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By Al Schumann on Saturday October 23, 2010 04:40 PM

My experience of applied anarchy has been pretty good, overall, and could fit tidily into "libertarian communism". That is, communal living and enterprise, with no written rules, a few unwritten rules (some of which were amusingly eccentric, such as the proper care of cast iron skillets) and contributions to the common good based loosely on 'from each, according to his ability; to each, according to his needs'. It was not robust. It depended on the moral authority people who faced a degree of external pressure I didn't understand until I was an adult. And of course it fell apart. As far as I know, that's the outcome with any non-authoritarian intentional community.

Building and maintaining an anarchic intentional community is hard to begin with. It appears to be impossible to maintain from generation to generation, never mind scaling it up in the capitalist context. Shades of "socialism in one country", eh? There are so many things that can go wrong internally, and so many things that will go wrong externally, that functionally it's completely impractical. Foolish, too. A lost cause, if you like, that's lost from the moment it starts.

It sounds perfect to me. Trial and error, empiricism, good faith, human frailties, human strengths and... cookies!

The idealized anarchic condition, in which social reality accommodates individual worth and vice versa, is what brought me leftwards in the first place. And according to the anarchists linked on our blog roll, my lefty decoder ring is not an issue as far as they are concerned—provided I don't want to kill them, which seems very reasonable. So, where's the harm? Are the neighborhood anarchists going to turn out for Obama? I realize there some "self-identifying" anarchists who will. Just as there are millions of self-identifying lefties who can imagine nothing finer than that ghastly act of auto-erotic asphyxiation by proxy. The CPUSA and the SDS retreads come to mind. Does their activity reflect on the lefties who won't buy into the program?

There's more, but I have no appetite for it.

Comments (19)


"The idealized anarchic condition, in which social reality accommodates individual worth and vice versa, is what brought me leftwards in the first place"

i agree this is eden as someone of our era
and our ilk
would spontaneously construct it
in their head

where i bailed out was even before
the intentional community gig
proved itself as an amazing
fragmentation device ***

i have this stubborn voice that sez
"not some before all
and surely not you before others "


***despite several exposures to same
however i retain
a willingness to be part of one or another
at the drop of a hat if the occasion
presented itself
and its collective purposes time demands
are signifigantly less then total waking hours

The problem with centralizers, Al, is that they think only in terms of centralization. I know that seems a bit reflexive and tautological, at first.

But, they really cannot accept that people can live together, cooperate and fundamentally disagree about a bunch of shit.

And yet - this is already exactly what happens, even under highly centralized regimes - be they familial, corporate or governmental.

The centralizing authority doesn't keep them together. It can only punish those who threaten the centralizing authority.

There are literally millions of people who go to work every day, working for a structured, punitive hierarchy - who get their work and play done, in spite of it. Who have to work around it, in order to cooperate.

I think one of the primary anarchist/decentralist critiques aims itself at this: why fuck around with the punitive authority in the first place? We already have ample evidence of people who cooperate despite its obstructive existence. Why not free up all that time and labor spent dealing with it, and have people who don't fundamentally agree do what they're already doing (cooperating, competing) without it?

And this isn't a very utopian position. What's truly utopian is the belief that punishment and authority can get women and men to have the same beliefs about society, to see things the same way, and therefore cooperate.

It's ass fucking backwards, really. It's washing up to take a bath.

That's my three bits.




"anarchist/decentralist critiques "

crow fly Rx for understanding our system's social motions :
mash it up all together
we have thousands upon thousands
centralizng authorities
they are by their nature punitive
privileging the state hierarchy
misses the nihilists totalizing insight

create a personality type to foster our tendency to form each other into
multi tiered
layered subordinating authority generating
top down structures

"why fuck around with the punitive authority in the first place? "

it gets results.... apparently
in battle and in production
multiplying and de centralizing
does not end this structuring

flattening the structures
doesn't end authority
this completely meta social critique
is pure dogma

The belief - utterly w/o historical support - that people must agree and obey, in order for things to get done, this is dogma.

Along with other silly notions, like Dialectical Materialism, or the mystifying dialectic itself.

Getting people organized around a unifying principle and/or authority doesn't change society. It just sets up a new group of bosses who then do their damnedest to keep their power, but with different, often obfuscating names for their same old same old.

Of course - I never mentioned "flattening social structures," so there's no reason to go into that windmill with you.

What I suggested was that the boss and centralization are obstructions whose sole purpose is to perpetuate themselves, and that it's better to do without them. Not with a rhetorical flourish and some Marxist haiku - but according to whatever needs, tools and conditions those who want to fight might take advantage of.

Will everyone and ever attempt succeed? Nope. But, unlike some hopped academic sucking the teat of Trotsky and the dick of Engels, I don't need my historical duckies lined according to daddy economist's desires before I take an aim at power.

You threaten power by attacking it and severing its control over its subject populations, not by capturing resources and labor up into a new counter-authority which, even if successful, will just top off the pyramid in replacement of the old, and get back to the business of making misery out of humanity.


crow fly
what makes you fun is this
absolute stirnerism
whether its a pose
a bit of epater the pinks
or a cri de coeur

"people must agree and obey, in order for things to get done"
who's suggesting that as a universal of human progress ???

indeed instances
of pure acts of self motivated action are everywhere and a few may indeed figure in social progress

and yet

top down command structures are everywhere too

"the boss and centralization are obstructions whose sole purpose is to perpetuate themselves"

is that hyperbolic or a thesis ??

lets get back to "agree and obey"

majority rule is dictatorship to the minority
so this is clearly anti collective action in a radical way
given the impossibility of uniformly consensual action to get you anywhere
and even this requires long intervals of
vide the beloved libertarian lefts POUM

at any rate as you think thru this
notice the antinomy here and there along the way
top down/bottom up
consent coercion
leading following
what about these contradictory modes
seems to allow for gordian knot cutting ???

in total these look to u
like bad medicine

the action to be rebellion for u
must be uncompromised ego level volition ???

"You threaten power by attacking it
and severing its control over its subject populations, "
correct of course we all agree
to this and on this

but here's a thesis
it takes organization to accomplish
anything like a social transformation
it must result in new institutions
new organizations
to sustain itself

you look at organization from only one side
--calling them authorities suggests this---

these same entities are the source of change as much as stagnation
these orgs collide eh ?? brake each other up
social metabolism is both
anabolic and catabolic

your use of just is key here
any" capturing resources and labor up into a new counter-authority which, even if successful, will just top off the pyramid in replacement of the old"
of course the new org is itself partial
self limiting and in turn
itself subject to sublation

change is defined by you as one endless succession of rip off scams

how far back does this lineage of fraud go ??

you have an insight into the present but no insight into the role of organization
in history

how far are you from this line crow ???

what's the point of birth
it just leads to death
why reproduce they'll die too just like me
"I take an aim at power"
fine knock yourself out
its clearly a byronic drama for you

mighty mouse versus the cat gang

I get it, Owen. You have a high dome and an opaque writing style. Your are teh awsumz, all others is so stoopid. Only you see clearly and have absolute perception. Fuck we proles, in the light of you, holy sage of academia.


"needs, tools and conditions those who want to fight might take advantage of."
you are fit for a time of circles like now
when larger organization is co opted
and the hundred points of revolt
deep inside ten million heads
have yet to hatch out of their eggs


crow my goodness
reduced to sterile sarcasm
and empty expostulations ???

i thought we was dealin' in substance here
you make it sound like
weitling versus marx

flattering but useless

crow fly Rx for understanding our system's social motions :

op's blazing ad hominems!

op Rx for understanding our system's social motions:

micro-micro-economic analysis that bores everyone except op, FB and MD, and has as little relevance to fixing social problems as "color commentary" has on who will win the game.

way to be a good sports fan, but a lousy athlete, op. at least you know the synthetic representation of the extrapolated game, even if you don't know or play the game itself. fuckin' A, bubba!

op, here's some sarcasm for ya:

you are sounding stupider and more useless than ParEcon, the brainchild of the "I'm not a Marxist, I'm post-Marxist" Marxists. yeah baby, it's all about branding!

meanwhile, the thing we all need to pay attention to is incremental % adjustments to the federal lending rate. that's how we fix society's sucking chest wound, by massaging its big toe!


oxy my dear

"the game itself??"
and precisely what game is that
you play and i watch ??

or is it enough for you
to think in analogies
to sport
and forget you're in the stands too


what would constitute playing here oxy ??

lawyering ???

Whatever you're doing, op, it's nowhere near the game itself... no matter what you've convinced yourself and your haiku fans.

In fact, the recent set of threads poking and jabbing at Straw-men Called Anarchy shows that for you, FB and MD, the only thing that will work is making everyone agree with your monolithic Marxist "massage the economics" dogma.

So terrified of others. So terrified of actually playing in the game.

Stay on the pine. Here's a tweezer.


"Whatever you're doing, op, it's nowhere near the game itself"
not what i asked you


if you don't provide an answer after this repeat
we'll have to conclude
you are playing a game of another sort
"i've got a secret "


oxy i wish u would confine your carl slinging to me
so far as i know fb and md are
cherry picking eclectics vis a vis
the science of social change

The game, op, is life.

You satisfy yourself with comments on the 4x-removed faint semblances of a holographic projection of "life," while some of us look at the things actually happening, and actually make things happen ourselves.

Why are you so bound to "history" and "economics," both of which are exercises in apology via revision?

Why can't you focus on what IS, op?

Too scary, that's my guess.

Oh well. Like Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, you are legendary in your narrow cult. Some day, all this will be yours!

What, the curtains?

MIchael Hureaux:

If all revoluiton took was spontaneous rejection and cooperation of the revolutionaries, it would have happened long before now. Life is too painful to not have had the status quo rejected forcefully many times over by now.

Centralization has its nightmare component, but, as should be evident by now, so does the continued belief that the revolutionary movement doesn't need it at all.



excellent compression


plunge into the game of life

focus on what is

both top shelf suggestions oxy !!!!

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