Monday, October 15, 2012

Anarchism Resurgent

Americans as well as peoples around the world seem to be going through a very interesting period of ideological reflection.

The cruelties of the Neo-Liberal/Neo-Conservative triumphs of the past twenty years or so have become so violent and destructive to ordinary people's lives that rebellion and resistance is now pretty much universal -- though not successful yet in overcoming the power of the Neo-Aristocracies and the technocrats that rule nearly everywhere.

Marx is generally considered to have offered the correct analysis of the Crisis of Capitalism, and Marxian critiques of the current state of social and economic affairs are no longer rejected out of hand. Anti-Marxist propaganda has very little effect any more. Nevertheless, standard hierarchical Communism, a la the Soviet Union and Maoist China,  is widely repudiated for its own tendency toward cruelty and for its extreme levels of interference in people's lives.

Hierarchies of all kinds are under scrutiny, from that of the Catholic Church to everyday hierarchies in families, schools and government.

The System is under immense strain.

Seemingly suddenly, though it has been building for a long time, "anarchism" is not just back in the news, it is being more and more widely assessed for its potential as a Future social/political organizational model.

Dmitry Orlov has offered up a series of posts called "In Praise of Anarchy" over at ClubOrlov that define and defend anarchism in some of the most potent terms. And his posts have been widely disseminated through the Left-O-Sphere, inspiring a good deal of angst as well as considerable reflection and consideration.

The Left, so called, has a historical problem with Anarchism to be sure; Old Line Socialists tend to reflexively denounce Anarchists and Anarchism as impractical and worthless and the work of the devil and so on, just as they have for more than a century. Yet the European Social Democracies that once were shining examples of hierarchical socialism without the horrors of totalitarianism have all sold out to the Neo-Liberal/Neo-Conservative Masters of the Universe, leaving the People essentially to fend for themselves in an increasingly brutal and violent "struggle for existence."

When Socialists betray the People in such a manner and do so essentially universally, it's no wonder the People reject them outright. So it has been throughout Struggling Europe. But because of the way politics is organized in parliamentary democracies, rejection of the Socialists leads to the re-empowerment of the rightists who carry out same programs of destruction and calamity with somewhat greater relish, cruelty and speed.

In other words, there is no escape from the impositions of the Masters through standard political processes.

What. To. Do?

We've seen massive protests all over the developed and much of the developing world, but they rarely get anywhere, as the "Protest" has become something of an artefact. An exception -- startling really for its exceptionalism -- is in Quebec, where four months of sustained protest in the streets of Montreal and throughout the Province against tuition increases and draconian anti-protest laws resulted in the fall of the Provincial government and rescinding the tuition hikes and the anti-protest laws.


But that was one of the very, very few victories for protesters anywhere. Most governments ignore the Will of the People and crush any sort of unapproved protest brutally and violently. Many governments have adopted the Bushevik model of governing contrary to the Will of the People simply because they can, with disastrous results which they refuse to correct.

Justifiably, the People say "WTF?" and seek alternatives. When the political system does not work in any manner to fulfill the needs of the People, something else is necessary. When non-violent protest is met with the levels of cruelty and brutality employed widely to crush the Occupy Movement, people seek redress by other (and perhaps less overt) ways.

We've seen that governments have mostly adopted or adapted to the Bushevik Blank Stare response to the People and the People's Will; we've seen that Protest is useful for gathering support but it does not in and of itself result in appropriate changes of policy.

We've seen that cruelty has become the standard operating system utilized by governments nearly everywhere.

How can the People break this cycle?

One of the ways, which I have mentioned many times, was offered in David Graeber's Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (pdf): sidestep and make irrelevant the "official government". Create and operate alternatives, take care of one another, limit or eliminate interactions with Government.

While he was using Madagascar as an example of this grassroots version of anarchism, in fact the model has long been standard in the United States. The way the nation expanded during the 18th and 19th centuries was through various peoples cleaving off and forming their own societies in the Wilderness. It was accepted and celebrated as part of American Exceptionalism. In most cases, these little colonies and communities existed -- at least for a time -- in almost complete independence of the Central Government, in fact, though not in ideology (for the most part) anarchist societies.

It's may be much harder to do now that the Frontier is closed and has been for many years, but it is not impossible for civil society to recognize the fact that our political system and its government have divorced themselves from the People and take steps to create alternatives to the standard hierarchical models we're so accustomed to.

That is essentially what happened when the Occupy encampments were so brutally and violently crushed and destroyed. The anarchist ideas that were fundamental parts of the Occupy Movement were dispersed throughout the land, as seeds or spores, and they are beginning to bear fruit.

Some of the thought processes here:



Dmitry Orlov

David Graeber

There is of course much more.

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