Machine Nation

Irish Politics Forum - Politics Technology Economics in Ireland - A Look Under The Nation's Bonnet


Devilish machinations come to naught --Milton
 
PortalPortal  HomeHome  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlist  UsergroupsUsergroups  RegisterRegister  Log in  GalleryGallery  MACHINENATION.org  

Share | 
 

 Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
AuthorMessage
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 12:10 pm

For a theory which promotes highly organised, participatory democracy it's bizarre how 'anarchy' and 'anarchism' are now commonly used to connote the exact opposite of what the anarchist movement is about. The co-operative, bottom-up society that anarchism envisages could not be more at odds with the ignorant but commonly held belief that anarchists are in favour of chaos, violence and lawlessness. In fact the opposite is the case. I'm starting this thread in the hope of generating an informative and factual discussion. I'm not an expert on the subject but have read enough to know that anarchism gets an undeserved bad press most of the time.

Howard Zinn has written a good article on the subject which is as good a place to start as any:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19970.htm

Excerpt:

Quote :
Ziga Vodovnik: Do you thing that pejorative (mis)usage of the word anarchism is direct consequence of the fact that the ideas that people can be free, was and is very frightening to those in power?

Howard Zinn: No doubt! No doubt that anarchist ideas are frightening to those in power. People in power can tolerate liberal ideas. They can tolerate ideas that call for reforms, but they cannot tolerate the idea that there will be no state, no central authority. So it is very important for them to ridicule the idea of anarchism to create this impression of anarchism as violent and chaotic. It is useful for them, yes.



****************************

More information at link below - "An Anarchist FAQ":

http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secA1.html


Last edited by Aragon on Fri May 23, 2008 12:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 12:12 pm

Anarchists seem to be nice types, but their organisational forms don't seem to do too well when it comes to war, and the centralised top down arrangement knocks the hell out of them.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 12:33 pm

Aragon wrote:
The co-operative, bottom-up society that anarchism envisages could not be more at odds with the ignorant but commonly held belief that anarchists are in favour of chaos, violence and lawlessness. In fact the opposite is the case.
Emm, it wouldn't have anything to do with the meaning of the word 'anarchy', would it?

To the dictionary!
Quote :
[Anarchy]
1. a. Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder.
b. A theoretical social state in which there is no governing person or body of persons, but each individual has absolute liberty (without implication of disorder).
2. transf. Absence or non-recognition of authority and order in any sphere. a. gen.
b. Non-recognition of moral law; moral disorder.
c. Unsettledness or conflict of opinion.
http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50007981?single=1&query_type=word&queryword=anarchy&first=1&max_to_show=10

Call me an etymologically fallacious old twat, but the lawless chaos meaning is a lot older, and I think a lot more common, than the political meaning.

'Anarchism' and 'anarchist' are tied closely to anarchy and both predate the political meaning of the word.

The etymology of the word is grand: 'without a chief or head' (what anthropologists call acephalous). I can see why such minded people choose the word. But the everyday meaning of the word cannot be ignored.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 12:45 pm

Quote :
AnarchyAnarchy is a confusing wordwordword to define, since it has several possible definitions. The word is almost unchanged from its Greek origin, anarchia, which simply translates as without or lacking in authority. In the modern sense, it may be used negatively or positively, but most often the wordwordword is used in a negative sense to imply a complete lack of order and chaos. The days immediately following Hurricane Katrina was a time when anarchyanarchyanarchy prevailed and confusion was great.

In another sense anarchism may refer to the idea that people would better profit without a government of any kind. Anarchists believe that most people can govern themselves and would be happier doing so. Within this idea of self-government, as opposed to government by the state, fall many theories of how lack of a government could possibly work. Would people, for instance, have the same currency, be asked to abide by the same laws, or have any types of organized assistance

The neutral meaning may be old too. Can't find out the earliest use of the word anarchia / anarchy.

It is interesting to compare the libertarianism that youngdan espouses and that seems to be a growing movement in the US with traditional anarchy. One is politically right wing and the other traditionally left wing - but without a cross-societal agreed framework of government, it is hard to see how either could possibly defend itself from the inevitable attacks of the centrally organised state, or other organised enemies.
Military defeat seems to have been the fate of both libertarians in the US and european anarchists when ever they have emerged to visibility so as to appear a threat.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 1:02 pm

I think historians would agree that organised top-down systems work better than the alternative. They might not be more just or fair but the realpolitik of the situation has the final word.

It has been argued, by Samuel Huntington for one, that Europe and the West has a strong individualist culture which has contributed to our pre-eminent position the world today. But our individualism was tempered by authority from above (where does God fit into anarchsm by the way?). Personally, I would have thought that a blend or a balance of both ideas would work best.

cactus flower: the oxford dictionary puts the earliest use of 'anarchy' back to 1539, and the eraliest use in Aragon's political sense to 1850.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 1:12 pm

The important thing about anarchy is that absence of government is not at all intended to imply absence of order and cooperation. For libertarian socialist anarchists like Chomsky, a minimum possible delegation of power is seen as inevitable but only in forms that make it strictly accountable - accountability of government at present is woeful - the electoral system is pathetic in this regard. The mjority have no say over who they get to choose between (candidates are often the personal favourites of their party leaders) and once elected, voters have no say either in how they do their jobs.

Anarchism means an absence of authoritarian government in favour of self-government. Personal committment and input are seen as vital - making a full contribution to your community in whatever way you can is central. It's not about being lazy. The use of violence is abhored by most though some would argue for the right to self-defence - and not as that term is currently interpreted by the US government for example.

CF did you have any particular examples of what you meant in your earlier post about centralised top down organisation - that would be at odds with everything anarchists believe. Any anarchist group that functioned like that would not really be anarchist.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 1:22 pm

Aragon,
Most people (including myself) would fail to differentiate between government and 'order and cooperation'. So it's good that 'anarchists' point this out.
Quote :
Personal committment and input are seen as vital - making a full contribution to your community in whatever way you can is central. It's not about being lazy.
Waht does this mean. Do you have to contribute? What happens if you don't?


Quote :
Ziga Vodovnik: Do you thing that pejorative (mis)usage of the word anarchism is direct consequence of the fact that the ideas that people can be free, was and is very frightening to those in power?

Howard Zinn: No doubt! No doubt that anarchist ideas are frightening to those in power. People in power can tolerate liberal ideas. They can tolerate ideas that call for reforms, but they cannot tolerate the idea that there will be no state, no central authority. So it is very important for them to ridicule the idea of anarchism to create this impression of anarchism as violent and chaotic. It is useful for them, yes.
In light of mine and cactus flower's insights into the meaning of anarchy would you still agree with this argument?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 1:30 pm

I didn't express myself very clearly Aragon, but what I am saying is that when anarchists emerge in any strength they pose a challenge that is predictably going to be met with a state response and when they engage in military combat they pretty reliably get beaten by state military forces as in Germany in 1917-8 and in the Spanish Civil War (both the CP and the facists had a go at them).

I think there are enormous social gains to be harnessed through participatory organisation, but if you are not able to defend them it is a bit of a problem. There are times when a society has to be able to act quickly and very coherently and there isn't time for a debate.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 1:45 pm

Just a quickie here cos Im not on the same intellectual level of the rest of yis.

Anarchism,like communism and libertarianism and other ideologies which see the disappearance,absence or withering away of a central authority or centralising apparatus or any overall governing authority - they sound great in theory - but have totally and utterly failed whenever they have been attempted to put into practice.

IMHO - it would require a complete lobotomy for the over 99.999% of humanity as it currently stands.

For the vast majority of humanity - the need for a degree of certainty,security and structure is paramount - look at all the great religions and spiritual beliefs - most pertinently the fastest growing faith in the world - Islam - is grounded in the need for certainty, stability and an easily recognised authority and the authority structure that flows from this.

We are genetically hotwired for this - millions of years have brough humanity to the fore - thu our teamwork and our need to belong - this requires sacrifice and compromise - we are not all born equal - some of us are simply better leaders ,organisers and planners and some of us are just lazy sods happy to go along for the ride once our basic needs (food,drink,sex) are met and may require a degree of coercion to pull our weight and contribute in the collective effort.

I think anarchism etc etc - require a degree of self awareness, self confidence and a social and entreprenurial skillset that most of humanity does not come anywhere near achieving.

my two cents.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 2:04 pm

905 wrote:
Aragon,
Most people (including myself) would fail to differentiate between government and 'order and cooperation'. So it's good that 'anarchists' point this out.

The difference is that the the nature of the order and cooperation are not decided from above.

Quote :
Quote :
Personal committment and input are seen as vital - making a full contribution to your community in whatever way you can is central. It's not about being lazy.
Waht does this mean. Do you have to contribute? What happens if you don't?

The idea that people should work is hardly radical, no? The vast majority prefer to work but at the moment most work is done by the majority within a system that is controlled by a minority. Anarchism would aim to see that situation reversed - and to create a system of work in which people feel they have genuine involvement and control over what they do and how it should best be done.

Quote :
Ziga Vodovnik: Do you thing that pejorative (mis)usage of the word anarchism is direct consequence of the fact that the ideas that people can be free, was and is very frightening to those in power?

Howard Zinn: No doubt! No doubt that anarchist ideas are frightening to those in power. People in power can tolerate liberal ideas. They can tolerate ideas that call for reforms, but they cannot tolerate the idea that there will be no state, no central authority. So it is very important for them to ridicule the idea of anarchism to create this impression of anarchism as violent and chaotic. It is useful for them, yes.
In light of mine and cactus flower's insights into the meaning of anarchy would you still agree with this argument?[/quote]

Absolutely, I agree with that quote: that those who monopolise power are terrified of real democracy - its egalitarian nature is at odds with everything they are about, whatever they claim. So long as we have a system within which people are entitled to take more than their fair share of the worlds resources, then true democracy is impossible. What he have is really a system of capitalism with weakish elements of democracy about it. We are indoctrinated from birth about how wonderful, natural and ordinary this state of affairs is, despite the fact the it is so disadvantageous to the majority. And even the diminishing democracy that we had and which was so hard fought for from the bottom up (never the other way around) is now in serious decline. Almost all of the legislation passed in this country in recent years is watering down our democracy and handing authority and control into fewer hands - much of that control being located entirely outside of any democratic form of accountability or control -as will be the case with our health service, to name just one example. The Strategic Infrastructure legislation was another outrageous example.

The more nakedly capitalist we become, the worse things get. The threat of violence against those who seriously challenge this pretend democracy is always just below the surface and the beginning point of that violence is the sort of hysterical propaganda such as attaches to anarchism - almost as a form of intimidation against even logically considering it as one would any other idea. People who have never read one word about anarchism, believe they 'know' that is all about violence and chaos when in fact it is nothing of the sort.

I recommend this website - its full of really useful discussion and information - worth an indepth browse:

http://www.wsm.ie/
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 2:19 pm

The idea that people should work is not radical, but I thought anarchism was about breaking old trends. Would people be forced to work?

I would disagree with Vodovnik and Zinn, I think that putting the confusion over the word 'anarchy' directly down to fearful powers is ignoring the history and everyday use of the word. Or have the powers that be corrupted the dictionaries in some sort of Orwellian twist? Certainly Vodovnik's idea that the word is being misused makes no sense to me, as if there were was only one correct way of using the word.

Forgive my insistence on arguing semantics but the thread is supposedly about the misunderstanding of anarchism. I would agree that the status quo is afraid of anarchism, of course they would be! To claim that it is 'true democracy' is a bit strong though, implying that all other froms of democracy are false. What if people want control, as Edo argues? Is that not their democratic wish?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 3:22 pm

It's hard to describe one's philosophy without denigrating another. With politics, it's impossible.

If democracy is the will of the people, then anarchist methodologies are the highest form of democracy. The current capitalist dictatorship that passes itself off as a democracy has refined the will of the people down to a single vote every five years or so where the people get to choose between what they view as the lessers of evils.

Anarchist politics have become very sophisticated, particularly so in the last decade, give or take a few years. To my shame, I've not kept pace with what's current. Chekov is the guy to talk to about political development. I come at it from a purely philosophical viewpoint, honed down to the singular person. It's much broader than that and is a completely inclusive system rather than an isolating one, like the system we currently find ourselves a part of.

There's a common misconception that anarchists embrace and welcome chaos and crime. Nothing could be further from the truth. No system holds a patent on morality, indeed morality in its varying zeitgeist has pre-existed practically any political model. Many aspects of life are equated with current political models, for no better reason that they exist concurrently. It's the old 'take responsibility for the good stuff and blame the bad stuff on somebody else.'

I'm not too sure about the idea that a top down system will beat a bottom up system in a conflict. That's purely down to numbers and weaponry imo. Anarchists do not need to sit down and discuss each issue as it happens - that's one of the beauties of the system, most discussion occurs before things happen. An anarchist will react to any given situation as fast as anyone else.

Rather than getting into specifics and getting bogged down in them, allow me to suggest that Machine Nation follows an anarchist model moreso than it follows the political model that our country follows. A good idea survives by virtue of the fact that it is a good idea, rather than the supposed virtue of who produced it. In the anarchist model, ideas will evolve fully. In the capitalist democracy the gene pool of ideas is both shallow and small - propaganda must be used to prop up the few weak ideas that emerge.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 3:33 pm

i thought the self order meaning was older and the the dictionary meaning was put in to blacken anarchists.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 3:38 pm

I guess the debate over whether anarchism is any truer to democracy than a supposedly bad system voted for democratically is a subject for another thread.

Quote :
I'm not too sure about the idea that a top down system will beat a bottom up system in a conflict. That's purely down to numbers and weaponry imo. Anarchists do not need to sit down and discuss each issue as it happens - that's one of the beauties of the system, most discussion occurs before things happen. An anarchist will react to any given situation as fast as anyone else.

The idea that a bottom-up system might beat a top-down one goes against common sense. It is a matter of organisation and coordination as well as numbers and weapons. How could a group of individuals coordinate things better than one person in charge? Deciding a course of action beforehand is natural, but how do they react collectively to rapidly changing circumstances?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 3:39 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
i thought the self order meaning was older and the the dictionary meaning was put in to blacken anarchists.
Can you back that up?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 3:59 pm

With no disrespect to our highly valued members who are anarchists, I am not sure that I would want to be in a sailing ship in a storm crewed by anarchists Shocked unless they were prepared to abandon their outlook for the duration and do what the captain told them.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 4:10 pm

Very Happy

Methinks my esteemed fellow citizens of MN are playing outside the field.

In a battle between armies, there is no democracy. Same with ships.

We're talking about political and philosophical systems. Even if armies were democratic political systems, who'd go over the top under fire after being ordered to do so by Mr. Cowen? Even better, do we vote in our generals or do we let ability choose?

The way armies and indeed ships work, are not inventions of a democratic system. Anarchists only reinvent the wheel when the need arises.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 4:45 pm

905 wrote:
The idea that people should work is not radical, but I thought anarchism was about breaking old trends. Would people be forced to work?

I would disagree with Vodovnik and Zinn, I think that putting the confusion over the word 'anarchy' directly down to fearful powers is ignoring the history and everyday use of the word. Or have the powers that be corrupted the dictionaries in some sort of Orwellian twist? Certainly Vodovnik's idea that the word is being misused makes no sense to me, as if there were was only one correct way of using the word.

Forgive my insistence on arguing semantics but the thread is supposedly about the misunderstanding of anarchism. I would agree that the status quo is afraid of anarchism, of course they would be! To claim that it is 'true democracy' is a bit strong though, implying that all other froms of democracy are false. What if people want control, as Edo argues? Is that not their democratic wish?

The etymology of the word comes from Athens of the fifth century bc. The archos was the elected leader - although his powers were increasingly constrained as the century progressed, eventually becoming a figurehead. For several years in the 460 b.c.s the records indicate "an archos" - no leader.

The word was introduced into English as a synonym for chaos in the 16th and 17th century (during the period when scholars were consciously attempting to make English less Ango-Saxon and more classical).

In the mid 19th century, the french 'mutualist' Pierre Joseph Proudhon, declared himself an anarchist. This was a conscious attempt to challenge the assumption that "no leader" = chaos. The idea that societies needs a leader with special powers to give orders was and remains deeply embedded in social discourse, to the extent that it's embedded in our language itself. The choice of label was a deliberate attempt to challenge this assumption, as well as a means of indicating how great a rupture anarchism would be with the current system of social organisation.

So, in summation, the 'chaos' meaning was not invented to blacken the names of anarchists - it preceded them. It does, however, embed a particular idea of social organisation in the language itself.

However, that's not to say that there has been no name-blackening. Ever since the anarchist movement emerged in the 1870's, there has been a persistent and sustained effort to smear, vilify and slander its name. It is a tendency which is philosphically and politically more removed from violence than pretty much any other political tendency bar pacifism, yet in our media it is almost synonymous with violence. It is a tendency that tends to attract thoughtful, questioning people, deeply wedded to the principles of education, coopearation and debate, yet it is most commonly associated with unthinking teenage rebellion or some sort of personality defect. The common associations are, more or less, purely the inventions of the enemies of anarchism. You occassionally find somebody who is attracted the the nihilist tabloid image of anarchists and, based upon that, decides to call themselves an anarchist - but that's pretty rare. I've met thousands of anarchists from all over the world and I only remember encountering such people on two occassions ever - such eejits generally don't stick around long anyway.

The strength and depth of the anti-anarchist misinformation is breath-taking. On many occassions, in conversation with others, I've challenged the slanders about anarchists by using myself as an example of what anarchist actually believe and do. I regularly receive a response along the lines of "yeah, but you're not a real anarchist". The amazing thing is that in most of these cases I'm the only effing real anarchist the people have ever met.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:15 pm

cactus flower wrote:
With no disrespect to our highly valued members who are anarchists, I am not sure that I would want to be in a sailing ship in a storm crewed by anarchists Shocked unless they were prepared to abandon their outlook for the duration and do what the captain told them.

If you wanted to avoid keel-hauling and scurvy - you might well find you're in better company with a group of anarchists Wink

Seriously though, the anti-anarchist argument seems to make the assumption that people are instinctively lacking in goodwill toward one another - and that without some paternailistic figurehead or system, will degenerate into carnage. We are taught to fear ourselves and to leave everything meaningful to authority figures. This keeps us in an infantilised state - often largely ignorant of what decisions are being made on our behalf and even of who is making them.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:44 pm

cactus flower wrote:
I didn't express myself very clearly Aragon, but what I am saying is that when anarchists emerge in any strength they pose a challenge that is predictably going to be met with a state response and when they engage in military combat they pretty reliably get beaten by state military forces as in Germany in 1917-8 and in the Spanish Civil War (both the CP and the facists had a go at them).

Okay, in Germany, the anarchists weren't that strong to begin with; they were one-tendency among a very broad workers movement, including much stronger forces such as the social democrats and the communists. The freikorps, who were sort of a proto-nazi movement, rather than a state force, managed to subjugate them all eventually, so I don't think you can put that down to specifically anarchist organisational weaknesses.

In Spain, the anarchists were fighting a war on two fronts, on one side against the military might of Franco, Italy and Germany, on the other against the Stalinists, bolstered somewhat by the liberal democracies. Those were pretty tough odds to start with and I don't think that anybody could plausibly claim that there was any simple organisational scheme which would have guaranteed victory in such circumstances. As it happens, the defeat of the anarchists was not military, it was primarily political - the stalinist PSUC managed to slowly freeze the anarchists out of positions of influence in the logistical and internal security functions. By the time that the great military defeats took place in 1938-9, the army had been almost entirely re-organised on traditional, hierarchical lines under the control of the PSUC political cadre.

cactus flower wrote:
I think there are enormous social gains to be harnessed through participatory organisation, but if you are not able to defend them it is a bit of a problem. There are times when a society has to be able to act quickly and very coherently and there isn't time for a debate.

As I say above, I don't think the historical examples that you have picked really demonstrate your point very well. However, to simply dismiss historical defeats as the result of difficult objective circumstances would be a bit like sticking your head in the sand. In actual fact, in the aftermath of the two greatest defeats that the anarchist movement suffered historically - Spain 1936-39 and Ukraine 1919-20 - there was a significant amount of soul-searching and analysis which highlighted exactly what you are talking about - the necessity of being able to act quickly and coherently in times of crisis. The two texts which emerged from that period of analysis - "the organisational platform of libertarian communists" by the Dielo Trouda group (Ukrainian and Russian anarchist emigrees who had been involved in the Machnovschina, the anarchist peasant army of the Ukraine), and "towards a fresh revolution" by the Friends of Durruti (an anarchist political group within the Spanish CNT) remain to this day some of the most influential texts in the anarchist movement. They basically put forward arguments and practical proposals for means in which the anarchist movement can achieve coherent and quick decision making as well as addressing various other organisational problems, without impinging on its core democratic values. The organisational platform of libertarian communists, generally shortened to "the platform", is one of the core texts upon which the Irish Workers Solidarity Movement is based. It's aim is to provide a scaffolding upon which an organisation can be built, summed up in 4 key objectives

* Theoretical Unity
* Tactical Unity
* Collective Responsibility
* Federalism.

Both of the texts above were written in the immediate aftermath of large military confrontations. They both directly address the problems of military organisation and how the need for decisive decision making can be incorporated into the democratic structures of anarchism.

Although such texts are quite dated, anarchists do not use texts as bibles or doctrine, the modern anarchist movement applies such ideas in a variety of different ways. For example, the WSM has a whole host of decision making mechanisms which are based upon the underlying principles of the platform rather than being taken from the text. As is usual, in mass democratic organisations, the conference is the ultimate decision making body. Unusually, it is also the only body which can define the organisation's basic policies. In between conferences there is a monthly delegate council meeting to make tactical decisions and, in between these there is an Interim Decisions Committee for making operational decisions at a moment's notice. There are also a plethora of committees and working groups who are mandated to take decisions in particular limited areas (e.g. a committee is responsible for editing our paper, our magazine and website).

What differentiates these decision making bodies from those of other organisations is firstly, the fact that they are strictly bound by mandates - they have a clearly and carefully defined area of responsiblity and they have no power to make decisions beyond that mandate, they are bound to follow policies decided by conference. Secondly, there is a constitutional provision which dictates that no member may hold any position on any decision making committee for more than 3 years at a go. In practice, membership of many of the committees is rotated on an annual basis. Thirdly, they are subject to instant recall - any member may, at any time, put forward a motion of recall which would lead to an extraordinary delegate council with the power to replace any of their members.

Now, none of this is anywhere near perfect and there are a whole lot of stuff that the WSM could do better, but it is a good example of the possibility of addressing the problems that you raise. I think that, by any means, the WSM is an extraordinarily democratic organisation, yet I think that, in comparison to other comparable organisations, it does not suffer from any particular lack of coherence or ability to act quickly. Indeed, I've always thought that, given the resources available to it, it punches far above its weight.

Plaftorm: http://struggle.ws/platform/plat_preface.html
Towards a Fresh Revolution: http://www.struggle.ws/fod/towardsintro.html
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:50 pm

Aragon wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
With no disrespect to our highly valued members who are anarchists, I am not sure that I would want to be in a sailing ship in a storm crewed by anarchists Shocked unless they were prepared to abandon their outlook for the duration and do what the captain told them.

If you wanted to avoid keel-hauling and scurvy - you might well find you're in better company with a group of anarchists Wink

Seriously though, the anti-anarchist argument seems to make the assumption that people are instinctively lacking in goodwill toward one another - and that without some paternailistic figurehead or system, will degenerate into carnage. We are taught to fear ourselves and to leave everything meaningful to authority figures. This keeps us in an infantilised state - often largely ignorant of what decisions are being made on our behalf and even of who is making them.

I think that I am agreeing with Edo (aaargh - sorry Edo) that the capacity to choose to voluntarily relinquish some measure of self determination for specific purposes is something that has been very important in social development and that is also observed in our close relations the primates (and other species).

US libertarians exhibits a very powerful loss of trust: essentially they only trust themselves as individuals, and their guns.

Nearly every normal transaction we undertake in the course of a week, whether in the family, work or wider society entails a degree of trust that someone else will act on our behalf, and that it will benefit us for this to happen.

There need to be strong safeguards to make sure that this is not abused, and there are many of them in place, including the democratic process.

I believe very strongly in the value of what individuals and communities can achieve as egalitarian groups, but even in very small societal groups like a village of 60 houses, I can tell you that villages in which a few people have assumed roles of leadership (based on service of the community) are a lot better off than places where this has not happened.

This site, that someone mentioned as a model, has operated in a very open and consultative way, but it was instigated by our 'onlie begetter' and there is a captain of this ship, even if he hasn't been observed wielding a cat o'nine tails too often. Shocked
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:51 pm

cactus flower wrote:
With no disrespect to our highly valued members who are anarchists, I am not sure that I would want to be in a sailing ship in a storm crewed by anarchists Shocked unless they were prepared to abandon their outlook for the duration and do what the captain told them.

that is ignorant and insulting
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:55 pm

They sound like an interesting read Chekov.
means in which the anarchist movement can achieve coherent and quick decision making as well as addressing various other organisational problems, without impinging on its core democratic values.

Would you be able to give an idea of what they are?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 5:57 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
With no disrespect to our highly valued members who are anarchists, I am not sure that I would want to be in a sailing ship in a storm crewed by anarchists Shocked unless they were prepared to abandon their outlook for the duration and do what the captain told them.

that is ignorant and insulting

It was not intended that way lostexpectation. Have you ever been in a boat when there is a storm? If you have any sense you do exactly what you are told.
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest



PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:09 pm

CF wrote:
This site, that someone mentioned as a model, has operated in a very
open and consultative way, but it was instigated by our 'onlie
begetter' and there is a captain of this ship, even if he hasn't been
observed wielding a cat o'nine tails too often.

The ship may have a captain, but the captain's not telling people what to do or think.

Most things come from a single being, this does not impose (or rather should not) a dictatorship. This particular ship is without a dictator. The principles used to organise the site and its various needs and attributes were and are highly democratic. No single person and indeed party (of the political kind) holds sway in this.

That all said, there are many differences between the workings of this site and anarchism. I find it better to deal in similarities as everyone is automatically reading from the same page. I'm as divorced from believing in the Irish political system as one can get, yet I'm very comfortable here and am made to feel very welcome. I see plenty of similarities and feel in this case that the differences are not of consequence.

Of course I know that not everyone agrees with everything I say. Neither do I agree with everything that's said (not by a long shot). But that doesn't matter. An anarchist embraces the strength of diversity. Anarchism is neither a religion nor is it hindered by dogma.
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   

Back to top Go down
 
Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 7Go to page : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
 Similar topics
-
» BEIT TEFILLAH PRODUCTIONS - SOME BIBLE VERSES, MISTRANSLATED OR MISUNDERSTOOD
» Second year literature and philosophy yearly planning 2013
» On Zen Masters - some thoughts from Stuart Lachs
» Insightful Essay: Post-Traditional Buddhism - the Quiet Revolution
» Taha Chuan: State law pursues the philosophy of autocracy will not respond to the criticisms of MPs Majid Asadi and the Barzani Thursday, March 22 / March 2012 18:25

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Machine Nation  :: Politics and Current News :: Political Theory & Ideas / Radical Politics-
Jump to: