Your Freedom is My Freedom: The Premise of Anarchism Reply

Human Iterations

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.

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The Next Wave of Anarchist Movements Reply

A reader on Facebook recently asked me for a definition of National-Anarchism, and my response is posted below. I think this is a pretty good summary of the ATS philosophy and the general pan-anarchist perspective as well. This definition is broad enough to include the many hyphenated forms of anarchism, along with their prototypes and overlapping ideological tendencies.

“If I had to come up with a working definition of N-A, I’d say it’s a philosophy that favors stateless societies based on autonomous, voluntary communities comprised of freely associating individuals and groups, with an orientation towards decentralized, pluralistic particularism, human scale institutions, mutual aid, an infinite array of individual and collective identities, and self-determination for everyone. A nation is this context simply means a common ethnic, religious, cultural, sexual or lifestyle affiliation, not a national state or national chauvinism. The same way indigenous people around the world often think of themselves as a nation (Kurdish nation, Sioux nation, Lakota nation, Ibo nation, Yazidi nation, etc) even though few if any of these have states of their own. And a “nation” in this context doesn’t have to be an ethnic group. Presumably it could be Star Trek or Star Wars freaks or fans of football teams.”

Troy Southgate also has a post on the N-AM website that defines National-Anarchism fairly comprehensively as well:

We have to come to expect that people who have only recently discovered our ideas will inevitably have retained some of the negative ideological baggage of the past, but unless people are willing to discard all traces of their former political allegiances then they have absolutely no place in our Movement. National-Anarchists do not support Trump, Putin, Assad or Le Pen; National-Anarchists do not endorse racist behaviour or misogyny; National-Anarchists are opposed to fascism and neo-Nazism; National-Anarchists do not defend imperialism and colonialism; and National-Anarchists are not anti-communist to the extent that they forget about the capitalist ruling class or ignore the fact that the historical roots of our struggle can be found among those who have always fought against injustice and oppression. The list goes on. Ironically, there are people on the Left who seek to demonise us by associating us with the Far Right, something which can then lead to members of the Far-Right gravitating towards National-Anarchism itself in the mistaken belief that we are simply ‘playing’ at being Anarchists or using Anarchism as a convenient means of advancing fascist objectives in a more covert and surreptitious manner. Sometimes, of course, it is deliberate and there are people on the Left who fully realise that we are genuine but who also recognise how much of a threat we present to their dishonest stranglehold on the anti-capitalist movement as a whole. Similarly, there are people on the Right who have tried to use National-Anarchism as a vehicle for their own fascist views. Let’s get one thing perfectly straight. We National-Anarchists, above and beyond all else, are Anarchists. The clue, after all, is in the name. As free-thinkers who adopt a decidedly non-coercive attitude, however, we also welcome people of various races, cultures, religions and sexual orientation and remain strongly anti-fascist in the sense that we completely reject both the overt fascism of the Right and the violent Left-wing hypocrites who gather under the counter-productive banners of Antifa. So, remember, if you wish to become involved with the National-Anarchist Movement then you must (a) learn what it means to be an Anarchist, and (b) discard the remaining vestiges of those bankrupt ideologies which have already resulted in the death of millions of innocent people all over the world.

 

Why You Must Understand the System before It Can Be Dismantled Reply

Rutgers Online: http://online.rutgers.edu/master-library-info/

Many people who think of themselves as dissenters opposed to government regulations have hopes and dreams, and lofty goals of one day being the ones who help to take it all apart. Besides being able to recite the names of a few prominent pan-anarchists, do you fully understand the system that supports life as you live it today?

If the answer to that question is no, you will need to begin by working on your master of information education. You see, whether it is total anarchism or just a sense of social justice that you believe in, nothing can be accomplished if you have no clue what you are going up against. Reading books on your own will provide you with insights into the inner workings of traditional Western civilization, but you need to see these systems from the inside in order to dismantle them.

Why Information Is Power

You might not agree with the way that the majority people in this country live their lives or agree with the idea of one uniform power system. Most of them were raised to think that way, and in most instances, you were as well. At some point during your journey, you began exploring different schools of thought and came to the realization that anarchism was the most viable solution for modern society. It is likely that you did lots of reading and speaking to more educated people to come to that conclusion. The information that you can gain while completing an online master of information program will enable you to advance your individual ideas, even if they are contrary.

How You Can Resist Conforming

Growing up, you likely went along with everyone else because you wanted to fit in. Being socially well adjusted allowed you to earn the respect of your teachers, parents, and peers more easily. Although there are other benefits that you can get from conforming to group ideas, you won’t get the answers to many of your most controversial questions.

What if capitalism no longer existed and you didn’t need credit in order to make a major purchase. Would people be happier and more successful if they kept their money at home and didn’t allow banks to make profits from their deposits? With a formal education, you can still maintain your ideas but be prepared to give sources and cited materials that will back up your claims. Conforming is not necessary when you are pursuing your education.

Explaining Your Societal Ideas without Being Deemed As an Imminent Threat

As soon as the term anarchism is thrown out, people tend to think that you are in support of total chaos. Because few have been exposed to the reasoning behind pan-anarchism, there are lots who will think that you are not in support of freedom, liberty, or even personal choice. With a master’s degree in information, you will be looked at as an academic rather than a rebel. This will give you the opportunity to fully explain yourself and, hopefully, more people will begin to understand and support your cause.

In order to succeed in the pan-anarchism movement, more support is necessary. Those who have never logically thought of the benefits of leading their own lives can be intimidated by the thought of free rein. Use your education to quell their fears and empower them to be free thinkers.

 

The Centralising Axiom Reply

By Chris Shaw

Image result for distributism

The multiple debates surrounding ideology constantly devolve into simplistic concepts like capitalism and socialism, referring to each other as opposing axiomatic systems that proffer significantly different visions of the world. However, both are fundamentally centralist systems. They understand society, economy and politics as universalisable wholes that need to be integrated into a full structure of production and decision-making. For capitalism, the main axiomatic point is the profit-motive achieved through multiple avenues of capital accumulation. Markets and states are the main entry and exit points through which capital is accumulated and profit is achieved. For socialism, it is the production of value for the meeting of basic needs and necessities, providing a society of equality where political and economic cohesiveness is supposedly developed. Economic planning and social provisioning through centralised structures (usually the state but forms of global democratic planning have been theorised) are the mechanisms for this accumulation.

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The Revolutionary Potential of Illegal Immigrants Reply

Manifesto of the Free Humans

by Derrick Broze and John Vibes

Since the issue of borders and immigration continues to be a hot topic of debate among “libertarians” I figured I would share a quote from my recent book. Please feel free to respond regarding your thoughts on our take and tag your closed border friends. As you will see, John and I argue that the language around “open” and “closed” borders is a part of the problem.

“Traditionally, libertarian and anarchist positions on borders have favored an “open border” solution. This would be in contrast to a “closed border” with immigration controls. This is naturally in line with anarchism considering the fact that governments implement and control borders, and anarchists seek to abolish governments. However, recently some anarcho-capitalists and libertarians have argued for closed borders. They believe private property norms justify forcibly restricting the movement of other free humans, even beyond the borders of their own property. The Alt-Right takes it a step further and argues that the State may even be a necessary evil in order to save “western civilization” and “traditional values” from an ”invasion” of immigrants.

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Politics and Anarchist Ideals Reply

By Jessica Flanagan

Center for a Stateless Society

A fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists do not assume that public officials are any more morally entitled to use force or to threaten people with violence than anyone else1. Anarchists therefore argue that officials are not entitled to enforce borders that prevent people with different birthplaces from associating with each other, for example. Or that officials are not entitled to force everyone to participate in a particular collective project that some may reject. In this sense, as Grayson English notes in this symposium, anarchism and democracy have a similar spirit, to the extent that democracy also denies that certain people have a greater entitlement to participate in political rule than others.

Another fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists generally think that it is very difficult to justify the violation of a non-liable person’s natural rights, such as rights against force and coercion. For this reason, anarchists think that all people are equally required to refrain from using violence or coercing their compatriots. It is on this point that democrats and anarchists part ways. Democrats think that all people are equally entitled to determine how political acts of violence will be used and whether and when they and their compatriots will be coerced.

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Anarchism as Radical Liberalism: Radicalizing Markets, Radicalizing Democracy 1

By Nathan Goodman

Center for a Stateless Society

Classical liberalism emerged as a radical ideology, challenging the status quo of monarchy, mercantilism, religious tyranny, and the ancien regime. The liberals promoted two ideals, markets and democracy, as alternatives to the old despotisms.

Yet markets and democracy seemed to be at odds, leaving liberals advocating a middle of the road compromise between the two. Left-liberals favored a broader role for democracy and a narrower role for markets, while right-liberals (more often called conservatives or libertarians) favored a broader role for markets and a narrower role for democracy. Across the spectrum, they agreed that democracy and markets were at odds to at least some extent.

This left an opening for radicals to propose radicalizing the commitment to one liberal ideal by abolishing the other. Most famously, socialists proposed abolishing the market and replacing it with radical democratic control over the economy. Anarchists joined in as well. Many anarcho-communists joined the call to embrace radical democracy by jettisoning markets. On the opposite extreme, many anarcho-capitalists proposed radicalizing our commitment to markets by abolishing democracy.

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Demolish the Demos Reply

By Grayson English

Center for a Stateless Society

There has long been a certain kind of democratic spirit in anarchism. Of course when we bring forth the imagery of statist and authoritarian injustice, we feel the rhetorical pull to illustrate it as a collective issue: one that is relevant and applicable to all and as such in the interest of all to take to heart. When we wish to persuade people that the interests of the elites are distinct and separate from theirs, we talk of general violations of, and opposition to, popular visions and desires. And of course we must do this, because to speak about anarchism publicly requires speaking to public interests, and calling for the severance of society from the state in public language fits most naturally with calls for democracy, the independent self-government of society.

It is probably easy to understand, then, why so eminent an anarchist thinker as David Graeber would content himself with the conclusion that “anarchism and democracy are—or should be—largely identical (Possibilities, 330).” If we wish to maintain society without the state, isn’t self-organization and self-governance the obvious solution?

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The Regime of Liberty Reply

By Gabriel Amadej

Center for a Stateless Society

The relationship between democracy and anarchism is undoubtedly a contentious one.

In his work The Principle of Federation1, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon makes it clear that democracy has an important legacy to respect. Because Proudhon declared that Universal Suffrage was above The Republic, he had to evaluate the character of democracy in ideal terms. Proudhon categorized democracy as a “regime of liberty” related to its evolutionary successor — anarchy:

“We know the two fundamental and antithetical principles of all governments: authority and liberty.

Regime of Authority:

A) Government of all by one — monarchy or patriarchy;

B) Government of all by all — panarchy or communism.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the non-division of power.

Regime of Liberty:

A) Government of all by each — democracy;

B) Government of each by each — an-archy or self-government.

The essential feature of this regime, in both its varieties, is the division of power.”2

Oppression comes in all forms. Any exercise of liberty can, in certain conditions, succumb to tyranny. Even if we, as anarchists, stand in opposition to democracy, it would be a mistake to consider it tyrannical in its own right. Compared to monarchy and communism, democracy stands firmly on the side of liberty. Proudhon was keen to emphasize this point. Far from advocating democracy, however, he held his ground and asserted the principles of anarchy. While anarchy and democracy share important characteristics, Proudhon was careful not to reduce anarchy to democracy.

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On Democracy as a Necessary Anarchist Value Reply

By Kevin Carson

Center for a Stateless Society

As a working definition of democracy, I think about the best we can do is this description of anarchy in Pyotr Kropotkin’s 1911 Britannica article on anarchism — the attainment of harmony:

“…not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free arrangements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.”

To elaborate on this working definition, I would add that a democracy, understood in this way, attempts to maximize the agency of individual people, and their degree of perceived control over the decisions that affect their daily lives. In keeping with the principle of equal liberty, democracy seeks to maximize the individual’s control over the forces shaping her life, to the extent that such a control is compatible with a like degree of control by others over their own lives.

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The Lumpenproletariat as Class Vanguard: Why Anarchists Must Attack the Left from the Left 6

The conflicts between myself and the mainstream leftist-anarchist movement are well-known. When I am asked about the source of this conflict by outsiders to the anarchist milieu, my usual response is that what they are observing is a continuation of the historic battle between the anarchists and the Marxists. Fundamental to this conflict is a contending view of the concepts of state and class. For Marxists, the principal target of revolutionary conflict is capital. However, for anarchists it is the state that is the primary enemy. This difference was acknowledged by Friedrich Engels.

“The anarchists put the thing upside down. They declare that the proletariat revolution must begin by doing away with the political organization of the state. But after its victory the sole organization which the proletariat finds already in existence is precisely the state. This state may require very considerable alterations before it can fulfill its new functions. But to destroy it at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious proletariat can assert its newly conquered power, hold down its capitalist adversaries and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a new defeat and in a mass slaughter of the workers similar to those after the Paris Commune.”

– Frederick Engels, “Engels to Philipp Van Patten in New York,” London, April 18, 1883.

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Anarchy and Democracy: Examining the Divide Reply

By Shawn Wilbur

Center for a Stateless Society

This piece is the fifth essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.”

Philosophical Considerations

If we had the luxury of sticking to the philosophical terrain, the question of distinguishing anarchy and democracy would, it seems to me, pose very few problems. Certainly, it would be unlikely to pose the persistent, seemingly intractable problems that it does at present. Anarchy describes the absence of rule, while democracy describes rule by “the people,” and it seems fairly uncontroversial to maintain that the two concepts fall on opposite sides of a divide marked by the existence of rule, of archy, however narrow that divide might sometimes appear. On the two sides of that divide, relations are structured according to two distinct, opposing principles of social organization. On the one side, there is the principle of authority or governmental principle, which provides the rationale for hierarchical institutions like the State, capitalism, the patriarchal family, etc. On the other, there is an anti-authoritarian or anarchic principle, perhaps still only vaguely understood, which might form the basis of social relations free from hierarchy, claims of authority, and the various forms of exploitation that seem to inevitably arise from them.

Still, even this terrain can be difficult to navigate when we attempt to clarify the relationship between these two concepts, and their underlying principles, as we inevitably must do when we turn back to the very practical aspirations of anarchists: the transformation of relations based on the principle of authority into anarchic relations.

 

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The Linguistics of Democracy Reply

By Alexander Reid Ross

Center for a Stateless Society

This piece is the fourth essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.”

Democracy is a word that evokes an array of affective responses depending on time, place, and people involved. For the Patriot movement, democracy stimulates a constellation of ideals, values, and principles. People who view the Patriot movement’s adherence to such forms as hypocritical might attempt to recuperate the term or abandon it entirely. To decipher the usage of democracy in everyday discourse, we must first plunge into the phenomena of words, concepts, and ideas in efforts to understand and properly define it. The following admission must be made: I use terms for practical purposes but with intent, recognizing that their meanings as defined in this essay cannot be seen as universally understood. Suffice it to say that they are adequate to the facts of this piece but should not be seen as their only conceivable usage. Words are useful in context and must not be made into altars. This is, perhaps, the first principle of understanding the word “democracy.”

Most people will agree that the world exists to us insofar as we can perceive it. That it is not a formless soup of undifferentiated matter, existential phenomenology tells us, is due to our ability as a species to discern one thing from another. Such discernment can be driven largely by the evolutionary form our species has taken. For example, I cannot keep my eyes open or breathe underwater. At the same time, discernment can be intentionally conditioned through cultural practice and repetition, like “acquired tastes” such as wine.

 

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Democracy Isn’t Working 1

By Rik Storey

AltRight.Com

Democracy is failing citizens across the West, society is polarising, and the achievement of your goals in the future is becoming increasingly uncertain. No, ‘the people’ cannot be trusted to make the right decisions.

Since Trump gloriously restricted CNN and the BBC’s press access,  The Washington Post, The New York Times and other rags have come out boohooing the fact that democracy isn’t working for them.  Rather like when a child accuses another of cheating when they are losing, the lugenpresse would have us believe that a democracy which doesn’t work in favour of their leftist ideology isn’t democracy at all.  So, after Brexit and Trump, drowning in leftist tears, and with nationalists doing so well in European polls, I must be head over heels with democracy, right?  How wrong you are!

The bien pensants are so ingratiating when they not only defend democracy but do so because ‘the people can be trusted to make the right decisions’.  Setting the majority of people aside for one moment (bless them), democracy is, even on paper, the worst political system there is.  Churchill (also grossly overrated) was wrong when he said that it was the worst, except for all the others – chortle, chortle.  No, Aristotle was right – democracy is simply the corrupted form of a republic, just as tyranny and oligarchy are, monarchy and aristocracy.  Except, with the rule of many, indeed the rule of a majority, there are greater and more plentiful opportunities for corruption.

As celebrated as it is, democracy pits every conceivable group against the other, destroying trust in whole nations, let alone communities.  Classes are divided as the political class offer the working class more of what the middle class are producing, all the while introducing yet another competing group of immigrants to replace a now dependent working class in the labour force.  At least if a king becomes corrupt, you can assassinate the rascal; aristocrats can potentially hold others in check; but, democracy is the cancer of political corruption.

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Democracy is for the Dogs Reply

By Ilana Mercer

A succinct distinction between a republic and a democracy shows that the American republic rests in peace and that voting in the Unites States is undeniably democratic, not republican. In “Does Democracy Promote Peace,” legal scholar James Ostrowski does just that:

Democracy is nothing more than the numerous and their manipulators bullying the less numerous. It is an elaborate and deceptive rationalization for the strong in numbers to impose their will on the electorally weak by means of centralized state coercion … Both forms of government feature voting by the people to select officials. The primary difference between them is that while republican voting is done for the purpose of choosing officials to administer the government in the pursuit of its narrowly defined functions, democratic voting is done, not only to select officials but also to determine the functions and goals and powers of the government … The guiding principle of republics is that they exercise narrow powers delegated to them by the people, who themselves, as individuals, possess such powers.

The allusion to “narrow powers” is far removed from the realities of the American social democracy, particularly in light of the welter of new powers Washington has grabbed since September 11. With the governed exerting so few controls over those doing the governing, the original notion of the people having the same powers as their elected officials is now positively quaint.

The powers available to power wielders in a democracy are, by definition, exceedingly broad and broaden with almost every bit of legislation passed. That we were once a republic and are now a social democracy makes clear that the Constitution has not halted this progression. The Constitution has, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed.

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Anarchism or Vanguardism? Critique of Guerrilla Ideology of the IRPGF Reply

The Free Online

Guerrilla ideology reduces all revolutionary questions to quantitative problems of military force. Nothing could be more disastrous. – James Carr,

Power does not come any more from the barrel of a gun than it comes from a ballot box. No revolution is peaceful, but its “military” dimension is never central. The question is not whether the proles finally decide to break into the armouries, but whether they unleash what they are: commodified beings who no longer can and no longer want to exist as commodities, and whose revolt explodes capitalist logic. Barricades and machine guns flow from this “weapon”.

The greater the change in social life, the less guns will be needed, and the less casualties there will be. A communist revolution will never resemble a slaughter: not from any nonviolent principle, but because revolution subverts more (soldiers included) than it actually destroys.

To imagine a proletarian front facing off a bourgeois front is to conceive the proletariat in bourgeois terms, on the model of a political revolution or a war (seizing someone’s power, occupying their territory). In so doing, one reintroduces everything that the insurrectionary movement had overwhelmed: hierarchy, a respect for specialists, for knowledge that Knows, and for techniques to solve problems — in short for everything that plays down the role of the common man.Gilles Dauve, When Insurrections Die

 

 

 

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Anarchists, It is Our Duty to Vote in Elections 1

I can’t say I agree with this, but I’m always amazed at the diversity of anarchist thought.

By Paddy Vipond

Trouble and Squeak

As election fever reaches its sweaty, unbearable heights in both the UK with the coming General Election, and in the US as Hilary Clinton officially announces her campaign to run for Presidency, we are faced with the age old anarchist dilemma: To vote or not to vote.

I do not expect this article to answer this question once and for all, but I do expect it to change a few people’s perceptions on the issue. As anarchists it is our duty to question everything, even our own decisions, and as with any set of political beliefs if they remain unchallenged they become dogma.

As I grew up and discovered the principles and key thinkers of anarchism I slowly began to turn my back on mainstream politics and their parties. Once I had read what I had, the seed had been planted, and it was a seed that did not need chemical fertiliser in the form of propaganda in order to develop. It grew naturally because what I had read and discovered made sense. I did not need to be coerced and persuaded, or attacked and threatened. Quite simply, anarchy was logical.

Within this logic, time and again I encountered one moot point. It was a point that every anarchist had written about, and it was a point that was at odds with the logic inherent in anarchism. What frustrated me about it was that rather than question it, as we are told to do with every other belief and system, we must instead accept it. An anarchist has no place voting in an election.

Great writers and thinkers of the past have argued it, posters plastered on the walls of buildings around Brighton were stating it, and fellow anarchists online were writing about it. Anarchists should not vote, and they should be proud of not doing so.

As you may have guessed by the title of this article, I disagree. It has taken me a few years to reach this decision, but now that I am here I am wondering why I ever opposed the idea. Voting in elections is not only a duty of anarchists, it is the single easiest weapon at our disposal.

Before I continue discussing why voting is beneficial for anarchists, let’s challenge the arguments as to why we should oppose it.

Democracy: Self-Government or Systemic Powerlessness? 1

By Derek Wittorf

Center for a Stateless Society

This piece is the third essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.”

Democracy: the universal war cry of justice. We’re told by the left — both moderate and radical — that all socio-political problems almost always arise from a pure lack of democracy. We’re told all social manifestations of authority, inequality, and hierarchy require democracy as a political solution. If there happens to be some kind of democracy in a society, and there remains the problem of hierarchy, the problem is always attributed to there not being direct democracy, or that there isn’t free association between individuals and collectives. Either representatives of an indirect democracy are corrupting the very function of the system, and acting in their own personal interests (which is generally how republican systems devolve into a plutocracy), or the freedom of others to leave the collective if they don’t like it, ironically the “like it or leave it” motto usually held by conservatives when addressing political dissidents and immigrants, isn’t being upheld and enforced.

Most libertarian socialists tend to believe that freedom of association, or decentralism, is a cornerstone of a well-functioning democracy. They believe that individuals must first consent to the democratic decision-making of the collective by association, and that the potential choice to disassociate rules out the imposition of such majoritarian decision-making on the minority. At first glance, this appears to be fairly reasonable and consistent with libertarian socialist criticisms of the State. However, what is grossly overlooked are the internal dynamics of democracy and fundamental inquiry as to whether democratic organizing principles per se are libertarian and egalitarian in nature. Does freedom of association institutionally prevent the majority forcibly expropriating the power of the minority? Is democracy technically anarchist?

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Forget far-right populism – crypto-anarchists are the new masters Reply

By Jamie Bartlett

The Guardian

hose who mistakenly thought 2016 was an anomaly, a series of unprecedented events, should have few remaining doubts. Marine Le Pen may have stuttered but still picked up almost 11 million votes. Her opponent, the “normal” candidate, was leader of a party only one year old. The ongoing terror attacks, fake news panic, Trump’s tweets and James Comey: last year never really ended, it just carried straight on into this one.

After decades of exaggerated prediction, the internet is finally transforming politics, but not in the way the digital prophets expected. The 90s, you may recall, were awash with optimism about our online future: limitless information and total connection would make us more informed, less bigoted and kinder citizens. But the internet is an overwhelming mess of competing facts, claims, blogs, data, propaganda, misinformation, investigative journalism, charts, different charts, commentary and reportage. It’s not the slow and careful politicians who have thrived in this busy environment, it’s the people with the shareable cut-through messages. Donald Trump might very well be the first truly social-media politician: his emotion-filled, simplistic blasts are perfect for the medium.

As a result, society is currently gripped by a curious consensus: that the internet has conspired with rightwing populists to sew up the future of politics. Noting the emergence of populist strongmen and demagogues, who seem to be digital wizards like recovering Twitter addict Trump, and violent opponents who seem only to bolster their support, many are comparing – with a certain grim fascination – our current turbulence with the 1930s. That is a very short-term view of things. The supremacy of the populist right is not the inevitable future. The rise of the right is better seen as an early skirmish in a much longer, and far more significant, technology-led restructuring of our politics and society. Digital technology has helped the populist right for now, but it will soon swallow them up, along with many other political movements unable or unwilling to see how the world is changing.

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Democracy, Anarchism, & Freedom Reply

By Wayne Price

Center for a Stateless Society

This piece is the second essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.”

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.”
—Abraham Lincoln

“Democracy” and “anarchism” are broad, vague, and hotly contested terms. Even if we stick to specific definitions, there are still arguments about what these definitions mean in practice. (Lincoln’s quotation, above, seems to be about the preconditions for democracy.) This is not just a linguistic dispute. The argument is not just over “democracy” but over democracy, not just over “anarchism” but over anarchism. Still more controversial is the relationship between these two broad terms.

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The Abolition Of Rulership Or The Rule Of All Over All Reply

By William Gillis

Center for a Stateless Society

This piece is the opening essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.”

Fighting over the definitions of words can sometimes seem like a futile and irrelevant undertaking. However it’s important to note that whatever language gets standardized in our communities shapes what we can talk and think about. So much of radical politics often boils down to acrimonious dictionary-pounding over words like “capitalism,” “markets,” “socialism,” “communism,” “nihilism,” etc. Each side is usually engaged in bravado rather than substance. Radical debates turn into preemptive declarations of “everyone knows X” or “surely Y,” backed by nothing more than the social pressure we can bring to bear against one another. And yet — to some degree — we’re trapped in this game because acquiescing to the supposed authority of our adversaries’ definitions would put us at an unspeakable disadvantage. The stakes of debates over “mere semantics” can be quite high, determining what’s easy to describe and what’s awkward or laborious.

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