It seems to me as though there’s been two prevailing and conflicting ideas about democracy in this symposium. The first idea is that democracy is irreconcilable with anarchy in principle. The second idea is that democracy can — ironically because of practical concerns — be compatible with anarchy. I’ve made my own position clear.
What’s interesting enough about this division is how those who think that democracy and anarchy are very compatible also believe that consensus is the equivalent to democracy. I’ve heard this before, and I’m sure there’s a history to explain this, but the structural forms are quite different. That alone makes it a pressing and important definitional issue. Kevin Carson raised this definitional issue about my piece, but ultimately went on to agree with my “networked-mode of federalism” that involves consensus-based collectives forming each node. To me, it is a type of federalism that could be practiced by individualist anarchists, but also a federalism that isn’t (yet should be) commonly recognized by social anarchists who prefer the old 19th century delegate model which practices a sort of nested hierarchy. It’s what he proposed, with far more examples, in his initial essay “Democracy as a Necessary Anarchist Value”.
Kevin objects to my focus on the etymology of “democracy” and brings up the post-left distancing from “the left” as something he finds similarly arbitrary.
This is not a symposium on the post-left and certainly that term of self-identification has been increasingly appropriated by reactionaries, but it’s important to note that the original post-left argument for anarchists to distance ourselves from “the left” was the opposite of some kind of etymological argument that appealed to relatively fixed underlying meanings.
In “The Regime of Liberty,” Gabriel Amadej advocates the Proudhonian ideal – reflected in the dictum “property is liberty” – of some individual sphere of last resort where means of subsistence are secure from the will of the majority:
“Democracy disrupts this balance and places society under the unaccountable domain of community. An individual’s means of survival thus came to depend entirely on one’s reputation with one’s neighbours. It is, as Proudhon said, the rule of all by all, which includes every individual involved in that sum.
It is under this condition that Proudhon proclaimed that community, too, is theft. Yet never, in any of his works, did he declare that community is liberty. Despite the fact that, just as he famously declared that property is theft, he also declared property to be liberty. Community was just much a problem, an enigma, as property itself….
“Property is liberty” when labour controls its own product and individuals are sovereign over their means of survival. This is a counterbalance to the absolutist domain of community. If this dimension of property becomes a totalizing force, the regime of liberty suffers again.
We can say that pure democracy threatens to make the domain of community universal, while capitalism likewise threatens to make the domain of property universal. Under both regimes, liberty suffers. Anarchy is neither capitalism nor communism. It is self-government; the absolute sovereignty of the individual.
We should not desire a society where every good is bought and sold under the cash nexus. Neither should we desire a society where one’s access to resources is determined by one’s neighbour’s good will.
This dichotomy needs a resolution, and that resolution is Proudhonian mutualism….
Critical to the survival of anarchy is mutualism: the balance of property and community. The market cannot be free without the commons, and the commons cannot be free without the market.”
The commons, in my opinion, is itself an institution for synthesizing community with liberty. It is a sort of platform, outside the realm of state politics. Unconditional equal access rights to the commons amount to inalienable control over one’s livelihood.
This C4SS discussion about anarchism and democracy has been intriguing—even though I am one of only two writers who have regarded them as compatible concepts. The brief essay by Grayson, “Demolish the Demos,” is especially useful. It clarifies what is at the root of the disagreement among anarchists about democracy. The basic issue, I believe, is not what we mean by “democracy” but what we mean by “anarchism.” It is the commitment to an “individualist” interpretation of anarchism which lead to a rejection of radical democracy. I believe that this leads, contrary to anyone’s intentions, in an authoritarian direction.
“…All should be equal in having…absolute authority over themselves….We…wish for a world…in which all are kings….The demos is the original enemy for an anarchist….It presupposes the annihilation of the individual in the collective….This antagonism [is] between individual sovereignty and democracy….The social should make room for the individual and not vice versa….Individuals act…Collectives do not act….The society we want is one that continually dissolves itself into individuals and only exists as a springboard for unique individuals to interface with each other…”
Of course, Grayson does not deny the existence of society or societies, large or small. But he regards them as secondary to individuals: something to be tolerated and used as little as possible, until they can be (periodically?) dissolved. (I do not know whether Grayson is a disciple of Stirner or other individualist anarchists, but he clearly fits this category.)
As a description of reality, this is false. There are and can be no individuals without society. Grayson could not think without using language—a social product. A child’s sense of self is developed through his or her interaction with others, from infancy onwards. Grayson’s vision is like saying that a waterfall does not really exist because it is composed of water drops: the drops do the falling, but supposedly not the river’s water. He says that only individuals act, but not collectives. But take the famous example of a group of men moving a piano. Who is moving the piano? If each one acts completely autonomously, will the piano be moved? This is a model for any sort of productive activity from hunter-gathering on to today, no matter how decentralized or crafts-like an anarchist technology would be.
Compare Grayson’s views with those of Bakunin (passages quoted in Brian Morris, Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom, 1993):
Women’s March, March 2017. Photo by Mark Dixon/Flickr/Creative Commons
During last year’s election season, we were treated to multiple comments about how Donald J. Trump was no Edmund Burke. As a historian and political observer I find such put-downs ridiculous. No Western politician today is following in the footsteps of Edmund Burke; nor can he.
His associates didn’t care what his views were on “women’s issues,” gay marriage or transgendered restrooms; and he developed a reputation as a reformer because he favored home rule under the Crown for Ireland, a gradual emancipation of slaves in the West Indies, and an end to the mercantile policies supported by his Tory opposition. Burke held extremely critical views about democracy and ridiculed the notion of “human rights,” which has become a pillar of American liberal internationalism. I for one agree with much of what Burke said on many subjects, particularly the French Revolution, but then I’m a septuagenarian political dinosaur who doesn’t belong to any significant political movement or party.
Of course it is possible to claim Burke, Aristotle, Kant or anyone whom a journalist or politician cares to invoke for any cause. One can attribute moderation or favorable intentions to anyone who is no longer on Earth and then maintain that if so-and-so were around, he’d be for Hillary, Obamacare, John Kasich, or sending weapons to Israel or Poland. People in the public eye do this all the time; and when they do, I find myself reciting the biblical passage about letting the dead bury the dead.
A related bad habit that I pound mercilessly in my anthology, Revisions and Dissents, is attaching obsolete labels and associations to contemporary movements and personalities. “Fascism,” “conservative,” and “liberal” are three terms that I would like to retire, since I don’t think they apply any longer to our politics. “Right” and “left” may still have relevance since they seem to me to be existential reference points that can exist independently of passing parties and movements. “Conservative” and “liberal” came out of the nineteenth-century and were centered on the struggle between the landed classes and the rising urban bourgeoisie. (A similar dialectic played itself out in this country in the clash between the Union and Confederacy in the Civil War.)
By contrast Right and Left can be easily recognized even if the social and political battles of nineteenth-century Europe are no longer with us. The Deplorables who backed Trump or the French ploucs who supported the FN, clearly represent the Right. They are rooted in a particular place, oppose globalist ventures and what we in the US call the deep state, and hold relatively traditional views about gender and family relations. The globalist, pro-immigration class, which is situated mostly in large cities, and which energetically backs progressive lifestyles, exemplifies our version of the Left. Describing the current Left as “socialist” or “Marxist” is ridiculous and usually dishonest, because the lines of division between Right and Left are now found elsewhere.
I’ve noticed that our authorized conservatives don’t say much about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s cultural radicalism. Instead they berate her and former president Obama as “socialists” and even “Marxists.” What such figures once in power did or would do in pursuing feminist, gay, or transgendered agendas hardly rates a mention from our Republican spokespersons and Fox News All Stars. Far more worrisome for them is how a Democratic president might affect the GNP, or whether Senator Warren if she became president would have the government pay more toward college tuitions.
Although I’m by no means in favor of these policies, they hardly fit the classical criteria of socialism, like nationalizing the forces of production. A really intrusive side of the current (post-Marxist) Left, namely, their drastic social engineering projects intended to overcome “prejudice,” makes little impression on most of the authorized Right. Could it be that these critics are at least partly in agreement with or mostly indifferent to this undertaking? Perhaps they also sense that the Left has already won the cultural battle, and it might be best to limit partisan campaigning to pocketbook issues.
An ominous warning to the Syrian government against staging a chemical weapons attack indicates that the United States could be on the verge of another military strike inside Syria, an analyst say.
“It sounds as if the United States may be planning an attack on Syria,” Keith Preston, director of Attack the System, told Press TV.
“We have to remember that the last time the White House came out and made an accusation of this kind against Syria, those comments served as a precursor to the subsequent attack on Syria,” he added.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday the US intelligence services had detected increased activity at Shayrat airfield in the central province of Homs, the same base targeted by a massive US cruise missile strike early in April.
“This involved specific aircraft in a specific hangar, both of which we know to be associated with chemical weapons use,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
The Pentagon’s statement gave weight to an ominous warning from the White House Monday night, in which Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack.”
Spicer also threatened that if President Assad “conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”
The April strike on Shayrat followed accusations by US officials that the airfield had been used to launch a gas attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the western Idlib province two days earlier.
Syria and its ally Russia said a militant-held chemical arms depot had been damaged in an airstrike on militant positions, causing a leakage of the toxic substance that caused over 80 deaths.
In the days following the missile strike, Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned that the US was prepared to take further action if Syria launched another gas attack.
The latest accusation, Preston said, “is consistent with the ongoing geopolitical strategy that the United States has been pursuing in the region.”
“While the American government has long been claiming to be fighting ISIS (Daesh) in Syria, that is not certainly the case at all,” he noted. “The United States has actually undermined efforts by other forces in the region to successfully combat ISIS.”
“The primary objection of the United States is the elimination of the Syrian government of President Assad,” Preston said.
Escalation with Russia, Iran
The latest US threats against Damascus marked a further escalation of tensions in a country where Russia and Iran are also working with the Syrian government to defeat Daesh.
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the White House also aimed to send a message to Russia and Iran that if a chemical attack happens again, “we are putting you on notice.”
“What this seems to indicate is that the Americans are trying to escalate hostilities not only with Syria but also with Russia and Iran even,” Preston said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “such threats to Syria’s legitimate leaders are unacceptable.”
Peskov said that despite Russia’s calls, an independent probe into the April chemical incident was never conducted, adding, “That is why we do not think it is possible to lay the blame on the Syrian armed forces.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also posted a tweet in reaction to the latest US threat. “Another dangerous US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS (Daesh), precisely when it’s being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people,” he said.
I should clarify for Derek Wittorff that I wasn’t embracing, for example, calling all collective decisionmaking “democracy.” Rather, I was entertaining the more extreme definitions out there. I was attempting to point out how some kernel of “the rule of all over all” lies within each of these alternative definitions — or at the very least how they conflict or risk deviating from anarchism — not to endorse those definitions.
I should also clarify that I have nothing against unanimity, indeed it is often a desirable end. My point was that the way we presently handle consensus process overemphasizes the value of affiliation in a persistent collective organization at the cost of a truer emphasis on freedom of association. Consensus process (done right) encourages people to disassociate and reassociate fluidly. Consensus should ideally be a test applied that dissolves associations and discourages persistent groups just as much as it facilitates the discovery of affinities or detentes.
Unfortunately, the left-liberal concept of consensus has largely won out in activist spaces over the anarchist concept of consensus.
I agree, of course, that we can expect people in a free world to sacrifice some level of agency for the reassurances of persistent structures. And there are certainly problems of economies of scale and externalities in our immediate world that will require all manner of trade-offs, as I openly admitted in my opening essay. There will certainly be situations where accomplishing a task is only possible if people stick together. My point here is that people should consciously decide whether that is the case, and whether the task is worth it. The default right now is almost always to assume that every undertaking requires sticking together in some group, and that such a course of action is worth it. I think we need a much stronger skepticism about the necessity of sticking together, much less in persistent organizations. We must get over our deep-seated fear of disassociation for anarchy to ever flourish.
Where Derek starts to lose me is in treating “agency” like an emotional affect subjective to each person. While the quantification of agency in particular cases is truly forbidding, we can nevertheless speak with some substance of it. An agent locked in a small room from which no information or causal influence escapes clearly has a maximum limit to their agency. And we can clearly say that an agent locked in a bigger box, all other things being equal, has more possible agency. They can do more things. They have more choices and more of the universe is contingent upon their thoughts. (As anarchists we obviously want to go much further than longer chains. We want no chains — the ultimate end of infinite freedom.) Similarly, an agent with 1 bit of information about their world and what choices are available to them has less agency than an agent with 2 bits of information about the same.
I found William Gillis’ essay “The Abolition of Rulership Or The Rule Of All Over All” to be a very interesting read. It covered many of the same points as my essay without much disagreement, and in a much less compressed manner. However, there was one notable difference, and a couple of slight disagreements. Addressing these points of departure will hopefully help contribute to the ongoing dialogue.
William’s definition of democracy as the “rule of all over all” actually paralleled my definition of communism. His definition of democracy is appears to be slightly more broad, ranging from the “rule of the majority” to the unanimity of consensus. This essentially gives democracy a little bit more room for compatibility with anarchy (in a very limited space, i.e. extremely informal, small, ad hoc forms of consensus). Although I do not define consensus as a form of democracy, we find ourselves both agreeing that consensus has some limited overlap with anarchism. It appears the disagreement is over how far that overlap extends, or whether formal organizations using consensus have any anarchist applications at all.
Quoting from the section “Democracy as Consensus”:
“There’s a massive difference between consensus that’s arrived at through free association, and consensus that’s arrived because people are locked into some collective body to some degree. Often what passes for “consensus” within anarchist activist projects is merely consensus within the prison of a reified organization. Modern anarchists are still quite bad at embracing the fluidity of truly free association, we cling to familiar edifices. Our organizations reassure us insofar as they function like the state, simplistic monoliths that exist outside of time and beyond the changing desires and relations of their constituent members…
…for consensus to be truly anarchistic we must be willing to consense upon autonomy, to shed off our reactionary hunger for established perpetual collective entities. Otherwise consensus will erode back in the direction of majority rules, individuals feeling obliged to tolerate decisions lest they break the uniformity of the established collective.”
It should be clear that one of the key conflicts in these debates about anarchy and democracy is a struggle over the nature of anarchism. And it is probably safe to say that nearly all anarchists wrestle with the difficulties of defining that term. Part of the difficulty is that anarchism is simultaneously a kind of system and a matter of tradition. It is at once a political—or anti-political—ideology, a social-scientific approach, and a body of practices that have emerged within—and sometimes against—a particular set of social movements. It is no surprise, then, when our discussions of anarchist theory and practice oscillate between, on the one hand, attempts to show logical consistency between given practices and established principles and, on the other, appeals to the practices of certain pioneers.
When anarchist thought is vital, we should expect the two aspects to work together, since ideally anarchism should never become either simply a theoretical construction or a matter of merely copying past practices. At its best, anarchist thought uses elements of tradition to increase freedom in the present, while new contexts in the present cast new light on the insights of the past. But we should probably be honest and admit that we do not always know quite how to achieve that mix.
Looking back over this exchange, it seems to me Gabriel Amadej’s short contribution “The Regime of Liberty” is a good example of how to at least begin to achieve that balance—and one that works with a particularly difficult body of thought. The attempt to propose a market anarchism “in the spirit of Proudhon” is provocative—I assume intentionally so, given familiar arguments about the place of “the market” in Proudhon’s thought—and the claim that he “held his ground and asserted the principles of anarchy” in late works such as The Principle of Federation simply ups the ante, given the tendency to treat those works as some kind of departure from the spirit of works like What is Property?
As one of those who has pretty consistently advised caution in linking Proudhon and market anarchism, I want to explain a few of the reasons for my reticence in that regard, and also talk a bit about the difficulties involved with attaching Proudhon, and especially his mature works, to any of our projects, but then I would like to briefly explore how we might move at least a few more steps down a path at least similar to the one Amadej has indicated. “Sancta sanctis,” wrote Proudhon in The Theory of Property. “Everything becomes just for the just man; everything can be justified between the just.” And let’s take that as a challenge that it is up to us to determine whether “the market” can find its place among the key institutions of an anarchist society.
Nathan Goodman brings an interesting definition of “democracy” to the conversation — and one that I didn’t preemptively critique — openness. Seeking to bridge the oft-stated dichotomy of markets and democracy, Nathan cites Don Lavoie’s conception which essentially posits markets as the truest expression of democracy:
“In Lavoie’s framework, democracy is not something expressed through a state with a monopoly on the use of force, or through elections to decide what such a state will do. Instead, democracy occurs through open discourse, debate, contestation, and interaction among citizens. To borrow a concept from the Ostroms, democracy rightly understood is polycentric rather than monocentric. … If democracy is characterized by openness, then the ballot box is not the epitome of democracy. Instead, democracy is defined by those who, from the bottom up, contribute to an open society. People who film police and expose their crimes do this. Journalists who investigate powerful people, debate ideas, and keep the free press alive embody democracy.”
It’s worth underlining, of course, that Lavoie’s conception of “democracy” as reconcilable with markets obliges an expansion of our consideration from the thinnest economic reductionism, obliging a wider culture of liberty, openness, discourse, and engagement. Nathan is right to crow that this lines up perfectly with the position of “thick libertarianism,” first introduced by Charles Johnson. For too long, too many libertarians have insisted that liberation can be achieved through the narrowest certification of voluntary transactions, with everything else rendered superfluous to securing a libertarian society. Of course, sadly, most contemporary right-libertarians have dropped their self-proclaimed “thin libertarian” act and endorsed a wild array of supposed cultural preconditions for freedom: often supporting extreme authoritarianism as a means to institute such cultural conditions. This position is almost identical to Marxism’s pretenses of being a path to anarchy. These “libertarians” — who think that a stultifying reactionary culture of traditional authoritarianism is necessary for liberation — are now too busy marching with neo-Nazis in intimidation rallies to bother attempting to justify such twists.
Jewish people celebrating LGBT Pride in Chicago were told not to display Star of David flags because other people found them ‘offensive.’
The Jewish Star of David flag was banned from the city’s annual Dyke March celebrations, and several people carrying the flag were removed form the march because their presence “made people feel unsafe,” LGBT paper Windy City Timesreported.
The Dyke March is described by organisers as being a “more inclusive, more social justice-oriented” march than the city’s main Pride parade.
One marcher, Laurel Grauer, said she was harassed by other Dyke March attendees before being told she needed to leave with her flag.
“It was a flag from my congregation which celebrates my queer, Jewish identity which I have done for over a decade marching in the Dyke March with the same flag,” she told Windy City Times.
“They were telling me to leave because my flag was a trigger to people that they found offensive,” she added. “Prior to this [march] I had never been harassed or asked to leave and I had always carried the flag with me.”
The organizers of the march told the Times the event was a pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist one and that the flags made people feel unsafe.
The Democratic Party is at its lowest ebb in the memory of everyone now alive. It’s lost the White House and both houses of Congress. On the state level it’s weaker than at any time since 1920. And so far in 2017 Democrats have gone 0 for 4 in special elections to replace Republican members of Congress who joined the Trump administration.
How did it come to this? One person the Democratic Party is not going to ask, but perhaps should, is legendary consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
Nader, who’s now 83 and has been been based in Washington, D.C. for over fifty years, has had a front row seat to the Democrats’ slow collapse. After his bombshell exposé of the U.S. car industry, Unsafe at Any Speed, he and his organizations collaborated with congressional Democrats to pass a flurry of landmark laws protecting the environment, consumers and whistleblowers. Journalist William Greider described him as one of America’s three top models for small-d democratic activism, together with Saul Alinsky and Martin Luther King, Jr. Meanwhile, the 1971 “Powell Memo,” which laid the groundwork for the resurgence of the corporate right, named him as a key enemy of “the system,” calling him “the single most effective antagonist of American business.”
More evidence the political class doesn’t know what it’s talking about Events are turning me into a radical skeptic. I no longer believe what I read, unless what I am reading is an empirically verifiable account of the past. I no longer have confidence in polls, because it has become impossible to separate the signal from the noise. What I have heard from the media and political class over the last several years has been so spectacularly proven wrong by events, again and again, that I sometimes wonder why I continue to read two newspapers a day before spending time following journalists on Twitter. Habit, I guess. A sense of professional obligation, I suppose. Maybe boredom.
The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.
When black-clad marchers began smashing windows in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, the city’s police force — reputedly the best in the country at upholding protesters’ rights during disruptive demonstrations — went nuclear.
Officers quickly deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and crowd-control grenades of various types. The Metropolitan Police Department opted to “kettle” everyone on the streets nearby the initial anarchist-driven property destruction, something it does not, by reputation, make a habit of doing during protests.
The mass round-up swept the “Antifa” rowdy types together with many peaceful protesters, journalists, and volunteer legal observers who turn out in bright green hats to help uphold First Amendment rights at such events in the capital. After hours of kettling, police arrested more than 200 people. All were initially charged with felonies by the United States Attorney’s office, which continues to pursue the vast majority of those cases.
The extraordinary destruction of a Syrian fighter jet by a US aircraft on Sunday has precious little to do with the Syrian plane’s target in the desert near Rasafa – but much to do with the advance of the Syrian army close to the American-backed Kurdish forces along the Euphrates. The Syrians have grown increasingly suspicious in recent months that most Kurdish forces in the north of Syria – many of them in alliance with the Assad government until recently – have thrown in their lot with the Americans.
Indeed, the military in Damascus is making no secret of the fact that it has ended its regular arms and ammunition supplies to the Kurds – it has apparently given them 14,000 AK-47 rifles since 2012 – and the Syrian regime was outraged to learn that Kurdish forces recently received an envoy from the United Arab Emirates.
There is unconfirmed information that a Saudi envoy also visited the Kurds. This, of course, follows the infamous Trump speech in Riyadh, in which the US President gave total American support to the Saudi monarchy in its anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian policies – and then later supported the Saudi-led isolation of Qatar.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana — Sound money advocates rejoiced as Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 396 into law in recent days. HB 396, which passed in the Louisiana state house and senate earlier this month by overwhelming majorities, removes state sales taxation of precious metals, specifically gold, silver, and platinum coins and ingots.
Representative Stephen Dwight (R-Lake Charles) and Representative Mark Abraham (R-Lake Charles) introduced HB 396 with the goal of encouraging precious metals purchasers to keep more of their investment dollars inside the state rather making investments elsewhere.
The bill impacts purchases of platinum, gold, or silver bullion that is valued solely upon its precious metal content, whether in coin or ingot form. It also impacts numismatic coins that have a sales price of no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and numismatic coins that are sold at a national, statewide, or multi-parish numismatic trade show.
America’s strategy in Syria has been to utilize terrorist groups to undermine independent governments and wreck havoc in the Middle East, an American political analyst in Virginia says.
“It seems to me that the long-term plan that the United States has is to essentially use ISIS as a means of destabilizing the region, the Middle Eastern region, said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“It’s not that the United States has a favorable view of the ISIS but I think that the United States is simply trying to work both ends against the middle in the sense that they want ISIS to be a disruptive force in Syria and in other parts of the Middle East where there are governments that the United States ultimately wants to over-flow,” Preston told Press TV on Wednesday.
Sometimes words are just words — interchangeable and discardable — but sometimes a word belies a knot in our thought, tightly wound and tensely connected. “Anarchy” is one such word.
Centuries ago the English peasantry rose up to overthrow the king and radically remake society. The vanguard of this revolution, the levellers and the diggers, sought to demolish the feudal hierarchy, to revise property and the division of land. In their revolt they were joined by opportunists who sought the overthrow of the king to assert their own power. Naturally these factions clashed. It was in this civil war that the word “anarchy” was leveraged to great effect. Those with the audacity to explicitly oppose anyone ruling over anyone were characterized as desiring “anarchy,” and when this happened the idealistic rebels were forced to backpeddle, to stumble and prevaricate on a trap built into their very language.