25 June 2009

The last one; anarchists this time

Thursday, June 25, 2009
The last one; anarchists this time 

I posted my essay equating the free market with anarchy on a discussion board for anarchists. The following is the comments it generated.

(I am David Craig Hiser. All the other comments are various random anarchists. Many comments were off topic, and are not shown here.
All of the comments, as well as my original essay, are here: http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/7038


Is this fellow trying to say that capitalism (with leaders and all) and anarchy/anarchism are all one and the same? Cuckoo Cuckoo.


More or less, yes.
Capitalism has no leaders.
Capitalism has only the market.
Democracy (or rather, what we call democracy, actually a republic) has leaders.
Our political system is the only thing which stands between our (the US) system and true capitalism / free markets.
Each move toward deregulation is a move toward economic anarchy.


Seems you're forgetting bosses. economic hierarchy. Anarchism is against hierarchy (hier-ARCHy).
You're equating anarchy - as in, a lack of laws - with anarchism - a classless, stateless society.
Capitalism is brutally authoritarian. It depends on police and armies to keep the masses of workers from being able to take the products of their labour from those who are robbing them (their owners, the bosses).
Capitalism is the antithesis of anarchism. It is the single most hated ideology amongst every authentic anarchist. I understand you want to call yourself an anarchist because its a cooler label than being a capitalist, but sorry, you may not use it. Actually, I'm not sorry. Anyone who supports all the evils of capitalism must be a douche, and I don't apologize to douches.
Go read the Infoshop FAQ and learn what anarchism is. Read the section on 'so-called anarcho-capitalists'. Go post on an Ayn Rand messageboard.

You have greatly misunderstood my own position.
I am in no way advocating capitalism.
I am totally opposed to capitalism.
The reason I am opposed to anarchy is that I believe capitalism can (and likely will in the modern world) arise from it. That was the point I was trying to get across.
I am not forgetting bosses. Being employed by someone is a voluntary relationship. An employee can quit, and even open a competing business. The occasional "American dream" story not-withstanding, people generally can not choose to join the upper class.
I am claiming you can not have a classless society without a mechanism to enforce equality. You must somehow prevent individuals from accumulating wealth.
If individuals have complete freedom, sooner or later someone will accumulate wealth, and then they will be able to take advantage of that accumulation, which is capitalism.
If society prevents that from happening, then individuals are not free to do as they like, even if their actions do not directly hurt anyone else, and this entails some form of authority.
I believe the latter, while dangerous, is the better of the two options. I believe that having classes is the greater detriment to humanity than lack of complete freedom.
Communalism, by nature, requires a loss of freedom.
If individuals care for, help, are responsible to, family, friends, neighbors, each other, than they must consider their actions in relation to everyone around them.
In a global world the actions of every person affect everyone else in the world (us in the US most of all). If every decision impacts others, and we have any sense of morality, then we can not be free from coercion. Unfortunately, not everyone is moral, and so the presence of some force to prevent some people from harming others (the state) becomes a necessary evil.
I don't consider myself an anarchist.
That's why I posted in this section.
I have not heard any one theory I agree with completely.
I am a secular humanist.
I am socially libertarian (anarchist even)
I believe in economic fascism.
I know that is a huge knee-jerk word, especially among Americans, and ESPECIALLY among anarchists, but if you are interested in a more indepth explanation, you can read it on my blog here:


"It also means "justice" via the lynch mob."
No it doesn't. I've never heard an anarchist advocate that. As such, it's a straw man.
"If they have no family, or for whatever personal reasons have lost their family's sympathy, they starve."
Your critique is a critique of anarcho-capitalism, not anarchism. Anarcho-capitalism can not exist peacefully for any length of time for the reasons you describe. This critique does not apply to anarchist communism however as all of the problems you mentioned are not problems with communism where needs are freely satisfied by society.


Submitted by DavidCraigHiser on Sat, 2009-04-04 00:21.

"No it doesn't. I've never heard an anarchist advocate that. As such, it's a straw man."
I'm not talking about some theory. It is not a straw man. It happens. It has happened countless times in the real world. It doesn't matter what you advocate. It is what will happen. It is what DOES happen in places where law breaks down due to civil war or natural disaster or whatever.
I am claiming Anarcho-capitalism is the natural state of anarchism.
Communism requires organization, cooperation, and some sort of property management system, and it requires that some people be coerced in some way to do things which they would not necessarily want to do.
If the less privileged are to be taken care of, and there is no state, WHO takes care of them? Specifically. By what mechanism are the needs of the disabled taken care of?


"I'm not talking about some theory. It is not a straw man. It happens. It has happened countless times in the real world. It doesn't matter what you advocate. It is what will happen."
You need to demonstrate that it occurs more in anarchistic societies than capitalistic ones.
"It is what DOES happen in places where law breaks down due to civil war or natural disaster or whatever."
I'm pretty sure this has already been pointed out, but anarchism is not equivalent to lawlessness - it's opposition to hierarchical laws.
"Communism requires organization, cooperation, and some sort of property management system..."
Again, anarchism is not incompatible with those things.
"...and it requires that some people be coerced in some way to do things which they would not necessarily want to do."
How so? Also note that anarchism cannot remove all coercion - no human is truly free, being as we are slaves to our passions and needs - it seeks only to remove illegitimate coercion i.e. from centralized authority.


Submitted by DavidCraigHiser

"You need to demonstrate that it occurs more in anarchistic societies than capitalistic ones."
-Granted. I'd say this is the best counter-argument I've gotten here!
I'll have to look into that one.
"I'm pretty sure this has already been pointed out, but anarchism is not equivalent to lawlessness - it's opposition to hierarchical laws."
-In a true, pure democracy, laws are not hierarchical. Note, what the US commonly calls democracy has very little in common with the real definition of democracy.
A simple example: 4 students are assigned a group project.
They each have a different idea of what to do it on. They have to pick one idea. It is obviously unrealistic to believe you will get 100% agreement 100% of the time. However, if they do not come to an agreement, they may all fail the class.
If 3 of them agree on one idea, and the 4th gives in and goes along with it, that right there is democracy.
No one student has any more say than any other. No hierarchy.
There is no coercion involved. No force or authority.
Their participation is voluntary. They could drop the class. [in the equivalent to this example on the nation level, all laws are followed voluntarily, because the US does not prevent citizens from leaving the country permanently if they so choose]
If you have laws, either they were made by one person or group (which implies hierarchy) or they are made collectively, which by definition is democracy.


I'll just assume the author has never read anything about band societies, the non-hierarchical (anarchic) mode of existence that humyns lived in for 99% of our existence on the earth. Maybe you could read James' Woodburn's "Egalitarian Societies" http://www.paleo-life.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=436&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&sid=bd75f2b800d44c28f702f349b668ee0f


I suppose we COULD go back to that 99% of human history and live like cave men/women again. That would be great fun huh? People sitting around fires, eating dog, and speaking in made up localized dialects without any communicability between the tribe 5 miles away...


Even if we wanted to go back to not having modern society (and I admit, its not a bad idea) it isn't going to happen.
Pandora's Box has been opened, Prometheus has made his delivery, and those things can't be undone.
Given that the vast majority of people in the modern world do not wish to give up the technology they already have (are we really even having this debate on the internet?) it makes more since to deal with the way the current world, with technology and 21st century mindset is likely to deal with various political and economic systems rather than pointing to examples from times past.
History is very important for teaching us, but just because we dismantled the government doesn't mean people would go back to nomadic foraging.
Aside from that most people would be unwilling, there are far too many of us, and we have done far too much environmental degradation for the natural level of productivity to support us. [For all its faults, the fact remains that industrial agriculture can feed many more people with an acre of land than hunting/gathering can]

1) the article you linked admits there is generally some form of leadership or at least informal democracy, as group decisions sometimes need to be made (for example in deciding when to move the camp). Communism is (in theory) non-hierarchical. Democracy (real democracy, not what the US calls democracy) is non-hierarchical. That alone does not make it anarchic. The article also points out "Many hunter-gatherers have social systems in which there is very marked inequality of one sort or another, sometimes far more marked than the inequalities in certain simple agricultural or nomadic pastoral societies."
2) the lifestyle described necessitates that there are abundant and easily accessible resources, such that everyone, regardless of age, gender, strength, etc is able to acquire enough food water and shelter to survive without help.
Which is wonderful if you are lucky enough to live in a place with an ideal climate and habitat. 99% of human existence there were fewer than 100 million people in the entire world. We now have 6.5 billion (and climbing).
Barring WWIII, it will never be possible for the entirety of human society to live as described.
3) as someone else pointed out, very few of us would be willing to give up all forms of technology (besides those we can make ourselves by hand from trees and rocks)
4) "There are instances in which the Hadza have abandoned the seriously ill when they moved camp, leaving them with their possessions [note, even if this most extreme example, they have possessions] and with food and water but knowing that they were unlikely to be able to provide for themselves. I was very surprised by the neglect of a previously popular grandmother in one of the settlements when she became senile..." This was one of my original points. Just because a certain system can work does not necessarily mean it is desirable overall.
5)"...there are sanctions against accumulation." Sanctions by whom? Of what sort? How are these "sanctions" decided in any particular case, and how are they carried out? It may be only sloppy language, just meant to imply it is generally frowned upon in general. Or, might it be that the author glosses over the details in order to maintain the premise that there is no control over anyone? If each individual is free to do as they choose, they can choose to accumulate. If some social force prevents them from accumulating, that is a form of coercion.


David if I may ask why the fuck are you so obsessed with the weak, the weak must be protected, have you ever thought that your reifications of the weak create more weaklings?
Also capitalism is nothing more then a behavioural paradigm as landuaer said. Yes there are places in the world where a vacuum creates your haitis but it is precisely because of the behavioural paradigm. We end capitalism by behaving differently, in terms of conflict resolution, nothing will ever be perfect, yes there may be cycles of revenge and killing that break out I'm sure it happened in pre civilized contexts but better that then a system of confinement with the surrounding enforcement agents.
With the flawed delicate little species of ours you take the good with the bad and as the french say let it run, the right way that is bourgeois ideology aside.


Obsessed? By the same token I might ask why anarchists are so obsessed with authority.
If we accept "survival of the fittest" as a legitimate view of human society, then perhaps the lower class is exactly where it should be, naturally subjugated by the more powerful and capable people above them.
This is exactly the argument so called "social-darwinists" make.
I agree, nothing will be perfect, and a lot of it stems from mindset.
I don't believe the ideal comes from any one dogma. I believe there are positive elements to be drawn from the ideas of anarchy, socialism, democracy, fascism, and libertarianism, but any one of them applied without question causes problems which could easily be solved with a more open minded approach.

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