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Anarchy Discussion

JunieSparrow posted this thread...
Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Definitions, reasons, why it will work, why it won't.  What is anarchy?  What is an anarchist? 
 
I'll start.  Anarchy exists when there is no monopoly on force, and when the rights of individuals are respected.  It is a fully voluntary society. 
 
Anarchists are those who believe in this kind of society.  They realize that every government is run by people who have no business stealing from and terrorizing their neighbors.  They believe in basic moral and natural law:  Don't kill, don't steal, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. 
 
Because they reject the arbitrary power of the State, they realize the need for self-government and self-defense.  They may enter into voluntary associations to further these and other goals, so long as they do not infringe the rights of other people. 
 
Although anarchists may sometimes disagree with the actions of others, they will not initiate violence unless the rights of other people are being violated.  If they are, however, anarchists have the responsibility to defend the innocent.  Obviously most people in the world are afraid of this responsibility, so you get a lot of, "Oh, I voted for someone to stop it."  This tends to lead to the breakdown of anarchy over time. 
 
New England before the first American Revolution was essentially an anarchy.  That's why you had 28,000 men marching to Boston to find out what had happened to their powder.  Now in America if our neighbors were being robbed all we'd do is call the police. 
 
I look forward to seeing what you all think about anarchy. 

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human6 replied...
Jan. 26, 2013 at 9:11 am

 


The slave was precious to his master because of the money he had cost him… They were worth at least as much as they could be sold for in the market… It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil whose fruits they will not eat and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live… It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him… what effective gain [has] the suppression of slavery brought [him ?] He is free, you say. Ah! That is his misfortune… These men… [have] the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is, need. … They must therefore find someone to hire them, or die of hunger. Is that to be free?


Simon Linguet
I am not saying that we should "white knight" for wage workers. What is needed is the creation of new institutions to empower the working class to fight for its own interests, against those of capital. And ultimatly to seize control of the means of production, and carry on production without the state or capitalism.
 
 
This has always been anarchism, the anti statist wing of the socialist movement. "Anarcho" capitalism is an oxymoron.
 
 

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Breece6 replied...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:18 am

:O :O :O
 
I didn't see this before I posted my other thread. 
 
Welp, I'll just restate it here:
 
Majority rules because the majority is stronger than the individual.  
 
Feel free to reply either here or on my other thread.  
 
Thanks!

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JunieSparrow replied...
Feb. 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm

That's the only reason anarchy is the only moral form of government.  All others lead to the Holocaust. 
 
There's a little gun culture story that might be appropriate here.  A German general visited Switzerland a few years before WWII.  He told one of the top Swiss brass that Germany's army was twice as big as the Swiss army, then asked what would happen if Germany were to invade. 
 
The Swiss commander thought for a moment, then replied,  "We will go out, and we will all shoot twice, and then we will go home." 
 
The majority is not always stronger. 

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 4, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Junie:
 
I don't understand how your first sentence makes sense, or is supported in any way outside of your own speculation, if you could elaborate please :)
 
I have a little story of my own, nobody actually did anything in your story :O
 
All kidding aside, that story is completely irrelevant, it proves nothing, no offense :)  My point is that a disorganized syndicate of anarchist cells versus an organized government with a fully functioning military, no contest.  
 
I'm under assumption (forgive me if I'm wrong) that your next logical step would be to ask me for proof.  
 
I would like to cite Sun Tzu's The Art of War as a great example of how important complete organization is to a military venture, I'll just use that for now unless you have a more specific argument :) 
 
Overall, I disagree respectfully, I think anarchy is impractical.
 
I also think that it would be immoral as well, I know it's just a book, but Lord of the Flies has a lot of insightful reflection on a hypothetical anarchist state.  
 
Thanks!

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human6 replied...
Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm

breece look up assimetric warfare, anonymous, and the millennium challenge. Each of these anarchistic systems was/is able to beat hierarchical military forces. Read paul Mason's Why its kicking off everywhere, you can probably find it online, or one of the lectures he gave. The parts about internet activism are good for how anarchy beats hierarchy.

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JunieSparrow replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

Breece, the point I was trying to make with the story is that Switzerland was not invaded by the Germans and stayed neutral during WWII. They were too difficult to fight against.

Morality. The reason anarchy is the only moral form of society is that it is the only government that does not rely on force. There are no people with funny hats who steal my labor and lock me in a cage if I don't comply. I am responsible for my own life, liberty, and property, and have the responsibility to use it how I see fit, as long as I don't harm anyone else's life, liberty, or property.

The Guomindang tried to follow The Art of War. Unfortunately, although the general principles were correct, all the guns and power of their army were useless against the will of the Communists to free their people, the slaves of the warlords. An army (traditional or not) with an ideal can win over a larger army whose sole motivator is a paycheck.

Look at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. A few hundred people with Molotov Cocktails, a few rifles and pistols, and one machine gun held off the N.azis for weeks and eventually had to be burned out. No, they didn't win the war, but is it better to go out in a blaze of glory or die like a dog? The Jews were trapped, and everyone knew who they were. What if they had looked like everyone else? Guerillas have won all of the wars since WWII precisely because they don't have a top-down, fixed chain of command.

Also think about the D.C. sniper attacks back in '02.

What is "success?" Probably the whole world won't become anarchist at once. People are too patriotic. But are the Zapatistas unsuccessful because they don't control all of Mexico?

I hope some of that made some sense. I don't really understand why you feel anarchy is immoral though. I don't know if it can work in America; we may have too long a tradition of "The Government is your friend." But more and more people are beginning to realize that it is wrong to force others into slavery.

"We don't need a majority, we need a dedicated, tireless minority willing to constantly set the fires of truth in people's minds."
--Son of Martha

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JunieSparrow replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

Breece,  the point I was trying to make with the story is that Switzerland was not invaded by the Germans and stayed neutral during WWII.  They were too difficult to fight against. 
 
Morality.  The reason anarchy is the only moral form of society is that it is the only government that does not rely on force.  There are no people with funny hats who steal my labor and lock me in a cage if I don't comply.  I am responsible for my own life, liberty, and property, and have the responsibility to use it how I see fit, as long as I don't harm anyone else's life, liberty, or property. 
 
The Guomindang tried to follow The Art of War.  Unfortunately, although the general principles were correct, all the guns and power of their army were useless against the will of the Communists to free their people, the slaves of the warlords.  An army (traditional or not) with an ideal can win over a larger army whose sole motivator is a paycheck. 
 
Look at the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  A few hundred people with Molotov Cocktails, a few rifles and pistols, and one machine gun held off the N.azis for weeks and eventually had to be burned out.  No, they didn't win the war, but is it better to go out in a blaze of glory or die like a dog?  The J.ews were trapped, and everyone knew who they were.  What if they had looked like everyone else?  Guerillas have won all of the wars since WWII precisely because they don't have a top-down, fixed chain of command. 
 
Also think about the D.C. sniper attacks back in '02. 
 
What is "success?"  Probably the whole world won't become anarchist at once.  People are too patriotic.  But are the Zapatistas unsuccessful because they don't control all of Mexico? 
 
I hope some of that made some sense.  I don't really understand why you feel anarchy is immoral though.  I don't know if it can work in America; we may have too long a tradition of "The Government is your friend."  But more and more people are beginning to realize that it is wrong to force others into slavery. 
 
"We don't need a majority, we need a dedicated, tireless minority willing to constantly set the fires of truth in people's minds." 
--Son of Martha

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Human and Junie:
 
I'm going to address both of you in terms of whether an anarchist nation could survive a military assault. 
 
You two are both abusing an important misconception, you are confusing "guerilla" and "smaller force" with anarchy.  In all of the examples you both gave me, the smaller force won because of better leadership.  There is no leadership in anarchy.  
 
Junie:
 
Anarchy assumes that everyone will do what you said, and not harm others.  That is an incredibly wild assumption, one that I will likely never believe.
 
I can't find a place in my post where I mentioned "success", so I'm not entirely sure how to respond. However I would define the success of a political system as providing the greatest degree of rights, safety, and quality of life to the participants of the social contract.  
 
I don't think Anarchy provides safety, rights, or quality of life in actual practice, simply because humans are imperfect by nature.  
 
Again, Lord of the Flies is a beautiful allegorical argument against anarchy.
 

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human6 replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Breece: I'm going to quote Orwell here, admitedly he was fighting in a Trotskyist militia, not a anarchist one but they followed the same basic features. 
 
 
“In theory at any rate each militia was a democracy and not a hierarchy . It was understood that orders had to be obeyed, but it was also understood that when you gave an order you gave it as comrade to comrade and not as superior to inferior. There were officers and NCOs, but there was no military rank in the ordinary sense; not titles, no badges, no heel-clicking and saluting. They had attempted to produce within the militias a sort of temporary working model of the classless society.”
these militia held off much better armed forces, with traditional military structures for 3 years.
 
 
 
Also leaders =/= hierarchy. Hierarchy is do what I say or I hurt you, leaders are do what I say because I have earned your respect.
 
 

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human6 replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Also the internet allows people to organize non hiearchically without leaders. Look at the Egyptian revolution, without formal structures, the people used "tactics" that seemed to observers as if they came from a book on nonviolent revolution. However these plans actually came from the emergent property of social media. 

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Human:
 
Your own quote describes the militia's as "democracies", if thats what an anarchy is to you, then sign me up :P
 
Also, maybe your "hierarchy vs leadership" theory might work in an imaginitive world where everyone is perfect and actually does what they say, and don't change, and where internal conflicts are non-existent, and where humans never feel fear or ambition.  But in the real world, hierarchy is a part of biology, it's how the world works, our only way past that is to try and progress, not revert back to anamlistic free-for-alls.  
 
In regards to the Egyptian Revolution, I would hardly call that a disorganized anarchy.  
 
There were many very influential voices, including a Google executive.  The "leaders" may have remained fairly anonymous through the social media side of things, but there were further organizations in regards to the strikes and demonstartions.  Granted it wasn't a traditional "one person at the top slowly branching downwards" hierarchy, but there were leaders, there was organization.  Hardly what I'd call an anarchy.  
 
Loosely Organized =/= Anarchy
 

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JunieSparrow replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Breece, I think you don't understand that this is all completely voluntary.  There may be a hierarchy, but the leaders "lead."  They do not command. 
 
I'll reply further when I finish Lord of the Flies

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human6 replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Breece: please read these 2 things before responding:
 
h ttp://libcom.o rg /thought/anarchist-communism-an-introduction
 
ht tp://libcom.or g/thought/ideas/anarcho-syndicalism

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human6 replied...
Feb. 6, 2013 at 10:24 pm

 


 


These are quotes by David Graeber, a reader of anthropology at Goldsmiths university and a major anarchist thinker. From an AMA on Reddit


 









a functional anarchist state? honestly! this is precisely the problem. Let me just cut and paste a section from Fragments where I address this:




For anarchists who do know something about anthropology, the arguments are all too familiar. A typical exchange goes something like this:








Skeptic: Well, I might take this whole anarchism idea more seriously if you could give me some reason to think it would work. Can you name me a single viable example of a society which has existed without a government?





Anarchist: Sure. There have been thousands. I could name a dozen just off the top of my head: the Bororo, the Baining, the Onondaga, the Wintu, the Ema, the Tallensi, the Vezo...





Skeptic: But those are all a bunch of primitives! I'm talking about anarchism in a modern, technological society.





Anarchist: Okay, then. There have been all sorts of successful experiments: experiments with worker's self-management, like Mondragon; economic projects based on the idea of the gift economy, like Linux; all sorts of political organizations based on consensus and direct democracy...





Skeptic: Sure, sure, but these are small, isolated examples. I'm talking about whole societies.





Anarchist: Well, it's not like people haven't tried. Look at the Paris Commune, the revolution in Republican Spain...





Skeptic: Yeah, and look what happened to those guys! They all got killed!





The dice are loaded. You can't win. Because when the skeptic says "society," what he really means is "state," even "nation-state." Since no one is going to produce an example of an anarchist state—that would be a contradiction in terms—what we're really being asked for is an example of a modern nation-state with the government somehow plucked away: a situation in which the government of Canada, to take a random example, has been overthrown, or for some reason abolished itself, and no new one has taken its place but instead all former Canadian citizens begin to organize themselves into libertarian collectives. Obviously this would never be allowed to happen. In the past, whenever it even looked like it might—here, the Paris commune and Spanish civil war are excellent examples—the politicians running pretty much every state in the vicinity have been willing to put their erstwhile differences on hold until those trying to bring such a situation about had been rounded up and shot.









 






 






 






 






on the origins of the state:






to Junnie and Breece:






a market system without state enforcement will end up looking anything like a market that way we're used to thinking of such things. If it creates radical inequalities, some state-like mechanisms will be created to defend those inequalities, simply because it's the most economically efficient way to do it.



 

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Feb. 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

Human: Thank you for that point about how society and government are basically the same thing. They are both controlling and pointless aspects of life that cause more harm then good. Society is what ruined our species and the earth. We have an intelligence to rival all the species that came before us and look what we've decided to do with it. We could do such amazing things, we have built civilizations up from the ground with our bare hands and gone up against predators a lot bigger and more deadly then us. We are the top of the food chain and on average under 200 pounds, we are fangless and clawless, not very fast or strong, but we are smart as he.ll. But then we decided to have a select few in charge of the rest of us. Why do humans find such comfort in society or government? Is it cause it's what they know, or is because they honestly think they are better off being told what to do? I'll never be able the "sheep" mentality society causes in people. Without governments, without society (which means without cultural standards), people would be so much happier, they could be themselves without repercussion. Those that can't handle an anarchy without killing people or hurting others are poor examples of our species, and a long time ago, we would've killed them off for the good of the rest of the species instead of giving them a trial, locking them up, and then releasing them back into the society they harmed. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Society causes racism, sexism, prejudice, greed, depression, and anxiety. How much longer are we gonna deny our instincts cause it's "civilized"? I would argue that "primitive" societies like the Wintu and the Onondaga were actually the more civilized society cause they could function with no governmental control without killing each other like all these modern "civlized" societies. 
Breece: So if humans are imperfect, by that logic, an anarchy would be better because at least then everyone would be equal, instead of giving a select few all of the power. Establishing a government is like the people asking to be taken advantage of. If you can't trust our species as a whole to do the right thing, why can you trust a few of our species to do the right thing. Now I have a question, as someone who believes there should be a formal government, what attracts you to that kind of system? Do you not want to have to take responsibility to defend yourself and others? Do you not trust yourself to do the right thing?

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human6 replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm

That wasn't my point, my point was that when people say society, they mean state. So its impossible to debate because when you say, state won't accept examples of anarchy working in society. 

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Human:
 
Having read those sites you gave me, I have come to the conclusion that the only practical definition of anarchy (and the ones you seem to be advocating) are not in fact abolition of state and society, but rather much looser organizations of them.  
 
For instance, in your anarcho-communism, without money it would be purely up to a bartering system to deal with trading.  Let's think about what happens naturally when you give humans a bartering system, they make a currency. 
 
Think about prison trading systems, eventually "currencies" were established such as cigarrettes.  If you give a bartering system enough time, a currency will come out of it.  
 
Have you taken an economics class by any chance?  Brilliant class, blows my mind every day.
 
Syndicate-Anarchism just sounds like loose organization to me.  I'd have to think about it, I'm not convinced yet.
 
Your Reddit Anarchist's argument is interesting, but highly generalized, you can almost hear the stupidity in the skeptic's tone, it's that biased.
 
I'm not even asking for an example in real life, I just want a theoretical answer to my real life problems I'm presenting such as man's natural tendency to form leaders, hierarchies, and currencies. 
 
Sorla:
 
You have a very pessimistic world view :P
 
I disagree with even the concept that society or humanity is ruined, or that we've spent our intelligence badly, much less that we should revert back to primitive states.  
 
You and human have a very curious notion that in an Anarchy people would be equal.  
 
I think I can sum my argument up this way:
 
In an anarchy, hierarchies are created by pure survival of the fittest
 
In my opinion of an ideal government, hierarchies are created as a combination of non-violent competition, election, and necessity.  
 
As someone who supports a formal government, I think that natural selection in the purest sense of the term (that would be expressed in anarchy) is brutal, animalistic, and immoral.  
 
I think no government or society can ever be perfect, but I think my above definition would probably be pretty good.
 
To Human and Sorla:
 
Human has mentioned before that a government is simply "a monopoly on violence", while I disagree with the simplicity of this statement, I can agree to some extent.  
 
That being said, an Anarchy is just random violence.  
 
I would rather have a regulated monopoly based on a collective body of philosophical, anthropologic and scientific studies than violence determined by random genetics and environment.
 
This is a very interesting topic by the way, I've enjoyed discussing it with you two and Junie a lot.  First time in a while I've had to write novel posts like this one :)

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Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

In an Anarchy, everyone will realize that they are equal because no one receives special treatment and no one is in charge of anyone else. Eventually, clans would probably be formed like in ancient Ireland, but the difference between the clans and the invading christians was that the clans actually looked out for each other, They cared wether their comrades lived or died and did everything they could to protect their families or neighbors. An anarchy works when the people work together as a community and a species to protect each other and fight for their survival. By having a mass government like a lot of civilizations in the past and present, the people no longer have a standard of teamwork. They are suspicious of their neighbors from all those news stories of people killing each other and taking advantage of others. Not everyone is like that, and the fact of the matter is that the good people outnumber the bad. Mass government makes people selfish, not many people today would put themselves in harms way for a stranger. I would, and I have. I would die to protect not only my own family and neighbors, but a random stranger. If we were always loyal to our species like the ho.mo sapiens of the past, functioning in an anarchy would be no problem. We singlehandedly wiped out the saber tooth tigers. We didn't do it alone. They were a threat to our children and our lives, so humans worked together to eradicate the threat. The same goes for people who are a threat. When it comes down to it, people have a biological drive to protect their species. If we would only listen to our instincts... An anarchy isn't necessarily violent, Ireland wasn't a constant blood bath. Sure, some of the clans fought each other for resources for their families, but that was for survival. Is the organized violence of a government for survival? No, it's for greed. Violence in an anarchy happens because we need to survive. Violence in a society like ours can have many drives; money, power, or even just sadism. The most advanced societies spiritually and culturally were anarchies. The Celts were the only people of their time to treat women equally as men and treat slaves like actual human beings. They had free expression and no cultural taboos on se.x. The other "civilized" cultures of the time thought of the Celts as barbaric, but then look at the Romans, making slaves fight to the death for entertainment and treating women like cattle.

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Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm

In an Anarchy, everyone will realize that they are equal because no one receives special treatment as there would be no caste system, and no one is in charge of anyone else. Eventually, clans would probably be formed like in ancient Ireland, but the difference between the clans and the invading christians was that the clans actually looked out for each other, They cared wether their comrades lived or died and did everything they could to protect their families or neighbors. An anarchy works when the people work together as a community and a species to protect each other and fight for their survival. By having a mass government like a lot of civilizations in the past and present, the people no longer have a standard of teamwork. They are suspicious of their neighbors from all those news stories of people killing each other and taking advantage of others. Not everyone is like that, and the fact of the matter is that the good people outnumber the bad. Mass government makes people selfish, not many people today would put themselves in harms way for a stranger. I would, and I have. I would die to protect not only my own family and neighbors, but a random stranger. If we were always loyal to our species like the hom.o sapiens of the past, functioning in an anarchy would be no problem. We singlehandedly wiped out the saber tooth tigers. We didn't do it alone. They were a threat to our children and our lives, so humans worked together to eradicate the threat. The same goes for people who are a threat. When it comes down to it, people have a biological drive to protect their species. If we would only listen to our instincts... An anarchy isn't necessarily violent, Ireland wasn't a constant blood bath. Sure, some of the clans fought each other for resources for their families, and they fought invaders to protect their families, but that was for survival. Is the organized violence of a government for survival? No, it's for greed. Violence in an anarchy happens because we need to survive. Violence in a society like ours can have many drives; money, power, or even just sadism. The most advanced societies spiritually and culturally were anarchies. The Celts were the only people of their time to treat women equally as men and treat slaves like actual human beings. They had free expression and no cultural taboos on se.x. The other "civilized" cultures of the time thought of the Celts as barbaric, but then look at the Romans, making slaves fight to the death for entertainment and treating women like cattle. 

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