Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Anarchism must be collectively realized

In a Libetarian perspective, anarchism means: I can do what I want, fuck you. Real anarchism posits, that if we (not just "I") concern ourselves with the real consequences of our actions on others, there will be no need of rules. The key point here, is that our actions are almost never solitary and individual. We do things together, and no exclusively individual perspective does justice to the interconnected world we inhabit. Understanding the consequences of our actions on others, demands both collective reflection, and active participation with, and listening to those outside our communal circles. Anarchism is not a simplification of how we go about decision making, but demands an infinately more complex, nuanced, fluid and creative way of living together in the world.


  1. You've pretty much entirely misconstrued the libertarian anarchist perspective. Libertarian anarchists do not posit "I can do what I want, fuck you." That is puerile anarchism found in teenagers throwing crap at cops at G20 showdowns, or spray painting crap at their school, or someone who has read a bit too much Ayn Rand (they're not anarchists, they're "fuck you minarchists"

    Libertarian anarchists, or market anarchists, posit a society filled with social cooperation, period. You can't have society without cooperation. Without social cooperation, you get poverty, bare subsistence, and misery. Market anarchists don't want that, either for themselves or, typically, anyone else.

    The question, fundamentally, is how is such cooperation coordinated. Market anarchists propose methodological individualism - that is to say, the collective can be observed, but is not an entity with command authority. Rather, individuals make up the acting agencies within society, so any analysis has to be rooted in the individual.

    This is not the same as "rugged individualism" which eschews mutual obligations. But it does reject automatic (implied or non-consenting) obligations, in favour of agreed obligations. Voluntary association, voluntary participation - in short, non-coercion - is the requirement for civil society in this stripe of anarchist thought.

    One can argue whether this formulation is workable, but it is entirely incorrect to characterize libertarianism as somehow being "fuck you" or in any way non-collective. It simply works from the bottom up, where individuals serve each other's needs by consent and contract, rather than serve an abstracted notion of the collective which is usually, in practice, a proxy for a small group that purports to represent the whole.

  2. I find this a well stated rationalization masking the the necessity for critically engaging what the 'market' actually does. I would also argue that individuals are far from making up the acting agencies within society, but themselves, libertarians included, play out roles as agents for meta-agents of various sorts, and it is terribly difficult to find a way out of this, short of creating new social, political--and sexual--collectives as little dependent on the dominant patriarchal Empire of Money and Death as possible.

    The end result being, dispite the intentions of the individuals, the market itself writing out the 'fuck you!' without regard to human consequences. I do not think it is possible to work within an autopoietic power structure, and primarily through individual intentions, even if consideration given to collective consequences, defeat the self-correcting, self-perpetuating mechanisms of those structures.

    I would further say, the there is no such thing as the 'individual' as conceived within libertarian frameworks. We are collecives from the first word we speak and understand.

    Thank you for your thoughful reply and civil language to my not too civil jab.

    I appreciate your thoughts, whether I agree with them or not.