A few minor questions?

32 posts / 0 new
Last post
Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 9 2004 00:22

I think this is a major point of disagreement between social and individualist anarchists, although I want to address your questions about the make-up of councils first.

The idea of a council is one at which all people will be able to attend and which would be only consituted by those people. This doesn't mean that everyone has to be present for it to make a decision, or that people would be forced to go to it, but that it'd be open to anyone in the community and would be made up by those who turned up. Presumably people would notify in advance if they wanted to discuss specific things at meetings, so you'd have various make-ups at different times depending on what was being discussed.

Decisions would have to be made by majority vote or consensus (although I've been in situations where consensus has been used to make a decision and it's a nightmare, I'd rather be in a minority occasionally than constantly in a vetoed majority), and people could then be delegated to carry out the decision taken by the council - either to communicate to another council, or do whatever needed to be done in the community.

So you could argue that there's a hierarchy of the community over the individual, but I don't see that you could have any kind of effective organised society without public decision making. Otherwise you have (usually American, big-L) Libertarianism - everything decided by markets, or consensus, which can lead to endless intractable positions where you either get a solution that no-one likes, or no solution at all, or unanimous decisions that could equally have been taken by majority vote.

The idea that the majority will have some kind of hierarchy over the minority (1, 5, 50 people), presupposes that that minority is a fixed group of people - with different issues and decisions you'd have constantly changing groups of people for and against different proposals - that is unless your community was divided into intractable factions, in which case you're looking at something resembling pre-capitalist clan/tribal politics, not rational decision-making. There's also the constant ability of that minority to argue against the decision and try to change the minds of the majority - no five year terms, no full time administrators etc. Assuming all people are equal in whatever public decision making body you have (assume community council), there's no individual hierarchy. There's lots of disagreement as to whether majority decision making constitutes "rule" or "hierarchy" or "authority", I'm now very much in favour of it, but wasn't for quite a long time.

Quite a lot of anarchists agree that current technological production could be adapted to meet most needs, so if someone was to "take as much as they want, when they want", they'd only be doing what everyone else was doing. If someone was to hoard stuff they couldn't use themselves and deny it from others who needed it in the community, that'd be a bit different and the community could simply deny them any more stuff until they re-distributed it if it was perceived as a problem. Individuals or the community as whole would be able to withold their labour just as they do now. Society currently supports millions of people who don't do any productive work, despite wage-labour predominating as a means for getting hold of goods and services, so there's no reason non-workers couldn't be equally supported when the only work there was any need for was productive. Hopefully enough education would have taken place debunking current models of production and consumption that people wouldn't feel the need to hoard or to exploit others in order to live comfortably.

Ghost_of_the_re...
Offline
Joined: 16-06-04
Sep 9 2004 15:21

I was getting several people, including myself, confused over this issue in the thread on the welfare state. The major question there was; if someone hoards stuff they don't need or refuses to share their resources, what would be done about it in anarchist society? It's difficult trying to think of a world with absolutely no authority whatsoever, in the case of people hoarding, no-one would have any authority to tell anyone to give some of the stuff back. Conversely, no-one whould have the authority to prevent me and my mates picking up some blunt instruments and smashing his house up until he voluntarily became more 'community-minded'. It's easy to see that a world with no rules or enforcers might eventually collapse into a series of violent dictatorships.

The use of councils, as described so eloquently above, seems like an excellent way of preventing this from happening. Pure, total, no-holds- barred anarchy is a fun ideal to cling to but too often it doesn't have a great deal of logic behind it; almost anybody would say that society needs at least some rules, ie don't kill anybody, don't use unnecessary violence, stictly no morris dancing, etc. If you think about it, there isn't much wrong the with the general concept of rules, but they need to be designed and implemented by the people they serve.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 9 2004 16:10
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Pure, total, no-holds- barred anarchy is a fun ideal to cling to ...

The system Catch outlines could easily be considered "pure, total, yada yada anarchy".

Toxictears
Offline
Joined: 12-11-03
Sep 9 2004 19:23
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
stictly no morris dancing.

Amen! grin

But, anyway, so, its unaviodable to have a certain...heirachy. Which means someone will always have more power then someone else then thats when greed comes to play. How can you keep people equal enough that they dont feel the need to grab more power? How would you deal with an incident, say, a man went aimlessly around numerous communities killing people and each community he killed someone in was rather ticked off and wanted a peice of him. But each community has their only different ways of wanting to punish this person and their was no final straw. How could you get a final decision? By outside councils mayb? What if their was a tie in the councils? Would he get 2 punishments? This is all a little confusing confused.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 9 2004 21:57

Well, if you had a tie between council votes, you could potentially make it a referendum of the people living in each affected council? Or each side would just have to argue with the others until a decision was made.

Either way, that kind of situation (how many serial killers are there per year? Does the current legal system stop them from turning up every so often?) is preferable to having thousands of people locked up for TV license evasion, or stealing food, or dying in custody due to police brutality, or being killed in large numbers by militaristic governments. Most filmic serial killers (not met a real one) manage to get away with it due to anonymity usually, which would be decreased in a less atomistic society.

Ghost_of_the_re...
Offline
Joined: 16-06-04
Sep 10 2004 16:13
George'sBush wrote:
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Pure, total, no-holds-barred anarchy is a fun ideal to cling to ...

The system Catch outlines could easily be considered "pure, total, yada yada anarchy".

But only by someone incapable of operating a dictionary.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Sep 10 2004 21:42
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
George'sBush wrote:
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Pure, total, no-holds-barred anarchy is a fun ideal to cling to ...

The system Catch outlines could easily be considered "pure, total, yada yada anarchy".

But only by someone incapable of operating a dictionary.

What? confused

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 11 2004 13:26

Not by someone capable of reading history books or anarchist literature. If you're prepared to rely on Websters or OED to define your politics then good luck. Dictionary definitions are defined by usage, and anarchy has been mis-used by so many people for so long that the commonly accepted definition of the term has little relation to anarchism itself - more nihilism and chaos.

If you're talking about etymology here's wordiq's breakdown. "Without a leader" is completely compatible with majority decision making. The description of Athens as not anarchy fits with the fact that all those who weren't free citizens (women, slaves etc.) were ruled by those who were. That doesn't make the decision making process itself not anarchist. If someone manages to persuade me that it isn't anarchist, I'll call myself a Libertarian Socialist/Municipalist instead.

wordiq:

- The word anarchy comes from the Greek word αναρχία, meaning without a leader [1] (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%237438); an- meaning "without", -arch- meaning "rule" or "ruler", and -ia corresponding to the English suffix "-y" in "monarchy". Anarchy is often confused to originate from the word Anarchos (the one who has no starting rule, the one without beginning) which was not used for persons but as a property of God. The contemporary English understanding of anarchy differs from how the term was originally defined and used by ancient Greeks. For example, Athenian democracy was not considered to be an anarchy, as long as majority rule was a valid principle there. There is a difference between the word arche (αρχή: origin, sovereignty [2] (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2315894)) and the word nomos (νόμος: custom, law [3] (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2371007)). Majority rule is an arche and not a nomos. A free citizen of Athens who was not ruled by anyone and had the right to vote was not called anarchos but eleutheros (free). The leader or ruler is called archegos (αρχηγός, from arche + ago, "to lead") and could be translated in English as "principal leader". It is also called archon (άρχων, from arche + on, "being") or archos (αρχός, from arche + -os, masculine ending) which is the correct translation of "ruler".

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Sep 11 2004 22:17

By the way, I'm guilty of dictionary quoting myself (factory on these boards), but that's usually to try to avoid the misuse of words - definitions and etymology can be useful, but anarchy's been thrown around by so many people in so many contexts that it's almost meaningless now. Anyway, it describes a concept, not a thing, and it's the concept and the ideas surrounding it that's important.

nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 26 2004 02:32
Catch wrote:

If you're talking about etymology here's wordiq's breakdown. "Without a leader" is completely compatible with majority decision making.

. The leader or ruler is called archegos (αρχηγός, from arche + ago, "to lead") and could be translated in English as "principal leader". It is also called archon (άρχων, from arche + on, "being") or archos (αρχός, from arche + -os, masculine ending) which is the correct translation of "ruler".

I disagree slightly.

You've translated it "Without a leader"

We all know that "An" translates as, "absence of" but "Archegos" is more difficult. From my limited wee greek lexicon, I find "without a leader would better translate as "An archon". Archegos denotes the beggining of something (like a rule or dynasty.) It also denotes an originator.

Let me quote the relevent translations from source:

746. Arche; beginning. The verb archo (757) to be first or to rule The noun archeon (758) denotes a ruler. Arche means a passive beggining or act. cause.

747. Archegos; from arche (746) beginning or rule. As a sub. it means originator, founder, leader, chief, first, prince. Syn.; aitios, he who is the cause of something and the result. Yet there is a distinction between archegos as the beginning and from simply being the cause. One may be the cause of something but not the beginning. Arche, like archegos denotes the founder as the first participator, posessor.

749. Archiereus; from arche (746), a head or chief, and heireus (a2409) a priest.

757. Archo; from arche (746), rule, beginning. N.T meaning to rule or govern.

758. Archon; from archo (757) a ruler, chief prince magistrate.

Therfore, I'd translate anarchy "absence of rule makers and systems of law." without leader would translate to "Anarchon."

The words disected above , should give you a feel for the word "Anarchy."

the word "heirarchy" is strongly associated too. Coupled with that, if we accepted "without a leader" we'd have to translate anarchist as"one who is personally against having a leader" instead of "one who is against the establishment of rules and rulers."

This radically alters the whole interpretation, and leaves social anarchy in a bit of a paradoxical dillema.

Mr. T(Pardon my greek) Mr. T

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Oct 26 2004 09:52

Thought I already said this NuclearCivvy.

Catch wrote:
Not by someone capable of reading history books or anarchist literature. If you're prepared to rely on Websters or OED to define your politics then good luck. Dictionary definitions are defined by usage, and anarchy has been mis-used by so many people for so long that the commonly accepted definition of the term has little relation to anarchism itself - more nihilism and chaos.
nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 26 2004 16:52
Catch wrote:
Thought I already said this NuclearCivvy.
Catch wrote:
Not by someone capable of reading history books or anarchist literature. If you're prepared to rely on Websters or OED to define your politics then good luck. Dictionary definitions are defined by usage, and anarchy has been mis-used by so many people for so long that the commonly accepted definition of the term has little relation to anarchism itself - more nihilism and chaos.

You did Catch, so why say it again. Good luck? no. no luck. I've not relied on dictionary definitions, I've went to the Spiros Zohiades lexicon for the fullest translation. Then I carefully worked out the translation for myself.

Greek is such an expressive, information packed language. much more precise than english. I also translated your interpretation back into greek, and found a perfectly good word just lying there. I used it.

The greeks had separate words for "leader"

(758. Archon; from archo (757) a ruler, chief prince magistrate.)

and ""institutional system of leadership"

(747. Archegos; from arche (746) beginning or rule. As a sub. it means originator, founder, leader, chief, first, prince. Syn.; aitios, he who is the cause of something and the result. Yet there is a distinction between archegos as the beginning and from simply being the cause. One may be the cause of something but not the beginning. Arche, like archegos denotes the founder as the first participator, posessor.)

Greeks made that distinction, not me. Words can tend to mean what you want. True. But I figured the Greeks knew what this word mean't. They probably still do.

Nihilism and chaos already have definitions. Anarchy is nothing like those words in greek. The correct definition of archegos (αρχηγός, from arche + ago,) is "institutional system of leadership" and not "Leader".

I'm sorry if this upsets you, but in my opinion, it makes toxictears initial topic starting question a valid one. You tried to answer his question, and I'm not saying you intended to mislead, but you can't then pull the academic ladder up behind you, claiming it's all very unreliable and subjective.don't you think it's an important issue that deserves to be studied? Greek has clearly defined what the word "Anarchy" means.

If you find you are talking about something else, then Isn't that important?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Oct 26 2004 17:21

Well, I prefer Libertarian Socialism, or Libertarian Communism as terms to Anarchism anyway, and am not un-happy to be told I'm not an anarchist by you or anyone else. There's plenty of people who claim to be anarchists who I have very little agreement with, plenty who claim not to be anarchists who I have pretty broad agreement with. Very few people who I have respect for use the word Anarchy to mean Anarchism though. Anarchism may be no better in terms of etymology, but for me it means (or has come to mean) the positive freedom of a libertarian society, not the negative freedom of the absence of authority - that's why I consider libertarian socialism a better term, except for the fact it's two words with more letters in. People who are only concerned with attacking authority, rather than arguing for and building libertarian social structures to counter that authority, may be right in calling themselves anarchists, but it's a political position defined entirely negatively and not one I'm interested in.

A more serious response to your post: "absence of an institutional system of leadership", or "absence of rule makers and systems of law".

Would an established system (based on custom?) of recallable elected delegates contradict it? Probably not IMO, delegates not being leaders.

If rule-makers means a specific class of people who make rules, distinct from society as a whole, then can a directly democratic assembly of all/any people in a community be considered "rule-makers"? Only existentially IMO.

Does temporary decision making on a case by case basis consitute a "system of law"? No, I don't think so. Decisions about what to do in specific instances are decisions of policy, not law. They only govern a specific activity to be completed later on - same as deciding to go to a restaurant instead of a restaurant on Friday night doesn't consitute a law, it's a decision on a specific future activity, not a prohibition of an existing one.

In terms of the arbitration of disputes, things get more complicated, and I have to go buy food now, so maybe later.

nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 26 2004 18:18

I agree with all that.eek eek

Libertarian socialism is a better definition, but not so sexy.

An Archego implies the absence of rituals and even temporary rule making bodies, so even organising a regular get together of whosoever, doesn't fit in.

It's an academic point, but worth everyone knowing. If you set out under a flawed premise, your enemy ties you in knots. Claiming to be a "true anarchist" is like painting yourself into an idealistic corner.

nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 26 2004 22:32

I'm not an anarchist either revol68. I don't like labels.

I used to organise locally for the SSP, but I wouldn't ascribe to their dogma either. I got into the anti-apartheid movement in the 80's, then the anti-nuclear movement. I've been interested in the global powers for more than a decade. researching them from all angles, I've kind of transcended political stances. I've seen too many accounts of how political groups have been played against eachother like puppets. Used by the real global powers in their sick power play.

I've already made it clear where I stand elsewhere, instead of constantly knocking others views with abuse.

Where do you stand revol68? I know you are in favour of dogging my every posting with personal insult and ridicule. What else do you believe in? I only know what you are against.

nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 27 2004 01:01

Sounds a lot like the PGA hallmarks

I share them, I just don't think they preclude anything which would be an obvious improvement in the welfare of a group of people. From monarchy to a republic say. There's nothing to suggest the Scots workers are being divided at all by their desire for independence.

Would you have objected to the former african colonies becoming independent of westminster on the same grounds?

I also value the PGA hallmarks of tollerence and human dignity being respected. Do you?

redyred
Offline
Joined: 20-02-04
Oct 27 2004 11:25

Don't they organise golf tournaments?

nuclearcivvy
Offline
Joined: 8-10-04
Oct 28 2004 04:55

The PGA Hallmarks. This set of principles has more credibility in it's little finger...

You don't agree with these, you really are wrong, and you probably know it

madashell's picture
madashell
Offline
Joined: 19-06-06
Oct 28 2004 13:04
revol68 wrote:
ffs John means gift from god in hebrew (or so im informed) doesn't mean u should all bow down and praise the lord for my presence on these forums...

Aww sad

Does that mean I just wasted a perfectly good goat? twisted smile

bigdave
Offline
Joined: 25-07-04
Nov 9 2004 16:14

I think the term "anarchist" could be lazily applied to me as I think one of the main problems in our society is that people expect to be led by leaders. But I get the impression that some people feel there should be no rules as opposed to no rulers. Is this the case and, if so, what are the different terms used to describe these differences. No Greek please.

Kalashnikov_Blues
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Nov 9 2004 20:12

No Rules/laws (cuz thats really splitting hairs), everything done with council decision, all taken on a case to case basis.

Do I have that right?

Here's what I see happening from that:

John, hoards all the toys, Lil Timmy thinks that unfair to the "Community" and so approaches the council (hes no been raised as a fighter). Council conclude that, Yess indeed it is unfair, and John must share.

John shares for a bit then ends up with them back at his, Lil Timmy approaches Council again (and for the sake of arguement, its a whole new group of people), and again they conclude that John should retrun the toys...

BUT! since this has happened twice now and they have looked back at recent history, the way john acted, they conclude that maybe just this one little blanket "rule" is a good one, cuz it helps the community....

I would personally say that the council would have to set it up so that everyone was involved in the decision making where this new "Law" is concerned. But none the less.

I mean having set a precidence for hoarding, the second, third or whatever hoarders aren't going to be looked kindly upon.

And Hoarding is a real human "thing" (my flatmate saves the most useless things) so it is the sort of shit that is gonna happen.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Nov 9 2004 22:44

I'm not an anarchist cos I'm worried what we'll do when the aliens land on my pet cat. How are we gonna bury it?? Which committee will decide - The Feline Defense League (aka ALF) or Alien Workers (aka SWP)???

Oh Jesus I'm joining the Republicans...

Ceannairc
Offline
Joined: 6-04-04
Nov 10 2004 09:44

so, who gets to be on the committee? Is the committee decision final? What gives them that authority?

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Nov 11 2004 01:03
Ceannairc wrote:
so, who gets to be on the committee? Is the committee decision final? What gives them that authority?

Please tell me you're joking

JDMF's picture
JDMF
Offline
Joined: 21-05-04
Nov 11 2004 09:53
George'sBush wrote:
Ceannairc wrote:
so, who gets to be on the committee? Is the committee decision final? What gives them that authority?

Please tell me you're joking

GB, it's beginners thought section so people might ask beginners thought questions about anarchism. Thats not very friendly reply in that sense mate!