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 Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?

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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:19 pm

cactus flower wrote:
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?

The WSM's decision making methods outlined above are a good example, but to give a more detailed example about the ship at sea. How could anarchists solve this problem without ignoring their democratic, non-hierarchical principles?

This is just a thought-experiment, I know next to nothing about naval organisation, but the organisational principles are easy enough to apply - there are also many, many different ways in which you can apply them, this is just one possible approach.

Firstly, the crew gets together and has a big meeting. At this meeting, they identify the various specialised roles that need performing on the boat.

Each of the roles is discussed and a set of duties, responsibilities and rights is assigned to it (a mandate).

Some of these roles will be concerned with routine duties requiring no specialised skills - ensuring that the barrels of rum are filled, tacking, deck-scrubbing and so on.

These roles are then allocated amongst the crew on the basis firstly of who would like to do each role.

If there are enough volunteers for each of the roles, the allocation of routine duties ends there. If there is a lack of volunteers for certain unpleasant duties, these get divided up evenly amonsgst everybody (depending on the situation, this could be on a daily, weekly, or per-trip basis).

There is also a second set of roles, requiring specialist skills - navigation, map-reading, equipment maintenance and so on. These can't be shared amongst the crew evenly since you really need somebody who is as good as possible at these jobs. Therefore, instead of looking for volunteers, the crew elects people for these jobs on the basis of who they think has the best skills required and the most experience.

Included in these roles will be a 'captain' - a person who is responsible for emergency decision making in situations such as storms when there is a requirement for quick and decisive decisions.

The holders of specialist roles will also be required to do certain of the routine duties, depending on how onerous their specialist role is.

Non-emergency decisions will be taken by regular crew meetings on the basis of majority voting. The holders of specialist roles will have no special powers in such decisions beyond their ability to persuade. In general, if the crew is sensible, they will tend to listen to the advice of the specialists in their field of expertise, but they are also free to ignore it.

The regular meetings will also have a review function - particularly in the aftermath of emergencies, the whole crew will get together and discuss their performance, what worked, what didn't work. If they come to the conclusion that somebody is not pulling their weight, they may choose to reduce their rum rations, or give them a less comfortable bed, or whatever else. If they come to the conclusion that a specialist is not performing their role properly, they may replace him or her. They may even choose to redefine roles as the circumstances demand.

Alongside this democratic rotation of roles, education will play an important part. Each specialist will be accompanied in their duties by apprentices, who they must educate in the requirements of the job, to ensure that crew members have the opportunity to learn new skills and that the crew doesn't become overly dependant on the expertise of any one individual.

Incidentally, this isn't a million miles away from the actual practices of many pirate-colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:23 pm

cactus flower wrote:
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.
so you fully taken to the derogatory aspects of the word and suggest anarchist don't have any sense
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:32 pm

Dont take this the wrong way chekov - by the time the whole collective has reached a decison on whether the storm is really a storm and if the storm will actually reach the ship and if emergency measures will be required and what those measures will be and for how long they will be required and who in the crew will be suitable to take this temporary executive postion and will be they volunteer or will be voted in , will the voting be by simple majority or PR STV etc etc etc ..........................the ship will have already sank!!!

All I have going thru my head now is Reg, Francis and Stan (Loretta) from the Peoples Front of Judea - supplementary discussion to the minutes of the first quarterly meeting of the excecutive committee (acting) ..........................

Sorry ladies and gents - if anarchism was such a brilliantly good and practical idea - well we would be living an anarchic world right now - we arent - and its no particular grouping or classes fault that we're not - not even the Romans ! Very Happy

Catch yis later
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:36 pm

I don't know if Edo is right when he says that humans have a genetic need for higher authority. It is a fairly widespread trait, but there are examples of acephalous communities. The BaMbuti in Africa spring to mind. I can't think of any acephalous orders that command much authority or influence, either now or in the past. Perhaps someone can come up with an example? At any rate, humans were not genetically equipped to fly either but that didn't stop us in the end, only for the first two million years.

chekov wrote:
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.
There is an enormous social obstacle for the anarchists to surmount, caused partly by their own choice of name. Regardless of its etymology, anarchy simply means lawlessness and chaos to most people. That has nothing to do with politics.

Anarchism the philosophy has no popular positive connotations that I can think of either. The only anarchists I can think of are fictional ones: the terrorists in Conrad's 'The Secret Agent' (which was based on an actual bombing) and that Lost character Mikhail Bakunin, who was named for a Russian anarchist.

With all this behind it, any deliberate attempt to smear anarchism must be very easy.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:38 pm

Edo wrote:
Dont take this the wrong way chekov - by the time the whole collective has reached a decison on whether the storm is really a storm and if the storm will actually reach the ship and if emergency measures will be required and what those measures will be and for how long they will be required and who in the crew will be suitable to take this temporary executive postion and will be they volunteer or will be voted in , will the voting be by simple majority or PR STV etc etc etc ..........................the ship will have already sank!!

The meeting to elect the emergency decision makers happened before the ship left port. As soon as the storm was sighted, everybody knew that they had to follow orders without question, as agreed in advance. It's not rocket science.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:45 pm

I prefer the term libertarian socialist myself and I think it's unfortunate that political Anarchism is tarred with such views because up to a ~third into the 20th century libertarian socialists (or Anarchists) were "as powerful a force as social democracy and communism. " --from Hahnel (Economic Justice and Democracy,) below,


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

Quote :
In a chapter recounting the history of libertarian socialism, radical economist Robin Hahnel relates that thus far the period where libertarian socialism has had its greatest impact was at the end of the 19th century through the first four decades of the twentieth century.

“Early in the twentieth century, libertarian socialism was as powerful a force as social democracy and communism. The Libertarian International – founded at the Congress of Saint Imier a few days after the split between Marxist and libertarians at the congress of the Socialist International held in The Hague in 1872 – competed successfully against social democrats and communists alike for the loyalty of anticapitalist activists, revolutionaries, workers, unions and political parties for over fifty years. Libertarian socialists played a major role in the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Libertarian socialists played a dominant role in the Mexican Revolution of 1911. Twenty years after World War I was over, libertarian socialists were still strong enough to spearhead the most successful revolution against capitalism to ever take place in any industrial economy, the social revolution that swept across Republican Spain in 1936 and 1937.”[18]


Edo wrote:

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.

True, people are not all the same and differences are not all down to environmental, wealth, inheritance, human capital and luck factors. But I think the most morally acceptable form of remuneration would be to remunerate according to effort and sacrifice albeit tempered by need. Polls show that people wish to have a say over that which affects them, whether it be in their work lives or knowing what went into what they consume. They appear to have a need for self-management which naturally atrophies in a capitalistic environment outside a minority of coordinators.

Edo wrote:

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.

I don't think that's a prerequisite, or needs to be a prerequisite, as some of the most well thought out, possible anarchistic economies* do not assume that everyone should be, say, altruistic or entreprenurial or whatever. Sure over time people's abilities would move from a capitalistic mindset to a more self-managed co-operative one, but it needn't be an initial prerequisite or requirement or anything.


*
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_Economics


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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:45 pm

905 wrote:
With all this behind it, any deliberate attempt to smear anarchism must be very easy.

It's easy to smear any group or person as long as one doesn't get specific.

It'd be very hard to smear anarchists with reference to their actions, collectively or individually.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:50 pm

905 wrote:
Anarchism the philosophy has no popular positive connotations that I can think of either. The only anarchists I can think of are fictional ones: the terrorists in Conrad's 'The Secret Agent' (which was based on an actual bombing) and that Lost character Mikhail Bakunin, who was named for a Russian anarchist.

With all this behind it, any deliberate attempt to smear anarchism must be very easy.

The secret agent was most decidedly a deliberate attempt to smear anarchism. Your argument just boils down to "the volume of smear makes smears easy" which is of course true.

Incidentally, the best known real-world anarchists in the English speaking world are Chomsky and Zinn, historically, Tolstoy would probably be the most famous, although his take on anarchism was a bit peculiar.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:55 pm

lostexpectation wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
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.
so you fully taken to the derogatory aspects of the word and suggest anarchist don't have any sense

Sorry lostexpectation, I dug myself in deeper there, didn't I. Apologies for the cynical remark. It should not have been put that way. I don't think anarchists have no sense, nor do I think anarchism is senseless. Also, I don't know anything like as much about it as other posters here.

I dont think the underlying question was cynical though and Chekov answered it. Anarchists have considered the difficulty of reconciling a high degree of participation and consensus with the need for very quick and flexible action at times. I haven't read all the posts so I'm not sure if he has answered my question about what solutions were found for that.

edit. He has.


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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 6:57 pm

cactus flower wrote:
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).

As set out by Chekov above, anarchism accepts that principle. The key terms in what you say here are 'some measure' and 'specific purposes'.
Unlike our current system anarchism goes a lot further towards ensuring that the measure and the purpose are fully understood before anyone is promoted to any form of representation - with the added possibility of instant recall if it is agreed the person is not doing what they were mandated to. That's real democracy.

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

I wouldnt equate those nutters with anarchists Smile

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.

I think what you are referring to here is a sense of mutual trust and cooperation on a personal level - something intrinsic to the principles of anarchism and human nature. In other words the capacity for ordinary human understanding and cooperation. Bottom up demcracies are predicated on exactly this idea. Capitalist democracy is deeply suspicious of that natural human tendency because it as about maintaining the advantage of the few over the majority. They call this 'freedom' - but it is only a freedom to exploit, to be greedy and to take advantage.

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.

But that assumes that the 'democratic process' you refer to (if you are referring to the present system of democracy) is in fact properly democratic. Why are local people in County Mayo being hurled into ditches for protesting a project provent to be dangerous to their community? Why is peaceful direct action of almost any kind perpetually described as 'troublemaking' or some such? Why are the forces of the state routinely deployed to attack those sorts of protes and then free to distort the true account of what happened? That sort of authoriatarian response to people who have virtually no influence over our so-called democracy and who try to register their opposition lawfully is commonplace.

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.

That really doesn't chime with my (reasonably wide) experience of village life at all!!!!

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

But participation in the site is by mutual cooperation. That this site is one person's initiative is not inherently a problem for an anarchist. There would be a problem if it became autocratic and unfair. If that happened, people would stop contributing and so justice of a very anarchist sort would result Smile. Popular protest, grass roots organisation and non violent direct action are the only means many people have to protest against abuses of our fragile and limited democracy at present.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:07 pm

chekov wrote:
Edo wrote:
Dont take this the wrong way chekov - by the time the whole collective has reached a decison on whether the storm is really a storm and if the storm will actually reach the ship and if emergency measures will be required and what those measures will be and for how long they will be required and who in the crew will be suitable to take this temporary executive postion and will be they volunteer or will be voted in , will the voting be by simple majority or PR STV etc etc etc ..........................the ship will have already sank!!

The meeting to elect the emergency decision makers happened before the ship left port. As soon as the storm was sighted, everybody knew that they had to follow orders without question, as agreed in advance. It's not rocket science.

I don't really follow. The ship analogy still suggests a hierarchy. How can you have a hierarchy without a top ?
What if 100 such ships wanted to dock at the same time. Wouldn't you need a higher decision making 'level' to make rules about using the port ? And on up to a 'head of decision making' level.

Just a thought : is etymology of an-archy related to hier-archy ??
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:10 pm

chekov wrote:
cactus flower wrote:
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?

The WSM's decision making methods outlined above are a good example, but to give a more detailed example about the ship at sea. How could anarchists solve this problem without ignoring their democratic, non-hierarchical principles?

This is just a thought-experiment, I know next to nothing about naval organisation, but the organisational principles are easy enough to apply - there are also many, many different ways in which you can apply them, this is just one possible approach.

Firstly, the crew gets together and has a big meeting. At this meeting, they identify the various specialised roles that need performing on the boat.

Each of the roles is discussed and a set of duties, responsibilities and rights is assigned to it (a mandate).

Some of these roles will be concerned with routine duties requiring no specialised skills - ensuring that the barrels of rum are filled, tacking, deck-scrubbing and so on.

These roles are then allocated amongst the crew on the basis firstly of who would like to do each role.

If there are enough volunteers for each of the roles, the allocation of routine duties ends there. If there is a lack of volunteers for certain unpleasant duties, these get divided up evenly amonsgst everybody (depending on the situation, this could be on a daily, weekly, or per-trip basis).

There is also a second set of roles, requiring specialist skills - navigation, map-reading, equipment maintenance and so on. These can't be shared amongst the crew evenly since you really need somebody who is as good as possible at these jobs. Therefore, instead of looking for volunteers, the crew elects people for these jobs on the basis of who they think has the best skills required and the most experience.

Included in these roles will be a 'captain' - a person who is responsible for emergency decision making in situations such as storms when there is a requirement for quick and decisive decisions.

The holders of specialist roles will also be required to do certain of the routine duties, depending on how onerous their specialist role is.

Non-emergency decisions will be taken by regular crew meetings on the basis of majority voting. The holders of specialist roles will have no special powers in such decisions beyond their ability to persuade. In general, if the crew is sensible, they will tend to listen to the advice of the specialists in their field of expertise, but they are also free to ignore it.

The regular meetings will also have a review function - particularly in the aftermath of emergencies, the whole crew will get together and discuss their performance, what worked, what didn't work. If they come to the conclusion that somebody is not pulling their weight, they may choose to reduce their rum rations, or give them a less comfortable bed, or whatever else. If they come to the conclusion that a specialist is not performing their role properly, they may replace him or her. They may even choose to redefine roles as the circumstances demand.

Alongside this democratic rotation of roles, education will play an important part. Each specialist will be accompanied in their duties by apprentices, who they must educate in the requirements of the job, to ensure that crew members have the opportunity to learn new skills and that the crew doesn't become overly dependant on the expertise of any one individual.

Incidentally, this isn't a million miles away from the actual practices of many pirate-colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries.

So is the organisational process the core of anarchism, or is it seen as them best means of attaining and sustaining social ownership of the means of production ?
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:18 pm

905 wrote:


chekov wrote:
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.
There is an enormous social obstacle for the anarchists to surmount, caused partly by their own choice of name. Regardless of its etymology, anarchy simply means lawlessness and chaos to most people. That has nothing to do with politics.
.

oh come on don't be stupid, don't badger people over a name that was changed by their opponents.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:24 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
chekov wrote:
Edo wrote:
Dont take this the wrong way chekov - by the time the whole collective has reached a decison on whether the storm is really a storm and if the storm will actually reach the ship and if emergency measures will be required and what those measures will be and for how long they will be required and who in the crew will be suitable to take this temporary executive postion and will be they volunteer or will be voted in , will the voting be by simple majority or PR STV etc etc etc ..........................the ship will have already sank!!

The meeting to elect the emergency decision makers happened before the ship left port. As soon as the storm was sighted, everybody knew that they had to follow orders without question, as agreed in advance. It's not rocket science.

I don't really follow. The ship analogy still suggests a hierarchy. How can you have a hierarchy without a top ?
What if 100 such ships wanted to dock at the same time. Wouldn't you need a higher decision making 'level' to make rules about using the port ? And on up to a 'head of decision making' level.

Just a thought : is etymology of an-archy related to hier-archy ??

Well you could have a say in each decision proportionate to the degree to which people are affected by it. You'd have different scopes of decision making, not hierarchical. The protocol on entering the port would be a local decision. The people on ship A have a say over their ship so long as such organisation does not have significant adverse effects on others. Likewise with Ship B etc. The same applies with the Port(s) which could be within a structure of nested councils with neighborhood councils, ward councils, city or regional councils and a country council etc on up to international level even. The policy of ships entering the port would already be in place and discussed, in say consumers and producers councils locally and formalised into a plan.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:34 pm

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
I don't really follow. The ship analogy still suggests a hierarchy. How can you have a hierarchy without a top ?
What if 100 such ships wanted to dock at the same time. Wouldn't you need a higher decision making 'level' to make rules about using the port ? And on up to a 'head of decision making' level.

You need to distinguish between a hierarchy of function and a hierarchy of people. In anarchism, the functionally 'higher up' decisons are based on the aggregate of the opinions of those affected. When individuals are selected to represent aggregate opinions, they act as delegates, strictly bound by mandates, recallable and rotated.

In class society, the hierarchy is based on some inate characteristic of the people (e.g. feudalism) or their property relations (e.g. capitalism).

To answer your ship-related question and continue the thought experiment.

The crews of all the ships that use the port elect delegates who meet together to formulate a common code for the use of the port and its maintenance. Any crews who ignore the code or fail to carry out their agreed maintenance can have their docking privileges removed or can be expelled.

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
Just a thought : is etymology of an-archy related to hier-archy ??

Yup, just like "olig-archy" (few rulers), "aut-archy" (self rule) and so on.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 7:36 pm

cactus flower wrote:
So is the organisational process the core of anarchism, or is it seen as them best means of attaining and sustaining social ownership of the means of production ?

I'd see them as equally important. The big difference with state-socialisms is that anarchists see the distribution of decision making power as being as important as the distribution of wealth, which is sort of summed up in the following slogan.

Quote :
freedom without Socialism is privilege and injustice, Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 8:04 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.
Anarchism is primarily about challenging authority, not all authority is illegitimate, sometimes it is prudent to defer to experts or the temporary authority of a captain or leader.
95% of the time a well trained doctor will offer you advice that you will accept on trust because you accept his/her intellectual authority. Sometimes the doctors are wrong. There is a fail safe mechanism to protect against this, patients are allowed to seek a second opinion

A system that made it illegal to not follow medical advice would be monsterous.
(like the mental health system where patients have practically no rights and are forcibly medicated even though the doctors haven't a clue what they're doing half the time)

Regarding a captain on a ship, anarchists are pragmatic people. We will defer to a legitimate authority, but we will also reserve the right to overthrow that authority if it becomes apparent that he/she has gone mad, or doesn't know what he's doing.

There is a long history of naval captains and military generals needlessly throwing away the lives of their crew/soldiers by making ridiculously bad decisions (and repeating their mistakes). An authoritarian version of leadership shot the soldiers who refused to walk slowly into a hail of machine gun bullets. An anarchist would shoot the general for being such an asshole.

For every 'great general', there were a hundred morons.

We see today in Iraq that autonomous cells of resistance are much more effective against a more powerful enemy than trying to meet them face to face on a battlefield. Even in well resourced and organised armies, the elite forces are arranged in small squads who are given objectives and are free to carry them out in the way they feel is best.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 8:31 pm

905 wrote:

Anarchism the philosophy has no popular positive connotations that I can think of either. The only anarchists I can think of are fictional ones: the terrorists in Conrad's 'The Secret Agent' (which was based on an actual bombing) and that Lost character Mikhail Bakunin, who was named for a Russian anarchist.
There was also 'V' in V for vandetta (although they never used the word anarchist in the movie adaptation)
Anarchists also call ourselves Libertarian Socialists, those are two positive words 'for freedom' and 'Socialist' which is in favour of common ownership of property.

Just because they are positive words doesn't prevent them from acquiring negative connotations after decades of being maligned and appropriated by other groups. (In america first and now Europe) the word Libertarian now means ultra capitalist, even though we were using it first. 'Libertarians' in America have also coopted the term Anarchism through the oxymoron 'anarcho-capitalism'

My point is, it is useless to try and re-brand ourselves because within a short space of time, whatever new label we choose will just be dragged through the mud again.

Quote :

With all this behind it, any deliberate attempt to smear anarchism must be very easy.
There are people who think 'Environmentalism' is a 4 letter word. (and many environmentalists are now embarrassed to use that word) If caring for the environment can become a term of abuse, then no title is immune.


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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 8:34 pm

Yes, and to the best of my memory World War II was brought to an end by naval mutiny. There are times when bottom up has prevailed.

On the Iraq situation, I'm not sure how long an truly autonous cell would last without shared intelligence and a supply chain. The recent discovery in the Green Zone of a very sophisticated electronic listening post put in place by the insurgents would suggest that they are operating at a complex level of organisation.

Guerilla warfare is not only carried out by anarchists: it is a tactic that can be used by any army.

I suppose that operating in situations in which internal security is an issue must also make it difficult to operate in a fully anarchic way.

My own inclination would be towards forms of organisation that have a very high degree of bottom up direction but that are able to take advantage of having a leadership structure. A lot of leadership roles could be carried out on a rota, pretty much like jury duty. In theory, having to go for re-election should put some order on elected representatives, in practice, being in power makes them more powerful and they can be hard to shift. One of our first threads here I seem to remember was how we can deal with situations like Iraq when the people didn't want the invasion and the politicians did.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 8:50 pm

Just in regard to economics and industrial production. Workers self management has been proven to be at least as, if not more efficient than capitalist dictatorships (capitalist workplaces are certainly not democracies)

The Po Valley in Italy is the most productive region in Italy (by far) and one of the most productive regions in europe, and 40% of all their enterprises are small scale workers cooperatives. They achieve their efficiencies not by capitalist accumulation and bludgeoning efficiencies out a reluctant labour force, but by networking between cooperatives for mutual benefit.

Cooperatives are also a significant buffer against the 'economic cycle' that has periodic gluts of employment opportunities followed by high levels of unemployment as businesses try to maximise resources. Workers cooperatives prefer stability and security more short term gains, and a stable economy is far preferable to an unstable cycle of booms and busts on practically every level
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 9:06 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Yes, and to the best of my memory World War II was brought to an end by naval mutiny. There are times when bottom up has prevailed.

On the Iraq situation, I'm not sure how long an truly autonous cell would last without shared intelligence and a supply chain. The recent discovery in the Green Zone of a very sophisticated electronic listening post put in place by the insurgents would suggest that they are operating at a complex level of organisation.
When I said autonomous cells, I didn't mean they were isolated, they can still coordinate and share resources and strategic planning, but the final decision for what they do is made by the cells themselves

At events like the G8, there are loads of different groups from all around the world, all acting independently towards a common purpose, but their activities usually compliment each other because of their willingness to share information and strategies (to a limited extent, and subject to security precautions)


Quote :

Guerilla warfare is not only carried out by anarchists: it is a tactic that can be used by any army.
Yes I realise that.

Quote :

I suppose that operating in situations in which internal security is an issue must also make it difficult to operate in a fully anarchic way.
Yes, in times of conflict, there is always the risk of infiltration by the enemy and of spying. There is much more secrecy, but that is unavoidable.

Quote :

My own inclination would be towards forms of organisation that have a very high degree of bottom up direction but that are able to take advantage of having a leadership structure. A lot of leadership roles could be carried out on a rota, pretty much like jury duty. In theory, having to go for re-election should put some order on elected representatives, in practice, being in power makes them more powerful and they can be hard to shift. One of our first threads here I seem to remember was how we can deal with situations like Iraq when the people didn't want the invasion and the politicians did.
A central principle of anarchism is that if a delegate or mandated official starts to abuse his/her position, they can be immediately recalled or overthrown. The leaders don't make policy, they implement the policy that is democratically decided from the bottom up.

If an anarchist 'leader' supports an occupation that the majority of the people are opposed (in simplistic terms) to then the people have a right to overthrow that leader. (he/she is no longer a legitimate representative of the people)
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 9:19 pm

jeebus, I never realised that there were so many anarchists on here.

Baggsies captain on our pirate ship. pirat king
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 9:36 pm

Howareya Chekov,

Did you ever hear from that Ireland on Sunday 'journalist' again?

You were right in there :p
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 9:58 pm

It's all great, in theory at least, but my gripe (as with PARECON which I discussed with Pax somewhere else Wink ) is that there's meetings and meetings and elections and more elections and committtees and so on and so forth, and it seems to me that most people actually don't want that level of detail and responsibility in their lives. I know I don't, and I'm hugely profoundly interested in engaging across a range of areas in my own life, professional and personal.This isn't an absolute barrier to successful implementation, certain technologies make it easier, but... having spent a goodly portion of my life to date trying to get people involved in all manner of campaigns and groups the simple fact is that people don't necessarily want to.

Then there is the election of specialists... ughhh... Lovely, I can see all manner of pitfalls there. Not to mention bruised egos, battered psyche's, and everything, literally everything moving towards a sort of popularity contest, because however hard one tries given two or three people with equal talents personality will come into the frame sooner or later. .

It's not that I want to sound cynical or sceptical because a system that was weighted closer to these sort of structures would be better, but just these are the immediate thoughts that spring to mind.
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PostSubject: Re: Anarchism - the most misrepresented and misunderstood philosophy?   Fri May 23, 2008 10:19 pm

Akrasia wrote:
Howareya Chekov,

Did you ever hear from that Ireland on Sunday 'journalist' again?

She emigrated to New York and robbed us of her talents. Crying or Very sad

Quote :
It's all great, in theory at least, but my gripe (as with PARECON which I discussed with Pax somewhere else Wink
) is that there's meetings and meetings and elections and more
elections and committtees and so on and so forth, and it seems to me
that most people actually don't want that level of detail and
responsibility in their lives. I know I don't, and I'm hugely
profoundly interested in engaging across a range of areas in my own
life, professional and personal.This isn't an absolute barrier to
successful implementation, certain technologies make it easier, but...
having spent a goodly portion of my life to date trying to get people
involved in all manner of campaigns and groups the simple fact is that
people don't necessarily want to.

Personally, I generally can't stand meetings and avoid them wherever possible. I don't, however, see anarchism as requiring a huge number of meetings though. The important meetings which decide policies would, in most cases, only need to happen infrequently. In between times, most of the operational decisions would be taken by delegates within their mandates, only requiring meetings when problems arose. In terms of specialist areas of decision making and policy formation, I can imagine that only those with a particular interest would attend in normal circumstances. What's important is not that everybody attends and has their say in every decision that affects them, because much of the time people aren't that bothered by the details of how the sewerage is organised or stuff like that. What's important is that everybody affected has the realisable ability to have their opinion counted when they feel that it's important.

In any case, I think you are missing a big part of the picture by limiting your view to voluntary campaign meetings and so on. A very large proportion of jobs in our society currently consist of an endless litany of completely pointless meetings which lack direction, purpose, decision making power and attendance is compulsorary. If you take that reality from modern capitalist institutions into account, I'd expect that anarchism would have a positive balance sheet in comparison to our current society's requirements for meetings. The meetings would be less pointless too and, without the structural hierarchies, you wouldn't find that most meetings were dominated by a bigwig wittering on about half-thought out crap, which is my overwhelming recollection of my time in corporations. NGOs are, if anything, even worse.
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