Sam Pawlett rsp at
Mon Dec 6 01:10:58 MST 1999

Hal Draper:
> "...Anarchism is not concerned with the creation of democratic control
> from below, but only with the destruction of "authority" over the
> individual, including the authority of the most extremely democratic
> regulation of society that it is possible to imagine.


  This has been
> made clear by authoritative anarchist expositors time and time again;
> for example, by George Woodcock: "even were democracy possible, the
> anarchist would not support it...Anarchists do not advocate political
> freedom.  What they advocate is freedom from politics..."

 Anarchism is
> on principle fiercely anti-democratic, since an ideally democratic
> authority is still authority.

False. Anarchists think they are the ultimate democrats.

 But since, rejecting democracy, it has no
> other way of resolving the inevitable disagreements and differences
> among the inhabitants of Theleme [reference to Rabelais],

 its unlimited
> freedom for each uncontrolled individual is indistinguishable from
> unlimited despotism by such an individual, both in theory and in
> practice.

Huh? This is a contradiction. Rejecting all authority and constraints is
despotism(?). This vision may turn out to be Hobbes' state of nature,
such a state is not despotic.

  The great problem of our age is the achievement of democratic
> control from below over the vast powers of modern social authority.
> Anarchism, which is freest of all with verbiage about something from
> below, rejects this goal.  It is the other side of the coin of
> bureaucratic despotism, with all its values turned inside out, not the
> cure or the alternative."

 This is an odd critique of left wing anarchism, it's a similiar
to what is levelled at both anarchism and Marxism by capitalist
individualists: any restriction on the rights of the individual in favor
of some sort of  collective inevitably leads to coercion and ultimately
tyranny. Most of the classic anarchists do not reject democracy,
collective decision making or mimimum regulation of behaviour. They
reject the *means* by which these goals are accomplished in bourgeois
society: through the state and coercion. The anarchists just believe you
can have democracy, equality, security and freedom without a state,
market or formal legal system. The state and market "corrupt" human
nature, which is
essentially benevolent, co-operative and social. Laws and restrictions
on positive and negative freedom cause crime.

 Even the most extreme individualist
anarchist, Max Stirner advocated a "union of egoists" kind of similiar
a socialist society. Anarchists object to top-down decision making and
domination of one class or even one individual over another including,
crucially, wage
labor. They favor co-operative social relations; " one big union". The
classic anarchists did not believe in uncontrolled individualism either,
anti-social,criminal and violent behaviour would be punished by social
sanctions like ostracism.
    Anarchists usually argue that it is the state and authority itself
which causes violent anti-social behaviour and the ills of capitalism;
behaviour that would make
rule by a democratic collective impossible if a multitude engaged in it.
    People who call themselves "anarchists" who advocate destruction,
violence, a "return to nature" should read the classic anarchists like
Malatesta and Rudolf Rocker.

Sam Pawlett

"no matter who you vote for the government always gets in."

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