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Forum Post: The Anarchic Dilemma: Do Anarchies Self-Destruct?

Posted 10 years ago on Nov. 17, 2011, 2:31 a.m. EST by Glaucon (296)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

All hierarchic modes of governance are stable in the sense that they cannot be overthrown from within. Rules in decrees such as constitutions ensure the structure remains more or less intact and that the rulers continue to rule. If the people want a change, they must make a revolution. They must kill the king.

Anarchies, by definition, have no ruler(s). They use systems such as direct democracy to empower the people to make decisions for the people, for themselves. The idea is to involve everyone in the decisional process in an attempt to be as fair as possible, to reach a true form of democracy; pure democracy.

In the this linked document, ANALYTICAL & STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR OCCUPY, an anarchist explores how direct democracy should be organized and contained in Occupy. Here is a short excerpt pertaining to our discussion:

One role as anarchists we can play is to be conscious of the informal leaders that develop and encourage them to become more anti-authoritarian than managers of struggle. There is great possibility that informal leaders could end up taking over the movements media outlets or over the general assemblies, in fact this has already happened in some places. We should not be afraid to hold people accountable for their actions and work with them to better themselves, and if not challenge their power.

Just like we should guard against the fetishization of individuals, we should make sure to guard against the fetishization of any one form of organizing. It is important in order to keep the autonomous and popular character of the movement. We help to do this by proposing that we have a diversity of assemblies instead of just one centralized general assembly. Anyone who has been to a meeting of more than 25 people know that it is impossible to really be heard. As anarchists decentralizing the assemblies is an obvious tactic to push for.

It seems fair that anarchists wish to guard against the fetishization of individuals or groups who could become leaders within Occupy. After all, if leaders emerge anarchy will be no more. The system would collapse from within and some form of hierarchy would appear. (I'm not sure what this means - "We should not be afraid to hold people accountable for their actions", but that's another story for another post.)

This brings us to the arnarchic dilemma. By using direct democracy to enable a people of various ideologies, ideologies which Occupy claims it treats in equal respect in that none are favored over the others, it becomes clear that through consensus the people could vote to dismantle the very direct democracy that permitted them to vote together in the first place. How ironic would it be if the consensus decided to elect leaders and replace direct democracy with a republic? How ironic, but any less democratic?

Doesn't there always come a time when a mother must accept that her child is free to wander off and possibly never come back? It would seem the anarchists refuse this possibility. They refuse to allow the ombilical cord to be cut through consensus. They do not wish that the people be allowed to abandon their mother: direct democracy. If this were to happen, it would mean the system has been overthrown from within. It would mean the end of anarchy, and a lose for the anarchists.

We ask the following questions:

  1. If anarchists want to guard against the fetishization of individuals or groups with particular ideologies, are they not themselves guarding their own particular ideology by refusing anarchy to be overthrown from within and replaced by hierarchy?
  2. Are they not rounding us up in a golden cage where we believe we are free to decide our future for ouselves, but in reality are stuck within anarchy permanently?
  3. Is this true democracy?
  4. Is Occupy really a coming together of various people with various ideologies on an equal platform, or is it instead various people with various ideologies looking up at anarchists towering high on their podium?
  5. And, if they have placed themselves on this podium by making it impossible for other ideologies to flourish in the place of their own, have they not already self-destructed by creating an hierarchy: themeselves on the podium, us looking from below?
  6. Finally, to be a true anarchist, isn't it crucial that one accept the inevitable dilemma that for people to be truly free to build a world by themselves and for themselves, the possibility that they choose to reject anarchy and adopt some form of hierarchy must always remain and never be contained?



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[-] 9 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

Hi Thrasymaque.

[+] -5 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Hi, how are you? Any comments for my post? I'd love to hear arguments by anarchists. Discussion is important.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

Just give my best to Glenn Beck and let him know I think anarchist obsession is slightly more healthy than his previous Nazi fetish. It's good progress. Keep playing with that lithium dosage...

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I was hoping for more constructive arguments. I took some time to carefully write this post and elucidate a problematic dilemma faced by anarchists. If you have any anarchist friends who would like to discuss this dilemma, please direct them to this thread. I love a good debate with strong arguments. See you later, take care.

[-] 4 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

As I said in the other thread were you posted this same question under another user name "Thrasymaque"; people tend not to give up power. Why would anyone give their voice to a proxy representative through voting? These types of top-down systems do not grow up from the grass roots, they are imposed from above. Consensus is not a 'political system', it is a human desire that we have a voice and that it is heard and considered in the decisions that effect us. Naming things is a sticky business, all the words have baggage, and misrepresentations. Consensus is true democracy, what ever 'system' we build that moves in the direction of achieving a truer consensus of all people is a good one.

[-] 4 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

Please see: http://occupywallst.org/forum/how-we-are-being-censored-by-sockpuppets/#comment-370676

Wish well-inentioned people would stop bumping this thread.

Pass it on if you like.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

What is wrong with this thread? It is well-written, poses a strong argument, and is open to discussion.

[-] 0 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

I would compare you to Goebbels but it wouldn't be storng enough. Maybe Rove... Are you Rove?

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Should I compare you to the average simple minded poster who can't come up with any arguments of worth so he resorts to throw out a reductio ad hitlerium invoking Godwin's Law yet once more? How many of you are out there? Where's your creativity?

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

Sure, no problem. Sieg heil, turdblossom.

[-] 1 points by Febs (824) from Plymouth Meeting, PA 10 years ago

People give up power because making decisions and thinking is time consuming and exhausting. They would rather place power in the hands of others to relieve themselves of this burden. It happens all the time.

[-] 0 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

We can devise a system were representatives are not need. Time moves forward, and we now have a world networked together, we no longer need to ride a horse to the GA, as they did when the Constitution was written. Clinging to broken political structures for fear of change is not helpful.
Realize not everyone is interested in all decisions, however we all should have the option to voice our concerns when we need to. A new world is possible.

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

Maybe people don't want a new world. Maybe people want to keep their Representatives and simply, or not so simply, end government corruption.

You seem to have a dream or a vision of a "new world", based on Direct Democracy. Far be it from me, to want to kill anyones dream! So I will offer a suggestion.

Perhaps you should start your "new world" on a smaller scale. Rather than expecting to convert our entire country to your vision of a "new world". If you build it small, maybe people will come, and it will grow. Maybe they won't. If it is successful, then people will naturally gravitate to it as a better alternative than what they currently have.

Othewise, how will you, or anyone else, know whether it is truly better?

[-] 2 points by Febs (824) from Plymouth Meeting, PA 10 years ago

I am hardly afraid of change - I just recognize the inherent dangers of direct democracy - namely that there are no protections against the tyranny of the majority infringing on the rights of the minority.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I had to change my username to Glaucon because I have been shadow banned for posting critical questions concerning Occupy and anarchy.

I'm not against direct democracy, and I'm not against anarchy per se. My point is there is a dilemma and a choice to be made. Either you give people the true power of democracy and they can then decide to dismantle direct democracy and anarchy if they feel it is advantageous in the particular situation they might find themselves in, or you contain direct democracy by somehow forcing it to remain permanent and thus limit some of the choices the people can make.

You might be right that people would never choose leaders because that would not be a positive move, however this is an assumption on your part as you cannot possibly foresee what situation people might find themselves in five years or ten years from now. I don't feel this is a strong argument. Why not let the people decide? If you're right that this would never be a choice that the people would make, why are the anarchist bothering to talk about having some kind of strategy to stop this from happening? Why not let true democracy shine without imposing any limits and see where it leads us? After all, you say the problem of leaders would never come up in the first place.

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

"why are the anarchist bothering to talk about having some kind of strategy to stop this"

They are not. The material you link to is about stopping individuals from attempting to take power from others by imposing their "leadership" on the group. You have to realize that we are all coming from a system that gives only the illusion of "democracy" through four year intervals with a single decision, a vote for a proxy representative. People are creatures of habit, it is often difficult to break old habits. As we learn that we can build consensus in groups and we do not require an expert or the leader to decide for us, people become less easily fooled by those who would seek to silence others with their own agenda. This as all things is a process, not a hard edge.

You keep saying that anarchy (or direct democracy) is possibly stifling other systems of organisation. I think the intent of the material you link to is to establish consensus, with out corrupting influence of power. It is about finding the will of a group, without leaders or power structures, period. Arguing FOR power structures in a movement aimed at removing them is not logical.

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

I think first we should eliminate the kleptocracy and return our government to an uncorrupted Representative Republic that it was meant to be. Perhaps then, in time, Direct Democracy will find its own way, based on the will of the people.

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

Representative Republic is a broken model. Proxy representatives will always be corrupted by power, or simply their own egos, this is human nature. There is no way for a representative to effectively manifest the view, opinions and desires of all their constituents. We now have the systems and technology to have free and open debates on major issues, and we can devise a process to achieve a much more representative consensus. Why not replace the politicians with facilitators who have the role of remaining neutral while implementing the will of the people. What role is filled by proxy representatives, that we can not more effectively realize through a much more participatory consensus system.

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

I disagree. If we want to change our form of government, we need to use our current form of government to make those changes. That is the best way for the will of the people to be decided, we use the current rule of law to make changes. Not a so-called consensus in a park.

This would be the surest way to allow Direct Democracy to find its own way, by the most legitimate means possible, following the rule of law. This would be the surest way for Direct Democracy to have the best chance for success, with a solid foundation of support and legitimacy.

[-] 3 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

It would be nice if the system would allow the people to change it, unfortunately the system has become completely non-responsive to the actual people, and instead it is only responsive the corporate intere$ts.

This system does have dependencies, for the most part they are financial. The financial system is failing, and will eventually collapse on the weight of its own lies. Infinite grow is simply not a possibility in reality, and the ecosystem is also failing due to this wrong minded model. As these two systems fall, we well transition to something else, much worse or much better? Time will tell.

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

I understand what you are saying. Yes, the current system has become a kleptocracy. First and foremost we must fix this problem. By getting the money out of the political process. Finding the right answers is dependent on this happening first. Everything else flows from this. Whether it be Direct Democracy, the environment, and everything else.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

This is false. There is no theoretical problem with a representative republic. The problems arise in practice when laws are not sufficient to fill all the loopholes which permit corruption. When we look at different republics throughout the world, we can see that some are much more corrupt than others. There is no reason to think corruption could not be adequately curbed using the correct laws.

Greed is part of human nature and will always exist in any system. Anarchies using direct democracy are not immune to corruption. No system is.

If we look at history, the republic system using representatives has proven to be the most effective. A lot more effective than anarchies, which have seldom been put into practice. We only have a few examples here and there.

An important question to pose is do we really want to be involved in politics on a daily basis? I don't. I like reading, playing music, etc... I'm fine with the idea of a representative making decisions for me, as long as I know there are strict laws in place which mean he can't do whatever he wants.

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

Greed is part of human nature? Why such a dim view? I believe people are inherently good! Greed is a personal failure of morality. I think most people strive for prosperity, not greed.

I think unrestrained capitalism can encourage and lead to greed. Which is unhealthy to the rest of society ultimately. I think it is the governments job to restrain capitalism with appropriate rules and regulations. Maybe you'll agree with me on this point! : )

As for politics on a daily basis - I cannot imagine, nor do I want, to understand the intricacies of world trade policy - for example - and have to vote on it! Its one thing to use Direct Democracy in a park, where practically the most substantive issue of voting is how to get more blankets for the cold weather! Another thing entirely, when the whole electorate is voting on world trade issues.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I think we are born with a deep instinct for survival which causes our greed. If we look at other mammals, greed is everywhere. I have three dogs and when I give them food they will eat very quickly then try to steal food from the others if there is any left. I'm a firm believe in evolution.

As a Christian, don't you believe we are all born in sin, and not born good? I think the priest and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard explained the Original Sin quite well. In his view, after Eve committed the Original Sin it meant everyone else was born sinful and that to become good they had to accept God and Jesus Christ into their lives so they could be washed from their sins.

I agree 100% with your other points. I certainly don't want to have anything to do with world trade issues.

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

No. I believe we were all created by God, in his Goodness, therefore we are all good. We can succumb to sin. But this is a failure. Eve was created good, but succumbed to sin. By accepting God, whatever sins we may succumb to will be forgiven. Because God did not make us perfect (we aren't exactly dogs either!) and Loved us enough to allow for His forgiveness.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Gen. 1:26,27

God would only create goodness. Not sinners.

I admit, I cannot exactly reconcile this with evolution. There's an answer to that somewhere - but I do not have it!

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I agree Eve was created good, but according to some theologians, she was the only one. After the Original Sin, everyone else was born in sin.

I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination so we'll never agree on these points! I'm a hard core believer in science and evolution and I think we are just another animal amongst the rest.

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

I understand!

On a side note - have you ever thought about " Table Manners 101 for Dogs"? So that one dog does not go hungry because of dog mob rule. : )

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

"Arguing FOR power structures in a movement aimed at removing them is not logical."

Thrasymaque states somewhere below that you were the only person in this thread to have offered a constructive dialogue. I contend that translates to your being the only person who accepted his premise that this movement is seeking anarchy as a replacement for representative democracy/republic.

You think you're having an intellectual conversation, but you're really just aiding a propagandist with a deep manipulative agenda in accomplishing his goal. The best way to make OWS unpalatable and unacceptable to the American people is to let people like this succeed at painting it as ideologically anarchist.

jph, please review the conversation below. Hopefully it is clear.

[-] -1 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

Some technical political debate in a forum is not going to manipulate any agenda. Why take this so seriously? Anarcho-socialists make up a part of this movement, I am one. There is nothing illegitimate about this political philosophy, in fact it is the only one worthy of your time. "a people's uprising embodying the revolutionary spirit of economic justice, mutual aid, and participatory, consensus-based democracy." this is an anarcho-socialist statement. And the movement IS organized by these principles. I understand you are manipulated by corporate media and it's incessant name-calling and muckraking of these terms. Do a little reading on political philosophy and see that anarcho-socialism is just that a political philosophy, not some evil monster.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

I hate to respond in this thread, because we're giving him what he wants: "ANARCHISTS" plastered at the top of the forum. However, i do feel it's important to finish this discussion.

You personally have an anarchist philosophy of (anti-)government, but accepting his premise that it's a shared/common goal of OWS is the problem, and you must know intellectually that your goals are not the broader goals of the movement, despite the organizing tactics. Try to convince every supporter on this forum that revolution is our goal; the overthrow of the system. See how much resistance you get. Try it in Foley square, or with our union allies.

You must also know that it's not about my personal feelings on anarchy, but the broader public's. Are you under any sort of illusion that anarchy is or might become popular with the American people? Let me disabuse you: That very concept is the number one threat to the support of this movement. It underlies the poll numbers that came out this week. The anarchist narrative is gaining traction.

Anarchy, despite all of the intellectually accurate arguments you might offer to the contrary, is, in the public's eye: black bloc, violence, chaos, etc. It is the most terrifying thing people can imagine. Worse than a police state, the status quo, inequality, etc. It is Mad Max. Thrasymaque/Glaucon knows this, and it's his intention, along with many in the right-wing media, to make that connection stick. OWS is anarchy, it must be defeated.

It is not an evil monster to me. I just disagree with it. But it is an evil monster at large, and you're sowing the seeds of our destruction by playing into this narrative. Or do you not think public support/sympathy is important? Do you have a cynical agenda of letting OWS fail, but at least perhaps winning a few converts in the process to anarchism? If not, please reconsider your position.

More of the same: http://occupywallst.org/forum/what-ows-is-really-about/

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You miserably fail to understand my position, because you miserably fail to carefully read what I write.

I am not a conservative. Not be any stretch of the imagination. I am a French Canadian, not a Québecquois, but an Acadian. In Canada, I vote NDP, which is more to the left than the liberals. I believe in social programs such as health-care, welfare, subsidies for university tuitions, etc... I believe in paying high taxes to help create social programs for all Canadians.

You accuse me of being close-minded, but it is you who has pigeon-holed my position, and not I who is assuming who you are and what your ideas and motives may be.

My goal is to understand Occupy. It is not to discredit it, nor to encourage it. Frankly, I do not care what happens in America because I am not American. What interests me are the dynamics of the movement and seeing how everything progresses.

And, I don't want "ANARCHISTS" plastered at the top of this forum. I don't care. I write to communicate with other intellectuals who wish to discuss issues. If you do not wish to discuss issues raised in my thread, or wish to comment in my discussions, then please feel free to abstain.

You should open your mind and stop imagining that you think you know the reasons why people on these boards are posting. You do not. Assumptions will lead you nowhere. Good arguments and good discussions will lead you somewhere.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Are you implying anarchy is bad? I do not necessarily think it is. I think there are many types of anarchy, some bad some good. It depends how it's worked out in practice.

I thought Occupy had no official leaders (perhaps hidden ones?), that's why I call the structure anarchist in design. What do you think it is? Is it some type of hierarchy? Is so, who are the leaders?

[-] 1 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

I am a liberal, there are many of us here. Conservatives too. So of course I don't have a positive view of anarchist ideology. As a tactic I find it interesting.

We've been through this. The methods of the movement are anti-hierarchichal. Those do not map to the goals of the movement, which have been clearly stated, time and again - all basic variations on "money out of politics." Countless others have made this argument, and I won't bother to quote Upton Sinclair, but I do know better than to think that you can be convinced of what I'm telling you.

You say you have no agenda, that you do not support the movement, but, for someone who's apparently sanguine about the status quo, you sure have quite an interest in us. Your goal is clear, and it is smear. Your parroting of points (and inclusion of artwork) from Glenn Beck's site make it all the more blatantly obvious.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

My goal is to understand the movement. Period. If I wanted to smear Occupy I wouldn't be providing suggests and I wouldn't be engaging in discussions with some of its prominent founders who I'm debating with on anarchic websites.

I do not agree with you that form does not influence content. An anarchic structure favors an anarchic outcome. Again, my goal is not to smear but to help. This is why I have provided many solutions to common problems. I don't simply post to say the imagery is violent, I propose another type of imagery. This particular posts raises an interesting point. I link to an article by an anarchist who exposes his methods to try to keep the movement on the anarchic track.

Are your liberals ideals portrayed by the movement at the moment? The imagery doesn't seem liberal, and the actions don't seem liberal. It all seems like anarchy at this point. If it smells like, looks like, tastes like, and feels like anarchy, it most likely is anarchy.

Please contradict me by showing liberal ideas in the promotional material and liberal ideas in Occupy's tactics.

[-] 3 points by Lockean (671) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Regarding the imagery. Those images are a tactic, meant to disrupt and have an impact on the energy of the movement, on the media, and on politics. OWS needs to be taken seriously. It needs to scare the establishment. Doing so can produce real political change. This is exactly how we achieved the New Deal. It was a compromise between establshment and radical left politics. We are the radical left and we want a new deal. Tactics vs. goals. See it now?

Probably not. Agree w/looselyhuman that you're all about the agenda.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I agree that the imagery is all about tactics. Imagery is super important, and that's what I have said all along. My point is that the imagery is anarcho-communist. It does not represent the plurality of ideologies looselyhuman says it does. You should study this imagery in detail. Again, many posters are direct replicas of Russian communist propagada posters.

[-] 3 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

"It all seems like anarchy at this point. If it smells like, looks like, tastes like, anarchy, it probably is anarchy."

Keep it coming. Others need to see it.

For no particular reason, I'm going to pretend like I'm arguing with an open-minded individual.

Try accepting people at face value. Look at the common thread of the many declarations/demands of this movement. It's about limiting corporate influence and implementing more progressive policies. Some have talked about constitutional conventions and electoral politics. Very few have proposed to implement any sort of direct democracy, and those proposals have been unpopular. No serious agenda for overthrowing the system is even in the running. It wouldn't fly. It's not what we want.

You are making up strawman goals that fit your worldview, and those of a few extremists within and without OWS.

Next you'll be talking about how we're being used, that we don't know what we're supporting, that this movement was sparked by anarchists and is all playing out according to their master plan. Glenn Beck agrees. I have self-determination and a voice in this movement, and the majority of us have very clear goals: Fixing our democracy/republic (whichever you prefer).

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I have read the general assembly minutes, and I know there are all types of ideologies circulating in the movement. My point is that the content cannot escape the form, and my proof is that everything Occupy is doing and the way it is portraying itself shows that the ideology of anarcho-communism is highly favored over the others. Perhaps this will not always be the case, perhaps the liberals or some other ideology in the movement will eventually be able to influence the posters, the rhetoric, and the actions taken by OWS, but at this time they have not. At time time, Occupy is 100% anarchy.

The problem is most likely caused because people like you refuse to acknowledge this, so you aren't doing something about it. You're like a lone anarchist in a Republic. We say US is a Republic because that is the structure of the State. The form breeds content, so we say most ideas of US are ideas of a republic, perhaps an oligarchy. We don't say US has various ideologies one of which is anarchy because they are outside the form, just like your liberalism is outside the form of Occupy. For this reason, you have very little influence over the content of Occupy.

I have no idea who Glenn Beck is and have no intention of finding out. You're comparing my ideas to his is a simple ad hominem logical fallacy. Fight the arguments, not some guy I don't know.

If you can show me clearly with strong arguments that your liberalist ideas are on par with the anarcho-commist ideas of Occupy and not being drowned by them, then I am absolutely open to believe you. You haven't done this so far. That's the problem. Until I see this, Occupy is 100% anarchy, of the anarcho-communist type. This is not because of a lack of being open-minded, it is because the arguments put forth point to this. With the arguments we have on the table, it is fact.

[-] 2 points by looselyhuman (3117) 10 years ago

"Occupy is 100% anarchy."

Which is the ONLY thing you have to offer. The only point you care to make. The only thing you want anyone to take from their "conversations" with you. I rest my case.

[-] 2 points by an0n (764) 10 years ago

Thank you. Exactly. Win.

Let him rail away.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

This makes you happy since you are an anarchist ;-) I like your tactics, and I have enjoyed our discussions on the anarchic forums. Keep up the good work. ;-)

[-] 3 points by an0n (764) 10 years ago

You know nothing about me psyops.

What agency do you work for? Oh nevermind I don't need to hear your cover story again.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You're good. Keep up the tactics. They are working... he he... See you at the next meeting. Tell Marcy I found her phone. She forget it in my kitchen last time we all had supper. ;-)

[-] -3 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

It might be the only point you think I'm making, but unlike you, I give strong arguments to back up my point. Show me your liberal colors in Occupy. You can't. All you do is throw logical fallacies. You attack my ideas by linking them to Glenn Beck: ad hominem. Now you claim I only have one point: another logical fallacy. Having one point doesn't mean it's a bad point. It's another form of ad hominem. Where are your arguments. Show me the colors of liberals in Occupy. Where are they?

You liberalist ideas are being washed away by the structure of Occupy. In the end, the only thing we see of Occupy is the anarcho-communism. The red and black colors, the communist propaganda style posters, the roadblocks, the idea of occupying, the idea of general strikes, the symbols like the raised fist, the imperial sun rays, the communist stars, etc... The rhetoric of the man against the machine, the worker against the oppressor. The rhetoric of non-violent protests, the idea of direct action. etc... All these are anarcho-communist ideas and tactics.

Tell me. Where are your liberal ideas? How are they represented? I don't see them in Occupy's actions. I don't see them in Occupy's colors. I don't see them in Occupy's rhetoric. Where are they?

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I think the intent of the material you link to is to establish consensus, with out corrupting influence of power. It is about finding the will of a group, without leaders or power structures, period. Arguing FOR power structures in a movement aimed at removing them is not logical.

The intent is to form a system of direct democracy because that is what those participating in general assemblies feel is needed at the moment. Once more people start participating and once the political/social/economic structure starts changing around us who can predict what system will interest the majority?

I am not arguing for power structure, what I am arguing for is true democracy which doesn't stop the majority from deciding to implement a power structure if they so desire.

We are turning in circles and I don't quite understand your position. It is indeed a tricky dilemma. Perhaps your answer to this simple question will help me better understand where you stand.

In a general assembly that uses direct democracy, if the people came to the consensus that the best way forward was to dismantle the anarchy and put some kind of hierarchy in its place, would you accept the decision of the consensus?

[-] 2 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

I think I see the problem. I have no illusions that the General Assembly in NYC will replace the current corporate/political system. The consensus process used there is for organizing the social movement to Occupy Wall Street. A protest to build awareness of the social inequity, and promote alternatives. You can not "dismantle the anarchy" as anarchy is simply the ABSENCE of a top-down structure. It is like trying to remove a void.

To answer the question, I would only accept a structure that achieves the same ends of building consensus, and therefore the point seems quite moot.

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

I'm trying to understand too!
If there was a majority consensus to elect a leader for the movement with the goal of replacing the "current corporate/political system", would that be ok?

It seems a little too convenient to say that you can't dismantle an anarchy, because no structure exists to remove. Doesn't it?

I'm sorry if this is making you repeat! I just want to make sure I'm getting this!

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You could say anarchy is a mere void. For our particular discussion I assume it encompasses the system of direct democracy, general assemblies, etc.. If you wish I can change my wording: dismantle the structure which enables people to make decisions in the context of anarchy: direct democracy.

My thought was that Occupy's master plan was to create an anarchy nation wide. This does sound utopic and most likely impossible, but I nevertheless felt Occupy had this goal.

A protest to build awareness of the social inequity, and promote alternatives

I guess my misunderstanding stems from the fact that they have not promoted alternatives, except for using direct democracy. They do not seem interested in sharing or mixing with the current corporate/political system. All they seem interested in is demonizing it as much as possible. See tanks on new poster.

To answer the question, I would only accept a structure that achieves the same ends of building consensus, and therefore the point seems quite moot.

I don't see how this question could be moot. I see it as primordial and I wouldn't be part of direct democracy unless I was assured that it was really by the people and for the people and that the goal was true democracy in which the people had the true power to choose for themselves whatever they see as the best solution for any given situation. I don't believe in the idea of containing direct democracy by not allowing certain decisions to be made, and by trying to indirectly stop the natural process by attempting to "to hold people accountable for their actions". If leaders come out and the majority in the assembly choose to elect them and give them some form of power either temporarily or permanently, I don't see why we should attempt to disallow this decision as it would seem counter to the idea of decision by consensus.

[-] 0 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago


There MANY set of ideas like the above,. all rising form this movement. The GA is organizing a protest not defining a political agenda.

"leaders come out and the majority in the assembly choose to elect them" this is not possible by consensus, all would have to agree, and then it is only for the moment, you can not give away your right to have a voice of your own. For instance nither you or I ever voted for this system of government,. it is simply enforced by gun/police.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

"leaders come out and the majority in the assembly choose to elect them" this is not possible by consensus, all would have to agree, and then it is only for the moment, you can not give away your right to have a voice of your own

This is only impossible if you predefine it to be so. There is no reason why it couldn't be possible in practice. People could decide to use a system of direct democracy and acknowledge that they seek true democracy and that if this means that a vote by consensus chooses to change from direct democracy to a form of hierarchy then that will be that.

You're imposing an artificial constraint to lock direct democracy into a permanent state of being. By doing so, you limit the choice of the people for the people.

It's a dilemma because you want to give the people the power to choose for themselves, but, at the same time, you are afraid that their choice might abandon anarchy and lead to hierarchy. At the same time, if they did abandon anarchy, they would also be abandoning their power to vote as a people for the people. It's a serious dilemma worth consideration. Iv'e posted it in numerous anarchic forums and many are interested by it.

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 10 years ago

No one is locking in anything. Consensus is only possible by consensus, I do not get what you are missing here. I have tried to help you understand that consensus is a voluntary event. You can not impose it. Period. I have no 'fear' that people will vote 'for a vote' as that make no sense. To vote is not to generate a true consensus, the two are mutually exclusive, so your dilemma seems to me a broken argument. You keep saying things like "if they did abandon anarchy" but who are 'they' and how do 'they' speak for everyone else?
I never voted for the current system, and I do not support it, it does not represent me or my opinions. Can I vote for consensus? No, however I can some to a consensus with a group of people to take an action. Consensus and anarchy simply cannot be destroyed, they will always be possible, and they will never be permanent.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I think the problem is I was framing the argument in the sense of a nation being run by direct democracy, and not the idea of various temporary pockets of direct democracy here and there. We seem to have argued around a different ideology of what the practice of direct democracy is in the context of the argument I was making.

I'm getting interesting answers in the anarchy forums where most people imagine anarchy as a nation wide permanent system used to govern the land. I believe this is a real dilemma and so I'll continue discussing it there.

I enjoyed our discussion, but I think it's turning in circles now. Unless you have something to add, I think we can end it here.

[-] 3 points by Socrates469bc (608) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Quote: "By using direct democracy to enable a people of various ideologies, ...the people could vote to dismantle the very direct democracy that permitted them to vote together in the first place. "

In theory direct democracy is great. In practice the problem will be the lack of participation. Already in the USA, off-year elections have notoriously low participation rates. Thus in practice, the evidence is that with direct democracy, most people will not vote, except for the extremist, and professional politicians.

80% of people are, as Thoreau said, living their lives of quiet desperation, trying to make ends meet, putting food on the table for their kids. If they have to vote on every single thing every few hours, they will have no time to make money.

The only people with the luxury to vote will be the 1% who have all the leisure time in the world, and the 19% of professional politicians, who get paid to do politics, the die hards, the communists, paid Ron Lawl supporters, the Koch's pro-industry Libertarians, Anarchists, Socialists, Communists, etc..

In fact we need only go back in history to realize that democracy started with direct democracy. But pretty soon people realized that there was no time to do anything but hold general assemblies all day long to vote. Who was going to make money? We can't expect to survive on a donation link forever unless we are a priest, and if we were all priests, there would be no donations.

Instead we continually delegate work. We do this at home: Husband cooks, while wife goes to pick up kids. And voting takes time and it is work.

Just look at Occupy, the current experiment in direct democracy. First they started with general assemblies with everyone making decisions. Then they broke up to committees, each dedicated to something specific, then they formed a so called spokes council which is more equal than others, by having more voting rights. It is history repeating itself.

They could have saved a lot of time if only we studied not only political theory but also political history.

Ultimately. though the 80% of people who are desperately trying to make a living need those dedicate political people, whether they are right wing or left wing because those are the people we know will be dedicated enough to fight for us. (Yes the people sitting at home, and going about their daily jobs, giving the Occupiers around the globe their support and even donations are using the anarchists, not the other way around.)

In ancient China, people carried water from wells using a stick on the shoulders of 2 people, with the pail hung in the middle. There is an old saying that 3 monks together will die of thirst because the monks forever believe that all work must be equally shared, so they will not all 3 be able to carry the water equally fairly.

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 10 years ago

Good analysis.

[-] -3 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You raise another problem of direct democracy. The popular counter arguments are that more people would vote if they felt they could make a difference, and that new technologies like the Internet could make it quite easy for people to follow issues and cast their votes from home.

Another problem of direct democracy is tyranny by the majority.

I was hoping you would stay on-topic and discuss the particular issue I raised in this post. Your contribution is welcomed, but there are many other threads already discussing the other problems of direct democracy.

[-] 2 points by JonoLith (467) 10 years ago

Historically, all Anarchist movements have eventually turned into a Oligarchy, or a Republic. It basically just comes down to organization, in the end.

In an advanced society, it is likely that there will be a need for Representatives. I'm a bit of the belief that our current system isn't inherently broken, it just needs a few more layers, and be streamlined a whole lot more.

[-] 2 points by ceazar (12) 10 years ago

I think you are having a problem of equivocation between the term anarchy and the term democracy. You seem to claim that you are an anarchist through having direct democracy. I think that these two concepts are contradictory in a fundamental philosophical sense. As a result your dilemma is not really a dilemma it is just a product of the contradiction inherent from your equivocation. I offer the rest in support.

A direct democracy fundamentally has a power structure at its core, it is born out of the concept of majority rule. Now maybe you might feel as though you are not creating this power structure by having protection for minority rights, through consensus building and requiring that the majority of people is significantly more than 50% plus one or even more than a super majority (greater than 75%). But in that case all that you are creating is a hyper-majority but it is still majority rule.

I would contend that no amount of compromise will bring a significantly large group of people into 100% consensus. That the larger the group, the more likely it becomes that at least one person is not getting what they want and are being "marginalized" by the rest. Or on the other hand the person is faced with so much peer-pressure that they conform into the consensus not because it is truly what they want or what they believe but because they respect the group and do not want to cause discontent. In this sort of situation not only is the person being marginalized but the person is also being dominated by the group.

Further even through the consensus building the majority opinion will still be a dominating factor. There might be concessions given through the requirement to compromise to those who disagree but this requirement to compromise then forces people into various camps on the issues. (These camps do not need to be linear or directly opposed to one another but just have different ideas of what should happen.) Therefore there is stratification and a power structure within the direct democracy. So in this sense once a democracy becomes large enough to where compromise can no longer build a consensus amongst the entire group it is bound to cause some sort of stratification between a majority and a minority, even if there are vast protections for minority rights, such as "hyper-majority rule" (seeking a large consensus of 99% through compromise).

So what does this have to do with your dilemma? Well, this power structure mixes with another problem as it gets larger. This other problem is that a person’s vote suffers from inflation. The more voters there are the less weight your vote has. You, yourself mention how it is hard to have your voice heard in a group of 25 or more. So what eventually happens is the various dominating and stratifying forces causes people to compromise principles that they do not feel should be compromised. Yet they no longer have a loud enough voice to fight the majority or even the minority from forcing them to compromise upon that principle. So they then seek to solve this inflationary problem, through representative democracy.

This creates a champion to go out and represent them in either some committee or in some meeting in which their vote is now concentrated with other like-minded people’s vote in order for them to feel as though I have more influence and say over the issues that they are concerned with. Other people accept this position because they also feel the inflationary pressure but they are concerned with different principles than this other group. As a result Direct Democracy creates the fetishization of a group, the majorit,y and Representative Democracy creates the fetishization of the leader, the champion.

Consensus building causes this as well as inflationary problems with the vote. Democracy is a form of domination and an attempt to get the whole society to conform with my wants and with my desires. Anarchy is inherently opposed to these ideas. Anarchy is about living without the need for consensus, government and law. The only obligations I have are the ones I create for myself and not the ones that you think I should fit into, or the group thinks I should fit into.

You cannot seek to be an anarchist through direct democracy. Anarchy is about the absence of government and democracy is a type of government. All you’re doing is changing the language of stratification and domination. You are forcing ideas and behaviors upon people regardless, it is just in a different way than they are used to, so they feel as though they are free. So anarchy and democracy do not uphold the same fundamental principles and are not interchangeable.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Thank you for the great post and sorry and didn't reply earlier.

I don't have much to say because I agree with you on all points. My post was treating the matter in theoretical terms rather than practical terms. Perhaps I should have made that clear. It's obvious that direct democracy is not horizontal in practice and that leaders will always emerge. For you information, I am not an anarchist.

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

blah blah blah, I'm tired of all this theoretical dribble.

I'm voting for a third party candidate and try to promote an amendment to nullify citizens united.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You take the effort to add some paragraphs, and I'll take the effort to read your post. Let's work as a team. I glanced over it and it looks really interesting, but I just can't be asked to read a text presented this way. It's just too hard on my brain.

[-] 1 points by ceazar (12) 10 years ago

Sorry, I did have it in smaller paragraph format with indentation but I was being told is was too large so that was what happened to it. But I think I fixed it.

The crux is just when you turn to direct democracy you start a system of government and therfore a system of stratification and domination. So you cannot be both an anarchist and for direct democracy.

[-] 1 points by secretfreq23 (5) 10 years ago

"A direct democracy fundamentally has a power structure at its core, it is born out of the concept of majority rule. Now maybe you might feel as though you are not creating this power structure by having protection for minority rights, through consensus building and requiring that the majority of people is significantly more than 50% plus one or even more than a super majority (greater than 75%). But in that case all that you are creating is a hyper-majority but it is still majority rule. "

Ergo, is the eligible but non-voting block, which constitutes the majority of people in this country, is it basically stifling itself into whatever form (kleptocracy whatever) the US is today? Could a large portion of this non-voting group be Thoreau's souls just trying to get by without making no trouble?

Maybe thats why people are acting out about feeling like they have no say? Occupy the Voids.

Maybe thats why this feels like anarchy to some or a lot?

Maybe thats why a guy shot at the White House with an AK-47 assault rifle he bought from Wal-Mart? He left the receipt for it in the the car he parked at the Institute for Peace Studies campus for police to find it all.

On a deeper level, we're bipedal agrarian animals really @#$&-ing good at living on a relatively mellow yet dynamic planet. We've done so well in certain regards that we've reached 7 billion strong. Anarchy cannot be overlain on a species like that; one that remembers the past and can predict the future. And one that is so simultaneously prolific and self-destructive as well as hateful and loving.

[-] 1 points by ceazar (12) 10 years ago

Rhetorical questions do not help people understand your point. What are you saying? What is your claim?

[-] 1 points by secretfreq23 (5) 10 years ago

No you're right. I should have been more direct in what Im saying. Not a lot of people in this country vote and they are bitching about it not being a democracy simultaneously. Its a blatant contradiction. So I say occupy that void and start voting and writing letters to politicians. And please do not tell me they dont read the letters etc. That is total bull shit and fodder for cynicism and eventual self-destruction as we are seeing now.

I guess my other point here is that, and I say it differently down at the bottom again in a separate response to Glaucon, I just dont think that given the way the natural world is, anarchy is simply not possible. When you look at a forest, it appears to be anarchy, but it is no where near that. If you look at a pile of moss or lichen, it looks like its all over the place. There is an order of some kind necessary to survive the inherent imbalance of nature; striving for the most resilient position possible with as little resource cost so that your offspring can thrive given the knowns and more critically, the unknowns about the future. That is not anarchy to me. That is order imposed for survival. Maybe you would see that differently.

[-] 1 points by ceazar (12) 10 years ago

First off I am not an anarchist, I am a a republican (emphasis on the little r). I actually really get frustrated by anarchists who claim that a direct democracy is a means of living in anarchy. It is a contradiction and an absurdity but that is besides the point.

As to your statement, the United States governement is not a democracy. It is a republic with a democratic process. This is a very different type of governement and politics. Therefore people who think they live in a democracy but actually live in a republic are discouraged when they vote and they do not see a democratic effect within the system.

I do have a slight objection to your claim about letter writing and voting. I am not going to say that they do not have no effect, but if you want radical change and large pressure you need both letter writing/voting and activism. Your complaints do get heard when you just do the one but activism causes more letter writing than what is standard and also provides a backdrop for politicians to gain attention.


[-] 1 points by anonymoux (70) 10 years ago

check out "To the Barricades" on adbusters

[-] 1 points by HighSchooler00 (23) 10 years ago

I believe that anarchy, in its purest form, is a belief in the supremacy of the rights of the individual, not a political or economic system. When everybody is free to choose their futures, then they have to be able to choose government for themselves. Anarchy that allows for nothing else is not true to its cause or meaning, and is indeed "a golden cage".

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

who wants anarchy? not the occupy movement. what about taking control of our government and economy back from the corporations who own them? who are you really? you are definitely not part of the 99%. how much money are you being paid to do this? do you really enjoy where America and Americans are right now? the widespread pain and despondency? does it give you joy? you obviously have never had to worry about comfort. has life been good for you?

[+] -5 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

who wants anarchy? not the occupy movement

What are you talking about? Occupy is based on anarchy.

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

oh, its you again. you're that same troll with a different name. what's the other one, thrasy-something. NO, the occupy movement is NOT about anarchy. you can keep posting and posting it over and over, but, the fact does NOT change that the occupy movement is NOT about anarchy. you're ridiculous. what are you trying to accomplish? are you also the poster that claims that the occupy movement is about communism? you don't know what it is about, but, you, and others like you will learn. things are going to change, the present system is going away. you can't have freedom when corporations control our government and our economy. and the old systems won't work either. you can double-talk about anarchy, but, it is a waste of your time. all of us see you for who you are. a right-wing nut with their own agenda. trying to control things. how much are you getting paid? who do you work for? or is this for your own selfish needs? millions of good Americans are hurting, they are despondent with where we are as a nation, and all you can do is act selfishly.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You should contact jart. She's the programmer of this website and an organizer for Occupy. She's on the ground in New-York. She'll be able to explain that Occupy is entrenched in the anarcho-communist tradition. There's not reason to discuss the issue further. I'll let you explore it on your own.

[-] 2 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

by the way, jart doesn't exist. its a fake name for a fake person who doesn't exist. see, what you don't get yet, is that you are not smarter than the movement. the movement actively protects itself from people like you looking to derail the movement. you types make a move based on traditional structure and outdated intelligence. you can't derail this movement. it will survive and it will make change because, and here's the big because; because the movement is truly made up of the 99% of Americans out there. and Americans can do anything. even overcome corporate control of their government and their economy. you are wasting your time. and there is no win-win scenario here. not like the stock market where you can position yourself, hedge your bets and use inside information and take advantage of an up or a down. no, this time, if you are on the side opposing the American people, you are gonna lose it all. and that's what you are truly afraid of. be afraid.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

jart is the acronym for Justine Alexandra Roberts Tunney. Here is her github account http://www.github.com/jart Look down a bit and you will see the occupywallst project which she is leading. Here is the source code for this website: https://github.com/jart/occupywallst

Here is an article about Justine and Zoë and their work for Occupy and this website. There is a photo of them. Justine (jart) is on the left side of the photo. http://gaycitynews.com/articles/2011/11/09/gay_city_news/news/doc4ebace95a0c26985577656.txt

Again, why not contact jart? You can send her a private message on this forum.

I'm curious? Why do you think anarchy and communism are bad? Personally, I don't think they are necessarily bad. It depends how they are implemented in practice. The anarcho-communist movement called Occupy has been working pretty well so far.

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

yes, I know. they are fake. fooled you though

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Of course. Absolutely fake. Nice comeback!

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

actually, I don't know if they are or not. you can state things and put links in your post, but, the fact of the whole matter is that corporations control our country at every level. the occupy movement is about the American people taking that control back. that is not anarchy. its being American and its all about what America is. these distractions you are throwing on to the tracks won't work. because, there is more than one train. you might succeed in derailing one, but there are millions of trains out there. you need to get on the freedom train and quit doing the bidding of the corporations

[-] 1 points by richardkentgates (3269) 10 years ago

i think the point you are missing is your relationship to a brand and it's direction vs the consensus of the 99%, and that OWS the brand is leaning to far one way to be representative of the 99%. to bring OWS back in line with the people that support it, there needs to be an addressing of fringe elements lest OWS risk becoming irrelevant.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I'm not trying to derail any train. BTW - Thank you for continually bumping this thread. Lol!

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

no problem. thanks for continuing to bump mine. is this a competition? or what are you trying to accomplish for yourself. obviously, its nothing good for the occupy movement, is it?

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Lol! This is my post you are bumping: http://occupywallst.org/forum/the-anarchic-dilemma-do-anarchies-self-destruct/

I think I am helping Occupy. I don't see the point in hurting such a powerful movement in a time when it is desperately needed. Criticism is helpful.

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

it is you! I recognize your blather. I've heard it enough. we've had many exchanges on this site. and, by the way, you should contact martin on the ground in zucatti park. she'll explain to you that anarchy has no place in the occupy movement. the movement is the positive action of the American people who are making change. my Ace against your Ace. which one is real? folks, you decide.

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

I think you are both correct, but there is an important distinction to make. The movement was started by an anarchist, is structured and run based on anarchistic principles. However, the vast majority of participants/supporters are non-anarchistic protesters looking for solutions to our problems with government.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Sure, but form shapes content, and not the other way around. America is a republic, it is not communist even though it has a communist party. The form of Occupy is anarchy, and so, the content will always come out with a taint of anarchy. It will always resemble anarchy more than anything else, unless the foundational structure (form) changes. This post is about how anarchists to not want that to happen.

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

So even though the majority of the people are not anarchists, the form is anarchy, therefore we are all a part of that form? The form is anarchy, the people (anarchists and non) are the content.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Form always dictates content; or "The medium is the message" by Marshall McLuhan.

In the context of Occupy, the form is direct democracy with consensus, and the content is the type of nation this will create. Decisions and solutions made by consensus in a direct democracy are not the same as decisions and solutions made in a republic, because the form is not the same. Form always directs and molds the content.

The type of corruption problems America is now facing is due to its form; an oligarchy that is caused by the types of laws in place and how the government and businesses can interplay using these laws. The form is the system and one of the aspects of the content is corruption at the government/business level. Alter the form, and the content will change. To fix this type of corruption, you need laws to separate government and politics.

Here are a few other examples. 1) Canada and America have different forms; political system and laws. Even if you switched all the representatives from America with the ones in Canada, it wouldn't make much of a difference to either country because the form would remain the same. The content, the resulting "flavor" of the nation, would essentially remain the same 2) If you have a ship (form) it doesn't matter if all the personnel on board are pilots, they will not fly the ship, they will sail it. Here flying or sailing is the content. 3) A dog (form) barks (content), it doesn't meow.

So, the form of Occupy dictates to a certain degree what type of society (content) we can expect from it. The result could not be the same as a republic because the form is different.

This is why anarchists do not want to change the form. Because it would change everything this movement can hope to do in their eyes. Were Occupy designed with leaders, the type of actions and solutions that would flow from it would be greatly modified. In the end, it doesn't matter if people in Occupy have different ideologies. If it's structured as an anarchy, then an anarchic landscape will result.

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

Occupy is doomed - except as somebody's ridiculously huge experiment! Unless the form changes.

You say that the corruption problems are due to form, being oligarchy. The way I'm thinking of it is - the form is a Republic. And I think the content is oligarchy. I don't want to change the form, only the content.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

An oligarchy is usually the result of an other corrupted political system. In The Republic, Plato explains that all republics tend to become oligarchies if kept unchecked. This is what happened to America. The republic is no more. It's foundation is still there but bad laws which enable corruption have transformed it into an oligarchy. The oligarchy is the form, and the content is the type of country that results from it. You want to change the form from this oligarchy back to the republic, and you can do this by modifying the laws so that corruption is near impossible. Laws are an inherent part of the form, its from them that the nature of the nation is formed.

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

Got it! Laws are part of the form! I knew I was misinterpreting something.

You might just make an intellectual out of me yet. Then again, probably not. Not for any lacking on your part. You've been extremely patient with me and all my questions! Its just that hockey is not all that intellectual, and you know where my priorities lie. : )

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Yes, it is me (Thrasymaque), and yes, folks can decide by themselves. There is an abundance of material that can be read on the Internet. Those who want to know the truth simply have to search it out for themselves, and I highly recommend they do.

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

you are assuming that the occupy movement is misdirected and just based on a lack of information, education or mental ability. I suggest that YOU search for yourself. Don't start from a conclusion and support it with information. Examine the information in abundance on this site and others, like adbusters, and many many others and inform yourself, educate yourself. Then, maybe, you will be able to comprehend what this is about. You are the one that needs educating. not the very capable 99% of America. The American people.

[-] 0 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Whatever idea makes you feel good inside is fine by me.

[-] 1 points by tulcak (698) from Prague, Prague 10 years ago

oh, I didn't know you cared. that shows compassion. you better go re-read your talking points. I think all this "hippie love" is getting to you. got to refocus on selfishness.

[-] 1 points by david19harness (87) 10 years ago

Anarchy = Entropy (i.e., measure of DISORDER which does no work but requires energy).

Job #1 of both parties is DISORDER now keeping the broken system broken, by spinning every new idea, issue, or event apart by its extremes, fabricating new election promises - culminating in a last minute bait-and-switch, maintaining business-as-usual global Aristocratic-joke ORDER.

Any govt by DISORDER will eventually lose CONTROL of its own ORDER, resulting in global CHAOS...which now developing into a global CURRENCY RIOT.

The ANARCHY/HIERARCHY dilemma ye describe is actually a Quantum Entropy Field DISORDER/ORDER covariant observables interaction.

I submit for ye OWS approval then a SOLUTION to ye ANARCHY/HIERARCHY dilemma, described by me thread: PUBLIC VOTE OPTION on the COMPETING final Democratic vs final Republican VERSIONS of a Congressional BILL http://occupywallst.org/forum/public-vote-option-on-competing-democratic-vs-repu/

Relative to ye analysis it re-strikes the BALANCE-OF-POWER between the Democracy/Representation ANARCHY/HIERARCHY dilemma, via channeling the DISORDER/ORDER Infinite Improbability Drive (Adams, 1979).

So far OWS approval of the SOLUTION is approaching ZERO, along with OWS probability...so eventually the thing will just have to happen. Thanks.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

It's very hard to read posts that have some words in caps. You should write normally. Don't worry, I am able to read. If you want to add emphasis, use adjectives. Thank you for your contribution.

[-] 1 points by david19harness (87) 10 years ago

I understand perfectly...ye statement at the top of this post: "In the this linked document, ANALYTICAL & STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR OCCUPY, an anarchist explores how direct democracy should be organized and contained in Occupy."

I've been getting effectively the same response from the so-called conservative republicans, so-called liberal democrats, and now anarchist/direct-democracy philosophers..."I don't understand what you are saying."

No problem. I understand perfectly what y'all are saying...that's what ye were hoping for right? Thanks again.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I didn't say I couldn't understand what you were saying. I said using caps makes your text hard to read.

[-] 1 points by david19harness (87) 10 years ago

I said I understand what you were saying...when you used caps in your statement about "how direct democracy should be organized...."

As for yer disapproval Glaucon, Socrates469c, et al about direct democracy, consider that America is currently already continuously run by the polls...paradoxically via focus group fabrication of what lies (competing versions) to tell, and how well the lies (competing versions) are performing in the polls.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I never said I disapproved of direct democracy. I said there was a dilemma that concerned it and and I was hoping to discuss it with educated and smart people. Every system has problems. Talking about one of those problems doesn't mean one automatically disapproves of the system. Wait.... Are you still a sophomore?

[-] 1 points by david19harness (87) 10 years ago

Well...Professor, we have been discussing direct democracy...so what is your opinion now about "how direct democracy should be organized....":

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I'm still trying to understand exactly how occupiers define direct democracy. That is why I posed a dilemma concerning direct democracy. Unfortunately, there is only one poster who has tried to answer my questions directly. I'm talking about jph. All the other posters are offering off-topic replies that aren't helping me better understand how they would deal with this particular dilemma.

When I understand how the majority of occupiers would deal with this dilemma, and the other dilemmas like mob rule, then I will be able to analysis further and propose the best possible organization structure for direct democracy that I can come up with.

Until then, I am still a student. Not a professor.

BTW - We haven't discussed anything. You keep reading what I say all wrong, and I keep correcting you. That's all we've been doing.

[-] 1 points by david19harness (87) 10 years ago

No, but yer well on yer way to becoming a Professor...and not discussing anything....

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I provided a post with an argument that detailed a dilemma of direct democracy. You haven't provided any counter arguments. How are we supposed to have a discussion? If you want to have a discussion offer some counter arguments, and I will do my best to reply. Act like an adult.

[-] 1 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 10 years ago

Occupy Fox News!!! (with fire...)

[-] -1 points by Perspective (-243) 10 years ago

Nice call for violence. Is it any wonder 98% of the country doesn't back you?

[-] 0 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 10 years ago

It's not my fault I live in a land of sheeople.

[-] 0 points by Perspective (-243) 10 years ago

Ah,now with the insults. I'm sure it really helps your cause to insult the people you claim to represent.

[-] 2 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 10 years ago

And who do you represent? the lollipop guild?

[-] -1 points by Perspective (-243) 10 years ago

And more insults,you're very good at it you know? You're just a typical VIOLENT OWS member.

[-] 1 points by jimmycrackerson (940) from Blackfoot, ID 10 years ago

This is just my military brainwash speaking up.

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

I've thought about it too.

So far the only country that has managed to keep itself autonomous seems to be Somalia and its far from peaceful.



[-] 0 points by 53percenter (125) 10 years ago

Anarchy is a temporary condition after one form of government is overthrown and before the next one takes over. Watch this...... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODJfwa9XKZQ

[-] 0 points by 53percenter (125) 10 years ago

Notice the symbol used for Anarchy? Look familiar?

[-] -3 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

The raised fist is not a symbol of anarchy. It's a symbol used to signify a coming together and a fight for what is right. It was often used by anarchists, but also used by many other movements like Women's Liberation. Symbols typical to anarchy are the black flag, black cat, etc... Look it up.

[-] -3 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

This has often been the case in history, but theoretically there is no reason why it must be this way. Anarchy could be a permanent system which is used by a whole nation. There is no fundamental rule or law in the universe that would make this impossible.

Anarchy is simply the absence of hierarchy. It is not temporary, nor permanent by definition. The definition doesn't touch upon this.

[-] 0 points by 53percenter (125) 10 years ago

Maybe in theory but reality is much different. As soon as one government is toppled a power vacuum is created. The best armed and best organized within the mob will take over. In many cases it is the military from the previous government or powerful warlords that started the chaos in the first place. Often times a covert group uses or creates a crisis to rile up the citizens. They use the citizens as tools to help overthrow the government. Once that is accomplished, the useful idiots are discarded and the group behind the scenes takes power. You, my OWS friends, are the useful idiots of today.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I'm not an OWS supporter. Why, oh why, does everyone assume I am?

I do agree that practice tends to support your claim that anarchy is a transient state. However, I think it's important to realize this is not a staple element of anarchy in theory, and that there might be ways to remedy the problem in practice. The important thing to remember is that anarchy just means no hierarchy. There are many possible variations an anarchy could take.

[-] 0 points by 53percenter (125) 10 years ago

Who will protect you from the crazy mobs? The weak will be eaten in mere days. LOL

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I see what the problem is. I watched your video and it is awful because it is biased. It is made to explain to the American why the Republic is the best system, it is not an unbiased video which explains the different political systems. There are anarchies which weren't the rule of mob. Learn about Spain in the 30's. Your video is much too simple minded.

[-] 0 points by 53percenter (125) 10 years ago

Where is Spain now? Yet another failed Euro State.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

The point is anarchy was used in Spain for over thirty years in the last century and there were no mobs like in your video. Your video is biased. All anarchies are not like this. There are various types of anarchies.

If the Euro has problems in Spain it is not because of the anarchy that existed there 100 years ago. It is because their republic became an oligarchy like in US and bankers indulged in corruption.

[-] 0 points by OccupyCapitolHill (197) 10 years ago

Anarchy is the PRODUCT and the AFTERMATH of self-destruction.

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Interesting. Care to expand on this idea? I would like to know more.

[+] -4 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Any anarchists out there who enjoy a theoretical discussion and can provide strong arguments to forward this discussion? jart?

[+] -5 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

BTW - I'd love to hear the point of view of anarchists on this issue.

[-] 0 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

The Venus Project is the closest thing I can call survivable anarchy.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

How does it deal with the dilemma I noted in this post?

[-] 0 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

I'm really tired so forgive the brevity to your interesting dilemma. Living in a society where a high standard of living doesn't come with a pricetag, and people aren't told they must do this and can't do that even though it harms no one else, where people are not slaves to debt or an ideaology, and where they are even free to opt out and go it alone, the possibility of the concensus ever being reached that pointed to abandoning the direct democracy input and returning to an antique form of government is so astronomically small as to say it could never happen. In short, The Venus Project is beyond politics as a requirement to function, people are as close to total freedom as can be imagined, and the dilemma dies. People enjoy having the discussions ; )

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

If it is so astronomically small, why are anarchists discussing strategies amongst themselves to counter this problem? I heard many posters talking about a controlled type of capitalism. I would say more people here are interested in that than in direct democracy or a resourced based economy.

[-] 2 points by secretfreq23 (5) 10 years ago

Ive been reading the posts the whole way down trying to make sense of it. Glaucon, your discussion with April was great and now this opening up with AFarewellToKings in interesting too. The Hear Ye, Hear Ye guy with the caps lock on was...well. I dont want to get kicked off this anarchist site for judging someone else. Being judgy is being greedy I guess.

So Anarchy: Its one of the things that I am most curious about over the years because as I look at the great plans on The Venus Project website and peruse the videos, I am struck by one very big elephant in the room. Where are all the materials coming from to build this utopia? The tools? And then, how does it thrive? Who will feed the workers and what system will ensure that everything is done by a certain standard so that the place lasts longer than a disposable McMansion? I have 1000's of other questions that make me wonder. I had an argument once with a so called anarchist in DC back in '98 when we were trying to tell the World Bank to reform its act. I asked her how she would eat food if there were no forks, knives, or spoons. She said she would use her hands. I asked her where she would get the plate. She said someone would make it from clay. Fired where and with what fuel? In a kiln with wood or charcoal. I asked from what forest? And then, this is where things unwind. What happens when the neighbors or marauding strangers took all the wood? Well there are rules, she answered. I said, how is that an anarchy?

Resources man. They are limited and they have to be extracted, moved, and transformed. That is really really really complicated.

I myself am a soil scientist and work in small scale and large scale agriculture and I cannot for the life of me see how an anarchic system would work efficiently and effectively given not just the size, but more importantly, the tremendous diversity of the current world. That size is tantamount to the challenges of diversity of race and culture, education, interests, and goals.
In my mind anarchy can only be practiced in one persons life because, well for lack of another way of putting it, an individual is a homogenous culture.

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

By John Donne

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

I'm also a Fendt guy ; ) from an older post of mine: I'm a farmer. I know a good machine from a crappy one (read Egypt). But a good machine in the hands of a lousy operator leads to damaged equipment and loss of crop leading to hunger and debts. we're coming out with better machines all the time but keeping the machine i have running productively means i can aquire a state-of-the-art machine sooner. So let's fix the machine we have (the ballot box is your tool box) while we discuss the new machine.

Have you watched Zeitgeist: Moving Forward or the other Zeitgeist films? ZMF has 12,000,000 views in 9 months... http://www.youtube.com/user/TZMOfficialChannel

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

Excellent post.

You're right, I shouldn't have been so harsh with ceazar. The good news is he has added paragraphs. I'll apologize, read his post, and reply in detail. Hopefully, this will be enough to redeem myself.

We all agree there are major problems in the world, and that our current republics have become oligarchies and we must do something about this as fast as possible. Our representatives congregate at ecological summits to discuss the major problems of our world, and they never seem to be able to implement real solutions. Same for the economy. As a people, we feel cheated and powerless. Electric cars exist, but for some reason they are not being produced to replace cars that run on fuel. It's horrific.

Now that we want to take the reigns, the problem is we get lost in a snowstorm of solutions and don't know which one to pick. Everyone is suggesting something different. Some people want to implement some laws to fix our republic, others want to make a revolution with anarchy, others want to implement a resourced based economy like the Venus Project, etc... We are panicking and running in all directions.

I thinks it's crucial that people start making the differentiation between pure theorists and practitioners. Both have an equally important role to play, but the roles are different.

By pure theorists I'm talking about people like Jacque Fresco who founded the Venus Project. He built a theoretical world where everything seems to function in harmony. We have to remember he built this world without worrying about the practicality of transitioning between our world to his. He also did not have to worry about practical issues, it's all theory at this point. His role is important, but I see the project as more a target for the future than as something we can attempt to implement today. It is theory. Many people have created theoretical models before. Once you implement them in real life, many things can happen. There would certainly be many problems that would surface. I already see many problems in the theory itself. Also, most people read the works of great thinkers they like, but then don't bother to read the critics. This is a major problem as their view is extremely biased.

Perhaps what we can retain from such utopian models is that we must find a way to cooperate more, be friendly with nature, and spread resources in a more equal fashion. I think we can start doing this before implement dream like projects like the Venus Project.

You're right. The resources are a major problem. They need to be harvested and turned into usable products, and that's a long an complicated chain involving many people. In the far future, we can imagine the problem being resolved by robots of one kind or another. In Asimov's I Robot series, the last story is about the economy and resources of the Earth being controlled by one super-intelligent robot. The robot constantly adjusts production to meet demand down to the fine details. The numbers of bananas harvested meet almost perfectly the number of bananas consumed. Etc...

I agree anarchy and direct democracy could not be used to run a nation at this time. The global economy is just too complicated and direct democracy only really works at the local level. It works well when the people know each other and care about each other. It's not so efficient otherwise. We are willing to share with the people we know, but would we be so generous and giving with strangers living ten cities away, or in another country?

I believe we will always have greed and will always fight for survival. If we didn't and if some kind of magical world where everyone is equally respected and taken care of were to be created, I believe the dangerous poison in that world would be boredom. Humans like to solve problems. If everything is perfect we get bored.

I wrote the outline for a short story a few weeks ago. It's set in a time when humans have become the masters of the universe. They understand all the laws of physics. They have all the imaginable machinery one could want to mold the world like they wish. They can do anything, they are like Gods. The problem is everyone is bored and thus they all start to commit suicide. At first the powers at be try to hide the situation by reposing problems of the past, but people find out and keep committing suicide. Finally, the story ends with two humans looking at a computer crunching more and more numbers from the number PI. It's the only thing left that has not been fully discovered. Every day they watch as new numbers are calculated and the PI number gets larger and larger. They don't really know what they are waiting for, but it's the only new thing in the world, and so it keeps them alive.

I wrote this post extremely quickly. I'm sorry if it goes in all directions and lacks an elegant writing style. I have a lot of work today, so I thought I'd just blaze something out there as fast as possible. Just for fun. Hopefully, there's a few ideas here and there worth thinking about.

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 10 years ago

I wrote the outline for a short story a few weeks ago. It's set in a time when humans have become the masters of the universe. They understand all the laws of physics. They have all the imaginable machinery one could want to mold the world like they wish. They can do anything, they are like Gods. The problem is everyone is bored and thus they all start to commit suicide. At first the powers at be try to hide the situation by reposing problems of the past, but people find out and keep committing suicide. Finally, the story ends with two humans looking at a computer crunching more and more numbers from the number PI. It's the only thing left that has not been fully discovered. Every day they watch as new numbers are calculated and the PI number gets larger and larger. They don't really know what they are waiting for, but it's the only new thing in the world, and so it keeps them alive.

This is interesting. One thing I don't understand and would be pertinent to the story is, if humans have become like gods and can mold the world as they wish, why/how would they ever get bored? If they can create anything, they are only limited by their imagination. The premise seems to imply that there is a finite number of ideas that can be discovered and implemented. Science and the discovery of physical laws might be limited, but that isn't the end all be all of existence, it is only a small part of our existence. Just the fact that you came up with the idea for this story proves you can create something new with your imagination. I hope you write the story, I'd like to see how you solve this problem. :)

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

You bring up a very important point worth thinking about. I haven't written the story yet because there are many issues like this that I still need to work out. According to Tipler's Omega Point theory, once we know everything about the universe, we would simply create a virtual reality in which we would do as you say and let our imaginations completely loose. Tipler's theory is only a theory however. Who knows what will happen in the future. The point is, I think boredom is a real poison that can kill humanity. One of our biggest driving forces is our survival instinct. If we knew everything and could live forever, I have a feeling we would eventually get bored and wish we were dead. But, who knows?

[-] 1 points by setton (43) 10 years ago

I think it would take a while, but I suppose boredom could be a factor at some point, given that boredom can be an issue in our relatively short lives at present, also taking into account we are not gods and haven't discovered all... It would be an interesting ride though, until the boredom set in. Write the story! I want to read it.

[-] 0 points by secretfreq23 (5) 10 years ago


Thanks for the really great response. Lots of thought provoking here and I too have a ton of work to do today so I cant jam something substantial out. That said my I want to put down my first thoughts Im working with, in relation both to the political evolutionary one you're describing and secondly the short story. One digression here is that it reminds me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when they build the super computer that tells them the meaning of life is '42'. So i cracked up when you said everyone sits around watching Pi unroll.

Anyway, back to the first thought. It really comes down to who's actually in charge around here (The Whole Planet) and I believe that we might think we are, but truly its the microscopic world that have their "fingers" on the biggest buttons. Bacteria, funghi, and viruses are the true emperors . How does that relate back to politics or an evolution? Ultimately it says, we are not ever going to be totally in control or dominant over everything (no matter how powerful Lysol or Triclosan are, it never completely destroys everything). And when I say control I mean destiny and long-term resilience more than I mean day to day life. Orwell makes the same point in War of the Worlds. It ain't people that stop an invasion, its the bacteria! The same can be said about the Conquistadors, where small pox was the real mass population killer, not violence or slavery.

Thats my initial reaction which was provoked by your random use of bananas as an example, which are coincidentally on the brink of collapse in Central and South America because of a pesticide-resistant mutated virus going around Southeast Asia. Its only a matter of time before it crosses the Pacific etc etc. You get the idea. Its the adaptive behavior we carry out to prevent that from happening (pesticide innovations, cultivar improvements, genetic engineering, farming practices improving, biosafety, etc.). Thats where the action is. This infinite imbalance/competition for resources across the Kingdoms of life, coupled with a constantly changing environment, the Utopic world can never truly ever manifest in my mind. So long as the Earth spins and solar radiation combine to make shit happen, we can never 'settle' down into a balance because, like you say, we would die of boredom.

Seeming disparate ideas here but I hope you get the idea.

[-] -2 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I think the Venus project is interesting, but don't you think it's highly theoretical and when it's put into practice some problems will occur? Or do you think it will work out of the box like my MacBookPro?

[-] 1 points by AFarewellToKings (1486) 10 years ago

I think TVP / RBE is the best direction to move in, I do not like the present course we're on, and i think Haiti would be a great place to test some of the theories. Canadians could toy with the Mag Lev train concept as they are famous for their long twin silver line. Lots of smart hard-working people there eh? They have the technology and the resources. Go ahead, show the world what you CAN do (no i don't mean candu lol) Keystone pipeline? how 20th century, fail!

[-] -1 points by Glaucon (296) 10 years ago

I like your ideas!

Haïti would indeed be a good place to try this type of economy. It is currently reshaping itself after a major earthquake and is not a big country. It would be wonderful if other countries or perhaps businesses who believe in the Venus Project could provide Haïti with some financial support and manpower so they can try to put these ideas into practice. Who knows, perhaps they could pull it off and become self-sufficient. However, I think it's really important that many countries would get involved and, apart from helping create the project, also guarantee to the people of Haïti that if it fails they will help restructure the country to something that works afterwards. This is a brand new idea, and we can't ask the people of a country to be the guinea pigs if they have no way out in case of failure.

As for the MagLev, or VacTrains (the version inside air-tight tunnels), the beauty is that even if a resource based economy fails in the end, this type of locomotion would be useful anyhow. I have no idea if Canada has any plans for this technology, but Bombardier might be a good bet. Again, it could be the effort of many countries. Large countries like Canada, US, China, Russia, Brazil, etc... could definitely benefit from such technology and perhaps they could work together to achieve it.

There's no doubt some of Jacque Fresco's ideas will come to be even if his entire plan is not put to practice as one unified whole. Many of the ideas can exist on their own. I'm convinced it is just a matter of time before MagLev and VacTrains become a reality. They are much too useful to pass up, and that, in any type of economy.

Hopefully that can happen before I die. I would love to travel far distances in a matter of hours. I live in Indonesia now, and it's very far from my family in East Canada. VacTrain, where are you?