Why is anarchism so vague?

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orangeosprey
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Apr 5 2004 20:08
Why is anarchism so vague?

I appreciate that theese forums are for the discussion of ideas as to how an anarchist society could work, but i cant help being struck by the sense that anarchists dont really know what they want, and this is the same with every circle A site ive visited. the old phrase about nazism comes to mind, "support was a mile wide and an inch deep". anarchist seem to know exactly what they DONT want, i.e. heirarchialism, sexism, racsim, capitalism etc, but that seems to be a viewpoint shared with all leftist groups, and ive discovered little about how anarchists belive that a better wolrd can be constructed. Theres some very intellignet minds on this board, yet we see nothing at all about the practical reality of creating a leaderless society based on mutual aid. Forgive for not being an articulate anarchist thinker but all i see endless jargon, not too mention the counless diffrent types of annarchism with other words tacked on the end of it, just to make the real nature of anarchism all the more misleading.

Befroe we focus on winning over the masses, could someone enlighten me as just what your trying to win them over to?

brizzul
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Apr 6 2004 03:20

The vast majority of anarchists world wide have a specific program - they agree with each other, know what they need to do and how to do it. Sadly this board is a reflection of Britain in 2004 not international solidarity.

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Rob Ray
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Apr 6 2004 08:40

The problem is that we have endless ideas on how we could make concrete gains, many of which are brilliantly concieved, but nowhere near enough manpower to follow through even on a local level never mind a national one.

E.g. My brother came up with an idea for the @st movement to join temp agencies and tempt away the workers to self-run agencies instead, which would simultaneously give the workers the money they're ACTUALLY earning, break the monopoly of the temp agencies and create a large pool of workers who are organised, influential and don't have to scab.

Problem: We don't have enough people with enough time to take on such an ambitious project.

edit/

On a more long term basis, it's more difficult here than in other countries to make plans for the future because both the Left and Anarchism have been so fundamentally discredited in the public mind. The only real thing we can do for now is try and counteract the bad publicity, to build up acceptance that fundamentally an Anarchist society is not just pie in the sky. Only once we have respectability can we as a movement hope to make any long term plans for growth and change.

Once respectability is achieved we can start doing all those fun things like setting up unions, using wide scale direct action to fight government interference and challenging big business domination of our cultural/ethical norms through both DA and control of a 'voting' bloc of consumers. Until then though we're reduced to promotional exercises and small scale actions.

AlexA
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Apr 6 2004 09:22
Saii wrote:
Once respectability is achieved...

Sorry Saii but that's never gonna happen!

I was looking at an old CNT (1937) publication in a library last night, with all the fascist propaganda about them in it. It was unbelievable - the Daily Mail heralding the "liberation" of Spain from the "Red hoardes", other papers ranting about the (made-up) destruction of art, and loads of cartoons of Communist CNT-FAI members stabbing people, trying to rape women, robbing, beating children etc. etc...

(unless of course you mean "respectability" due to our own actions, cos all the corporate and state media will always try to tarnish us...)

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Rob Ray
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Apr 6 2004 09:58

Hence 'counteract' the bad publicity as opposed to 'reverse' it wink. I ain't naive enough to think the mainstream press will ever do anything except rubbish us, but even the media have their limits in how far they can pull the wool over people's eyes (Liverpool and the Sun springs to mind).

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pingtiao
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Apr 6 2004 09:59

OrangeOsprey, I have never seen the disunity that you refer to.

All the anarchists that I know are small-c communists. This is a very well worked-out program for self-managing production, distribution and remuneration. The international anarchist movement has arrived at this social state many times in the past, some for short periods and others for longer.

The destruction of these societies (and they were not utopian, but eminently achievable associations of normal, flawed human beings) was (to my knowledge) always due to external influences, not internal dynamics.

The situation we currently find ourselves in in the UK in 2004 is one in which class struggle is at an historic low, class consciousness is all but destroyed, the workers are fragmented and atomised, and the power of capital seems to be insurmountable.

We all understand where we wish to get to, that is not really a substantive issue. What we disagree on is how to get there, how to move out from our ghettos and into the public consciousness. We have become extremely marginalised, and are experiencing very real difficulties in connecting once more with the zeitgeist of our class.

The British working class have a history much less revolutionary than that of our continental brothers and sisters, and the reformist social-democrat approach has all but dissipated any faith that the w/c had in achieving socialism. It is our job to reinvigorate this tradition, to make people believe once again that we are capable of running our own lives without the dead hand of the state and the parasitic ruling class.

The road of how to get where we want to be is long, and it takes a lot of people to figure out in which direction we should be travelling. But don't mistake this tactical confusion for a lack of vision: we know exactly where we aim to get to.

Against Capital and State

red n black star

AlexA
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Apr 6 2004 10:20

I agree with the above.

Also Osprey, differences in ideas don't have to be negative, I mean just look at how many different shades of capitalists there are!

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 8 2004 17:26

Surely some people are vague about their anachism because blue-printed plans suck?

And sometimes its better to just be spontaneous about things, lets take it as it comes wink

Anonymous
Apr 8 2004 21:30
Quote:
Surely some people are vague about their anachism because blue-printed plans suck?

And sometimes its better to just be spontaneous about things, lets take it as it comes

Err, how about we don't. Sorry rkn but that's balls mate. The masses are NEVER gonna rise up, destroy capitalism, set up a libertarian society and defend it against counter-revolution without ever being exposed to libertarian ideas beforehand. If people don't know what they're fighting for then they won't (and can't) fight for it.

I mean, sometimes, when I'm in my shittest low moments about the state of the @ movement, I think about exactly how amazing a libertarian society would be. I mean, doesn't just imagining it make you go mental about how things are now and make you want to work your bollocks off to change it? Don't you just get that feeling that goes up your back or down your hands (or both!) of excitement whenever you hear about an uprising or a general strike? Maybe it's just me being weird or having shite blood circulation but when I get hints of people getting militant I can't help but get excited and it's exactly coz it's a step towards that society that I keep at the front of my head all the time.

Also, though I agree that blue-print plans are shit, I think most people who are vague about 'their' Anarchism are vague coz it's their politics that suck...... red n black star Mr. T red n black star

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 8 2004 21:44

Nah mate, i agree with you. Obviously people have to start knowing their shit beforehand.

But i think lots of people come to anarchism from various leftist backgrounds or whatever (or have wierd perceptions of anarchism) and expect us to have a 10 point programme of how exactly everything is gunna be done.

Obviously we have ideas about we can chaneg things, but we will never know till we are doing them exactly what it will be like.

If anyone wants to plan out word for word how its gunna be, sorry but count me out cos thats as boring as fuck.

Anarchism is organic and has to grow and respond to situations and environments so there will never be an exact idea of how it will be.

Instead everyone will come to it with their own ideas from what they have learnt and when we get down to putting those ideas into practice no doubt we will have something beautiful but also something which looks like nothign we could ever have dreamed of....

Mr. T Mr. T Can i write for crimethinc now? tongue tongue wink

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I take my desires for reality because i believe in the reality of my desires.
nosos
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Apr 9 2004 01:37

<puts on Crimethinc hat and posts up something he posted on u75>

Yeah, I could write about my vision of the perfect world but, sadly, it's just that a vision. Almost certainly of a world that will never be. I don't believe a perfect world is possible. Which is why I have a problem with the commonly held presumption that progressive political beliefs necessitate an end state or a final destination. I don't think that's the point. The point is what we can do in the here and now. If that necessitates not using the term 'anarchist' I have absolutely no problem with that.

When you have a detailed ideological vision of the 'perfect' world you have an ideology beneath which to subjugate the real world. The ends begin to justify the means because you've already labelled out the ends as 'perfect' in your own thinking - if you didn't think that way then you wouldn't base your political philosophy around working toward it. Any attack on your vision becomes an attack on perfection - an attack on your utopia. You're giving your own intellectual ideas a de facto authority over other people and external circumstances. Which I can't help but belive goes completely against anarchist ideas.

So basically, I think the point is about finding a balance between having a notion of how groups can organise effectively for different purposes without delegating to authority without having a whole bunch of a priori political assumptions which become the premise of any political action you take.

Anonymous
Apr 9 2004 10:41

*knocks off your crimethinc hat wink

Basically don't trust anyone who thinks they know better than everyone else, as their probably a wanker, or worse they're a trot

Direct democracy would be the means of syndicate operation yes, so why should we have a vision or plan exactly?

Anarchism is the people deciding what they want for themselves, that at least, is simple. 8)

john

AlexA
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Apr 13 2004 12:43
rkn wrote:
I take my desires for reality because i believe in the reality of my desires.

You know I always thought that was a weird situ quotation, that I didn't understand but still thought it was kinda cool anyway.

However I found out it actually makes a lot of sense. It was a response to CP officials, who were killing the revolution, saying that they had to be pragmatic because the revolution was not actually happening: "we should not mistake our desires for reality".

So there ya go.

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Jacques Roux
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Apr 20 2004 00:12

orangeosprey - u still around? Do you wanna come back on any of that or are you so easily convinced? wink

phoebe
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Apr 28 2004 11:24

My anarchism is vague but that's because I've got my mind set in getting from day to day. I don't have any wonderful visions of a revolution, I've just got ideas about how I'm going to live and what I can try to do to get by whilst doing something to undermine authoritarian systems. Which is horribly vague but I don't really give a shit.

Wendal
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Nov 23 2004 22:50
orangeosprey wrote:
but i cant help being struck by the sense that anarchists dont really know what they want

Im writing a book about it(an anarchist future that is)

Many of the classic Anarchist writers* had pretty detailed ideas about the postrevolutionary world. Some talk about the moral other talk more about the production and the economy. Their ideas are in many ways different from each other. Just like with Karl Marx or Thomas Jefferson those ideas are to some degree outdated now tough.

*= William Godwin, Max Stirner, Leo Tolstoj, Joseph Proudhon, Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin to name a few.

Ghost_of_the_re...
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Nov 24 2004 17:36

Surely if we all agreed it wouldn't be anarchy.

yes
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Nov 24 2004 18:27
Quote:
don't trust anyone who thinks they know better than everyone else

Those who do, should consider career in Exploitation.

Wendal
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Nov 24 2004 20:09
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Surely if we all agreed it wouldn't be anarchy.

If everyone came to the same conclusion then i guess would still be Anarchism. If the conclusions were forced onto someone then it wouldnt be werry anarchic.