When organising a country or a group of people in need of structuring, people tend to automatically sidestep ideologies that do not take authority imposed from above for granted. Anarchists and other proponents of alternative rule almost by definition are seen as destructive elements in a society. Yet old time and modern thinkers on the subject might have some viable and decent ideas for future state organisation.
The unwieldy mess called the internet gives rise to many new thoughts and also causes many people to revisit older ideals and the alternative scene is resultantly more vibrant than ever. Its frequent intersection with the mainstream only adds to the clout of its substance. Going about researching the possibilities for anarchy as a viable alternative to a current system of government ought to be as chaotic as we can make it if we want to keep in line with the subject’s concept. But we need to keep in mind that whilst we’re digging, the results are streamlined by algorithms.
Surfing the web and drawing ‘chaotically’ from the input of various disciplines on anarchy throws off quite interesting results. Taking anarchy at face value, you realise soon your hunch as to why it has such a negative connotation is right. To be fair, situations in which anarchy gets bad press, are almost invariably justified. Not only do anarchists rear often ugly heads when they have issues with incumbent governments that tie them together as an impromptu group of people for short stretches of times only, with a negative spirit as a combining agent, seemingly too weak to justify the action. They often continue to destroy for the sake of destruction only.
Anarchy and regime change go hand in hand. Most of the times that anarchists are seen ‘live’ in action, they are -true to the nature of their political inclination- not organised in any way and they generally serve only to achieve short term goals before they go back to their ordinary lives. Anarchists can have very justified opinions, but in many cases their action is nevertheless condemned by the majority of fellow country men in favor of a new organised government.
The situation in Kyrgyzstan during the onset of the American invasion most recently brought the topic to bear for renewed analysis and prior to that, the Iraq invasion by American troops yielded fresh material for students of international law to break their heads over in years to come.
Due to the rather short term nature of anarchy when it is a ‘live’ concept, there is a lot of obscurity around how systems based on no rule or anarchy would be able to function in a positive way. There is no area or country in the world that has seen a situation of anarchy through for more than a decade by choice. Yet this does not mean that the concept is not pondered by more selfrespecting scholars of all disciplines. A quick browse on the internet reveals tons of information.
The concepts that would create true anarchic systems as mature alternatives for governments are somewhat more decent than you would hope or expect, depending on your notion of adventure or distaste for your current government. By definition, anarchists oppose merely government, not order or society. “Liberty is the Mother, not the Daughter of Order” wrote Proudhon, and most self respecting thinkers pondering anarchic ideals agree. Kropotkin, put it, “No destruction of the existing order is possible, if at the time of the overthrow, or of the struggle leading to the overthrow, the idea of what is to take the place of what is to be destroyed is not always present in the mind. Even the theoretical criticism of the existing conditions is impossible, unless the critic has in mind a more or less distinct picture of what he would have in place of the existing state. Consciously or unconsciously, the ideal, the conception of something better is forming in the mind of everyone who criticizes social institutions.”
Studying the input that various disciplines have on the subject makes you understand some more why anarchy is rather impossible to achieve in any other way than the unpremeditated violence it comes disguised as mostly.
Economists, the experts if not inventors of the models so heavily in use in all disciplines now, are refreshingly unscrupulous in doing away with the state organisation as we know it today, yet the alternatives they come up with turn out often more tedious than what governments propose anyway. However, the economists do have most leeway it seems to argue the case for greater thought of alternative rule. The current rise of libertarian thought that’s the by product of US global dominance goes hand in hand with the ideas that economists have been mumbling on about for ages; leave the world to its chaos and one way or other an order will emerge. Most of them base their systems on the appropriation of property in some way or other, which might be a good idea. Basing your initial foundation around who owns what is proving a workable concept if you look at the European Union. But somehow it feels a bit hollow and to only have economic principles ruling a society would essentially be degrading for humanity.
The ideas of other scholars provide more exciting input. Philosophers come out with by far the most interesting ideas but it might be frustrating to gauge just how consequential or tennable their views are for the rest of the world. The current trend in the academies is to loosen the philosophical debate from the belief that it is arguing about a real reality. This has opened up the discipline to the condemnation that their so called ‘language games’ is reducing the philosophers to fools rather than wise men. Yet this dismissal is unfounded, because not all philosophers stick to the idea that reality is merely known through language and even if this were the case anyway, there would still be too much value in this to dismiss it.
From practical point of view however, the philosophers come in most handy when structured thought about alternative society organisation is focused on technology or science or a mixture of both. The debate in the sciences and in the philosophy of science over whether reality is determined by interwoven forces or whether there is no relation between them -the battle between determinists and pluralists- is by far not resolved. Yet, given modern society’s leaning to include anything to do with our immediate future, it is likely that not only will we see this debate feature prominently in any research on alternative ways of organising real life, but also in the established system. In fact, the anarchization of life has started ages ago, and we simply need to realise it.
All efforts by humans are geared toward mastering the dizzying intricacies of life some way or other, but the speed at which this takes place is a determining factor for the success rate more than anything else. The sciences provide this speed, so it’s no wonder that the rest of the disciplines are gathered around this consternation and have started to provide their tools in a scientific light.
That is why it is interesting to see what’s going on in the philosophy of science. It appears to yield ideas for finding decisive answers as to whether the philosophers are right in stating that researching the chances for a country to be ruled by alternative rule might be pointless because -as many economists, philosophers and scientists claim- the way reality interrelates is determined by forces we do not have a chance to control. The debate is by dint of the nature of the perceived progress of the sciences imperative for any initial thought on the way society can be organised alternatively.
Angelique van Engelen is a copy writer/journalist at http://www.Contentclix.com based in Amsterdam. She also contributes to a blog at http://clixyPlays.blogspot.com