Anarchism, Decentralism, and Human Rights

A poster in an online forum comments:

A case can be made for non-intervention where such practices occur in isolated, traditional tribes, though I think most of us instinctively recoil from the allowance of some practices, child sexual abuse perhaps nore than anything else. In any case, if we were to begin now with setting up a new society based on free and autonomous communities, those communities would not emerge in total isolation or without knowledge of each other. Would it really be acceptable for members of one community to turn their backs whilst knowing that the community in the next village are ritually slaying every first-born baby? For me, I would favour a minimal, checking state where representatives of the various communities would define what is and isn’t acceptable. The parameters would be wide but not all permissive.

And my response:

I think it comes down to matters of degree, along with degrees of separation. In some of the more backward parts of the world, they still practice witch hunting, human sacrifice, albino killing, clitoridectomony, etc. In places like the southern Sudan and Mauritania they still practice slavery. While I’m against all this, I don’t advocate sending military forces to oppose it. That’s part of the System’s outlook, not ours. I’d argue that different societies need to evolve in their own way and according to their own pace (kind of like the “prime directive” idea in Star Trek). It’s fine to criticize all that from a distance. I have no problem with humanitarian groups that work to oppose this kind of stuff on a social and cultural level. But shit on ideas like the late Christopher Hitchens’ argument for “bombing out of the Stone Age” any society deemed insufficiently progressive.

When it comes to communities that are closer to one’s self, it’s a somewhat different issue. One of the main reasons I’m interested in ideas like N-A is that it seems to me to be a way of working around the cultural conflicts that exist in various societies, while working to oppose the System at the same time. In the USA, for example, I’m all for the religious right and countercultural left, blacks and whites, socialists and libertarians, etc. going their own way and doing their own thing. When I mention this idea to some leftists, it seems like their worst fear is that some conservative regions would disallow abortion and gay marriage as if that’s all that matters. However, there are certain things I’d personally want to draw the line at. Setting up a slave trading colony would be one. If, say, Ohio legalized pedophilia I don’t know that I’d take direct action against them, but I’d recommend no one take their kids there for a visit. When it comes to things like honor killings or forced marriages, I suppose my attitude would be, “Keep it over there. Not in my backyard.”

However, it is also possible to have federations of anarchist, national-anarchist, or separatist communities where there are common standards for individual rights, human rights, minority rights, etc. For instance, a federation could have a common rule that all member communities have to allow exit by their individual members along with their honestly acquired property, guarantees for the rights of children, protection of the environment, provisions for the management of joint resources like waterways, highways, airspace, etc., limitations on the punishment of criminals (e.g., no torture, detention without trial, rights of appeal, etc).

Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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