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Anarchism: popular understanding vs subtle and nuanced tradition

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posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 10:52 AM
In the words of anarchist L. Susan Brown:

"While the popular understanding of anarchism is of a violent, anti-State movement, anarchism is a much more subtle and nuanced tradition then a simple opposition to government power. Anarchists oppose the idea that power and domination are necessary for society, and instead advocate more co-operative, anti-hierarchical forms of social, political and economic organisation." [The Politics of Individualism, p. 106]

However, "anarchism" and "anarchy" are undoubtedly the most misrepresented ideas in political theory. Generally, the words are used to mean "chaos" or "without order," and so, by implication, anarchists desire social chaos and a return to the "laws of the jungle."

This process of misrepresentation is not without historical parallel. For example, in countries which have considered government by one person (monarchy) necessary, the words "republic" or "democracy" have been used precisely like "anarchy," to imply disorder and confusion. Those with a vested interest in preserving the status quo will obviously wish to imply that opposition to the current system cannot work in practice, and that a new form of society will only lead to chaos. Or, as Errico Malatesta expresses it:

"since it was thought that government was necessary and that without government there could only be disorder and confusion, it was natural and logical that anarchy, which means absence of government, should sound like absence of order." [Anarchy, p. 16]

Anarchists want to change this "common-sense" idea of "anarchy," so people will see that government and other hierarchical social relationships are both harmful and unnecessary:

"Change opinion, convince the public that government is not only unnecessary, but extremely harmful, and then the word anarchy, just because it means absence of government, will come to mean for everybody: natural order, unity of human needs and the interests of all, complete freedom within complete solidarity." [Op. Cit., pp. 16]

The word "anarchy" is from the Greek, prefix an (or a), meaning "not," "the want of," "the absence of," or "the lack of", plus archos, meaning "a ruler," "director", "chief," "person in charge," or "authority." Or, as Peter Kropotkin put it, Anarchy comes from the Greek words meaning "contrary to authority." [Anarchism, p. 284]

While the Greek words anarchos and anarchia are often taken to mean "having no government" or "being without a government," as can be seen, the strict, original meaning of anarchism was not simply "no government." "An-archy" means "without a ruler," or more generally, "without authority," and it is in this sense that anarchists have continually used the word.

Q's & A's of Anarchism

By nature social animals and mammals in our case... always end up with a ruler... It's part of nature.

Man can be summed up in hunter and gather. Or leader and follower, you will never find humanity one sided, some people like less government, some people want more because they feel they need it... Since humanity is evolving don't you think it's time countries around the world evolved and since the USA is supposed to be the most modernized country youd think the politics would be too...

A) We're not united in terms of politics because some people want more gov't some want less...

Does anybody think this centralized power (federal government) is working?
It's not getting smaller... Adn you'll find that big government is getting bigger and your finding politics inching it's way into your everyday life.

It's becoming part of us... It's not just an interest to partake in anymore.


anarchism is an expression of the struggle against oppression and exploitation, a generalisation of working people's experiences and analyses of what is wrong with the current system and an expression of our hopes and dreams for a better future. This struggle existed before it was called anarchism, but the historic anarchist movement (i.e. groups of people calling their ideas anarchism and aiming for an anarchist society) is essentially a product of working class struggle against capitalism and the state, against oppression and exploitation, and for a free society of free and equal individuals.

[edit on 8-11-2004 by TrueLies]

posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 10:59 AM
my friend like anarchism and thinks it would solve many problems. i dont know about it though. like comunism its good in theory but human nature screws it up.
one thing about anarchism is that gangs would rule.

posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 11:17 AM

Originally posted by devilwasp
my friend like anarchism and thinks it would solve many problems. i dont know about it though. like comunism its good in theory but human nature screws it up.
one thing about anarchism is that gangs would rule.

Funny you mention gangs... Don't you think there are already gangs in this political arena???

Except their wearing suits and ties...

gangs can be easily pictured as men in street clothes with guns ect, we're more evolved, and since people don't fathom this idea of gangs in suits and ties, it makes it alot easier for them to achieve their goals, look at whats going on behind the curtains and their agenda's have and are being processed... red gang vs blue gang....

if you ever hear kerry and bush talking about plans, listen to what they say...

"I have a better plan for you"
"My American people"

Bush helped terrorize this country and Kerry supported it. One ganged dressed as two.

It's a failed system. It's a monopoly and there is no room for other parties who try to project NEW REFRESHING IDEAS, a new way of politics, a new system of government, anything, but this joke of a democratic system.

[edit on 8-11-2004 by TrueLies]

posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 04:18 PM
yes i do belive so as well. is very funny how even the most complex things are based and still operate like the most simple and basic things.
i like the comunisnt idea myself. although after a while a dictator will come along and try and take over, stupid dictators!

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