Anarchist commununes" merely took over established factories and other elements of the infrastructure for a short time. They were already built before the anarchists took over.

Hungary 1956 - October 1956, to be exact. An uprising due to Khruschev's policies by the students and workers, right? That lasted for about 30 days, and by the end of October 1956, Russian tanks were riding around town dragging bodies of protesters behind them to deter further protesting.

Czechoslovakia 1968 - Russian and Warsaw Pact troops invaded Czechoslovakia. (upset of established system)


As I said above:

"Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO history for "applied anarchism". Unless you count the extremely short lived anarchy which occurs after a major war, or the toppling of an established system (like Iraq, or any American city during riots or an extended blackout), the "History of Applied Anarchy" is conspicuously missing."

My statements stand. Anarchy cannot be built upon order. Order must be destroyed for anarchy to exist. It is not a viable system under which large populations can function (hence the short-lived iterations of that "system"). As long as there are limited resources, control of those resources must be in place. If control is in place, then anarchy is not.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
31 Aug 2004
"Russia 1917-18 - The Russian Revolution (put a tick in the COMMUNIST column, not the anarchist column)"

Uh, looks you need to go back an re-read some Russian history.

Before the Bolsheviks consolidated power, there was widespread support for anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism in urban centers of Petrograd (and neighboring Kronstadt) and Moscow, not to mention in the more rural regions of Ukraine.

The Russian Revolution was a messy affair, and it was not until practically two years into it that the Bolsheviks could be declared victorious over other political tendencies (Menshevik, Social Revolutionary, Anarchist, etc.). Even then, there were serious challenges to their grip on power (such as the largely anarchist and Social Revolutionary uprising of Kronstadt, 1921).



Post-war? What form of radical social change has ever been established "post-war"? Uh, that's why they call it revolution...

Whatever, from 1918-1922 the anarchist-influenced, peasant-based Makhnovschina controlled like 90% of the Ukraine, abolished local rule and set up systems of workplace and community councils in a number of cities, collectivized large expanses of land, etc.



Many would argue that anarchy is the highest form of order.

Regardless, I am arguing in favor of "anarchism" as a political philosophy. I could give a shit what vague Webster's Dictionary definition of "anarchy" you can pull out to make some silly sematical argument.

That's like arguing against "socialism" based on a vague definition of "social" or "republican" based on a definition "republic".

You see, funny thing about political philosophies is that, regardless of the base word they were derived from way back when, they have accumulated years worth of theoretical development, tradition and history to shape and define them.

Again, read some books, than make your arguments.
Read Books? I did that for SIX YEARS.
31 Aug 2004
"Regardless, I am arguing in favor of "anarchism" as a political philosophy. I could give a shit what vague Webster's Dictionary definition of "anarchy" you can pull out to make some silly sematical(sic) argument."


You are right about this. You are arguing semantics. Anarchy cannot function as a device for government. That's simply a fact. I respect your beliefs, but I think you are wasting your time trying to bring anarchy into the Real World.

I am already a college graduate with a Masters Degree (in Computer Science). I admit that I havent read that many books on anarchy, but as a viable system, it doesnt pique my interest. Your rejection of the dictionary definition of "anarchy" doesnt make any sense. Does the Anarchist Manifesto also include throwing out the order inherent in the structure of our language? Definitions of words are now the subject of anarchy as well? This seems to be getting more and more disturbing each response.

I am going to try to find that book on Guerrin that Pete was talking about. I am not going to become an anarchist, but I would like a well rounded understanding of it (at least the way you interpret it).

"Many would argue that anarchy is the highest form of order."

HUH? If that were true, then the universe would reflect that. Many might argue, but they would be incorrect. Even the highest structures known (the interrelationship of galaxies) are known to behave with the same physics as that of the structure of atoms. The strong control the behavior of the weak, which in turn controls the behavior of the still weaker. Same goes for the animal kingdom, and the realm of the insects. The truth is obvious and inescapable.
PS, I dont need to be "right". Im looking to understand.
31 Aug 2004
I dont have a burning need to "win" here. I really want to know why you are so unhappy with America under Democracy (however loose an interpretation we have of that here in America). Have tou ever travelled to other countries where another system is in place? Try Saudi Arabia, or perhaps mainland China. Are you really willing to advocate dismantling our government in favor of "anarchy"?
Amazed at this "Master's" lack of comprehension.
31 Aug 2004
"The strong control the behavior of the weak, which in turn controls the behavior of the still weaker."

Absolutely false!

All forces in the universe are either based on the very small forces of very small particles or the aggregation of those particles (and their forces).

Even the gravitational forces between galaxies are actually the gravitational forces between the very small particles that make up everything within them. All of nature springs forth from the small and aggregates to the large. Society is no different. The large only appear large because we forget to realize that they are nothing but aggregations of the small.

The same is true of powerful men. Their power rests only in the support and belief of the average man. When that is taken away they are emperor's with no clothes.
That doesnt make any sense. YOU should give a shit.
31 Aug 2004
"Who gives a shit about some rag drafted up by a bunch of affluent WASP slave holders?"

That "rag" became the most important political document on the plamet a scant 150 years later. It is the foundation of the most powerful governmental system on the planet today. You could pretend that that "rag" doesnt mean anything, and you can sit in frustration about the "WASP slave holders" if you want to. You can even speak out against its contents and march in the streets to call for change of its contents. Why? That "rag" contains your rights to do so. That's more than can be said about other "rags" which belong to other forms of government.
who is calling who crazy?
31 Aug 2004
"I admit that I havent read that many books on anarchy, but as a viable system, it doesnt pique my interest. . .The truth is obvious and inescapable. . .I really want to know why you are so unhappy with America under Democracy"

So it's obvious to you that anarchists are hopelessly deluded, but you want to engage in a rational debate with them about their beliefs?
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
01 Sep 2004
Let's have a little laugh. Let's post every dictator who quickly wrenched the reins of power from the gibbering and exhausted cake and muddy wine stuffed mob of postwar anarchists shall we?

Napoleon
Hitler
Mussolini
Stalin
Franco
Tito
Castro
Duvalier
Muhammad Aidid
Charles Taylor
Saddam Hussein

Why did those men come to power? Because forceful individuals with a mind to rule and repave a unified country overran groups of anarchists and socialists who could not run a country after executing its leaders.

US Anarchists, if they have their dog's day, will merely pave the way for an anti-revolutionary individual to assume control over what they have ruined. History is on my side.
Exactly. Also, the other individual needs to look at his physics again.
01 Sep 2004
"So it's obvious to you that anarchists are hopelessly deluded, but you want to engage in a rational debate with them about their beliefs? "


Uh, yeah....kinda. I dont want to "debate" with them really, I want to study them. Anarchism cannot work as a viable system, because it is against nature. That is a fact. What I want to know is why they still believe in it even after they see that the facts weigh so heavily against it.

I have noticed quite a few recurring elements in the vast majority of "anarchists". Most are young, pre-voting age, and lacking in higher education (college and graduate studies). Most do not have families, and rarely do any own property. In that sort of vague, disconnected environment, one can easily see the "virtues" of various utopian concepts.

Funny, adults who were teenagers and young adults in the 1960s believed in "Flower Power" and anarchy, communism and socialism, and protested against the war (Vietnam). It was the "tune in turn on" generation (Im from that generation). After graduating college and starting families and buying property, those hippies became Yuppies, and became the core of the Neo Conservative movement which today is supporting the resurgence of the Republican Party, and reshaping the Democratic Party platform by adding a backbone to it. Kerry is using his war record as his biggest selling point.

The guy who said:

"Even the gravitational forces between galaxies are actually the gravitational forces between the very small particles that make up everything within them. All of nature springs forth from the small and aggregates to the large. Society is no different. The large only appear large because we forget to realize that they are nothing but aggregations of the small."

That's not true. What is the mechanism of aggregation? It is the interaction of the strong and weak forces. Take two equally sized portions of two different elements and the interaction between the two will be based on the constitution of each element. Planets do not aggregate around each other, they aggregate around stars. Large balls of iron will not aggregate to each other, they will aggregate around a magnetized iron ball of the same size.

Such is true of men. The LEADER is a special type of individual, unlike the generic followers. He is a strong force which can act as the aggregational force for others who are relatively passive. Societies of humans are genetically predetermined to form social groups based on a hierarchy: Strong to weak, male to female, advanced to less advanced. This is the Law of Nature. Anarchy seems to ignore the facts.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
01 Sep 2004
“he believed in a communitarian utopia”

"In fact, the very idea of Utopia repels most anarchists,because it is a rigid mental construction which,successfully imposed, would prove as stultifying as any existing state to the free development of those subjected to
it. Moreover, Utopia is conceived as a perfect society, and anything perfect has automatically ceased growing; even Godwin qualified his rash claims for the perfectability of man by protesting that he did not mean men could be made
perfect, but that they were capable of indefinite
improvement, an idea which, he remarked, 'not only does not imply the capacity for being brought into perfection, but stands in express opposition to it.'"
- George Woodcock, A History of LibertarianIdeas and Movements (1962):

"There is absolutely NO reason why people would "produce according to ability".

Study some societies other than the global monoculture– the Quakers, for instance.

“All animals, from one celled organisms to the most complex organisms, plants and insects NATURALLY organize themselves into hierarchial social structures (government).”

You need to read Mutual aid by Kropotkin – fast.

Regarding humans:

“Modern studies of surviving hunter-gatherer and early agricultural societies have upheld the essential core of Engels' account. Hunting-gathering peoples live in what are usually called 'band societies'--based on loose knit groups of 30 or 40 people which may, periodically, get together with other groups into bigger gatherings up to a couple of a hundred strong. There is no formal leadership, let alone class division within these societies.

Individual decision makings are possible for both men and women with respect to their daily routines... Men and women alike are free to decide how they will spend each day: whether to go hunting or gathering, and with whom...95

There was no differential access to resources through private land ownership and no specialisation of labour beyond that of sex... The basic principle of egalitarian band societies was that people made decisions about the actitities for which they were responsible.96

Individual band members enjoy a level of autonomy infinitely greater than the mass of people in class societies. But it is not accompanied by selfishness in their relations with each other. On the contrary, the stress is on generosity, on individuals helping each other:

Food is never consumed alone by a family: it is always shared out among members of a living group or band... Each member of the camp receives an equitable share... This principle of generalised reciprocity has been reported of hunter-gatherers in every continent and in every kind of environment.97

There is a very strong disdain for the competitive notions which are taken for granted in our society. As Richard Lee tells of the !Kung98 people of the Kalahari (the so-called 'Bushmen'):

The !Kung are a fiercely egalitarian people, and they have evolved a series of important cultural practices to maintain this equality, first by cutting down to size the arrogant and boastful, and second by helping those down on their luck to get back in the game... Men are encouraged to hunt as well as they can, but the correct demeanour for the successful hunter is modesty and understatement.99

One of the ! Kung reports:

Say a man has been hunting. He must not come home and announce like a braggart. 'I have killed a big one in the bush!' He must first sit down in silence until I or someone else comes up to his fire and asks, 'What did you do today?' He replies quietly, 'Ah, I'm no good at hunting. I saw nothing at all... maybe just a tiny one'. Then 1 smile, because I know he has killed something big.100

An early Jesuit noted of another hunter-gathering people, the Montagnais of Canada: 'The two tyrants who provide hell and torture for many of our Europeans do not reign in their great forests,--I mean ambition and avarice... as they are contented with a mere living, not one of them has given himself to the devil to acquire wealth'.101 There are no chiefs or bosses in such bands. Thus the Mbuti Pygmies of the Congo:

never have chiefs... In each aspect of Pygmy life there might be one or two men or women who were more prominent than others, but usually for good practical reasons... The maintenance of law was a co-operative affair... The more serious of crimes, such a theft, were dealt with by sound thrashing which was administered co-operatively by all who felt inclined to participate, but only after the entire camp had been involved in discussion of the case... Pygmies dislike and avoid personal authority.102

Among the !Kung 'patterns of leadership do exist', but they are very different to power as we know it. In discussions the opinions of some individuals tend to have more impact than others. 'These individuals are usually older people who have lived here the longest... and have some personal qualification worthy of note as a speaker, an arguer, a ritual specialist, or a hunter.' But,

Whatever their skills !Kung leaders have no formal authority. They can only persuade, but never enforce their will on others... None is arrogant, overbearing, boastful or aloof. In !Kung terms, these traits absolutely disqualify a person as a leader... Another trait emphatically not found among traditional camp leaders is a desire for wealth or acquisitiveness.103

This is of immense importance for any arguments of 'human nature'. For if such a nature exists it was moulded, by natural selection, during the 2.5 million year long epoch of hunting and gathering between the first appearance of homo habilis and the first planting of crops by 8th millennium BC homo sapiens. Lee is quite right to insist:

It is the long experience of egalitarian sharing that has moulded our past. Despite our seeming adaptation to life in hierarchical societies, and despite the rather dismal track record of human rights in many parts of the world, there are signs that humankind retains a deep-rooted sense of egalitarianism, a deep rooted commitment to the norm of reciprocity, a deep rooted... sense of community...112

“Anarchy (by definition) is the belief that order and hierarchial structures should be removed.”

Order. No. Anarchy is the highest form of order, so the saying goes.

“I plan to vote for Bush again”.

I’m speechless.

“This is a capitalist country, and its not going to become something else.”

It will become a fascist dictatorship, and soon, as is already clear.

“The "system" of America is not going to change unless the people want it to, and evidently they dont want it to.”

Give ‘em awhile.

“We can see the ancestor of Socialism in the principles of ancient Monarchism”

Huh?

“the "History of Applied Anarchy" is conspicuously missing.”

99% of human history was more or less anarchist, as outlined above. The state is a new phenomenon, and is rapidly bringing us to the edge of extinction.

“Anarchy cannot be built upon order. Order must be destroyed for anarchy to exist”

Most (modern) anarchists do not believe in a “Winter Palace” style revolution, but a gradual awakening, a building of the new society within the shell of the old. According to Chomsky, "...anarchism isn't a doctrine. It's at most a historical tendency, a tendency of thought and action, which has many different ways of developing and progressing and which, I would think, will continue as a permanent strand of human history."

“It is not a viable system under which large populations can function (hence the short-lived iterations of that "system").”

Try Tahiti, an “anarchist theocracy”, or the Iroquois, or anarchist Spain etc. Again, the idea is not “perfect anarchy”, which is impossible, but a more anarchistic (free) society based on egalitarian decion making, direct democracy.

“I admit that I havent read that many books on anarchy”

That much is clear.

“The strong control the behavior of the weak, which in turn controls the behavior of the still weaker.”

“the “primitive” tribe is able to arrest social dominance hierarchies by reacting “collectively, often preemptively, to curb individuals who show signs of wanting to dominate their fellows. Their reactions involve fear (of domination), angry defiance, and a collective commitment to dominate, which is based on a fear of being individually dominated. As potential subordinates, they are able to express dominance because they find collective security in a large, group-wide political coalition. (Christopher Boehme, Hierarchy in the Forest, pg 64-65).

This is what the anarchist movement seeks: the control of power through solidarity, and the eventual anchoring of power in the body politic.

“I dont have a burning need to "win" here. I really want to know why you are so unhappy with America under Democracy (however loose an interpretation we have of that here in America).”

“You should know that a republic is not synonymous with democracy, and that America has never been a real democracy, but that it is the vilest plutocracy on the face of the globe."
- Alexander Berkman

“I have noticed quite a few recurring elements in the vast majority of "anarchists". Most are young, pre-voting age, and lacking in higher education”

Right. Like William Blake, Tolstoy, Ghandi, Kafka, Huxley, Chaplin, Burroughs, shall I go on?
Once Again, "Nefarious Cabal" displays ignorance.
01 Sep 2004
He brings up "strong" and "weak" forces at the quantum level to support his argument that the relationship between galaxies dominate the universe since they are the largest relationships that exist. This is bullshit.

The strong forces are felt at a short distance and it is the aggregation of weak forces (such as gravity) that is felt over a large distance. The aggregation is had by the strong forces but it is only through the aggregation of the many small entities that the larger forces are felt.

This is exactly like anarchism. The ultimate power comes from the collective but the collective arises from the individual.

Just because "strong" and "weak" is used to designate force over a very short distance is no reason to believe that physicists are using the terms in your fascist sense.

Nefarious Cabal is like the idiot savant. He knows much about very little and that little he knows drags him around like the tail wagging the dog. He is the height of stupidity.
RESPONSES. From Intelligent, to "the height of stupidity"
01 Sep 2004
TO: "PricklyPete"

You bring up some very interesting points. I have to agree that the tribal communities differ from all other forms of governments in many ways, and can neither be classified as communist, socialist or anarchist. You said:

"Modern studies of surviving hunter-gatherer and early agricultural societies have upheld the essential core of Engels' account. Hunting-gathering peoples live in what are usually called 'band societies'--based on loose knit groups of 30 or 40 people which may, periodically, get together with other groups into bigger gatherings up to a couple of a hundred strong. There is no formal leadership, let alone class division within these societies"

The fossil record shows that similar organizational structures were in place for humans (and even pre-humans) as far back as archaeologists can see. I dont argue that such loose societal concepts dont EVER work, I argue that they cannot be applied to large groups of people (yet). There IS a scenario where it can work, but humans will not reach it for quite some time:

The reason for government (the act or process of governing; specifically : authoritative direction or control) is the fact that all of our resources are limited. Fuel, food, land, water. Despite the hope of optimistically thinking anarchists, the fact is that modern humans are greedy, and will consume more resources than are necessary for survival, in order to use them as a device to gain influence over other humans. This may have become part of human behavior (in Europe) when game animals became scarce, and the onset of the Ice Ages caused Caucasians and Asians to develop protectionist and territorial behaviors which later developed into the "nation". We can see similar behaviors developed in the Americas among Native Americans, and for the same reason. Game animals became limited, and the competition for those animals (the most important resource) became paramount. You do not see development of these behaviors in the South American and Central African cultures where the lush forests and seemingly unlimited large game animals easily provided the resources for the relatively small populations of humans.

Today, resources are STILL limited. Until inexhaustable energy sources are found (i.e. fusion), and the resources continue to dwindle, greater and greater control will be required because the human population continues to increase. Anarchy can work if resources are unlimited, but only then. To look at sporadic anarchist situations (the longest listed above was 4 years), or point to tribal society and attempt a comparison to metropolis-sized populations is not possible.




TO: "I KNOW THIS LOSER"

First, I doubt that you know me. I dont work with children, and I dont "hang out". If you are referring to the KOBE thing, yes, Im him, but I have decided to limit my writings to non-combative, non-antagonistic issues so that I can communicate with the Left. Your post is nothing but a blurted out emotional reaction, with little merit. If you want to back up what you say, then present evidence as the others here have done, and DEBATE, not attack.

*******
"He brings up "strong" and "weak" forces at the quantum level to support his argument that the relationship between galaxies dominate the universe since they are the largest relationships that exist. This is bullshit."
*******

Why? Galaxies exist because the aggregations of stars, planets, dust, molecules and atoms have all come together as a result of interaction of the fundamental forces of Nature. Interpretation is not necessary, just observation.

*******
"The strong forces are felt at a short distance and it is the aggregation of weak forces (such as gravity) that is felt over a large distance. The aggregation is had by the strong forces but it is only through the aggregation of the many small entities that the larger forces are felt."
*******

TRUE. The end result is a hierarchy of matter, not an anarchy. That is why I used physics as an analogy.

*******
"This is exactly like anarchism. The ultimate power comes from the collective but the collective arises from the individual.

Just because "strong" and "weak" is used to designate force over a very short distance is no reason to believe that physicists are using the terms in your fascist sense."
*******

HUH? Where does "fascist" come into play anywhere in any of the posts in this entire thread? Physicists arent using any of "my terms", and I doubt that they would use politics as an analogy to describe the interactions of matter and energy.

*******
Nefarious Cabal is like the idiot savant. He knows much about very little and that little he knows drags him around like the tail wagging the dog. He is the height of stupidity.
*******

I dont have to say much about that utterly ridiculous statement. Any reader of this thread can decide if that is true or not. I am not going to be baited into any argument with someone like you. That would be like a mealworm fishing for trout.

To see the "height of stupidity", simply look to other outspoken anarchists (one comes to mind), and read about the endless conspiracy theories and dark plots to "alter material", or being chased by government agents. Please try to stick to topic, and refrain from attacking me. I am not looking for a fight here.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
01 Sep 2004
The post of "Prickley Pete" cannot bear scrutiny. By turning the !Kung tribesmen into noble savages, he reinforces my point that Anarchism must ultimately turn to socialism, which is merely a latent form of Christianity from a dechristianized Europe (Nietzsche).

The virtues of latent Christianity as socialism include self-effacement, levelling down of the adept by the morals of the mob, and not enjoying your earned goods until they are demanded of you by the rest of the tribe. Prickley goes on to cite Socialist Darwinists, and Euroslavs' critiques of the Western World, as if such old world philosophies existed at parity to our own.

Returning to the point that anarchists must mutually agree to form a socialist collective out of self defense and resource ineptitude (inability to produce), we are still left with the glaring issue that socialism is merely a prelude to Communism, where the brutal few wrest control of the collectives (Soviets), and the the Brutal One (Fascist) wrests control by murdering the brutal few.

Can this be any more alien to an American way of life?
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
01 Sep 2004
First of all, let me say that these below are my own opinions and not neccessarily those of the IMC. And by the way, if anybody's confused, I'm not prickley pete.

Now, I do hope y'all read some books on this stuff cuz you're judging way too quickly. And saying some pretty dogmatic and inflexible things. I always like to say that the wise man/woman know's that they are always wrong. The more I learn about the world the less I see reason behind any of it. It's more dependent on the history of social constructs or something like that.

One refrain in this whole "battle of the disrupticons" (a joke- thanks for dropping the combat routine, both of you, or one of you, or whatever the case may be) that really stands out to me as pretentious is "Anarchy goes against nature." Do we, as a society, comprehend nature? If so, which of the many contending fools who would say "Yes I do" do we believe? We can talk about it sure, and speculate, and maybe even agree, but we can never be certain that our minds or the history of the science and thought about that particular subject are not playing tricks on us.

If we say "The LEADER is a special type of individual, unlike the generic followers. He is a strong force which can act as the aggregational force for others who are relatively passive." is true does not negate the political philosophy of anarchism.

My own thought about it is that Anarchism acknowledges the fact that charismatic, intelligent, beautiful or other types can become natural leaders, and influence large numbers of people. What anarchists would seek to do is to keep this power at a natural level, prevent it from becoming un-natural. President Bush has un-natural power propped up by the undemocratic electoral system we have, the military, the rest of the government institutional infrastructure, the ruling elite, and so on. A person in a meeting of equals that is a great speaker and good persuader has a natural power, and the other members of the group can at anytime choose to revoke it merely by saying no to his or her requests.

The guy on the street corner who can play a mean guitar has a natural power, people like listening and they hang around, maybe they toss a coupla bucks in his hat or something. But the guy who was "discovered" by a scout from Capitol Records in the middle of nowhere and put through a whole rigamorale to turn him into some super mega rock star with a hit record written, produced, and distributed by other people with lots of money has an unnatural power.

That kind of Unnatural power hurts people. I mean look what happened to Elvis and the Global South man!

You say it's a fact of nature, fine. You also say deal with it, OK, lets deal with it- What you call "American Democracy" doesn't. Maybe we should call it a "racist plutocracy", or a "fear based advertising scheme", or "what happens when old dead greedy bastards succeed in writing a document that secures the longevity of a devilish partnership between economic and political power in such flowery language that a war ravaged country begrudgingly accepts it and learns (in their mandatory history classes) how to love it."

Oh- and your profile of an anarchist is also off. The reason that you don't see black bloc folks with kids, or older folks is because you're only looking, you're not communicating (unitl now). There are thousands of folks throughout the activist community who would ascribe to some form of anarchist philosophy. They look normal, they talk normal, they work normal, they may even eat meat or wear a tie or drive a car.
Anarchists Are the Only Sane People
02 Sep 2004
Are anarchists "crazy" just because you SAY they are? Come on. That's bull. You dont know what an anarchist is.

An anarchist is a left libertarian. An anarchist is a libertarian socialist. Ana anarchist is a true rugged individualist who believes in social organization in the interests of we ourselves, and not the rich and powerful. We are individualists who do not reject socialism, but who reject the market.. reject capitalism... and reject the de facto rule of the state (which always serves the ruling, rich class).

And anarchist is a person who understands that individual liberty is the most important aspect of being human, and that capitalism and private property are not liberty. An anarchist is a member of the working class and applies the idea of "liberty" to working class interests, rather than to capitalist interests.

An anarchist is an anti-authoritarian socialist. A person who understands that equality and democracy are achieved AFTER universal individual liberty is achieved... and universal individual liberty cannot be mandated by any leader.. it cannot be forced on anyone. It only happens when the working class.. the poor.. the underprivileged.. those of us who produce all the wealth but get only a small part of it.. stand up ON OUR OWN.. each and every one of us... and NO LONGER ALLOW ourselves to be exploited, divided, and abused.

Anarchists are libertarian communists. They are communists who reject the Marxist and Leninist and governmentalist idea of socialism and communism being based on government owenership of resources, but instead that socialism and communism is based on WE working class individuals acting in our own best, selfish, personal interests. We anarchists believe selfishness is a virtue, and that selfishness achieved and accepted by everyone leads naturally to true grass-roots democracy.. it leads to true socialism... a libertarian socialism.

Anarchists are individualists. We are the cowboys.. the rugged self-made working class, poor or indiginous women and men who work together to fight capitalism and push back government abuse in the service of capital. Anarchists oppose racism, sexism, authority, nationalism, and hierarchy... and as true libertarians we believe in organization... organization of and by the poor, the working class, the minority, women, youth, the indiginous people, the mentally ill, the homeless. Those who's backs the middle class and rich live upon.

Anarchists reject the notion of leaders that maoists, trotskyists and leninists embrace. We understand that because we human beings are self-interested, it is VERY dangerous for anyone to be placed in power over the rest of us.. that it causes a kind of madness to set into the rulers mind. So unlike the maoists, we know that even the most honest, most rational of us, or even the most oppressed 3rd world minority who seems somehow just in their suffering could never be made a ruler with power over others, because power, even in the name of good, is still domination. Maoists and other authoritarian leftists think that authority and forced equality are tools the oppressed can use. We anarchists recent this. Anarchists do not reject organization, but they reject hierarchical organization with rulers at the top.

Anarchists are not crazy. They simply reject the idea that people should dominate other people... they reject the idea that government knows what is best for people with its police, jails, and armies that act in the name of the rich and powerful.

And there is no such thing as "anarcho-capitalism". That is just capitalists trying to dress-up their murderous, authoritarian system with a pretty sounding name. And the Libertarian Party is NOT libertarian.. it is a pro-police, pro-army, pro-jail (public or private versions of these things) capitalist political party that has no true connection to liberty or freedom... and certainly not liberty for working class people.. it's a party of the capitalists and statists (who try to cover up this fact by stealing anarchist language.)
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
03 Sep 2004
This reminds me of the time I was debating BU's CAS department professor Richard Landes, an opponent of college divestiture from Israel.

Playing the objective intellectual, he scourged me with a plethora of ultrasoft chides about how I was being too "polemical" when pulling his card. He invited me to view "both sides of the issue," to "hold two plotlines in my head at once."

I almost fell for it. Then I remembered who I was talking to, (a person inticing me to be more ambivalent, while he remained an unserving activist for his cause). My opponent hobbled himself with no such schizophrenic dualities! Where is the advantage in denying yourself authoritative statements? This can only please hegelians.

What anarchists are in this situation is called "pegged." I have met them, I have also studied revolutionary history, and they are indeed pegged.
Too intelligent to be a cop.
03 Sep 2004
Of course I am an elitist. I am elite. Elite is the adjectival form of the past participle of the verb eligere. Eligere means "to choose." Eg the choicest part, the best. I choose only the best out of life. I choose only the best for myself. I become that which is best. I leave the scraps and bitterness for the weak and ineffectual dregs of humanity.

Do I defend the rich? Not necessarily. Personally I am not cash rich, though I may become so with due diligence. I have enough money to meet my needs, and a little to spare. Perhaps I will employ that spare bit to earn more privileges. I defend wise use and thoughtful investment.

Do I defend privilege? Why not? A privilege is an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of advantage. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Let's get down to the Communist bloody shirt here. Are you alleging that I do not work for a living? If so, speak of something you actually know, instead of hypothesizing about my laziness, simply because I do not revel in slave's values that you revel in. I will never be in a Red Guard.

Do I think that you should remain lowly and perform meaningless low paid work? No. Am I going to help you lift yourself out of it? No.

Are you going to lecture me on the basics of liberty and freedom? Find someone whose family has not been working in this country since the 1600s. Foist your Euro-slavic beliefs on him too.

But leave that stink off of me.
Re: Are Anarchists Crazy?
08 Nov 2004
I have a response to your comment on affirmative action. I am also multi-racial (black and south american) and I support affirmative action for several reasons. First off, black people are disproportionatly poor in America by a wide margin. The american govenment should support African Americans in their long road out of post-slavery poverty. There is an astounding amount of institutionalized racism within the American capitalist system.

Secondly, it is impossible for a non-white to be racist against a white one. A non-white could be prejudiced against a white one. However, Racism is not simply a prejudice, it is an aggressive set of behaviors perputrated by the majority against the minority.

An interesting article, however I would suggest you would learn about the Spanish Revolution, where a mutualist-anarchist commune not only succeded in working amazingly well, but was able to fight off fascists and the treachery of the Communists. Dozens of anarchist communes are operating around the world, including a major one in Hawaii.
Is a capitalist state really "natural"?
08 Nov 2004
"All animals, from one celled organisms to the most complex organisms, plants and insects NATURALLY organize themselves into hierarchial social structures (government)."

This just isn't true. Most animals collaborate freely with each other. They are not forced to compete. Cooperation is much more important in nature than competition, and statist coersion is not at all natural. That's right, animals are anarchist mutualists!

The "human nature" argument has been used to justify everything from racism to fascism. It is questionable whether evolutionary psycology points towards authority as a natural eventuality. Some modern research points the other way.

Even if it were a "natural" behavior, so is wife-beating. So is the murder of children of your spouse that are not your own. So is hunting and gathering. There is no reason to engage in ANY of these activities in modern society. We are not bound by our evolutionary behaviors, and can change as we see fit.