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Thread: Anarchism

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    Anarchism

    How do anarchists plan to change the system? I feel like they don't have an actual ideas about this, and just spend a lot of time criticizing a lot of things that don't live up to their ideal, which is pretty much everything. It seems like the most they ever do is live in some kind of walled-off co-op where they are surrounded only by people who (ideally) think exactly the same way they do. I don't get how that generates any kind of societal change.

    I'm not saying society shouldn't be restructured, but I'm not sure that anarchists are going to be the ones doing it.

    It might have a shot if everyone who believed in it took it seriously, but a lot of people who believe in it don't really take it seriously.

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    How do anarchists plan to change the system? I feel like they don't have an actual ideas about this, and just spend a lot of time criticizing a lot of things that don't live up to their ideal, which is pretty much everything. It seems like the most they ever do is live in some kind of walled-off co-op where they are surrounded only by people who (ideally) think exactly the same way they do. I don't get how that generates any kind of societal change.

    I'm not saying society shouldn't be restructured, but I'm not sure that anarchists are going to be the ones doing it.

    It might have a shot if everyone who believed in it took it seriously, but a lot of people who believe in it don't really take it seriously.
    "Change" in an Oligarchy is something that only occurs when large quantities of money "changes hands".

    Anarchists don't have what it takes to effect socioeconomic change in the United States and most probably know it.

    So why not just get together, make a lot of noise, and have a good time with the faint hope that perhaps one day a wildfire might start with ideas so good and infectious that they may actually undermine the status quo without having to rely on the coin of the realm?

    It may be a long shot but it's the only one they have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floid View Post
    "Change" in an Oligarchy is something that only occurs when large quantities of money "changes hands".

    Anarchists don't have what it takes to effect socioeconomic change in the United States and most probably know it.

    So why not just get together, make a lot of noise, and have a good time with the faint hope that perhaps one day a wildfire might start with ideas so good and infectious that they may actually undermine the status quo without having to rely on the coin of the realm?

    It may be a long shot but it's the only one they have.
    That makes sense... but it's hard for me to see how change can be achieved if someone refuses to take power. All that means is that the status quo still has power.

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    That makes sense... but it's hard for me to see how change can be achieved if someone refuses to take power. All that means is that the status quo still has power.

    Short of violence it is impossible to "take power" in the United States.

    Here power is not taken it is bought and, by design, there are very few who can afford it.

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    Regardless of the political system, psychopaths and narcissists will always float to the top. This is something that idealists (i.e., true believers) of whatever persuasion (e.g., anarchists, tea-baggers, libertarians, marxists, etc.) never seem to get. There will always be brutality in the world because a certain small percentage of strongly motivated people will ruthlessly fight for power and this usually includes killing the naive revolutionaries who thought they could change human nature. Rule of law is the only defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thevenin View Post
    Regardless of the political system, psychopaths and narcissists will always float to the top. This is something that idealists (i.e., true believers) of whatever persuasion (e.g., anarchists, tea-baggers, libertarians, marxists, etc.) never seem to get. There will always be brutality in the world because a certain small percentage of strongly motivated people will ruthlessly fight for power and this usually includes killing the naive revolutionaries who thought they could change human nature. Rule of law is the only defense.
    +1

    Marxist and libertarian ideologies sound great in theory, but would never work well in practice. As I've grown older, I've lost interest in politics because I finally came to this realization. I tend to distrust people with any strong political leaning -- not to mention feeling irritated at their dogmatism because it indicates a lack of critical thinking.

    Sometimes a boring point-of-view is the most rational.

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    Limber Member floid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thevenin View Post
    Rule of law is the only defense.
    When laws are the property of those who rule "Rule of law" is a meaningless term.

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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    I figure that practical anarchism is not in trying to change the system but in opting out of it. Assuming the system will let them opt out of it.
    Your gardening sucks and your avocados ain't fruitin'. -- Sappho the Maestro

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    Quote Originally Posted by floid View Post
    When laws are the property of those who rule "Rule of law" is a meaningless term.
    Yep. Also true.

    ........................

    I'm not so interested in quibbling over politics, so I'm bowing out.

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    How do anarchists plan to change the system? I feel like they don't have an actual ideas about this, and just spend a lot of time criticizing a lot of things that don't live up to their ideal, which is pretty much everything. It seems like the most they ever do is live in some kind of walled-off co-op where they are surrounded only by people who (ideally) think exactly the same way they do. I don't get how that generates any kind of societal change.

    I'm not saying society shouldn't be restructured, but I'm not sure that anarchists are going to be the ones doing it.

    It might have a shot if everyone who believed in it took it seriously, but a lot of people who believe in it don't really take it seriously.
    I suspect they'd tell you that they aren't so much trying to be the ones who change society (in some kind of determinant, centralized transformation) as undermine the social structures that are preventing a new social order from evolving out of individual actions in the absence of a central plan--ideally to the point where those structures collapse.

    It's tough to answer this one because it's hard to define "anarchism" as a single philosophy. (Just as "atheism" only really means absence of belief in God, strictly speaking, "anarchism" defined precisely is just the absence of faith in any form of government.)

    If you're talking about what I would roughly call the contemporary form of the anarcho-syndicalist movement (the people behind Occupy Wall Street, the 1999 "Battle of Seattle" and all that), co-ops and such are more or less the type of social structure they tend to regard as useful and legitimate--as opposed to the larger-scale, more centralized political and economic systems they oppose--so it might be accurate to say their motives for organizing and living in arrangements like that aren't necessarily based on seeing it as a tactic to accomplish their political objectives. They may simply prefer to live like that, whether or not the rest of society works that way, and irrespective of whatever else they get up that falls more in the category of political activism.

    I mean, I've never been personally involved in anything like that, but I used to be a regular customer of a business that was run as an anarcho-syndicalist co-op (no one is a "manager", the nominal owner of the property doesn't invoke this as a source of authority, business policies are decided through quorum votes of all the "co-owners" who work there, etc). From what I could tell, it mostly functioned as a way for a few dozen people with anarchist political beliefs to have jobs that they found preferable to working for some more hierarchical, centrally planned corporate or governmental organization. It also functioned as "a space" (fuck, I'm really beginning to loathe that phrase) where public gatherings of people within the local (Portland) anarchist subculture could be hosted, given that the owners/managers of the establishment could be presumed sympathetic to such things.

    The idea that ordered social systems can appear without being specifically planned and imposed by a central authority--and that when this happens, the unplanned/unimposed systems tend to be preferable to the planned/imposed ones--is pretty central to how anarchists, libertarians, and whoever the hell else can be grouped under an "anti-government" umbrella category conceive of politics. They don't tend to view the question in terms of "whose plan for society is better" but rather more in terms of "do we want people who have plans for society to plan society for us, or not?"
    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    No history, no exposition, no anecdote or argument changes the invariant: we are all human beings, and some humans are idiots.

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