Tag Archives: anarchism

Minarchism, anarchism, and democracy: A shared challenge

Source: Notes on Liberty
by Rick Weber

"Minarchism — basically as small a government as we can get away with — is probably the most economically efficient possible way to organize society. A night watchman state providing courts of last resort and just enough military to keep someone worse from taking over. The trouble (argues my inner anarchist) is that if we’ve got a government — an organization allowed to force/forbid behaviors — we’re already on the slippery slope to abuse of powers through political trading. Without an entrenched culture that takes minarchism seriously it’s only a matter of time before a) the state grows out of control and you’re no longer in a minarchist Utopia, or b) a populace unwilling to do their part allows violent gangs to fill the power vacuum." (09/11/17)


Why left and right are not enough

Source: Attack The System
by Keith Preston

"Once again, anarchists are falling into the same trap that has plagued anarchists since the time of the First International, and that is this chronic inability to avoid aligning itself with the hard Left. While some Antifa types might fancy themselves as 'anarchists' or 'libertarian communists' their movement is already heavily infiltrated by Maoists and other 'red fascists.' As I have been saying for decades now, anarchists need to position themselves as a revolutionary center that is totally opposed to the liberal-capitalist status quo while at the same time zealously safeguarding against authoritarian extremes from both the Left and Right." [editor's note: Anarchists and libertarians ARE "the hard left." Marx was the first major right-deviationist from libertarian class theory – TLK] (09/01/17)


Anarchism without anarchy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"In my lead essay, I approached our topic as if it was a foregone conclusion that anarchism should be understood in terms of the pursuit of anarchy, however lengthy or perhaps even interminable that pursuit might be. But for those who champion a 'pure,' 'true' or 'direct' democracy as the political goal of anarchists, thorny problems are sometimes 'solved' by simply setting the concept of anarchy aside and defining anarchism in terms of a certain number of practical reforms to be achieved and a certain range of existing institutions to be abolished. Obviously, for an anarchism without anarchy, the considerations would be very different from those I addressed in my opening comments, but could such a construction of anarchism really be considered a revolutionary alternative? I want to consider some of what is at stake here." (07/17/17)


The anarchist straitjacket

Marco den Ouden

Source: The Jolly Libertarian
by Marco den Ouden

"Unfortunately, within the libertarian movement, there are some, notably within the anarchist wing, whose animosity towards the state is such that they condemn those who differ somewhat from them — minarchists, classical liberals, etc. as statists. They are not merely using the term as a descriptor but as a term of opprobrium. Statists are the devil and anyone but true blue, died in the wool anarcho-capitalists are also the devil. This is a narrow rather than an open embracing of libertarianism." [editor's note: There's a pretty bright, essential line separating anarchism from statism (and yes, that includes minarchism). It's a conflict about essentials, not a "differing somewhat" issue – TLK] (07/17/17)


Social, but still not democratic

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"As long as there has been something called 'anarchism,' anarchists have been struggling to define it — and, as often as not, they have been in struggle against other self-identified anarchists. At this point in our history, this seems both hard to deny and pointless to regret. These are not battles that can be won 'once and for all,' since the struggle over meaning is just essentially the process by which meaning is made. That means that there is an element of futility to this sort of debate, but not the sort that would ever let us withdraw from the fight." (07/02/17)


Politics and anarchist ideals

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Jessica Flanagan

"A fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists do not assume that public officials are any more morally entitled to use force or to threaten people with violence than anyone else. Anarchists therefore argue that officials are not entitled to enforce borders that prevent people with different birthplaces from associating with each other, for example. Or that officials are not entitled to force everyone to participate in a particular collective project that some may reject. In this sense, as Grayson English notes in this symposium, anarchism and democracy have a similar spirit, to the extent that democracy also denies that certain people have a greater entitlement to participate in political rule than others. Another fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists generally think that it is very difficult to justify the violation of a non-liable person’s natural rights, such as rights against force and coercion. For this reason, anarchists think that all people are equally required to refrain from using violence or coercing their compatriots. It is on this point that democrats and anarchists part ways." (06/18/17)


Anarchism as radical liberalism: Radicalizing markets, radicalizing democracy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Nathan Goodman

"Classical liberalism emerged as a radical ideology, challenging the status quo of monarchy, mercantilism, religious tyranny, and the ancien regime. The liberals promoted two ideals, markets and democracy, as alternatives to the old despotisms. Yet markets and democracy seemed to be at odds, leaving liberals advocating a middle of the road compromise between the two. Left-liberals favored a broader role for democracy and a narrower role for markets, while right-liberals (more often called conservatives or libertarians) favored a broader role for markets and a narrower role for democracy. Across the spectrum, they agreed that democracy and markets were at odds to at least some extent. This left an opening for radicals to propose radicalizing the commitment to one liberal ideal by abolishing the other." (06/16/17)


Demolish the demos

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Grayson English

"There has long been a certain kind of democratic spirit in anarchism. … to speak about anarchism publicly requires speaking to public interests, and calling for the severance of society from the state in public language fits most naturally with calls for democracy, the independent self-government of society. It is probably easy to understand, then, why so eminent an anarchist thinker as David Graeber would content himself with the conclusion that 'anarchism and democracy are — or should be — largely identical (Possibilities, 330).' If we wish to maintain society without the state, isn’t self-organization and self-governance the obvious solution? Such an approach might be sensible if equality of authority were our only demand." (06/14/17)


On democracy as a necessary anarchist value

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"The real reason for the unwillingness of most scholars to see a Sulawezi or Tallensi village council as 'democratic' — well, aside from simple racism, the reluctance to admit anyone Westerners slaughtered with such relative impunity were quite on the level as Pericles — is that they do not vote. Now, admittedly, this is an interesting fact. Why not? If we accept the idea that a show of hands, or having everyone who supports a proposition stand on one side of the plaza and everyone against stand on the other, are not really such incredibly sophisticated ideas that they never would have occurred to anyone until some ancient genius 'invented' them, then why are they so rarely employed? Again, we seem to have an example of explicit rejection. Over and over, across the world, from Australia to Siberia, egalitarian communities have preferred some variation on consensus process. Why?" (06/12/17)


The lumpenproletariat as class vanguard

Source: Attack The System
by Keith Preston

"The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. … Similarly, the anarchists and Marxists disagreed fundamentally on the class basis of the revolutionary struggle. For the Marxists, the advanced industrial proletariat is the class vanguard, i.e. what amounts to the respectable working class. Marx was as virulent as any right-wing conservative in his opposition to the lumpenproletariat." (06/07/17)