The revolution will not be radicalized!

Those protesting under the banner of anarchism show no real resemblance to the historical phenomenon of philosophical anarchism and at best may be compared to the syndicalists (who would transfer authority to labor unions), the offshoots who fueled early communism (who would transfer authority to the intellectual elite), or Mussolini's several Fasci which need little explanation. None removes authority, but simply aims to replace it, thus none is truly anarchistic in the way each pretends to be.

The current refrain is that they oppose the 'police state', but as my friend noted the other day, 'when you remove the police and someone takes your shit, what do you do? Form a posse and become the new police?'

Save me the line about property as theft. I've read Proudhon. My friend's argument holds no matter the crime. Let's say your child is murdered. Still: do you form a posse and become the new police?

Notions of justifiable violence were as alien to the Haymarket martyrs as to Emma Goldman, but the self-described anarchists of today marry Bakuninite thuggery with any ideology which opposes liberalism.

Philosophical anarchism is thoughtful enough to see that authority, i.e. government, is a necessary evil, and that the spirit of anarchism is a sort of Socratic gadfly, the social conscience writ large in the voices of dissidents, but never with violence where oppression does not exist.

I heard one of these mental giants on NPR recently describing their planned tactics as 'civil disobedience,' you know, the same old stuff that 'goes all the way back to Martin Luther King ... and Green Peace.' Doubtless few of their grunts know any better than their leaders that Civil Disobedience goes all the way back to Henry David Thoreau, and that the point has never been to disrupt or simply to be heard, or to be part of something. It has always been about challenging the law on the court level, and in order to do that you must be willing to break the law, and to have your day in court to challenge the law you've broken.

If you oppose the use of tax dollars to fund a war (as Thoreau did), you refuse to pay the tax and then challenge it's legitimacy in the courts. If you oppose segregation, you go where you're not wanted.

You don't pack smoke bombs and ball-bearings, or toss urine-filled balloons at the police.

To the credit of the old anarchists (even Bakunin), they thought they'd spark a revolution that would make the world a better place, and they lived in a much bleaker time. But we've learned hard lessons since then, viz. that swift revolutions rarely last, and that socialism is a fantasy that never fails to fall, and always leaves blood in its path.

posted by Dennis on 08.31.04 at 11:36 AM


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Tracked on September 1, 2004 4:29 PM


Very thoughtful! I thought you might get a chuckle or two from Howard Zinn's view of such matters in 'Bush Drives Us Into Bakunin's Arms!'

Eric Scheie   ·  August 31, 2004 3:16 PM

They are not anarchists. The young punk useful idiots may think they are, but the Communist leaders of their movement know better. At most they are nihilists. Anarchy is by definition zero government. Yet everything they do and advocate only leads to more and ever more government. Communism is totalitarianism, total government control over everything, and they are following the Communist strategy outlined by Czech Communist historian Jan Kozak in 1957, which he called "pressure from below" (chaos, riots, terrorism) and "pressure from above" (totalitarian "law and order" imposed in response to the chaos).

Here's an example. The radicals riot in the streets. The local police crack down to stop the riots. The media report the crackdown as "police brutality", and demad that the federal government step in and take control over the local police. The federal government is already (un-Constitutionally) funding the local police, and what it subsidizes it controls. The result is that our traditional locally-controlled police are replaced by a federally-controlled Gestapo. "Police brutality"? You "ain't seen nothin' yet." Look at what the ATF did in Waco for a preview of things to come if we don't stop this trend.

Why aren't the radicals protesting against this? If they were really anarchists, they would be demanding less government, not more. They would join with those of us who want to return to limited Constitutional government, with checks and balances between legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, and between federal, state, and local governments, not more and ever more power concentrated in the executive branch of the federal government as it is today.

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