Anarchists Are Bad People?
ANARCHISM, 3 Jan 2011
European anarchists grow more violent, coordinated … A loosely linked movement of European anarchists who want to bring down state and financial institutions is becoming more violent and coordinated after decades out of the spotlight, and may be responding to social tensions spawned by the continent’s financial crisis, security experts say. Italian police said Tuesday that letter bombs were sent to three embassies in Rome by Italian anarchists in solidarity with jailed Greek anarchists, who had asked their comrades to organize and coordinate a global “revolutionary war.” ~ AP News
Dominant Social Theme: Anarchists arise to topple democratically elected governments.
Free-Market Analysis: The hoary anarchist meme is being trotted out again. What we can see from the above article excerpt is that a firm link is to be drawn between anarchism and violence. This has happened before. The last time anarchists appeared to savage the West was around the turn of the 20th century – when regulatory democracy was under threat previously. Reading about anarchism, generally, on such sites as Wikipedia is enough to make one’s head ache. The untruths are manifest; the manipulation seems obvious. It is a sub-dominant social theme of the power elite: fear those who wish to do without government (at least as it is currently constituted). They are lawless and apt to turn violent.
In fact, anarchism merely stands for absence of government. There is no violence involved, or certainly violence is not a necessary adjunct. Really, it should be easy to define what an anarchist is: But at Wikipedia in particular, one will find a plethora of mysterious definitions. There are libertarian socialists (who may espouse anarchism) and anarcho-syndicalists. Some anarchists, we are informed, believe in peaceful change; others believe in violence.
Yet anarchy is a social environment, one that simply seeks a lifestyle without a distant and non-responsive ruling class. It has nothing to do with violence, which is a strategy not a sociopolitical philosophy. One believes in various forms of social organization: communism, socialism, anarcho-capitalism. But one does not believe (as a communal structure) in violence or peace – or jumping jacks or cartwheels for that matter.
Thus, when the mainstream press writes about anarchism, it should make clear the differences between polity and strategy. The article excerpted above by AP begins “European anarchists grow more violent.” The lead should be written as follows in our view: “Some masked individuals whom we claim are ‘anarchists’ are apparently growing more violent.”
Of course, the whole point is to smear those who would live without government or at least make a case that one could do with less. If a tight link can be drawn between anarchy and violence, then those who wish to change certain fundamental elements of modern society – including its governance – can be more easily discredited by the powers-that-be. The argument could even be made that governments are inciting or even helping to instigate such violence through false-flag events. It’s happened before.
Can society exist without the current regulatory democracy model of the West? A good case can be made that the current era of Western regulatory democracy is in fact anomalous. In the past, we’ve pointed out that human societies tended to less bigness in the past, and were in fact organized around clans and tribes, often interlinked. Human beings tend to have the ability to recognize and relate to about 150 people at the most, and this is evidence of a long-term, evolutionary lifestyle within extended families.
Seen in this context, human behavior takes on a different look. The controlling elements of social units, even within larger living arrangements, might be seen to function at a local level. Justice could be resolved between aggrieved parties using rational common-law provisions. Business and trade could be conducted between individuals and families with corporate overlays. Even international commerce could be pursued privately using gold and silver as money.
Lacking the controlling force of a coercive or invasive government, such societies (as they existed in the past) were surely organized nonetheless. However, the organizing element of such “anarchistic” societies tended to be religious in nature as people who live in clans or tribes will substitute private enculturation for official control.
In fact, human civilization provides many examples of clans and tribes living in close proximity to one another without an over-arching central government. If local authorities prove too oppressive, people can migrate to other, local regions that speak the same language and continue their lives with little interruption. As such societies coalesce, government behaviors may remain modest because of the restraint exercised during these formative years. We can see the results in the vibrant societies of Rome (with its initial seven hills) Greece and Italy (with their city states) and of course America itself (with its 13 original colonies).
The societies mentioned above tended toward a strict morality to begin with. This can be seen from the lamentations of various Roman philosophers recalling the modesty and republican virtues of men and women before Rome turned into an empire. America had its Puritans; Italy had its Renaissance. In all these cases, it was not government that provided society’s structural glue but the culture itself, using the free-market tools of spirituality, private commerce and cultural traditions.
It is no surprise that as the excesses of authority become more pervasive, private solutions yield. In America, the “Shaking Quakers” – Shakers – took in thousands of orphans because the Shaker religion forbade sex. But once orphanages became commonplace, the Shakers diminished as a religion and eventually were extinguished. Insurance companies in the West were once more vital too, but as government expands its safety net, private solutions begin to be reduced and those that remained often attempted some sort of government merger. Private watchdog groups are also reduced as government expands its role and function.
We can see from the above points that an argument can be made that private societies are perfectly capable of providing the essential building blocks of society. But as government expands, these private solutions tend to wither away. Anarcho-libertarians may wish to revive them, but how does that make such individuals and groups violent?
It could be said that regulatory democracy itself, with its emphasis on ever-increasing authoritarianism, projects a level of incipient and overt violence that anarchism neither aspires to nor retains as part of its fundamental constitution. Again, anarchy is a lack of government; but that does not mean that anarchy involves a lack of ORDER. Nor does it mean that those who believe in private solutions to public problems want to implement them by force.
Conclusion: The Internet in particular is revealing these truths to a whole new generation that has grown up with the idea that only through pervasive government can society prosper. The powers-that-be are doubtless uncomfortable with these revelations. But anarchy is not lawless. It is in fact the way humans lived for millennia. And perhaps there are elements that will be adopted as the current system degrades (as it now seems to be doing) – whether or not the elite approves.
Copyright © 2010 The Daily Bell
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: