"survivors" vs. anarchism?

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barny
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Nov 30 2008 22:06
"survivors" vs. anarchism?

Sympathetic query. I don't know if anyone has been watching the BBC program, "survivors". But for those who have, how would a society without government deal with thugs like the gang with the shotguns?

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Django
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Nov 30 2008 22:27

Hiya,

anarchists don't propose that a stateless society be created through the state suddenly collapsing as a result of some kind of catastrophe. Anarchism isn't about creating a power vacuum, or about having a chaotic society where people can do whatever they want. It is about creating a highly structured society controlled by those within it who take decisions accordingly. This will have to come out of the mass struggles of the majority of the population (the working class) which are a permanent fixture of our kind of society in varying states of intensity, and its of no small significance that in most situations when working class people are able to take power for themselves, mass assemblies of some form with voting procedures for making decisions emerge. Anarchists think that these structures are the natural form of self-government that will replace the state.

So in this situation, you have (fictional) social breakdown within a capitalist society, which is no break with capitalism. In situations where capitalist countries have gone into meltdown, and the resulting chaos is called "anarchy" by the media, you don't have anything of the sort. In places like Somalia, you don't have the abolition of hierarchical, statist structures, but their profusion - various gangs looking to take power and enforcing it in their own territory, and gangsterised capitalist social relations continuing. It is this kind of situation, which is chaos, which you get when catastrophe cripples state power, rather than anarchy (in the sense an anarchist would mean it) which is people consciously taking control of their lives.

Jason Cortez
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Nov 30 2008 22:32

Well, i saw the original series and not that long ago borrowed a DVD of it and this series apears to be following the broad outline (i have only seen episode 1). but i think the point is that unlike primmos that most of us here don't think it very likely for an anarchist society to appear in a situataion like this where 90% of the population has been wiped out in a few weeks. libertarian communism will only come about with partipation of a widespread social movement that creates the conditions through the actual praxis of that movement. With 'survivors we have isolated scattered individuals coming together to form small groups where all social norms have been rendered obsolute, so any group that wishes to form on anarchist lines would need to arm themsleves to defend against outside raiders etc, a situation which wouldn't be compatable with libertarian communism.

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cantdocartwheels
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Dec 2 2008 09:49
barny wrote:
Sympathetic query. I don't know if anyone has been watching the BBC program, "survivors". But for those who have, how would a society without government deal with thugs like the gang with the shotguns?

Survivors is a post-apocalyptic scenario based on material scarcty, so humanity is shown reverting to tribalism as it fights forlimited resources. Social anarchism is broadly based on the idea that we have the technology to create enough material goods and wealth for everyone to live comfortabily and happily, and that if society were organised so that people controlloed their lives and workplace then the goods and wealth would be shared equally and our creativty would be directed at increasing our material happiness rather than just making a profit.
If you have all you need then you don;t need to shoot anyone for a few tins of beans and if for some reason a small number of youth gangs or racist seperatist militia types still existed, such as might happen in the US for example, they would be a tiny minority and would be dealt with by the local anarchist militia/constabulary if they caused any trouble.

barny
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Dec 6 2008 01:18

Actually, relative to population, its a scenario of (albeit temporary) abundance: shops and supermarkets full of stuff and hardly any people.

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cantdocartwheels
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Dec 6 2008 10:42
Quote:
Actually, relative to population, its a scenario of (albeit temporary) abundance: shops and supermarkets full of stuff and hardly any people.

But the point is its gonna run out so theres no material certainty that society will provide for the survivors in the next six months or the next year and so on, thus people turn to individualism or tribalism. If can go to the supermarket today and I know its gonna be there in 5 years time aswell, i'm not going to take a shotgun down there and start laying claims to tins of beans.
Also survivrors is based in a very post-traumatic scenaro, if you lose your whole family and all sense of security you can often end of resorting to individualistic or tribal responses. So you decide its you against the world, or you find a substitute family.
I think its gonna turn out that the shotgun gang aren't that bad though, afterall the looter was probably a dead body they found to scare people with and they haven't used the gun on anyone yet. I think the indication is the leader is not really prepared to use it on anyone.

Mike Harman
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Dec 6 2008 11:04

Is the show any good then?

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cantdocartwheels
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Dec 6 2008 12:33
Mike Harman wrote:
Is the show any good then?

Passable, its ok evening entertainment but the show isn;t particularly innovative or interesting, its pretty run of the mill stuff so far.

barny
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Dec 6 2008 18:05

I've enjoyed it. I agree its not particularly innovative, but its still engaging.

Jason Cortez
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Dec 7 2008 00:35

It is a remake of a series that first appeared over thirty eight episodes between 1975-77 on the BBC. It was pretty ground-breaking then not only in subject matter. Earlier this year i borrowed a dvd of series one and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Often when seeing a TV series you first saw thirty years, it be a disappointing experience. Only saw the first episode of this one, so not sure what I think.

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Devrim
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Dec 7 2008 12:07

I remember watching this the first time round, and being absolutely terrified by the episode 'Mad Dog'.

Devrim

ernie
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Dec 7 2008 16:36

I am glad someone started this thread because I thought I was a sad old bastard because my partner and I have been working our way through the original series since watching the first of the new series. I agree with Devrim and Jason the original was pretty good stuff, especially when you compare it to the new one: which is pretty swallow fare in comparison. The new one tries to compresses what took several episodes in the original into a couple of episodes and is all short scenes and angle shots. The original gives a lot more time and effort to developing character and each episode took an aspect of what it would be like to try and survive and developed it. You became engaged with the characters, the new ones are cardboard cut outs who run around a look and drive fancy cars. The 70's series took time to develop about the problems of setting up a community: growing things, getting things, settlement being destroyed by food poisoning. It also didn't hold back on its punches, in one episode (law and order) the main characters -who we had been shown as trying to maintain their humanity- are shown as losing that humanity when they voted to execute a character with learning disabilities who they falsely believe to have raped and killed another character. The hollowness of the new series is shown by the fact they reduce this episode to about 10 minutes when a secondary character shots someone who breaks into their community.
That is not to say the original is not without its faults; all the main characters are white and middle class, whilst the first series had a strong female lead character who was dumped in the 2nd for two stereotyped strong white males, the main ideological thrust is that there needs to be a leader. That said though there is much to think about as different aspects of trying to survive are examined through using more realistic daily life characterization, which even includes people over 35 years of age (in the new series to be a main character you clearly have to be under 35 and good looking others your rate bate!) contributing the effort to build a community.

Jason Cortez
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Dec 8 2008 11:29

Yes, Jack i think you would enjoy it. Terry Nation who created the series, was very interested in getting people to reflect on modern day society (ala1975) and the way technology and institutions are assumed or taken for granted. The obvious one being the complex web of material processes needed to maintain life in an industrial society and lost of skills needed to survive, but also questions of justice, community, power, law etc. It also was a device to look at different ways of living, a definite harking back to a rural simpler life, but one fresh with new possibilities. As Ernie states the need for a 'leader' to organise the community is never questioned, just what sort person is a good leader and why. The lead characher is a strong women who becomes a leader almost against her wishes. From the seventh episode it was shot entirely on location by Outside Broadcasting Unit (more used to filming live sports) at the BBC very unusual which along with the use of video gave the series a different look and feel. Today it looks unsurprisingly dated which may detract from your viewing pleasure or give it a certain period charm.