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View Diary: Occupy Wall Street roundup, Day 21 (237 comments)

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  •  Steve King and "anarchists" (0+ / 0-)

    Steve King and his friends want to utterly defund the government so it can be "drowned in the bathtub" according to Grover Norquist's formulation, but the people protesting against Wall Street excesses are anarchists? Steve, do you know what a f*cking anarchist is? It's someone who opposes government. Who fits that description morely closely, really? The "keep government's hands off health care" douchebags that you love, Steve, or the folks who want increased regulation of the financial system?

    Sh*thead. If you're going to slander people, at least try to do it credibly.

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:58:56 PM PDT

    •  David Graeber is an anarchist. (0+ / 0-)
      •  I suspect much of OWS's leadership is black-block. (0+ / 0-)

        The original Wall Street occupation was organized by Adbusters, a Canadian anarchist culture-jammer group.

        And of course the whole idea of consensus-based organizational meetings comes from anarchist practices in Spain dating back to before the Spanish Civil War.

        Heck, I'm a syndicalist (which most Americans can't even pronounce correctly, much less know what it means).

        To all of which I can only say--------so what?

        •  If people could bring themselves to admit this (1+ / 0-)
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          then maybe they might investigate some of the other ideas of Anarchism rather than running to the nearest public space and yelling incoherently.  I wish I could just say to everyone, "Look, this event, which you apparently consider one of the most inspiring things to ever happen in your lifetime, is operating on Anarchist principles... maybe you should look into it, eh?"
          Instead I see people trying as hard as possible to make a big demonstration of distancing themselves from 'the "A" word'.  And all I can do is sigh...

          •  alas, "anarchism" is, like "communism" or (2+ / 0-)
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            RanDomino, Clarknt67

            "class struggle", one of those naughty words that good patriotic Americans aren't permitted to speak aloud in polite company.

            Publicly identifying oneself as an anarchist gets you a visit from the FBI.  Take my word on that.

          •  a short reading list for people who are interested (1+ / 0-)
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            The philosophical basis of rightwing individualist anarchism was first clearly set down by a guy named Max Stirner, in a  book titled "The Ego and His Own", published in the mid 19th century in Germany. The title says it all.

            The collectivist anarchists have a much richer written tradition, the three best-known writers being Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, and Alexander Berkman. Berkman's "ABC of Communist Anarchism" is probably the best introduction.

            All of these are available in English translation all over the Internet--Google will probably turn up dozens of websites.

      •  Richard Estes at American Leftist blog (1+ / 0-)
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        made a very finely calibrated and I think largely accurate analysis of what we could call the "moment" of OWS, which he expanded with a very enlightening update. In one of his own comments in the discussion section of the thread to his post, he gives the best quick summary I've seen to date of the essential political character of OWS, directly in response to the "anarchist" question.

        American Leftist:

        Despite the fact that anarchists have played a prominent role, along with others, and the perspective of Jack Crow, I wouldn't call what is happening with OWS anarchist, and, in fact, it doesn't appear that anarchists do, either. Instead, [Manissa McCleave] Maharawal got it correct, I think, when she described OWS as a "space", which I take to mean a synergistic place where a potential for a resistance based upon a new, emergent social orientation is possible, but not yet certain. The intervention of Maharawal and her friends is a breathtaking instance of the day to day actions required to realize that potential.  But the fact that it exists, and that many people have engaged it, consciously outside of the hierarchies of the progressive scene in the US, is hugely important.  Without it, there would be no chance for radical change at all.  In other words, it is a necessary precondition.  Anarchists have played a significant role, because, like others on the left who have been influenced by anti-authoritarian movements, including many Marxists, they have developed a political praxis to facilitate it.  

        "From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues." ~The Coming Insurrection

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 12:44:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes, we leftwing anti-authoritarians have been (1+ / 0-)
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          using the "general assembly" direct democratic organizational model for a looooong time, and for a simple reason-------> it works.

        •  the essentially non-authoritarian character of the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ActivistGuy, RanDomino

          movement is also why there are no laundry lists of specific demands. That's not how consensus groups operate--they are not top-down affairs in which someone spells out a party program and all the minions dutifully march off to implement it. The whole structure is fluid and organic, adapting itself from moment to moment rather than tying itself to a preprogrammed set of instructions or goals. The group operates a lot like a single living organism. It's a wonderful thing to watch.

          Having said that, anyone who watches the OWSers in action for more than ten minutes and can't figure out what their unifying overarching framework of goals are, is either being deliberately obtuse or is as dumb as a fucking bag of rocks.

    •  as a syndicalist, I guess I have to say something (1+ / 0-)
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      Steve, do you know what a f*cking anarchist is? It's someone who opposes government.

      here . . . .   Time for a boring political lecture . . .

      It is often said that the extreme left and the extreme right meet each other.  If so, anarchism is where they meet. There are actually two very different trends within anarchism--and they really have very little in common with each other aside from sharing a name.

      On the one hand we have the "individualist anarchists",which make up the rightwing of the anarchist movement. These are the folks we typically think of when we hear the word "anarchist"--they are against all authority or government of any sort, and believe that everyone should literally be able to do whatever they want. They typically worship the "free market" and "individual liberty". The modern-day libertarians are rightwing individualist anarchists.

      On the other hand are the "collectivist anarchists", also sometimes called the "communist anarchists". Their original name for themselves, ironically enough, was "libertarian communists"--they appeared as a counter to the rise of the Leninist party-dominated communism of the 1900's. They were anti-state but not anti-government; they opposed the centralized state of the leninist parties, and wanted instead a decentralized democratic government without any entrenched bureaucratic state. They were utterly opposed to capitalism and the "free market", and wanted a socialist economy run directly and democratically by the people who worked in it. Most of the leftwing collectivist anarchists today are syndicalists, who advocate that workplaces be run directly and democratically by the workers in each company, who elect their own supervisors and managers.

      So while the rightwing anarchists do indeed oppose government and authority in all its forms and want no constraints whatever on any individual or on the 'free market", the collectivist anarchists want a democratic socialist government that regulates a publicly-owned economy and is directly answerable to the public, but without a bureaucratized state apparatus made up of professional functionaries or party officials.

      The two factions hate each other absolutely, and can't be in the same room together without fights breaking out. The Leninists in turn hate both factions (but particularly the leftwingers), and anarchists were one of the largest groups that were jailed and shot by the Leninists.

      So when someone calls someone else an "anarchist", it may be illuminating to know which type of anarchist they really are. The two groups are not even remotely the same.

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