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nomadthethird
04-05-2009, 12:51 AM
Here's a thread for anarchism discussions.

The following is a question for Padraig, but anyone else who has info, too:

Where can I find some good readings in anarchism (contemporary or historical)?

I've read some Graeber and some Newman, I've read Bakunin, Goldman, and Proudhon. But I know there has to be more out there...Zapata wrote stuff, there's of course Chomsky (who is too humanistical for me), there's Sacco and Lucy Parsons. There are the Italians like Virno.

Anything else? I know I'm missing quite a bit.

matt b
04-05-2009, 01:22 AM
I'd recommend Demanding the Impossible by Peter Marshall (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Demanding-Impossible-Anarchism-Peter-Marshall/dp/0006862454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241395883&sr=8-1), which is a fine introduction to the various strands of anarchist thought.

After that, take your pick.

I'd recommend:

Gerard Winstanley (post English civil war romanticist/agitator- the film about him and the Diggers has just been released on DVD)

Colin Ward ( how to we get to anarchism UK theorist/ activist)

Rudolph Rocker (same, but early 20th C)

Kropotkin (anarchistromanticist)

Then the more USA focussed Parecon

That should keep you occupied for at least a couple of days, Nomad (good to have you back, btw)


Edit: and William Godwin, obv

nomadthethird
04-05-2009, 01:25 AM
Thanks, Matt! I'll check those out.

padraig (u.s.)
04-05-2009, 02:01 AM
Where can I find some good readings in anarchism (contemporary or historical)?

Anything else? I know I'm missing quite a bit.

I hope you don't mind if I just refer you to anti-politics.net (http://www.anti-politics.net/), which has a decidely green bent & links to everything I'd probably recommend (as well as I bunch of things which I probably wouldn't, but hey).

it also really depends on what you're looking for - history? theory? I'm guessing you're pretty open to the greener, anti-civ end of things? I'm not sure exactly what you're interested as it's such a broad topic & unlike communism there is no single defined tradition, lexicon, etc. - perhaps PM me?

John Eden might also be a good person to ask?

padraig (u.s.)
04-05-2009, 02:12 AM
also I should say - I second the recommendations Matt made and I would add to them:

Stuart Christie's excellent history of the Iberian Anarchist Federation; also the biography of Sabate that Christie translated into English

Alfredo Bonnano (insurrectionist Italian) - Armed Joy, The Anarchist Tension & so on - all available online...

there are a bunch of big name magazines heavy on theory - Green Anarchy, Fifth Estate, Anarchy: A Journey of Desire Armed, also Earth First! Journal (which is not explicitly "anarchist") - all of which you can probably find in New York but which obv all also have websites

nomadthethird
04-05-2009, 05:07 AM
All of that's good! I'm interested in anything--the classical theory tends to be easy to find-- but that website looks great.

john eden
04-05-2009, 08:44 AM
Colin Ward's "Anarchy In Action" is the one I usually recommend/lend to people.

I have to confess I haven't read Kropotkin and Bakunin or anything like that. :o

I've actually forgotten a fair bit of things I read!

This, from Albert Meltzer,was the first proper thing I read about anarchism:
http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/meltzer/sp001500.html#INTRO

quite a good brief intro I guess.

mistadubalina
04-05-2009, 09:23 AM
i prefer to live the dream than read about it...

padraig (u.s.)
04-05-2009, 03:45 PM
...Zapata wrote stuff

I forgot to mention this - Zapata didn't actually write anything AFAIK. I'm not sure if he was an "anarchist" strictly speaking (not a criticism, he was a totaly badass) tho he was influenced by anarchist thought, especially Ricardo Flores Magon, who provided the slogan "Tierra y Libertad!". Zapata was also definitely the most radical of any major figure in the Mexican Revolution, by a wide margin. Perhaps similar to Makhno in some ways?

Flores Magon (who wound up dying in Leavenworth Prison) is himself worth reading. He's also still revered by revolutionaries in Mexico, if not to the same degree as Zapata (who is viewed as practically a demigod), one of the Zapatista communities I stayed in had a huge mural of Zapata, Flores Magon & Marcos, kind of the holy trinity of Mexican revoluationaries.

also, another key one I forgot, think I mentioned him in the fascism thread - Fredy Perlman. Against History Against Leviathan especially.

padraig (u.s.)
04-05-2009, 03:47 PM
I have to confess I haven't read Kropotkin and Bakunin or anything like that

nothing to be embarrassed about mate - as it happens I've read those two but there's plenty of other "basic" stuff I've never read. it's funny as many times reading your blog I've thought you were considerably more well-read than I am, which I still reckon is almost certainly true.

also that link you knocked up is great.

woops
04-05-2009, 05:59 PM
i prefer to live the dream than read about it...

piss off and do that then, you cock

nomadthethird
04-05-2009, 11:06 PM
Thanks guys...

Zapata didn't write anything? Ah, maybe I'm just thinking of books I've picked up about him at like Barnes and Noble...

mistadubalina
05-05-2009, 07:53 AM
piss off and do that then, you cock

whos that trip trapping over my bridge ???

...all i'm saying is fuck being an armchair anarchist

live that shit!

zhao
05-05-2009, 08:08 AM
fuck being an armchair anarchist

live that shit!

malcom mclaren (not that i endorse everything he says) said that the real rebels of today are not in the streets starting fires, they are in libraries.

it is not possible to "live the dream" within the context, at best only a delusional caricature of freedom stitched up with wholly commodified, co-opted, and impotent signifiers.

the real battle ground is inside our heads.

mistadubalina
05-05-2009, 10:06 AM
whats a library ? sounds like malcolm is showing his age in a pre web world. the real rebels would by now probably be on laptops with wifi sitting in the town square warpathing to the hilt and rarking up the establishment in places like this

so if dissensus were a state governed by rules and overlorded by dictators. Who among us would be anarchists, pretty much living by their own rules devoid of any seeming sense of morality and not giving 2 fucks whether they offended anybody ?

online you can be the anarchist you wished yourself to be and truly live the virtual dream. in that context i rather enjoy being a delusional caricature

you gotta love the contradictions eh :p

The keyboard is mightier than the flame. Burn hollywood burn!

droid
05-05-2009, 10:20 AM
But that's not what anarchism is. It literally means 'without leaders' not 'without order'. In many ways anarchism requires for more social responsibility from its adherents, not less.

massrock
05-05-2009, 10:23 AM
Who among us would be anarchists, pretty much living by their own rules devoid of any seeming sense of morality and not giving 2 fucks whether they offended anybody ?
I would say that for an anarchist society to be at all practicable individuals would on the contrary need to have a much more acute sense of how to coexist and co-operate.

At the risk of stating the obvious and boringly earnest. I know that's not what you were asking though.

Cross post with droid

zhao
05-05-2009, 10:27 AM
But that's not what anarchism is. It literally means 'without leaders' not 'without order'. In many ways anarchism requires for more social responsibility from its adherents, not less.

yes.

and "without morals" means not constrained by "society"'s proscribed hypocritical rules, but following a higher, perhaps more individualized, code of ethics.

has always bothered me that pop culture as extension of the order propagates this idea that "beyond good and evil" means doing evil.

and in this line, as with the history of rock music, the healthy destruction of existing order becomes destruction of self.

foucault described 3 types of individuals: one that goes to sleep under the wall, riddled with addictions, another runs headlong into the wall and self destructs, and a third manages to rise above it and fly over the wall... pretty vague i know but i've always liked this.

mistersloane
05-05-2009, 10:42 AM
'Demanding the Impossible' should be compulsory reading in schools.

nomad, I think you'd like Emma Goldman's biography, Living My Life; she was a key American in anarchism's golden age (until now), the 1910 - 40 time, and is very inspiring and lovely.

mistadubalina
05-05-2009, 10:50 AM
did someone just call me socially irresponsible for not giving a shit who i offend, what if it was for the greater good ?

to create something truly beautiful you must destroy what may be quite appealing, including the self and others

to first do without leaders, dont you have to do without order ?

out of chaos comes order ?

matt b
05-05-2009, 10:59 AM
to create something truly beautiful you must destroy what may be quite appealing, including the self and others

to first do without leaders, dont you have to do without order ?

out of chaos comes order ?

no, no, no

mistadubalina
05-05-2009, 11:29 AM
I've always wondered how many times the great artists have destroyed what to others would have been quite stunning only to create something that stands the test of time.

Like have you ever made a so so tune then completely deconstructed it to rebuild it into something that is beautiful?

Are you quite happy to plod along maintaining your status quo for the sake of others or do you want to destroy yourself and rebuild in your own best image that would then do more for others ?

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 11:49 AM
mistadubalina is, of course, just trying to stir up trouble as he's wont to do. but, likely unwittingly, he touches on some common misconceptions. let's just lay them to rest straightaway.


i prefer to live the dream than read about it...

and yet here you are, making dreadfully unwitty comments on an internet message board.

you haven't the slightest fucking notion of what "living the dream" entails.

re: armchair anarchism & "living the dream"

I'm lucky enough to live in a reasonably tolerant & more important affluent 1st world country so I have never experienced serious repression but I have friends - especially in Mexico - who have. I know ppl on both sides of the border who have been or are in prison. I had trumped up felony charges brought against me but was again lucky enough to have them eventually dropped. An aquaintance was murdered in Mexico last year whilst engaged in political work. To say nothing of Brad Will, or those being prosecuted, validly or not, under the current Green Scare. & on & on, as well as all the names from history.

obv many armchair revolutionaries of all varieties, including anarchists. on the other hand a lot of good people - considerably more worthwhile than m. dubalina, I suspect - have suffered & fought for that stupid dream. It is not all a jolly lark for his or anyone else's stupid, childish whimsy.

I can only speak for myself but I found that action w/out at least some theory, w/out some notion of what you're doing & why, is just as useless if not worse than the opposite. "praxis" has the ring of a buzzword, but there you go.

being well-read is not equivalent to be an armchair revolutionary. tho if I am an armchair revolutionary then fine. I'm not politically active now. I was for a long time to the extent that it dominated my life in an unhealthy fashion. haven't been for a couple years. may or may not be again at in the future. either way I don't feel compelled to justify anything. nor should not being active preclude anyone from being able to discuss anything.

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 12:02 PM
Who among us would be anarchists, pretty much living by their own rules devoid of any seeming sense of morality and not giving 2 fucks whether they offended anybody?

as I've I said I'm not attached to any term & I often prefer to specifically avoid "anarchist/m" b/c it tends to elicit idiocy such as the above comment.

the irony of saying anarchists are devoid of morality (putting aside Beyond Good & Evil anti-morality arguments for the moment) is particuarly rich as they tend to be some of the moralistic people around, to the point of unbearable sanctimony even.


you gotta love the contradictions eh

& here I was laboring under the misconception that by discussing politics on the Internet we were going to smash the state & bring about an egalitarian utopia.:rolleyes:

martin
05-05-2009, 12:03 PM
As I understand it, anarchism cannot be imposed on others. So an anarchist 'takeover' (in a political sense) would only be achievable if everybody unilaterally embraced it as a philosophy/lifestyle.

It didn't take me long to suss that getting the people on one tube carriage to agree on anarchy and freedom - never mind an entire country - isn't going to happen anytime soon. Sure, there are instances where humans get on very well and can affect small changes in a leaderless, united environment. However, these tend to be very temporary and, humans being what they are, believing that 'leaders' won't inevitably emerge to inflict their egotistical demands on others is pretty deluded, IMO.

However, I'm not arguing that I'm right.

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 12:20 PM
As I understand it, anarchism cannot be imposed on others. So an anarchist 'takeover' (in a political sense) would only be achievable if everybody unilaterally embraced it as a philosophy/lifestyle.

It didn't take me long to suss that getting the people on one tube carriage to agree on anarchy and freedom - never mind an entire country - isn't going to happen anytime soon. Sure, there are instances where humans get on very well and can affect small changes in a leaderless, united environment. However, these tend to be very temporary and, humans being what they are, believing that 'leaders' won't inevitably emerge to inflict their egotistical demands on others is pretty deluded, IMO.

this is all true as far as it goes. the key word is small - fewer people in each community. as I've said & will say again, once it's beyond the point where everyone can realistically know everyone else face to face it's sunk.

let's be very clear that one can hold & strive toward an ideal while being fully aware that it will never be reached.

most people I've known & interacted with (aside from, unsurprisingly, the very young clueless & idealistic) held no such illusions anyway.

droid
05-05-2009, 12:33 PM
As I understand it, anarchism cannot be imposed on others. So an anarchist 'takeover' (in a political sense) would only be achievable if everybody unilaterally embraced it as a philosophy/lifestyle.

It didn't take me long to suss that getting the people on one tube carriage to agree on anarchy and freedom - never mind an entire country - isn't going to happen anytime soon. Sure, there are instances where humans get on very well and can affect small changes in a leaderless, united environment. However, these tend to be very temporary and, humans being what they are, believing that 'leaders' won't inevitably emerge to inflict their egotistical demands on others is pretty deluded, IMO.

However, I'm not arguing that I'm right.

I think that's an illustration of another misconception to some extent. Anarchism, by its nature is not about imposing values on others, but (in my mind) creating genuinely democratic structures that allow people to participate in the economic and social factors that shape their lives. Of course, if you ask people if they would like to live in a decentralised society set up along anarcho-syndicalist lines you'll get blank stares and muttered insults, but if you set up say... a credit union or a neighbourhood municipal group which actually demonstrates that people can have an influence on these factors then I think you'd get genuine participation.

There's one anarchist principle that i think is widely accepted - that all authority is illegitimate until proven otherwise - illustrated by the fact that I know almost no-one (including parents, neighbours etc...) who trusts politicians, police, the system in general. They accept their existence (what choice is there?), but they don't trust.

mistadubalina
05-05-2009, 12:48 PM
stir up trouble

elicit idiocy

dreadfully unwitty

haven't the slightest fucking notion

his stupid, childish whimsy.

considerably more worthwhile than m. dubalina

are you done ???...*yawn*

and i mean that cos it's late and i need sleep so i can dream MY dream and live it how i see fit not how some beached as troll on the net sees fit.

Its fine by me if you would rather project your life and failed dreams on me or others to justify your worthless existence and hide it behind a veneer of intelligence and cheap insults. I just hope that armchair is nice and soft and comfortable so you can watch the revolution on the telly from the comfort of home or read about it and if worse comes to worse you can always get your repressed friends to tell you all about it in case it isnt televised.

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 01:12 PM
^^yeh, I am done.

I've said my piece on you. I'm satisfied with it. this is the last thing I'll say on it.

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 01:50 PM
Of course, if you ask people if they would like to live in a decentralised society set up along anarcho-syndicalist lines you'll get blank stares and muttered insults, but if you set up say... a credit union or a neighbourhood municipal group which actually demonstrates that people can have an influence on these factors then I think you'd get genuine participation.

well put.

tho in my experience the reality of this has been mixed. it turns out it's actually pretty danged tricky to put across your ideas in such a way that people who have no clue what you're talking about can, if not agree, then at least relate.

the stuff I've been involved in this vein with that has gone best has usually been the simplest. community gardens on empty lots, Food Not Bombs, bicycle programs (where you can build & repair them for free), etc. things that have an immediate impact, that are not hard for people to get involved in but which still give them a chance to do things for themselves (& learn how to do those things) rather than be told what to do or just have something handed to them.

that last is the key part - giving people the opportunity to empower themselves. obv much easier said than done.

Mr. Tea
05-05-2009, 03:14 PM
"warpathing to the hilt"? "rarking up the establishment"? Pfffffft...... :D

crackerjack
05-05-2009, 03:24 PM
"warpathing to the hilt"? "rarking up the establishment"? Pfffffft...... :D

Don't be snide. Bet that sounded way cool in art class.

DannyL
05-05-2009, 03:55 PM
well put.

tho in my experience the reality of this has been mixed. it turns out it's actually pretty danged tricky to put across your ideas in such a way that people who have no clue what you're talking about can, if not agree, then at least relate.

the stuff I've been involved in this vein with that has gone best has usually been the simplest. community gardens on empty lots, Food Not Bombs, bicycle programs (where you can build & repair them for free), etc. things that have an immediate impact, that are not hard for people to get involved in but which still give them a chance to do things for themselves (& learn how to do those things) rather than be told what to do or just have something handed to them.

that last is the key part - giving people the opportunity to empower themselves. obv much easier said than done.

Do people feel this works better in some current societies than others? I feel that the UK is so socially atomised now that I wonder to what degree people would take on things like this - other European nations seem to have much more of a ooummunitarian feel to them. And in the case of the French, an ongoing tradition of dissent as well.

matt b
05-05-2009, 04:00 PM
Do people feel this works better in some current societies than others? I feel that the UK is so socially atomised now that I wonder to what degree people would take on things like this - other European nations seem to have much more of a ooummunitarian feel to them. And in the case of the French, an ongoing tradition of dissent as well.

Up here, there are community/ voluntary groups for bloody everything, although they are highly de-politicised in the main.

But they are a good example of individuals empowering themselves and others through collective effort.

Such organisations are generally democratic in theory, although often overcome by one or two power crazed knobs

matt b
05-05-2009, 10:17 PM
Colin Ward's "Anarchy In Action" is the one I usually recommend/lend to people.

yep, still the best single (original) book on anarchism I've read. His stuff on housing is excellent too.

vimothy
05-05-2009, 10:54 PM
What are the functional and institutional differences between anarcho-syndicalist organisations and any comparable organisation?

nomos
05-05-2009, 10:58 PM
when you say 'comparable organisation' do you mean worker-run but not explicitly anarcho-syndicalist?

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 11:21 PM
Up here, there are community/ voluntary groups for bloody everything, although they are highly de-politicised in the main.

not so true in the States. rugged individualism & so on. also, just out curiousity when you see "up here" where do you mean? wondering if it's an area of Scotland or northern England that still retains traces of a radical (probably labor) history. Minnesota & Wisconsin (Milwaukee's the only major US city to ever elect a socialist mayor) are a bit like that here, partly the legacy of all those socialist Germans & Scandinavians who emigrated over in the 1800s.


Such organisations are generally democratic in theory, although often overcome by one or two power crazed knobs

self-proclaimed anarchist ones too, unfortunately. Whenever people try to work collectively without a defined leader this problem is almost certainly bound to arise. I reckon the best approach, rather than getting discouraged, is to try & be prepared to deal with it when it does happen. & to try not to be the power crazed knob yourself;).

padraig (u.s.)
05-05-2009, 11:26 PM
What are the functional and institutional differences between anarcho-syndicalist organisations and any comparable organisation?

1 - what Nomos said. absent of specification "comparable organizations" could be other types of anarchists, other types of labor unions, other types of syndicalists.

2 - it's not my area of expertise (on the opposite end of the anarchist spectrum, so to speak) tho I'd still take a stab at answering.

vimothy
05-05-2009, 11:30 PM
when you say 'comparable organisation' do you mean worker-run but not explicitly anarcho-syndicalist?

Anything -- I guess I was thinking of anarcho-syndicalist vs. non-anarcho-syndicalist unions, but I'd also be interested in reading about any prospective forms of anarcho-syndicalist social organisation. In fact, anything that differentiates anarchist, of whatever stripe, forms of social institution from comparable non-anarchist forms, of whatever stripe.

matt b
05-05-2009, 11:31 PM
also, just out curiousity when you see "up here" where do you mean?

Yorkshire- so North of England, home of Victorian industrialistion- my better half is in a brass band, every leisure activity has a 'community group' of some description.


self-proclaimed anarchist ones too, unfortunately.

That's why I don't get actively involved nowadays :(

matt b
05-05-2009, 11:48 PM
Anything -- I guess I was thinking of anarcho-syndicalist vs. non-anarcho-syndicalist unions, but I'd also be interested in reading about any prospective forms of anarcho-syndicalist social organisation. In fact, anything that differentiates anarchist, of whatever stripe, forms of social institution from comparable non-anarchist forms, of whatever stripe.

anarcho-syndicalism generally refers to the labour movement (worker controlled TUs eg: IWW), I'm guessing you would like info on anarcho-communist orgs (horrible terms, I know) which is a more general non-workplace concept.

Personally, if direct democracy is in operation, overarching views about the destruction of the state are (somewhat) theoretical and meaningless- a belief in equality etc not withstanding, empowerment being the key.

I'll have more time, with any luck, to provide more examples tomorrow

vimothy
05-05-2009, 11:49 PM
It seems to me that if you want to act collectively, short of telepathy, you face the same institutional/political economic problems as everyone else. Presumably, anarchism must come together on an institutional level or not at all. How does it work?

vimothy
05-05-2009, 11:56 PM
Matt: re, for instance, the IWW, how does it differ institutionally from a non-anarcho-syndicalist TU -- decision making process, regulatory system, organisational structure, etc? What is it that makes the IWW anarcho-syndicalist as an organisation?

[BTW -- I'm sure I don't need to mention this -- but when I say "institutions", I mean the structures that underpin behaviour, implicit and explicit, rather than organisations.]

john eden
06-05-2009, 12:01 AM
What are the functional and institutional differences between anarcho-syndicalist organisations and any comparable organisation?

well there is big beef in the UK between some class struggle anarchists (for example The Anarchist Federation) who think that unions are essentially a mechanism for controlling working class struggle (mediating between the bosses and workers) vs anarcho syndicalists (IWW and, er, I think the Solidarity Federation) who think that unions need to be more revolutionary and less focused on reform and flogging people cheap insurance.

Frankly there seems to be very little difference in what they actually do to me (hold meetings, publish magazines, argue with each other, work together on the basics). But then they are pretty small orgs operating at a time when the revolutionary wave has (cough) receded somewhat.

Having said that there is possibly a valid criticism of syndicalists for focusing too much on the workplace (aka "the point of production") at the expense of the community.

nomos
06-05-2009, 12:05 AM
That's why I don't get actively involved nowadays :(
me too :rolleyes: the monopolistic tendencies of the local 'leadership' got a bit rich after a while. that and the general aversion to ideas less that 80 years old.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 12:11 AM
John: So there are definitely ideological differences -- but what does anarchism have to offer as a form of social organisation that is fundamentally different from other forms, commitments to the workers' struggle notwithstanding?

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 12:11 AM
Anything -- I guess I was thinking of anarcho-syndicalist vs. non-anarcho-syndicalist unions, but I'd also be interested in reading about any prospective forms of anarcho-syndicalist social organisation.

"anarcho-syndicalist social organization" would, as I understand it, be synonymous to anarcho-syndicalism, being it's focused specifically on labor & everything radiates out from that. (unsurprisingly anarcho-syndicalism is often linked with anarcho-communism; in fact I'm unclear on the exact differences btwn the two)

but as far as unions, from what I understand - organized by free assocation from bottom up, no separate bureaucracy & elected leadership (active measures are taken to discourage one from developing even informally), operating by direct democracy & consensus tho majority rule may be resorted to in a really pressing situation. the ultimate goal of collective ownership of the means of production & abolition of the wage system. all that vs. the traditional top down, elected leaders, reformist etc. union structure.

personally I find the whole line of thinking to be archaic, stuck in an era of much higher general class consciousness & before all the factories it fetishizes had packed up moved away to places where the workers have considerably less power.

nomadthethird
06-05-2009, 12:20 AM
the real battle ground is inside our heads.

I totally see where you're coming from here, but lately I've been thinking about this a lot and I'm beginning to disagree with the idea (if not the sentiment behind it).

This is one reason I think I sympathize more with anarchism than I do with communism--there's something about the attempts at a "communist ontology" (Badiou's included) that end up privileging what's going on in peoples' minds above all else, to the point of actually being counter-productive politically. I don't think knowledge is necessarily more powerful than anything else, to the point where simply knowing philosophy or history amounts to being politically viable. This type of knowledge is just as enshrouded in/beholden to capitalist markets (the university commodity, etc) as anything else.

I agree with McLaren, we really need people to read more and get more engaged. But at the same time, I can't help but feel there's a whole bunch of classism encoded in the privileging of the written word that so many communists (and yes some anarchists) get up to.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 12:26 AM
Absent any leadership or administrative bureaucracy, how do they make decisions? Is it a question of anyone who wants to, developing a policy and submitting it to the popular vote? How do they envision the institutional structure of a post-capitalist/post-revolutionary state?

[Questions, questions...]

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 12:28 AM
What is it that makes the IWW anarcho-syndicalist as an organisation?

The IWW isn't, confusingly, actually syndicalist. it's also completely irrelevant, having something less than 2000 members worldwide. tho I knew an IWW organizer in Oakland, a pretty nice guy even tho he had a creepy fetish for Stalin as well as Hoxha of all people.


[BTW -- I'm sure I don't need to mention this -- but when I say "institutions", I mean the structures that underpin behaviour, implicit and explicit, rather than organisations.]

I'm sorry to disappoint but I think that's almost impossible to determine - surely it varies greatly from situation to situation.

If you're interested in anarcho-syndacalism I think reading about the Spaniards is really the place to start. The CNT is the best in practice example & there's been loads of stuff (well maybe not loads, but some) written about both their formal organization & the kind of stuff you're talking about. also still kinda relevant today - I think it's like the 3rd largest union in Spain?

nomadthethird
06-05-2009, 12:30 AM
Absent any leadership or administrative bureaucracy, how do they make decisions? Is it a question of anyone who wants to, developing a policy and submitting it to the popular vote? How do they envision the institutional structure of a post-capitalist/post-revolutionary state?

[Questions, questions...]

There are different schools of thought, but I'm into the "direct democracy" raise hands and count type of idea...

Simple, yes, but the most viable societies are not nation-states, I think it's safe to assume at this point in history...

vimothy
06-05-2009, 12:34 AM
OK, forget the IWW and anarcho-syndicalism -- I'm just trying to understand, generally or specifically, how anarchist forms of organisation, collective decision making, social cooperation, etc, differ from non-anarchist forms.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 12:39 AM
Absent any leadership or administrative bureaucracy, how do they make decisions? Is it a question of anyone who wants to, developing a policy and submitting it to the popular vote? How do they envision the institutional structure of a post-capitalist/post-revolutionary state?

so, again as I understand it.

assuming you've got enough members to have this problem, they're divided up somehow - usually by craft I think tho maybe not always - into groups small enough that they can generally make face to face, consensus decisions. when a decision is required that effects more people either there are intermittent larger meetings or representatives empowered only to voice the consensus of their smaller group. & so on & so on to a higher & higher level. the representatives are also I think rotated fairly often to prevent them from becoming like elected offices.

as far as who puts forward policy, yeah I think it's anyone can.

look all this stuff is formal, on paper, in theory, etc. in practice it's always imperfect. there are always problems with a power structure of some kind developing, of certain people becoming leaders. the FAI, for example, functioned as a more militant union-within-the-union & a challenge to CNT bureaucracy to the point where some more moderate CNT members split off to form a non-anarchist Syndicalst Party.

have you ever read The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin? that should be added to the general reading list - by far the best theoretical overview of how a large scale anarchist society might function in practice, for better & worse. & she addresses most of the stuff you're bringing up better than I possibly could.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 12:53 AM
I like some of the LeGuin that I've read, but I like models and data more when trying to assess stuff like this. From my perspective, it looks like anarchism is appealing in an affinitive, dispositional sense, to some, but doesn't really offer anything in concrete political-economic terms.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 01:05 AM
From my perspective, it looks like anarchism is appealing in an affinitive, dispositional sense, to some, but doesn't really offer anything in concrete political-economic terms.

I had to look up "dispositional", but if I understand you right then I don't think I disagree, tho it depends what you mean by "concrete political-economic" terms. for many people, including perhaps myself, there is a conscious rejection of concrete political-economic goals.

I feel somewhat hampered in attempting to explain/defend anarchism by the fact that I'm not really sure what I believe in these days. if anything. *EDIT* I don't mean that cynically in the least. it is actually quite painful to admit. but it's true. maybe in a way that is an answer to your question?

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 01:09 AM
I'm just trying to understand, generally or specifically, how anarchist forms of organisation, collective decision making, social cooperation, etc, differ from non-anarchist forms.

frankly I really have no idea how to answer this concisely. it's a question someone could write a book, several books, trying to answer.

it's just so broad. there is no "unified anarchism theory" for one thing.

I feel like we're enganged in some kind of Socratic Dialogue. One that reveals very interesting things to me - I applaud your line of questioning only I'm not sure I have any answers for you.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 01:21 AM
No worries, of course. I'm not attacking anarchism (I don't think), I'm just trying to understand what makes anarchism anarchism, other than a belief in anarchism (which would then constitute a belief in a belief in anarchism). In the final analysis, it seems to me, if you want to make collective decisions, you need a mechanism for making those decisions and translating them into action, which means you need an understanding of political-economy and social institutions.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 01:28 AM
As a corollary to that last post, perhaps I should say, there doesn't seem to me to be any uniquely anarchist solution to these problems, though of course this may reflect more on my lack of knowledge of anarchism as a practical and theoretical matter than any lack on the part of anarchism per se.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 02:40 AM
alright, I thought about this for an hour whilst trying to do other stuff & this is what I came up with:

there is nothing that "makes anarchism anarchism". to me. this is the whole point really.

I think you're right that, on a certain level, it is intuition, a leap of faith. but one that is constantly open to critical introspection. that is also the point.

in a nutshell:

anarchism - freedom equals responsibility
capitalism - freedom
communism - responsibility

(tbc this not supposed to imply that capitalism then equals communism)

*EDIT* also, I mean, in the real world, I don't think any really worries about "what makes anarchism anarchism" (not that that it's not a valid inquiry) - you just do muddle ahead & do your best, like anyone

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 02:55 AM
also it's true I don't have data or models to throw at you - no anarchist regimes from which to gather data, it's hard to model something which rejects models - but if you're really interested it is, seriously, worth reading about the Spanish anarchists, by far the best real world case study. read about them from both an anarchist & a non-anarchist viewpoint.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 09:20 AM
"warpathing to the hilt"? "rarking up the establishment"? Pfffffft......:D

Don't be snide. Bet that sounded way cool in art class.

...and i bet you guys laugh at how asians speak english kind of funny too eh?

john eden
06-05-2009, 09:50 AM
...and i bet you guys laugh at how asians speak english kind of funny too eh?

Round my way the asians talk like cockneys.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 10:01 AM
haha...sounds hilarious

back on topic, would crime syndicates and gangs be models for anarchist regimes ?

...different moral codes, laws unto themselves, working against the state etc etc

and from the states point of view dont they think of anarchists as criminals bordering on traitors ?

john eden
06-05-2009, 10:03 AM
haha...sounds hilarious

Not really, everyone takes it for granted.


back on topic, would crime syndicates and gangs be model for anarchist regimes ?

No, they are the exact opposite.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 10:16 AM
why ?

john eden
06-05-2009, 10:27 AM
why ?

http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/m...500.html#INTRO

droid
06-05-2009, 10:36 AM
also it's true I don't have data or models to throw at you - no anarchist regimes from which to gather data, it's hard to model something which rejects models - but if you're really interested it is, seriously, worth reading about the Spanish anarchists, by far the best real world case study. read about them from both an anarchist & a non-anarchist viewpoint.

Yeah, and an interesting aside is how the Spanish anarchists were attacked by both sides during the civil war as both the (statist) left and the right view anarchism as a threat, in that its axiomatically opposed to hierarchical structure and control and intended to be genuinely democratic.

I was going to start a thread about this actually... In my eyes, history isn't about the struggle between left vs right, its about elites versus populations - vanguardism in other words - small elites with a handy line in utopian philosophy who decide whats best for everyone else and manipulate or force populations to support, accede or accept their rule. With communism/marxism/maoism (esp. Leninism), the right of the vanguard to rule is built in to revolutionary structures, and force is used to impose that rule. In 'democratic' societies, the vanguard is hidden but implicit, and PR, image manipulation and the manufacture of consent achieves the same aims - that is, the right of elites to ignore or co-opt the wishes of majorities (the bewildered herd) so that they can go about their business - primarily the dissemination of particular economic policies.*

The challenge for anarchism (which of course also has utopian bent) is to create structures and institutions which are capable of fiercely resisting the tendency to slip into hierarchical modes of governance - to prevent vanguardism. The obvious criticism is (of course), that people are selfish and stupid, they don't know whats best for them, they need to be controlled, they want strong leadership etc... all bollocks of course - legions of volunteers around the world participate in all kinds of unpaid work to help others, and people are well capable of making intelligent decisions about their own future when given the opportunity.

I guess the main obstacle to these ideas in the west (other than powerful institutions that would inevitable oppose such a movement) is that the very idea of political participation has been deliberately eroded and society has been atomised to the point where it's almost impossible to conceive of the kind mass democratic participation necessary to bring about significant change.

*Sorry for the blatant obviousness of this.

DannyL
06-05-2009, 11:01 AM
yep, still the best single (original) book on anarchism I've read. His stuff on housing is excellent too.

Ditto his stuff on kids in the city and the country. Bloody great books.

A really digestable root into Ward is through the book of interviews he did - Talking Anarchy - it's kind of a career summary. Fantastic stuff.

Here's a link to the publishers: http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/social.html - go right to the bottom of the page for the book.

zhao
06-05-2009, 11:08 AM
why ?

(john your link don't work)

because while these organizations exist in opposition to state law, they mirror the structure of the state, and are basically little military monarchies which enforce strict order with zero autonomy for its members.

john eden
06-05-2009, 11:14 AM
(john your link don't work)

because while these organizations exist in opposition to state law, they mirror the structure of the state, and are basically little military monarchies which enforce strict order with zero autonomy for its members.

sorry about that, it's the same link from my post on page 1.

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 11:18 AM
John: the link you posted ain't working. Interested to know what it is -- any chance of a re-post? Ta. [EDIT: sorry bout the x-post]

Would you say that anarchist groups and criminal syndicates differ in both normative framework and organisational/institutional structure?

In normative terms this is seems to be a matter of personal perspective - tho i guess anarchist groups would tend to define themselves as working in the best interests of the wider masses, while gangs would prolly have much narrower concerns (i.e. self-enrichment).

Organisationally both would seem likely to eschew hierarchy - at least in a rational bureaucratic sense - and therefore tend towards de-centralised networked structures. That said, I can't really envisage criminal gangs having protracted meetings where decisions are taken through consensus. And threats of violence may be pervasive in the decision-making processes of gangs...

While i agree that there are likely to be significant differences between the two, I wonder if they really are "exact opposites" as you suggest...

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 11:27 AM
I reckon this paragraph from your link supports my point about the normative framework of anarchy being a matter of perspective:


Those who use the word "Anarchy" to mean disorder or misrule are not incorrect. If they regard Government as necessary, if they think we could not live without Whitehall directing our affairs, if they think politicians are essential to our well-being and that we could not behave socially without police, they are right in assuming that Anarchy means the opposite to what Government guarantees. But those who have the reverse opinion, and consider Government to be tyranny, are right too in considering Anarchy, no Government, to be liberty. If Government is the maintenance of privilege and exploitation and inefficiency of distribution, then Anarchy is order.

While i have some sympathies towards an anarchist approach, I know many people who i think would identify with anarchy as "disorder or misrule" and wouldn't perhaps draw such sharp distinctions between criminal groups and anarchists.

john eden
06-05-2009, 11:28 AM
My understanding is that organised crime is essentially hierachichal and focussed on the acquisition of power and money, often as you say by means of coercion and violence.

Which is exactly how the state works.

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 11:45 AM
My understanding is that organised crime is essentially hierachichal

Not sure that is the necessarily the case. Yes there will be bosses and lieutenants (or whatever) but this is likely to be far less rigid and formalised than the bureaucratic structures of state departments, offices, parliaments etc. Worth having a look at these i reckon:

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1382/MR1382.ch4.pdf

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1382/MR1382.ch1.pdf

Also, as someone else mentioned upthread, is it not the case that anarchist groups often tend towards some kind of hierarchy through the power grabbing instincts of some members...

john eden
06-05-2009, 12:00 PM
Not sure that is the necessarily the case. Yes there will be bosses and lieutenants (or whatever) but this is likely to be far less rigid and formalised than the bureaucratic structures of state departments, offices, parliaments etc. Worth having a look at these i reckon:

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1382/MR1382.ch4.pdf

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1382/MR1382.ch1.pdf

Also, as someone else mentioned upthread, is it not the case that anarchist groups often tend towards some kind of hierarchy through the power grabbing instincts of some members...

I'll check out those links later but it seems pretty clear to me that the more successful criminal gangs become over time, the more hierarchical they become.

I don't know if anarchist groups automatically tend towards this or not. It's certainly alluded to in this: http://www.afed.org.uk/online/tyranny.html which suggests that some groups at least are trying to prevent it happening.

droid
06-05-2009, 12:00 PM
If anything, criminal groups are even more hierarchical than the state or corporations/employers in that they use violence or the threat of violence almost exclusively as a means of control. If you disobey your boss in a normal job you get fired -if you disobey your boss in a criminal gang you get kneecapped... in that sense, criminal groups are the opposite of anarchist groups as they are essentially dictatorships whose only justification for authority is the use of violence - more fluid than state bureaucracies sure, but strictly hierarchical just the same.

john eden
06-05-2009, 12:03 PM
Also worth mentioning that many business models try to create peudo "flat" hierarchies now, but that doesn't make them anarchist in my book - there is still someone hiring and firing and giving orders and there are still people being hired and taking orders.

Having said that, this is a better option than being lenged up for disrespecting, or being found at the bottom or a river wearing concrete boots.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 12:31 PM
isn't there a form of egoist anarchy which allows for violence and acquistion of power/property by any means necessary ? one which states some of us are more equal than others and have an innate right to lord it over others if in the interest of thte greater good. Like I'm not your equal i'm actually better than you ?

and from my understanding of criminal structures/gangs is, yes, ultimately there is a leader but as subordinates you had free will to enact your own forms of unrest/crime as long as you didnt cross turfs and paid a percentage to the organization.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 12:50 PM
A few things:

Use of coercive violence is not per se a reflection on organisational structure.

We've all read John Tilly, but there are certainly de-centralised 21st century criminal networks -- though this in itself is no reason to call them "anarchist". Even if it was, this would not imply equivalence on any level other than organisational.

Comparing anarchist and criminal modes of social organisation seems a little moot without some kind of description or definition of anarchist modes of social organisation.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 12:52 PM
^^^exactly...based on principles and ethics/morality i dont really see much difference and i doubt the state would either

vimothy
06-05-2009, 01:00 PM
^^^exactly...based on principles and ethics/morality i dont really see much difference

That's not quite what I said. At least, it isn't what I meant...

matt b
06-05-2009, 01:01 PM
^^^exactly...based on principles and ethics/morality i dont really see much difference and i doubt the state would either

to paraphrase:

"based on principles and ethics/morality that i've just made up, i can't really see any difference, but then i rarely manage a coherent argument"

droid
06-05-2009, 01:06 PM
A few things:

Use of coercive violence is not per se a reflection on organisational structure.

We've all read John Tilly, but there are certainly de-centralised 21st century criminal networks -- though this in itself is no reason to call them "anarchist". Even if it was, this would not imply equivalence on any level other than organisational.


Well it kind of is. The need to use coercive violence surely suggests that an organisaiton is non-democratic and hierarchical?

Also - de-centralisation does not equate to non-hierarchical or autonomous. The Campanian Camorra in (excellent book btw) would be a good example of a de-centralised criminal organisation that still has a hierarchical structure. Terror cells would be another.

There are of course degrees of hierarchy.

mistersloane
06-05-2009, 01:07 PM
[QUOTE=mistadubalina;182439]isn't there a form of egoist anarchy which allows for violence and acquistion of power/property by any means necessary ? one which states some of us are more equal than others and have an innate right to lord it over others if in the interest of thte greater good. Like I'm not your equal i'm actually better than you ?

QUOTE]

Yeah...this stems from a book called 'The Ego and Its Own' by Max Stirner, which is a wonderful read but he was profoundly insane.

matt b
06-05-2009, 01:10 PM
[QUOTE=mistadubalina;182439]isn't there a form of egoist anarchy which allows for violence and acquistion of power/property by any means necessary ? one which states some of us are more equal than others and have an innate right to lord it over others if in the interest of thte greater good. Like I'm not your equal i'm actually better than you ?

QUOTE]

Yeah...this stems from a book called 'The Ego and Its Own' by Max Stirner, which is a wonderful read but he was profoundly insane.

But Stirner doesn't go on about 'by any means necessary' or 'acquiring power/property', he talks of co-operation between egoists for as long as those parties wish to do so. The egoists themselevs will respect others right to freedom/autonomy etc etc.

mistersloane
06-05-2009, 01:15 PM
[QUOTE=mistersloane;182457]

But Stirner doesn't go on about 'by any means necessary' or 'acquiring power/property', he talks of co-operation between egoists for as long as those parties wish to do so. The egoists themselevs will respect others right to freedom/autonomy etc etc.

Yeah! But all the right wing 'anarchism' stems from him though originally, as well as Thatcher etc, doesn't it?

Incidentally a little birdie tells me the Thatch is very ill in Chelsea and Westminister at the moment. I'll give 500 quid for an exclusive picture of her on her deathbed, just for personal use.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 01:25 PM
"based on principles and ethics/morality that i've just made up, i can't really see any difference, but then i rarely manage a coherent argument"

speak for yourself and with anarchy because in its purist form lacks order and leadership implies a sense of self governing and censorship

therefore i make my own rules and live by them, accept the consequences and fuck all y'all.

it is my right (as an anarchist should i choose to be) to do as i please for as long as i want to because without knowing my motive which for all intents and purposes is for the greater good is worthy of respect

so you can just STFU :p

matt b
06-05-2009, 01:29 PM
speak for yourself and with anarchy because in its purist form lacks order and leadership implies a sense of self governing and censorship

therefore i make my own rules and live by them, accept the consequences and fuck all y'all.

it is my right (as an anarchist should i choose to be) to do as i please for as long as i want to because without knowing my motive which for all intents and purposes is for the greater good is worthy of respect

so you can just STFU :p

you are a tit and have no understanding of what you're talking about

matt b
06-05-2009, 01:29 PM
[QUOTE=matt b;182460]
Yeah! But all the right wing 'anarchism' stems from him though originally, as well as Thatcher etc, doesn't it?


Yeah- Benjamin Tucker and all that rubbish

vimothy
06-05-2009, 01:32 PM
he Calabrian Comorra in (excellent book btw) would be a good example of a de-centralised criminal organisation that still has a hierarchical structure. Terror cells would be another.

Terror cells would be the classic example. However, the distinction is a di-polarity not a di-chotomy: terror cells are flatter, but not flat. (Hyper modern groups like AQ are flatter still). And of course, the same is likely true for anarcho-syndicalist organisations (e.g. the CNT TU mentioned upthread).

I am using hierarchy in the sense of a vertical structure where subordinates link directly and only to superiors throughout and control flows from the top down down. I think the question of whether coercive violence in any specific instance was a reflection of a hierarchical structure depends on the specific instance rather than a general rule. Certainly, totalitarian state violence reinforces rigid hierarchies. But a paramilitary organisation might use coercive violence more than the state -- for a variety of reasons, in a variety of ways -- but it does not therefore follow that the paramilitary organisation is more hierarchical.

josef k.
06-05-2009, 01:43 PM
Incidentally a little birdie tells me the Thatch is very ill in Chelsea and Westminister at the moment. I'll give 500 quid for an exclusive picture of her on her deathbed, just for personal use.

This is an insane thing to say. Who is Thatcher now? A dying old lady...

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 01:43 PM
you are a tit and have no understanding of what you're talking about

eat dick bitch...

i have a perfect understanding of what I'M talking about its you that doesnt

but please lets not play tit for tat and upsizing the beef eh ? This is after all dissensus not consensus. We're not supposed to agree but rather respect the difference without the cheap insults yeah ?

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 01:48 PM
This is an insane thing to say. Who is Thatcher now? A dying old lady...

A dying old lady who needlessly caused lots of pain to lots of people. A difference there. Why shouldn't we be happy she's dying? - don't think there's anything wrong with that per se. Not exactly like we can feel sorry for her immediate family either, is it?

matt b
06-05-2009, 01:50 PM
eat dick bitch...

i have a perfect understanding of what I'M talking about its you that doesnt

But your understanding is based upon what you think anarchism is, from an idea that came into your head, rather than from any reading of relevant materials.


but please lets not play tit for tat and upsizing the beef eh ? This is after all dissensus not consensus. We're not supposed to agree but rather respect the difference without the cheap insults yeah ?

Then stop jumping on threads and shouting rubbish. continually. after others have shown you are wrong.

josef k.
06-05-2009, 01:53 PM
A dying old lady who needlessly caused lots of pain to lots of people. A difference there. Why shouldn't we be happy she's dying? - don't think there's anything wrong with that per se.

Cheering death makes me uneasy.

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 01:56 PM
Cheering death makes me uneasy.

I'd agree with you in principle, absolutely. But there are some people the world will be better off without, and she fits into that (small) category. If you don't give any love to the world, you don't get any back. Karma, innit.

mistadubalina
06-05-2009, 02:01 PM
But your understanding is based upon what you think anarchism is, from an idea that came into your head, rather than from any reading of relevant materials.

stop jumping on threads and shouting rubbish. continually. after others have shown you are wrong.
oh bullshit...

if you're such an expert then define anarchism in your own words or shut the fuck up yourself!

....but you wont cos theres every chance youve got it all wrong

so how about you do you and I'll do me yeah ?

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 02:06 PM
This is an insane thing to say. Who is Thatcher now? A dying old lady...

There's a very good chance she'll get a state funeral, the first PM since Churchill (who, for all his faults, was at least the right man at the right time). We're entitled to get our loathing in first.

josef k.
06-05-2009, 02:10 PM
A question, though: Why do people hate Thatcher so much? Several reasons, I guess. But a lot of the things which New Labour did after her were much more right-wing politically...

matt b
06-05-2009, 02:11 PM
oh bullshit...

if you're such an expert then define anarchism in your own words or shut the fuck up yourself!

....but you wont cos theres every chance youve got it all wrong

so how about you do you and I'll do me yeah ?

Can't you go and bother another discussion forum? Or have you been banned from all of them now?

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 02:14 PM
A question, though: Why do people hate Thatcher so much? Several reasons, I guess. But a lot of the things which New Labour did after her were much more right-wing politically...

Because she used mass unemployment as a political tool. For that alone she deserves to burn in hell.

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 02:21 PM
A question, though: Why do people hate Thatcher so much? Several reasons, I guess. But a lot of the things which New Labour did after her were much more right-wing politically...

Could go into specific reasons, but I think a very pertinent fact is that, pre-Falklands, her opinion poll ratings were lower than Dubya's ever got, which is quite astonishing. Lowest in UK/US history, I think I'm right in saying.

As to what - vicious attacks on unions/miners/by extension whole communities, not alleviating effects of mass unemployment, sick divide and conquer tactics with respect to working class people, starting the cult of privatisation against reason, poll tax, reduction of social expenditure, and, more abstractly, denial of society and an excessive emphasis upon individual greed over community, opposition to everything good and beautiful.

Probably lots more stuff.

Maybe New Labour just were't as good at being destructively right-wing as Thatcher.

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 02:22 PM
The need to use coercive violence surely suggests that an organisaiton is non-democratic and hierarchical?

But are the internal relations of the state (as an organisational structure) defined by coercive violence? I don’t think this is the case. Politicians and bureaucrats (in 'Western' democratic states) are sacked for not towing the party line; sacked for “under-performance” or as scapegoats in the face of public pressure etc. etc. They are rarely attacked, or threatened with violence, by their colleagues or superiors within the system. Instead, state violence is projected outwards and – to some degree (how much?) – defines its institutionalised relationships with the masses (via the police), and with foreign states (via the armed forces).


There are of course degrees of hierarchy.

Agreed. States when taken apart are actually networks – systems embedded in systems – and therefore internal decision-making processes are complicated. Yes ultimate authority radiates from the core – i.e. they are top-down hierarchical networks. But since decisions are taken at all levels, and are not always subject to continuous monitoring, the state also exhibits de-centralised features. All state employees can, to varying degrees, take autonomous action.


Comparing anarchist and criminal modes of social organisation seems a little moot without some kind of description or definition of anarchist modes of social organisation.

Fair point. My limited experience of anarchism in action was with an anti-arms campaign group trying to shut a bomb factory down in Brighton. The group, in theory, was against hierarchy and for consensus decision making (involving long and often tedious meetings). This was true to a point. But I found that some people clearly exercised greater influence/power over the proceedings, based on age, experience, perceived commitment to the cause etc. So an inmplicit internal hierarchy did exist. No one in the group threatened others with violence or the sack for non compliance. But informal coercive mechanisms definitely existed: marginalisation of ideas; ostracism from the group - i.e. made to feel unwelcome.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 02:27 PM
But a lot of the things which New Labour did after her were much more right-wing politically...

I don't buy this btw. Obviously their economic policies have been neoliberal and Thatcherite, but it would be absurd to say they were more rightwing than Thatcher just cos they privatised some of the few remaining state bodies left untouched by the Tories. And I trust you don't mean Iraq, which simnply happened on their watch and would most certainly have been done by the Tories too.

What precisely did you have in mind?

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 02:27 PM
Fair point. My limited experience of anarchism in action was with an anti-arms campaign group trying to shut a bomb factory down in Brighton. The group, in theory, was against hierarchy and for consensus decision making (involving long and often tedious meetings). This was true to a point. But I found that some people clearly exercised greater influence/power over the proceedings, based on age, experience, perceived commitment to the cause etc. So an inmplicit internal hierarchy did exist. No one in the group threatened others with violence or the sack for non compliance. But informal coercive mechanisms definitely existed: marginalisation of ideas; ostracism from the group - i.e. made to feel unwelcome.

Think this is incredibly interesting - anarchy as increasing bureaucracy (longer meetings). And the existence of hierachies within a purportedly non-hierachical structure - then again, if this was organised on genuinely meritocratic terms, would such an informal hierachy be bad (this is now sounding like a 'deferral to tribal elders' recommendation?

Mr. Tea
06-05-2009, 02:32 PM
A question, though: Why do people hate Thatcher so much? Several reasons, I guess. But a lot of the things which New Labour did after her were much more right-wing politically...

Economically, yes. Socially, less so. To the extent that they can be disentangled, I suppose.

Edit: let's not forget that Nu Labour introduced the minimum wage, pumped billions into the NHS and state schools (though with mixed results to show for this, in fairness), set CO2 emission reduction targets that go far beyond the standard EU Kyoto Protocol targets and helped broker a peace deal in Northern Ireland by, amongst other things, making major concessions to Republican paramilitaries. Would the Tories - let alone Thatcher's Tories - have done any of that?

vimothy
06-05-2009, 02:35 PM
A formal hierarchical structure would not necessarily be bad either... But power produces certain affects, whether one is nominally an anarchist or otherwise.

DannyL
06-05-2009, 02:47 PM
I haven't read Stirner but I suspect there was more to him than justifications for trolling message boards.

josef k.
06-05-2009, 02:49 PM
Economically, yes. Socially, less so. To the extent that they can be disentangled, I suppose.

Edit: let's not forget that Nu Labour introduced the minimum wage, pumped billions into the NHS and public schools (though with mixed results to show for this, in fairness), set CO2 emission reduction targets that go far beyond the standard EU Kyoto Protocol targets and helped broker a peace deal in Northern Ireland by, amongst other things, making major concessions to Republican paramilitaries. Would the Tories - let alone Thatcher's Tories - have done any of that?

I find it extremely depressing that British politics is split between these two depressing parties.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 02:51 PM
Nu Labour introduced the minimum wage, pumped billions into ... and public schools

You may wish to clarify this for UK readers.

craner
06-05-2009, 02:53 PM
I'm getting the feeling that the Left and liberal response to Thatcher's death is going to be really fucking vile.

matt b
06-05-2009, 02:54 PM
I haven't read Stirner but I suspect there was more to him than justifications for trolling message boards.

:)

Type in "pollywog" as a display name search over at ilxor and you will find that mr dobalina can use any topic as an opportunity to troll.

Can't remember the various names he's had here in order to do a search. Probably for the best.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 02:57 PM
I'm getting the feeling that the Left and liberal response to Thatcher's death is going to be really fucking vile.

More vile than a state funeral would be?


Edit: let's not forget that Nu Labour introduced the minimum wage, pumped billions into the NHS and public schools (though with mixed results to show for this, in fairness), set CO2 emission reduction targets that go far beyond the standard EU Kyoto Protocol targets and helped broker a peace deal in Northern Ireland by, amongst other things, making major concessions to Republican paramilitaries. Would the Tories - let alone Thatcher's Tories - have done any of that?

They also scrapped the upper limit on National Insurance, effectively a massive tax hike on the middle-class, and introduced a 10p starting rate, before abolishing it iin a fit of madness.

scottdisco
06-05-2009, 02:57 PM
Economically, yes. Socially, less so. To the extent that they can be disentangled, I suppose.

Edit: let's not forget that Nu Labour introduced the minimum wage, pumped billions into the NHS and public schools (though with mixed results to show for this, in fairness), set CO2 emission reduction targets that go far beyond the standard EU Kyoto Protocol targets and helped broker a peace deal in Northern Ireland by, amongst other things, making major concessions to Republican paramilitaries. Would the Tories - let alone Thatcher's Tories - have done any of that?

certainly one reason why Nu Lab poured a lot into public spending was related to the chronic under-investment in services that their predecessors were guilty of.

also i love this broken Britain meme - you'll have read many commentators on it - that some Tories promulgate.
the spectacle of Thatcher's direct descendants, and their populist media allies, making political capital out of this, contains almost exquisite levels of shamelessness.

great thread!

scottdisco
06-05-2009, 02:59 PM
I'm getting the feeling that the Left and liberal response to Thatcher's death is going to be really fucking vile.

Facebook groups about it appear to have large numbers flocking to their side.

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 03:00 PM
I'm getting the feeling that the Left and liberal response to Thatcher's death is going to be really fucking vile.

Why do you say vile? I think it's a bit fucked up if it's not possible to celebrate the end of something/someone bad. It seems almost apologist/revisionist. As long as people keep sight of the fact that in itself her death changes nothing, and the problems she helped to intensify still exist and thrive, then why not celebrate and use it as a moment to highlight her legacy and inform people who were too young to have lived through it?

Ffs, the woman was friends with, and apologised for, Pinochet. She deserves precisely zero respect.

Mr. Tea
06-05-2009, 03:03 PM
I find it extremely depressing that British politics is split between these two depressing parties.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not cheerleading for Labour - I just think it's fair to say the country is probably in a better state now that it would be if we'd had 30 years of continuous Tory rule. Now there's a thought, eh?

But yes, the lack of any realistic alternative to these two is depressing, certainly.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 03:04 PM
Ffs, the woman was friends with, and apologised for, Pinochet. She deserves precisely zero respect.

and publicly boasted about how intransigent she was over sanctions against apartheid

matt b
06-05-2009, 03:04 PM
it'll be a (daft) counter weight to the sort of shite we'll be hearing for months- it was bad enough last time she was ill:

Immaculate as ever, Baroness Thatcher leaves hospital after collapsing over the fruit jelly (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-528755/Immaculate-Baroness-Thatcher-leaves-hospital-collapsing-fruit-jelly.html)

The mail, is of course no stranger to 'glad s/he's dead' stories:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-416372/Im-glad-hes-dead-says-rape-victim-won-historic-259-000.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-389679/Im-glad-al-Zarqawi-dead-says-Ken-Bigleys-brother.html

baboon2004
06-05-2009, 03:07 PM
The mail, is of course no stranger to 'glad s/he's dead' stories:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-416372/Im-glad-hes-dead-says-rape-victim-won-historic-259-000.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-389679/Im-glad-al-Zarqawi-dead-says-Ken-Bigleys-brother.html

Funny you shoudl link to those two articles, as I think it'll be an ideal opportunity to reinforce the fact that it's not just people who rape or behead people (horrific as they are) who have blood and misery on their hands.

Mr. Tea
06-05-2009, 03:11 PM
certainly one reason why Nu Lab poured a lot into public spending was related to the chronic under-investment in services that their predecessors were guilty of.

also i love this broken Britain meme - you'll have read many commentators on it - that some Tories promulgate.
the spectacle of Thatcher's direct descendants, and their populist media allies, making political capital out of this, contains almost exquisite levels of shamelessness.

great thread!

Yes, you have to ask "Well who broke it then?", don't you?

So did Labour really fix anything, or just do a bang-up job of papering over the cracks? A question for another thread, probably.

droid
06-05-2009, 03:14 PM
Ffs, the woman apologised for Pinochet. What kind of monster does that?

What was that quote from Thatcher about Pol Pot's spokesman? "There are moderates amongst the Khmer Rouge with which Britain can do business"... in the early 80's mind.

craner
06-05-2009, 03:52 PM
Is that it? That's what Thatcher is reduced to? Pinochet?

droid
06-05-2009, 03:54 PM
Did anyone say that?

Rather she was a head of state who vocally supported the Khmer Rouge, Pinochet and Apartheid. If she was Iranian you'd be calling for her to be violently deposed.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 03:58 PM
Is that it? That's what Thatcher is reduced to? Pinochet?

Have you only read one small sentence from one of Baboon's many posts? Your adoration of the Maggie is affecting your eyesight. Look again and you'll see there's plenty more.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:03 PM
Well, there was no vocal support of the Khmer Rouge. There was SAS support that everyone kept denying. The SA sanctions thing was a bit more inbteresting and complex than simply being down to the fact that Thatcher was a pro-apartheid racist. I refer you to pps. 320-334 of John Campbell's Margaret Thatcher Volume 2: The Iron Lady.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:06 PM
I don't adore Lady T, I just loath all this shrieking and one-eyedness.

I think her legacy is pretty destructive, but that wasn't because of her will or intentions; her administrations were disfunctional from day 1.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:07 PM
I mean, not entirely due.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:18 PM
I can feel Droid composing an enormous post with lashings of links. (Holds breath.)

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 04:18 PM
he SA sanctions thing was a bit more inbteresting and complex than simply being down to the fact that Thatcher was a pro-apartheid racist.

No, I don't think she was.

I think Hattersley(?) had it right when he said she may dislike apartheid, but she doesn't dislike it enough.

Someone who crows about only giving an inch on sanctions and refers to black S Africans with "perfectly good jobs" cleary doesn't have much of a perspective on the problem.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Heh -- I go off for a meeting for just over one hour, and the anarchism thread has turned into a discussion of Margaret Thatcher!

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 04:26 PM
Heh -- I go off for a meeting for just over one hour, and the anarchism thread has turned into a discussion of Margaret Thatcher!

Joining the dots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDN5JiUeBi4)

craner
06-05-2009, 04:35 PM
Well, she also viewed it in a Cold War perspective - she didn't want to wreck the apartheid State and leave a void: she was looking at the example of so many African states that had "liberated" themselves. Of course, the problems those States all had were directly due to US and USSR destabilisation and intervention. There's load of interesting stuff about the KGB in Africa in this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/World-Was-Going-Our-Way/dp/0465003117/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241623733&sr=1-1)and the US in Africa in this (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skull-Beneath-Skin-Africa-After/dp/0813341124/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1241623805&sr=1-8). Look, I'm not saying that this is particularly great, but she wasn't a proponent of apartheid. And that's what was being insinuated.

vimothy
06-05-2009, 04:38 PM
K-Punk had an interesting perspective, once upon a time (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003823.html):


It’s almost charming to hear someone use the term ‘old-school socialism’ positively in the 00s. Without being too facetious, what are people who decry Thatcherism yearning for in the pre-Thatcherite 70s? Power cuts? Raging inflation? Laughably inefficient nationalized industries? All subsidized, I shouldn’t need to add, mainly by the proletariat through taxation.

There are, needless to say, serious problems with Thatcherism but they don’t include its demolition of a decadent socialist hegemony which was as complacently cheerful in its role of administering post-Empire decline as was its Tory counterpart.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:38 PM
And contrast, if you will, with the Zimbabwe settlement.

craner
06-05-2009, 04:40 PM
He used to be ambivalent about Thatcher; I suspect he still is.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 04:43 PM
Of course, the problems those States all had were directly due to US and USSR destabilisation and intervention.

And in many cases, South Africa itself.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 04:45 PM
And contrast, if you will, with the Zimbabwe settlement.

Meaning?

droid
06-05-2009, 04:49 PM
Well, there was no vocal support of the Khmer Rouge. There was SAS support that everyone kept denying. The SA sanctions thing was a bit more inbteresting and complex than simply being down to the fact that Thatcher was a pro-apartheid racist. I refer you to pps. 320-334 of John Campbell's Margaret Thatcher Volume 2: The Iron Lady.

Yes, the SAS military training of the genocidal Khmer Rouge that ran from 83 to 91, and public utterances along the lines of the one i mentioned and:"the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government".

Lets not also forget the continued support and arm sales to the genocidal Indonesian dictatorship, support and apologetics for US backed atrocities in central America (“the American government have stated time and again that they are seeking a solution by peaceful means to the problems of Central America”), arms sales to Iraq (and Iran) post Halabja, dirty tricks and army complicity in loyalist murders in NI etc...

As for SA... sure it was complex, but the fact that even David Cameron has disowned Thatcher and Reagan's morally deficient 'constructive engagement' policy tells you all you really need to know... regardless of her concerns about 'stability' (always used to justify monstrous policies), she vociferously opposed the sanctions movement and demonised the ANC.

I guess the really sorry fact is that Labours foreign policy record is even more reprehensible.


I can feel Droid composing an enormous post with lashings of links. (Holds breath.)

Sorry to disappoint Oliver. Its not really necessary TBH

scottdisco
06-05-2009, 04:54 PM
remember when K-P had a quite bracingly contrarian approach to discussing Murdoch and SKY? similar sort of framing to him being quoted about Thatcher just now.
not saying i agreed wrt SKY but an interesting read.

Matt B talking sense, as ever, though i'll admit if i'd had a glass in my hand when i found out al-Zarqawi was dead i've have certainly toasted that monster on his way to Jahannam.

(this may be the simplistic, moralising young Hitchens in me.)

i gather, with all due respect, Oliver does not support any military intervention on Iran.
:cool:

Droid is quite right, among other crimes, the 80s vintage Tories had no problems with Suharto.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 05:01 PM
As for SA... sure it was complex, but the fact that even David Cameron has disowned Thatcher and Reagan's morally deficient 'constructive engagement' policy tells you all you really need to know...

Didn't know that. You got the full quote?

Not that I'm surprised - he just seems v wary of criticising her too openly.

droid
06-05-2009, 05:02 PM
i gather, with all due respect, Oliver does not support any military intervention on Iran.
:cool:


Sorry if I gave the impression he did. When i said violently deposed I meant by Iranians.

droid
06-05-2009, 05:03 PM
Didn't know that. You got the full quote?

Not that I'm surprised - he just seems v wary of criticising her too openly.

Yeah:



David Cameron has distanced himself from one of Margaret Thatcher's key foreign policies, saying that she was wrong to have called the ANC "terrorists" during the apartheid era.

The Conservative leader, who met Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg last week, said his party had made "mistakes" in the past by failing to introduce sanctions against apartheid in South Africa.

Lady Thatcher opposed international calls to introduce sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa and fought a bitter battle with campaigners in Britain. Writing in today's Observer, Mr Cameron said that Mr Mandela was "one of the greatest men alive". He said: "The mistakes my party made in the past with respect to relations with the ANC and sanctions on South Africa make it all the more important to listen now."

His remarks were sharply criticised by Sir Bernard Ingham, Lady Thatcher's former press secretary. He questioned Mr Cameron's Tory credentials, remarking: "I wonder whether David Cameron is a Conservative." But his comments were welcomed by veterans of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, who fought a fierce political battle with the Tories during the 1980s, as violence escalated in South Africa's townships.

This is not the first time that Mr Cameron has sought to distance himself from the policies of Lady Thatcher. In a reference to her remark, "there is no such thing as society", he has said: "There is such a thing as society; it's just not the same as the state."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/cameron-apologises-for-thatcher-apartheid-policies-413569.html

scottdisco
06-05-2009, 05:04 PM
Sorry if I gave the impression he did. When i said violently deposed I meant by Iranians.

ah shucks, what you gonna do
;)

droid
06-05-2009, 05:05 PM
Nah - I admit it was an ambiguous use of language open to uncharitable interpretation... ;)

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 05:08 PM
Cheers for that Droid

craner
06-05-2009, 05:10 PM
Meanwhile, Cameron doesn't have a foreign policy. Great.

droid
06-05-2009, 05:17 PM
Is no foreign policy preferable to a foreign policy that supports genocidal maniacs and bigoted lunatics?

Wait, don't answer that...

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 05:19 PM
Meanwhile, Cameron doesn't have a foreign policy. Great.

Cameron doesn't have an anything policy.

He doesn't need one at the moment. Labour are doing a brilliant job of destroyng themselves.

Nothing is his policy.

edit: He does have the likes of Gove around him. If the neo-con term can ever be rehabilitated, they'll be right on it.

craner
06-05-2009, 05:20 PM
No, I think on balance Droid, I'd rather a foreign policy that supports genocidal maniacs and bigoted lunatics.

droid
06-05-2009, 05:23 PM
Strange that you're so opposed to the Iranian regime so...

vimothy
06-05-2009, 05:23 PM
Is it possible to have a foreign policy that doesn't?

craner
06-05-2009, 05:28 PM
But Gove's a wally.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 05:34 PM
But Gove's a wally.

Well yes, but does Cameron know that?

craner
06-05-2009, 05:38 PM
Probably not.

craner
06-05-2009, 05:38 PM
Or maybe he does. I think Cameron's a cynic.

crackerjack
06-05-2009, 05:46 PM
Or maybe he does. I think Cameron's a cynic.

A cynical politician with a background i PR? My my:rolleyes:

Have you met him?

craner
06-05-2009, 05:56 PM
No, but I've met Hague. It was mutual indifference at first sight.

craner
06-05-2009, 07:19 PM
To clear up this Khmer Rouge thing, the SAS didn't actually train Khmer Rouge. They trained a couple of other Cambodian groups fighting the Vietnamese, that both had acrimonious relations with the Khmer Rouge. The idea being to forge a non-Communist alternative to both Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 07:29 PM
well I certainly wasn't expecting the thread to jump off like this...tho I suppose get a message board full of British people talking about anarchism & it shouldn't be surprising that Thatcher pops up sooner or later...

re: Thatcher

can't speak to her any better than other people here obv.

I will say that the die Reagan kicked the bucket the mood was jubilant - tho Oakland is full of black people & Latins & white lefties, not exactly a Reagan stronghold. Actually as luck would have it I'd set up a benefit show (for prisoner support in Mexico if I remember right - that or the local pirate radio), we were having massive logistical problems & I thought it was going to fall thru when some random dude rushed in off the street yelling "REAGAN'S DEAD, REAGAN'S DEAD". Turned out to be the best show I've ever put on (not saying much, but still), people were in quite a celebratory mood, everyone got quite drunk. Or at least I did.

As Craner might say, it was vile. I guess we forgot about all the wonderful things Reagan did for yuppies & the Contras & how he singledhandedly toppled Communism. him & his hatchetmen, Abrams ("El Mozote is not credible") & Perle & James Baker & all the rest...

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 07:30 PM
The idea being to forge a non-Communist alternative to both Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese.

and a fine idea it was.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 07:51 PM
I'm reading thru the stuff people have posted. thought the anarchism vs. criminal organizations bit was interesting especially. will try to get some replies up if i have time. really busy today unfortunately.

scottdisco
06-05-2009, 08:33 PM
Terror cells would be the classic example. However, the distinction is a di-polarity not a di-chotomy: terror cells are flatter, but not flat. (Hyper modern groups like AQ are flatter still).

good point.

nomadthethird
06-05-2009, 10:37 PM
Yeah, and an interesting aside is how the Spanish anarchists were attacked by both sides during the civil war as both the (statist) left and the right view anarchism as a threat, in that its axiomatically opposed to hierarchical structure and control and intended to be genuinely democratic.

I was going to start a thread about this actually... In my eyes, history isn't about the struggle between left vs right, its about elites versus populations - vanguardism in other words - small elites with a handy line in utopian philosophy who decide whats best for everyone else and manipulate or force populations to support, accede or accept their rule. With communism/marxism/maoism (esp. Leninism), the right of the vanguard to rule is built in to revolutionary structures, and force is used to impose that rule. In 'democratic' societies, the vanguard is hidden but implicit, and PR, image manipulation and the manufacture of consent achieves the same aims - that is, the right of elites to ignore or co-opt the wishes of majorities (the bewildered herd) so that they can go about their business - primarily the dissemination of particular economic policies.*

The challenge for anarchism (which of course also has utopian bent) is to create structures and institutions which are capable of fiercely resisting the tendency to slip into hierarchical modes of governance - to prevent vanguardism. The obvious criticism is (of course), that people are selfish and stupid, they don't know whats best for them, they need to be controlled, they want strong leadership etc... all bollocks of course - legions of volunteers around the world participate in all kinds of unpaid work to help others, and people are well capable of making intelligent decisions about their own future when given the opportunity.

I guess the main obstacle to these ideas in the west (other than powerful institutions that would inevitable oppose such a movement) is that the very idea of political participation has been deliberately eroded and society has been atomised to the point where it's almost impossible to conceive of the kind mass democratic participation necessary to bring about significant change.

*Sorry for the blatant obviousness of this.


Very good points, I agree with this all the way...

nomadthethird
06-05-2009, 10:46 PM
Cheering death makes me uneasy.

Me too. It's not as if I haven't done it myself, but still I can't help but think it reeks of placing undue power-of-influence on an iconographic symbol of something, instead of looking at the circumstances that led to broader ideological trends and saving your anger for constructive pursuits. I'm sure you can do both, but sometimes it seems people would rather just burn effigies than think. That's not a tendency I feel entirely comfortable with.

Sometimes I think the Left (and I'm implicating myself here, too) wastes too much energy on righteous indignation. Too often anger is your badge of honor, it's the "card" you carry to prove you're a leftist.

(That blogger Kvond of Frames/Sing talked about Sloterdijk's take on this a while ago...worth a read...)

That said, Padraig's story about Regan dying is pretty great.

nomadthethird
06-05-2009, 10:55 PM
In normative terms this is seems to be a matter of personal perspective - tho i guess anarchist groups would tend to define themselves as working in the best interests of the wider masses, while gangs would prolly have much narrower concerns (i.e. self-enrichment).


Criminal organizations are classically very strict in their top-down hierarchical organization, gangs especially. That's the opposite of what anarchists believe in, as Eden and others pointed out.

In the case of the Sicilian/Calabrese mafia(s), for example, the model it ran on was a "family" model. The don or capo-regime is essentially the patriarch of the crime "family", and the don's power is dynastic, gets passed down along blood lines. The glue of the organization is "loyalty", which seemed to work well in the family-centric traditional culture of Southern Italy...but after only a few generations in the U.S., this model fell apart because the "loyalty" was threatened by the new racketeering laws and the lack of cultural emphasis on familial duty and fidelity...

Edit: Also, globalization accelerated and the South Americans and Russians took over crime from for a while...

Mr. Tea
06-05-2009, 11:33 PM
To luka's post about elites and populations, I would add that the generally high level of material comfort in developed countries also helps reduce the likelihood of mass grassroots-level radical movements, because even people in the most menial jobs, or with no job at all, have somewhere to live and food to eat. Except those at the very bottom, the homeless, who are often too dysfunctional through some combination of drink, drugs and mental illness to be capable of organising anything at all beyond their next Kestrel Super.

Anyway, my main point is this: has anyone ever documented a society that is naturally anarchistic? I'm talking about 'primitive' societies here, I guess, so societies which are organised in that way because that's how they've always been organised, not as the result of a popular reaction against an establishment or power hierarchy. I know zhao's talked about the Dobe at length here, and as interesting as they are they would seem to be a special case, due perhaps to the environmental conditions they live in and their (unique?) use of long-term voluntary abstinence to keep their population stable. But in other parts of the world where very primitive societies still exist, there is nonetheless some kind of power structure present, isn't there? A chief, headman/woman, council of elders, something like that?

To me it seems likely that humans have evolved to live in social groups with some kind of authority invested in one individual or a few individuals. Isn't this the kind of structure seen in the other great apes? So formulating a society that does without any kind of centralised authority at all may be possible - I am nothing if not a critic of the idea that if something is 'natural' then it must be good or right - but it may be very, very difficult. Not least because we live in social units (cities, nation-states) that are many orders of magnitude larger than the extended family groups of tribal societies.

craner
06-05-2009, 11:44 PM
Reagan had many more hatchetman before getting to Perle and Abrams, who were fairly low rung. But it's always the evil neocons, of course!

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 11:46 PM
Criminal organizations are classically very strict in their top-down hierarchical organization, gangs especially. That's the opposite of what anarchists believe in, as Eden and others pointed out

I take on board what you're saying, although i am wary of making such broad generalisations on the basis of one historical form of criminal org/gang - i.e. the Italian mafia in this case. It seems very likely that there will be wide variation in the way criminal networks structure themselves internally - relating to socio-cultural and historical dynamics.

Anyhow with regards to anarchists i'm not so much interested in what they profess to believe in the abstract, and more in the institutional operations of "anarchist groups". Simply stating an aversion to hierarchy and unequal power structures is not equivalent to realising an alternative in practice. Both theoretically and from my own experiences, i'd say that its always going to be incredibly difficult - if at all possible - to operate social organisations along principles of no hierarchy and consensus decision-making. Prolly easier the less people involved but the group i was involved with for a while were pretty small and still had significant problems (as i described in an earlier post).

Padraig -- how does the Zapatista system work? Can you shed any light on what worked well and what didn't?

Mr BoShambles
06-05-2009, 11:48 PM
Mr Tea OTM!

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 11:49 PM
Reagan had many more hatchetman before getting to Perle and Abrams, who were fairly low rung. But it's always the evil neocons, of course!

this is true. didn't mean to make it sound like I was just focusing in the neocons, Abrams & Perle were just the first two to come to mind. tho, if I'm not mistaken James Baker is the antithesis of a neocon. Ed Meese deserves a mention too, of course.

I'm equal opportunity when it comes to the loathing of Reagan's hatchetmen.

padraig (u.s.)
06-05-2009, 11:54 PM
...but still I can't help but think it reeks of placing undue power-of-influence on an iconographic symbol of something, instead of looking at the circumstances that led to broader ideological trends and saving your anger for constructive pursuits. I'm sure you can do both, but sometimes it seems people would rather just burn effigies than think. That's not a tendency I feel entirely comfortable with.

Sometimes I think the Left (and I'm implicating myself here, too) wastes too much energy on righteous indignation. Too often anger is your badge of honor, it's the "card" you carry to prove you're a leftist.

all true. I expect a large degree of this comes from a feeling of futility, people venting their frustrations on a figurehead. it's not the worst thing in the world tho as long as you don't trick yourself thinking that venting your feelings on a figurehead can replace constructive action.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 12:09 AM
Reagan and Thatcher have both acquired almost mythical status... uncritically loved and loathed in equal measure. It's mostly about personal political positioning.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 12:15 AM
Anyway, my main point is this: has anyone ever documented a society that is naturally anarchistic? I'm talking about 'primitive' societies here, I guess, so societies which are organised in that way because that's how they've always been organised....But in other parts of the world where very primitive societies still exist, there is nonetheless some kind of power structure present, isn't there? A chief, headman/woman, council of elders, something like that?

there's a lot of debate over this. you hear it cited a lot by some people - especially primitivists & anti-civ types - tho personally I haven't read enough to make any claims (nor I suspect that neither have some of the people who do make such claims - tho not all, there are some people who really know their stuff). I seem to recall that the Kung (aka Bushmen) are cited pretty often. and I think that even if you have done the reading there are disagreements on interpretations of the research among the anthropologists and other scholars who aren't largely motivated by ideological agendas.

(also tbf I think people use this a lot more make the claim that hunter-gatherer societies were, contrary to what one might think, "affluent" - that they spend relatively little time, esp. compared to modern society, working but nonetheless maintain a relatively high standard of living. I think there's more evidence for & validity to this claim (esp. as regards the idea that technology tends to increase rather than decrease the amount of time we spend working) but again I haven't read enough.)


To me it seems likely that humans have evolved to live in social groups with some kind of authority invested in one individual or a few individuals.

even still there are different kinds of authority - moral authority, for example. leading by example vs. leading by dictation, essentially.

a lot of these concepts - self-suffiency, consensus, the attempt to organize power bottom up rather than top down, abolition of division of labor - are in my mind more like suggestions than hard & fast rules anyway.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 12:35 AM
Anyhow with regards to anarchists i'm not so much interested in what they profess to believe in the abstract, and more in the institutional operations of "anarchist groups".

with you there 100%! tho I think it's impossible to describe how "anarchist groups" as a single category operate, given that it will vary from group to group depending on a wide number of circumstances. this is partly why I think people tend to talk in broad terms & of principles - there is no Party line to point to. hope that's not a cop-out.

I will speak to my own experience. as I've said, simplest is best. if you have too many people for everything to be face-to-face (rarely a problem:)) then rotating members to some kind of larger assembly who may discuss freely but are only empowered to vote according to the consensus of the smaller group - this admittedly means making decisions can take a very long time. speaking of which, consensus will not always work - sometimes you'll have to resort to majority rule, it's a case by case thing & every attempt should be made to avoid it but if you do have to resort to majority don't feel like you've violated your principles or whatever.

attempt to split up labor equally so that one or two people gets left doing all the dirty work, which unfortunately happens quite a lot - tho people embrace that role too & that should also be avoided.

when I volunteered at an anarchist bookstore we had one paid staff member who worked there full time & did all the accounting & bookkeeping. but all the other responsibilities were split up & we still met twice a month & made consensus decisions, or majority rule when necessary.

power problems are always going to arise - rather than just giving up when they do try to 1) nip them in the bud & 2) deal w/them as best you can. try to be as open as possible about everything.


Both theoretically and from my own experiences, i'd say that its always going to be incredibly difficult - if at all possible - to operate social organisations along principles of no hierarchy and consensus decision-making. Prolly easier the less people involved but the group i was involved with for a while were pretty small and still had significant problems (as i described in an earlier post).

difficulty, yes. again, should not in my view be, at least necessarily, a deterrent. and the fewer people the better is true - it really varies by situation - what are you trying to accomplish? also, knowing the people you're working with - having connections beyond supposedly shared ideals - is always infintely better.

answer to the Zapatista question in a minute.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 12:59 AM
how does the Zapatista system work? Can you shed any light on what worked well and what didn't?

first - I don't fully understand it, as obv outsiders are not exactly to privy to the full Zapatista inner workings. *EDIT* not to make it sound like a cabal - I mean everyone I met was polite & friendly but there was very much a sense of not really communicating (partially just massive cultural differences - but they're also just generally wary of outsiders, w/good reason I might add). also by "inner workings" i mean more like Vimothy was saying - how things actually work. plus also, being at a kind of ungainly mix of civil movement & insurgency I don't really have any idea how things work between the civilian/military leaders & to what extent they're the same thing *CLOSE EDIT*

but generally it's similar to the CNT structure I described. villages have councils of some kind, then district/regional/etc. councils to a higher & higher level (also I'm not sure "council" is the right word - confederation, maybe).. eventually culminating in a kind of supreme council. I'm not sure whether they operate on a consensus basis or not - I think to a degree. an example of this in action would be the San Andres accords where as I recall the EZLN negotiators had to take any govt proposals back the councils so that everyone could debate them before agreeing to anything. they also have councils to address specific issues - education, law, etc.

obviously things are different w/the military. I'm not sure but I think it's fairly conventional. one interesting point about the army is that women can join & become officers & that they're treated at least nominally equally - certainly women in the army are in a much better position than Maya women generally. at least as AFAIK.

they're really big on autonomy & self-management (autogestión”. they're also quite clear that they're not trying to secede from Mexico, I think I've mentioned they have a kind of "we are true Mexican patriots line". so they want essentially a kind of semi-autonomy where they control local matters as I described above but also I guess vote in state & federal elections, have their economy integrated at some degree with that of Mexico, etc. I am very unclear on exactly how this would work out. I've also heard people talk about Zapatismo as a concept or philosophy but it seems rather vague & I've no idea what it is specifically if anything, tho this could just be a failing in on my part.

as to what worked/didn't, um...well they've managed to pretty effectively rule themselves for the last 15 yrs. AFAIK it's more like a return to tradition - like they were already pretty good at looking after themselves & view the govt as something of an occupying force (which it was/is, in effect - run by mestizos & ladinos - not to get into specifics but Chiapas even up to '94 has a brutal history). I have no idea how this works on a basic level - I imagine it varies village to village - depending also on things like affluence (there is disparity definitely), how Zapatista that village is, etc etc.

baboon2004
07-05-2009, 01:31 AM
Is that it? That's what Thatcher is reduced to? Pinochet?

For FUCK'S sake. Is this somehow excusable?

vimothy
07-05-2009, 01:39 AM
The most fundamental unit of human organisation, the family, is inherently hierarchical.

I don't think actual collective action is possible on anything other than a very small scale without some kind of hierarchy. A totally flat structure implies incredibly complex linkages between nodes -- functional organisational telepathy, basically. Failing that, orders emerge.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 03:13 AM
The most fundamental unit of human organisation, the family, is inherently hierarchical.

if you're referencing the nuclear family or even the extended family I would challenge that that is the most fundamental unit of human organization & argue that it's only becoming the prevailing viewpoint rather recently.

either way radicals of all stripes have at least been aware of this for a while. there have been numerous efforts, successful to varying degrees, to raise children at least communally in part. for example, on the kibbutzim. or, for a society that was "always that way" I know examples exist - tho I cannot name any off the top of my head - of "primitive" peoples who raise children largely communally, where "mother" & "father" are not viewed exlusive as the biological parents of a child.

see also: the awesome Rudimentary Peni song "Love Is Not" (http://www.lyrics007.com/Rudimentary%20Peni%20Lyrics/Love%20Is%20Not%20Lyrics.html) (link to lyrics - couldn't find audio or video). just another reason Rudi P is well underrated - while everyone else was harping on about the Falklands they were busy attacking the "myth" of parental love & savaging marriage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6hssEbrTvo). (Crass also did up marriage & kind-of parents ("Mother Earth" tho I've never been sure exactly what the hell that's about) but I dunno if even at their agitprop best they can match the sheer acid bile that Nic Blinko spits out)


I don't think actual collective action is possible on anything other than a very small scale without some kind of hierarchy. A totally flat structure implies incredibly complex linkages between nodes -- functional organisational telepathy, basically. Failing that, orders emerge.

but, I mean "actual" collection action w/absolutely no hierarchy, not even an informal, unspoken, perhaps even subconscious one. come on, nothing ever obtains it's absolute ideal. so in that sense, no, there is no "actual" collective action.

it's about the purity of your beliefs really. I mean I for one am not say "oh shit, the two of us are forming a hiearchy by making this decision. I guess we should just sit here not making any decisions so as not to create a hierarchy." of course that's nonsense.

the point is, as w/anything, trying to release your ideal to the best of your ability. of course you're going to have to compromise sometimes. it's how/when/why you compromise.

mistadubalina
07-05-2009, 07:06 AM
Cant do it eh matt b. Define anarchism in your own words that is. Whys that ? At least have a go. Whats stopping you ? of course it's much easier to troll me...

re: primitive societies. My first culture is polynesian and in the islands it's still relatively intact. we have histories of non violent opposition to colonial state oppression and have hierarchies based on heredity but theres no guarantee of succession to the first born. Its usually whoevers most worthy. The chief's responsibilty is to serve the family not the other way round and we have always raised children comunally.

But perhaps a better model to study re anarchism would be communities of interest on line such as dissensus where all are basically equal but often dominated by a few and where ostracization and marginalisation of ides is commonplace based on a percieved intellectual superiority

i think it is entirely possible to self rule by consensus using a log in or a cell phone to vote for referenda on just about any issue regarding governance and de volve the whole statehood and parliamentary structures which favour the privileged and the rich.

is that anarchic enough for you?

nomadthethird
07-05-2009, 07:17 AM
I take on board what you're saying, although i am wary of making such broad generalisations on the basis of one historical form of criminal org/gang - i.e. the Italian mafia in this case. It seems very likely that there will be wide variation in the way criminal networks structure themselves internally - relating to socio-cultural and historical dynamics.


Of course there is variation. I wasn't generalizing there, I pointed out that most crime syndicates run according to strict hierarchal top-down power dynamics, then I provided one specific example in the Sicilian mafia. That wasn't supposed to be a general account, that was a specific one.

nomadthethird
07-05-2009, 07:18 AM
Anyway, my main point is this: has anyone ever documented a society that is naturally anarchistic? I'm talking about 'primitive' societies here, I guess, so societies which are organised in that way because that's how they've always been organised, not as the result of a popular reaction against an establishment or power hierarchy.

Well, I can't think of them off the top of my head but David Graeber talks about examples of anarchist societies (esp non-Western ones) a lot. He's an anthropologist anarchist.

scottdisco
07-05-2009, 09:39 AM
fascinating stuff from P here. cheers!


they're really big on autonomy & self-management (autogestión”. they're also quite clear that they're not trying to secede from Mexico, I think I've mentioned they have a kind of "we are true Mexican patriots line". so they want essentially a kind of semi-autonomy where they control local matters as I described above but also I guess vote in state & federal elections, have their economy integrated at some degree with that of Mexico, etc. I am very unclear on exactly how this would work out.

the semi-autonomy w' federal/state participation as above confuses me a bit as to how this is squared, i'll admit.

but then realising anything along your ideal lines will involve a flight between systems and compromise, (so that solves my query) as you so eloquently make the point later in this thread.

i'm w' Nomad on the criminal orgs thing. there's a lot in different parts of the world and they don't all just operate in North America or Europe ;) but her hierarchy description can surely be telegraphed out w' a degree of accuracy.

john eden
07-05-2009, 09:49 AM
Sorry to rewind the thread but I had a quick look at that netwar stuff the Rand Corp published. I didn't find the examples cited all that useful as they seemed to be a weird combination of individualism, hieararchy and very specific.

I.e. football hooligan crews are ridiculously hierarchical with "top boys" and newbies and "faces" and whatever. And they obviously have a very narrow focus.

Far right "leaderless resistance" is essentially individualistic, right down to "lone wolf" psychos trying to escalate the race war etc.

What unites both of these groups, and Al Qaeda and organised crime is their outright authoritarianism in their relations with non-members/targets.

Maybe some of the Seattle G20 stuff is worth checking out but I had to laugh at the descriptions of "anarchists, legitmate protestors and opportunistic criminals".

I guess the text has to be seen for what it is - a text by a corporation's futurologist trying to anticipate theats.

matt b
07-05-2009, 10:04 AM
The most fundamental unit of human organisation, the family, is inherently hierarchical.

I don't think actual collective action is possible on anything other than a very small scale without some kind of hierarchy. A totally flat structure implies incredibly complex linkages between nodes -- functional organisational telepathy, basically. Failing that, orders emerge.

'inherently' hierarchical? are you sure- there may be a tendency as families are currently constructed, but that is all.

On the other hand, you could equally argue that families are often the site of altruistic behaviours.

Kropotkin talks about nodes and networks (obviously using different language) and felt that small autonomous groups can easily co-operate to create complex systems- he talked about rail networks.

droid
07-05-2009, 10:10 AM
To clear up this Khmer Rouge thing, the SAS didn't actually train Khmer Rouge. They trained a couple of other Cambodian groups fighting the Vietnamese, that both had acrimonious relations with the Khmer Rouge. The idea being to forge a non-Communist alternative to both Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese.

Thanks for clearing that up so authoritatively Oliver. I also hear that the bombs and booby traps they trained them to use were made of flowers and exploded in delightful puffs of jasmine and honeysuckle.

john eden
07-05-2009, 10:11 AM
I should also point out that I wouldn't consider myself an anarchist these days. There are a load of reasons for this and I am writing them here for my own benefit as much as anyone else's so bear with me

1) Anarchism is not a useful term. It has too many associations with chaos, punk, disorder. Even actual anarchism contain so many ridiculous strands I have no desire to be associated with - primitivism, egoism, anarcho-capitalism, "national anarchism", pacifism, moralism. Bringing it up in conversation with people I am engaging with politically is a shortcut to disaster.

2) I don't see the prospect of revolution in the near future or in my lifetime and I don't think anybody outside of the dwindling revolutionary left does either. If I am wrong then I am sure I will still have access to as many pamphlets and historical examples as I require. I do think it is good people are ensuring that this stuff remains available.

3) Anarchism's critique of hierarchy is its best contribution, but it also allows all sorts of excuses for inaction and tedious arguments along the lines of "fuck you I won't do what you tell me". For example I was involved in some community politics stuff which was criticised by a fairly sensible anarchist because we weren't empowering people to take control of their own lives, we were seen as "doing it for them". Of course said anarchist had all sorts of ideas about how this could be done, he just wasn't actually doing them himself.

4) Generally the revolutionary left are not people I wish to spend much time with. Whilst I find sectarian gossip and russian history more interesting than the next man it does seem to be that large portions of the left are more interested in that than actually making a difference to the lives of working class people. Or they are adrenaline junkies chasing the next "action" without reflecting on where it is getting them.

matt b
07-05-2009, 10:16 AM
Cant do it eh matt b. Define anarchism in your own words that is. Whys that ? At least have a go. Whats stopping you ? of course it's much easier to troll me...



In my own words:

Anarchism is a broad political philosophy that argues that human beings can successfully live and work with each other on an equal footing, in ordered communities without the need of government or a state.

It is a movement that as well as the state, the exploitation of others, the profit motive etc are at odds with the basic premise of individual liberty.

Beyond that, there are many branches of anarchism with different peculiarities.

This is obviously not the same as chaos, which is what you are talking about.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 10:27 AM
if you're referencing the nuclear family or even the extended family I would challenge that that is the most fundamental unit of human organization & argue that it's only becoming the prevailing viewpoint rather recently.

It depends on what you mean by "recently", I guess, but I think that it still holds whether you're talking about being raised by the nuclear family, my two dads or the women of the African Himba tribe.

I don't see this as necessarily bad, or a reason to try to circumvent "the family", but as evidence to support my hypothesis that hierarchies can be socially useful.

Props for a well made Blinko link, tho!


but, I mean "actual" collection action w/absolutely no hierarchy, not even an informal, unspoken, perhaps even subconscious one. come on, nothing ever obtains it's absolute ideal. so in that sense, no, there is no "actual" collective action.

Well, I think that non-hierarchical collective action is possible among a small group of people who know one another and share affinities. But that's about it, as far as I can see. Better to have much more limited and acheivable goals.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:32 AM
alright, up early this morning (on a very strange schedule this week) & thought it'd be well to knock together some links.

Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology (http://www.prickly-paradigm.com/paradigm14.pdf) by David Graeber - the anarchist anthropologist mentioned by Nomad above. haven't read it myself (tho it's just moved up to next on my reading list) so can't speak to everything within.

I gather Graeber did his field work on the Tsimihety (don't know if any of his writings on them are online) people of Madagascar. More Graeber writings - mostly articles & essays - are available at his wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Graeber), Where you can also read about Yale's apparently controversial decision not to rehire/grant him tenure.

link on the Tsimihety (http://www.everyculture.com/Africa-Middle-East/Tsimihety.html)

Incidentally the anthropologist who wrote that blurb on the Tsimihety, one Peter J. Wilson, also has an interesting looking book called The Domestication of the Human Species (http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300050325) on, I'd guess, the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer to a sedentary agricultural societies.

The Original Affluent Society (http://www.eco-action.org/dt/affluent.html) by Marshall Sahlins (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Sahlins) - on Sahlins' theory that hunter-gatherers were/are not in fact deprived but in fact "advanced" in terms of how much work they did relative to their standard of living (orig published in the mid-60s I believe - the title is in obvious reference to John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society which any economists - looking at you Vim - will be familiar with)

Two links on the !Kung (or San - I'm unclear as to whether the terms are synonymous or whether the !Kung are one tribe of the San people) - selective quotes but read thru them if you're interested

http://abbott-infotech.co.za/tribes%20in%20the%20kalahari.html


The Bushmen or San does not have a government, a King or a National leader. Not even a "Chief", "Chieftain" or "Captain" in the sense understood in Africa...Each individual do largely as he pleases, within the constraints of their customs [italics mine], and if there is a disagreement about something, the group simply splits up and the families go their separate ways, with little or no coercion."

http://orvillejenkins.com/profiles/kung.html (the guy who's site this is looks like quite an interesting fellow as well)


There are hereditary leaders, sometimes considered chiefs, but they have limited authority. Traditionally social order was enforced by ridicule, dispersal (forced separation) and sometimes even execution.

also on the !Kung - traditionally they are nomadic hunter-gatherers in a very tough environment, the Kalahari Desert, of bands usually no larger than 20. in other words, ideal conditions for a non-hierarchical society. also, don't want to gloss anything over - they've had, I gather enormous problems w/their non-San neighbors & w/adjusting to modern society. (http://www.opendemocracy.net/globalization-africa_democracy/article_267.jsp)

2 novels:

The Sheep Look Up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sheep_Look_Up) by John Brunner - mentioned this in the fascism thread - written in 1972 - don't want to summarize it - just check the wiki

Ishmael (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_(novel)) by Daniel Quinn - the On the Road of green/anti-civ anarcho types but still pretty good for all that, hell of an eye opener for me at 15. gets you thinking if nothing else.

*EDIT* also The Dispossessed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dispossessed) by Ursula K. LeGuin - I know I mentioned it already, but, seriously, read the damn thing (or I'll force you to have a consensus meeting with me!). The best hypothetical description of an anarchist society functioning on a large scale - I believe ~1 million people in the book. don't think she points an entirely rosy picture either, she raises some very knotty concerns as well.

also I put this together in about 20 minutes so if I have time later I'll try to do more

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:35 AM
but then realising anything along your ideal lines will involve a flight between systems and compromise, (so that solves my query) as you so eloquently make the point later in this thread.

if I understand what you mean by "flight" then yes that essentially describes my ideals. tho I would not say that my beliefs are anarchism or that anarchism is my beliefs. tho there is certainly an affinity.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 10:43 AM
'inherently' hierarchical? are you sure- there may be a tendency as families are currently constructed, but that is all.

On the other hand, you could equally argue that families are often the site of altruistic behaviours.

There will be at least two levels (adult; child) even if the children are being raised communally. Possibly three levels (men; women; children), or more. I agree that families are often the site of altruistic behaviour, but I don't believe that there is mutual antipathy between hierarchy and altruism. Families, like most other groups, are a weird mix of coercion and persuasion.

mistadubalina
07-05-2009, 10:53 AM
what i'm trying to say is, my native peoples have been doing that without western notions of state or government for fucking ages and we have suffered by forced assimilation/colonization which has compromised our values and way of life so if it seems i'm fucked of with whitey, it's cos i am.

and the anarchism you speak of, again defined by western intellect, if it were instituted wholesale on the global public at large, would cause initial chaos then possibly out of that would come order.

so if thats what it takes to make a better world then bring it on! but there better be a system to take its place that can cope with large scale production beyond community self help organizations.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:56 AM
excellent post from the man like Eden. let me say first that I mostly agree with your points but that I especially empathize with them & the place they're coming from.


1) Anarchism is not a useful term...

agree full-stop. or rather, its usefulness is often outweighed by its problems.


2) I don't see the prospect of revolution in the near future or in my lifetime and I don't think anybody outside of the dwindling revolutionary left does either.

true. but I don't see this as a reason to abandon anything. I was never interested in a storm-the-palace revolution anyway, at least not since I was old enough to understand that it was the same old bullshit in different clothing (so, about 14 - thanks Crass!). on the other hand I am still interested in the creation of non-hierarchical (or which at least attempt to be) parallel structures which seek to simultaneously meet people's needs & give them the opportunity to empower themselves, examples of which I described upthread (tho there are certainly many other possibilities).

matt b
07-05-2009, 11:00 AM
what i'm trying to say is, my native peoples have been doing that without western notions of state or government for fucking ages and we have suffered by forced assimilation/colonization which has compromised our values and way of life so if it seems i'm fucked of with whitey, it's cos i am.

and the anarchism you speak of, again defined by western intellect, if it were instituted wholesale on the global public at large, would cause initial chaos then possibly out of that would come order.

so if thats what it takes to make a better world then bring it on! but there better be a system to take its place that can cope with large scale production beyond community self help organizations.

1. Where have I mentioned ethnicity?

2. The whole point of anarchism is that it isn't forced on people.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 11:02 AM
but I don't see this as necessarily bad, or a reason to try to circumvent "the family", but as evidence to support my hypothesis that hierarchies can be socially useful.

I don't think it's about trying to "circumvent" the family so much as experimenting with different ways in which the family may be organized.

also I'm not sure where I've claimed that no hierarchy is ever useful.


Well, I think that non-hierarchical collective action is possible among a small group of people who know one another and share affinities. But that's about it, as far as I can see. Better to have much more limited and acheivable goals.

not to be a broken record but I feel like that's exactly what I've said in this thread about a dozen times.

massrock
07-05-2009, 11:10 AM
i think it is entirely possible to self rule by consensus using a log in or a cell phone to vote for referenda on just about any issue regarding governance and de volve the whole statehood and parliamentary structures which favour the privileged and the rich.
Twitocracy?

Obviously lots of potential difficulties but we could certainly have public referenda on more issues. We have the tech, but you can see why career politicians might not be too keen on pushing the idea. ;)

Amongst other things you'd still have to deal with the problems of powerful influence, and who gets to ask the questions.

Might really bring it home how proper public education is in all our interests if more people were directly involved in decision making though.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 11:14 AM
On Arquilla and Ronfeldt, the netwar approach shouldn't be understood as an attempt to make anarchists look like criminals. Anarchism is only tangentially related at best. Dismiss it as Rand Corp psychos dreaming of sci-fi mass murder if you want, but it doesn't invalidate what they say, viz. that networks are useful, and that criminal organisations use them, just like many other organisations, just as many others have pointed out. The type of structure used has implications for resilience, operational capacity, and so on, but they don't imply an ascribable moral value. Rather, an all-channel network, for instance, is very resilient because even if any one node is removed, all the other nodes are still connected, whereas a hub network is vulnerable at its hub, though not at any of the outer nodes.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 11:16 AM
what i'm trying to say is, my native peoples have been doing that without western notions of state or government for fucking ages and we have suffered by forced assimilation/colonization which has compromised our values and way of life so if it seems i'm fucked of with whitey, it's cos i am.

and the anarchism you speak of, again defined by western intellect, if it were instituted wholesale on the global public at large, would cause initial chaos then possibly out of that would come order.

I feel this deserves a response.

first, just nix "if it were instituted wholesale on the global public". the whole point is not to institute (e.g. force) anything on anyone.

about indigenous peoples, colonization, white intellectuals:

there are a lot of valid criticisms to be made. fetishization, straight bullshit noble savage romanticization, yes in some cases Westerners foisting their agendas/ideals onto "primitive" peoples. but I would also say that this is not the whole story - in fact a lot of Westerners/whiteys who write/speak/discuss on this topic are painfully aware of all those problems. to the extent that there is often a strong undercurrent specifically opposing any of those tendencies.

basically, instead of saying "this is anarchism - those nomadic hunter-gatherers are anarchists" a lot of people (I would be much more in this camp) would say "anarchism (or whatever you call it) is an idea that existed well before it become a strictly defined Western tradition, & these may be examples of it".

also, if you don't mind me asking - are you Maori then? cos I know a little bit about Maoris & their struggle (have an anarchist half-Maori friend tho he's an Aussie, from Brisbane). not an expert or anything.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 11:18 AM
Anarchism is only tangentially related at best.

yeah - haven't read the stuff tho I'm somewhat familiar w/the concepts - I don't think John's point was that they were useless so much as that they didn't really describe anarchism (specifically, anarchist protestors in Seattle) very well.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 11:22 AM
one last link, an interview w/the editors of the zine Do Or Die - described as a "journal of ecological resistance" - I wish a .pdf of the actual zine was available, especially the last issue, #10, but this'll have to do. British by the way. *EDIT* & I should say by far far the greatest eco/green/whatever anarchist zine I've ever read. alright now I really gotta go

really worth reading - as they also discuss the nuts & bolts how-it-was-done side that people have been interested in. also they're not above self-criticism.

http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/article.php?id=301

alright, gotta go. enjoy, everyone! will try to catch up later.

massrock
07-05-2009, 11:23 AM
Groups aren't necessarily organised in one way at a time are they? Relationships don't usually operate along a single axis.

Spontaneously emerging (rather than imposed or formalised) hierarchies may occur in a group but I think they will usually coexist alongside other kinds of relationship having various degrees of symmetry. Also 'natural' hierarchies will tend to be context dependant and mutable, even reversible. You can see all this quite clearly even in nuclear families I would say.

john eden
07-05-2009, 11:23 AM
true. but I don't see this as a reason to abandon anything. I was never interested in a storm-the-palace revolution anyway, at least not since I was old enough to understand that it was the same old bullshit in different clothing (so, about 14 - thanks Crass!). on the other hand I am still interested in the creation of non-hierarchical (or which at least attempt to be) parallel structures which seek to simultaneously meet people's needs & give them the opportunity to empower themselves, examples of which I described upthread (tho there are certainly many other possibilities).

Yes absolutely! I suppose what I am saying is that a scheme to completely reorganise the whole of society is a bit grandiose. So, having come to some conclusions and looked at brief historical examples, it's sensible to just think "hmmm ok, so that's one way things might go" before basically putting it to one side and then getting on with the here and now.

And for me the here and now is about defending the little we have, and trying to foster community and solidarity. I have a lot of sympathy with setting up parallel structures also, but (as you probably know all too well) these structures can (and should) actually end up in conflict with the existing structures.

Basically, despite everything, I still can't think of a better way of putting it than this:


7. Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self -activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others - even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.

mistadubalina
07-05-2009, 11:38 AM
I am Samoan. My children are Maori and this is our history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mau_movement

Samoans of mixed parentage, facing discrimination from both cultures but with the advantage of cross-cultural knowledge, would play a key role in the new movement

^^that is where im heading cos funnily enough i'm polynesian royalty and i owe it to my family/people to serve them better

mistersloane
07-05-2009, 11:42 AM
K-Punk had an interesting perspective, once upon a time (http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/003823.html):

That's a fantastic piece.

I agree with baboon here, sorry to have brought her up though. But I am going to dance on her grave, I don't think it's in any way wrong to wish politicians dead and I am going to knight Paul Kelleher come my revolution.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2779597.stm

Mr. Tea
07-05-2009, 12:20 PM
if you're referencing the nuclear family or even the extended family I would challenge that that is the most fundamental unit of human organization & argue that it's only becoming the prevailing viewpoint rather recently.

either way radicals of all stripes have at least been aware of this for a while. there have been numerous efforts, successful to varying degrees, to raise children at least communally in part. for example, on the kibbutzim. or, for a society that was "always that way" I know examples exist - tho I cannot name any off the top of my head - of "primitive" peoples who raise children largely communally, where "mother" & "father" are not viewed exlusive as the biological parents of a child.


But how extended can an extended family be, and still be a family? In the kind of societies you're talking about I think children would still probably be raised by aunts, uncles and cousins of the first, second or third degree. I mean, humans don't just stick together for no reason at all, do they? In developed societies they might do this to form a company, guild or trade union, or because they all support Chelsea or worship at the same church or even because they all have an interest in anarchism. But in a society that doesn't have complex political and economic structures - bushmen, let's say - the only obvious reason for people to congregate in a group is through some degree of shared heredity, isn't it?

Also, I kind of shudder to think what kind of upbringing someone had who writes a song about "the myth of parental love". :eek:

reeltoreel
07-05-2009, 03:10 PM
Heredity is certainly not always the primary method of societal organisation, even in small-scale societies.

I'll see if I can find some interesting kinship diagrams and post them up.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 08:02 PM
Just read this on another thread (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2009/05/control-and-collaboration.html), from the movie Under Fire:

“I like you people, but you are sentimental shits! You fall in love with the poets; the poets fall in love with the Marxists; the Marxists fall in love with themselves; the country falls in love with the rhetoric, and in the end we are stuck with tyrants.”

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 09:31 PM
Just read this on another thread (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2009/05/control-and-collaboration.html), from the movie Under Fire:

“I like you people, but you are sentimental shits! You fall in love with the poets; the poets fall in love with the Marxists; the Marxists fall in love with themselves; the country falls in love with the rhetoric, and in the end we are stuck with tyrants.”

oh Abu M, is there any topic on which you cannot provide us with wisdom?

Under Fire, hell of a movie. the irony of that quote being that the Sandinistas are possibly the only Marxists to whom the term "tyrants" does not apply. not that they were perfect but they were definitely not tyrants. (tho the vicious, enormously venal/corrupt Somoza family dictatorship they replaced were definitely tyrants).

vimothy
07-05-2009, 09:44 PM
padraig, re: upthread, I'm not sure where I suggested that you suggested that hierarchies aren't useful.


not to be a broken record but I feel like that's exactly what I've said in this thread about a dozen times.

That's collectivism for you -- but didn't it feel good!

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 09:51 PM
I mean, humans don't just stick together for no reason at all, do they?

don't think anyone suggested this.


But in a society that doesn't have complex political and economic structures - bushmen, let's say - the only obvious reason for people to congregate in a group is through some degree of shared heredity, isn't it?

no. as reel to real said there are loads of societies which don't only base kinship on heredity. or which have a different view of heredity from the predominant European model. the Australian Aborginal peoples for one - I don't claim to fully understand it but here is an article (http://www.ausanthrop.net/research/kinship/kinship2.php). tho again there are loads of others.

the idea anyway isn't that the family or extended family is a bad thing - it was merely in response to Vimothy's point that the family as the most basic unit of human structure was inherently hierarchical - to say that there are many different definitions of "the family".


Also, I kind of shudder to think what kind of upbringing someone had who writes a song about "the myth of parental love". :eek:

that bit wasn't entirely serious yunno. tho I dunno if you're familiar w/Rudimentary Peni - it probably makes more sense in the context of all their work.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 09:53 PM
That's collectivism for you -- but didn't it feel good!

nah if this was a collective meeting it'd be 1000 times as passive-aggressive.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 09:57 PM
But that's the reason why I put "the family" in quotation marks, because it's true regardless of how you define "the family".

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:03 PM
it's true in the sense that as we've discussed ad nauseam any relationship btwn 2 or more people is always going to develop some kind of hierarchy, whether or not it is formal or informal, spoken or unspoken, etc. and also in the sense that any relationship btwn children & adults is not going to be an "equal" one.

vimothy
07-05-2009, 10:17 PM
It doesn't matter how many adults or children, the number of levels is always at least two, even if we discount the very mundane observation about "the third who walks always beside you".

nomadthethird
07-05-2009, 10:23 PM
Also, I kind of shudder to think what kind of upbringing someone had who writes a song about "the myth of parental love". :eek:

Not to bring this discussion back to my favorite anti-oedipal topic (Sloane you already took the best bandname ever btw)--but it always amazes me that hets don't understand how rare it is for a family situation to actually work out *well* and exist without some form of abuse. It is very, very rare.

Which isn't to say that more "collective" forms of organization can't go wrong, but this ideal people have of a cuddly, wonderful nuclear family needs to meet up with reality at some point. I'm not questioning whether you personally had a satisfactory or even quite a lovely upbringing--you probably did--but that is by far the exception and not the rule.

Ask any public school teacher if you don't believe me. In the U.S. anyway there is no such thing as the "family" except in the highest tax brackets, and even then it's royally fucked...

nomadthethird
07-05-2009, 10:27 PM
I should also point out that I wouldn't consider myself an anarchist these days. There are a load of reasons for this and I am writing them here for my own benefit as much as anyone else's so bear with me

1) Anarchism is not a useful term. It has too many associations with chaos, punk, disorder. Even actual anarchism contain so many ridiculous strands I have no desire to be associated with - primitivism, egoism, anarcho-capitalism, "national anarchism", pacifism, moralism. Bringing it up in conversation with people I am engaging with politically is a shortcut to disaster.

2) I don't see the prospect of revolution in the near future or in my lifetime and I don't think anybody outside of the dwindling revolutionary left does either. If I am wrong then I am sure I will still have access to as many pamphlets and historical examples as I require. I do think it is good people are ensuring that this stuff remains available.

3) Anarchism's critique of hierarchy is its best contribution, but it also allows all sorts of excuses for inaction and tedious arguments along the lines of "fuck you I won't do what you tell me". For example I was involved in some community politics stuff which was criticised by a fairly sensible anarchist because we weren't empowering people to take control of their own lives, we were seen as "doing it for them". Of course said anarchist had all sorts of ideas about how this could be done, he just wasn't actually doing them himself.

4) Generally the revolutionary left are not people I wish to spend much time with. Whilst I find sectarian gossip and russian history more interesting than the next man it does seem to be that large portions of the left are more interested in that than actually making a difference to the lives of working class people. Or they are adrenaline junkies chasing the next "action" without reflecting on where it is getting them.

This is exactly how I feel. I can't make any grandiose claims about why that's the "right" feeling to have, but that's just how it is. I wish I could believe harder but I just can't.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:27 PM
It doesn't matter how many adults or children, the number of levels is always at least two, even if we discount the very mundane observation about "the third who walks always beside you".

I maintain there is a difference btwn a one parent-one child relationship & a more communal approach to raising children/family. it's not that the latter is non-hierarchical, merely that the approaches to establishing a hierarchy are different. w/o meaning to go on about child development - a topic about which I know, roughly, less than nothing - I would hazard a purely intuitive guess that the best thing is probably some medium of both approaches.

padraig (u.s.)
07-05-2009, 10:35 PM
also just want to say - I've thru the first dozen pages of that Graeber book I linked to & so far it is really, really good. he speaks to a lot of the things that have been discussed in this thread & expounds on many points I've tried to make in a much more eloquent fashion. he also says some stuff I'm not so sure about, but hey.

also, just want to this share observation on the difference between Marxism & anarchism.


Even if one compares the historical schools of Marxism, and anarchism, one can see we are dealing with a fundamentally different sort of project. Marxist schools have authors. Just as Marxism sprang from themind of Marx, so we have Leninists, Maoists,Trotksyites, Gramscians, Althusserians... (Note how the list starts with heads of state and grades almost seamlessly into French professors.) [italics mine - classic!]
...

Now consider the different schools of anarchism. There are Anarcho-Syndicalists, Anarcho-Communists, Insurrectionists, Cooperativists, Individualists, Platformists... None are named after some Great Thinker; instead, they are invariably named either after some kind of practice, or mostoften, organizational principle. (Significantly, those Marxist tendencies which are not named after individuals, like Autonomism or Council Communism, are also the ones closest to anarchism.)

actually mainly just wanted to get in that totally sweet line about French professors. take that, Badiou!

nomadthethird
07-05-2009, 10:47 PM
also just want to say - I've thru the first dozen pages of that Graeber book I linked to & so far it is really, really good. he speaks to a lot of the things that have been discussed in this thread & expounds on many points I've tried to make in a much more eloquent fashion. he also says some stuff I'm not so sure about, but hey.

also, just want to this share observation on the difference between Marxism & anarchism.


...


actually mainly just wanted to get in that totally sweet line about French professors. take that, Badiou!


Yeah, I just read that one a couple of months ago, it's excellent. Here's a video clip of Graeber on Charlie Rose:

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/473

Mr. Tea
08-05-2009, 12:27 AM
the idea anyway isn't that the family or extended family is a bad thing

Well it would seem to be the idea for some people at least:


Not to bring this discussion back to my favorite anti-oedipal topic (Sloane you already took the best bandname ever btw)--but it always amazes me that hets don't understand how rare it is for a family situation to actually work out *well* and exist without some form of abuse. It is very, very rare.


Nomad, I appreciate where you're coming from but how are you defining "abuse" here? I think I'm probably not totally deluded in thinking that most of the people I know aren't horribly scarred from traumatic upbringings. Even those I know who did have difficult childhoods still love their parents, as aware as they may be of their parents' failings. No-one has a perfect upbringing because no-one is perfect, but I think it's become this article of faith among many radically-minded people that families are terrible just, well, because. Because it's seen as the norm and therefore to be despised by default.

There is one woman I know whose dad was such a useless shit she went as far as to change her surname. But was that because of the depredations of the nuclear family unit, or just a case of one man being a useless shit? Most people who end up as parents don't fail at it entirely.

*insert Philip Larkin quote here*



that bit wasn't entirely serious yunno. tho I dunno if you're familiar w/Rudimentary Peni - it probably makes more sense in the context of all their work.

Well I gathered you weren't being entirely serious, but the lyrics don't leave much room for interpretation! I get the impression I can probably get a fair grasp of what Rudimentary Peni are like from the fact they're called Rudimentary Peni (supplemented by the fact they were mentioned in the same post as Crass :)). Edit: that article about Aborigines looks really interesting, I'll have a read of it tomorrow.

padraig (u.s.)
08-05-2009, 12:41 AM
Well it would seem to be the idea for some people at least:

right but do you see what I was getting at anyway? not that any one particular mode is best, just that the way we're used to not only isn't the only way & that it's not even necessarily the most common way that human families have typically been organized.


I get the impression I can probably get a fair grasp of what Rudimentary Peni are like from the fact they're called Rudimentary Peni (supplemented by the fact they were mentioned in the same post as Crass :)).

Yeah but Rudi P is a bit weird. You can't just relate them to Crass - Nic Blinko has had a pretty severe history of struggle w/mental illness (they actually did a concept album about his delusion that he was Pope Adrian the 37th) which has also been a big source of his creativity by his own admission I think - not to romanticize his suffering as a "mad genius" or such. But Rudi P is quite strange in the best way. W/something like that song about parents you can never tell how much is serious, how much is deadpan irony, how much is just on some other shit...

I dunno but I can only give their first 2 albums, "EPs of RP" & "Death Church" the highest recommendation...

any excuse to go off on a Rudimentary Peni tangent really.

Cosmetic Plague (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsuOeFiKoXo)

nomadthethird
08-05-2009, 03:39 AM
When I say "abuse" I'm counting emotion/psychological abuse, the most common (and as some would have it the most disabling) kind. Our current normative "family" organization is bad because it's a neurosis machine, one, and secondly because it is ideologically substituted for a greater sense of responsibility to community. There's also the still-imbalanced power structure to be concerned about. In most of the world, marriage is still a legalized form of slavery.

I don't expect you to agree with this entirely, but I'm never going to think that the family is the only way, nor that it's the best one. I've thought and read a lot about this and it's not for purely political reasons that I believe it.

What many people don't realize is that the "family" in its current nuclear incarnation (one mother, one father, their biological offspring) is a rather recent invention. For the majority of human history, people lived in bands and tribes where the entire community considered itself responsible for the upbringing of its youth. This wasn't failproof either, but as we've seen with the rise of gangs, cults, political parties, and other loose "collectives", people will substitute for this lack of bigger picture involvement (something our brains and bodies evolved around for thousands of years)--even people who grew up in normal nuclear families--when it doesn't exist in their culture otherwise.

The "family" is probably the most oppressive heteronormative institution there is, and I'm happy to see that it's breaking down all the time.

josef k.
08-05-2009, 10:42 AM
It doesn't matter how many adults or children, the number of levels is always at least two, even if we discount the very mundane observation about "the third who walks always beside you".

You are becoming quite obsessed by this theme...


Marxist schools have authors. Just as Marxism sprang from themind of Marx, so we have Leninists, Maoists,Trotksyites, Gramscians, Althusserians... (Note how the list starts with heads of state and grades almost seamlessly into French professors.) [italics mine - classic!]

Daddy!

***

vimothy
08-05-2009, 10:49 AM
Jus' weavin' the threads...

josef k.
08-05-2009, 10:50 AM
Q: What about "ideology" as "the third who walks always beside you."

vimothy
08-05-2009, 11:11 AM
That works for me: ideology -- a la Debord -- not as a collection of beliefs, but as a social relation between (two!) people that is mediated by beliefs.

massrock
08-05-2009, 11:27 AM
Families, like most other groups, are a weird mix of coercion and persuasion.
Something about this bothers me.

Not that I would try and defend 'the family' as perfect but this is clearly not all there is to most groups, at least not ones that aren't completely dysfunctional.

Sounds like some kind of nightmare actually, the perpetual exercise of manipulative power.

In terms of anarchism aren't these exactly the aspects of group dynamics one would aim to minimise in favour of mutually agreeable non-manipulative cooperation?

vimothy
08-05-2009, 11:30 AM
You realise I'm talking about families with children?

massrock
08-05-2009, 12:24 PM
Well nuclear families often constitute an artificial kind of affinity under siege, so it's not a very 'natural' situation, certainly not the only possible situation.

Even then I don't think that coercion and persuasion is all there is as you seem to be suggesting, to me that's excessively focussing on manipulative exercise of power at the exclusion of other aspects of group existence.

You also said 'most other groups' which implies a more general observation.

Is this supposed to be an argument against the viability of anarchism or something?

I think in terms of anarchist organisation what is useful to consider is the encouragement of situations of genuine affinity out of which mutually agreeable cooperation can emerge. Not to mention things like love and respect...

It doesn't matter how many adults or children, the number of levels is always at least two, even if we discount the very mundane observation about "the third who walks always beside you".
Different levels yes, but sometimes they are interchangeable. Relationships don't usually work along just one axis. And anarchy isn't really about equality anyway imo. Equality and it's merits is a complicated notion.

Sometimes in a family the baby is boss.

vimothy
08-05-2009, 12:56 PM
The baby isn't makng decisions or handing out instructions. And the parents may well be motivated out of love, but the mechanisms they use are persuasion and coercion. That shouldn't be read as a value judgement damining families as manipulative, but as a description of method, regardless of motivation.

Is it an argument against anarchism? I don't know, disproving the validity of anarchism is not something I'm interested in, but it is an observation about how groups work, particularly the most fundamental unit of social organisation, however it is constituted.

josef k.
08-05-2009, 01:05 PM
The baby isn't making decisions or handing out instructions.

But it is sending out signals, which are being actioned.

vimothy
08-05-2009, 01:17 PM
So is everything. I might tell my boss, "I think we should do this", and we'll do it (which is pretty typical). Or he might look at what I'm doing and say, "let's do this". We both might look at the signals our case studies are sending out, and act on them. But he's still the boss. Either there is no such thing as a hierarchy, or there is. If there is no such thing as hierarchy, that's fine, even if it will make talking about certain things more difficult, but it doesn't leave a lot of space for anarchism.

padraig (u.s.)
08-05-2009, 01:20 PM
massrock - a couple of interesting ideas/points


In terms of anarchism aren't these exactly the aspects of group dynamics one would aim to minimise in favour of mutually agreeable non-manipulative cooperation?

yeh - if not so formally stated as all that:).


And anarchy isn't really about equality anyway imo. Equality and it's merits is a complicated notion.

agree with this - kind of. tho it is very much, at least to me, about taking equality as a basic premise while recognizing that there is nothing such as "true" equality, that there will be an uneven power dynamic in every relationship & so on. again, holding something as an ideal rather than a practicable goal, but making striving towards that ideal part of your praxis.

on the merits of equality - it's true, it's complicated. I do believe that at the most basic level everyone is "equal".

droid
08-05-2009, 01:29 PM
The baby isn't makng decisions or handing out instructions..

You dont have kids do you?

The baby is sending out instructions, and in a very coercive fashion... orders that the parent is biologically compelled to obey - ie change me/feed me/talk to me or else I'm going to scream my lungs out, keep you awake and wreck your head.

Babies are the worst kind of tyrants. There's no negotiation or compromise with their pudgy faced diktats.

padraig (u.s.)
08-05-2009, 01:35 PM
almost missed this one (really on the ball today, massrock!)


I think in terms of anarchist organisation what is useful to consider is the encouragement of situations of genuine affinity out of which mutually agreeable cooperation can emerge. Not to mention things like love and respect...

definitely - this is what I mean when I say that it's best to work with people with whom you share something beside/beyond supposed beliefs. or to reverse that, that it's important to create bonds beyond just your beliefs. unfortunately that's not always possible.

or thinking of the pre-agricultural peoples who are forever being cited - it strikes me that their ties are of course those of blood/kin/custom/etc. etc. - ingrained & much stronger than a learned ideology. which explains perhaps why (relatively) non-hierarchical organization works for hunter-gatherers but why Westerners have so much trouble with it.

massrock
08-05-2009, 01:43 PM
Is it an argument against anarchism? I don't know, disproving the validity of anarchism is not something I'm interested in, but it is an observation about how groups work, particularly the most fundamental unit of social organisation, however it is constituted.
I think others have questioned whether a family in that sense can really be seen as the most fundamental unit of social organisation. A nuclear family in a fragmented society is a particular case under certain conditions, so I don't think you can necessarily say 'however it is constituted'.

But you are still assuming that persuasion and coercion are the only things going on. I don't think that's true.

When I mentioned love and respect I wasn't thinking about these as motives for getting people to do what you want. More important is that which makes it apparent what you could or should do (or not do), for others, for the group and for yourself, and why. If you imagine a situation where it is readily apparent where areas of affinity and mutuality are, where shared benefit is. I mean surely one of the prime motivations for thinking about anarchy at all is that this is a situation we are in anyway but need to recognise it?

The point about the baby is that a hierarchy isn't always just in one direction or even what it appears, that it will be context dependant and that other relations sit alongside it. At work someone is your boss, down the pub you can beat them at darts. Of course hierarchies exist but they are also not exclusive with other topologies and relationships.

vimothy
08-05-2009, 01:47 PM
Short of telepathy, one must still enunciate one's desires, even if shared benefits undoubtedly exist.

droid
08-05-2009, 01:52 PM
Isn't the family - or more specifically the parent an example of justifiable authority/hierarchy based on the incapacity of the child anyway?

De George:

'Ideally parents make for the child the kid of enlightened decision the child would make for himself - were he capable of doing so...

...Ideally, parental commands and rules do not constitute an alien will imposed on that of a child, but a loving help given for the child's good and in his best interest"

As mentioned already, Anarchism (as I understand it) strives to eliminate hierarchy, but where this is not possible, the hierarchies it does create must be justifiable and transparent.

scottdisco
08-05-2009, 01:54 PM
let's be very clear that one can hold & strive toward an ideal while being fully aware that it will never be reached.

well said P.

so Mistadubalina is banned again?

man, that guy.
:rolleyes:

Mr. Tea
08-05-2009, 02:04 PM
As mentioned already, Anarchism (as I understand it) strives to eliminate hierarchy, but where this is not possible, the hierarchies it does create must be justifiable and transparent.

Couldn't this be said of democracy as well? In theory, of course.

droid
08-05-2009, 02:09 PM
Couldn't this be said of democracy as well? In theory, of course.

No. It doesn't strive to eliminate hierarchy, and it certainly doesn't offer transparent and justifiable hierarchies.

Mr BoShambles
08-05-2009, 02:10 PM
so Mistadubalina is banned again?

again....? what did he do (apart from argue some pretty daft points very vociferously)?

Mr. Tea
08-05-2009, 02:16 PM
No. It doesn't strive to eliminate hierarchy, and it certainly doesn't offer transparent and justifiable hierarchies.

OK, clearly democracy doesn't seek to eliminate hierarchy - my bad, I didn't mean that bit - but it does supposedly create a justifiable hierarchy, doesn't it? Justifiable because it enacts the will of the people, and transparent because, in a liberal democracy at least, the workings of parliamentary processes are accessible to public scrutiny?

Note the all-important words "in theory"!

vimothy
08-05-2009, 02:20 PM
And the mechanism doesn't seem, from what I've read on this thread, to be any different from anarchist decision making processes. Anarchists would either hold more referenda, or make fewer decisions.

droid
08-05-2009, 02:39 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6b2OT3C9KY

matt b
08-05-2009, 03:08 PM
again....? what did he do (apart from argue some pretty daft points very vociferously)?

Yes he is banned. Again

He has a history, both here and elsewhere and seems incapable of moderating his language towards people.

padraig (u.s.)
08-05-2009, 03:09 PM
OK, clearly democracy doesn't seek to eliminate hierarchy - my bad, I didn't mean that bit - but it does supposedly create a justifiable hierarchy, doesn't it? Justifiable because it enacts the will of the people, and transparent because, in a liberal democracy at least, the workings of parliamentary processes are accessible to public scrutiny?

Note the all-important words "in theory"!

really what we're getting that is that anarchism is a more pure form of democracy than representative democracy (what you're calling liberal democracy). "direct democracy" is the term you usually hear.

& I know you specifically said in theory but in anarchism theory is inextricable from practice, the means = the end.

padraig (u.s.)
08-05-2009, 03:17 PM
And the mechanism doesn't seem, from what I've read on this thread, to be any different from anarchist decision making processes. Anarchists would either hold more referenda, or make fewer decisions.

again, a purer form of the same mechanism, essentially. in theory.

In practice, yeah, it's usually more talking, less decisions. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. It really depends on how immobilized you are, at a practical level, from being able to make decisions & take action.