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Forum Post: Anarchism a beginner's guide

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 12, 2011, 12:01 p.m. EST by jsmith (22)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement


a beginner's guide ruth kinna 2005

pdf 164 pages


excerpt: What do we anarchists believe? ... we believe that human beings can achieve their maximum development and fulfilment as individuals in a community of individuals only when they have free access to the means of life and are equals among equals, we maintain that to achieve a society in which these conditions are possible it is necessary to destroy all that is authoritarian in existing society.

Anarchism is a doctrine that aims at the liberation of peoples from political domination and economic exploitation by the encouragement of direct or non-governmental action.

Anarchy is the goal of anarchists: the society variously described to be without government or without authority; a condition of statelessness, of free federation, of ‘complete’ freedom and equality based either on rational self-interest, co-operation or reciprocity.

activist page http://1vbd3.cjb.



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[-] 3 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 10 years ago

A suggestion. anarchism has a negative connotation. maybe there are good ideas I am not aware of, anarchism brings to my mind chaos, so the name turns me off. no offense intended, it just does. maybe they should change anarchism to co-operatism or something else, it might be better received.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 10 years ago

anarcho-syndicalism can also be called libertarian-socialism.

Anarchism just sounds cooler.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 10 years ago

Libertarian-socialism! ewwwww! yuuuuck!

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 10 years ago

lol I know right?

That word is a sure way to turn off the left and the right wing.

If I were to pick a word I guess I'd call it cooperationism.

[-] 1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

I understand your point of view, but I disagree with your solution. The OP is right. The problem is people don't know what anarchy is. It's always better to educate then to try to hide something in a veil. Calling anarchy co-operatism would not be the correct definition and it would only confuse matters more. Anarchy is not always about co-operation. That would be anarcho-communism, or anarcho-socialism. Individualist anarchism is anarchy based on the idea of individuality, and not co-operation.

[-] 0 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 10 years ago

If Chaos is the goal, you can count me out.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

What do you mean by chaos? There are a few different definitions.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 10 years ago

What JadedCitizen is referring to is the fact that "anarchy" has been used to describe situations in which there is no central authority and things have promptly gone to shit. It's become a catch-all term for everything from Watts to the car burnings in Europe to Somalia to the drug-infested warlord dominions in Afghanistan and northern Mexico. If there are bad things going on, and they're not going on under the auspices of a central government, the result is described as anarchy.

What JadedCitizen is most likely worried about is anarchism turning into the "I didn't sign no fuckin' social contract" nonsense that some groups of libertarians are using as an excuse to strip away social safety nets and push for corporate America's right to hegemony over the people, only now used to mean "I can do whatever the fuck I want and you can't stop me".

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

Hah, I do believe you've said in different words what I've stated here.


[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 10 years ago

Possibly. Incidentally, Article V is an interesting idea, and there are things in our Constitution that could use modification. That said, I don't know where this is going to go or what's going to happen with it. I think a lot of people are scared of doing it because the Constitution has pretty much become America's political bible and trying to do an Article V would be kind of like asking every church of every denomination to send people to a modern-day Council of Nicaea.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

Article 5 convention NOW! Our 1st and last right!

Again, I have to agree. That aspect of the "bible" really does fit. Never thought of it that way, but yea. Made me laugh actually:) -

Read between the lines of this draft strategy page.


[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 10 years ago

The rationale behind it makes sense, but is it really necessary to do the whole New World Order dance? That aside, the strategy does make sense, although I want to know exactly what they want to do to the First Amendment. Ideally, there would be a Right to Truth included in the Constitution right alongside the right to free speech, requiring separation of fact and opinion and requiring information be accurately sourced and claims defended appropriately rather than simply shouted over and over.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

Article 5 convention NOW!

I think nwo mention is realistic so the potential for such an agenda is acknowledged. The 1st amendment needs to be revised to include the full, ancient doctrine it was extracted from to create, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.


It even shows how it would be invoked reasonably by petititoning a state legislator, so corporations can't bitch. This is what I love in the straegy. Any critic of the proposal to revise the first amendment in this way must first, reasonably and logically, satisfy this.

Which mother or father in this nation will ignore or pass up the real opportunity to assure their child will grow into a nation that holds high and honors understanding that can create; forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance, respect, trust, friendship and love, protecting their life, their liberty and their pursuit of happiness? Love it!

America is already in total concensus! They just don't know it yet.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 10 years ago

In other words, set things up so that petition proposals have to be crafted and treated like research proposals based around a common understanding of the facts rather than "This is what we want, and this is the funding you'll get if you do what we want"? Honestly, that sounds like a good idea. I was just suggesting carrying it farther such that mass media and journalism had to conform to reasonable academic standards.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

Article 5 convention NOW!

If you visit that link you'll see that basically we could easily get the usenet back and have a specialized forum I call the "poll to post" style.


I've been seeking support for this since 2002 when I conceived of it. Not a normal forum at all. It uses human nature and automation to properly sort discussion in a thread by poll responses required to post. This and direct democracy type software coupled together with uniform and verified, UNLIMITED truth on mass media for decision making in democracy is the only possible way to have an Article 5 convention that manifests maximum constitutional intent.

[-] 1 points by ARod1993 (2420) 10 years ago

It's a very interesting idea. I'm not sure how well it would work; what I'd like to see is a version of it created and deployed that doesn't have any actual power to see how well it works, and if it works then step it up, perhaps to replace this forum.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

Article 5 convention NOW!

With the publicity that OWS gets, YES, this forum would have a concrete product that would be amazing. People won't quite believe at first, but then when they see the reasoning in the posts supporting poll responses that is consistent, they will know that the final product is as good as it gets for that moment on that topic or issue. The large numbers verifies.

ARod1993 wrote: what I'd like to see is a version of it created and deployed that doesn't have any actual power to see how well it works, END------

Exactly what I've been look to get done since 2002. I tried for awhile to get non profits to join together to educate, refine opinion on issues, but noooooooo.

Actually the product could go to a kind of wiki that is tested and finally refined by formal elections. What is cool that our normal discussion patterns are fairly well accomodated, upgraded even if all this typing has a purpose, and the crap is at the end of the thread just by reasoned opinion alone:) -

I had one estimate of about $7k from a commercial software producer adapting off the shelf code.

[-] 1 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 10 years ago

state of disorder.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

OK. In that case, we can teach people that anarchy does not mean disorder, but the absence of order.

[-] 1 points by barb (835) 10 years ago

anarchism doesn't work since it is human nature to desire leadership. It is also human nature to want leadership that isn't about corruption against its people. We are at a point in history with a major conflict of interest that many do not realize the significance of where are future is heading by allowing our leadership to betray us.

Anarchism comes at a hugh price and that is many will lose their lives and it is obvious that most are not ready since most still have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs.

[-] 1 points by hymie (391) 10 years ago

Have anarchists formed other organizations outside of government? For example, havey the formed businesses without hierarchies? I think starting small would be the way to see if such a system works or not.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 10 years ago

Yes some have started communes and worker's cooperatives.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

See Spain. It was run with anarchies during a period of 30 years at the beginning of the last century.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 10 years ago

Here's a video of Orwell in the Spanish civil war


[-] 1 points by newearthorder (295) 10 years ago

The only reason for anarchy is, to replace it with structure. If the anarchy is is chaotic enough the people will vote for the first structured government that comes along. The people do not want to live with anarchy on a daily basis. They want structure and reliability.

People need to know that when they get up in the morning they will be able to get to work like they have every other morning. They will put in whatever form of structure that will help them do that.

I'm not a big fan of anarchy, I mean, isn't the traffic bad enough?

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 10 years ago

Anarchy assumes that all are the same as extended family members; that all employ the same economic logic, that it is sufficient, and that all have equal expectations. The instant one rises to greedily demand more, authority is born, either to support and defend or to challenge, so... I think it's a rare occurrence in the world for reason.

[-] 0 points by utahdebater (-72) 10 years ago

Anarchy is impossible to obtain, someone will always rise to power. Great idea though.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

I only have this one question of jsmith - where does this society exist today, if it is in fact, a society that has or CAN exist.

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 10 years ago

-Article 5 NOW!- Anarchism, A Brief Masters Thesis

The only Anarchy that is not chaos is the one comprised of people that know everything there is to know about needs.

Until then the republic provides as much freedom as possible UNDER the constitution, making another form of chaos from tyranny.

Occupy congress with this demand. -Article 5 NOW!-

They are in violation of the constitution for 100 years. See the video about the federal suit against all members of congress.


Lessig power point on article V http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gpbfY-atMk

Lots of facts here about Article V. http://algoxy.com/poly/article_v_convention.html

Article V conference, Lawrence Lessig at harvard 9/25/11-other attendee video comments http://vimeo.com/31464745

[-] 0 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 10 years ago

I think anarchy is a process that arises when people don't take their political freedoms, the right to vote, be well informed by reviewing their politicians' voting records, seriously. The percentage of people voting is dropping while the tendency towards anarchy is increasing.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 10 years ago

If there is a tendency towards anarchy I think it is the result of peoples mistrust and discontent with government and society. Looking elsewhere for solutions. I don't think anarchy is a solution myself. But when people are troubled, they seek alternate solutions. It's easier to take advantage of people when they feel disenfranchised from the current socio-politcal conditions.

[-] -1 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

Correlation without causality. If the tendency towards anarchy is increasing it is because of Occupy, not because people vote less. In any case, this tendency is very weak. The vast majority of people would rather live in a democratic republic than in an anarchy.

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 10 years ago

i see from my point of view, and It seems like a lot of people I grew up with don't trust one bit of information I try to give them. they are so preoccupied by the Idea that the government is bad and all info is the gov't trying to manipulate them. For instance, I sent a clinical study that links stress with obesity, and they all thought I was making excuses and the gov't funded it to take more taxes from them. this is silly to me but true to them. college should be compalserary in my opinion

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

That's the danger of conspiracy theory type thinking. It's a mind disease that is spreading fast. It destroys all forms of logical thinking. Be careful!

[-] 0 points by Coriolanus (272) 10 years ago

I think anarchy is like those subatomic particles that physicists make in linear accelerators: it is capable of existence for a very brief period of time.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

Indeed, anarchy is always fleeting.

[-] -1 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

If you would study one of the oldest books in existence today, the Bible, you would see that the governmental systems were established right after the Flood of Noah's time. Up until that point in time, the society was primarily anarchist as you promote. It lead to the very worst of conditions that could be imagined for the human race (rampant murder, rape, theft etc etc) until it was so bad that all of mankind was obliterated from the face of the earth except for Noah and his family.

Whether you want to accept this as a literal happening or not really does not make any difference - it is a representation of what does happen under a society based on anarchy.

If you think that you can do the same thing over again and get different results the next time - you are simply ignoring the past and the nature of the nature of mankind overall..

[-] 2 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

The bible is not the oldest book in existence. In fact, it's not really one book but a collection of texts written at different times. There are many books that pre-date the oldest writings in the Bible. Noah's story is dated around 10 century BC.

The idea that up to Noah's point societies were based on anarchism is ridiculous. There were many highly advanced civilizations before Noah that used hierarchic forms of governance. The Egyptians are an obvious example.

You should base your arguments on something more serious than the Old Testament.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

So, the point of this post is not a discussion of the Bible, but thank you for the information. I do appreciate your knowledge of the Bible as a book:

Please note that what I posted was:

  1. ONE of the oldest books, NOT the oldest. And yes, there are books that pre-date the oldest writings in the Bible. This was NOT my point.

  2. I am very well aware that the Bible is a collection of books, the first five dating back to the time of Moses.

  3. To me there is nothing more serious that the Old and New Testaments. If you cannot accept these as the basis for my "arguments" then you will not accept what I say under any conditions.

  4. Any dating within the Bible and ancient history is based ONLY upon what we have found etc. Moses was dated to around 1,000 BC, not Noah. Moses was dated to more likely 12-14 cent BC. Noah and the flood are more properly dated to 15-20 Cent BC. The record of the first Egyptian Phareo dates to about 3,000 BC.

  5. Your can refute the anarchism claim only if you assume that all of the above dates are correct and that NO corruption existed in Egypt during the period 3,000 - 2,000 BC.

  6. I used the Bible as the basis for the statements that I made and it does provide evidence that the world at that time was in a very sad state, corrupt and violent. This was justification for the eventual destruction of the earth via flood due to the conditions that existed.

  7. At that point, society was considered anarchist in that no one or no government existed as a control agency to prevent the the rampant chaos that existed within society.

Once again, I am not arguing dates, etc. I am basing my statements on the information provided in the Bible and the claims made herein. If all of this writing is totally without merit - we have nothing to discuss. If the writings have merit - I have presented the facts as I understand them from that writing.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

I see. Then we can't have a serious debate because I don't consider Biblical text as being historical texts. I consider them confabulations. Allegorical, like Homer's Odyssey.

[-] 1 points by Frizzle (520) 10 years ago

That's not really fact based.

I agree that doing the exact same thing over and expecting a different result is madness. But to then use a story that you have to believe in to justify that is not a good basis. So the question then becomes. Are there real examples of anarchy, and how did that work out.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

Flip open today's latest news and go the any article about fighting within countries in Africa and you will get all the facts you need regarding anarchist movements and what they lead to. You can call them ethnic cleansing, border disputes or whatever. But when the situation reaches a point where people are killed for any and every reason - that in my book is anarchy

It is only natural that anyone favoring anarchist type rule will paint a glorious picture leading into that form of life - it is what results that I most fear.

I have to "believe" that situations in Africa as described in todays new media have some validity, though I have never been to Africa. The same holds for my belief in writing contained in the Bible as I did not live during that time either..

[-] 1 points by Frizzle (520) 10 years ago

"that in my book is anarchy"

If we use different definitions of the same word, then we can talk in circles for ever.

[-] -2 points by fandango (241) 10 years ago

forget it. with anarchy there will always be oppression from the top of the anarchist ladder.

[-] 4 points by ScrewyL (809) 10 years ago

mmhmm. Kinda like the Democratic ladder or the Socialist ladder or the Monarchist ladder, or the... etc.

Anarchy is all there ever is. Anything else is an illusion

btw JadedCitizen vvv

The people who gave anarchy a negative connotation had, as their agenda, to ensure it would never be trusted.

[-] -1 points by fandango (241) 10 years ago

sorry you feel that way.

[-] 1 points by ScrewyL (809) 10 years ago

It's not a feeling. It's an assertion of fact, either true or false.

You said "with anarchy there will always be oppression from the top of the anarchist ladder."

I implied that's true of many systems and went on to espouse a perspective you might have found enlightenning with consideration.

Why you sorry?

[-] 3 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

His argument doesn't make sense because there is no ladder in an anarchy. No need to look further than that. What happened to ScrewL2?

[-] 1 points by fandango (241) 10 years ago

dont think that there aren't any leaders in anarchy.

[-] 1 points by April (3196) 10 years ago

Theory v practice.

[-] 0 points by ScrewyL (809) 10 years ago

There aren't, that's not "anarchy". No need to argue semantics with me; I'm talking about anarchy, not something else.

[-] 1 points by vothmr (82) from Harrisonburg, VA 10 years ago

leaders arise naturally. we've always had them. look at the family structure. group of people with no state defining the rules. instead the individuals within the organization are free. however there is always someone in the family who leads more power than the others. leaders are a natural outcome of a group of people. anarchy is flawed at its very core and can exist only in the short time between leaders. plus people are violent and will steal and kill at the first chance if they can get away with it. look at what happened during Katrina and the aftermath. a perfect example of the failings of anarchy.

[-] 1 points by ScrewyL (809) 10 years ago

People steal and kill all the time.

[-] 0 points by fandango (241) 10 years ago

i know the dictionary definition of anarchy. do not be fooled by ows.

[-] 1 points by ronimacarroni (1089) 10 years ago

anarchism [( an -uhr-kiz-uhm)]

The belief that all existing governmental authority should be abolished and replaced by free cooperation among individuals.

Note : Anarchy is sometimes used to refer to any state of chaos or lawlessness.

[-] 0 points by fandango (241) 10 years ago

don't get suckered in. ows might preach anarchy but you'll be nothing more than a drone for the leaders , and there WILL be leaders. They will live well,............you,.........no.

[-] 3 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

This statement makes no sense.

[-] 0 points by ronjj (-241) 10 years ago

That statement makes EVERY sense. Can you even imagine two people in a self contained space where one does not in some way or the other become the leader, (food distribution, deciding who will go for help, etc etc etc). The same would apply whether the two were Billy and Franklin Graham or two anarchists.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 10 years ago

Indeed, but as soon as one would become a leader we would have to stop talking about an anarchy.