Anarchic Philosophy, by Victor Anduril Reply

  • Part I: No Rule
    “This – is now my way: where is yours? Thus I answered those who asked me ‘the way’. For the way – does not exist!��?

    – Friedrich Nietzsche

    Anarchy comes from the Greek an archos, meaning “no rule” or “without rule”. As simple as this sounds, it is in fact for some a very complex subject of many facets, and tightly interwoven within a web of beliefs – a worldview. But for most, the concept of Anarchy is only too simple, first because they do not truly understand the meaning of “rule”, mistakenly assuming that “rule” is synonymous with other concepts from which it is quite distinct; and second, because “without” is at best a vague description for so complex a creature such as Man.

    Rule is defined in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary as “a prescribed guide for conduct or action.” This definition, carefully considered, should dispel the misconceptions about the true meaning of anarchism, but for most, it does not. Anarchy is not synonymous with chaos. In fact, since the time that Anarchy was first used in a positive manner by Proudhon [1], the concept has always had at its core the idea that man can naturally find a state of social equilibrium (order) without a governing body. Chaos means disorder, and no one would intelligently promote a life of disorder.

    Rule denotes a static guideline created by man and enforced within a community. And “no rule” therefore denotes the lack of this – and nothing more. The idea of “no rule” doesn’t denote any unnatural living situation such as “no order”, “no beliefs”, or “no guiding principles”. Anarchy doesn’t even, per se, denote a community with “no moral standards”, for if an entire community naturally shared moral standards, these standards would apply without a “rule��? or need to “enforce��? it. Anarchism depends on the natural order of things rather than an invented order, and can’t legitimately be extended beyond that. Thus at the very heart of Anarchic idealism is a great respect for man’s inner compulsions and drives, and not the nihilist idea that such could in some “perfect��? state simply cease to exist. The highest essence of Anarchic philosophy is that the more natural a man lives, the more natural will be the outer expressions of his inner life.

    When one considers the deep and expansive aspect of this principle, upon which the concept of anarchism was conceived (though the specific term was not used) by William Godwin in 1793 [2], and without which it means nothing, one can easily come to see the reason for the nineteenth-century split in the movement caused by Bakunin and Marx. Both began with Anarchic ideals – that man can achieve a natural social state without the a priori regulation of government. But such a lofty ideal reveals a great faith in Man and Nature and a rudimentary understanding of Life, a faith which Bakunin truly possessed and Marx truly lacked.

    Bakunin’s brand of anarchism came to be called Collectivism. He and his followers agreed with Marx that there was a need for workers’ associations, like the Medieval guilds which were so popular and powerful across Europe. They also agreed upon the need for violent revolutionary action. But Bakunin protested what he considered Marx’s universalist totalitarianism, in favour of a loose confederation of associated states. Proudhon, too, always declared himself opposed to Marx’s communistic ideas, as did Georges Sorel in his Reflections On Violence (1914). The Russian Anarchist Peter Kropotkin always disliked Marxists, and for this the Marxists (Social Democrats) excluded all Anarchists from the London Congress of the Socialist International in 1896. Describing Das Kapital in 1903, Kropotkin declared “its scientific significance – zero.��? Kropotkin was booked for a ten-week lecturing tour of the U.S. in 1890, but when he spoke out in England against the totalitarian nature of Marxism, the American organisers of the tour, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, operating out of a hall in the Jewish quarter of New York City, abruptly cancelled the tour. “Your concrete actions are completely unworthy of the ideas you pretend to hold,��? he wrote to Vladimir Ilyich (a.k.a. Vladimir Lenin) in 1921. Subsequently, Kropotkin was denounced by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin, who claimed that his opposition to their totalitarian state was support for the “bourgeoisie��?. Adopting Bakunin’s concept of Collectivism, Kropotkin declared that “the state will be destroyed and a new life will begin in thousands of centres, on the principle of an energetic initiative of the individual, of groups, and of free agreement . . .��? [3]. When Proudhon accepted the label ‘Anarchist’ in 1840, he adopted only the essential principal that Man lives most naturally in the absence of imposed central rule. Feeling an affinity with the Traditionalists and Socialists, such as Saint-Simon and Fourier, Proudhon expressed his rejection of the equality-destroying nature of Capitalism and the independence-destroying nature of Marxism. Thus Proudhon founded his Anarchic ideal on the principle of Mutualism [4]. This was the reason Marx, ever the totalitarian, altered his praise of Proudhon’s “scientific socialism��? to an attack in Poverty of Philosophy (1847).

    Not coincidentally, after the First International disbanded in 1872, it was in the countries where Bakunin’s theories were adopted, such as Spain and Italy, that the Anarchist movement attained its greatest strength. Meanwhile, the areas adopting Marx’s theories generated the most totalitarian and repressive states in modern history. Thus Bakunin’s anarchism took final shape as the antithesis of Marx’s communism.

    Contrary to the basic principle of anarchism, Marx envisaged a society with lots of imposed rule – his dream only entailed the transfer of ruling power from one class to another. Marx’s proposed ideal state was to be just as doctrinal as any other, but the working class was to rule. This is obviously far and away from anarchism, and demonstrates that there in fact was no genuine split in the Anarchist movement at all; Marx and his followers simply abandoned anarchism for the ideal of the totalitarian rule of the proletariat.

    Ironically, if we were to accurately evaluate the Anarchist movement existing today, we would find perhaps 1% that are genuine Bakuninist Anarchists, and the other 99% as so-called “Marxist Anarchists��? – which means, essentially, that they are not genuine Anarchists at all.

    This is an incontrovertible fact, and is betrayed in nearly every Anarchist publication, by nearly every Anarchist organisation, and by virtually all Anarchist proponents. The diatribes against national borders are Marxist, not Anarchist, for there is no a priori reason why a single nation could not become an Anarchic state. Proudhon too spoke of associations and federations of associations, but never of a global association. The diatribes against fascism are Marxist, not Anarchist, for there is no a priori reason that others can not have the state of their choice, be it fascist, communist, democratic, aristocratic, monarchic, or otherwise. To judge a concept that has no bearing on our movement and our state is to introduce “a prescribed guide for conduct or action��? into the formula. All judgement of those outside our own sphere of activity is necessarily based upon rules we prescribe, and thus we cease to be Anarchists as soon as we begin to pass judgement on matters not pertaining to ourselves. We must, pragmatically, continuously evaluate and judge (decide) matters, ideas, concepts, principles, and so on, within our ranks, but that is the limit of true anarchism. Thus, whether any of us like it or not, all a priori proclamations against fascism, racism, religion, sexism, war, peace, hate, love, or any other idea – outside of our own realm – immediately betrays the proclaimer (moral reformer or missionary?) as something other than an Anarchist. In view of this, it doesn’t take much reading of Anarchist literature, especially in the U.S., to support the estimation that perhaps 1% of those presently proclaiming to be Anarchists are truly such. Proudhon recognised that no blueprint for the organisation of society can be absolute and definitive truth, for oppositions of diverse sorts are latent in human nature, and their emergence is part of the evolutionary ascension of Life [5]. Bakunin, of course, was Proudhonian in the essentials.

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    Part II: Anarchy is Relative
    “Society seeks order in Anarchy��?

    – Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

    Anarchy has no absolute value or quantity – no metaphysical property – but is a relative term used to classify a specific state at a specific level. Order is inherent in our perception of all systems, from a system of organs in an animal to the super-organism of a pack or herd of animals. Yet depending on the level of perception, the same ordered system can appear to operate under strict rules or as a mere conglomerate of autonomous entities. It can even appear chaotic.

    Standing at Time Square in Manhattan gives one a view of the street-level Anarchy of New York City. But to a person flying overhead at the same moment, the entire city presents a systemic picture, with people and traffic flowing and ebbing in rhythmic patterns. At the time of writing, several wars rage around the planet. At a local level, each area of struggle presents a state of Anarchy or chaos, yet the cosmonaut aboard the Russian Mir is looking down upon a vision of a great systemic Earth, harmoniously turning in its state of eternal flux as if a single living being. And indeed, the Gaia hypothesis suggests that at that level of perception, science can consider the planet as a living system.

    The point is, that because many have never realistically envisioned the founding of an Anarchic state, they have never come to realise how relative the term “Anarchy��? is, and thus they misrepresent anarchism. If the U.S. Government were dissolved tomorrow, state governments would assume full individual control within their respective borders. To a resident of Maine or California, the rule of law would be the same. But to a European or Asian, America would be in a state of Anarchy. If some states then abolished their governments, each state, or at least the larger ones, would present a relative state of Anarchy. Meanwhile, within cities or counties everything would remain essentially unchanged.

    This is an immensely important fact, for it is at the heart of realistic anarchism. The idea that Anarchy must be a global phenomenon is a Marxist lie propagated in order to accomplish exactly what it has for over 120 years – to dupe Anarchists into serving a Marxist agenda rather than their own [6]. If we go back to the examples above, we see that if the Federal Government were abolished, any state would then be free, if its populace so chose, to abolish its Government also, and thereby create an Anarchic state within a land of state democracies. The only thing that prevents this now is the rule of the Federal Government. And in like manner, any nation on earth could tomorrow abolish its laws and governments and create a de facto Anarchic state. Such autonomy is why the United Nations is presently increasing its rule over all nations, to ensure local rule globally just as the American Government ensures local rule nationally. The total lack of understanding about this fact is the bane which has created an Anarchist movement which is thoroughly universalist, and thus, Marxist.

    This insight proves the other claim I made in Part I – that an Anarchist cannot judge concepts outside his own sphere of activity. For accepting the examples above, it becomes incontrovertible that New York could be a totally Anarchic state with all rule abolished and all power totally in the hands of individuals and united groups of individuals – while New Jersey is a fascist state, and Connecticut is a communist state, and Rhode Island is a democratic state, and Delaware has a monarch. Those choosing fascism could go to New Jersey, and those choosing anarchism could go to New York, and so on. Perhaps the Nation of Islam would have a state, and Christian fundamentalists one also. The issue is, as soon as we say “this or that is wrong in your state��?, we have imposed rule and forsaken anarchism. An Anarchic state could, like all sovereigns, wage war on other states for various reasons, but to simply pass judgement is impotent rule-imposing. Thus the Anarchist and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Albert Camus proclaimed that “absolute freedom is the right of the strongest to dominate��? and that “absolute justice is achieved by the suppression of all contradiction: it therefore destroys freedom.��? [7]

    Anarchy is a relative term in all senses, and must be understood and applied relatively, or it assumes the universalist aspect of Marxism, and serves an agenda alien to its own.

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    Part III: Authority Versus Rule
    “We must engage with passion in the immediate strife.��?

    – Herbert Read

    In the first section I stated that the biggest problem with modern anarchism is that the word “rule” is improperly understood. What Anarchists must overcome first and foremost is the fallacious idea that rule is synonymous with the true meaning of authority. Rule is a “prescribed guide��?, meaning it is assigned by man. Authority is a natural principle, with its root in the idea of power – it is not “prescribed��? by man, nor is it merely a “guide��?. Authority, in its true sense, denotes Natural Law, over which no man has say nor sway.

    Gravity is not a rule, but it is unavoidably authoritative. We didn’t “prescribe��? the “rule��? that we must breathe to live, but our need for oxygen is unavoidably authoritative. If the free-spirited Anarchist jumps off a rooftop or falls in a river, he will obey the authority of gravity or metabolism – Natural Law – whether he approves of them or not.

    The misrepresentation of authority as a form of law has had the greatest negative effect on Anarchic philosophy, for the unavoidable principle of authority – cause and effect – is woven throughout nature, and subsequently throughout man’s world. This disregard for the principle of authority has been one of the factors causing Anarchists to be veritable Marxists – if one doesn’t recognise and deal with natural authority, one must then rely on Marx’s class rule for survival.

    When a lion catches a gazelle, it exercises the natural authority of a predator over its prey, and no amount of rationalising can overcome the fact – or the consequences, in nature, that might is right. The only reason this principle is not fully active, for the animal Homo sapiens sapiens, is because he has disjoined himself from nature with the imposition of Rule. Anarchists, therefore, as those seeking to abolish this rule, and re-institute the authority of Natural Law, should be the most aware of the implications. As Francis Bacon said: “Nature cannot be commanded except by being obeyed.��?

    The childish and rationalist ideas to be read in most Anarchist publications are no less than an attempt to moralise nature, “the lion shouldn’t kill because it isn’t right; it is an infringement of the gazelle’s liberty.” From a child this is a cute rationalisation, from a self-proclaimed revolutionary, it is quite pathetic.

    Anarchists that are pragmatic and sincere, therefore, need to be less concerned about whether it is “right” or “wrong” to oppress others, rape women, steal from the elderly, discriminate against a person because of their sexuality and the like, and more concerned over whether their highest ideal (supposedly), become a reality, would be their glory or their demise [8].

    The utopian ideals of Marxism have been attractive to weak Anarchists unwilling to face the real implications of having to ensure their own survival and well-being. The Marxist ideal paints the “either/or��? fantasy, either there will be rules to protect those incapable of protecting themselves, or the entire globe will become one big Anarchic community with no one taking advantage of another. Such thinking is for Marxist cowards, not Bakuninist Anarchists.

    A “global community” will never become a reality, and it would never last if by some miracle it did. The truth is, there will always be the “other”, some body which does not accept our views and is therefore a potential enemy. Laws are not over war, war is over laws. Without the limitations of either laws or authority, the “other” will take what you have, rape your women, steal your children for slaves, and so on. That is Anarchy without the natural authority which alone maintains order. Therefore, Anarchists need to get to grips with the dynamics of Natural Law – in fact with all modern science – and only then will the positive aspects of Natural Law enable them to create the Anarchic state they dream of. As was said by the nineteenth-century American Anarchist Benjamin Tucker, editor of Liberty: “The ways of science, however devious and difficult to tread, lead to solid ground at last. Communism belongs to the Age of Faith, Anarchistic Socialism to the Age of Science.”

    It is because of the Marxist utopian pipe-dreams which have been continuously injected into Anarchist thought that such a noble ideal as anarchism has not been taken seriously, since World War Two, as a viable alternative. True anarchism, purged of all alien Marxist concepts, requires a realistic recognition and acceptance of science [9] – including Natural Law – which alone gives it the perspective of the powerful Cornerstone of Anarchic philosophy – the social nature of man.

     

    Part IV: Man as Social AnimalThere will be a qualitative transformation, a new living, life-giving revelation, a new heaven and a new earth, a young and mighty world in which all our present dissonances will be resolved into a harmonious whole.��?

  • – Mikhail Bakunin

    Natural Law is a law of mutual struggle, of “tooth and claw��?, but it is also the law of mutual aid. This key aspect of genuine anarchism was beautifully explored in Peter Kropotkin’s book, Mutual Aid: A Factor In Evolution (1902), but this work has been as overlooked by Anarchists as it has by so-called “Social Darwinists��?. Mutual Aid is a treatise on evolution which proceeds from biology into anthropology and thence to the sociological realm of human relationships.

    Kropotkin has been accused of too much moralising in his anarchism, and understandably so, but the simple fact at issue is that Natural Law impels a man to struggle with and for his in-group. Man is where he is on the evolutionary scale due to the intelligence and social skills he possesses, which far fiercer animals lack. This is the key to anarchism, and its only hope for the future.

    Mutual Aid has been as little understood in the Anarchist movement as has Mutual Struggle. For it was only by ignoring the incredible impact Natural Law would have on man if his rule were abolished, that Anarchists were able to ignore the true elements of the only balancing factor to that impact. Instead, Anarchist literature relied largely on childishly naive moralism. It is “wrong��? to enslave others, it is “wrong��? to be sexist, it is “wrong��? to be racist, declared Anarchists, rather than the only realistic and viable statement a true Anarchist can make: united we stand against such and such. Without Rule, Mutual Aid, not morality or wishful thinking, is the only force capable of creating balance. All concepts of “rights��? are rationalisations of man, and the concepts of “inalienable rights��? are ignorant rationalisations. Man has but one “right��? – the single right Nature bequeaths to all – the right to struggle.

    If a Marxist-style global community were formed tomorrow, where would Anarchists put all the groups they revile? Whereas the majority of Anarchists have adopted the Marxist universalist ideal, and therefore can envision a global Anarchy or no Anarchy – rather than a pragmatic Bakuninist vision of a state – it is only logical to conclude that these so-called “no-rulers��? would imprison all those who harbour beliefs they dislike, which entails, interestingly, most of the world. This is a serious issue, because Marxist anarchism is anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-nazi, anti-sexist, and a dozen other “anti’s��?, but simultaneously refuses to acknowledge the possible existence of other states within which these concepts are accepted. Since these people, reviled as they obviously are by the modern Anarchist movement, which dedicates approximately 50% of its print space to them, cannot be expected to participate in Mutual Aid and cannot be, due to their number, imprisoned – they must be executed based on their beliefs. There is not, it seems, much “no rule��? philosophy in such ideas.

    Though many resist the natural fact, man as a social animal, despite his mutual aid, nevertheless must deal with authority within an Anarchic community. The more “fit��? naturally, one way or another, exercise some degree of authority over the less “fit��?; and fitness denotes all elements of life: physical, mental, emotional, creative, etc. The only way to prevent this ahead of time and universally would be the establishment of rules – the forced equality of totalitarian Marxism. This concept – so deplored by irrational Anarchists – isn’t one of just muscular strength, but of all manner of natural endowment. The better-looking individual gets to choose mates from a larger selection, perhaps even multiple mates, while an ugly person has none – and this comes naturally, for all healthy persons are attracted to some conception of beauty. This denotes natural authority. Smarter people will tend to be more successful in all manner of business – even socialist business – or personal bargaining, job hunting, and any other form of exchange or organisation. And when two men wish to dance the same dance with the same woman, and neither will concede, a physical confrontation is naturally possible. The stronger or faster or better trained or more courageous man will win such a confrontation. This denotes natural authority.

    Kropotkin was accused of taking a “high moral��? tone because unlike Bakunin he was not a fighter, and thus he rationalised that in a mutually formed community, all such conflicts would go away. But most persons learn quickly that it is impossible for two roommates to live in perfect harmony at all times, never mind an entire community. And any group with a rich enough character and will to actually fight for and build a new society will be too close to Nature to live like a bunch of dainties.

    In days of old, when communities were far more Anarchic than they are today, rather than imposing rules, societies faced the natural fact of quarrels between even good people in two ways: first, there was a code of honour, which wasn’t a Rule, but an inner guide for right conduct based on Natural Laws. Though Kropotkin never proposed a Code of Honour in his Mutual Aid, it is cognate with his recognition that the very fact that living in a society tends to develop, in however rudimentary form, that “collective sense of justice growing to become a habit.��? By recognising Natural Law, men with a Code of Honour accepted that stronger men could exercise authority over weaker men, and thus it became dishonourable for a stronger man to impose himself on a weaker one, and dishonourable for a weaker man to take advantage of this by denying the potential authoritativeness the stronger man could exercise. Even the old courting concepts were based on the Code of Honour, so that relations between men and men, men and women, and women and women, in the realm of matchmaking, could be equananimous, giving all a fair place in the order of things. The Code of Honour did, as any ideal that comes naturally in the social animal, permit great social stability and order without Rule.

    The second manner of handling disputes arises naturally out of the first. No Code of Honour can maintain order without a method of settling serious transgressions. That method was duelling. A Code of Honour appeals to man’s inner world, his consciousness, be it his conscience, intellect, emotions, or what have you. But in order to maintain the Code, the possible consequences for serious transgressions had to be of a most serious nature – the possibility of death. But again, this was not a judgement or sentence, but rather the punishment naturally inflicted by the person transgressed, or if it be a woman, child, or invalid, by that person’s representative. This was the basis of common law, which was a system between the Code of Honour and the Rule we have now. As with the Code of Honour, Kropotkin did not overtly propose duelling in Mutual Aid, but the concept is nevertheless compatible with comments he made in his articles and speeches: “We assert the social duty of each to defend, by force if need be, his dignity as a free human being, and the like dignity in others, from every form of insult or oppression.��? [10] And again: “I maintain that violence belongs to all parties, and they all have recourse to it when they lose confidence in other means and are brought to despair.��? [11]

    Even duelling had its own Code of Honour, rather than rules. If a person lacked the inner compulsion to abide by the Code of Honour, based on the respect of the community, then he could be challenged to a duel. To cause such an incident, then fail to answer for one’s actions by meeting a challenge, was the most dishonourable conduct possible, and a person thereafter became anathema.

    Perhaps it need be said that the Code of Honour never took on a moral tone or in any way resembled arbitrary rules or law. A man could not be challenged to a duel simply because he was gay or Black or of a specific religion. To interfere in such a manner with personal affairs was itself considered dishonourable. But if a man insulted your wife, you could seek redress. If a woman publicly accused another of theft, and had no justification for doing so, the accused could seek redress (of course, in those days men duelled for the women). This entire concept, needing no Rules or officers or courts, but just the general inner-feeling (in a close-knit community) of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you��?, naturally kept most persons very civil and sociable, and maintained a high degree of social order for most of human history [12].

    Anarchists who disapprove of such traditions as “barbaric��? or “primitive��? simply disapprove of nature, and would rather fantasise about utopias than work towards a viable and practicable Anarchic philosophy. Moreover, taken in historical perspective, anarchism is “barbaric��? and “primitive��?, which is what many admire in it. The bottom line is, if there were no rule, and a man’s wife or sister were raped, or his child or neighbour’s child were molested, it would be natural for him to hunt down the perpetrator and kill him. All other transgressions of mutual aid and the Code of Honour, as a threat to Natural Order, must likewise be dealt with in some proportionately appropriate manner.

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    Part V: Anarchy Proper
    “I came to my truth by diverse paths and in diverse ways: it was not upon a single ladder that I climbed to the height where my eyes survey my distances.��?

    – Friedrich Nietzsche

    Not only is it non-Anarchic to judge the beliefs or practices of others outside one’s own sphere of activity, but because Anarchic idealism is necessarily pluralistic [13], all ideologies outside one’s own system must be seen as right – for those choosing it. The faith in man’s true nature which is inherent in Anarchic philosophy dictates that we try to see all the ways in which nature unfolds as an expression of the life-process. We need not approve or support them, but as mere mortals it is pure arrogance to suppose that we can adequately evaluate every idea that expresses itself in the psyche of man.

    There is a common tendency today to confuse atomism with pluralism, and it needs to be known that atomism is not what is suggested herein. Pluralism implies that upon a fundamental principle of mutual respect, diverse ideas can exist in some proximity to each other and not interfere with one other. This is the basic principle upon which the United States was founded, which at its genesis was quite Anarchic in a relative way, with thirteen very lightly ruled colonies choosing what amount of federal rule they would approve. In a pluralist society, John can live his way on A street and Jane can live her way on B street, and through mutual respect for freedom – even if they hate each other’s beliefs – neither will interfere with the other.

    Atomism is a more recently developed concept. Atomism dictates that we must see all ideas as “equal��?, and that it is “wrong��? for us to feel that we have chosen our beliefs because they are best. Thus the issue becomes not a matter of mere respect, but of personal beliefs. It is not enough in atomism that we respect another’s different ways, we are required to acknowledge that their ways are just as good as our own. Atomism is the outgrowth of Government’s increasing interference in personal matters.

    In an atomist society, Jane is not only expected to respect John’s beliefs by not interfering with his practices on A street, but John is now permitted to bring his practices on to B street, and stand in front of Jane’s house, publicly reviling her beliefs. And if all the residents of B street disapprove of John’s beliefs, he is, in an atomist society like our own, permitted to move from A street to B street with no aim other than forcing his beliefs in the midst of B street beliefs, and extorting from the B street residents the confession that his beliefs are as good as their own. Thus John has violated any sense of honour, any sense of mutual respect implicit in pluralism, and any concept of mutual aid – and the law is 100% on his side.

    Pluralism, which is an inherent principle of anarchism, ensures a person’s or group of person’s ability to live their way in their sphere of activity, even if it be incompatible with some spheres of activity around them. Atomism greatly and unnaturally extends this, using rule to enforce a person’s “right��? to bring his beliefs into spheres of activity where they are unwanted, thereby upsetting the life-rhythms of others because one individual disagrees with them. This is the basic concept of modern Americanism, full of all the “rights��? and “lawsuits��? that rule can impose on people. Unfortunately, this is also the ideal of far too many Anarchists.

    If in Bakuninville the residents listen to The Sex Pistols, follow the Wiccan religion, and live as socialists, while in Hitlerville the residents listen to Slayer, follow Viking religion, and live as fascists – both groups enjoy their own beliefs and doctrines in their own sphere of activity, and no rule is imposed by one on the other. Thus pluralism is in effect and from a transcendent perspective, anarchism exists. It doesn’t matter if a king rules in Hitlerville, for the concept of “no rule��? is relative to the persons in that sphere of activity only. For Anarchists in Bakuninville to protest or even openly judge the actions within Hitlerville is to introduce the concept of atomism, which requires a “prescribed guide for conduct or action��? – rule – and thus dissolves the “big picture��? existence of anarchism. The bottom line is, then, that it is a prerequisite to Anarchic thought that one recognise the “no rule��? principle as a relative term applicable only to one’s own life-system. As soon as one even idealises beyond that, rule is imposed and Anarchy is negated for himself and others.

    As long as Anarchists keep serving a Marxist agenda rather than a genuine Anarchic agenda, an Anarchic society will remain a fantasy. As all Marxist states dissolve one by one of their own inequity, this fact couldn’t be more plain. Marxism isn’t pluralist, it is atomist. Marx didn’t merely idealise on a utopian socialist society for his progeny, he conceived taking over the world, imposing Marxist ideas even on those workers who did not choose them – via rule – and exacting vengeance upon the West, which he personally hated with a maniac’s intensity. Bringing a heterogeneous world under a homogeneous rule is not Anarchic idealism, and vengeance has nothing to do with power, which is all a truly revolutionary ideal seeks. It is the atomist perception of Marxism which poisons the naturally pluralist ideal of the Anarchist movement. This ideal was promoted by Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, and most poetically by Kropotkin, who said: “The practical solution will not be found, will not be made clear, until the change will have already begun. It will be the product of the revolution itself, of the people in action, or else it will be nothing, the brains of a few individuals being absolutely incapable of finding solutions which can only spring from the life of the people.��? [14]

    Another huge (and often quite convenient) misconception within the modern Anarchist movement has been the childish idea that Anarchy simply means “anything goes��?. Such is a reduction of anarchism to the lowest possible level. Everyone simply doing “as they please��? with no regard for each other or the community is chaos, not “no rule��?, is contrary to the genuine idealism of anarchism, and is contrary to life itself. Kropotkin appropriately declared that such individualists are not Anarchists but “are driven into the liberal individualism of the classical economists.��? Bakunin specifically promoted a confederation of associations because he knew that no social order could long endure within an “anything goes��? community. This adolescent attitude seems to be one brought to the Anarchist movement by the lowest dregs of society, so pathetic and lazy and anti-social that only where “anything goes��?, they feel, will their worthless existence be tolerated.

    In Bakunin’s vision, opposed to Marx’s single community, the more associations (states), the more freedom of expression. This would also best accommodate further development, and further evolution, for doing “as you please��? amidst people who dislike what pleases you is antithetical to the goodwill and mutual aid of a community. There is no doubt that many decent Anarchists are nevertheless simply rebellious adolescents (at whatever age), who think that shocking people or causing disruption in the rhythms of a community are acts of “anarchism��?. But these are merely the juvenile pranks of an immature and insecure mind, more interested in the anti-social behaviour of an arsehole than the philosophical idealism of anarchism, which is fundamentally predicated upon the social tendency of individuals.

    Again, it is the nihilism of Marxist theory – never accepted by the true greats of anarchism – that creates these pseudo-Anarchic, pseudo-revolutionary attitudes within the movement. Marx’s nihilism did away with the need for social behaviour, because it dismissed any higher expressions of Man. Marx rationalised away the truest essence of human beings – or humans being – including cultural aspects such as art, science, music, religion, and all other expressions of man’s inner world; life was relegated to the same automaton status it receives under Capitalism: finance and industrial technology. We would, as “workers of the world��?, work to live and live to work. Bakunin, repudiating this inorganic nihilism, recognised that a confederation of states could create anarchism conducive to the full plethora of man’s higher aspirations, which are, after all, the true essence of life and living. While most Anarchist literature was silent on the place of cultural expression within the Anarchic state, that expression was not dismissed as irrelevant. Kropotkin was particularly close to this aspect of man, and said: “Man is not a being whose exclusive purpose in life is eating, drinking, and providing a shelter for himself. As soon as his material wants are satisfied, other needs, which, generally speaking, may be described as of an artistic character, will thrust themselves forward.��? [15]

    Kropotkin regularly played the piano – how well is a matter of debate. “The Poetry of Nature”, a lecture he gave in London in 1892, blended his Anarchist ideas with the ideas from the Ancient Greek poets, and also with Byron, Shelley, Goethe, and Whitman. Kropotkin also wrote scientific articles (usually on geology or sociology) for the Geographical Journal from 1893-1905, spoke before the British Association (a learned society) in 1893 and 1897, and lectured to the Geographical Society in 1903 and 1904. Among his friends was the poet W.B. Yates, the novelist Oscar Wilde, the occultist Annie Besant, the painters G.F. Watts and Walter Crane, the writers Cunninghame Graham and George Bernard Shaw, the philologist Stassov, the cultural researcher Sir James Knowles, the famous field naturalist H.W. Bates, the editor of Nature magazine, J.S. Keltie, and the poet Ernest Rhys. Far from being anti-cultural, as the large share of self-proclaimed modern Anarchists seem to be, Proudhon too perceived Anarchism as including cultural elements, and specifically thought that the human mind progresses through stages of religion, philosophy, and science [16]. One of the cultural elements that Proudhon envisioned as existing within a future Anarchic state was, contrary to popular belief, the ownership of property.

    When Proudhon claimed that “property is theft��?, he was not suggesting that a person who owns and works land, or any other means of sustenance, and lives by the fruit of his labours, is a thief. This is the simplistic conception of Marxists and Anarchists who learn their principles via hearsay. Proudhon was referring only to the abuse of land ownership, such as the holding of land in order to drive up its value, or the possession of more potentially productive land than one can utilise. This is an issue later expanded upon by the American socialist Henry George.

    Proudhon believed that human dignity is based upon farmers and artisans possessing the land they work on or the tools which they use, and upon their receiving sustenance directly from the fruit of their labours. He was therefore as opposed to any system of state ownership as he was to a system of Capitalist ownership. “I am not advocating either Communism or state ownership��?, Proudhon declared openly [17]. Thus he came to the eventual conclusion that non-abused property ownership is the only power which can act as a counterweight to a government [18], revealing that his idea that “property is theft��? was proclaimed in a purely relative manner.

    Anarchists interested in the cultural element of true anarchism should also read the verse of Anarchist poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Education Through Art by the Anarchist Sir Herbert Read (1943).

    It is simply a misconception of massive consequences that so many Anarchists consider themselves, and anarchism, a leftist ideology. In truth, genuine anarchism, from its genesis to World War Two, was neither “left��? nor “right��?, but what might be considered a Third Way, or Third Position.

    The concept of the Third Way has been slow in developing within the Anarchist movement, which has remained, despite its roots and inherent principles, almost wholly entrenched in a leftist mindset. This is likely due to a fundamental misconception of the essential character of Third Way ideology, caused by many factors; two of these are the distorted vision of so many Anarchic publishers, and the misconception that a Third Way is merely a “third choice��?, and thus anarchism automatically qualifies no matter what its tenets.

    Progress and the evolution of ideas is a rhythmic process of wholeness, in which ideas progress dialectically, through struggle and contradiction. The dialectical method of philosophy was originated in the West by Hegel, who had the greatest influence on Bakunin [19]. The process starts with an initial worldview, the thesis; this proves to be incomplete, and thus generates its opposite, the antithesis. This in turn also proves incomplete, and enlightened individuals then take up the opposites into a higher synthesis. In political thought, this “synthesis��? is the Third Way. Understanding of the above process should dispel any illusion that the third way is merely an alternative “choice��?. The third way is seen in fact to be any ideal which evolves out of the dialectical process of opposing concepts.

    The major philosophical forces at work in the second half of the Nineteenth Century were set in two separate camps. Conservative nationalism (thesis) was being challenged by Liberal (universalist) socialism (antithesis). These struggles caused severe alterations in man’s view of society, and culminated in several revolutions.

    In response to this thesis-antithesis situation, which presented two incomplete worldviews, Bakunin took up elements of both sides of the dichotomy into a higher synthesis, which was the foundation for his collectivist anarchism. This higher synthesis fully recognised the social nature of man, as did the Marxists, but it also recognised that some boundaries are natural and necessary in order to promote some of the numinous things in life, and thus to destroy them would be to impose a universalist rule. Hence Bakunin’s Collectivism embraced a pluralist Anarchy wherein different people choose their associations – based on language, culture, religion, location, mutual interests, etc. – and then respect the chosen associations of all others. This confederation theory is opposite Marxist ideals, which for Anarchists promotes the unsupportable paradox that one can impose “no rule��? on others.

    Bakunin’s Collectivism offered an anarchism that gave communities both collective socialism and individual association in forms consistent and compatible with each other, conducive to the growth of individuals and chosen collectives, and thus conducive to the further evolution of society and mankind.

    This was possible because these ideas were stripped of their leftist and rightist trappings, thereby allowing the essential elements and goals of each to be combined into a third perspective which transcended the subjective views of entrenched agendas. Bakunin’s Collectivism, then, can rightly be termed Third Way political thought.

    Rather than observing the incompleteness and failures of the worldviews which anarchism was supposed to replace, and taking the best of each to create a revolutionary synthesis, as did Bakunin in his time, our Anarchist movement has until now existed in the parody of living within the Marxist ideals which Bakunin openly opposed. It will require the minds and hearts of sincere and determined Anarchists to break the movement out of this paradox, and permit a dialectical process of growth and transmutation to take place. This would bring forth the third position anarchism which we inherited, and transform the movement from a mere genre into a revolutionary cause.

    Â

    Part VI: Pacifism – Violence – Peace
    “The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.��?

    – Mikhail Bakunin

    Most Anarchists speak and write with the same Orwellian doublespeak as do the present leaders of the world. “Peace��? to them means a lack of strife when things are going as they wish; and the violence necessary, when things are going as others wish, to bring back this state, is also action to bring “peace��?. “Violence��? means any transgression of their well-being; and actions taken by others to prevent the same transgressions against themselves is also “violence��?. Thus the police are “violent��? when they kick an Anarchist’s arse because he tore down someone’s fur poster; but the police are “peacekeepers��? when they kick the poster owner’s arse because he attacked the Anarchist tearing down his poster.

    “Pacifism��? and “violence��? are catchwords which have been rendered almost meaningless due to decades of misuse. A proclaimed “pacifist��? is almost always just as violent as a normal person, but he relies on others to enact his violence. If, for example, in a pub you slap a true pacifist in the face, he will go to the other side of the pub. If you follow him there and slap him again, he will go to a different pub. His ideal is that he will not let your violence perpetuate more violence by his reaction to your actions. That is a Jesus, Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, Jr.

    But if you slap most self-proclaimed “pacifists��?, who are in reality just violent cowards using the concept of pacifism as an excuse for their cowardice, they will run straight to the pub bouncers or the police. These men will then want you to leave, and if you refuse, they will kick your arse. Thus, the person slapped isn’t a pacifist, but a coward who kicked your arse by proxy.

    The point is that this is the doublespeak of our modern world, and must be totally purged from the Anarchist movement. True revolutionaries – among themselves at least – say what they mean and mean what they say. In truth there is no qualitative difference between society’s ideas of peaceful or violent. In almost all cases, these are mere catchwords serving an agenda and therefore such descriptions have no true place within Anarchic philosophy. Ultimately, the concept of violence is not antithetical to the concept of peace, but rather a necessary element of it. The only valid definition of peace is: the absence of opposition.

    In six thousand years of history the absence of opposition has yet to be maintained for any extended period of time due to morality, religion, a political ideal, or even man’s social nature. The fact of the matter is that man’s social nature, like Anarchy, is relative, and therefore he naturally forms sustainable groups which, as super-organisms, themselves exist within the natural process of mutual struggle [20].

    Hence peace, as the absence of opposition, can only genuinely result from violence or the potential for violence. In any community, the toughest men usually fight the least, because they have already displayed their potential for violence, and so it is seldom tested. The only true mutual respect between organisms engaged in the dynamics of mutual struggle, whether individual man or nation, comes from the mutual desire to avoid mutually destructive confrontation. That is true peace.

    This understanding is important for Anarchists, because it applies to the struggle to create a new society, and thereafter to the realpolitik which alone can maintain it. To be worthy of calling himself Homo sapien – man, the wise – an Anarchist must have full knowledge of his ideals, he must have a deep faith in their virtue, and he must have the will, determination, and courage to make them a reality. True Peace is a product of violence, and true Life is a product of Death.

    Â

    Part VII: Revolution
    “The insurrectionary deed, destined to affirm socialist principles by acts, is the most efficacious means of propaganda.��?

    – Errico Malatesta

    All organisms, be they carnivore or herbivore, feed upon other organisms. Life and death are intimately – mystically – connected, and one must always give way to the other. In the successful revolutionary, the death instinct is as strong as the life instinct.

    Ideas, taking on a life of their own, also feed upon other ideas. In the proportion that other ideas die, so will the revolutionary’s idea inversely grow. There is a struggle for survival in the kingdom of ideas, just as in the human, animal, and plant kingdom – but far more fierce.

    No idea is willing to surrender its life, to sacrifice its own existence in order to facilitate the fulfilment of the life of another idea – such is unnatural and against the most basic instinct of living things. Many ideas live for generations as veritable super-organisms, with the lives of human beings passing through their bodies like the cells of the skin. There is a mystical quality to great ideas, something that transcends life, and this understanding can only be gained existentially. This mystical insight is the final and most profound Power an idea bestows upon the revolutionary, and through this cognition alone may an activist become a true Man of Destiny.

    In this world of ours, it is abundantly manifest that anarchism must kill if it is to live. And it must kill a lot if it is to grow. And it must kill far and wide, with a primal bloodlust, if it is to take its appropriate station among the ideas of the world. Anarchy is, then, a purely revolutionary concept, with no legitimate place within the present order of things. We are living on borrowed time. Whereas the ballot is of no recourse to anarchism, its glorious future stands behind the mightier bullet. The hill is steep, and the gate is narrow.

    Anarchists must therefore cease all the amateurish moralising – fighting against all the concepts this society and Marxism have programmed them to oppose – and stand against those in power. Anarchists need but one state from which to fly the banner of the Noble Cause, and therefore any entity, no matter what its beliefs or doctrines, is a potential ally if it opposes those in power. “My enemy’s enemy can be my greatest ally��? is a realpolitik axiom that has come last to Anarchists.

    The entire globe is presently dominated by the most powerful rule-imposer in world history. This degenerate regime will utilise every means at its disposal to maintain its totalitarian “One World Order��?. That means not only conventional forces of unimaginable strength, but also blockaded or destroyed food or water supplies, chemical agents, biological serums, and finally – but assuredly – nuclear holocaust. There are hundreds of groups struggling for a piece of autonomy apart from this one-world regime, and plenty of room on the planet for each to have its share. Among all these groups – so diverse and even ideologically opposed – lies the one promise for the future, and that is their mutual desire to destroy those in power. As Friedrich Nietzsche said: “The state wants to be absolutely the most important beast on earth; and it is believed to be so too!��? [21]

    How can Anarchists oppose this Beast when they already oppose every “ism��? on the planet? When Marxists tried to persuade the anarcho-socialist Jack London to join their crusade against natural borders, he rejected their propaganda as irrelevant to the Cause. When the feminist Emma Goldman tried to gain Kropotkin’s support for “sexual equality��?, he rejected her propaganda as irrelevant to the Cause. It was in fact the father of Italian fascism, Benito Mussolini, who translated Kropotkin’s books into Italian in 1904, and Kropotkin once wrote of Mussolini – who did not operate in Kropotkin’s sphere of activity – “I am delighted by his boldness.��? When the Russian Anarchist revolutionaries took the position of hostility towards all non-Anarchist groups and ideologies, Kropotkin declared this attitude as impractical, and contended: “We cannot be against it. Our business is not to fight with them, but to bring into existing revolutionary ferment our own ideas, to widen the demands which are made.��?

    And the International Anarchist Congress at Amsterdam in 1907, called on all revolutionaries to oppose the ruling regime in unison:

    The Anarchists, the integral emancipation of humanity and the absolute liberty of the individual, are naturally the declared enemies of all armed force in the hands of the state – army, navy, or police.

    They urge all comrades, according to circumstances and individual temperament, to revolt and refuse to serve (either individually or collectively), to passively and actively disobey, and to join in a military strike for the destruction of all the instruments of domination.

    They express the hope that the people of all countries affected will reply to a declaration of war by insurrection.

    As third way Anarchists, it is our special duty to serve as a link between all these scattered elements of insurrectional potential with a single cause – to destroy those in power. The true Anarchist can therefore have but one true battle cry: Revolutionaries of the world – unite!

    Â

    “Nothing, nothing but war, war without mercy, will lead to any solution.��?
    – Peter Kropotkin, Les Temps Nouveaux

    Notes:
    What Is Property?, 1840. [Back]
    Political Justice; “Godwin sums up, as no one else does, the sum and substance of anarchism, and thus embodies a whole tradition.��? – Sir Alexander Gray, The Socialist Tradition. [Back]
    Mutual Aid, 1902. [Back]
    System of Economic Contradictions or the Philosophy of Poverty, 1846. [Back]
    Ibid. [Back]
    “Socialism – in its highest and not its street-corner sense – is like any other Faustian ideal, exclusive��?, said the great philosopher Oswald Spengler. Anarchism is the purest form of socialism, for it is natural, not imposed, socialism. [Back]
    The Rebel, 1953. [Back]
    See The Ego and His Own by Max Stirner, 1845. [Back]
    That Marxism is antithetical to science and Natural Law was proven in the anti-scientific biological teachings of “michurinism��? under Lysenko, protected by Stalin. [Back]
    Freedom, 1886. [Back]
    Speech At the Commune Celebration, 1893. [Back]
    When Alexander Hamilton caused Aaron Burr to lose the presidential election of 1804, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. The two went to New Jersey, where duelling was still legal, and Burr killed Hamilton. Not long afterwards, the replacement of the colonial Code of Honour with Rule adopted almost word-for-word from the British legal system was complete. [Back]
    Pluralism was best explored in the philosophical pragmatism of William James. [Back]
    Revolutionary Government in Le Revolte, 1881. [Back]
    The Conquest of Bread, 1892. [Back]
    On the Creation of Order in Humanity, 1843. [Back]
    Theory of Property, 1863. [Back]
    Ibid. [Back]
    In his early years, Bakunin was a member of the genre known as the Young Hegelians. [Back]
    See The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler, (1918; 1920; 2 vols.). [Back]
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra, 1885. [Back]

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