Is Anarchism Possible?
In my history class we talked a lot about anarchism, communism and capitalism. I really liked anarchism and the idea of anarchist communities, do you believe that with a new type of education in our societies applying small anarchist communities where people work for the community progress instad of thinking about them we could apply some type of anarchism like those Proudhon and Bakunin proposed in the 19th century?
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Very possible. Especially through communal, sustainable living like the Valhalla Movement. If this becomes viral, we could easily move into an Anarchist society. In fact, it would be inevitable. We would live in a gifting, communal, together, united, global society divided only into small communities where we could travel freely between. This is where we are headed.
@vicenteloayza, It really depends on what you mean by Anarchism, there are levels to it. You can have a complete state where there are no laws, even money would have no value. Then you have a type where there are laws and money but no real government, this is more a Libertarian ideal.
The thing with Anarchy is that there would be no authority, but that would not be true, people always rise to the top of the order, one way or another. You will have leaders, their Lieutenants under them, their Captains under those Lieutenants and the rest of us shit kickers under those Captains. It is the natural way of things because we are all strong in ways that others are weak and we all compliment each other, there are those that are the backbone of a community, those that are the glue that hold it all together.
The people who want Anarchy the most are the ones who are best prepared for it, they sell a noble ideal but only because they know it is the system where they will naturally rise to the top of and have all they want. You will simply be looking at a Feudal society within a year of Anarchy, that is the evolution of society and this would be a step back.
Communism is a dictatorship with complete autonomy over every social, economical and political aspect of a country. This type of power is too great for people, it is too risky no matter what reforms you try to regulate it with.
The original design of Capitalism by Adam Smith had a lot of things that he recommended, things that would avoid recession/depression, poverty, National debt and a number of other screwed up things about this system, but such recommendations were ignored by the greedy Aristocrats that installed it.
However, this system does have a lot of potential if enough people were willing to contribute to directing it in a productive way. The idea of Mass Strategic Consumerism is where enough people, I’m talking hundreds of millions, would all simultaneously boycott certain brands and products in order to force companies into being more socially and environmentally considerate, this on a global scale. This is not a violation of anyones rights or freedoms, but is actually using all our freedom and rights for a purpose.
When business is lost due to the irresponsible behaviour of the company, corporation, industry, whatever, it forces them to change or they will continue to lose profit and eventually die. People do not realize that collectively we have this power and no laws are broken by people collaborating in this manner.
This way would forge a society that is really working, really solving problems, the only obstacle is the apathetic culture people have and their zero leadership for something like this, something that they only really need to see that they gain so much from it with a little effort, everyone does, and once the business world realizes they will get around to each of them one by one, they will change on their own and they will all know to stay changed or it will be on.
@vicenteloayza, It is very possible. However, it is highly improbable. Not everybody wants anarchism, or would ever. People want/need to be lead. It is just human nature. Perhaps highly evolved humans ( where let’s say the average person is about as smart as stephen hawking) could live in an anarchistic way. Democratic Communism/Socialism, is far more probable, and has less pitfalls, although it still has them.
@trek79, Dude…you’re so correct it hurts. One thing that pisses me off about our current system in the West is that shit doesn’t have to be bad. A well-informed population who can think critically (to paraphrase Carlin) with a sprinkling of empathy for their fellow man is the solution to pretty much every problem we have in the West, specifically America. For all of the corruption and greed, well-informed voters/consumers with good intentions can do more to change the world than any radical socio-political upheaval.
But as for anarchism…I just don’t think it could ever work. I say that even though I admit I’m an anarchist in spirit. There are lots of valid criticisms of anarchism, but there is one thing I saw with my own eyes that discredited the movement in my opinion.
Last October, during the height of the Occupy Movement, I went down to Dilworth Plaza to join the Occupy Philadelphia protesters. I followed the movement closely. One thing I noticed was the level of “direct democracy” involved. Every little thing came down to a vote. Though OWS prided itself on being a leaderless movement, the direct democracy part of it stifled and paralyzed everything.
With no leaders, everything came down to a vote. They voted on what they were going to vote on. Then they voted on what day they would vote for the things the initially decided they needed to vote on. Shit was seriously maddening.
That right there killed anarchism for me. A well organized group of people partaking in some direct democracy turned into a long, drawn out vote about nothing-in-particular.
If I thought anarchism would work, I’d be the first to stitch a black flag. But I think it’s a flawed ideology. Even if it were put into practice, I don’t see how the movement would spread. Eventually a well organized, militarized, capitalistic society would EASILY crush an anarchist movement.
I’m on my third glass of wine so my thoughts are a little scattershot, so forgive me.
One more thing before I go: Anarchists, by the nature of their ideology, are an “all or nothing” lot. Because they don’t support the existence of the state, they’ll oppose most incremental change — however beneficial — because, since that change is connected to the state, they are inherently opposed to it. That in and of itself makes the whole idea of a hardcore anarchist a bit ridiculous to me.
Hardliners rarely do anything well.
@donjaime23, there’s actually quite a bit of order in street gangs, I don’t know how reliable Gangland is as a source but I’ve seen several episodes and all seem to suggest a chain of command and even a “mission” of sorts. And then, though I forget where I found it, (I want to say the book SuperFreakonomics) there’s a whole chapter about how street gangs have many levels of organization…..there’s really not much difference between a major gang and a corporation.
I think anarchy is a great idea but the problem is, sooner or later there’s always some dicktree who is somehow bigger and stronger than everyone else and thinks this makes them “better” than everyone else….no one offers a challenge because there are no rules, and then perhaps they start getting goons on their payroll….voila, you have a new king on your hands. I think that’s what’s going on today really…..maybe it isn’t that a lot of “normal” people actually LOVE the system, but they do recognize that the system is giving them a meal ticket.
@vicenteloayza, I believe anarchism is possible, not in our lifetime, but its principles can be applied on a local level that will allow future generations to build on it. For example, time banking and restorative justice are both anarchist models that can be applied right now. The optimistic view that I take from @quig ‘s observations is that our current society is steeped in a pattern of doing things that make anarchism seem impractical or slow, but with work and perseverance, over time, a method for doing things that is efficient and not oppressive can be discovered. For example, consider the work of Laird Schaub – he lives in an intentional community and works on process (group dynamics). You can visit his website here: http://communityandconsensus.blogspot.com/
Personally, I’m working to tie urban agriculture, time banking, and anarchism together. I imagine this will not be immediately successful, but at the moment, it is what I’m passionate about exploring and trying to figure out. I think it’s important to try to distinguish what our culture has taught us from what is possible. I hesitate to say anarchism is impractical because with a community supported education, anything is possible.
(If you’re interested, I shared a paper I wrote on Anarchism in a thread here: http://www.highexistence.com/topic/an-anarchist-theory-of-criminal-justice/)
@theskafish, You may be right, but if you are and street gangs have more order than an anarchist community, I don’t see an anarchist community being able to sustain itself.
Your comment about a “bigger and stronger dicktree” made me think, though: Anarchism is inherently impossible because there can never be a community which is truly lawless. There will always be a law in play: The Law of the Jungle. Anyone who is somehow able to assert themselves an “alpha” will get their way and enforce it. The rest of the community can either follow the alpha, leave the community, or try fighting the alpha (which we can assume will mean death.) We humans call this alpha the King, Chief, Despot, Dictator, whatever. The concept of a forcefully established leader is written in the Natural Order and will always rise out of chaos (ie anarchism) as it always has.
I think you’re completely right about about the tendency of a “bigger stronger dicktree” but I don’t think the dicktree is to blame. It’s the law that’s been in play since the dawn of time and will be at play during the dusk of time. It’s the law that makes true lawlessness inherently impossible. The Law of the Jungle.
@donjaime23, I see what you’re saying. But I still feel that the despot/dictator/dicktree is always at fault, because unlike animals humans have the ability of reason instead of just instinct. Giving in to megalomania is a choice just like giving in to the temptation of crime, or drugs, or anything really.
Anarchism could be possible if more people just use that ability of reason, if more people ask themselves what it means to have “enough”. I mean, there really is no point to having more than you can use or even enjoy. I mean, why do we have a problem with gangsters, and billionaires, and strongmen of all types? Because they hoard money/weapons/power as a defense to the world, along with an addiction to power and the feeling of superiority that comes with power, aka megalomania. It’s as much of a fear-based choice as it is based in arrogance.
I thought on the concept and how to apply within a global community and anarchism could in my humble opinion only exist if true equality can manifest. Won’t go deeper in to that, for that is a different discussion.
But, think about this for a second. If we could create an individual logo currency which is unique to all people and the exchange of such “currency” can be imbedded with personal exceptions like, I pay you $10,- which can be used to buy anything except be traded to or within an industry of the currency owners choice, for example gun making or the oil industry. Bassicaly this is the same right a government instills on it’s inhabbitants but goes further. So the money you create by honest labour can be given with rules to behave, this all is possible within our electronic payment system.
Think even further and we could create a system where money created by the individual can be printed as long it is enough. So you could cash out your personal logo currency and be traded far past your death, and when the currency is being brought back into electronic circulation you still have the rules you gave to your currency. Effectively undermining the system and collectively we will know pretty soon allot more of our economy and human direction.. we bassically make our opinion liquid…
Well whatever, I hope someday when being her-introduced to the concept of the autonomous society such ideas are conceivable and could benefit on the way individual influence can be given back to people despite the consequences of the ruling society.