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Author Topic: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?  (Read 1989 times)

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Offline Major MajorTopic starter

Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« on: April 04, 2011, 11:16:15 PM »
Despite the potentially inflammatory title, I was just wanting to see who else here identifies with this philosophy, however much of a tangent.

Me, I'm probably the least like the wild-eyed, petrol bomb-throwing stereotype you can find. For I subscribe to a brand of anarchism that has its' origins, not amongst the dispossessed masses, but from the mind of one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century, Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse.

For I am a Chappist; an anarchist by way of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, and his Gentleman's Gentleman Reginald Jeeves.

Offline OldSchoolGamer

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 11:29:46 PM »
Despite the potentially inflammatory title, I was just wanting to see who else here identifies with this philosophy, however much of a tangent.

Me, I'm probably the least like the wild-eyed, petrol bomb-throwing stereotype you can find. For I subscribe to a brand of anarchism that has its' origins, not amongst the dispossessed masses, but from the mind of one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century, Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse.

For I am a Chappist; an anarchist by way of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, and his Gentleman's Gentleman Reginald Jeeves.

Hey, don't tell ME what to do, buddy.   ;D

Offline consortium11

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 11:41:38 PM »
As set out in the Libertarianism thread in my personal political nirvana I'm an anarcho-capitalist. That said I understand that's a utopian position which is why I end up closer to libertarianism in reality.

Offline Sabby

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 09:19:55 AM »
Anarchism does not work, for growth is ordered by nature.

Law and Order does not work, for we are chaotic by nature.

Utopia and Paradise are a myth until we lose all reasons to seek it, and thusly all reasons to be.

Our reality is a ring, one we travel endlessly, hoping to find a door.

As we search, we will hurt. When we stop, we will end.

This is the paradox of our existence. This is our cosmic joke.


- Sabby

Offline Tree°

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 10:02:07 AM »
Adams said P. G. Wodehouse is darned grant, especially in how he uses them words.

I'm no Anarchist though.

In respone to Sabby. We'd probably be very relaxed, if we didn't use our brains for the building of thought. My dog is pretty relaxed, he doesn't care about anarchy, and I don't think he's set out to be capitalist either.

Offline Sabby

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 10:13:49 AM »
Yeah, this is me half asleep and on coffee >.< not a poet

Offline Tree°

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 10:15:20 AM »
Got a point there though. I figure that's how it goes with most folks and society in general.

Offline Sabby

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 10:21:39 AM »
Yeah, guess what I meant was no matter which life you take, life is a struggle and nothing is perfect, and perfection is over rated anyway. Seriously, Heaven sounds like the worst kind of hell to me :/ whatever kind of 'great, perfect beyond' or afterlife you believe in, something unending and free of hardship or pain or suffering sounds utterly terrifying. Its being forced to exist without any reasons to exist at all.

I'm getting off topic here... Anarchy to me, unless I have a Hollywood understanding of it and theres more to it, can't ever work. Ever. Not because of the chaos or the damage or the loss of life, its because things will eventually fall into place again. Even if its just a gang arising from the looting and violence, a semblance of leadership comes, rules are established, a hierarchy set within that group... the kind of life I see when I think of 'anarchy' always spawns some form of order.

Offline consortium11

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 08:20:25 PM »
Yeah, guess what I meant was no matter which life you take, life is a struggle and nothing is perfect, and perfection is over rated anyway. Seriously, Heaven sounds like the worst kind of hell to me :/ whatever kind of 'great, perfect beyond' or afterlife you believe in, something unending and free of hardship or pain or suffering sounds utterly terrifying. Its being forced to exist without any reasons to exist at all.

I'm getting off topic here... Anarchy to me, unless I have a Hollywood understanding of it and theres more to it, can't ever work. Ever. Not because of the chaos or the damage or the loss of life, its because things will eventually fall into place again. Even if its just a gang arising from the looting and violence, a semblance of leadership comes, rules are established, a hierarchy set within that group... the kind of life I see when I think of 'anarchy' always spawns some form of order.

I think that's the "Hollywood understanding" coming through.

Anarchy doesn't mean there can't be leadership, a hierarchy or rules. It just means that those things don't come from the State or a proxy for a State.

As for an example, Anarchist Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War was actually remarkably successful.


Offline Jude

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 08:29:36 PM »
Anarchy can definitely work and work well in certain situations.  Anarchy is a very efficient form of government if it can be successfully implemented.  Early human social units were probably anarchic in nature.  The problem is, when you introduce large numbers of people it isn't a very sustainable system.  Among groups of people who all know each other it works just fine, but when a society grows large enough that strangers must necessarily exist societal trust, faith, and cohesion breaks down.

Strangers are nebulous entities that represent the threat of the unknown and can easily be dehumanized (and thus make a perfect target for theft, aggression, bullying, et cetera).  If Anarchy was a good system for large settlements other ways of organizing societies probably never would've developed to begin with, as they would've failed the evolutionary test of being able to compete with Anarchy.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 09:22:47 PM »
I think that's the "Hollywood understanding" coming through.

Anarchy doesn't mean there can't be leadership, a hierarchy or rules. It just means that those things don't come from the State or a proxy for a State.

As for an example, Anarchist Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War was actually remarkably successful.

 If there is order, it's not anarchy.

Offline Sure

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 09:43:22 PM »
As for an example, Anarchist Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War was actually remarkably successful.

... no it wasn't. Firstly, the Anarchists in Spain were widely criticized for going against their principles by joining in the government (as they were a political party) by anarchists worldwide. Secondly, they came to be a organized political party participating in the government they claimed to oppose. Thirdly (as I understand), they never actually ruled Catalonia, their authority was never more than assorted militias and two military units plus miscellaneous government posts. Though they did control some things, they were authority in a non-anarchic system, not anarchists forming an anarchic government. Fourthly they were so unpopular and hated that the Republican government refused to arm them. Fifthly, such units were considered so ineffective that the government integrated them into and put them under the command of the central army (admittedly partially because they wouldn't listen to the High Commands orders). Sixthly, they lost.

Quote
Anarchy can definitely work and work well in certain situations.  Anarchy is a very efficient form of government if it can be successfully implemented.  Early human social units were probably anarchic in nature.

As I understood, the first social units were probably familial in nature, with a single authority ruling over his family (or her, perhaps, there wasn't an institution to enforce gender roles). This extended by larger clans in which one person retained authority over the smaller units rather than breaking apart and becoming individual units.

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Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 11:41:05 PM »
anyone here read V for vendetta, it's where I got my understanding of it from.
instead of those stupid semi wealthy tweens in my school when I was a kid who assumed Anarchy = anti-capatalist and went through some rebellious phase

it can be summed up thusly
anarchy wears two faces, destroyer and creator. first goverments must be reduced to rubble, once rubble has been created there is no further use for the destroyer, and the creator must take place, building a world of perfect order, that is, volentary order, where no goverment is needed to create order and organization because people submit to the one they've created on their own.

to date no anarchy group has gone beyond that destroyer phase, many cannot put down their weapons and put violence aside once rubble has been created, and those that do do so from becoming jaded and dissolving, not in victory.
like any political philophy it can be distorted and twisted, just as democractic, republican, monarchical, despotic, philophy.
despotic FYI is all the power in the hands of a single leader who does what he wants, if said leader was a truely beneovlent and enlightened leader who cared for his people, it would have not be a problem, but people are falible.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2011, 07:06:41 AM »
As I understood, the first social units were probably familial in nature, with a single authority ruling over his family (or her, perhaps, there wasn't an institution to enforce gender roles). This extended by larger clans in which one person retained authority over the smaller units rather than breaking apart and becoming individual units.

Even new world monkeys live in social groups. The concept of a tribe is as least as old if not older than the simians.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2011, 07:22:38 AM »
According to Noam Chomsky, if there is one principle which unifies all different branches of anarchism, it's that any structure of authority has to justify itself. The burden of proof, as it were, is on that structure, and if it fails to justify itself, it's illegitimate and should be replaced. According to him, that is often the case. Now, some people might not agree with that definition, I'm certainly no scholar on the matter, but if that is accurate, then I agree with him, and I guess that would make me some kind of anarchist. But that's about as far as I've gotten.

Offline consortium11

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2011, 08:17:12 AM »
If there is order, it's not anarchy.

In the political sense that isn't true. Anarchy merely means the absence of the state. Most anarchist positions are based on the concept that there can be order without the State, be it through the market, communes or syndicates.

... no it wasn't. Firstly, the Anarchists in Spain were widely criticized for going against their principles by joining in the government (as they were a political party) by anarchists worldwide.

There's mixed views on the CNT's eventual decision to work with the government and take certain roles: Emma Goldbloom for example was roughly supportive arguing that circumstances demanded it. While there's no doubt they eventually took part in the wider government of Spain in Catalonia itself they basically abolished it.

Secondly, they came to be a organized political party participating in the government they claimed to oppose.

As above this did happen but with remarkably little influence on Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular. I'd also question whether CNT became an organised political party itself during that period as opposed to essentially a well organised pressure group... simply having members in government doesn't seem to me to be enough to be a party in and of itself.

Thirdly (as I understand), they never actually ruled Catalonia, their authority was never more than assorted militias and two military units plus miscellaneous government posts. Though they did control some things, they were authority in a non-anarchic system, not anarchists forming an anarchic government.

By my understanding was that they did... they implemented a fairly widescale project of setting up syndicates (with about 75% take up, especially in their industrial powerbase) and had real power and influence... leading to the crackdown during the Barcelona May Days. There's some debate as to whether it was a socialist libertarian/minarchist system or the syndical anarchism they publicly called for but again, within Catalonia itself and Barcelona in particular, their power came not from the State but from their own power base and the State was allowed to whither away. The real issue is that there are many accusations... of which many are almost certainly true... that this Spanish Revolution was basically forced on the general populace by the use of coercion by a relatively small cadre of dedicated hardliners... anarchism at the barrel of the gun.

Fourthly they were so unpopular and hated that the Republican government refused to arm them.

I think part of this has to be seen in the political context. Both the Republican government and the Soviet supporters were at best wary of the anarchists with the Soviets being especially troubled... much as they had to Nestor Makhno's Black Army in the early 1920's... and at worst openly hostile (as during the May Days). This was at best an unholy alliance... if not for Franco then the Anarchists would have been raging against the Republicans and the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily a friend you wish to allow to grow strong. There was vast amounts of Bolshevik propaganda against the Anarchists and the Soviets basically refused to offer them any anid.

Fifthly, such units were considered so ineffective that the government integrated them into and put them under the command of the central army (admittedly partially because they wouldn't listen to the High Commands orders).

As above. While I'm not saying the Anarchists were exceptionally effective (although the Durruti Column had some successes) their eventual disbandment and integration owed much to a growing Soviet influence and their wish to prevent there being a distinct Anarchist fighting force to oppose them. All of the groups aligned against Franco had one eye on the post-war Spain... and all paid for it.

Sixthly, they lost.

I think under the circumstances... against the trained military supplied and aided by both Italy and Germany with at best limited support from their allies if not being forced into running street battles (again I point to May Days)... they did remarkably well. Some reports list production actually going up in Catalonia at the time and it was one of the few even somewhat successful attempts to put together an anarchist society. The police had basically been disbanded, almost all workplaces had been collectivised and other hallmarks of syndical anarchism the CNT put forward were in place. The coercion accusations lessen the impact but overall I think you can point to Anarchist Catalonia of that time as a decent example that anarchism can at least somewhat work in practice.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2011, 01:24:05 PM »
In the political sense that isn't true. Anarchy merely means the absence of the state. Most anarchist positions are based on the concept that there can be order without the State, be it through the market, communes or syndicates.



 That doesn't make sense. If there is no federal state, but a state/providence government, or even a local one, that is still order of some sort. Hell, even in a total anarchy, some form of order is imposed, usually by a gun and force.

 The only way I can see a stateless 'government' forming is if all of the people in that area (wether a county, state or nation) agree and work to get it done. Which is extremely unlikely to happen. Order will be imposed one way or another by someone or an outside force.

 A commune and syndicate has some form of structure and order, some form of enforcing it's will on the people in it. That's hardly anarchy.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2011, 01:25:29 PM by Zakharra »

Offline consortium11

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2011, 01:46:19 PM »
I'm not the best person to argue for how such a system comes into being... the reason my own sympathy for anarchism us utopian is because I believe that aspect is unrealistic. As I understand it most left-anarchists believe that once the shackles of the state and capitalism are thrown off the people will soon realise that it is unnecessary and happily work together; roughly similar to what Marxists hold and ignoring Lenin's idea of a vanguard party. Anarcho-capitalists hold that the market is an effective arbiter for all things and that in practice it would be apparent to everyone that the state was unnecessary.

On the "does order = a state" point the key issue for almost all of the major anarchist positions is that it would be voluntary and non-coercive. The state is neither; there is no practical way for an agent to "opt out" of the State concept in general (arguments such as "move to Somalia" are pretty weak) and if an agent attempts to do so the State will use coercion to force them back in or punish them for doing so.

To take an anarcho-capitalist example... on whatever scale you wish individual agents could decide to set up something that resembles the current government in many ways: they could opt to pay the equivalent of taxes, the "government" could use that to pay for security, benefits, infrastructure etc etc. What separates it is that it would be voluntary; any individual could opt out and the "government" could not force them to rejoin or directly punish them for doing so (although it could withdraw access to all services and benefits offered ranging from security to fire service to medical care etc etc). There would be no state, no coercion and everything would be voluntary. The other major schools of thought could easily have something similar although because of their nature it is highly unlikely to resemble any current form of government.

As set out previous Anarchy in the political sense doesn't mean the absence of order, merely of the State. Whether a stateless society would be able to be ordered is the real question... anarchists generally say yes, most others say no.

Offline Sure

Re: Anarchists Unite! Who's with me, brothers and sisters?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2011, 05:07:46 PM »
Quote
There's mixed views on the CNT's eventual decision to work with the government and take certain roles: Emma Goldbloom for example was roughly supportive arguing that circumstances demanded it. While there's no doubt they eventually took part in the wider government of Spain in Catalonia itself they basically abolished it.

No they didn't. The Catalan government was always around and powerful enough to give the Republicans a headache due to their separatist leanings. In fact, the most powerful faction in Catalonia was the Catalan Nationalists, not the Anarchists.

Quote
As above this did happen but with remarkably little influence on Catalonia in general and Barcelona in particular. I'd also question whether CNT became an organised political party itself during that period as opposed to essentially a well organised pressure group... simply having members in government doesn't seem to me to be enough to be a party in and of itself.

Having members in government who associate with each other ideologically in a structured way and organizing voters to get and keep such people in government? That there's a political party.

Quote
By my understanding was that they did... they implemented a fairly widescale project of setting up syndicates (with about 75% take up, especially in their industrial powerbase) and had real power and influence... leading to the crackdown during the Barcelona May Days. There's some debate as to whether it was a socialist libertarian/minarchist system or the syndical anarchism they publicly called for but again, within Catalonia itself and Barcelona in particular, their power came not from the State but from their own power base and the State was allowed to whither away. The real issue is that there are many accusations... of which many are almost certainly true... that this Spanish Revolution was basically forced on the general populace by the use of coercion by a relatively small cadre of dedicated hardliners... anarchism at the barrel of the gun.

The Anarchists did not suffer a 'crack down' on the Barcelona May Days. They were defeated by Communists. A crack down would have had to have come from the Republican Government which was uninvolved. Further, Anarchist Catalonia did not take up the whole of Catalonia but just the parts the Anarchists occupied. And, as you said, they imposed their own form of order.

Quote
I think part of this has to be seen in the political context. Both the Republican government and the Soviet supporters were at best wary of the anarchists with the Soviets being especially troubled... much as they had to Nestor Makhno's Black Army in the early 1920's... and at worst openly hostile (as during the May Days). This was at best an unholy alliance... if not for Franco then the Anarchists would have been raging against the Republicans and the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily a friend you wish to allow to grow strong. There was vast amounts of Bolshevik propaganda against the Anarchists and the Soviets basically refused to offer them any anid.

No, they would have been raging against the Communists. They were working with the Republicans as a political party before Franco was anyone more important than some random general. It was not an unholy alliance it was what they sought to do.

Quote
As above. While I'm not saying the Anarchists were exceptionally effective (although the Durruti Column had some successes) their eventual disbandment and integration owed much to a growing Soviet influence and their wish to prevent there being a distinct Anarchist fighting force to oppose them. All of the groups aligned against Franco had one eye on the post-war Spain... and all paid for it.

Yet they were considered even less effective than Republican units or other militias. Even relatively they failed to stack up. I couldn't say how much of this was just because, being anarchists, they often refused to obey orders though.

Quote
I think under the circumstances... against the trained military supplied and aided by both Italy and Germany with at best limited support from their allies if not being forced into running street battles (again I point to May Days)... they did remarkably well. Some reports list production actually going up in Catalonia at the time and it was one of the few even somewhat successful attempts to put together an anarchist society. The police had basically been disbanded, almost all workplaces had been collectivised and other hallmarks of syndical anarchism the CNT put forward were in place. The coercion accusations lessen the impact but overall I think you can point to Anarchist Catalonia of that time as a decent example that anarchism can at least somewhat work in practice.

They did not have limited support from their allies, they had a mutually hostile relationship. Mutually. In fact, one might even say the Anarchists started it by raiding Republican depots (violently at times) to steal supplies and arms when the Republican government considered telling them they weren't going to arm militias which openly declared they might flout Republican authority (and they did flout Republican authority, Anarchists were infamous for retreating or attacking regardless of what High Command told them they needed them to do). In fact, the Anarchists were remarkably violent, though not more so than any other radical political group such as the Communists, and that might be forgiven by war time conditions.

And the police had not been disbanded, they had been replaced by police units made up of 'workers' who were loyal to the Anarchists. Again, when this was challenged as biased, the Anarchists responded with violence.