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Forum Post: Is anarchism nothing more than mob rule?

Posted 2 years ago on June 6, 2012, 12:48 p.m. EST by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Some posters on this forum quote a single sentence from a dictionary to define anarchism as little more than a free for all, in which the strongest eventually form the ruling mob.

To define modern anarchism and the different trends associated with it would take far too long for a single post. Even to dispel the simplistic notions drawn from dictionary definitions and introduce readers to the basics of anarchism would take pages. Instead I refer those, who cling to the anarchy-equals-mob-rule definition to http://libcom.org/ On that site they can learn a little about libertarian-communism aka anarcho-communism and anarcho-syndicalism. They can even freely peruse numerous articles and blogs on both schools including some writings of Rudolf Rocker and Noam Chomsky, just to drop a couple of names.

For further study, I recommend http://www.panarchy.org/index.html

On the last site search through authors for Piotr Kropotkin, whose definition of anarchism was used for the eleventh edition of the Encylopedia Brittanica . I also strongly recommend an article by Herbert Read, "The Paradox of Anarchism."

Just a few moments on either site should dispel many misconceptions about anarchism. It's a little too complex to define with a single sentence.

32 Comments

32 Comments


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[-] 2 points by richardkentgates (3269) 2 years ago

We live in a culture that worships stupid and scorns intellect. The information has always been there, people simply refuse to learn because fact is in opposition to their petulant panderings.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

The exact reasons why I made the post and gave the links.

If many people cared to truly define anarchism, they wouldn't quote a single sentence from a dictionary. They would bother to look up something so simple as Kropotkin's definition, published in 1905, or to find Herbert Read's short article, written in 1941.

Let us take a moment to bow at the altar of stupid and forever abolish intellectualism.

[-] 1 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

Dictionary or essay definitions are a start, but what really matters is practice, and in that sense each anarchic system must be analyzed individually and without and preconceptions. In the same sense, it's nice to read up on a representative republic, but if you want to understand America's politics, you have to dive into the specifics of America's particular implementation of a representative republic.

In that sense, I think the anarchy practiced by OWS leaves much to be desired. I don't think it's very close to theoretical anarchy. You certainly won't understand OWS anarchy by reading books alone, you'll have to do a lot of critical thinking concerning the practical implementation.

[-] -1 points by richardkentgates (3269) 2 years ago

LMAO, word to the bowing.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

No - many would like to say that to discredit and divide. Many as in the Corporations. Many as in the status-quo who are happy with what they have.

[-] 3 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

The Status Quo, god of the regressives.

[-] 4 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

The Status-Quo - False security for the timid and uneducated.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

I thought all the terms were synonymous. :{)

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

No you did not ! {:-])

[-] 1 points by geo (2638) from Concord, NC 2 years ago

Pictures of Matchstick Men.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

On our walls?

[-] 0 points by REALLibertyFraternityEgalite (1) 2 years ago

Everyone in here should look up one name

RICHARD WOLFF.

Anarchism is not 'mob rule' -- and neither is Marxism

[-] 0 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

Anarchism in theory and in practice are two different things. The answer to your question depends on what type of anarchism and how it is implemented. Theory is interesting, but what matters to us is the practical reality of a system. And, in practice, it's very easy for anarchy to become mob rule, or authoritarian. It's one of the easiest forms of government to co-opt.

For example, I would say that OWS GA is a type of authoritarian rule. Not in theory, but in practice.

[-] 0 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

Nearly any political process can be subverted. Look at the American republic. It certainly has become authoritarian.

I have not had an opportunity to attend a GA in New York, so can't really speak about that particular issue. I have been to various functions in other locations and find all emphasize different aspects of anarchism, which may be a good thing. I believe actually the idea of various practices fits the theory well, since a dissatisfied individual or group can either form a different unit representing his/her/their own beliefs.

[-] -1 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

Nearly any political process can be subverted.

Should read: All political processes will be subverted. On paper, a refined political system is perfect, but in practice it is always made imperfect by the imperfections of humans.

You don't need to attend a GA to understand that the OWS concept of direct democracy is flawed. A simple look at the theory shows this.

As you might know, for a tabled idea to pass a consensus must be reached. This usually means an idea will have to be watered down to be accepted, i.e. people who don't agree with the core idea will block and ask for some type of compromise. This is problematic because a good idea usually entails many details that work together. Once it's watered down, it's usually not very good anymore. Another problem is that this type of system encourages conservative ideas over progressive ones simply because it's hard to make any changes. For example, there only needs to be one anarchist in the room to block a motion for OWS to make political demands. It could be one out of one thousand people, it does not matter. The idea will no pass if at least one person blocks it. This makes it very hard to pass new and engaging ideas. One thing to note here is that many decisions about OWS were made before the first GA. For example, the idea to not make demands (which I agree with) was made by only a few people at the beginning of OWS. Now that they have the GA, it's impossible to change this idea because one of the founders will block it (some people already tried and failed miserably).

Another huge problem is that you must attend a GA to vote on a proposition. Now, this means that the people who attend the most are favored. They have more power. It's obvious that not everybody can attend a daily GA. At the beginning of OWS, only the hard-core anarchists could. This means they have all the power. Just think of all the people who live to far to go to a GA. They have no say at all. In practice, the result is that you have people that represent the movement, but nobody voted for them, and nobody really knows who they are unless they go to all the GA like them. Also, they don't have a term limit. Personally, I don't want to participate in the political process of my country everyday. I don't have time. So, I prefer to elect a representative, then to have the representative be whoever can make it most often to a GA.

Just look at this website for example. There's a programmer and a few moderators. They have all the control. The news portion of the site has a few writers who have all the control. This site and that news section is a huge PR part of OWS and it's controlled by a few people who never change. Is that really anarchy? I don't think so. If the power was really horizontally distributed, then protesters would be able to provide input for the type of news they want to see and changes they want for the website. It would be our website and our news outlet. It's not.

These are just a few examples, there are many more.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

But if you live in New York, can't you and a group of like-minded individuals start a separate GA more in line with your vision and ideals?

I agree that in a GA or a union no single individual should be able to block a proposition approved by the overwhelming majority. Such an approach invites the movement to stagnate. Clearly more than a simple majority should be required for major changes, but not unanimous approval.

From what I have learned, if representation of some form becomes necessary, I believe representatives should be frequently and automatically rotated through all eligible members of the GA or union and subject to instant recall by, let's say, a 3/4-majority vote of their constituency.

Since the website is simply an extension of the GA, it will and should reflect the core values of the members.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

if no one's talking

no one's talking

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

But if you live in New York, can't you and a group of like-minded individuals start a separate GA more in line with your vision and ideals?

Starting a separate GA would essentially be starting a separate protest since our GA would have no bearing on the decisions made in OWS. Of course, this is entirely possible, but your argument is to the tune of - "Yankee, if you don't like it here in Britain, then go home!". Not only would fragmenting the protest in this way hurt both the legitimacy of the protest and its strength, but meeting the criticism of a protester with a simple - "If you don't like OWS, start your own protest." undermines OWS's stance on being an inclusive protest. Being inclusive means hearing the problems other people bring up, it's not just being inclusive when everything honky-dory.

One grows by improving his faults, not by running away from them. And really, this has been the biggest problem plaguing OWS. It's simply not open to outside or even inside criticism. It's run like a cult. Don't dare go against the grain and ask questions as to why such and such a thing is done in such and such a way.

[-] 1 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

A separate GA would not have to oppose or compete with OWS. It could ally itself and cooperate with the original GA, but a with a different structure, which you and like-minded individuals might find more horizontal. Since I am not familiar with the protocols of OWS, I can't really speak about their particular practices, but if you strongly disagree with how they operate and do not see any possible resolution, I don't see that you have much choice.

Naturally you can criticise OWS's particular implementation of anarchy; convince enough others to go along with you and eventually force a change.

The idea of anarchism is that the assembly or union is voluntary on all parts and voluntarily for the common good.

[-] 0 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

I can't really speak about their particular practices, but if you strongly disagree with how they operate and do not see any possible resolution, I don't see that you have much choice.

You have no choice. The anarchists rule OWS. There's no way you could setup up a second GA and have it interface with the first one unless that decision came to a consensus in the first GA. They would never agree to a second GA since that would just divide the policy making platform.

[-] 3 points by TitusMoans (2451) from Boulder City, NV 2 years ago

It apprears your stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

Our freedom is always limited by available options, even if we leave other humans out of the equation. As I see it, you can stay with OWS and try to change it; you can leave to form another non-competitive group supporting OWS, which--I'm sure--they would not repudiate; or you can leave this particular type of protest movement and find another or none at all.

[-] -2 points by CaptainTony (-145) 2 years ago

When I have nothing to offer, Titusmoans, I offer nothing.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Unfortunately that does not keep you from contributing - your nothing.

IronButtBrucie - the worthless PR ( BS ) corporate shill.

[-] -1 points by CaptainTony (-145) 2 years ago

Who is "IronButtBrucie"? And who the hell are YOU to attack me and so many others without provocation and then accuse us of being everything but white without providing any proof whatsoever? Aside from whoever you're working for, pseudoanonymity and a couple of sock puppets must be your only allies.

[-] 0 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Sorry for offending you ( not ) corporate shill - but if you really are an original shill you need to work on bringing out your own (?) identity your blind marching talking point attack is too much out of the shill manual.

[-] 0 points by CaptainTony (-145) 2 years ago

Starting sentences full of insults with the word "Sorry" admits you are a LIAR, DKAtoday, but it certainly does not qualify as an apology. Try again, TROLL.

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (23978) from Coon Rapids, MN 2 years ago

Sorry for offending you ( not ) TROLL

[-] 0 points by CaptainTony (-145) 2 years ago

So you admit you are a Sorry Troll, DKAtoday. Now you only have 11 steps to go!

[Removed]

[-] 0 points by BetsyRoss (-744) 2 years ago

Welcome to world political power.

Those who "rule" OWS make it impossible for the independent choices and operational desires of each OWS member to be expressed fully. If you fraction off into groups-you run the risk of losing power to the largest group. If you stay together, your own power is rendered mute for the good of the whole group.

OWS is a perfect little microcosm that is demonstrating perfectly how corruption and influence exist in each and every group or governing body no matter how noble their goals might be.

Unless and until you figure out how to "fix" your own broken system-you only look like fools telling the rest of the world how to "fix" their own on a much, MUCH larger scale.

Experience really is the best teacher.

[-] -1 points by treasure (-81) 2 years ago

True that.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 2 years ago

well,

the TPP is not my cup of tea protecting companies by letting them sue nations

Trans-Pacific Partnership

[-] -3 points by JS93 (-321) 2 years ago

Who cares!