Thursday, August 03, 2006

Ask An Anarchist, Part 1

(image courtesy AlmostSmart.Com)

[Editor's Note: Recently (dis)pencer, the subject of this "Ask An Anarchist" series, filled in as "guest columnist" for Smithers during a Smithers Family vacation over at SmithersMPLS. In his introductory post, (dis)pencer identified himself as an anarchist. And, just like that, you have the makings of our "Ask An Anarchist" series.

The "Ask An Anarchist" series is for entertainment only. It represents the thoughts and ideas of two amateur philosophers, so don't take it for anything more than that. If you should cite this for any academic research project, you'll get what you deserve.

Without further ado, enjoy.]

Tuffy's Question #1:
One encyclopedia defines "anarchism" as: "The belief that all forms of rulership are undesirable and should be abolished...for many anarchists, this includes not only the state [governmental bodies], but other systems which they may consider authoritarian, such a economic systems."

Based on that definition, under an anarchist approach all current governmental laws/rulings/declarations would be null and void. Therefore, how would an anarchist argue that, in the absence of such societal controls like laws/rulings/declarations, society would avoid falling into an absolutely chaotic state, a la New Orleans post-Katrina?

(dis)pencer's Answer #1:
Well, first off that's only a partial definition. Mainstream information sources like to tell you all about the no government part, but they don't bother to explain the whole idea. I like to think that's because it makes too much sense, and they don't want the general public to think that how the world works is something they have a say in.

Anarchism as a platform is not chaos and looting. The word is used as a definition of chaos, but the best defination of Chaos is chaos.

Anarchism is, by an Anarchists defination is Mutual aid without Government, Direct Democracy, and believe it or not, Order.

Law is not order. An anarchist state obivously can't happen overnight, especially given the way the poor and down-trodden are pitted against one another. But in reality Anarchy is not that far from what most people might consider "the way things should be", they just have trouble grasping how it would work without a Governmental body.

Post-Katrina New Orleans was a perfect example of our Nation's Goverment and priorities, and exactly how f'ed up they are.

The US Government let the people of New Orleans down, 100%.

It could not fufil it's most basic principal of protecting it's citizens. It did not build a decent levee. It did not prepare for the Hurricane. It did not respond to the disaster.

It completely failed.

If this was Anarchy, there would be neighborhood bases established much earlier to coordinate relief. Direct action toward liberation.

Many people actually said it was the looters that first distributed food and water.

The media focused on the chaos and labels it "anarchy". They did not want the rest of the nation to see the breakdown and failure of the system. Media pitches images of black men with bags as "looters", while a lighter-skinned man is scavenging to "survive." They didn''t get pictures of the corrupt police, allowed into WalMart for "relief measures" instead loading their car trunk with DVDs and dog food.

There was definatly chaos, but the was also community, people working together to survive.

What did the Government do exactly? Most of the police abandoned their stations, Bush knew that levee would fail in at least 2001, and we are all aware of what a disaster FEMA was.

Interestingly, most the the chaos, was aimed at the government, even if it was a rescue helicopter. People when put in an extreme situation, knew that they did not trust or have faith in their Govenment. They turned instead to their family and friends. Their neighbors, and peers.

That is what the defination of Anarchism is. Faith in community and people, rather than faith in Government. It's not so much lawlessness, as self-government.


Blogger StevenCX said...

Nice diatribe. Two things:
1) I've heard this theory before, but where are the examples of such a system that works in reality, other than the disparate incidents in the Katrina example?
2) Run that through a spell and grammar check! Can't have a teacher putting out a manifesto with spelling errors!

Thu Aug 03, 08:10:00 AM 2006

Anonymous fil said...

this is good-i only ask that tuffy doesnt drag this out like his coverage of nature valley

Thu Aug 03, 11:48:00 AM 2006

Blogger AdamB said...

I can't even tell if dispencer thinks post-Katrina New Orleans was anarchy or not. Or even if the government should have stayed out of the way or gotten involved more?

But either way, I agree with Steven that it doesn't seem fair to judge a political system only in the aftermath of natural disasters alone.

Lastly, I wanna learn more about how anarchism is order. What do you mean by that?

Anyway, it was a fun read and I'm looking forward to the next installment. I know what it feels like to be a high school social studies teacher now.

Thu Aug 03, 12:15:00 PM 2006

Anonymous fil said...

"I know what it feels like to be a high school social studies teacher now"

plan b
do you really think you know what it feels like to be tuffy?

Thu Aug 03, 01:24:00 PM 2006

Blogger AdamB said...

I didn't say ex-high school social studies teacher!

Thu Aug 03, 01:45:00 PM 2006

Anonymous super rookie said...

Looking for examples StephenCX?

How about Spain 1938 before Franco went all Fascist with the support of Hitler and such.

It was during this war and the preceding period that Orwell wrote his classic book "Homage to Catalonia" and began to fear the corruption of communism, which in turn created his drive for "Animal Farm."

Other incidents of great struggle that resulted in a community guided piece of history is 1968 and 1901 paris.

As far as spelling corrections...in my anarchist utopia there wont be a spelling fascist like yourself!

Thu Aug 03, 02:33:00 PM 2006

Blogger (dis)pencer said...

whats up with the totally lame hippie graphic?

jesus christ.

Fri Aug 04, 10:19:00 AM 2006

Blogger AdamB said...

Can you characterize those periods, Super Rook?

ah, fuck it. I'll just go read a book about it.

I have a lot of questions about anarchism, including:
1. What would keep richer or better armed people from exploiting others (more than they do now)?
2. How would/could anarchy be reached and why would it be a stable equilibrium?
3. What makes anarchism different from libertarianism?

But it just seems easier if I go read something about it. What would you suggest I read? The wikipedia article on it is really crappy.

Fri Aug 04, 03:38:00 PM 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sat Aug 05, 06:40:00 PM 2006


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