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  •  Anarchist order (very long post)- (1+ / 0-)
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    joe wobblie

    Laws and the legalist philosophy are fundamentally broken on three counts: First, the technical; second, the composition; third, the enforcement.

    The technical problem is this: A law that is written must be not merely specific but exact.  It is not fair or consistent to speak in broad generalizations even if "everyone knows" what the idea is.  For example, suppose there is a law that homeowners must keep the sidewalks adjacent to their house clear of snow.  Everyone knows what that means, but there's no perfect way to word it.  Obviously it's impossible to remove every particle of snow.  If there's a limit, such as snow must be less than .5", is it really so bad if a person allows it to accumulate on their sidewalk to a depth of .51"?  If there is a graduated scale (i.e. a punishment for .51-1"; a larger for 1"-2", etc), then why is .5" perfectly fine when .51" is against the law?

    To change the numbers after the fact negates the whole idea of law, which is that the guidelines and associated punishments are made clear beforehand.

    The problem of composition is this: Who writes the laws?  Not much needs to be said about the problems with the way law-making currently works.  The corruption and problems of democracy are obvious.  Moreover, forcing a community to accept laws, even if the process was "fair," is never democratic.

    The problem of enforcement, TPau did a good job of explaining.  I also want to highlight the point that by relying on specialists, we to some extent cripple ourselves.  Like they say, "When you need the police right now, they're only 10 minutes away".


    Property is a significant part of law, obviously.  The capitalist definition of property is based on title- there is a piece of paper somewhere, recognized by the government, that says that you are the owner of each and every object and asset you call yours.  Everything from factories to a donut has a title, whether it's a deed or a receipt.  The primary function of the State is to recognize title and to clarify and enforce it if there is a dispute.  This is the main function of law, other than retribution and compensation for personal injury (which I'll get to shortly).  To talk about law necessitates talking about property.

    Let me illustrate a general idea of Anarchist 'law'-

    First, it presupposes a world generally consisting of basically sovereign small communities, organized through networks and federations, whether independent and self-reliant small 'towns' of just a few hundred or decentralized but contiguous cities of hundreds of thousands or millions.

    Each community/collective has its own internal decision-making process (formal or informal).  Each individual in a group contributes to the group and to other individuals as they see fit, based on the discussion the group has about their needs and available resources (which are what each individual wishes to contribute).  Sharing and contributing between groups is done through similar communication.  It is the prerogative of any individual or group to not contribute, if they so choose.  The consequence of being uncooperative would likely be expulsion, although the individual or group would be allowed to keep their personal property (such as their personal farm land; if a group is expelled from another group, they should be allowed to keep their collective property).

    The Anarchist conception of property differs fundamentally from the Capitalist one.  Capitalist property is based on title; Anarchist property is based on use.  Why do you own your car?  The Capitalist says, "Because you have the title"; the Anarchist says, "Because you use it to get around."  Who owns the factory?  The Capitalist says, "Whoever holds the title"; the Anarchist says, "Whoever works there."

    Shoplifting, for example, becomes a completely alien concept in an Anarchist society.  If stockpiling for profit (rather than for use) is illegitimate, then taking from such a stockpile is legitimate- and should even be encouraged!  The phenomenon of artificial scarcity present in capitalist society would be gone, and people would be free to give freely, as they desire to do, as humans.  Of course, the taxes of the State and the hoarding of the Capitalists forces us to sell commodities and our labor-time; but those are surmountable.


    What would be done about those who break the good order of society by taking what others are already using without consent, or who unjustly attack or threaten?  First, every community and collective should practice good security, and be sure of who is coming into their space.  Self-defense must be the responsibility of every individual and community so that attacks are not merely retaliated against but actually prevented- with lethal force if necessary (and if appropriate- for a serious physical attack, maybe; not for taking a little food).

    Where the legal system significantly differs from the Anarchist system (which I speak of in the present tense, as there are groups that operate in this way) is in what happens if an attack or robbery occurs.  Law's response is best described by the Foucault book Discipline and Punish: Prisons are partially efforts to reform individuals (from a 'dispositionist' view of human psychology, meaning certain people are born 'bad' and that's just the way they are, unless the evil is educated or beaten out of them) and partially efforts to terrorize the rest of the population into thinking again before engaging in a crime.  Obviously these are conflicting goals, and neither has anything to do with human nature.

    Instead, the Anarchist response is generally this: First, the offender is found (maybe by what is basically a posse).  Second, they are asked if they admit to what they are accused of doing and, if so,  why they did what they did- it's possible that they didn't actually do it, or, if they did, they may have had a good reason.  Next is reconciliation or expulsion: If a person agrees that what they did was wrong, they have to go through an accountability process, which is something I can't speak of in great detail (I don't have any personal experience with it) but hopefully you get the idea.

    At no point is there any arrest or threat of punishment, involuntary forfeiture of assets, imprisonment, or execution.  The only threat is this, which ties back to the Anarchist concept of the economy: If a person is found to be untrustworthy, they will be expelled.  Each individual makes this choice- if they disagree with the decision of their group, a cordial rearrangement may be in order.

    What is really at stake is trust.  People and groups who trust each other will give to and support each other.  People who betray that trust will be cut off.  This is how humans naturally behave socially and it should be recognized, reinforced, and built around when considering social systems.

    •  Thank you. This is one of clearest descriptions (1+ / 0-)
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      of anarchist absurdity that I've seen in quite a while.

      I'd love to hear you expound on the needless specificity found in architectural and engineering standards, EPA regulations and workplace safety rules.  Silly liberal word cheese that needlessly limits our creativity.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 02:39:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry for limiting it to 1137 words (1+ / 0-)
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        joe wobblie

        Next time I'll try to include every possible argument, counterpoint, and example for every minute aspect of law, regulation, government, and why not every aspect of society and natural law while I'm at it, for our friends who are apparently incapable of recognizing the concepts and extrapolating.

      •  Seriously where the fuck do you get off like this (1+ / 0-)
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        joe wobblie

        considering that the original diary had NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING like what you're saying here?  It talked about loose concepts and principles.  This comment of yours is complete bullshit.

        •  Responding calmly, I assert that a system of (0+ / 0-)

          codified laws, rules and regulations with specific descriptions and constraints are needed in order for a modern society to function.  This is true for criminal and civil law and for the regulation of production and service activities.  I previously cited a reference that develops a philosophical and practical case for this view.

          The anarchist position imagines an alternative world in which human behavior and social organization are not limited by the objective reality in which we actually live.  There is no point in arguing about this since we are unlikely to cover any new ground.

          Where are we, now that we need us most?

          by Frank Knarf on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:29:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You brought up regulations out of nowhere (2+ / 0-)
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            joe wobblie, TPau

            which are inherently different from injury and theft, and which no one has talked about in this whole thread, and certainly not in my absurdly long above post.  If you want to talk about regulations, let's talk about regulations.  If you want to talk about what I actually said, let's talk about what I actually said.

          •  Sadly subjective... (0+ / 0-)
            by the objective reality in which we actually live.  
            We offer so many examples to the contrary and you offer only your assertion that the world and human nature are evil.

            De air is de air. What can be done?

            by TPau on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:26:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  RanDomino, Thank you so much for your clear (0+ / 0-)

      comments. A wonderful discussion of anarchist thought. You are right, I should have picked a better example than shoplifting. :) I am sorry I saw this so late or I would have reced it.

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 07:24:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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