Τετάρτη, 28 Μαρτίου 2012

A brief introduction to Anarchy

Bakunin's concept of social revolution:

Bakunin’s methods of realizing his revolutionary program were consistent with his principles. The workers and peasants were to organize on a federalist basis, "creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself.".

The worker's trade union associations would "take possession of all the tools of production as well as buildings and capital.".

The peasants were to "take the land and throw out those landlords who live by the labor of others.".

Bakunin looked to "the rabble," the great masses of the poor and exploited, the so-called "lumpenproletariat," to "inaugurate and bring to triumph the Social Revolution," as they were "almost unpolluted by bourgeois civilization.".

Piotr Kropotkin: Anarchism, Its Philosophy and Ideal

If you wish, like us, that the entire liberty of the individual and, consequently, his life be respected, you are necessarily brought to repudiate the government of man by man, whatever shape it assumes; you are forced to accept the principles of anarchism that you have spurned so long. You must then search with us the forms of society that can best realize that ideal and put an end to all the violence that rouses your indignation.

Errico Malatesta: Anarchy (1891)

In order to understand how society could exist without a government, it is sufficient to turn our attention for a short space to what actually goes on in our present society. We shall see that in reality the most important functions are fulfilled even nowadays outside the intervention of government. Also that government only interferes to exploit the masses, or defend the privileged, or, lastly, to sanction, most unnecessarily, all that has been done without its aid, often in spite of and opposition to it. Men work, exchange, study, travel, follow as they choose the current rules of morality or hygiene; they profit by the progress of science and art, have numberless mutual interests without ever feeling the need of any one to direct them how to conduct themselves in regard to these matters. On the contrary, it is just those things in which no governmental interference that prosper best and give rise to the least contention, being unconsciously adapted to the wish of all in the way found most useful and agreeable.

Immanuel Kant on anarchy and republic:

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant treated "Anarchy" in his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View as consisting of "Law and Freedom without Force". Thus, for Kant, anarchy falls short of being a true civil state because the law is only an "empty recommendation" if force is not included to make this law efficacious. For there to be such a state, force must be included while law and freedom are maintained, a state which Kant calls republic.[66][67]

As summary Kant named these four kinds of government:
A Law And Freedom without Violence (Anarchy)
B Law And Violence without Freedom (Despotism)
C Violence without Freedom And Law (Barbarism)
D Violence with Freedom And Law (Republic)

Early history of Anarchy:

Most contemporary anthropologists, as well as anarcho-primitivists agree that, for the longest period before recorded history, human society was without established authority or formal political institutions. According to Harold Barclay, long before anarchism emerged as a distinct perspective, human beings lived for thousands of years in societies without government.It was only after the rise of hierarchical societies that anarchist ideas were formulated as a critical response to and rejection of coercive political institutions and hierarchical social relationships.

Taoism, which developed in Ancient China, has been embraced by some anarchists as a source of anarchistic attitudes. The Taoist sage Lao Zi (Lao Tzu) developed a philosophy of "non-rule" in the Tao Te Ching and many Taoists in response lived an anarchist lifestyle. In 300 CE, Bao Jingyan explicitly argued that there should be neither lords nor subjects. Similarly, in the West, anarchistic tendencies can be traced to the philosophers of Ancient Greece, such as Zeno, the founder of the Stoic philosophy, and Aristippus, who said that the wise should not give up their liberty to the state.
The usage of the words "anarchia" and "anarchos", both meaning "without ruler", can be traced back to Homer's Iliad and Herodotus's Histories. The first known political usage of the word anarchy appears in the play Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus, dated at 467 BC. There, Antigone openly refuses to abide by the rulers' decree to leave her brother Polyneices' body unburied, as punishment for his participation in the attack on Thebes, saying that "even if no one else is willing to share in burying him I will bury him alone and risk the peril of burying my own brother. Nor am I ashamed to act in defiant opposition to the rulers of the city (ekhous apiston tênd anarkhian polei)".

Ancient Greece also saw the first Western instance of anarchism as a philosophical ideal. The Cynics Diogenes of Sinope and Crates of Thebes are both supposed to have advocated anarchistic forms of society, although little remains of their writings. Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, who was much influenced by the Cynics, described his vision of a utopian society around 300 BC. Zeno's Republic advocates a form of anarchism in which there are no need for state structures. Zeno was, according to Peter Kropotkin, "[t]he best exponent of Anarchist philosophy in ancient Greece". As summarized by Kropotkin, Zeno "repudiated the omnipotence of the state, its intervention and regimentation, and proclaimed the sovereignty of the moral law of the individual". Within Greek philosophy, Zeno's vision of a free community without government is opposed to the state-Utopia of Plato's Republic. Zeno argued that although the necessary instinct of self-preservation leads humans to egotism, nature has supplied a corrective to it by providing man with another instinct – sociability. Like many modern anarchists, he believed that if people follow their instincts, they will have no need of lawcourts or police, no temples and no public worship, and use no money (free gifts taking the place of the exchanges). Zeno's beliefs have only reached us as fragmentary quotations.

In Athens, the year 404 BC was commonly referred to as “the year of anarchy”. According to the historian Xenophon, this happened even though Athens was at the time in fact under the rule of the oligarchy of "The Thirty", installed by theSpartans following their victory in the second Peloponnesian war, and despite the fact that there was literally an Archon in place, nominated by the oligarchs, in the person of Pythodorus. However, the Athenians refused to apply here their custom of calling the year by that archon's name, since he was elected during the oligarchy, and “preferred to speak of it as the 'year of anarchy'”.

The Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle used the term anarchy negatively, in association with democracy which they mistrusted as inherently vulnerable and prone to deteriorate into tyranny. Plato believed that the political corruptioncreated by democracy loosens the "natural" hierarchy between social classes, genders and age groups, to the extent that “anarchy finds a way into the private houses, and ends by getting among the animals and infecting them”. ('Republic', book eight). Aristotle spoke of it in book six of the Politics when discussing revolutions, saying that the upper classes may be motivated to stage a coup d'état by their contempt for the prevailing “disorder and anarchy (ataxias kai anarkhias) in the affairs of the state. He also connected anarchy with democracy when he saw “democratic” features in tyrannies, namely “license among slaves (anarkhia te doulôn)" as well as among women and children. “A constitution of this sort”, he concludes, “will have a large number of supporters, as disorderly living (zên ataktôs) is pleasanter to the masses than sober living”.

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