Anarchism for a Post-modern Age

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Consider crime. Anarchists of all stripes agree that people haverepparttar right to exercise self-defense by organizing voluntarily to suppress malfeasance and put away criminals. Yet, is this notrepparttar 143771 very quiddity ofrepparttar 143772 oppressive state, its laws, police, prisons, and army? Arerepparttar 143773 origins ofrepparttar 143774 coercive state and its justification not firmly rooted inrepparttar 143775 need to confront evil?

Some anarchists believe in changing society through violence. Are these anarcho-terrorists criminals or freedom fighters? If they are opposed by voluntary grassroots (vigilante) organizations inrepparttar 143776 best of anarchist tradition - should they fight back and thus frustraterepparttar 143777 authentic will ofrepparttar 143778 people whose welfare they claim to be seeking?

Anarchism is a chicken and egg proposition. It is predicated on people's well-developed sense of responsibility and grounded in their "natural morality". Yet, all anarchists admit that these endowments are decimated by millennia of statal repression. Life in anarchism is, therefore, aimed at restoringrepparttar 143779 very preconditions to life in anarchism. Anarchism seeks to restore its constituents' ethical constitution - without which there can be no anarchism inrepparttar 143780 first place. This self-defeating bootstrapping leads to convoluted and half-baked transitory phases betweenrepparttar 143781 nation-state and pure anarchism (hence anarcho-syndicalism and some forms of proto-Communism).

Primitivist and green anarchists reject technology, globalization, and capitalism as well asrepparttar 143782 state. Yet, globalization, technology, (and capitalism) are as much in opposition torepparttar 143783 classical, hermetic nation-state as is philosophical anarchism. They are manifestly less coercive and more voluntary, too. This blanket defiance of everything modern introduces insoluble contradictions intorepparttar 143784 theory and practice of late twentieth century anarchism.

Indeed,repparttar 143785 term anarchism has been trivialized and debauched. Animal rights activists, environmentalists, feminists, peasant revolutionaries, and techno-punk performers all claim to be anarchists with equal conviction and equal falsity.

III. Reclaiming Anarchism

Errico Malatesta and Voltairine de Cleyre distilledrepparttar 143786 essence of anarchism to encompass allrepparttar 143787 philosophies that opposerepparttar 143788 state and abhor capitalism ("anarchism without adjectives"). At a deeper level, anarchism wishes to identify and rectify social asymmetries. The state, men, andrepparttar 143789 rich - are, respectively, more powerful thanrepparttar 143790 individuals, women, andrepparttar 143791 poor. These are three inequalities out of many. It isrepparttar 143792 task of anarchism to fight against them.

This can be done in either of two ways:

1. By violently dismantling existing structures and institutions and replacing them with voluntary, self-regulating organizations of free individuals. The Zapatistas movement in Mexico is an attempt to do just that.

2. Or, by creating voluntary, self-regulating organizations of free individuals whose functions parallel those of established hierarchies and institutions ("dual power"). Gradually,repparttar 143793 former will replacerepparttar 143794 latter. The evolution of certain non-government organizations follows this path.

Whichever strategy is adopted, it is essential to first identify those asymmetries that underlie all others ("primary asymmetries" vs. "secondary asymmetries"). Most anarchists point atrepparttar 143795 state and atrepparttar 143796 ownership of property asrepparttar 143797 primary asymmetries. The state is an asymmetrical transfer of power fromrepparttar 143798 individual to a coercive and unjust social hyperstructure. Property representsrepparttar 143799 disproportionate accumulation of wealth by certain individuals. Crime is merelyrepparttar 143800 natural reaction to these glaring injustices.

Butrepparttar 143801 state and property are secondary asymmetries, not primary ones. There have been periods in human history and there have been cultures devoid of either or both. The primary asymmetry seems to be natural: some people are born more clever and stronger than others. The game is skewed in their favor not because of some sinister conspiracy but because they merit it (meritocracy isrepparttar 143802 foundation stone of capitalism), or because they can force themselves, their wishes, and their priorities and preferences on others, or because their adherents and followers believe that rewarding their leaders will maximize their own welfare (aggression and self-interest arerepparttar 143803 cornerstone of all social organizations).

It is this primary asymmetry that anarchism must address.


Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

Changing The Tone

Written by Scott C. Smith

Continued from page 1
The pundits have also written books attacking liberals. Ann Coulter, a frequent guest on shows like Fox's Hannity and Colmes, has written a number of books slamming liberals. Sean Hannity of Hannity and Colmes also writes books, and includes titles that say "Deliver Us From Evil...defeating...Depotism and Liberalism." As if liberals were a group that needed to be destroyed. Michael Savage's latest book likens liberalism to a mental illness. On cable news, most conservatives are free to spew their hatred of liberals with little opposition. Hannity and Colmes, which stars Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes, is a perfect example of this dynamic. It's not an exaggeration that at timesrepparttar show will feature one or two (or three) right-wing guests "debating" with a lone liberal guest. Alan Colmes, representingrepparttar 143705 liberal point of view, is not nearly as aggressive as Hannity in defending liberals or Democrats. Colmes may at times attempt a sort of aggressive response to a comment made by a conservative guest, but he doesn't come close torepparttar 143706 hatred espoused by Hannity. His technique for a liberal guest is to simply barragerepparttar 143707 guest with questions (or, more typically, statements) and demand that a liberal respond. Hannity has a number of pet liberals (like Colmes) he likes, such as "liberal" Fox News contributor Susan Estritch, who more likely than not will agree with Hannity. So much for "fair and balanced." It's time for Democrats, liberals and progressives to take a stand againstrepparttar 143708 onslought of liberal hatred byrepparttar 143709 Republican politicians and pundits. Liberals like to take a beating, it seems, atrepparttar 143710 hands of conservatives. I think many liberals believe it is better to takerepparttar 143711 high road and not sink torepparttar 143712 level of a conservative who can scream over and over about how liberals hate America. It's not better. We need to defend ourselves and aggressively promote an agenda. Democrats in Congress seem to spend most of their time on defense against Republicans, rather than coming together to put forth a bold agenda on what direction to take America. Polls supportrepparttar 143713 idea that Americans are not happy withrepparttar 143714 direction Bush is takingrepparttar 143715 country, in some polls that number was about 60%. Democrats have a chance of taking a step towards removingrepparttar 143716 Republican majority inrepparttar 143717 2006 mid-term elections. With bold leadership and clear ideas on how to make America better, we may just make it happen. Here's hoping it will.

Scott C. Smith is a Beaverton, Oregon freelance writer and regular contributor to Counterbias. Scott also writes for his blog, What’s In Scott’s Head, at Scott C. Smith dot net. Scott’s columns have also appeared at the liberal web sites Democratic Underground and The Smirking Chimp.

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