Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Te Qaeda and the God Squad

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  • BenWilson,

    Anarchy has been tried and is still being tried all over the world. It's not theoretical, it's a perfectly valid emigration option. Anyone who truly loves lawless society doesn't have to go very far at all to find one. For humanity it has been the norm for most of our existence, governments are a very modern invention.

    The Maori have even lived that way in comparatively recent times, when NZ was first settled by them, the early period would have been beautifully anarchic. So long as resources were superabundant, populations low, and no existing power structures got in the way, people would have lived in comparative peace and bounty.

    Why did it end? Why was Maori society not anarchic when Europeans arrived? OK, it wouldn't exactly have been a safe and lawful place, definitely was not by all early European accounts, but there were power structures in place.

    Riddle me that, anarchist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Oh bugger - I can't resist.
    Actually, pre-Maori Polynesian settlers would have been very strictly bound up in familial hierarchies, taboos etc - hence Maori society's tribal/aristocratic structure.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    There is no incompatability between supporting someone's right to attempt to transform society and laughing (or sneering) at their excesses.

    Yes that is true. For me at the moment it is a matter of emphasis, I am focused on the lack of real information. That just bothers me more right now than these kinds of discussions. (Athough I enjoy them on some level or I wouldn't be here obviously)

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Yoza,

    It seems strange that Anarchism is being derided when western 'capitalist' social democracies have so much blood on their hands. Anarchists cannot be blamed for the invasion/carnage in Iraq or the unsustainable neo-liberal mercantilist corporate experiment which, according to the latest U.N. environment report, is actually threatening the existence of humanity.

    Would it also contain pockets of, say, armed robbers or simple thieves?

    That's another one of the things I love about contemporary society, there are no more thieves, armed robbers or murderers anymore and the political elite work harmoniously with their corporate counterparts for the benefit of humanity *vomits*.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Right, I'm leaving "the thread that would not die" before someone starts quoting Nietzche aphorisms. Auf Wiedersehn - it's been lovely as always.

    If that happens I am outtie

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Though it may surprise you, I actually agree with you kowhai - but sneering is __sooooomuch fun.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yet if I was to say that capitalism didn't work on the basis that there's no pure capitalist countries I'd probably be laughed at. Yet people happily say the exactly same thing about socialism, anarchism etc etc.

    Personally I don't think any of them work well in pure forms, which is why we're in the melting pot of ideas at the moment. Capitalism moderated by socialism. Authority moderated by anarchism. And vice versa.

    And yet both the things I linked to seemed to take an absolutist stance: no capitalism, no state, period.

    I did find this list of principles easier to swallow. As I noted, I have a good deal of time for community co-operation, the flattening of hierarchies, etc. I also reckon commerce is a bloody good idea.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If that happens I am outtie

    Weird. I thought you wrote "I am an outtie", and I thought "Why is she talking about her belly button?"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Interesting site that Russell - it's spookily not entirely dissimilar to the US Declaration of Independance
    I apologise to all if I occasionally sound a bit cranky, it is the Socratic way to provoke to extremes, and I am a huffy jaded new fogey cynic.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That's another one of the things I love about contemporary society, there are no more thieves, armed robbers or murderers anymore and the political elite work harmoniously with their corporate counterparts for the benefit of humanity *vomits*.

    There you go again. Dehumanising anyone who participates in democratic politics is a handy way of not having to think about the much messier reality of people's hopes, dreams and motives. Every cop's a bad cop, and every politician is a sock puppet of the capitalist elite.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Weird. I thought you wrote "I am an outtie", and I thought "Why is she talking about her belly button?"

    That would have been preeety random. I wasn't sure how one spells "outtie".

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Actually, pre-Maori Polynesian settlers would have been very strictly bound up in familial hierarchies, taboos etc

    For about as long as it took anyone at the bottom of the heap to piss off to greener pastures. Which in NZ-just-discovered would have probably been about 1 day, by the sounds of it. The remainder set up 'government' over what tiny jurisdiction a few dozen people could actual enforce, and they probably are the groups that became powerful and dominated. But I suggest a lot of people would have just bailed off into the wilderness with a few mates/chicks, and lived quite happily a totally anarchist life slaughtering Moas and picking fish up off the beach etc. Until contention over access to the women led to cold-blooded murder with absolutely no consequences, perhaps. Who knows? I mean one canoe of people controlling the entire South Island? Yeah right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    for similar reasons Animal Lib Antivivisectionists also give me the sh-ts - their propoganda seems to suggest that all scientists are sadistic monsters who enjoy torturing kitties and bunnies, rather than considering the possibility they really might be trying to find cures for terrible diseases through the most effective methods.

    And Russell, the great thing about the net is it eliminates the PA at the office door who won't let you talk to the boss. Now that's true democracy. Given that NZ politicians have always been relatively accessible to mere mortals, the Net allows the rest of the world to enjoy what we in NZ have had for some time.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    I apologise to all if I occasionally sound a bit cranky, it is the Socratic way to provoke to extremes, and I am a huffy jaded new fogey cynic.

    I myself am often crotchety it's only to be expected. I like your contributions myself.
    As far as Socrates goes; fuck the Socratic method I say. Tedious and kind of dishonest. Oh and patronising (not you, the Socratic method).

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Andrew, if I sound cranky it's because I've spend the last couple of hours achieving very little, and my post-work drinkies have fallen through.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Ah Mr Wilson, may I direct you to Pitcairn Island

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Even Winston Churchill said that democracy is the worst form of government

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    RB,
    With respect, the only thing you've proved this afternoon is your own prejudice. It's like a straw man factory in here.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Andrew, sounds like paradise on Earth. Who could wish for more? Pity about a few bad eggs (the menfolk, by the sound of it).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Don't drop any matches then, that straw is pretty dry because it's booze o'clock and it hasn't had a drink yet TGOF!
    I'm off to an exhibition opening, Andre Hemer who is a very exciting young painter.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I apologise to all if I occasionally sound a bit cranky . . .

    . . . if I sound cranky it's because I've spend the last couple of hours achieving very little, and my post-work drinkies have fallen through.

    I myself am often crotchety it's only to be expected.

    It's full moon.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    RB,
    With respect, the only thing you've proved this afternoon is your own prejudice. It's like a straw man factory in here.

    It's not prejudice. It's an opinion you might wish to discuss. What do you think about the potential for a society with no elected leaders, law enforcement or commerce? How would you achieve it? Would anything but a tiny minority of people really embrace it of their own free will? How do you deal with people who insist on being capitalists or armed robbers?

    I'm interested by the ideas outlined in those two manifestos, just not particularly impressed by the thinking.

    I did have much more sympathy for the third page I linked to -- and it's interesting that, as Andrew pointed out, it is not unlike the Declaration of Independence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Yoza,

    "A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that "anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything"---including, he noted those whose acts are such that "a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better. ... The anarchist historian Rudolph Rocker, who presents a systematic conception of the development of anarchist thought towards anarchosyndicalism, along lines that bear comparison to Guérins work, puts the matter well when he writes that anarchism is not

    a fixed, self-enclosed social system but rather a definite trend in the historic development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life." Noam Chomsky "Notes on Anarchism"

    Presenting the Anarchist tradition, which has a history stretching back hundreds if not thousands of years, as everyone doing what ever they want when ever they want is at best dishonest. Anarchism is more a challenge to the self-serving authority of elite groups than it is any kind of dogmatic belief.

    Roughly, from the Greek: An - without; Arches - Rulers/Kings

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    All we are saying is that there is a viable alternative to authoritarianism. You don't need priests, kings, nations, governments, laws, police, prisons, or soldiers. It can be and has been done.

    Since the examples so far were born of two of the more notably appalling civil wars of Europe, rich in mass murder, and collapsed in short order through being unable to offer their citizens any meaningful protection against aggression, "has been done" is something of an overstatement.

    Yet if I was to say that capitalism didn't work on the basis that there's no pure capitalist countries I'd probably be laughed at.

    Only by people who aren't very thoughtful. Especially considering Adam Smith himself devoted not inconsiderable thought to discussing the likely flaws of unbridled capitalism.

    Anyone who truly loves lawless society doesn't have to go very far at all to find one.

    Is that a little like the offer I used to make to Libertarians to buy them a one-way ticket to Somalia so they could enjoy a life unbridled by the fetters of government?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    RB,
    With respect, the only thing you've proved this afternoon is your own prejudice. It's like a straw man factory in here.



    It's not prejudice. It's an opinion you might wish to discuss. What do you think about the potential for a society with no elected leaders, law enforcement or commerce? How would you achieve it? Would anything but a tiny minority of people really embrace it of their own free will? How do you deal with people who insist on being capitalists or armed robbers?

    I'm interested by the ideas outlined in those two manifestos, just not particularly impressed by the thinking.

    This conversation reminds me of Stephen Pinker's account of an argument he had with his parents when he was 13:

    "As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 A.M. on October 17, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 A.M. the first bank was robbed. By noon most downtown stores had closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order."

    Doesn't anyone read Hobbes anymore? In Leviathan he writes
    that " life without a social covenant" or anarchy as such a condition is otherwise known, would result in "no arts, no letters, no society and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

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