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0 votes
I'm a noob, sorry.
by
What's left anarchism?
anonymous - this is a site for noobs, so apologies are not required. interestingly, i don't think most left anarchists call themselves such, they just call themselves anarchists. and i'm not sure how many of them come here (if any).

i imagine their argument would be that good decision making processes (like consensus and direct democracy) allow for plenty of time and care taken so that individual voices and concerns are addressed. that's my guess.

human - you should make that its own question.

2 Answers

+2 votes
Left anarchism can mean a few different things, and their are going to be many different opinions on direct democracy and majority rule. Many use consensus which essentially rejects majority rule, others try to temper the principal of majority rule in directly democratic assemblies with processes aimed at addressing the needs of minority groups and individuals, still others organize in much more autonomous and informal structures.

in general, left anarchists want to create a social relations that include both maximum individual freedom and egalitarian social responsibility. There are many different "left" proposals for how to mediate between these two things.
by (320 points)
–3 votes
By left anarchism, I assume you are referring to pro-democracy socialist anarchism as opposed to anti-democracy capitalist "anarchism" ("anarcho"-capitalism.) I should note that anarchism is an ideological movement with historically left-wing tendencies, and on this site the term "left anarchism" is redundant.

There are a few things to bear in mind when analyzing democracy:

1. Humans are generally objective, moral people. Only a select few are selfish & greedy; not nearly enough to push a democracy over its tipping point.

2. If left anarchism were ever truly achieved, people would operate in a socialist mindset; each would have access to enough resources to "opt out" (leave) a collective if they ever felt unsatisfied.

3. One decision must be carried out eventually, and I'd rather it be that of the majority that that of the minority. Even Natural Law is maintained through coercion, as those who try to defect are put back into place through the threat of violence. If natural law were to be carried out solely through the consent of the minority, it would be a case of minority rule, an even worse situation than majority rule.
by (310 points)
i support guessing at what questioners mean when they're not clear, and i also support being explicit about what one's guesses are. so thanks for your first couple lines, anarcho-darwinist.

that said, i pretty much could not disagree with the rest of your post more strongly, from your decision that all non-right anarchism is left anarchism, to your statements about human nature, to your opinion about natural law, and perhaps most disturbingly, to the idea that there must either be rule of the minority or rule of the majority.

it's almost hard to believe that you're not trolling... but i guess i will wait and see.
Do you mean "could disagree"? You said "could not" :)

I'm not sure where you inferred that I thought there was a binary dichotomy between right and left anarchism. I was merely distinguishing anarchist schools on the grounds of their democratic counterpart, where something such as anarcha-feminism (as an example) would not necessarily fit clearly on one side as opposed to the other.

What do you disagree about with my statements about human nature? Do you really expect to conform to a state of autonomy if you don't have enough fate in human nature to trust in majority rule?

There are three types of decisions: those supported by a minority, those by majority, and those by half. Even if they are not carried out for that respective reason, it's still a fact. How is this an invalid claim?

Where I take issue with your framing is the assumption that left-anarchism is the presumed perspective of folks posting on this site. Most of the regular posters (myself included) are pretty antagonistic towards leftism and what we might call "left-anarchism". I would defer to the answers to human's question, What's left anarchism? I have my own take on that I might add later, but I think it is important to point out that there are many anarchists who reject both the left and right. We often use terms like post-left, anti-left, although not all of us do (some of us are anarchists-without-adjectives, or choose to use other identifiers, or refuse all the identifiers). I'm sure this only confuses, but hey! That's what I do.

 

welcome apparent-non-troll :)

see ingrate's comment for my response to the right/left/other question. i will only add that my anarchy would NOT be democratic.

i have mixed thoughts about human nature, but reject anyone speaking authoritatively about what it might be, especially when it's claimed that what it might be "objective," which i totally don't think we even can be, much less are universally. and since i tend to consider myself anti-moral (for which see multiple threads on this site), i would refute that also. i also think everyone is selfish and greedy (and everything else) at various times in their life and under certain circumstances, and that those things are not such huge problems once taken out of a system that rewards it so intensely.

i could go on, but there's probably a better way to do this than for me to just rant in a comment. perhaps these could be new questions? ask them if they come to you!

 

ps: "could not more strongly"! :)

@ingrate Don't get me wrong: you're completely right. I'm pretty hostile towards the binary right vs. left paradigm myself, and in no way look to distinguish anarchism solely on its externally assigned "wing" value. It's just that I'm asked this question in retrospect to market-regulation vs. people-regulation issue by ancaps so often that I assumed this was what OP was referring to. Force of habit, I suppose.

@dot See my response to ingrate for the left/right issue. 

Also, I'm genuinely curious: how exactly would you go about making rules in the absence of democracy? Are you an individualist anarchist?

"i have mixed thoughts about human nature, but reject anyone speaking authoritatively about what it might be"

Well, yes, obviously there's no way to chart human behavior with precision on paper. There are too many externalities to take in to account. I was merely providing a general collectivization of human behavior; could I be wrong? Certainly, but I think most people would agree that humans are generally reasonable creatures (whatever that means.)

"especially when it's claimed that what it might be "objective," which i totally don't think we even can be, much less are universally. and since i tend to consider myself anti-moral (for which see multiple threads on this site), i would refute that also."

I'm a nihilist, so I reject the notion of objectivity altogether in favor of diverse subjectivity. Most people aren't, though, so I still use the word "objective" as a go-to word for the purpose of describing a person who moralists would collectively recognize as an ideological ally.

"i also think everyone is selfish and greedy (and everything else) at various times in their life and under certain circumstances, and that those things are not such huge problems once taken out of a system that rewards it so intensely."

Indeed, but the members of a collective wouldn't all experience such emotions simultaneously. To push a democracy on its tipping point, a controlling stake of people (>50%) must all act in the same fashion.

"i could go on, but there's probably a better way to do this than for me to just rant in a comment. perhaps these could be new questions? ask them if they come to you!"

Well, if that was a rant, you are the calmest, most patient ranter I have ever met. Congrats :)

And yes, I will certainly convert some of these thoughts in to question form. 

"could not more strongly"

Ha, I see :)

"Also, I'm genuinely curious: how exactly would you go about making rules in the absence of democracy?"

i'm curious as to why "making rules" is something you would actually want in your anarchist world? (assuming an anarchist world is where you want to live, and that making rules is something you see as desirable).

 

"I'm not sure where you inferred that I thought there was a binary dichotomy between right and left anarchism. "

i might come to the same conclusion, based on this:

"...pro-democracy socialist anarchism as opposed to anti-democracy capitalist "anarchism" ("anarcho"-capitalism.)"

@-darwinist, what F@ said about rules.

saying you don't believe in objectivity but it's how you would talk to other people is... ok? however, i'm not sure how/why you decided that this site is one where it makes sense to use both "objectivity" (as a specific instance) and also words you don't actually agree with (in general).

re: human nature "I think most people would agree that humans are generally reasonable creatures (whatever that means.)"

d'oh. your caveat is absolutely part of my point. "whatever that means" is exactly one of the things that is at issue. what some people consider reasonable is the antithesis of my perspective.

but also, i would absolutely not agree that humans are generally reasonable creatures. look at all the things that are going on that i utterly reject -- the decimation of our own habitat for just the most obvious example off the top of my head. 

finally, i am not pro-democracy. i am anti-democracy, i guess, although perhaps there are situations where direct democracy isn't the worst thing. for a real exposition, this should be a different thread (there are some already

http://anarchy101.org/7086/direct-democracy-for-or-against-it?show=7086#q7086

http://anarchy101.org/8223/is-democracy-really-a-good-thing?show=8223#q8223

http://anarchy101.org/114/what-is-the-anarchist-problem-with-democracy?show=114#q114

etc)  or you could read article here:

http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-debunking-democracy

 

ps: on 101 i try to be very patient indeed. or calm. sometimes both. :)

f@: Something about preventing rape, murder, and pillaging comes to mind.

By excluding one school from another, I'm not necessarily implying they are the only two schools that exist.

 dot: I'm certainly not fond of objectivity, but most are. I need a common ground to communicate with people on.

 "Whatever that means" defers to whatever most see as an objective, moral person.

 Again, what alternative is there to majority rules? Minority rules? No rules (in which case power would be seized by whoever has the most access to violence?) I think you're struggling to see the impossibility of a system totally free from oppression.

rules do not, have apparently never, prevented rape, murder, pillaging (lol... pillaging?!). it just makes those things only be ok for the rule makers, or sometimes for those working for the rule makers.

edit: re "whatever that means" and deferring -- i'm sorry that i'm not being clear. it is exactly what you're acknowledging in both those phrases--acknowledging that there is no ultimate moral certainty, no universal good that all people agree to (much less act on)--that is in contradiction with some of your comments (things like "humans are generally reasonable").

(i edited this after FA's comment below, so they might not be giving the second part a thumb's up! ;) )

thumbs up to dot's comment immediately above.

@-d: in smaller, voluntary, direct social interactions, the possibility of much more dynamic and egalitarian (if that is the right word, i'm not sure) relations becomes far more realistic. and rules do not (need to) exist for those social relations, though everybody of course has their own needs, desires, likes and dislikes. communicating what those are is the responsibility of every individual involved in any relationship, if and when they deem it necessary. those are the only kinds of relations i desire in my life.
to add to my above comment:

a "system free of oppression" is unrealistic, imo. but it is also undesirable. any "system" provides the breeding ground for systemic abuse; institutionalized oppression can only exist in such a context.
dot: your edit clearly points out a major contradiction that @-d has embedded in their ideas (many, many folks seem to have a similar contradiction in their ideologies). double thumbs up!

we all have some contradictions in our lives. that is a result (among other things) of living in a world (culture, society, etc) that is not really compatible with the ideas of anarchy. it is a distinction between ideas and practice; desires and constrained/enforced reality. when the ideas alone contain contradictions... not sure how to reconcile that.
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