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+3 votes
or "good and bad," or" workable and not workable"...

from here:

edit: to clarify a bit... by "gradual transition," i mean to include "intentional" and "progressive" (in the strict sense of the word - ie there is a progression); that the transition as the Left (among others) promotes it, will be done by people who are over time making better and better decisions about how to be in the world. there are probably other implications involved in this idea that i take for granted, so i welcome help in clarifying the assumptions implicit in this common idea.
by (53.1k points)
edited by

i guess my initial response to this question is one of clarifying context: is this gradual transition one of individuals taking control of their lives to create the time/space for anarchic behavior and relations? or is it one of large-scale social transformation? or some combination thereof, or even something else entirely?

i bring this up because, as i mentioned in the other thread that spawned this one, i see mass society as fundamentally at odds with my own desires for anarchy. i feel like this question, which could be seen as a variation of the age-old "reform vs revolution" question, only really applies in the context of mass social structures, where there is some need and/or desire for widespread social unity; where the end result is some global "anarchist" society.

taken at the level of individuals and their direct relationships, i think the question becomes primarily personal, since everyone can make their own choices about priorities, strategies and tactics on a much more dynamic, contextual basis. there is no need for mass planning or strategizing, which - from historical and personal experience - is clearly frought with issues that are largely irreconcilable with (my) anarchy. i say there is no need, but that of course does not preclude individuals from finding affinity with others and choosing to strategize together for particular purposes.

all that said, i will try to actually answer the question after thinking about it some more.

i would say the most obvious problem with reforms is that, while people may relax to enjoy their victories, power does not rest and will eventually abolish or declaw any reforms. that is unless power is completely abolished.
Given that the society we live in is infinitely more complex than just the state but can be expanded to include media, technology, social relationships, geography, architecture, language, medicine, etc,  I wonder if there is any option besides a gradual one?

Like if all governments and their respective economies and enforcers vanished into thin air, would what was left be called anarchy right away?
S.H--i think that there are people who would say that yes, there could be anarchy right away, at least in pockets. i sometimes think that myself. i would say that is consistent with an idea of anarchy that crimethinc promotes, for example.

2 Answers

+4 votes
Off the top of my head:

+: For people who have given up on the idea of The Revolution, anarchy does look like a process that develops and (hopefully) expands over time. It is a more soberly realistic road map.

-: For people who desire freedom and a total break with the current state of things, a gradual transition feels like a compromise, like half-measures. It is an unacceptable path from here to there (wherever "there" is).

+: Gradual transition allows more people who might be initially wary of some of the extremes of anarchy to experience small moments of anarchy in day to day life, to play with them, process them, to incorporate aspects into their day to day lives while not being ripped completely from their comfort zone.

-: A gradual transition creates an open door to the would-be politicians and bureaucrats to come in and manage anarchy, or worse. At the same time it lulls would-be insurgents into a sense of comfort with carrots of convenience as well as the stick of losing what has become expected.
by (22.1k points)
i personally feel that permaculture is a pretty cool "revolutionary" thing, even though it doesn't take care of so many other issues....just sayin.....
hmmm. i would say that practicing permaculture is just learning a useful skill. i suppose there is a fine line between learning a skill and transitioning to anarchy.
+4 votes

I find this particular notion of gradual/ intentional, transition problematic at best. 'Transition' connotes movement, however, the way progressivist ideologies use this term is completely abstract, dead, since it never lived at all. Transitioning relates and speaks of continuous re-placing; ever-shifting qualities, tones, textures, contours, conditions; incessantly fluctuating, dynamic, ephemeral, and thus always perspectival. You know, living. This perspectivity can probably be better spoken of in terms of 'where' rather than 'what' in our clunky, thing-oriented, language ('English'). So, when we speak of transitioning, we may first wish to ask: 'From where to where?'

In my experience at least two unspoken presuppositions are often hard at work from the get-go. One, is that the two 'wheres,' the present/now and a future 'place' are somehow equivalent; the 'concrete' and the ideal no-place-as-of-yet are presented as equally perceptible and thus comparable according to some meta-schematic.

Another, and more subtle, presumption is the belief that one may indeed 'get there from here.' This, in turn, poses more problems. 1) It assumes a unified 'nature' or 'world' through which each of us makes our journey and 2) this world has no 'say' and we carve out each of these states from this silent cadaver. 3) That 'here' and 'there' represent two states (as in 'static,' 'stasis'), and thus for a progressivist ideology; beginning/end, cause/effect, means/ends.  

Another story: Perhaps our lives are better spoken of in terms of 'near' and 'far' from where we live now; our perspective now. Can one sense such an idealized 'there' from this lived 'here'? I remain skeptical to say the least.

Yet one more count against this type of progressivist worldview lies in a totalitarian demand for general consent in order to exist at all.  For the ideal to become reality, everyone must think what I think so as to be considered an 'anarchist,' one who's capable of envisioning 'true anarchy,' and thus able to reach 'real anarchy' someday or at least provide a map to it. Of course, embedded in this are many further implications, given the humanistic pedigree at work, but I'll leave off for now...

edit for quick fix and clarity

by (7.5k points)
edited by