Box 13, item 998: Draft chapters on anarchism, for correction

Title

Box 13, item 998: Draft chapters on anarchism, for correction

Description

Typescripts and handwritten chapters, with handwritten emendations and annotations. [133] leaves.

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Source

The University of Queensland's Richard Sylvan Papers UQFL291, Box 13, item 998

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This item was identified for digitisation at the request of The University of Queensland's 2020 Fryer Library Fellow, Dr. N.A.J. Taylor.

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For all enquiries about this work, please contact the Fryer Library, The University of Queensland Library.

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[133] leaves. 370.52 MB.

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Manuscript

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Lake George - Floor - Pile 7

Text

f

Chapter 10

_

CRITICS OF ANARCHISM AND FURTHER CRITICISM.

..

One of the regular obstacles almost any innovative ideology encounters is hardened
dogfpMdwi. Hardened dogmatism characteristically sees little scope for movement from some
established status quo. There are many hardened dogmatists who see no alternative to the
modern state. In this they join company with a huge and motley crew of political "realists":
'There simply is no way an advanced industrial state can cope with technological complexities,

can minimize waste and misery and the danger of revolutions without strong government
controls' (Gardner!, our sample dcifnatist, selected^because he has ranted^at verbose length,on
his anti-anarchist disposition). We can grant that there is no viable state without requisite
government controls, no state without a state. The question is rather whether such objectives as

reduction of waste and misery and control of technology even he accomplished, perhaps
significantly better without the state, which tends to wagnt/y the problems concerned.
A feature of dogmatism is that assertion, reiterated assertion, replaces argument. So it is
with^state dogmatism: 'As things are, there simply is no way a modem industrial society can
flourish without a strong government to enforce the law' (p.123). international industrial

society flourishes, after a fashion ^without such a government. Analogous functional ways in

which regional industrial societies can operate, way implicit in historic anarchism, have been
explained. 'It is not just the necessity of a state to preserve law and order that makes the
anarchist dream so hopeless' (p.124). Order requires only a certain organisation^, for which the

state is quite unnecessary. As for law, the necessity is but analytic on the law being state-law.
But a wide network of conventions and regulations can operate without a state; there are many
examples, beginning with stateless societies, continuing through a range of voluntary
organisations.
Why 'so hopeless'?
,,
Even if small communities [observe the limitation on anarchism
immediately slippst in]... found a way to police themselves, there is no way
they could maintain, let alone establish, an industrial society. Small selfgoverning groups are incapable of building reservoirs to bring them clean
water, or roads to connect cities, or dynamos to supply electricity, or cars,
or printing presses, or modem hospitals, or anything else that is a product of
an advanced technology. Big tasks can be done only by big corporations
that are either state-owned or state-controlled, or that operate as vast
independent oligarches within the state (p.124).

eV

As well as intellectually lazy, this is hopelessly astray: there resides the hopelessness. In some
regions, pioneer societies and industrial society developed more or less regardless of the state.
Even small f^rm communities built themselves reservoirs for stock and household water
supplies, built their local roads, and so on (in Australia, USA, and elsewhere). They still do.

Electricity generates and printing presses can be manufactured in fairly unsophisticated
i

.

Martin Gardner
776-7SS.

e

W7ry.y i?/
*#
/

ch.7

Aafe.- WTry 7 owi

an

'

workshops, where the state need be nowhere in evidence. As for big tasks, international
organisations (for construction, forestry, dam building, oil-well sinking,^ substantially
independent of particular states can, and do, perform the work. They may presently be required
to have a state location, but that is strictly unnecessary for accomplishing the tasks; they are
certainly not state-owned, or state-controlled, nor do they, in any real sense, operate within the
states'. Furthermore, regions investing in large works beyond their capacities can set up their
own specialized structures, to oversee such big tasks, to monitor activities and ensure

accountability, and to exclude cowboy operations. It is simply false that the advancement and
application of science and technology requires the state, as much history reveals. In a similar
way, it is simply misleading that 'if we want to enjoy the benefits of science and technology,

the ideals of an archism are as irrelevant as the ideals of the Sermon on the Mount' (p.124). By
contrast with the ideals of the Sermon, the impact of which are quite indirect, much anarchist
output concerns science and technology, their promotion and qualified benefits, proper place
and appropriateness.
Next our philosophical scrivener turns to pulling down anarchism by a superficial
comparison with and sen^up of the American 'counter culture scene of the sixties' (pp. 1244-5).

As technology is not condemned by one bad result, nor is anarchism shown impracticable by
one presumed form wht^e merit remain a matter of controversy. In any case, m^re accurate
comparisons are available than Gardner's prejudical poQ)ourL These set anarchist elements of
the counterculture substantially witli^th&\merican individual, pro-violence form of anarchism.
Hardened dogmatists are almost invariably crt^ss critics. They do not ever get at close

quaters^et alon^ inside, what they are criticising; so they do not achieve a good view, still less

adequate

sympathetic view, of what they ^/are criticising. Fortunately there are less cr^ss

critics, most of them with heavy commitments to democratic states (Gardner, though he makes
obeisant gestures towards democracy, is underneath it committed to the strong tech,o-cratic
state.) It should be plain that any critic with heavy commit^nts to democracy would have to
take anarchism more seriously as an option; for the demos may chose, or rule, to remove their
state. (Quite constitutional means may, and should, permit this.) The point, though elementary,
has escaped apparently more sympathetic opponents of anarchism such as Dahl, who premisses
his critique of anarchism upon the incompatibility of anarchism with democracy. He appears to
manage this yhnx
by mistakenly equating democracy with the democratic state. Certainly

anarchism is incompatible with the democratic state, as with any state, but it does not follow,
except through a variant of the mistaken equation, that it is incompatible with democracy. And
it should be evident that this latter incompatibility is contested. For the^e have many proposals
for combining anarchism with m^re participatory democracy (ul^minating on enterprises like
Burgheim's quest fortrue democracy^ which arrives at a dilute anarchism).
Dahl begins his criticism of anarchism by asserting that anarchist (and guardianship)
'objections to democracy aare so fundamental that unless they can be satisfactorily met any

further explanations of the democratic idea would be futile' (p.37).

Given the heavy

commitment of much anarchism to democratic processes, this assertion faces evident
rejoinders. And Dahl himself quickly shifts ground (though a page later he shifts back,
assuming that his archetypal democrat and anarchist are opposed as archist and anarchist):
'Because democracy might well be the most des^be process for governing [anarchist
v^lu^ttpry]
it might also be the prevented form of government in an anarchist society.
But i^ the anarchist view democracy cannot redeem a state
*
(p.37, two paragraphs down).

Since nothing can redeem the state, ergo neither gods nor people nor democracy can. Yet Dahl
begins his cri^tism with this curious twist: since the state^coercism, and coercisaa is
intrinsically bad, can the democratic process somehow make it good?
*
(p.37). This problem for
archism, which Dahl assumes, is no problem at all for anarchism. Instead of addressing the
question posed, Dahl switches focus, by challenging the coherence and consistency of
anarchism. But all his exhibition of divWity/shows is that anarchism is a family-resemblance
notion, like many Wittgenstein pointed outigbwc, warAewatic.?, and so on. It is a family­
resemblance notion with certain key features (as being played, is of a game), namely rejection
of archie authority, ^percion and the state; beyond that there is a plurality of forms. Once the
pluralistic conceptualisation is appreciated, there need be no incoherence; it all fits together.

^^Many of the criticisms of anarchism turn on the issue of

especially how

economic activity such asf marketing, distribution, and so on, is to be organised in the absence

of a central state authority. Meeting these criticisms in appropriate detail is no mean feat,
requiring the elaboration of substantially new economic theory (except for excessively
individualistic anarchists like Rothbart, but sketchy details and hints have been offered by
anarchist theorists). While economic criticisms bulk large in recent criticism of anarchism, the

state having assumed the role of grand macro-economic organiser, these by no means exhaust
criticisms. There are serious issues also concerning political and cultural organisation,

concerning the presumed enemies of organisation and order.
In many criticisms it is simply assumed that anarchistic organisation will have to take
over the arrangements of present mega-states and somehow substitute for those, without mega­
states. The assumption is astray. Mega-states are mostly recent undesirable constructions,
obtained by conquest or war dealings, and held together coercive means and other devices of

state. These would, would be allowed to, fragment into regional components. Thus the
problem of organisation is a substantially smaller problem than that of organisation of mega­
states; namely, that of organisation of regions. The regions would naturally be grouped

together, by principles of federation. (The new Europe provides a partial, suggestive example.)
No strand of anarchism 'has developed an adequate economic theory. The individualists
are stymied by the public goods problem, the communists by the problems of coordination.
[Even more plausible intermediate positions] require the support of the state at a number of

critical points' (M p.172). How the state is presumed to provide its benign supportative role is
well illustrated in the case of more individualistic anarchism, where the familiar problem of
public goods is also taken to manifest itself.

4

A cynic might well observe that no strand of capitalism or of socialism has developed an
adequate economic theory. But theories there no doubt are, in certain narrow reaches in

abundance.
*
Anarchism assumes the benefits of autonomous
operations, indeed the
individualistic ideal is one of personal sovereignty in the market place', but 'is not the state an
indispensible prerequisite for a successfully functioning economy?' (M p.169). There are two
parts to a response. First, markets functioned before states, and function outside states, for
example internationally. Second, whatever institutions are required for the operation of
markets can be supplied regionally under anarchistic fragmentation of the state.
How much background structure do markets depend upon, which might presuppose
apparatus of state. A market has a place of transactions, which can be common or waste
ground, a supply of goods or services to be exchanged there for other goods or services (barter)

or currency (in a money economy). Buyers and sellers enter the market to effect exchanges.
No doubt presupposed are at least limited entitlements (leasehold or property rights, so a seller

is entitled to dispose of, to a new user, holder or owner, what is offered for sale), contractual
arrangements, and in a money economy, some recognised currency. Also presumed, normally

where markets operate, are certain levels of safety, for instance protection against invasion,
assault and theft. But these are normal expectations for much of social life, for even conducting
a conversation. As for the rest, except perhaps for currency, it is a mere pretence that a state is
required for their assurance: customary or tribal arrangements will ensure both property in

transportable goods and recognition of verbal contracts or undertakings. An appropriate
currency too can develop in the absence of states, as exemplified in the shell currencies of
Melanesia and the bank notes of early America. Bank notes are not fully public goods; for a

bank which can profit from their circulation or issue has an incentive to supply them. (And
banks themselves do not require a sponsoring state, even if sometimes that helps, as in bailing

them out.)
It is worth observing that much of the conventional apparatus presumed for markets is
already presupposed
for the fictional covenant by which the state is supposedly
established. Namely, meeting in relative safety, entering into contractual arrangements (in the

case of the state of a very sophisticated sophistical sort).
* Anarchism has not met the 'intractable ... problem of co-ordinating the activities of many
independent social units without recourse to central authority' (M p.181). But there are many

examples, most notably at an international level again, where such coordination has been
achieved (e.g. IUCO). Examples are increasing with new networking arrangements (e.g.

Pegasus network).

Where substantially self-managing arrangements, such as traditional

markets are allowed to flourish, there are no such intractable problems. Certainly, however,

with anarcho-communist structures which aim to suppress such self-managing arrangements,
there are problems: namely those of
* co-ordinating productive activity, aligning production with the needs of consumers without

5
markets or central planning.
Key approach: localising production, face-to-face.
How can this work in an advanced industrial economy, where a high degree of specialization

and much division of labour. Suggestion CAN'T!

* motivating people to work.
Pressure, sanctions, rewards. While this is a problem in any setting, it is caAaaccJ since certain
personal rewards removed.
*
a central agency seems necessary to maintain any society-wide distribution of resources'

(p.172). W/nc/i resources? Where markets operate, many resources will be distributed without
any role for a central agency, which would often serve as a serious blockage. WAat
distribution? What was intended was: a
distribution of resources, so the blatant inequalities
now observed in even the wealthist societies are mitigated and the conditions of the worst-off
are alleviated. That is drawing upon experience of capitalism: anarchism would not start out
from such an invidious position. Further, it is assumed that there are only two ways of righting
such (capitalistic) maldistribution: through purely private means or by a centralised state means.

So presented it represents an extremely familiar false dichotomy, private or state, in which
society is either equated with the state or else drops out, and all other public means disappear.
For socially-inclined anarchists there is no disputing that there need to be safety nets in
place for the poor and disadvantaged. What is in question is how those nets are placed and

administered, and whether the state has an essential role or is rather a less efficient more
officious nuisance. One option is an exposed tithing system, where members of society are

offered a choice of schemes to contribute to, and expected to contribute to these, and
encouraged to make their contribution open to public inspection. Those who tried to evade
contribution and closed their books would be subject to a range of social pressures.
It is further claimed that while smaller anarchist communities, especially those of a
collectivistic or communistic bent, may be able to resolve inequitable distribution problems,
'there are major difficulties' in attempting to realise some distributive ideal 'between
communities' (p.173). There may be major difficulties, there are now, but that is scarcely an

argument for a central authority. Some redistribution and a small transfer of wealth occurs
intentionally without a central authority. There is not even decisive evidence that a central
authority helps, so far from making matters worse.
* AaarcA/sw
no
/or /aw.
Anarchism cannot traffic in law - at least in the initial and prominent sense of /aw
(ventured e.g. in the OED), namely 'a rule of conduct imposed by authority', imposed by
authority and characteristically backed up by coercion, it may be added. To some extent
counter balancing this prognostication is a second sense of 'law' (the third comprises 'scientific
and philosophical uses' from which likewise anarchism is not debarred): namely 'without

reference to an external commanding authority'. Thus as the term gavcrawcar is variably

determinable, so also is /aw. Under the main determinate, law is incompatible with anarchism.

6

But under a different determinate, there is no incompatibility. Anarchism could operate with
such a derminate (as with appropriate notions of moral law, and similar). Law, however,
deservedly has a tarnished reputation, in anarchism as elsewhere. Most of it is arcane,
administered by an expensive oligopolistic priesthood. Too often it is an oppressive tool of the
state.

While anarchism is hostile to such law, and incompatible with heavy authoritarian law, it
is in no way opposed to rules, to regulations, to conventions of freely assented to sorts, and so

on. These can substitute.
The state has other less conspicuous roles than law and order, war and defence, and
managing the economy.
* The state serves as representative of national identity, which people crave. Anarchism does

not cater for this basic human need. This is pretty dubious stuff. Such a need is by no means
ubiquitous, and is, if not manufactured, certainly exaggerated in convenient cases, by state
devices. But let us concede a need hypothesis (there is nothing basic about it). Is it true that
The anarchist does nothing to replace the notion; his ideal society is devoid of any features
which might serve as a focus of identity' (M p.180)? No. The components in terms of which
an anarchistic society is structured — the local community, the local region, the regional

federations,... - offer foci for identification, bases for sporting teams, and so on. But, in any
event, nothing excludes national organisations, fielding cultural groups, artistic troupes,

sporting teams, and so on. The present structure of national sporting bodies, only loosely
affiliated with states, and coordinated in model anarchist fashion, provides in fact a worthwhile

example of anarchism in action (Burnheim again).
Do such concessions to features of nationhood 'naturally lead to a demand for self

government', and thence for a nation-state (p.181)? They may (as with the Basques) or may
not (as with the Cornish), and if so more likely the former than the latter? Further these
demands may come only from a small minority of nationals, or may be ill-founded. A demand
on its own demonstates comparatively

of merit, for all that modem economics would have

us imagine.
A repeated criticism of anarchism is that 'with the state removed, the system has no
ultimate guarantor ...'. So it used to be said in favour of God. But who guarantees the
guarantor? (A state may underwrite a bank, but a state itself can fail, despite support of other

states.) There is no ultimate guarantor. There are other issues also, such as the character of the
guarantor. While it is seen to in theology, as a matter of further (illicit) characterisation, that

God has the right features, nothing guarantees that an "ultimate guarantor" is not, rather like
most states, corrupt, unfair, heavy handed and incompetent.^ Even if an ultimate guarantee was
needed, none could be provided. But lesser assurances can be offered. For example, a bank's
2

If a guarantee cannot be obtained without violence, it is most unlikely that a satisfactory one
will be obtained with it.

7

books can be open to public scrutiny and assessment, so that it can be seen that it is trading in a
responsible and viable fashion. (It is better that a person's healthy state be assured by
observation that the person is functioning well, than by maintaining the person as a closed
system and relying on the doctor's guarantee of the person's health.)

^/^ w:
C^^cj

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L__ found a way to police themselves,
f
there is no way they could maintain, let alone establish, an industrial
\
society. Small self-governing groups are incapable of building reser1
voirs to bring them clean water, or roads to connect cities, or dynamos
S
to supply electricity, or cars, or printing presses, or modern hospitals, '
product of
ofan
an advanced
advanced technology.
technology. Btg
Big tasks
tasks i,
1
or anything else that is a product
can be done only by big corporations tha^are either state-owned or
state-controlled, or that operate as vast independent oligarchies wtthm
;
the stated/2^-),

^..

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,^y

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TA

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!

Many of the criticisms of anarchism turn on the issue of orgam.Mric'K, especially how
gconcwHC activity such as: marketing, distribution, and so on, is to be organised in the absence
of a central state authority. Meeting these criticisms in appropriate detail is no mean feat,
requiring the elaboration of substantially new economic theory (except for excessively

individualistic anarchists like Rothbart, but sketchy details and hints have been offered by
anarchist theorists). While economic criticisms bulk large in recent criticism of anarchism, the

state having assumed the role of grand macro-economic organiser, these by no means exhaust
criticisms. There are serious issues also concerning political and cultural organisation,
concerning the presumed enemies of organisation and order.
In many criticisms it is simply assumed that anarchistic organisation will have to take over

the arrangements of present mega-states and somehow substitute for those, without mega-states.

The assumption is astray. Mega-states are mostly recent undesirable constructions, obtained by
conquest or war dealings, and held together coercive means and other devices of state. These
would, would be allowed to, fragment into regional components. Thus the problem of

organisation is a substantially smaller problem than that of organisation of mega-states; namely,
that of organisation of regions. The regions would naturally be grouped together, by principles
of federation. (The new Europe provides a partial, suggestive example.)

J
*

No strand of anarchism 'has developed an adequate economic theory.

The

individualists are stymied by the public goods problem, the communists by the problems of
coordination. [Even more plausible intermediate positions] require the support of the state at a
number of critical points' (M p.172). How the state is presumed to provide its benign
supportative role is well illustrated in the case of more individualistic anarchism, where the
familiar problem of public goods is also taken to manifest itself.

A cynic might well observe that no strand of capitalism or of socialism has developed an

adequate economic theory. But theories there no doubt are, in certain narrow reaches in
abundance.

* Anarchism assumes the benefits of autonomous market operations, indeed The individualistic

ideal is one of personal sovereignty in the market place', but 'is not the state an indispensible
prerequisite for a successfully functioning economy?' (M p.169). There are two parts to a
response. First, markets functioned before states, and function outside states, for example
internationally. Second, whatever institutions are required for the operation of markets can be
supplied regionally under anarchistic fragmentation of the state.

How much background structure do markets depend upon, which might presuppose
apparatus of state. A market has a place of transactions, which can be common or waste

ground, a supply of goods or services to be exchanged there for other goods or services (barter)

or currency (in a money economy). Buyers and sellers enter the market to effect exchanges.

No doubt presupposed are at least limited entitlement (leasehold or property rights, so a seller is
entitled to dispose of, to a new user, holder or owner, what is offered for sale), contractual
arrangements, and in a money economy, some recognised currency. Also presumed, normally

where markets operate, are certain levels of safety, for instance protection against invasion,
assault and theft. But these are normal expectations for much of social life, for even conducting
a conversation. As for the rest, except perhaps for currency, it is a mere pretence that a state is
required for their assurance: custom^ or tribal arrangements will ensure both property in

transportable goods and recognition of verbal contracts or undertakings. An appropriate
currency too can develop in the absence of states, as exemplified in the shell currencies of

Melanesia and the bank notes of early America. Bank notes are not fully public goods; for a
bank which can profit from their circulation or issue has an incentive to supply them. (And

32

banks themselves do not require a sponsoring state, even if sometimes that helps, as in bailing
them out.)
It is worth observing that much of the conventional apparatus presumed for markets is
already presupposed prg-sMfe for the fictional covenant by which the state is supposedly
established. Namely, meeting in relative safety, entering into contractual arrangements (in the

case of the state of a very sophisticated sophistical sort).
* Anarchism has not met the 'intractable ... problem of co-ordinating the activities of many
examples, most notably at an international level again, where such coordination has been

achieved (e.g. IUCO). Examples are increasing with new networking arrangements (e.g.
Pegasus network). Where substantially self-managing arrangements, such as traditional
markets are allowed to flourish, there are no such intractable problems. Certainly, however,
with anarcho-communist structures which aim to suppress such self-managing arrangements,
there are problems:

* ^o-ordinating productive activity, aligning production with
*needs

of

consumers without markets <?r central planning.
Key approach: localising production, face-to-face.
How can this work in an advanced industrial economy, where a high degree of specialization
and much division of labour. Suggestion CAN'T!

* motivating people to work.
Pressure, sanctions, rewards.
in any setting, but
rewards removed.

since certain personal

* '... a central agency seems necessary to maintain any society-tide distribution of resources'
(p.172). WTu'cA resources? Where markets operate, many resources will be distributed without

any role for a central agency, which would often serve as a serious blockage.

What

distribution? What was intended was: ayMst distribution of resources, so the blatant inequalities

now observed in even the wealthist societies are mitigated and the conditions of the worst-off
are alleviated. That is drawing upon experience of capitalism: anarchism would not start out

from such an invidious position. Further, it is assumed that there are only two ways of righting
such (capitalistic) maldistribution: through purely private means or by a centralised state means.
So presented it represents an extremely familiar false dichotomy, private or state, in which
society is either equated with the state or else drops out, and all other public means disappear.
For socially-inclined anarchists there is no disputing that there need to be safety nets in
place for the poor and disadvantaged. What is in question is how those nets are placed and

administered, and whether the state has an essential role or is rather a less efficient more

officious nuisance. One option is an exposed tithing system, where members of society are

/v

33

offered a choice of schemes to contribute to, and expected to contribute to these, and encouraged
to make their contribution open to public inspection. Those who tried to evade contribution and

closed their books would be subject to a range of social pressures.
It is further claimed that while smaller anarchist communities, especially those of a
collectivistic or communistic bent, may be able to resolve inequitable distribution problems,

'there are major difficulties' in attempting to realise some distributive ideal
communities' (p.173). There may be major difficulties, there are now, but that is scarcely an
argument for a central authority. Some redistribution and a small transfer of wealth occurs
intentionally without a central authority. There is not even decisive evidence that a central

authority helps, so far from making matters worse.

The state has other less conspicuous roles than law and order, war and defence, and
managing the economy.

* The state serves as representative of national identity, which people crave. Anarchism does

not cater for this basic human need. This is pretty dubious stuff. Such a need is by no means
ubiquitous, and is, if not manufactured, certainly exaggerated in convenient cases, by state
devices. But let us concede a need hypothesis? Is it true that 'the anarchist does nothing to
replace the notion; his ideal society is devoid of any features which might serve as a focus of

identity' (M p.180)? No. The components in terms of which an anarchistic society is structured
- the local community, the local region, the regional federations, ... — offer foci for
identification, bases for sporting teams, and so on. But, in any event, nothing excludes national
organisations, fielding cultural groups, artistic troupes, sporting teams, and so on. The present

structure of national sporting bodies, only loosely affiliated with states, and coordinated in
model anarchist fashion, provides in fact a worthwhile example of anarchism in action
(Bumheim again).

Do such concessions to features of nationhood 'naturally lead to a demand for self
government', and thence for a nation-state (p.181)? They may (as with the Basques) or may not
(as with the Cornish), and if so more likely the former than the latter? Further these demands
may come only from a small minority of nationals, or may be ill-founded. A demand on its own
demonstates comparatively ZZrr/e of merit, for all that modern economics would have us imagine.
A repeated criticism of anarchism is that 'with the state removed, the system has no

ultimate guarantor ...'. So it used to be said in favour of God. But who guarantees the
guarantor? (A state may underwrite a bank, but a state itself can fail, despite support of other

states.) There is no ultimate guarantor. There are other issues also, such as the character of the

s

[Jj[government is variably determinable, so also is /ow. Under the mam

a JS/'

/A%>

determinate, law is incompatible with anarchism. But under a different determinate, there is no
( incmpatibiHty.
--------------- —----------------- ------------------------------ ------ L_

--- Cjy.

Anarchism cannot traffic in law, in the initial and prominent sense of /<2w(offered in the
OEE^, namely 'a rule of conduct imposed by authority', imposed by authority and

characteristically backed up by coercion, it may be added. To some extent counter^teducing this
prognostication is a second sense of 'law' (the third comprises 'scientific and philosophical
-

uses'): namely 'without reference to an external commanding authority'.
^aw deservedly has a tarnished reputation^ m anarchism. Most of it is arcane,

administered by an expensive, priesthood. Too often it is an oppression tool of the state.
While anarchism is hostile to such law, and incompatable with heavy authoritarian law, it
is in no way opposed to rules, to regulations, to conventions of freely assented to Kats, and so
On.
can
t

?

guarantor. While it is seen to in theology, as a matter of further (illicit) characterisation, that
God has the right features, nothing guarantees that an "ultimate guarantor" is not, rather like

most states, corrupt, unfair, heavy handed and incompetent? Even if an ultimate guarantee was
needed, none could be provided. But lesser assurances can be offered. For example, a bank's
books can be open to public scrutiny and assessment, so that it can be seen that it is trading in a
responsible and viable fashion. (It is better that a person's healthy state be assured by
observation that the person is functioning well, than by maintaining the person as a closed
system and relying on the doctor's guarantee of the person s health.)

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1

A DEEP RIFT ON PROPERTY
A main element in the major divide between right and left anarchism, as between left and
right, is property. Other elements in the divide, such as the accumulation of capital essential to
capitalism, depend upon property, because it in it as a transferable commodity that capital is held.
It is unremarkable then that property balks large, as an institution to be defended and even extended
(with new rights to address environmental issues) in right-leaving political theory and, what heavily
overlaps that g^ave. American anarchism. At the opposing end of the right-left tug of war, state,
.social or common ownership of property used to be all the go: but left coalitions are presently
down-playing such ideals and aspirations.
Reflective green theory once again moves off the right-left axis, questioning aspects of the
strong ownership and control relations presumed in the tug-of war. Prope^tarian relations are all

based upon older domination and control ideologies, but diluted in kinder stewardship approaches,
not removed. For, while the idea of land as a mere commodity subject to the $hims of present
owners is softened, the steward normally but manages and controls for some higher master, god or
humanity. Reflect further on what both private owners and state owners may do to the
environments and habitats they "own".
Green reflection le^ds then towards the modification of entrenched institutions of private and

state property.
Green anarchism automatically eliminates certain types of ownership, namely state ownership

which has to depart with the state. The demise of the state should at least suggest that associated
institutions such as property and the law may be in some trouble. So it proves, to an interesting
extent. For, much as arguments to the state are, like those to the Master, Dominus, fatally flawed,
so are those to strong and established systems of property subject to lethal objections. Further,

much as the unwarranted state may be substituted for less dominating justifiable institutions, so
property and its adjuncts may be replaced by alternative less dominating arrangements, such as use­
hold, leasehold, and the like.
A central claim, argued^ detail, will be that none of the arguments for property as justified,
as an entitlement as right, succeeds,?!// that the whole run of arguments supports is the need, or

desirability for some lesser arrangements. It is advantageous to have some terminology to cover
both property anJ lesser arrangements, <7aa.n-proper?y so to say, or gua/efty as will be said.
'The concept of property is fundamental to our [U.S.] society, probably to any workable
society' (Friedman p.3). The second claim is soon strengthened, and a third insupportable claim

added: '... property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the
central institution of a free society' (p.4). The onus of proof strictly lies with those who claim
property, property rights, etc. For outside certain far from universal social conditions there is no
such property as is claimed. Considering the way the onus falls, the situation is remarkable. 77?ere
are no JecM/ve argawenM, so far as I can ascertain,/or such an institution as property. That

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2

situation, if confirmed, raises important questions, such as how and w/ry the institution is in place?
But first the arguments, such as they are.
The main argument preferred by Friedman in support of his grand claims takes off from the
problem of the distribution of scarce material resources among competing parties who seek access
or use.

The usual solution is for the use of each t/ung to be decided by a person or
some group of persons organised under some
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Such t/ungs are
called property. If each thing is controlled by an individual who has the
power to transfer that control to any other individual, we call the institution
private property (p.4).
Firstly, all the distribution of resources problem points to is some allocation of uses, or some
sharing thereof. For such purposes many arrangements far short of property will serve; for

instance, lease, limited use rights, and so on. Secondly, what immediately stands out, an attempt is
made to close the chasm between what is so far delivered and what the claims concerning property
require through an appallingly low redefinition of 'property'. What one gets to use under some set
of rules may not be property at all (e.g. a cove, a sea passage,...). Property requires much more:
ownership in a nonv^cuous sense, coupled with a high level of potential control. Nor, thirdly, is
the characterisation of private property satisfactory, as transferable leasehold will meet the
conditions given. It may be argued that leasehold itself requires owne^h^ip; it will be argued that it
does not. But it certainly does not require private property, nor does proprietorship transfer across
leasehold arrangements.
That is^ it. Friedman proceeds, on the quite unwarranted assumption that all is property, to

argue the respective merits of private property and demerits of what is not private, public property
so it is supposed. 'Under public property, the values of the public as a whole are imposed on the
individuals who require the use of that property to accomplish their ends' (p.7). Something
remotely
that may hold for the example Friedman is discussing, the inordinately dull broadcast
media of the USA; but it certainly does not hold generally given the remainder way in which 'public
property' is characterised, so that no values whatsoever may be imposed.
What subjects hold property rights (if any) or like rights? The standard chauvinistic
assumption is that the class of such subjects comprises humans, or competent humans, or humans
who have competent guardians. But why should other creatures not hold and maintain territories,
as many appear to do? And if incompetent or disqualified humans can hold property managed by
guardians, trustees and the like, and if legal persons such as corporations can do likewise, why

should not a range of nonhumans (for instance, those that are credited with interests) do something
similar?

Given that many nonhumans can (and do) have proprietory rights, there can be a head-on
conflict between human rights and property rights (in opposition to Friedman p.3).

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Anarchistic societies of any complexity will typically consist of a network of decentralised
organisation, or a federation of these (etc.). The organisations will thus be regional, but

beyond that set up according to issue, role or function. Thus they will include what might well
be accounted
Many of the stock features of political functionalism, as
decentralised, will accordingly recur, separation of powers, tailoring of administration to need,

for instance. The organisations will furthermore be noncoercive; no individual or group will be
forced to join. Typically they will be voluntary arrangements.
A critical question is to how these organisations, substituting for the operation of state,
are to be controlled, regulated, and so on. In such favoured democratic structures control is
usually remarkably indirect. A populace weakly selects a central parliament, which exercises
through other bodies some control of state organisations. A full anarchism is obliged to
dissolve or substitute for central parliaments. It has a obvious option, namely direct democratic
control of state-substituting organisations. A simple way of achieving this is through sortition:
the membership of the governing component of each organisation is chosen randomly from
those of the regional community who volunteer to be on it. In some cases volunteers may
require accessible qualifications, and disqualifications (e.g. by having served before, by some
disqualifying record). Where the community decides that certain categories of people should be
represented, e.g. disable, minorities, then it is a matter of arranging random selection of the
required fraction of group numbers from these categories. This style of statistical democracy
dates back at least to original democracies of Greek city states where public officials were
sometimes selected by lot (it is discussed under democracy in Aristotle's Po/m'cy). Nowadays it
is called dwxirc/ty (a term with an unfortunate prior meaning); here in its anarchistic form it will
be alluded to under the ecologism dewa/tarcAy.

Such demanarchy has the immediate virtue of removing an expensive duplication,
government ministers and their departmental counterparts (e.g. finance ministers and
corresponding appointed treasury officials). Indeed, the whole charade of parliamentary
government, ministers and hordes of minders, governments and replicating opposition teams, is
duly removed - as it has to be under non-centralization. Such parliamentary centres are

eliminated; insofar as anything replaces them, it is the dispersed community, no centre, which is
directly linked to functional organisation.
Gone with the centre, or seriously reduced, are several standard political worries, such as

those of coup or take-over, insurrection or invasion. These usually involve capturing the centre
and its command structure, no longer there to capture.^ Community defence is thereby
rendered much easier. Also considerably reduced is the standard problem of who controls the

controllers: partly because control is so diffused, and prartly because a main controller is the
community (one of the advantages of democracy).
Appropriate institutions take care of the day-to-day running of community affairs; but

what of major issue decisions, changes of direction or structure. These can be accomplished

3

For there is no command or control structure that could be taken by an invador or internal
insurrection.

from the bottom, through referenda, propositions and the iike (organised through a suitably
independent college), rather than in present top-down inflexible fashion. (These methods, of
which there is worthwhile experience in parts of Europe, are investigated in Wolff.)
A regular early question is how such a stateless structure is to be financed wirAoM? coecive
mechanisms available. Of course if coercive institutions were in place, then the overall structure
could be financed in the sorts of ways that states are presently financed. It should be observed,
in any case, that coercive means are very rarely resorted to (unless the target is persued for
reasons, such as crime) in order to obtain revenue payments from wealthy corporations, firms

or individuals, where in a more equitible community much of the funding would derive from
(by contrast with most present states). There are several parts to a satisfactory answer:* Mt/cA less public revenue would be required because the most expensive, most wasteful, and
least productive components of state have been excised. These include the whole apparatus of
central government and electoral politics, and the associated system of coercion, standard
military forces and defense establishment, espionage framework, and police forces, prison
establishment and expensive courts.
Nonetheless there remain many institutions to finance, include smaller substitutes for
some of the abolished structures (e.g. social defence arrangements).
* Many institutions can be largely or entirely self-financing, because like customs and import
organisation they collect revenue, or through fair user-pays principles. Reasonable returns

taken can be channelled to an independent revenue office with no outside spending or
redistribution powers.
* Much, if not all, further social revenue could be raised through resources taxation (adequate

royalties and the like), rental taxes on property, gift and gains taxes, and through auctions (of
previously inherited goods), how this would work depends upon community arrangements.
Consider however a preferred anarchistic arrangement where that problematic item, private

property, has not been instituted or has been oblished (as with most European anarchism, by
contrast with North American forms). Valuable durables (roughly, any durable with stealing

for sale in present systems) will be rented instead of bought. Learnchold systems can be
operated very like private property (as the land system in A.C.T. reveals) fruit-feting market

operations, but they offer significantly better control, for instance environmentally, they enable
the social component of generated wealth to be reflected, through a rental, and they can be of
finite terms and to a given individual, so inheritance transfer is excluded. In place of the

customery land titles office a larger durables office with subdivision for types of durables
would be instituted, with each durable now indelibly marked or described.^

4

Here as with rcfcraHs, computing fasiiibiies remove many previous obstacles to each arguments.
Organisation can move with new technology.

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—--

-------------------------

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A

CHAPTER

ROADS TO ANARCHY: OLD ROUTES AND NEW INPUTS
STRATEGIES FOR TRANSITION TO ANARCHIST SOCIETIES,
AND AFTER.
As there is a plurality of anarchistic positions and end-states, so, but not in a directly
corresponding way, there is a plurality of routes to anarchism. As the positions vary very
considerably in quality, so do the routes, some of them risky, all of them difficult.

Anarchism, even though theoretical viable, undoubtedly looks /iard to obtain on any scale.
For states are now extremely well entrenched - in furthermore a mutually supportive exclusive
club of states. There is now immense resistance to their removal, deriving from several sources.
In particular, state actors and power-brokers are most unlikely to modify statist arrangements in
ways inadvantageous to themselves, to relinquish any power, still less to step down easily. Such
actors will often take desperate steps to retain institutional power; it is very difficult to persuade
most political human to relinquish power simply and gracefully.
Nonetheless opportunities arise for overthrowing or superseding states (for instance, in most
of Eastern Europe and much of Western Asia in the early 1990s). Periods of crises or "power

vacuum", in particular, afford opportunities, which should be seized as they may not arise often in
more stable states (most recently in 1974 in Australia). A well-prepared anarchist movement will
organise, then, and when the moment arrives, pounce (a partial model is feline hunting practice).
But such opportunistic and risky revolutionary routes are only one way to change, as the following
diagram, designed to survey the possibility field, should reveal.

Diagram 5.7 Ways /a poZiWca/ change.
WAYS

Intra-State:
within State
setting

EVOLUTIONARY

1. typically slow or incremental

REVOLUTIONARY

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operations through received
political channels

2.

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typically rapid

operations circuiting
established channels:
coups, insurrections, etc.

)

Extra-State

3. operations establishing

alternative organisations
bypassing or substituting
for statist arrangements, or
functioning within the
interstices of the state

!
*

4. operations comprising
j)
.
'
]

external inference or
intervention: by negotiation,
military means, sanctions,
examples, etc.

0

2

Pluralistic anarchist practice will pursue each and every one of these ways and means, so far
as resources indicate and permit, subject to constraints. For example, a nonviolent movement will

not adopt violent means (unless it insists upon a strange separation of ends and means). There is
nothing distinctively anarchist about these ways, except for 3; all otherwise are ways of changing
state arrangements, 2 of trading one sort of state for another, 3 of imposing state control and
discipline where it is lapsing from "approved" form or where there may have been none (as with
colonial adventures).

As there have been many attempts to narrowly delimit anarchism, so there have been
repeated attempts to restrict roads and byways to anarchism. Exposing these attempts will at the
same time show what is open.

J, Deploying and making wore

sZads/ po/f/fcaf arrange/ncnis

Use of orthodox political channels is not excluded. Pluralistic anarchism is not obliged to

dismiss political routes to anarchism or to anarchist objectives. Parliamentary and other
constitutional routes (such as through referenda) to an anarchist end-state are perfectly possible, if
difficult because of the tendency of state apparatus to endeavour to perpetuate itself. (As a related
example, a main successful party in the multi-party Australian Capital Territory government was
organised and supported by those opposed to such a government.) A main difficulty confronting
change through conventional political procedure is simply that, w/tere it does occur, it is usually
extraordinarily slow and limited, it is almost invariably small change at the margins.
It may take a little lateral reasoning to see the advantages, or occasionally practical necessity,
of working through or within a system or even strengthening it first in order to demolish it
(strengthening does not imply endorsing forever, but nothing more "counterintuitive" than appears
in a battery of stock psychological tests or clever martial arts). Authentic Marxism, for example,
which is ultimately anarchistic, is committed to very much such a circuitous route: the circuit goes

through a rejuvenated super-productive state, which in old age withers away.
A main reason why it has been imagined that use of established political channels is
excluded, in anarchist practice, is not because of the slow evolutionary nature of the process, but
because of a doctrine of means-ends congruence, which is given too circumscribed a construal.

This over-strong congruence doctrine requires more than what coherence seems to demand,
namely that the means should be compatible with comprehensive ends sought (thus precluding, for
example, violent means to achieve non-violent ends). It further requires that in anarchist action,
particularly the revolution, the end of a stateless society should be "prefigured", not some

intervening non-congruent objective. Even if the geometric metaphor were duly clarified, few
reasons have been advanced for accepting the crippling doctrine, which is not self-evident.

3

Frankly, anarchism does not need to give itself unnecessary handicaps; it faces enough real-world
obstacles without dubious doctrinaire additions from well-intentioned friends.
An anarchist organisation is plainly not a contradiction in terms; nor therefore is an anarchist

coalition or party, committed for instance to removing coercive institutions. Pursuing this tack, an
anarchist can vote for a party which comes closer to realising immediate anarchist objectives than
other parties, or, very differently, for a party which will assist long-term anarchist objectives (for

instance, by wreaking the national economy and thereby helping green objectives and generating
appropriate political discontent and dissent), without any commitment to the parties concerned, and
without endorsing the political system within which they operate. Strategic voting is not
precluded; strategic anarchist voters may well (unlike totalitarian voters) support (preferential)
democratic procedures.

While the state is to be dis-established, meanwhile there are more benign and less benign
states, in relevant respects, apart from how decently they treat their citizens and noncitizens and
aliens. It is no longer altogether accurate to insist, as anarchists used to a century ago, that 'every
state is an agency whereby a ruling minority exploits and oppresses a majority' (M p.87). Many in
majorities may do very nicely, thank you, while some in the elite minority may be grindstoned.
Moreover, the mass of people is generally not only resistant to change, but highly reluctant to force
changed unless there is very considerable dis-ease, which in most developed states there is not.

These are some of a mix of reasons why a revolution is so remote in comfortable countries; no
longer the incendiary states kindled for the anarchist match that 19th century anarchists imagined.

Despite mass lethargy, dissatisfaction with the state is extensive and comes from right across
the conventional political spectrum. There is widespread popular sentiment to the effect that "the
state has become our master instead of our servant", a reversal of roles that should not surprise
Hegelians. Libertarians interpret this in terms of a much reduced state, a much leaner and
hopefully much less hungry state - a route to anarchism if dismantling went in a right direction and
far enough. Right-thinking socialists interpret it in terms of a much transformed state, a helping
but unobtrusive rather than a commanding busybody state. A familiar view of the state from a
section of Green Movement represents a turn on the old anarcho-socialist view:
The ... state and the corporate sector are in alliance for the sake of "development".... We
try to wean people away from the belief that the state will act in the interest of the cidzens.
So we believe the ... state is best viewed as an oppressor (Orton, Response to Dwandik
Quesdons, p.6).
Orton argues on the basis of this for not trying 'to "use" the state' and 'not seeking government

funds'. But if the funds largely represent social wealth, why not judicious use? And if the state is

1

Social psychology appears to show as much.

4

the only legal means of requisite change? And so on.. In fact Orton himself proposes to make
changes through the state by mobilizing the people.

A state may also be more benign in other significant respects: for instance, in that it facilitates
minority political representation, including green anarchist groups, and in that it does not
significantly impede anarchist political and practical activity or render paths significantly more
difficult. Overlapping that, more benign less domineering states may leave substantial room for
significant anarchist practice both in lifestyle and in building organisational structures and (as it

were) alternatives to archist arrangements (such as peoples' books, time stores, etc.) What are in
important respects anarchist communities can operate within, as well as be modelled within, less
intrusive states (the limits to this quasi-anarchism, elaborated in Nozick, are explained in UT).
States that better meet anarchist (and green socialist) criteria for benignness can conveniently be

disdnguished as more .sywparico states.
Committed anarchists can quite well also be committed, as an intermediate goal among
others, to achieving more sympatico states, which may involve conventional (as well as
unconventional) political activity. No doubt engagement in conventional political activity carries a
risk of co-option; but there are obvious way of reducing that risk, of avoiding the 'slide into
collaboration with the bourgeoisie [and] ... willingness to play the game of parliamentary
politics'.2 For example, precautionary strategies include: engagement also in unconventional

political activity, anarchist or communal practice, consciousness-raising exercises, and use of time
limits, interruption tactics, rotations of leaders, and so on. Green party activities and procedures

can serve as a useful model here?.

Apart from the real dangers of co-option and state collaboration, there are other intertwined
objections standardly made to attempting political roads to anarchism and socialism. One objection

is that any attempt to use the state 'unavoidably reproduces all the features of that institution', such
as exploitation by a ruling or elite minority, and oppression of the majority. Few, it is continued,
will escape from effective control, or, when if offers, be able to resist using the immense powers

of the state. New people, new power-holders, will be transformed (by the usual devices, such as
being made to feel important, given an exaggerated impression of their own worth). It should be
evident that the objection has drifted from "reproduction of the state" to variants of "power
corrupts". Both are overstated, and there are strategies for overcoming both. Sometimes the state
c/tang&y, perhaps for the better; the British state has altered significantly in the last 300 years,

seemingly for better.

Corresponding the power of certain power-holders has declined

significantly, from monarchs and aristocracy down.

2
3

M p.89, see also Goodin in Green Politics.
See Spretnak and Capra 86 for details.

5

Another objection is better focussed. It is that use of the state leads the wrong ways,
through organisation by centralization and hierarchy, and action by legislation. As a result state
routes will not lead to decentralization, distribution of power and wealth downwards, and so on.
While state practices are commonly antipathetic to the sort of constructive objectives indicated, they
are not always, and they do not /Mvg to be. States, like large corporations, can reorganise, and
occasionally attempt to (thus reform and restructuring of bureaucracies, or even of whole public
services, etc.). Although unlikely for reasons indirected, state reorganisation can in principle

proceed by decentralization and devolution of power. Nor is there any lethal objection to achieving
action by legislation, so long as that legislation is not enforced by inadmissible coercive methods.
In sum, what the objection reemphasizes is that considerable care has to be exercised in using the
state, as with any major source of power. Further it shows again that transition can only proceed
so far through the state; the state route only leads so far, after which other means of transport need
to be taken or considered.
There are other ways of amending statist political arrangements than political approaches,

notably legal means, through courts. There is little anarchist precedence for such activity; mostly
anarchists have had heavy legal apparatus used against them. However, once again environmental
practice serves as a valuable exemplar, with many worthwhile results achieved (especially in
American courts) through litigation. In principle there is much that could be achieved in this way,
in state and international courts, to reduce the power of states and their instrumentalities. For
example, in Australia there are very many statues and laws which unjustifiably limit freedoms and
restrict individual and group action: examples include not only little activated but appalling
legislation on sedition, assembly, and similar, but a sweeping range of actively used and
opportunistically exploited legislation concerning defamation and freedom of speech, victimless
crimes, paternalism, restrictive trade and banking, sheltered professions, compulsory voting, and
so on, and on.
There is also much room for variation and experimentation within prevailing political and

legal arrangements. For example, applying procedures of statistical democracy to a few greater
range of activities than (adjusted) jury servicing to the organisation of municipal services, public
companies, and so on.

alternative structures and the forest succession model.
A main strategy for transition, emerging from the arguments for the viability of anarchism, is
that of replacement: transition to a new anarchist social order proceeds by replacement or
adaptation of the more satisfactory State organisations and structures by organisations and
structures of a more anarchistic cast, and by removal or phasing out of remaining no longer

necessary or unsatisfactory State arrangements.
Replacement and supersession suggest a biological model, of such change and succession,
as occurs where one forest type succeeds another; and such a model is in turn very suggestive. To

<?,

6

make the model more definite, and to give it some local colour, consider forest succession where a

sub-tropical rainforest replaces a eucalypt forest, as analogous to the case where anarchism
replaces a Statist society. There is certainly a marked change in structure, typically from a tall
forest with a fairly open canopy to a more compact closed forest with more layers of vegetation,

much more local diversity and a richer variety of life forms, especially floral forms. A forest is not
merely a set of trees, but trees in structural arrangement and interdependence, not merely on one
another but on other life forms such as pollinating insects, seed-carrying birds and animals, and so
on; and the changes in structure include changes in microclimate, in soil moisture levels and humus

and bacterial content.
The change of forest type may be by evolution, by hastened or induced evolution, or by
catastrophe (revolution) as when a eucalypt forest is clearfelled and artificially succeeded by
planted rainforest. (Strictly, there is a spectrum of practices and replacement strategies between
evolutionary and revolutionary and various different revolutionary strategies; and the standard
evolutionary-revolutionary contrast presents a false dichotomy.)
Even reliance on predominantly evolutionary methods, which tend to be very slow by human
time scales, way require some (management) practices, else evolution towards rainforest will not
begin or continue. For example, seeds for rainforest species may not be available if adjoining
areas have been stripped of suitable seed trees, e.g. by clearing or eucalypt conversion, in which
case it will be necessary to introduce seeds (of anarchist ideas, methods, arrangements, etc.). And

rainforest evolution may not be able to continue because the area is burnt occasionally, e.g. by
State officers, in which case protection against fire will be required: for with burning (and the
suppression) regimes rainforest seedlings are killed and eucalypt dominance perpetuated.
Furthermore, evolution can be hastened or induced by introducing seeds, or planting rainforest

trees in poorly seeded areas (i.e. setting up alternative social arrangements) under the eucalypt
overstorey, or even by some careful culling of eucalypts. But even without culling there will be
much for anarchist management to do.

As the rainforest cover begins to grow up through the eucalypt forest, the forest begins to
change structurally. Younger eucalypt poles die, and their replacement by eucalypts is generally
precluded owing to low light intensities near the forest floor (in something the same way

conditions for political entrepreneurs to flourish are excluded in an emerging anarchist society).
Gradually, as the rainforest grows, only scattered giant eucalypts protrude through the canopy,
and in time these fall to the forest floor, to rot and not to be replaced - unless the climax rainforest

is subject to catastrophe, such as fire or cyclone.
Catastrophic methods, such as clearfelling the eucalypt forest, replanting with rainforest,
protecting the new forest, and removing eucalyptus regrowth, are wocA more problematic. To be
applied they require either a large workforce or much mechanical power (so it is with violent

revolutions which need a large support basis not generally available in advanced capitalist and state

7
socialist countries, or else access to means of perpetrating violence comparable to that of the State).
There are often similar requirements for success; otherwise the area may be choked by rapidly

growing weeds or the rainforest plants may be suppressed by eucalypt seedlings and a pioneer
eucalypt stage recur. Moreover, a eucalypt overstorey can sometimes afford good conditions for
rainforest growth, e.g. plant protection from excessive sun, from occasional frosts, and from
drying winds, better moisture retention conditions, and so on. Similarly anarchist social
organisations may sometimes be able to
the environment afforded by the State to get started.
Thus not all forms of the State are necessarily equally inimical, and some may provide much more
favourable conditions for the development of anarchist social organisation than others.^
The forest model (together with preceding arguments) helps to illustrate why violent and
catastrophic methods are not congruent witty the goals of an anarchist society and why there is an

intimate connection between these goals and a strong preference for nonmilitaristic and non-violent
methods of achieving change. Replacement involves a (normally gradual) process of developing
alternative institutions and forms of social organisation and the growth of the new form of society
within the old, and is not a catastrophic single event conceived of as outside the normal order of
things, and for whose advent all other action for change is held suspended. And just as methods

of change such as clearfelling are likely to perpetuate the eucalypt cycle and are unlikely to favour

the development of the rainforest, so the use of catastrophic and especially militaristic methods is
likely to perpetuate an authoritarian social order and unlikely to favour the development of a co­
operative, non-violent and non-coercive one.
* applying the forest succession model.

How to apply the model is not difficult to appreciate at least in broad outline. As well many
of the further details have been filled out by work that can be described as indicating how
allegiance can be shifted in practice from where we mostly are to alternative social arrangements

and lifestyles built on self-management and mutual aid.$ The seeds of anarchism should be
broadcast or planted, anarchist (non-Statist) arrangements instituted or strengthened, and efforts

made to replace or modify vulnerable Statist arrangements, e.g. by democratisation of present
institutions and development of nonstatist and noncapitalist alternatives. Some of the practices are
familiar: anarchist groups, clubs, pamphlets, broadcasts, newsletters, etc.; (anarchist)
cooperatives, exchanges, neighbourhood groups, rural communities, etc. Others are slightly less
familiar: avoidance of State influence by arrangements beyond State reach such as costless (or
alternative currency) interchanges of goods and services, barter, black-green economies, and so
on, action directed at removing decision-making from State departments, such as forest services,
and into citizen hands, and ultimately, to decentralized interested communities. In this sort of way,
4
5

This has an important bearing on strategies for achieving change: see D. Altman, ReAearsaAs ybr CAange,
Fontana, Melbourne. 1980.
As sketched in some of the material already cited, for example, Routley, p.284 ff.,SM.

8

worthwhile State arrangements can be replaced, and power can be progressively transferred from
the State, and returned to the communities and to people more directly involved.
Formation of networks of anarchistic communities and neighbourhoods, functioning within
the interstices of the state and state bureaucracies, would represent a significant stage in
succession. Something like this is beginning to develop in Australia (by contrast with the USA
where the commune movement appears to have gone into decline).^

3. Types of individual and small group actions
While strategies proceeding through movements are social in character, a variety of
individna/ action can also be highly effective if widely enough separately undertaken. Naturally if
there is some solidarity, some coordination of individuals, such action will be both fostered and

enhanced. Witness the practice of early Christians, which combined individual action and
consciousness change, within a support and solidarity network. But Christianity misleadingly

promised more than anarchism and environmentalism can, not merely future better lives, but after­
lives in splendour, a bogus transcendentalism which however was, and still is, widely believed, a
damaging transcendentalism too, in that satisfactory lives in real space-time can be foregone, in

favour of virtual after-lives.
*
fran-y/br/nano/M. There are a range of proposals for comprehensive personal
change, but they all share fundamentals, which are personal improvement and enhanced personal
relationships. It is because of these shared fundamentals that religious change, such as that offered
under new Testament Christianity shades into the quasi-spiritualism of sects linked to Deep
Ecology (such as Council of All-Beings, Homage to Gaia, Earth Empowerment, etc.) which in
tum shades into Californian personal therapy fashions. Proposals for transformation do not
however have to hang^ out on the fringes of religion; hardheads like Passmore (in direct descent^
from 18th century sympathy-based ethics) have emphasized both personal relationships, love for
others, and moral improvement, better adherence to tested moral principles. Put together, these

individual changes would lead us, it is optimistically imagined, out of the environmental morass
and to a socially and environmentally better world. While it is not that simple, while the problems
lie deeper, some thought it was simpler still. Either the Beatles in their famous lines 'All you need
is love', reflecting an extremely popular sentiment, only saw one part of what was recognised, or
they erroneously supposed that part would yield the remainder. Love slobs are one sort of
counterexample; they achieve love and just wallow in that, not seeking any sort of improvement,
moral or other.
Let us not diminish the relevance of these proposals: the more rounded people among the
thin paper-mache economic and political men focussed only upon maximizing their own self-

interested utility in material consumer goods the better, the better for many concerns, including no

6

Refs

9

doubt prospects for anarchism. But let us not delude ourselves that herein lies the way out or
forward. Many of those proposals have been around for rather long time, and suggested again and

again, with no conspicuous results. A lot of it is to found in Spinoza, whence it has percolated
through both to Deep Ecology and Freudian therapy. The Deep Ecological emphasis on self­
realisation goes back at leas a century, to Humboldt and Mill, with Self already expanded in
German and British idealists. German and British industrial development did not lose a beat.
A mental revolution, in some people's minds, is no doubt essential for a properly planned

revolution. But mental transformations have to be translated into action, to practices that make a
material difference. And consciousness transformations may not translate into appropriate action;
many such transformations are politically very conservative, and lead to no relevant action or effort
for structural change.
Much of what is said of consciousness transformation applies also to
*
a route to change recommended by reformers and radicals for at least a century, from
Mill through Bookchin. Education, appropriately undertaken, can amend ideology, change
consciousness. But at its best it is very slow in operation, very partial because it has to compete
against other sources of propaganda (such as media, dominant society, etc.). And it is more likely
to carry dominant messages, and reinforce dominant attitudes. There is a major problem in getting

alternative messages appropriately delivered and action undertaken.
* c^pting oat (so far as this is possible or even now possible).
To be effective, this has to be focussed, not merely a dropping out parasitic on the state system. It
has to be focussed in way^which challenge the state systems, it inevitability, decidability, etc., in
Redirect
*-F
ways which withdraw contributions to it and ^.... activity elsewhere^creating an atwojpaere, of
expectation and of belief (perhaps even if false). .
If you or your group produce the impression that there is going to be a continuing recession

or a revolution, if your spread the conviction that there is widespread dissatisfaction, that society is
sick or rotten to the core and is about to decline further or collapse, then you are taking a

significant step towards such outcomes, towards decline or fall? If these efforts to develop an

atmosphere are widely orchestrated then they are likely to be so much the more effective. It is
appreciated in business and advertising circles how much psychological atmosphere counts; a
Pint
,
*
Al
r
climate of confidence is
important ^for climbing out of a recession. A climate of

revolutionary expectation can set the scene for revolution events.
While it is dishonest to create an impression of imminent decline and disaster knowing full
well that such scenarios are utterly unlikely, informed greens and anarchists are not in any such
compromised situation. Environmental decline, continuing extensive unemployment, persisting

7

To adapt Joll p.222.

v /s

10
periodic recession, and in due course collapse, are likely futures under present capitalist state
trajectories.
Anarchists can assist in producing an atmosphere of gloom and depression and pessimism
about capitalist economic circumstances and prospects. But they will aim to generate a quite

different impression of the stability of capitalistic arrangements.
4. Widening operations to exceed standard political and legal arrangements.

Unorthodox political ways and means, a prominent part of historical anarchist activity, are
much more extensive than political textbooks would suggest (or have impressionable readers
believe). These have been restored to contemporary prominence through civil disobedience
practices, and peace and environmental actions. Methods have also been modified (for instance to
exclude pointless personal violence) and substantially expanded. Practical tactics include protests,
occupations, blockades, parades demonstrations, theatre, civil disobedience, refusals, boycotts,

tax and financial withholdings, plant disobilizations, monkey wrenching, and so on.8 Such
methods, more accurately active applications of those tactics, are grouped under Jirec? action, a
vague appellation sometimes taken or extended to include forms of guerrilla warfare on the one

side and more indirect pressure group activity (lobbying, petitioning, public meetings, etc) on the
other. (Such tactics substantially improve upon, and rechannel, the often misguided and rather illfated "deeds" and "acts of propaganda" of late 19th C anarchists.) Such tactics can be both shorttermed and sustained. Important among sustained practices are resistance movements and
organised refusals (preferably without conspicuous leaders). While individuals can be selectively
picked off, enough people well organised cannot. Mass social actions and Grand Refusals could
constitute significant political happenings. Such strategies can be pursued both for specific
objectives (to preserve a forest here, a building there) and for much more general objectives, up to
and including dislodging an unpopular governing party, or overturning a state.
For more general and dramatic results to be achieved, there are some important preliminary
desiderata to be satisfied. These include
* establishment of a movement, to carry out actions, and subsequently to participate in the
supersession of the state.
* a certain amount of planning, of how to proceed, to direct limited resources. Subsequently, as
supersession of the state becomes a live issue, much planning of the transition and of post-state

arrangements is important, if a successful outcome, or even a good attempt, is to be achieved.
Proper preparation is critical. Once again, planning and organisation of anarchist activity is
certainly not excluded, in revolutionary movements or elsewhere. The rival spontaneity view, still

fashionable in anarchist circles, is underpinned by a confused picture of freedom;^ is inconsistent

8
9

See Coover et al, B. Martin, Changing t/te %bgs, G Sharp.
Duly criticised in "Hot immigration".

11

with the coupled congruence doctrine where end-states are prefigured; and issues in poor decision­
making, choice deliberately uninformed by available information. But naturally planning is not,

and cannot be, total; and it should not be too inflexible, but allow for contingencies, extraordinary
happenings, even spontaneous redirection (e.g. though a range of flexible ranked options).

Initiating an anarchist movement virtually from a zero base (the present situation in most

developed states), would be a slow difficult and no doubt frustrating task. Fortunately there are
attractive alternatives, such as integration with already effective movements, notably those already
engaged and experienced in direct action.
Declared or self-conscious anarchists are now few in number, and lacking in power.
Contemporary anarchists live like the counterculture did, around the margins or in the interstices of
contemporary dominant statist societies, rarely seen in the boardrooms of top companies or at the
clubs of power brokers. Accordingly, transitions to anarchism are most unlikely to proceed at all
directly, either upwards by democratic or popular procedures or downwards through constitutional
procedures invoked by controlling elites. Anarchist strategies, in order to work, will need to be
indirect and smarter. There is much scope for such strategies.
For direct action along the lines sketched to amount to anything, an anarchist movement with
considerable organisational capabilities is needed. The most promising way of fast-tracking such a
movement is to mobilize already established movements, namely, once again, green and peace and
like movements. The idea, in brief, to form an active anarchist movement within the union of
green and peace movements. It will have to be wif/un these movements. For not all those
affiliated with those loose movements are opposed to statist political arrangements or
anarchistically inclined. Many of the leaders and prominent spokespeople among
environmentalists for instance, have a cosy relationship with state political figures and bureaucrats.
Indeed these days many of these state-intricated people, who may well have genuine environmental

commitments, account themselves green, but they are generally unlikely to consider rocking the
ship of state. Nor do these state people generally participate in extended or vigorous protest
operations, of which there are increasing many. An anarchist movement will link into the

extensive more radical end of green and peace movements. There is already considerable linkage,
and considerable scope for expansion of linkage. Many radical greens are vaguely aware of the
anarchist character of several of their own proposals for change.

More radical greens are mostly already aware of the extent of state involvement in
environmental degradation, and of state connections with, and encouragement of, large

corporations engaged in environmentally destructive enterprises. Nor will they be long bought off
by (what threatens to split the green movement) attempts at reconciliation, most recently under the

ambiguous banner of "sustainable development". It is becoming clear to more radical greens that

this normally means sustaining economic development, that is capitalistic business and

macroeconomic growth largely as usual, not sustaining the already developed environmental
heritage. More radical peace activists are even more keenly aware of the intrication of states in

12

activities hostile to peace such as military activity, weapons production, support of repressive
states and client army/armies funding of counter-insurgency, terrorist and destabilization operators,
and so on. There is evidently much common ground to build upon, from which to organise.
Correladvely, mobilization through loose green and peace movements effects the character of
the activated anarchism, shaping and limiting its forms. It will be an ecosocial anarchism of pacific
slant: ESP anarchism for short (for ecosociopacific anarchism). There is no similar prospect of
mobilizing most other forms of anarchism, in particular robustly individualistic varieties. For the
natural allies of the latter varieties, economic rationalist and libertarianians are overwhelmingly
committed to a minimalistic state to guarantee, coercively, the fundamentals of market capitalism

(private property, constitu^onal and contract law, etc.).
Until a movement is organised there is little chance of a satisfactory revolution. While a few
people may be able to gain control, briefly, of some states, without a larger movement requisite

restructuring of state functions cannot be carried through.
A viable anarchism further supposes some alternative fairly detailed organisational and social
arrangements. If such a system is to come to pass and to persist, then its prospects are
exceedingly poor if it is a do-nothing set of arrangements spontaneously arising out of a
revolution. But the state as it grows tends to undermine or eliminate such alternative arrangements;

and simultaneously people come more and more to expect the government to do what they might
formerly have done, or banded together to do, themselves. The state again proceeds, like other
persistent systems and ecosystems, to establish conditions for its own survival: to be needed for
social and even individual activities.
Formation q/ movements wMwn movements.
There is presently very little in the way of organised anarchist activity anywhere in the

world, and no real movements. There is, for instance, Liberty Foundation in USA which supports
anarchist productions, but it does not discriminate in what it supports between anarchism and
minimal statism and economic rationalism. There are other organisations that do or could play a
creative role in anarchist movements (such as Black Rose publicadons in Montreal, and the small
Institute of Social Ecology in Vermont). As it takes some time, and much effort, to establish a
viable movement, the situation for anarchistic change may look bleak. But there is no reason why
anarchism need form an independent movement; it can hitch to already established movements.
There are obvious movements, of very sympathetic character, to join (this is no inHitration or
annexation): namely the green movement and the peace movement. In both these overlapping
movements there is wide appreciation that states themselves are major sources of the issues they
are concerned with; for states are the main cause of wars, major participants in nuclear industries,
major sources of the issues they are concerned with; for states are the main cause of wars, major
participants in nuclear industries, major proponents of economic growth and its concomitant
pollution and waste. (Despite the definite descriptions, these "movement" are really loose

A

13

c

coalitions, often not even organised in one group in individual countries.) Development of

anarchist groundswells within green organisations and among green sympathizers appears
particularly promising. For many greens are beginning to recognise that they are getting nowhere
much, or even going backwards, through state support and state-directed appeals and activity.
Turning enough of these doubtful or disillusional greens in positive anarchist directions looks a
genuine prospect, io
There are very great advantages in mobilizing relevant parts of green and peace movements

(

in anarchistic direcdons. Not only are there substantially concordant ideologies and goods; further
the
to these ends lie available and quite well developed. Readily to be drawn upon is much
knowledge of and experience in direct action methods, nonviolent resistance and sabotage, civil
(and state) disobedience, and similar.n While several of these methods and procedures derive
from earlier anarchist, resistance and civil disobedience practices (and many are common currency

of direct oppositional organisations everywhere), they have been brought to a new level of
refinement. Further, some extremely important restrictions are recognised. By contrast with

methods deployed by "illegal" armies, guerillas, insurgents and the like, paramilitary techniques
are out. Such paramilitary organisations are, in any case, operating within the statist paradigm,
normally aiming to replace some state arrangements by others. Methods applied are expected to be
nonviolent, and to inflict no serious damage upon living creatures.^
What is foreshadowed, then, is formation and development, in each region, of a radical

change movement, a radwienf or

Ideal radments in different regions are in
communication and loosely federated. A radment proceeds to undertake both reformist action and

radical action, marginally political and extra-political action, up to and including revolutionary
action. Much action is undertaken by smaller groups within the radment, vands (to choose a heady
combination of "band" and "van").^ Vands undertake specific projects, of a wide variety of sorts.
So far much of their activity has been directed to halting or redirecting specific vandalistic activities
of governments, governmental authorities or government-licensed corporations, such as logging,
whaling, sealing, polluting, transporting hazardous waste,... The simple proposal is that the range

10

11

12

13

Experiences or processes of change involved do not amount to conversion; for there is no adoption of a
faith. Anarchism resembles atheism, a loss of faith, rather than a religion. Rather there is a comingdown-to-earth, a realisation that institutions in which trust and hope had been placed did not warrant those
investments and were without justificatory clothes.
There is now an array of texts documenting methods, explaining how they are applied, how they can be
taught (e.g. through enactments, drama, practice, etc), and so on. See (as above).
There are some controversial procedures, such as the tree spiking used by Earth-Firsters and MonkeyWrenchers. Those may do minor damage to some trees spiked, and serious damage to loggers and
sawmillers who proceed to mill spiked trees, (a careful formulation of admissible procedures and practices
is required.)
Vands may include wanderers and wanderlebeners, but they are not vandals. Environmental vandalism is
one of the major practices they oppose.

14
of vand activity should be expanded, to include revolutionary action. Such action would include
counter-option, taking over the administrations of organisations that are being specifically

combated or targeted. Experience could be gained on organisations like universities, though the
ultimate target is naturally the state.
Designing a s/nari revo/afton.'

and revo/MZfonary achion.

If the state were justified, if it had a moral right to be there, the action, revolutionary or
other, by ethically guided anarchists to dislodge or remove it would be excluded. But it is not. So

action, including revolutionary action against it, is not thereby excluded.
Perhaps the richest literature on rapid transformation of society, on revolution, falls within
the orbit of marxism. There is much to be learnt from this literature, and much from it can be
adopted. Some of the elements for textual adaptation are simple. Replace 'the working class' or
'workers' appropriately (unfortunately the replacement is not uniform). For example, substitute

'people's councils' for 'workers councils'; replace 'vanguard class' by 'revolutionary coalition',
etc. Not only does marxism presume a vanguard class; more difficult it presumes violence as an
inevitable component of revolutionary action. Here the direct and other action methods already

alluded to substitute for marxist methods.
But while much can be learnt form Marxist socialists, there are fundamental differences as to
the point and character of revolution. While the Marxist objective is to siege power and use it, the
anarchist objective is not to seize power, and then remove it or relinquish it, a dubious and risky

indirect route, but rather to neutralize and remove power directly.
There are said to be classic problems confronting any revolutionary movement. One of these
is the alleged stability of states, in the West at least. This stability, which does not extend far east,
or even into Central Europe, is considerably exaggerated; belief in this stability, which was shaken
by the events in Paris in 1968, can be undermined, by an appropriate subversive campaign, so that
belief no longer constitutes such an intellectual obstacle to revolutionary activity. Another classic
problem turns upon the issue of revolutionary organisation. Some of these organisation^ problems,
practices in green and peace movements, especially in groups like Greenpeace, have already
effectively solved.[detail].
Z/te ZransMon.
Like stages before the transition, stages q/fer transitions to post-state societies will not be

easy. There is a commonplace anarchist sentiment that removal of the state, its burden and

oppressiveness, a real incubus, will release an enormous amount of energy, with great scope for
spontaneity, fulfilment of human potentialities, and so on. Although this sentiment is widely

reiterated, very little evidence for the sentiment is ever assembled. My own sentiment is that the

commonplace sentiment, and what is taken to ensue from it, is largely moonshine, because, for
one thing, there is a countermodel that is at least as plausible. Those who are released from an

15

immense burden, or very hard oppressive forced labour, simply stop, relax and do very little, or
little more than is necessary for life and limb.
For similar reasons the common anarchist proposition that productivity will rise enormously

after the state is stripped away is very doubtful. If the state is like some sort of slave-driver, post­

state productivity will presumably fall. The flood of goods and the end of scarcity, with the
demise of the state and its well-published appropriation of the surplus, looks unlikely (not to say
environmentally undesirable because the impact of the "goods"). Wishful thinking appears to have
gained control in much anarchist literature. There are other important reasons why parts of post­
state productivity will decline considerably. Much too much of present production, fostered by the
state, involves erosion of biological capital, and should be wound down accordingly, and
alternatives sought.

In a similar way, anarchists often look far too optimistic about the rapid regeneration of
supportative societies destroyed by, and through machinations of the state. Some of those
supportative arrangements, developed in ages of suppression are gone, perhaps forever; others
will take much tiwg to repair. Social healing is sometimes very slow.
As with post-war reconstruction, living and social arrangements could be very difficult for
some for some considerable time. There will need to be, for instance,
* intermediate support structures put in place to ease the transition for some;
* much flexibility, and some preparedness to experiment to see what works;
* vigilance to ensure that old forces of state do not remerge on the back of social discontent.
Intelligent anarchist arrangements will have flexible plans, enabling anticipation of main problem
areas and sensitive coping with them.
5. External interference

Chapter 11

FEASIBLE ANARCHIST CONTRIBUTIONS
TO
GLOBAL, REGIONAL AND LOCAL PROBLEMS
Heavy criticisms of anarchism, driving in strongly from socialist and marxist quarters,
include these: that anarchism offers no worthwhile practice for and offers no useful
contributions far coping with global problems^ meaning problems in present social and political

conditions (not usually problems concerning world environments). Among the problems

alluded to, which it is alleged anarchism does not and cannot address, are human proverty,
human malnutrition, inequitable distribution of resources, human (over-)population, and so on.
Granted, there are great many problems, many of them getting worse rapidly. Though

anarchist arrangements played little or no part in producing these problems — many of them
o
developing and getting out of control under free-enterprise capitalist and state-socialist
arrangements — it is sometimes outrageously claimed that anarchism should be able to deal

successfully with an array of these problems. To add to the insult, it is said to fail as a theory
because it is unable to do so. Why on earth should anarchism be presumed to do this? One

critic endowed with this level of 'gall' (one A. Wertheimer)

contends that anarchism is unable to successfully deal with four
presently existing world social conditions. These are: 1) that "the
population of the earth is (perhaps) too large, but increasing at a
rapid rate with no prospect for a serious reduction"; 2) that "in much
of the world, basic human needs are not being satisfied"; 3) that "the
world's natural and human resources are not evenly distributed
across the globe"; and finally 4) that "the present level of subsistence
is based on a high level of social and economic interdependence
among various regions of the world and within the regions
themselves". In addition [5)J... anarchism is unable to cope with
conflicts between individual self-interest and social needs,
particularly as relates to ... defense (Clark p.142).
The short response is, So what? Anarchism is not really saddled with the global legacies
of p^archist practice. A longer response begins thus:- Firstly, insofar as these conditions

constitute problems ("condition " 3) is more a "fact" than a "problem"), no political theory is
coping successfully, only an all-conquering ideology would pretend to be able to cope.

Democratic capitalism has had (important isolated pockets excepted) little impact in limiting

India's gross population; Maoist socialism^' has de^ only a little better in China. Part of the
problem in almost all such overpopulated regions lies in getting the problem recognised as a
problem, and making appropriate adjustments; as with education and adjustment concerning the

hazards of pollution and smoking, this is largely because of remiss state practice. Part of the

problem, the present resolutions will have ethically inadmissible outcomes or by-products.
—------------ .------------------ ——___

2
Only for the future is there some glimmer of hope, but not under present archist arrangements.

Secondly, prospects of success for anarchism are primarily regional, not global. But a region
can hardly be expected to handle, rather than make limited contributions towards, world
problems. Suppose, for instance, Niue became (or reverted to) an anarchist society, a
successful one locally. It would be no detraction from its local success that it made no impact
upon demilitarizing the USA or in halting the world's resource drain te thereto, or that its
success was (through standard US media practice) scarcely known about there.
*
iMMM. As we have already noticed, it is often asserted that anarchism cannot work

in regions of large populations or with high population densities. That anarchy only has
prospects of success in small, and perhaps technologically unsophisticated, communities is a

widely espoused thesis? These kinds of assertion have already been criticised.
What do not work are stock archist procedures, e.g. expanding \m out-of-touch

bureaucracy. Poly-archic arrangements cannot handle tough decisions. By contrast, sortition
allows them to be taken (Burgheim). This is important as wide range of decisions: transport

systems, restructuring urban systems, and so on, as well as population and immigration

policies. As there is a range of lobbies (ethnics, etc.) in favour of population increase: hard for
party systems to ignor these lobbies, because of voting system.
* Deliberate social reorganisation, which undercuts reasons for large families, namely old-age

care, cheap labour in fields, etc. (Seeams as successor (technology here)?
* Scarcity is re/aftw to wants and presumed needs. Similarly abundance: it depends
on extent to which materialism, consumerism, ete, prevail. When wants are large, perhaps
insatiable, there will always be scarcity. Wants are not a given; needs, through culturally

dependent, can be. Whan needs are set high (e.g. to include domestic ref^rgeaati^s), then too
there will be scarcity for the foreseeable future?
No doubt there is a rough band of minimal sustenance and shelter requirement for keeping
humans (why are we back to this) alive, for bare sustenance. Even if they could be met,
satisfactory lives would not result.
* Creation of needs (Marx). Industrial revolution under capitalism aggravated

of scarcity

and toil.
* Anarchists have a bad track-record on scarcity. They have tended to assume abundance. A
vast increase once the shades of the state are removed.
A
Following Kropotkin's proposals they have taken for granted enormous productivity from

labour-intensive garden plots, a sort of anarchist green revolution, neglecting the extensive

*

3

4

Even so, oneway to resolve/is by building up from local and regional solutions. Compare
nuclear freedom, peace, etc.(
Thus both sympathetic and unsympathetic commentators; Taylor, Wertheimer etc.
n frequently claimed that we know more or less how to meet population problems. Only
political structures and vested interests stand in way of doing so. But it is not quite that simple
and easy.
Arguments that wants/needs distinction cannot be drawn.

//'

3
inputs required to make this feasible, (water, energy, manure, pesticides, etc.). [Thus e.g. Clark

p.148.)
* There are some sharp limits on the extent of growth to cater for human populations and their

"needs". An important limitation can be seen by tracking energy, which is limited, more
abundant production of which encounters other limits (pollution, nasty works production, etc.)
D&triZwHon,
q/T&Kmrcgs.
. 4.
* Necessity is regularly exaggerated. Often this done to enable capitalist routes to be taken,

access to foreign business provided etc.
*
'Necessity
becomes part of imperialistic exploitation. Contrast the equally unsatisfactory
Marxist line: distribution is one with production. What is required is a change in technological

systems and productive relations. Undesirable patterns of production result in maldistribution.

'... the entire problematic of "redistribution" is bared jn the questionable assumption of the
feasibility of seeking a solution to the problem while continuing a technological system
founded ^n dependency and disproperti%s in economic power
*
(Clark p.154).
* The Aid record of present liberal democratic states is dismal.
* As regards more basic provisioning, mutual aid through free federation. Example of
Spanish collective ((^ebal ref 19 pp. 184-5).
Argument that anarchist approach could succeed, from socio-psychological assumption:
'unless humans develop patterns of life and values based on mutual aid at level of small groups
and local communities, one cannot expect them to go very far in the practice of mutual aid at

any other level of social organisation
*
(Clark p.154).
But really heeds the convert: when have no developed, can be suspected to deliver aid.
Present arrangement for human living are not made on the basis of
quality of life for the livers, but all too often to suit the needs of industry J returns to capitalism,
etc. The results are everywhere conspicuous, especially in contemporary cities — which
characteristically dominate whole regions.
Many major local problems derive from the environmental states and living conditions of

cities. An anarchist resolution involves restructuring cities. This would include development

of network cities and restoration of community.

4. Appendix:

ON SELECTION OF COMMITTEES
For how committees should be comprised, look at what they are supposed to accomplish, what
sorts of decisions deliver, and so on.
For example, the basis of decision for allocating public money has to be: 'attempting to balance

all legitimate claims on the basis of need and public benefit in accordance with recognised
moral values and principles'.^
Evidently such committees should not be composed of
1. members of competing constitutions seeking funds (i.e. anti-model is premiers conference)
2. power traders (i.e. anti-model is /...... or typical bureaucratic committee).

What appears to be required are candidates who are
* impartial (without chauvinistic or other prejudices)
* varied in evolutionary complex claims
* informed of.... moral values and principles, and committed to some such.
H

<3-.

After that try statically for spread of attitudes from conservative to radical.
Such committees according directly violate (Burheim) relevant interests criteria. In general

however for lower level committees relevance criteria obtain.
5. Demanarchoid ecodesigns for Australia

Chapter 5.1

THE EMERGING CHARACTER OF ANARCHISM:
VARIETIES AND OPTIONS
The arguments outlined, predominantly theoretical, inform the practical, revealing the

options open for anarchism, courses of action in superannuating the State and for transition to a
stateless Society, and so on. For example, spontaneous anarchism - according to which

organisation is unnecessary and social arrangements will arise spontaneously and will be
ushered in during the revolution without any prior organisation - is a position which is not
viable and could not endure, because it makes none of the requisite replacements upon which

durable supersession of the State depends. The sort of anarchist society which these theoretical
arguments delineate will certainly be organised, but the organisation will not be compulsory,
and will eschew authoritarian measures (and, by the overshoot argument, will reject transition

by any strengthening of the centralised State), relying heavily no doubt on voluntary co­
operation and direct democracy.
The society which emerges may be much as Bakunin and Kropotkin sometimes pictured
it, or it may not. It may well be based on smaller-scale decentralised communities: for

otherwise such arrangements as community replacements of State welfare arrangements,
control of their environment, removal of Prisoners" Dilemmas, and participatory democracy,

will work less satisfactorily. Communities may well be federated and control will be bottomup, not merely by representation and subject to a downward system of command. Within each
community there will, under such social anarchism, not be great discrepancies in the

distribution of wealth and property, and no highly concentrated economic power. Under social
anarchism, a community will be a rather equalitarian group, sharing in much that is

communally owned or not owned at all.
While theoretical arguments help outline the general shape of social and also economic

arrangements, they are very far from determining them completely; they offer no detailed

blueprint. Accordingly what emerges is not a particular from of anarchism, for instance
anarchist communism, but a more experimental and

anarchism, such as was broadly

instituted in the Spanish collectives.
There are several recognised varieties of anarchism, among the more common:
individualistic anarchisms, anarcho-capitalisms, anarcho-communisms, mutualisms, anarchosyndicalisms, libertarian socialisms, social anarchisms, and now eco-anarchisms.

These

varieties are not particularly well-characterised. They are by no means at all exclusive. They
certainly do not exhaust the interesting possibilities. So far indeed a satisfactory classification

is lacking. Usually something of a ragbag is offered: textbooks single out a very few varieties,
and look at them. Invariably they leave out important varieties.

2
But it is not difficult to discern some of the more independent dimensions^ along which

variation occurs, and which accordingly are relevant to an improved multi-dimensional tabular
classification:

Part-w/to/e dimension:
atomism pole O
<—

individual social---------- communal

—O total holism

This is a most important dimension of variation among organisational arrangements (for

analysis see SM). It accounts for a major bifurcation between European anarchisms, which tend
to be socially oriented, and American anarchisms, which are usually highly individualistic
(religious communities and some European transplants excepted). For markedly holistic

arrangements to persist, some strong ideological relational glue appears required, such as an
immersing spiritual ideology.

Property spectrum:
Although this can be compressed into two dimensional form, it is better presented three
dimensionally as follows:
full
O <individualistic ---privatization

communalistic

-> O full public
(tribal) ownership

diminished
ownership
no ownership

This spectrum evidently connects with the preceding holistic dimension, and both contribute to

what was the old right-left political division (a sort of crude super-position), and to what should
be superseding it, three-colour political spectrum:
(old right) blue
<-

red (old left)

green (new environmental)
and electoral spectrum:

Gronp

fully

O <- bottom up

— democratic — oligopolistic — top down

participatory

O fully
dictatorial

Change proceJnre dimensions:

violent

non-constitutional

constitutional <pacific

1

Some of these "dimensions" are not really linear in the way strictly required. That they are not,
and that they are not fully independent, does not impede a much improved classification.

3
C/tangg wufMfors: vanguard group or class;
<Lumpen-proletariat-workers' syndicates
bottom
"the people"

-----------------business
political
companies
parties
ruling elites

top

greens

alternative

coalitions

And so on. The schema presented are clearly far from exhaustive; nothing has been directly
included concerning distribution methods (market vs command, open vs closed storehouses,
etc.), admissible technology, or work-leisure arrangements, to take three important examples.
More pieces will be picked up as we proceed (the approximate number of dimensions is

computationally small), and some of the rather schematic sketches ventured above, elements of
which should be familiar, will receive some development in what follows.
Once the (n) dimensions are duly elaborated an anarc/tAm can be located and classified
(pigeon-holed in n-space) by placement in each dimension. For instance, the form of anarchism

preferred by me (see SM for an early presentation), is located as follows: it is social (with a
significantly qualified communistic safety net: each according to her or his basic needs), local­
market-oriented but non-capitalistic, with diminished ownership, democratic but without

politicians and with alternative electoral arrangements, pacific but not bound by "constitutional"
procedures, utilizing modest safe technologies,.... But it is but one sort never to be instituted
everywhere, from a rich variety of alternatives
There are then MMny anarchisms, a rich variety of different forms, some of them scarcely

investigated or known. That anarchism comprises such a plurality has proved puzzling to those

(for example of one name-one thing persuasion) who assumed it must be a single ideology,
either individual or collective,.... Indeed the pluralist character of anarchism has led even more
apparently sympathetic critics, to 'wonder whether anarchism is really an ideology at all, or

merely a jumble of beliefs ...' (M. p.3). Of course the impression that anarchism 'is amorphous
and full of paradoxes and contradictions' is marvellously assisted by conflating degenarchism

with anarchism, chaos with order, and by combining the variant forms, individualism with
socialism and communism.

By properly regarding anarchism as a sheaf of overlapping

positions assembled around a core characterisation, a standard model for pluralism, the

problematic elements of anarchism as an ideology disappear. No doubt it is not an ideology
like Marxism, but then Marxism is atypical in its set of paradigmatic texts, concentrated in the

works of the master. Other ideologies such as liberalism or environmentalism afford better
comparisons. While anarchism is an ideology (in both good and bad senses), it is not really a
movement. There is not, anywhere really, such a movement, in the way there have been a

succession of liberation movements or there is a green movement and within it a deep ecology
movement.

4

As anarchisms are plural, so by similar arguments are green, and deep-green, anarchisms.
Certainly green effect a select among their cluse of anarchism; it excludes, for example, the run
of individualistic anarchisms peddial in USA, because these admit much anti-environmental

activity, manifested for instance through "externalities" and market failure (some of these could
be very pale green). But selection does not, even for deep-green tend to a singleton, but still to
a wide pluralism.
These pluralisms are not merely descriptive, but normative. Insofar as any anarchism is

duly based on removal of unacceptable means, it should be
* pluralistic, because for example it cannot impose a single formulation on communities who
want to organise differently than its preferred way.

It should also be
* non-violent. Terrorist forms of anarchism are strictly incompatible with broad-based non­
coercion. For terrorism typically involves coercion, stand-over tactics, and the like.2
That is, there is a doublish standard on vio/encg: It is alright to apply violence against state

(and others) while not alright to have coercive state, which applies violence. No doubt this can
be justified through
namely it is OK for me to do violence to you bot not OK for you to
apply violence to me. Accordingly a

conc/MMon is: A moral anarchism will not be a

form committed to violence (except unavoidable forms etc.).
Such pluralism does not enjoy a strong historic track-record, and does not go unopposed.

Standard anarchist positions, sketching of which was mainly a nineteenth century preoccupation

(but extending into twentieth century science fiction and utopian literature), shied away from
pluralism in the direction of monistic forms, towards insistence upon particular structure,
organisation and distributional methods. Such monistic rigidity led to much intense, often

fruitless discussion and friction between anarchists committed to different arrangements.
Certainly there was a doctrine of spontaneity — according to which in a state-overthrowing

revolution (in the very heat of the revolution!) the masses world spontaneously decide upon

new arrangements — which makes it appear that any structures at all were open for

consideration; but it was also assumed that certain arrangements would be selected, towards
which active anarchists would provide guidance.
It is not difficult to indicate some of the broad features of emergent arrangements features

that flow from the character of anarchism. But anarchists, over-attracted like others to monistic
schemes, have regularly attempted to advance their own schemes, introducing many further

postulates, that reach far beyond what flows from the basic characterisation, and that need not

2

There are serious pro&Anw for anarchism that accept coercive methods: why not aiso
accept the state then? Such positions tend to be forced back towards an organised
individualism.

But how then do they stop voluntary organisation arising (legitimately)?

5

be adopted by genuine anarchistics (some further examples of optional and rejectable extras
from a recent manifesto: ... direct democracy, destruction of all hierarchies, maximization of
freedom, total Revolution, no ends-means distinction, no leaders, optimism about an anarchist
future,...).
Because of the expansive pluralism of anarchism, it overlaps many other ideologies,
indeed virtually all that do not include as a theme unmitigated commitment to a state or like
central authority. Thus while anarchism excludes fascism and is incompatible with state

capitalism, anarchism overlaps liberalism, democracy, and even Marxism, since Marxism

affords a long-term anarchism. There has been much confusion about these interrelations.

Take democracy. Anarchism does not entail democracy, as is sometimes claimed. Advice of a
select minority or of a single sage could regularly be adopted, though the advice did not reflect

the will of the people and its source was not elected or appointed by the people. Nor does
anarchism entail undemocratic procedures. There are, in the plurality, democratic forms, of
various sorts, and undemocratic forms. Democratic forms may have a better prospect of

enabling genuine democracy than life under the state. For as some have argued, 'both the
nation state and electoral democracy are inadequate as vehicles for democracy under modern
conditions' (Bumheim p.218).
Is its goal individual freedom or communal solidarity? Sometimes one, sometimes the

other, sometimes neither, sometimes both (a typical four-valued logical structure). A pluralistic
anarchism offers several different sorts of communities, not just one kind: for instance,

independent individuals, perhaps interrelated and organised through contracts, solidaristic
groups working freely together and sharing according to need, and various attractive

intermediaries, where there may be more individual-oriented market arrangements but there are

also safety nets ensuring distribution according to basic needs.
It is not difficult in theory to devise structures that allow a wide variety of kinds. For

example, in simple cases this can be accomplished through regional patterning, as illustrated in

the following

with 6 varieties.
2

1

5

3

6
4
(Such a modelling for political pluralism is further elaborated in UT.) The brief interlude of

anarchism in Spain afforded a small-scale example of regional patterning at work
The kinds of anarchistic societies are bound to be of very variable quality, both
theoretically and in practice. Some will only work with rather special sorts of people, for
instance certain communes with members with strong religious or ideological commitments;
some will not succeed at all. Some verge on incoherence, for instance those against coercive

organisation that approve group terrorist tactics. But while some kinds of anarchism are
entangled in serious problems, others are not. Anarchists generally have no obligation to

6

defend defective kinds; yet many criticisms of anarchism are directed at just such defective

forms.
Although there is a rich variety of anarchistic end-states (virtually uninstantiated
possibilities), there are same common or overlapping organisational and structural features.
Such family-resemblance features are what hold the plurality together, and include noncoercive

versions of those arrangements essential to a functioning society: for instance, broad features of

arrangements for production and distribution, for arbitration and reconciliation, and so on, and
on. But although each such anarchist society will have some such organizational features, they
will differ in detail. For example, a main distributional feature of a simple communist society
may comprise a common storehouse from which members take according to need, whereas in

individualist societies distribution will normally proceed through some sort of exchange in
market systems. More generally different types of anarchism will offer different economic

theories. Those with stronger individualistic component will tend to rely upon not merely

market or allied exchange arrangements, but upon capitalistic organisation. The type of
anarchism favoured here strikes an intermediate route: markets without capitalism.

How is such complex organisation to be achieved without a state? Does not such
organisation and government require a state? To remove that familiar assumption and
associated blockages — encouraged by too much life under states and no experience of

alternatives - take a wider look around. Look at how many activities and procedures are
organised without states or essential participation of states. By voluntary arrangements.

Prominent examples are again sporting organisations, labour unions and business corporations

of various sorts. In short, organisation can be accomplished through a range of appropriate
institutions.
Such examples also provide the appropriate key unlocking the door as to how more
extensive organisation can be achieved in the absence of the state, namely through appropriate

institutions. The state dissolves into functioning components, a set of appropriate institutions,
and at bottom into its relevant minimization. It fragments into compartments — in two

interconnected ways: into regional parts and into capacities, functional parts.
There are other valuable clues to stateless reorganisation. What happens within the more

self-regulating state can also happen without it. As Gramsci emphasized,

the ability to govern without overt coercion depends largely on the ability
of those in power to exploit systems of belief that the larger population

shares. The nature of that system of belief is to some extent determinable
by policy makers, since in the modern state they possess a significant

ability to propagandize for their view. Yet.... (p.63).
Recent empirical investigations tend to yield similar results. People tend to follow rules and

obey laws they regard as moral or otherwise satisfactory. There are important messages for

anarchistic organisation here also, for arrangements without coercion, overt or other.

7

Anarchistic rules will try to go with the prevailing flow, and will only vary (as over vindictive

punishment) where an evidently satisfactory justification can be given. More generally, smarter
anarchistic arrangements will aim to include desirable self-regulating systems, such as small-

scale markets.
Though there are many different strands that can be interwoven through the pluralistic
out-fall from the basic characterisation, there are some broad tendencies of anarchistic

arrangement which include:
* reliance on self-regulatory methods of organisation that require little or no intervention, as
opposed to highly regulated procedures, perhaps tending towards centralism or paternalism.
This is one reason why markets are often favoured, analogues of centralised control and

coercive legal systems are not.
* emphasis on voluntary methods, in place of imposed methods — coercive methods are of
course excluded by virtue of basic characterisation. Certainly de facto power may remain, but it
will be without justification.
* favouring of decentralisation and deconcentration rather than centralised or concentrated

structures.
That does not imply there can be no downward relations. Of course under federal arrangements
there will be, and sideways natural relations as well (a full control system).
* discouragement of empowerment, encouragement of depowerment.
* opposition to oppression is a corollary.

There are too many alternatives in the pluralistic basket to look at all of them. Let us
consider only some of them, with however preferred features. (An example that does not rank
highly and will not be further assessed is Stimer's individualism.) Anarchistic societies of any

complexity will typically consist of a network of decentralised organisations, or a federation of
these (etc.). The organisations will thus be regional, but beyond that set up according to issue,

role or function.

Thus they will include what might well be accounted gcorggiowuZ

/hnctiona/iym. Many of the stock features of political functionalism, as decentralised, will
accordingly recur, separation of powers, tailoring of administration to need, for instance. The

organisations will furthermore be noncoercive; no individual or group will be forced to join.
Typically they will be voluntary arrangements.
A critical question concerns how these organisations, substituting for the operation of

state, are to be controlled, regulated, and so on. In much favoured democratic structures, such

as electoral bureaucracies, control is usually weak and remarkably mJirgct. A populace weakly

selects a central parliament, which exercises through other bureaucratic bodies some control of
state organisations. A full anarchism is obliged to dissolve or substitute for central parliaments.

It has a obvious option, namely direct democratic control of state-substituting organisations. A
simple way of achieving this is through sortition: the membership of the governing component

of each organisation is chosen randomly from those qualified of the regional community who

volunteer to be on it. In some cases volunteers may require accessible qualifications (e.g.

8

having served before at a lower level), and avoid disqualifications (e.g. having acquired a

disqualifying record).^ Where the community decides that certain categories of people should
be represented, for instance disabled, minorities, and so forth, then it is a matter of arranging

random selection of the required fraction of group numbers from these categories. This style of

statistical democracy dates back at least to original democracies of Greek city states where

public officials were sometimes selected by lot (it is discussed under democracy in Aristotle's
Po/t/fc^). Nowadays it is called Je/narchy (a term with an unfortunate prior meaning); here in
its anarchistic form it will be alluded to under the neologism JewMwiarc/ty.
Such demanarchy has the immediate virtue of removing a most expensive duplication,

government ministers and their departmental counterparts (e.g. finance ministers and
corresponding appointed treasury officials). Indeed, the whole charade of central parliamentary

government, ministers and hordes of minders, governments and replicating opposition teams, is
duly removed - as it has to be under non-centralization. Such parliamentary centres are

eliminated; insofar as anything replaces them, it is the dispersed community, itself no centre,
which is directly linked to functional organisation.

Gone with the centre, or seriously reduced, are several standard political worries, such as
those of coup or take-over, insurrection or invasion. These usually involve capturing the centre
and its command structure, no longer there to capture (for there is no command or control
structure that could be taken by an invader or with internal insurrection). Community defence

is thereby rendered much easier. Also considerably reduced is the standard problem of who

controls the controllers: partly because control is so diffused, partly because also gone are
legions of soldiers and security forces, and partly because a main controller is the community

(one of the advantages of more direct democracy).
Appropriate institutions take care then of the day-to-day running of community affairs.

But what of major issue decisions, changes of direction or structure?

These can be

accomplished from the bottom, through referenda, propositions and the like (with public
assessment organised through a suitably independent college), rather than in present top-down

inflexible fashion. (Some of these methods, of which there is worthwhile experience in parts of
Europe, are investigated in Wolff.)

A regular early question is how such a stateless structure is to be financed

coercive mechanisms available. Of course if coercive institutions were in place, then the
overall structure could be financed in the sorts of ways that states are presently financed. It

3

People can serve their administrative apprenticeship at iocal or group levels. One when they are
adjudged to have exhibited sufficient competence here are they entitled to nominate for selection

at grander levels. That is, there is a tiered structure for administralive careers, which would no

longer be full-time or working life long. This is one reasonable way of obtained some quality
control in selection of administrators. (Note these/evefy do not provide a vicious hierarchy.)

9

should be observed, in any case, that coercive means are very rarely resorted to (unless the
target is pursued for

reasons, such as crime) in order to obtain revenue payments from

wealthy corporations, firms or individuals, from where in a more equitable community much of

the funding would derive (by contrast with most present states). There are several parts to a
satisfactory answer:* Muc/t less public revenue would be required because the most expensive, most wasteful, and

least productive components of state have been excised. These include the whole apparatus of

central government and electoral politics, and the associated system of coercion, standard
military forces and defence establishment, espionage framework, and police forces, prison
establishment and expensive courts.
*
Nonetheless there remain many institutions to finance,
include smaller substitutes for some of the abolished structures (e.g. social defence

arrangements).
* Many institutions can be largely or entirely self-financing, because like customs and import
organisations they collect revenue, or through fair user-pays principles. Reasonable returns

taken can be channelled to an independent revenue office with no outside spending or

redistribution powers.
* Much, if not all, further social revenue could be raised through resources taxation (adequate
royalties and the like), rental taxes on property or leases, gift and gains taxes, and through
auctions (of previously inherited goods). How this would work depends upon community
arrangements.
Consider for instance anarchistic arrangements where that problematic item, private

property, has not been instituted or has been abolished (as under main examples of European
anarchism, by contrast with North American forms). Valuable durables (roughly, any durable

worth stealing for sale in present systems) will be

instead of bought. Leasehold systems

can be operated very like private property (as the land system in the Australian Capital Territory

reveals) thus facilitating market operations, but they offer significantly better control, for
instance environmentally, they enable the social component of generated wealth to be reflected,

through a rental, and they can be of finite term and to a given individual, so inheritance transfer
is excluded.

In place of the customary land titles office a larger durables office with

subdivision for types of durables would be instituted, with each durable now indelibly marked
or described. Here, as with referenda, computing facilities remove many previous obstacles to

such developments. Organisation can move with newer technologies.
Leasehold arrangements are readily applied to prevent the accumulation ol scarce
property resources, such as urban land, which is a major feature of capitalism. For leases of

scarce commodities can be allocated according to need and ability to use, not merely through a

4

The costs are enormous. A minute component, a singie federai election in Australia, now costs

about $54 million to arrange.

10
historically rooted market distribution as with private property. It is private property, not a
market system of distribution, that is really distinctive of capitalism, since it not only provides a
place to park and increase capital, but it enables transmission of accumulated wealth (e.g.

within a family or dynasty) and control of the means of production.

Where can anarchism work — satisfactively: on stock presumptions of community and
smallness.
Even proponents of the state have allowed that anarchy can work, indeed their position
often depends upon it. The horrible alternative to their, or their friends' or patrons', splendid
state and statecraft, is that a region should lapse into anarchy (a regular fear of the US

administration). Anarchism, that is, works, but works very nastily, like that presumed in "states
of nature", like that many in fact encounter in the encampments, slums or ghettos of terrorist or
other states.

But it now fairly widely appreciated, outside those intellectually incarcerated in the allencompassing realm of states, that anarchism can work rather satisfactorily, and did in may pre­
state societies.

Concurrent anthropological findings concerning small communities and collective action
results concerning small collective have demolished the assumption that anarchy is impossible,
either in practice or techno-logically. Since then it has become fashionable to concede that

anarchy is possible but on/y where there is a suitable small community. This sort of anarchimin-the-small is commonly conceded by socialists, but dismissively. While anarchism may, it is
allowed, work well enough in small, isolated or primitive communities, it cannot work in large

industrial or urban societies such as now predominate globally. Anarchism is accordingly but a
marginal possibility, unworthly any longer of much serious political concern. Such dismissals

tend to be strong on claims and unfavourable judgements but excessingly weak on supporting
argument, where socialist handwaving takes over (obviously this widespread phenomenon is

not confined to socialism, or even to political debate). Confidence that anarchism cannot

succeed seems to be largely founded on the erroneous assumption that anarchism cannot supply
any but a primitive organisational structure.
By contrast, a sort of anarchism-in-the-small has been forcefully pursued, with due

argument, by Taylor, who contends that 'anarchy is viable to the extent that the relations
between people are those which are characteristic of community', a small community (-.166).

That is: '... community is nec&wary — if people are to live without the state' (p.3).

The argument to community that Taylor offers reduces a modified Hobbesianism; social
order can only be maintained, without the state and in the small, if the relations between

individuals are those of community (cf. p.2). Insofar as it is detailed, it is a remarkably broken-

down argument. As Taylor himself helps to show, 'the liberal justification of the state' — from
the failure of individuals in a large public to voluntarily cooperated to provide themselves

without requisite collective goods — breaks down at every critical point, in its premisses, in its

1

11
argument, and in its concluding inference to the state was the on/y means of ensuring the supply
of such goods (p.59).
It is this final lacuna onto which Taylor latches. Granting the rest, 'all that can be inferred

is that, if public goods are to be provided,

means must be found of getting people to do

their part in providing them' (p.59). There are, Taylor swiftly finds, three pure methods of

ensuring provision of the goods in question: the state, the market, and the community. The
argument then proceeds by elimination, of the market. Taylor 'contends that social order

cannot satisfactorily be put on the market' (p.2), though his arguments to this contention are

unfortunately far from decisive. That leaves the state for public larger than communities, and
communitarian anarchism as an extra-terrestrial possibility for small communities (because
communities in the vicinity of states do not, it is claimed, survive). For all the talk about

anarchism, it looks like another triumph for the state.
But the argument is unsound, because there are

methods than those Taylor locates.

Non-statist organisation, which comes in a range of forms — functional, regional and others —
is not a combination of the pure methods considered. As a broad type of method it is hardly
"unproposed", or without precedents or examples (e.g. medieval orders and present
international order).
While there is no need to dispute that prospects for anarchism tend to be enhanced in
smaller communities, or in conglomerates that can be arranged in networks of smaller
communities, anarchism can work, if less satisfactorily, in modem mass society. Such is one of

the large themes being advanced.

777E EA7FFG//VG
OF
/LV1/?C77/.SM: ^/<^r
cipy?^s
,

i

The
arguments
outlined,
predominancy theoretical, inform the
practical, revealing the options open for
anarchism, courses of action in superan­
nuating the State and for transition to a
stateless Society, and so on. For exam­
ple, spontaneous anarchism — accor­
ding to which organisation is un­
necessary and social arrangements will
arise spontaneously and will be ushered
in during the revolution without any
prior organisation — is a position which
is not viable and could not endure,
because it makes none of the requisite
replacements upon which durable supersession of the State depends. The sort of
anarchist society which these theoretical
arguments delineate will certainly be
organised, but the organisation will not
be compulsory, and will eschew
authoritarian measures (and, by the
overshoot argument, will reject transi­
tion by any strengthening oj^he cen­
tralised State), relying heavil\^on volun­
tary co-operation and direct democracy.
^ The society which emerges mciy be much
. ..as Bakunin and Kropotkin sometimes
piAuredH^lt /9^be based on smallerscale decentralised communities? for
otherwise such arrangements as com
munity replacement of State welfare ar­
rangements, control of their environ
ment, removal of Prisoners' Dilemmas,

and participatory democracy, will w(?rk
less satisfactorily. Communities
.be
federated and control will be bottom-up,
not merely by representation and subject
to a downward system of command.__
Within each community there will hot be
great discrepancies in the distribution of
weakh and property, ar^p hi^^ycom
centrated economic powercommum
ty win be a rather equaiitarian group,
sharing in much that is communally
owned or not owned at a!i.
White theoretical arguments heip
outtine the generat shape of social, ami
aiso economic arrangements,they
determine^them compietety; they offer
no detaited btueprint. Accordingty what
emerges is not a particular form of anar­
chism, for instance anarchist com­
munism, but a more experinienta^an.^
p/ura/bhc anarchism, such as was^tnstituted in the Spanish cokectives.

traced/

\^^There are several recognised varieties of anarchism among the more common:
individualistic anarchisms, anarcho-capitalisms, anarcho-communisms, mutualisms, anarcho-

syndicalisms, libertarian socialisms, social anarchisms, and now eco-anarchisms. These
varieties are not particularly well-characterised, /hey are by no means at all exclusive. So far
indeed a satisfactory classification is lacking. Usually something of a ragbag is offered:

textbooks single out a very few varieties, and look at them. Invariably they leave out important

varieties.

But it is not difficult to discern some of the more independent dimensions^ along which
variation occurs, and which accordingly are relevant to an improved multi-dimensional tabular
classification:
Parf-w/zo/g/ dimension:
atomism pole O <— individual ----

social

----

communal

—> O total holism

This is a most important dimension of variation among organisational arrangements (for

analysis see SM). It accounts for a major bifpriation between European anarchisms, which tend
...
.
1
'S^
to be socially oriented, and American anarchism^ which are usually highly individual (religious
communities^ some European transplants/ excepted). For markedly holistic arrangements to
persist, some strong ideological relational glue appears required, such as an immersing spiritual
ideology.
Properly spectrum:

Although this can be compressed into two dimensional form, it is better presented three
dimensionally as follows:
full
privatization

—> O full public
(tribal) ownership

no ownership

This spectrum evidently connects with the preceding holistic dimension, and both contribute to

what was the old right-left political division (a sort of crude super-position), and to what should
be superseding it, three-colour political spectrum:
(old right) blue

<------------------------ .--------------------------- >

red (old left)

green (new environmental)

Group Jectwon and electoral spectrum:
fully
O <- bottom up — democratic —y oligopolistic — top down
participatory
C/umge procedure dimensions:
^violent

-*

O fully
dictatorial

constitutional <------------------------- —---------------------------------- > non-constitutional
pacific

5

Some of these "dimensions" are not really h'wear in the way strictly required. That they are not, and that
they are not fully independent, does not impede a much improved classification.

22

CTtangc mmai/ors': vanguard group or class;
<—
Lumpen-proletariat—workers
*
syndicates
bottom
"the people"

political
parties

business ---companies
top

alternative
ccylitions

a/

And so on. The schema presented are clearly far from exhaustive; nothing has been directly
included concerning distribution methods (market vs command, open vs closed storehouses,

etc.), admissible technology, or work-leisure arrangements, to take three important examples.
More pieces will be picked up as we proceed (the approximate number of dimensions is
computationally small), and some of the rather schematic sketches ventured above, elements of
which should be familiar, will receive some development in what follows^ Once the (n)
dimensions are duly elaborated an anarchism can be located and classified (pidgeon-holed in n-

space) by placement in sach dimension. For instance, the form of anarchism preferred by me
(s<$SM for an early presentation),[But one sort never to be^instituted everywhere/rom a riciT'
<L. variety of altematie^s located as follows: it is social (with a significantly qualified communistic

safety net: each according to her or his basic needs),' market-oriented but non-capitalistic, with
diminished ownership, democratic but without politicians and with alternative electoral

arrangements, pacific but not bound by "constitutional" procedures, utilizing modest safe
technologies, ....
There are then many anarchisms, a rich variety of different forms, some of them scarcely
investigated or known. That anarchism comprises such a plurality has proved puzzling to those
(for example of one name-one thing persuasion) who assumed it must be a single ideology,

either individual or collective,.... Indeed the pluralist character of anarchism has led even more

apparently sympathetic critics, to 'wonder whether anarchism is really an ideology at all, or
merely a jumble of beliefs
(M, p.3). Of course the impression that anarchism 'is amorphous
and full of paradoxes and contradictions' is marvellously assisted by conflating degenarchism
with anarchism, chaos with order, and by combining the variant forms, individualism with

socialism and communism. By properly regarding anarchism as a sheaf of overlapping
positions assembled around a core characterisation, a standard model for pluralism, the
problematic elements of anarchism as an ideology disappear. No doubt it is not an ideology like

Marxism, but then Marxism is atypical in its set of paradigmatic texts, concentrated in the works
of the master. Other ideologies such as liberalism or environmentalism afford better
comparisons. While anarchism is an ideology (in both good and bad senses), it is not really a
movement. There is not, anywhere really, such a movement, in the way there have been a
succession of liberation movements or there is a green ^deep ecology^movement.

9

2 : . /

A
/f

7

z^4-v^-

/i
cY&v-e, Insofar a^ anarchism is duly based on removal of unacceptable means, it
should be
* pluralistic, because for example it cannot impose a single formulation on communities who

want to organise differently thatiits preferred way.
* non-violent. Terrorist forms of anarchism are strictly incompatible with broad-based non­
coercion. For terrorism typically involves coercion, stand-over tactics, and the like/

That is, there is a doublish standard on violence: It is alright to apply violence against
state (and others) while not alright to have coercive state, which applies violence. No doubt
this can be justified through cgoLwr namely OK for me to do violence to you but not OK for
you to apply violence to me. Accordingly tentative conc/MMon is: A moral anarchism will not
be a form committed to violence Except unavoidable forms etc.

Such pluralism does not enjoy a strong historic track-record, and does not go
unopposed. Standard anarchist positions, sketching of which was mainly a nineteenth
century preoccupation (but extending into twentieth century science fiction and utopian
literature), shied away from pluralism in the direction of monistic forms, towards
insistence upon particular structure, organisation and distributional methods. Such
monistic rigidity led to much intense, often fruitless discussion and friction between
anarchists committed to different arrangements. Certainly there was a doctrine of
spontaneity — according to which in a state-overthrowing revolution (in the very heat of
the revolution!) the masses world spontaneously decide upon new arrangements — which

makes it appear that any structures at all were open for consideration; but it was also
assumed that certain arrangements would be selected, towards which active anarchists
would provide guidance.

It is not difficult to indicate some of the broad features of emergent arrangemens
features that flow from the character of anarchism. But anarchists, over-attracted like

others to monistic schemes, have regularly attempted to advance their own schemes,
introducing many further postulates, that reach far beyond what flows from the basic

characterisation, and that need not be adopted by genuine anarchistics (some further
examples of optional and rejectable extras from a recent manifesto:... direct democracy,

destruction of all hierarchies, maximization of freedom, total Revolution, no ends-means
distinction, no leaders, optimism about an anarchist future,...).

23
Because of the expansive pluralism of anarchism, it overlaps many other ideologies,

indeed all that do not include as a theme unmitigated commitment to a state or like central
authority. Thus while anarchism excludes fascism and is incompatible with state capitalism,
anarchism overlaps liberalism, democracy, and even Marxism, since Marxism affords a long­

term anarchism. There has been much confusion about these interrelations. Take democracy.
Anarchism does not entail democracy, as is sometimes claimed. Advice of a select minority or
of a^sage could regularly be adopted, though the advice did not reflect the will of the people and
its source was not elected or appointed by the people. Nor does anarchism entail undemocratic

procedures. There are, in the plurality, democratic forms, of various sorts, and undemocratic
forms. Democratic forms may have a better prospect of enabling genuine democracy than life
under the state. For as some have argued, 'both the nation state and electoral democracy are
inadequate as vehicles for democracy under modem conditions' (Bumheim p.218).

Is its goal individual freedom or communal solidarity? Sometimes one, sometimes the
other, sometimes neither, sometimes both (a typical four-valued logical structure). A pluralistic
anarchism offers several different sorts of communities, not just one kind: for instance,

independent individuals, perhaps interrelated and organised through contracts, solidaristic
groups working freely together and sharing according to need, and various attractive
intermediaries, where there may be more individual-oriented market arrangements but there are
also safety nets ensuring distribution according to basic needs.
It is not difficult in theory to devise structures that allow a wide variety of kinds. For

example, in simple cases this can be accomplished through regional patterning, as illustrated
with 6 varieties.

(Such a modelling for political pluralism is further elaborated in UT.) The brief interlude of
anarchism in Spain afforded a small-scale example of regional patterning at work
The kinds of anarchistic societies are bound to be of very variable quality, both

theoretically and in practice. Some will only work with rather special sorts of people, for
instance certain Answers with members with strong religious or ideological commitments; some

will not succeed at all. Some verge on incoherence, for instance those against coercive
organistions that approve group terrqist tactics. But while some kinds of anarchism are

entangled in serious problems, others are not. Anarchists generally have no obligation to
defend defective kinds; yet many criticisms of anarchism are directed at just such defective
forms.
Although there is a rich variety of anarchistic end-states (virtually uninstantiated

) f

/-I'y e

24
or

1^-

*rc!

n

possibilities), there are^ common organisational and structural features. Such cluster features are
A

J

what hold the plurality together, and include noncoercive versions of those arrangements

essential to a functioning society: for instance, broad features of arrangements for production
and distribution, for arbitration and reconciliation, and so on, and on. But although each such
anarchist society will have such organizational features, they will differ in detail. For example,
a main distributional feature of a simple communist society may comprise a common
storehouse from which members take according to need, whereas in individualist societies
distribution will normally proceed through some sort of exchange in market systems. MoK

(

generally different types of anarchism will offer different economic theories. Those with

stronger individualistic component will tend to rely upon not merely market or allied exchange
arrangements, but upon capitalistic organisation. The type of anarchism favoured here strikes
an intermediate route: markets without capitalism.
How is such complex organisation to be achieved without a state? Does not such
organisation and government require a state? To remove that familiar assumption and

associated blockages - encouraged by too much life under states and no experience of

alternatives - take a wider look around. Look at how many activities and procedures are
organised without states or essential participation of states. By voluntary arrangements.

Prominent examples are again sporting organisations, labour unions and business corporations
of various sorts. In short, organisation can be accomplished through a range of appropriate
institutions.

Such examples also provide the appropriate key unlocking the door as to how more
extensive organisation can be achieved in the absence of the state, namely through appropriate
institutions. The state dissolves into functioning components, a set of appropriate institutions,
and at bottom into its relevant minimization. It fragments into compartments - in two
interconnected ways: into regional parts and into capacities, functional parts.
There are other valuable clues to stateless reorganisation. What happens within the more
self-regulating state can also happen without it. As Gramsci emphasized,

the ability to govern without overt coercion depends largely on the ability of
those in power to exploit systems of belief that the larger population shares.
The nature of that system of belief is to some extent determinable by policy
makers, since in the modern state they possess a significant ability to
propagandize for their view. Yet.... (p.63).
Recent empirical investigations tend to yield similar results. People tend to follow rules and
obey laws they regard as moral or otherwise satisfactory. There are important messages for

anarchistic organisation here also, for arrangements without coercion, overt or other.
Anarchistic rules will try to go with the prevailing flow, and will only vary (as over vindictive

punishment) where an evidently satisfactory justification can be given. More generally, smarter
anarchistic arrangements will aim to include desirable self-regulating systems, such as small-

/<?

25
scale markets.
t

There are too many alternatives in the pluralistic basket to look at all of them. Let us
consider only some of them, with however preferred features. (An example that does not rank
highly and will not be further assessed is Stirner's individualism.) Anarchistic societies of any
complexity will typically consist of a network of decentralised organisations, or a federation of
these (etc.). The organisations will thus be regional, but beyond that set up according to issue,

role or function.

Thus they will include what might well be accounted ecoregiona/

Many of the stock features of political functionalism, as decentralised, will
accordingly recur, separation of powers, tailoring of administration to need, for instance. The
organisations will furthermore be noncoercive; no individual or group will be forced to join.
Typically they will be voluntary arrangements.

A critical question is-to how these organisations, substitudng for the operation of state, are
to be controlled, regulated, and so on. In much favoured democratic structures, such as

electoral bureaucracies, control is usually weak and remarkably tnJtrecf. A populace weakly
selects a central parliament, which exercises through other bureaucratic bodies some control of
state organisations. A full anarchism is obliged to dissolve or substitute for central parliaments.
It has a obvious option, namely direct democratic control of state-substituting organisations. A

simple way of achieving this is through sortition: the membership of the governing component
of each organisation is chosen randomly from those qualified of the regional community who
volunteer to be on it. In some cases volunteers may require accessible qualifications (e.g.
having served before at a lower level), and avoid disqualifications (e.g. having acquired a
disqualifying record).6 Where the community decides that certain categories of people should be
represented, for instance disabled, minorities, and so forth, then it is a matter of arranging
random selection of the required fraction of group numbers from these categories. This style of

statistical democracy dates back at least to original democracies of Greek city states where public

officials were sometimes selected by lot (it is discussed under democracy in Aristotle's P<?/iric.y).
Nowadays it is called t/gwarcAy (a term with an unfortunate prior meaning); here in its
anarchistic form it will be alluded to under the neologism dewanarcAy.
Such demanarchy has the immediate virtue of removing a most expensive duplication,

government ministers and their departmental counterparts (e.g. finance ministers and
corresponding appointed treasury officials). Indeed, the whole charade of central parliamentary

6

People can serve their administrative apprenticeship at local or group levels. One when they are adjudged
to have exhibited sufficient competence here are they entitled to nominate for selection at grander levels.
This is one reasonable way of obtained some quality control in selection of administrators. (Note /gve/^ do
not provide a vicious hierarchy.)

A""

—H

Though there are many different strands that can be interwoven through the

pluralistic out-fall from the basic characterisation, there are some broad tendencies of
anarchistic arrangement which include:
*

reliance on self-regulatory methods of organisation that require little or no

intervention, as opposed to highly regulated procedures, perhaps tending towards
centralism
or
paternalism.
This is one reason why markets are favoured, analogues of centralised control and
coercive legal systems are not.

* emphasis on voluntary methods, in place of imposed methods - coercive methods are
of course excluded by virtue of basic characterisation. Certainly de facto power may
remain, but it will be without justification.
* favouring of decentralisation and deconcentration rather than centralised or
concentrated structures.
That does not imply there can be no downward relations. Of course under federal
arrangements there will be, and sideways natural relations as well (a full control
system).

* discouragement of empowerment, encouragement of depowerment.
* opposition to oppression is a corollary.

26

government, ministers and hordes of minders, governments and replicating opposition teams, is
duly removed — as it has to be under non-centralization. Such parliamentary centres are
.
....
eliminated; insofar as anything replaces them, it is the dispersed community, no centre, which is

directly linked to functional organisation.
Gone with the centre, or seriously reduced, are several standard political worries, such as
those of coup or take-over, insurrection or invasion. These usually involve capturing the centre

and its command structure, no longer there to capture (for there is no command or control
structure that could be taken by an invador or with internal insurrection). Community defence is

thereby rendered much easier. Also considerably reduced is the standard problem of who
controller is the community (one of the advantages of more direct democracy).

Appropriate institutions take care then of the day-to-day running of community affairs.

But what of major issue decisions, changes of direction or structure? These can be
accomplished from the bottom, through referenda, propositions and the like (with public
assessment organised through a suitably independent college), rather than in present top-down
inflexible fashion. (Some of these methods, of which there is worthwhile experience in parts of
Europe, are investigated in Wolff.)
A regular early question is how such a stateless structure is to be financed
coecive
mechanisms available. Of course if coercive institutions were in place, then the overall structure
could be financed in the sorts of ways that states are presently financed. It should be observed,

in any case, that coercive means are very rarely resorted to (unless the target is pursued for otAgr

reasons, such as crime) in order to obtain revenue payments from wealthy corporations, firms or
individuals, from where in a more equitable community much of the funding would derive (by

contrast with most present states). There are several parts to a satisfactory answer:* AfMcA less public revenue would be required because the most expensive, most wasteful, and

least productive components of state have been excised. These include the whole apparatus of
central government and electoral politics, and the associated system of coercion, standard

military forces and defense establishment, espionage framework, and police forces, prison
establishment and expensive courts. -—

Nonetheless there remain many institutions to finance, include smaller substitutes for some of

the abolished structures (e.g. social defence arrangements).
* Many institutions can be largely or entirely self-financing, because like customs and import
organisation^ they collect revenue, or through fair user-pays principles. Reasonable returns

taken can be channelled to an independent revenue office with no outside spending or
redistribution powers.
* Much, if not all, further social revenue could be raised through resources taxation (adequate

royalties and the like), rental taxes on property or leases, gift and gains taxes, and through

auctions (of previously inherited goods). How this would work depends upon community
arrangements.

Consider for instance anarchistic arrangements where that problematic item, private
property, has not been instituted or has been abolished (as under main examples of European
anarchism, by contrast with North American forms). Valuable durables (roughly, any durable
worth stealing for sale in present systems) will be renfed instead of bought. Leasehold systems
can be operated very like private property (as the land system in the Australian Capital Territory
reveals)^facilitating market operations, but they offer significantly better control, for instance
environmentally, they enable the social component of generated wealth to be reflected, through a
rental, and they can be of finite term and to a given individual, so inheritance transfer is
excluded. In place of the customary land titles office a larger durables office with subdivision
for types of durables would be instituted, with each durable now indelibly marked or described.
(Here, as with referenda, computing facililies remove many previous obstacles to such

developments. Organisation can move with newer technologies.
Leasehold arrangements are readily applied to prevent the accumulation of scarce property
resources, such as urban land, which is a major feature of capitalism. For leases of scarce

commodities can be allocated according to need and ability to use, not merely through a
historically rooted market distribution as with private property. It is private property, not a
market system of distribution, that is really distinctive of capitalism, since it not only provides a
place to park and increase capital, but it enables transmission of accumulated wealth (e.g. within
a family or dynasty) and control of the means of production.

CZ

4^? y

and SwiaMness

7^4

,^.

y?e

A^.V<

c. 4^^
*

^AAv^A

A^

r4A
7^?/-

/

z-

yy^fA,

^Tz- A y

. yy

r/At- Ac

x' 4- z A^.

A^

^-A.

AzA
/A^'A

xA.A^
z^^-^-xxAA/

Aa A ^//x/---?
-—

/^c

has become fashionable/^ince th^oncurrent anthropological findings concerning
small communities and the collective action results concerning small collectives demolished the

assumption that anarchy

impossible, t& concede that anarchy is possible but only where

there is a suitable small community.

/Az'

-

A

//

/X

<_y

'

y

'A,,'

'

/

//

^

y

/

.

/

,y,

.. .

^_

—y/-

Zf

..J.
/

/z,

y

y-

7

/

a—
- sort of anarchism in-the-small has been forcefully
pursued by Taylor, who contends that 'anarchy is viable to the extent that the relations between
people are those which are characteristic of community', a small community (p.166). That is:
... community is necawa/y — if people are to live without the state' (p.3).
The argument to community that Taylor offers reduces a modified Hobbesipnism; social
order can oly be maintained, without the state and in the small, if the relations between
individuals are those of community (cf p.2). Insofar as it is detailed, it is a remarkably brokeddown argument. As Taylor himself helps to show, 'the liberal justification of the state' - from

the failure of individuals in a large public to voluntarily cooperate to provide themselves without
requisite collective goods - breaks down at every critical point, in its premisses, in its
argument, and in its concluding inference to the state was the on/y means of ensuring the
supply of such goods (p.59).
It is this final lacuna onto which Taylor latches. Granting the rest, 'all that can be inferred
is that, if public goods are to be provided, jowc means must be found of getting people to do
their part in providing them' (p.59). There are, Taylor swiftly finds, three pure methods of

ensuring provision of the goods in question: the state, the market, and the community. The
argument then proceeds by elimination, of the market. Taylor 'contends that social order
cannot satisfactorily be put on the market' (p.2), though his arguments to this contention are far
from decisive. That leaves the state for public larger than communities, and communitarian
anarchism as an extra-terrestial possibility for small communities (because communities in the
vicinity of states do not, it is claimed, survive). For all the talk about anarchism^it looks like
another triumph for the state.

&t the argument is unsound, because there are other methods than those Taylor locates.

Non-statist organisation, which comes in a range of forms^ is not a combination of the pure
methods considered. As a broad type of method it is hardly "unproposed", or without

precedents or examples (e.g. medieval orders and present international order).

7^
A

er

C

4

!/V
[1] p.3O Important among these practices are resistance movements and organised
refusals (preferably without conspicuous leaders). While individuals can be selectively picked
off, enough people well organsed cannot. As a result grand refusals could be significant
political happenings.

[3] p.4? The practice of anarchism, generously construed, naturally includes the state of
being in anarchist conditions, of living under anarchism (though perhaps unaware). There is
cope for anarchism without doctrine. Many primitive societies thus qualify on anarchistic; they
practice, or practiced, anarchism though unaware (somewhat as wild animals practice hygine).
Further, no doubt now stretching 'practice' beyond its assumed anthropic context, many animal
communities practice anarchism. Many attracted ^anarchism, an anarchism without name
even, long for analogous pure practice.^ Th^ hope that whatever it is ill operate, perhps even

materilize, without any heave-

ithouteness or e

any intellectualizing, perhaps
without even thought or much ef
on their part. In contemporary circumstances they would
thave to be extrordinary lucky (a paternal state with caring elements, such as safe jobs and

spoon-fed indoctrinal education for all citizens, does not relinquish its control voluntarily).

[4] #awan Harare. This is a theoretical notion which has been used for multifarious

/refprious, social and political purposes. Typically the notion has been deployed in a effort to

force various restrictive types of social arrangements, archie ones (including defence focus,
standing armies, survellience etc.)
[5] about p.20 (connector^

Present minolithic governments have assumed far too many roles, for many of which
they are not competent, ffom some of wlpdrihey are disqualified by other roles (e.g. as
impartial referees by ^h^r/businessjsofnmitments). Because the centre tries to do and control

too much, as a consequenc$4tdoes very much unsatisifactorily. Improved arrangements would
separate these roles, deconcentrating and decentralizing power.
[6] p.30. As^?ovemmenr is variably determinable, so also is /aw. Under the main

determinate, law is incompatible with anarchism. But under a different determinate, there is no
incompatibility.
Anarchism cannot traffic in law, in the initial and prominent sense of /aw offered in the

OED, namely 'a rule of conduct imposed by authority', imposed by authority and
characteristically backed up by coercion, it may be added. To some extent counter reducing this

prognastication is a'second sense of 'law' (the third comprises 'scientific and philosophical
uses'): namely 'without reference to an external commanding authority'.

Law deservedly has a tarnished reputation in anarchism.

Most of it is arcane,
administered by an expensive priesthood. Too often it is an oppression tool of the state.
While anarchism is hostile to such law, and incompatable with heavy authoritarian law, it
is in no way opposed to rules, to regulations, to conventions of freely asserted to lists, and so
on.

[7] Democracy within ANARCHY, and DEMANARCHY
Present electoral arrangements offer what? What presently have is a competative game
between competating blocks of the ruling elite (with professional power-brokers who trade with
each other their patronage and cites/br the acclaimed right to govern.

Thus elections hardly represent a genuine expression of agreement by the populace to be
governed; rather they are occasions when the populace is duped into supporting one or other
elite team.
For the most part power is concentrated in organisations which are not elected, not

controlled by the people effected by their contractions and not representative.
By and large, satisfactory democratic arrangements will not be participatory (see
Burnheim).

are valuable for limited purposes, viz. as /a// bacty. B argues that they are not
satisfactory in general (p.91). There is no need to dissent.
Mows 1. Encourage those without interest in, or not genuinely affected by issue not to vote.
2. only structural, not material issues to refs. Certainly not material moral issues, for

instance, not capital punishment, not abortion.
Dgwarc/ty has the wrong etymology and the wrong meaning for anarchist purposes. It
means 'the office of a demarch [a president, chief magistrate, major or governnorj; a popular
government. The municipal body of a modern Greek commune' (OED). Anarchism recognises
no chiefs or leaders, even democratic ones or demogogues. What can be done very simply,

however, is to enlarge the word by a simple important syllable 'an', giving Jcwa/MrAy.
[8] [after authority, coercion.

To coerce is maintain or change state, normaliy of another creature, by force.

Re Chap 4) Insofar as anarchism is duly based on removal of unacceptable means, it
should be

* pluralistic, because for example it cannot impose a single formulation on communities who
want to organise differently that its preferred way.
* non-violent. Terrorist forms of anarchism are strictly incompatibile with broad-based non­
coercion. For terrorism typically involves coercion, stand-over tactics, and the like.
That is, there is a doublish standard on vio/ence: It is alright to apply violence against
state (and others) while not alright to have coercive state, which applies violence. No doubt this
can be justified through ggoi-sw: namely OK for me to do violence to you but not OK for you to
apply violence to me. Accordingly afentadve

is: A moral anarchism will not be a

form committed to violence - except unavoidable forms etc.
[9]

anJ Smallness
It has become fashionable, since the concurrent anthropological finalings concerning

small communities and the collective action results concerning small collectiyes demolisted the
assumption that anarchy was impossible, to concede that anarchy is possible but only where

there is a suitable small community. This sort of anarchism in-the-small has been forcefully
pursued by Taylor, who contends that 'anarchy is viable to the extent that the relations between

people are those which are characteristic of community', a small community (p.166). That is:
... community is necessary - if people are to live without the state' (p.3).

The argument to community that Taylor offeysreduces a modified Hobbesionism; social
order can oly be maintained, without the st^te and in the small, if the relations between

individuals are those of community (cf p.2L lnsofar as it is detailed, it is a remarkably brokeddown argument. As Taylor himself helps to show, 'the liberal jusdfication of the state' - from

the failure of individuals in a large public to voluntarily cooperate to provide themselves without
requisite collective goods - brdaks down at every critical point, in its premisses, in its
argument, and in its concluding inference to the state was the on/y means of ensuring the supply
of such goods (p.59).
It is this final lacuna onto which Taylor latches. Granting the rest, 'all that can be inferred
is that, if public goods are to be provided, some means must be found of getting people to do

their part in providing them' (p.59). There are, Taylor swiftly finds, three pure methods of

ensuring provision of the goods in question: the state, the market, and the community. The

argument then proceeds by elimination, of the market. Taylor 'contends that social order cannot
satisfactorily be put on the market' (p.2), though his arguments to this contention are far from

14

e

OF

/
7
One

appalling

mes from a Russi

icrionary

that is hostile to all
-bourgeours socio-political tr
authority a
e, and counterpasses ' intere^s of petty private
ownersbib and small
ant economy to
progress of^ociety based on
large-scale production
v, 2nd revision
s, Progress,
bsever, 1989).

^nether-dismal-eharaeterisati
[4]

scientistIfApter).

narurg. This is a theoretical notion which has been used for multifarious

reforious, social and political purposes. Typically the notion has been deployed in a effort to
.v(0

force various restrictive types of social arrangements, archie ones [including defence focus,
standing armies, survellience etc.)
*[5FabouFpT2O-(G0miect0f)

Present\p^nolithic governments have assumed far too many roles, for many of which
they are not co

etent, from some of which they are disqualified by other roles (e.g. as

KHLI Ut
impartial referees by\[ieir business commitments). Because the centre tries to do and epntro

too much, as a conseque

it does very much unsatisifactofily. Improve

tents wouldl

.separate these roles, deconcen^ating and decentralizing power.
[7] Democracy within ANARCHY, and DEMANARCHY

Present electoral arrangements offer what? What presently have is a competative game
between competating blocks of the ruling elite (with professional power-brokers who trade with

each other their patronage and citesybr the acclaimed right to govern.
Thus elections hardly represent a genuine expression of agreement by the populace to be

governed; rather they are occasions when the populace is duped into supporting one or other
elite team.
For the most part power is concentrated in organisations which are not elected, not

controlled by the people effected by their contractions and not representative.
By and large, satisfactory democratic arrangements will not be participatory (see

Burnheim).

o

— /^W/
6'J

n /

/I

15
7?^/<?rc/!^Az are valuable for limited purposes, viz. as /<
*/// /?ocA.s'. B argues that they are not
satisfactory in general (p.91). There is no need to dissent.

Moray 1. Encourage those without interest in, or not genuinely affected by issue not to vote.
2. only structural, not material issues to refs. Certainly not material moral issues, for
instance, not capital punishment, not abortion.

Z)^marc/ty has the wrong etymology and the wrong meaning for anarchist purposes. It
means the office of a demarch [a president, chief magistrate, major or govemnor]; a popular
government. The municipal body of a modem Greek commune' (OED). Anarchism recognises
no chiefs or leaders, even democratic ones or demogogues. What can be done very simply,
however, is to enlarge the word by a simple important syllable 'an', giving

IM) A

*
*

Chapter 8A

ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THEORY
AND OF A PREFERRED THEORY

There are many preliminaries. One, like preparing a badly used building site, consists in

removing the rubbish. That of course is but the beginning of philosophy, not the sole content
and end, as some zealous followers of Lockejhave supposed.
1. Issues in appalling methodology.
Many of the prevailing sins of philosophy are writ large in political philosophy, i Bad

practices abound; anarchism has suffered particularly as a result.

Redefinitions, and

redefinitional stratagems to try to close gappy arguments, abound. Large assumptions are

imported and regularly used, without due notice, or too often any awareness: particularly
pernicious are those of individualism and atomism, and of thoroughgoing egoism. It hardly

needs stressing that such assumptions are environmentally unfriendly, at best.

False

dichotomies abound. And so on. Among the deleterious practices, several deserve special
mention:
* 7%#/

o/

There is a deeply embedded in modern

mainstream intellectual activity and strikingly manifest in political theory. A general feature of

contemporary thought, as of much contemporary technology and practice, is that of over­
powering or of excessive strength. The phenomenon, as exhibited in contemporary mainstream

logic, where it shows up in excessive assumptions, and principles more powerful than reason
can justify, is dis-assessed elsewhere (from the perspective of relevant logic, in RLR). Some of

the same unwarranted assumptions, notably those of invariant consistency and maximization,
reach far beyond stock logical theory to apply, so it is regularly claimed, to all rational practice,
including political decision-making and institutional arrangements (see MR).

Analogous features are incorporated in many of the arguments against anarchism. For

example, it is argued that anarchism cannot realise optimal delivery of public goods, ideal
conditions for this or that (e.g. free market functioning, capital formation and flow), and so on.
Not only do other alternatives not measure up to these standards (certainly prevailing

arrangements fall very far short), the standards themselves are quite excessive. Instead it is
enough that certain sorts of adequacy standards are met, that reasonable thresholds are
1

One reason is that much of it is done by political
thinking.

with no adequate grounding tn logic or

/'
m we/Ttoi/o/ogy. Many of the prevailing sins of philosophy are writ large in political
*
philosophy.
Redefinitions, and redefinitional otologies to try to close gappy arguments,
abound. Large assumptions are imported and regularly used, without due notice, or too often
any awareness: particularly pernicious are those of individualism and atomism, and of
thoroughgoing egoism. It hardly needs stressing that such assumptions are environmentally
unfriendly, at best.
P/tcno/ncnon o/
* excessive strength. There is a deeply embedded in modern mainstream
intellectual activity and strikingly manifest in political theory.

A general feature of contemporary thought, as of much contemporary technology and
practice, is that of over-powering or of excessive strength. The phenomenon, as exhibited in
contemporary mainstream logic, where it shows up in excessive assumptions, and principles
more powerful than reason can justify, is disassesed elsewhere (from the perspective of relevant
logic, in RLR). Some of the same unwarranted assumptions, notably those of invariant

consistency and maximization, reach far beyond stock logical theory to apply, so it is regularly
claimed, to all rational practice, including political decision making and obstitutional
arrangements (see MR).

Analogous features are incorporated in many of the arguments against anarchism. For
example, it is argued that anarchism cannot realise optimal delivery of public goods, ideal
conditions for this or that (e.g. free market functioning, capital formation and flow), and so on.

Not only do other alternatives not measure up to these standards (certainly prevailing
arrangements fall very far short), the standards themselves are quite excessive. Instead it is
enough that certain sorts of adequacy standards are met, that reasonable thresholds are
achieved. There is a most important corollary: that arguments against anarchism or anarchistic
institutional arrangement which assume maximizing principles or the like (as are presumed in
Prisimers Dilemma arguments, game theory, mainstream economics, etc.) are flowed from the
very outset, and should be set aside.
A central time in anarchism offers a somewhat different display of the excess

phenomenon. The issue concerns alleged justifications of the state, or state-like institutions.
Here all that reason and argument appear to warrant are much less powerful institutions, not

arrangements with the excessive powers of the state. To close the gap between what argument
and practice appear,to justify and what the state claims, some opportunistic intellectuals have
1

One reason is that much of it is done by poiiticai szds with no adequate grounding in logic or critical
thinking.

tried, rather......... to redefine the state. But such low redefinitions, while imposing states on
societies that operated without them, leaves the contemporary state besereft of adequate
justification. In brief, such intellectual strategies lead from the frying pan to the fire.

So it is similarly with institutions within the state, such as property and law. Reason and
argument do not justify state property arrangements, only an opportunistically redefined
"property" which does not fulfil the same state and capitalistic role. Similarly with law and state
legal systems.

ON DEFINING ANARCHISM DEFINITIONS OF ANARCHISM

One characterisation that is utterly appalling comes from a Russian Dictionary of
PAi/<9^o/?Ay:
'Anarc&i.wn, a petty-bourgeours socio-political trend that is hostile to all
authority and the state, and counterpasses the interests of petty private
ownership and small peasant economy to the progress of society based on
large-scale production' (ed I. Frolov, 2nd revision eds, Progress,
Plosever, 1989).

Another dismal characterisation comes from an American political scientist (Apter).
Defective definitions of anarchism abound, many supplied by high profile anarchists
(whereupon they assume a certain air of authority, a bogus air). A few examples will be

considered, mostly drawn from a large list of similarly defective definitions included in Clark,
p.ll8ff., who is out to show that any definition which attempts to do justice to anarchism
through an assentialistic definition deploying one simple idea is bound to fail, abysmally.
AnarcAy does not "mean literally "without government'" contrary to Caster p.14. It does

however imply without governments of prevailing cuts which is what the immediately proceeds

to: 'and the lowerst common demominstor of anarchist thought is the conviction that existing
forms of government are productive of wars, internal violence, repression and misery' (p.14).
Right on!
The very short characterisation of anarc/iAy/?? (and redition of anarc/taj) as 'no *

government'is defective because of the elosticity, and slippiness of 'government'. For
example, according to one dictionary (Dniverya/ E/tg/Bh) govern/ytenr means '... system of
polity in a state; territory ruled by a governor ...' in which case it fy incompatible with

Thus, e.g. Carter, Websters (?).

2

achieved. There is a most important corollary: that arguments against anarchism or anarchistic

institutional arrangement which assume maximizing principles or the like (as are presumed in
Prisoners Dilemma arguments, game theory, mainstream economics, etc.) are flawed from the

very outset, and should be set aside.

A central issue in anarchism offers a somewhat different display of the excess
phenomenon. The issue concerns alleged justifications of the state, or state-like institutions.

Here all that reason and argument appear to warrant are much less powerful institutions, not
arrangements with the excessive powers of the state. To close the gap between what argument

and practice appear to justify and what the state claims, some opportunistic intellectuals have
tried, rather deviously, to redefine the state. But such low redefinitions, while imposing states
on societies that operated without them, leaves the contemporary state bereft of adequate
justification. In brief, such intellectual strategies lead from the frying pan to the fire.
So it is similarly with institutions within the state, such as property and law. Reason and

argument do not justify state property arrangements, only an opportunistically redefined

"property" which does not fulfil the same state and capitalistic role. Similarly with law and state

legal systems.
* Htg/t anJ low

Wolffs little book, billed as "a defence of anarchism" is a

small treasury of these. Virtually all the characterisations proposed at the beginning of this

book, of state, sovereignty, authority, power, actomomy, are defective, often by virtue of

definitional features. Consider Wolffs opening:
'Politics is the exercise of the power of the state, or the attempt to influence that exercise.
Political philosophy is therefore ... the philosophy of the state' (p.3 also p.ll). Politics went
on before the rise of the state, and with some good fortune, will persist often its demise.

Again, consider: 'the state is a group of persons who have or exercise suppose authority within
a given territory' (p3; repeated p.5). This shows the fallacy of redirectionism. For a state

normally does not change when those who exercise power do. On the de facto state Wolff is
also astray: 'a & Jacio state is simply a state whose subjects believe it to be ligitimate (i.e. really
to have the authority it claims for itself)' (p.10). Many subjects may nor believe that, but be
intimidated through state power. Very fashionable in removing anarchism are low redefinitions

of Ftare, where there is a state given any positional components in society, such as political

specialisation or division of labour (see Taylor on anthopoligical efforts on societies without

states). As a result there can be effortessly be both anarchy and "state"; any complex anarchist
society is a state!
Another rich source of redefinitions is founded by Taylor's books on anarchism.
Examples include: a fairly hopeless definition of gooJ.' it is desired (p.45). Most interesting is a

3
disgustingly low redefinition of property.- 'Property' is here a shorthand for a variety of
entilements or use rights (Taylor 82 p.44). So as I am entitled to use the byway or to bathe in

the stream, they are my property, so I run them? Another example concerns coercion: In the
claim that to avoid the Hobbesian prisoners' dilemma 'every man must be coerced', Taylor
continues (87 p. 145), 'by which I mean simply that he must be made to behave differently than

he otherwise would (... (i.e.) would "ovlantarily" in the state of nature).' But such a difference
may be effectively achieved, depending on the subject, by noncoercive means, such as
persassion, sanctions, and so forth. Furthermore it would not guarantee what Taylor and

Hobbes appear to expect, authority and sovereignty.
Among the most pernicious of redefinitions, constraints, and elides are those concerning
interests and preferences - often reduction bases for gooJ and other value qualities, often
quickly converted from interest to self-interest (thus Taylor)^ Examples from within this circle

include harmony and cooperation.

For instance.'Harmony requires complete identity of

interests' (in Ope, p.226). It hardly requires comment. Again '...cooperation occurs when

actors adjust their behaviour to the actual or anticipated preferences of others (in Ope p.226).
But suppose creatures simply work or act together (what 'cooperation' means).

psychological accounts are seriously astray.
* ZHc%#%MnoMS
or ctf^cr-or-M/n.

Such

Humans are extraordinarily addicted to

flawed dichotomous reasoning, again powerfully exhibited with regard to anarchism and the

state? For example, the alternative to the state is presumed to be anarchism which is equated
with disorder; so it is either the state or disorder. Again, the only alternative to a market system
of government is central control - market or control - and the market has won out decisively

now (one of the presumed reasons for the prematurely announced "end to ideology").
Other objectionable methodological assumptions include
'..Po.w&Mh'g mJzvo/aa/LSW (after McP p.3)

'Its possessive quality is its conception of the individual as essentially the proprietor of his own

person or capacities, owning nothing to society for them. The individual (is not)... part of a
larger..... whole, but... surer of himself.'
As a result:

'Society consists of relations of exchange between proprietors. Political socieity becomes a
celebrated device for the protection of this property and for the maintenance of an orderly
relation of exchange.'
2
3

The fallacious shifts are dealt with in 'Aquinst,
A famous Australian example is the truculent stance of its richest mum, Packer, in a parliamentary
inquiry: Either you believe me or call be a liar. Reflect on how far "call me a liar" goes beyond "you
do not believe me".
,

There should be some eodness^ that we are now trying to build machines in our own inadequate
image. (Many examples in SM).

4
(a prime example in economics: the data of extremality).

* /tM/nan

* g/fwn o/va/ne, or reduction of value to preference.

All of these have been crically assessed elsewhere. But some features deserve further
elaboration:

* f/tg

tAgo/y

With rule and compass techniques it is wn/MM.n&Zg to trirect angle. Of course by measuring it is

rather easy.

Similarly with rationality: wider means can do what state was supposed to be necessary for.
Put differently, the theoretical state is an artifact on a certain ultra-thin theory of rationality.

The thin theory of rationality is an extraordinarily widespread ideological....... among
Anglo-American social theorists (many of whom feel obliged to make public dealeraatous of
faith). But that it is 'almost universally taken for granted by economists' does nothing to show

its correctness, unless an argument from expectise has required a new validity. What it reveals

rather is something about the ideological commitments,...........of economists.
The thing theory of rationality is almost invariably coupled with individualism,

methodological individualism as it is usually cleverly called (after Popper's theorizing).^
Many of these objectionabl assumption are melted together in theories of /mman nafnrg.
Mafnrg, CM/tMrg anJconfro/.

Part of the intellectual aim of a theory of human nature is to achieve an account of hum^n

/motivation. But a uniform story of motivation is scarcely more likely drawn as uniform account
of human nature.^ Motivations are no doubt important; but they are many and various.
It is still fashionable to assert, as if it was a truism, that 'all political philosophies ... base

themselves upon a conception of human nature' (Wolff Povgrty p. 140, pluralised). That is no

longer so (certainly, since Foucault) is that the notion of //n/nnn nnturg is not well defined, and
never was except under high redefinitions.
Work in decqtralized artificial intelligence readily suggests that communities of robots
could operate without statist arrangements (nor need outiside imput be state bound). That

suggests in tum that it is something about humans, as many humans, that leads to development
or imposition of states. That something has been ascribed, rather too quickly, to human nature,
or to human culture, or to some mix of human genetypic and phenotypic features, features that

other creatures or artificial intelligences do not share. It is something peculiarly pertaining to
and special to humans, their nature or culture, that amends institutional control. But has never

been satisfactorily explained what these special features are or how they operate. There is much

space for total scepticism about such justificatory or apologetic approaches.
4
5

Taylor has a dreadful argumejpj (892 p.57) that people are agents, because otherewise default to
understand why so many goods and supplied (also 87 p.109).
The usual uniform story depends upon self inferey/, which is widened into mteresM under pressure.

5

2. Aa/Mrc, CM/tMro, awJ contra/.
A major function of culture is to regulate and control changed Political change in the

South Pacific, and political divergence from the industrial North, can, in principle then, be

grounded in and powered by features of local and regional culture. One organising theme, a
corollary of the argument, facilitates the transition from principle to practice:- It is that the
requisite elements are present in regional cultures, the potentiality is there, for the South Pacific

region (and Australia in particular) to proceed in a very different social political direction from

the North (and from the USA in particular). Given the radical unsatisfactoriness of the
American arrangements, in many frequently exposed respects,7 such a different direction is
worth taking — if it can be.
But a serious problem in the way of change is imposition of political arrangements, from

outside or from above. And, since imposition shades into political pressure, this is only one of

the obstacles impeding change in the South Pacific and elsewhere. Another forcing more and
more peoples, no longer sheltered by geographical isolation, into the same type of socio­
political arrangements is supposed to derive from human nature itself. Free people are

economic people, in pretty much the American mould, so it is claimed. By this route, economic

imperialism can replace political imperialism.
A key question in political theory — one to which we are said to have no satisfactory

answer in the absence of a worthwhile theory of human nature (or human natures) — is

supposedly this:To what extent does human nature allow for alternative political and social arrangements? Or,
to tum the question around:- What restrictions are imposed in virtue of the nature of humans on

the broad range of political possibilities? How does that "nature" reduce the organisational
options?

A much-promoted Anglo-American answer, directly descended from the

Enlightenment, is that once /rcc/Y from systems of myths, taboos and tribal controls, from
superstition, people are essentially (and will generally become) self-centred individuals,

(properly) concerned with maximising their own gain or interests; that is, but for their shortage
of information (including technical know-how), free people are basically economic peopled

As ought now to be evident, that is to replace one ideology by another. But the Enlightenment

ideology is no longer so evident^: what recommends it? Under pressure of this sort, the AngloAmerican answer gets transformed to the theme that the economic picture of human nature is

superior, and fitting of rational creatures. That 'self-appointed West European superiority' has
6

7
8
9

Thus Abraham p.29ff.; Awa p.30. These sections are drawn from Cu/turc onJ rAc RooM of Political
Divergence.' a SowtA Pacific perspective.
For a recent trenchant expose, see Cohen and Rogers.
These people are also picked out under various alternative (but not strictly equivalent) descriptions,
e g. as acquisitive individuals, possessive individuals.
See e g. DP, chapter 10.

6
in turn been disputed, since the time of Herder and the Romantics.^ Fortunately, however,

the extensive ensuing dialectic can be substantially avoided.
For all these questions and answers presuppose, to begin with, a certain misplaced

essentialism, that there is such an invariant nature common to human beings, which exactly
separates humans from other creatures. Attempts to specify such an essence, suitably constant

and invariant and given by necessary and sufficient conditions,^ are legion. They are
a frequent feature of Enlightenment thought. All ment are the same
because of universal drives [such as to pleasure and avoidance of pain].
These drives will operate independently of any location.
Chief among those drives was that towards self-preservation — Holbach,
for instance, stipulates:
we shall call nafare in man the collection of properties and qualities
which constitute him what he is, which are inherent to his species, which
distinguish him from other animal species or which he as in common with
them ... every man feels, things, acts and seeks his own well-being at all
times; these are the qualities and properties that constitute human nature
12

But this attempt at essentialist definition of /mman naA/re fails, in a quite characteristic way. As
it stands, the definition is inadequate; for not all humans seek just their own well-being always;

some are "stupid", some are altruistic, some have other commitments. However, suppose we

avoid such familiar counter-instances to egoism, by replacing 'well-being' by say 'broad well-

being', thus rendering such internal egoism analytic. And suppose to avoid other counter­

expales (such as human vegetables, morons and the like), we normalise the definition, replacing
'every man' by 'every normal human'. But then the definition is again inadequate; for it fails to

distinguish humans from, for example, dolphins. It applies equally to Jo/p/un natMrg or, for
that matter, to gon/Z# natMrg.
10

11
12

See Berry, p.30ff., from whom the quote is taken. It is worth spelling out a little the extent of
agreement and disagreement with Herder. What is applauded is
1. 'Herder's dismissal of the Enlightenment's conception of human nature as static, acultural and
ahistorical' (Berry, p.32), but nor
*1. Herder's cultural relativism, that 'each culture ... should be treated on its own merits and not
judged by some faulty perspective such as Io bel/e nature' (p.30), or from any other perspective. In
the pluralistic framework of the text (which presuppoes PPP), a good many cross-cultural judgements
ate made and defended.
*2. Herder's relativisation of human nature to culture, and embodiment of it in culture; for example,
'it is through language that human nature can be seen to be .spect/iicaPy embodied in culture' (p.32).
With relativisation the notion loses its original theoretical point; but while failing in this role,
cultural nature is open to many of the same sorts of objections as human nature. Nor can language
bear the weight Herder loads upon it.
*3. Herder's human chauvinism: '... it is speech and with that reason and freedom, that differentiates
man. Man can choose, man is king' (p.36). Wild animals are free, can choose, communicate, solve
puzzles, and carry out elementary reasoning; in these respects they surpass children and many other
humans. Furthermore, *
*3 gets Herder into serious trouble, not to say inconsistency, with 1.
Abraham, drawing on Wittgenstein, presents just these conditions for an essence, p.23ff.
Berry p.17. Berry supplies several other similar examples.

7

Of course the definition can again be patched, by appealing to the anatomical cluster of

features that separate humans from other mammals or to the biological specification of /tomo
But the resulting normalised definition, with its analytical egoism, does little more

than such biological definitions of An/nan: it does not supply a natnrg, it does not deliver
-ynp^rbiological features of political relevance. The notion of human nature thus fragments: into
the satisfactory enough biological notion of human, and an unsatisfactory superbiological (or

sociobiological) addition: that of human nature or essence. What is this further, problematic

nature? The Romantics can be read as arguing that there is none, no nature as distinct from
culture, only /oca/ nature (Herder's term) which coincides with culture. Peeling off cultural

excretions and variations in order to reach an essence leaves, like Wittgenstein's artichoke,
nothing. Just nothing.
The notion of human nature is a theoretical item, introduced to provide stability amid

cultural variability, a constant bulwark against relativism, but designed as well to justify — as

natural or, failing that as superior — a porr/cn/or type of political economy, state and legislature,
and its imposition everywhere else. 13 But its application is even grander: Human nature is a

theoretical notion which has been used for multifarious nefarious, social and political purposes.
Typically the notion has been deployed in a effort to justify or enforce various restrictive types
of social arrangements, statist ones (including defence forces, standing armies, survellience —

arrangements, and so on). Human nature is a highly resilient notion which has been widely

applied in such fashions; it is not so easily dissolved, certainly not through one illustration.
However the fact that the notion is written large in much political theory, and is received, does
not show that it or the embedding theory is sound. And it is not, but is defective, and in its

socio-political selectivity it is, as the illustration reveals, virtually of a piece with human
chauvinism (which would assign an unduly privileged position to human beings in the

ecological scheme of things).
Most conveniently, the superbiological notion of human nature begins to dissolve under

any attempt to set it down, in mmuch the way that attempts supporting human chauvinism to set
down something ethically special about humans disintegrate.
*^
13

14

The notion of human nature —

Hence the Enlightenment program of imposing enlightened Western culture everywhere, later
emphasised by Bentham. 'The Legislator, Knowing that human nature is ever the same [different
countries do not have different catalogues of pleasure and pain], can reform the laws and even
transplant them from one society to another' (Berry, p.18).
This claim concerning human chauvinism is argued in detail in EE. But the claim concerning human
nature is only sketchily defended in the text. For the alleged social-arrangement-dictating features of
human nature, like similar alleged features of economic or technological determinism, are rather
major obstacles to be removed — especially insofar as they supposedly severely and inevitably
restrict the character of future societies — than the main business of the present enterprise.
Fortunately then the claim, that the superbiological notion of human nature is a defective theoretical
one which dissolves, is defended elsewhere: not only, in effect, in work of Romantics from Herder

8
a nature or essence for a// and on/y humans (some special classes of humans excepted perhaps)
— presuppoes that there are some stable or constant social features holding for all peoples,
across different cultures, which are furthermore distinctively human features.

The
presupposition fails, because once cultural variation between peoples is fully taken into account,
only some rather trivial shared characteristics remain, which furthermore are shared by various

animal cultures, such as those of primates.
Consider, first, such products or tools of more literary cultures as books, or of
contemporary cultures as telephones and computers. Since most historical cultures lacked such

items, their possession or distribution obviously cannot figure as part of what marks out human
nature. Consider next, then, what are commonly taken to be key components of (human)
nature, certain basic human needs, such as food and shelter. These requirements are far from
free of cultural and environmental determinants. For look at what is regarded as required in the

way of shelter, and how it varies from culture to culture, place to place. (And even what is

taken as basic can often be met in a myriad of ways, though acceptably in some cultures only in
a few fixed ways.) The common denominator is the rather trivial requirement of some sort of

shelter under more extreme conditions — a requirement also of wombats. The situation with
food, sex, and so on, is hardly better. Dietary requirements vary considerably from race to

race, Europeans for example being very inefficient by many tribal standards and unable to

survive satisfactorily where tribal people flourish. 1$ Again the somewhat trivial lowest

common denominator applies also to various groups of animals. Nor are attempts to mark out
the human nature by some more complex list of jointly necessary and sufficient conditions, or
more loosely by a cluster of natural features, much more successful, or of direct political

application without the importation of what is culturally at issue — values. In any case, such

vague and general lists as emerge^ impose little constraint at all on a political direction, since a
variety of political arrangements is compatible with such listings.

15

16

on, but also in significant recent literature. Foucault, for example, can be read as saying that human
nature is an invention of the Enlightenment which dissolves: 'his much discussed ... di&MdMhon of
mon is nothing more, or less, than the claim that the attempt to establish order upon a scientific
understanding of human nature is both profoundly mistaken and profoundly unstable' (Philp, p.15,
italics added).
The converse is seen in the extent to which tribal peoples gain weight on European diets. At another
level, consider the Maori attitude to, and underlying revulsion by, cooked food: see Alpers, p.7-9.
For one such list, which however requires pruning and adjustment, see Wilson, p.22. As it happens,
Wilson does not make anything much of this list (which does not supply necessary conditions),
immediately presents a parallel list for insect societies — a list which does considerable damage to
more traditional claims about human nature — and then proceeds in effect to demolish main criteria
that have been used to separate humans from animals and to restrict cultures to human societies (e.g.
p.39).

9
Accordingly, human nature as such is not an important constraint on political theory, or a

theory of human nature a key ingredient in endeavours to work out a political philosophy or

political directions. *7 The reason is like the reason that determining the conditions for the good
life would not impose a satisfactory constraint on a political theory, namely presupposition
failure. Like the meaning of life
*s,

the good life fails to demarcate a single thing; there are

many styles of good lives. So too there is human nature and human nature, depending on the
culture or social paradigm and on the setting. Nature, both human and not, varies with culture

and environment. Because of this two-way dependence, there is no unique stable
superbiological human nature.
A corollary of the dissolution of the notion of human nature is the rejection also, as
misleading, of the usual picture of nature as given, as a stable notion across races and tribes,

with culture as a variable on top. There is no such culturally invariant division: culture affects
local nature. The picture is flawed in much the same way, then, as the familiar picture of

perception, as consisting of given uninterpreted sense data, stable across (normal) perceivers,
with interpretation imposed on the neutral data.
Nor therefore is culture something that can be creamed off the top, so to speak, to find

real human features or basic nature underneath. Certainly, cultures can be destroyed; however
what results from removal by destruction of a culture is not something closer to real people, but
people with a destroyed culture. So it is also with attempts like Hobbes or Rawls to peel
political organisation off the the top, in order to locate in a quasi-analytical or quasi-historical

way, a state of nature underneath or preceding some organised state or other. A flawed picture,
derived from mistaken or questionable presuppositions, is assumed.
What will be found underneath, or in the original (natural) state, is, it is usually

conveniently assumed, a nature that fits the view to be developed — with the right values very
fortunately in-built. Given that what is to be explained or justified is something like present

socio-political arrangements and the privileged position of some status quo — as well as a

dominant culture's image of itself, and elements of the dominant Northern social paradigm —
underlying human nature turns out to be, hardly surprisingly, that of fully competitive
possessive individualism (much the same model, that is, which serves for economic man, for
Enlightenment man, for the "rational person", etc.) The myth of unique human nature

17

18

For more on contemporary "scientific" efforts to deploy a theory of human nature for social and
political ends, see Appendix 2.
Which is perhaps as well, since we still have so little reliable and unprejudiced information as to
what "human nature" amounts to, what its variational possibilities, in different environments, might
be, or of the possibilities beyond past terrestrial selections of cultures.
On which see Routley and Griffin.

10
functions, like many other myths, to perpetuate or instil particular social arrangements and

special privilege.

Thus too the myth of human nature is linked to other culture-based myths, the myths of

all (normal) humans as aggressive individuals and as predominantly self-interested maximizers
(at least insofar as they are rational) — to bring in some of the myths bound up with the image

of contemporary urban-industrial humans. As there is no underlying hard ground, no firm

starting point in human nature, so there is none in these associated myths. The South Pacific
was, and remains, rich in cultures which upset these associated myths. Non of the
Melanesians, Polynesians or Australian aboriginal peoples comprised societies of individuallyoriented maximizers; indeed their strongly communal lifestyles and preparedness to stop, work
especially, after a low sufficiency threshold had been reached, was a major and repeated source

of criticism from the European cultures that came to dominate the region.
Even forms and types of aggressiveness, and approaches to war, often taken to be solid

ground, are culture and environment dependent, and vary with both parameters. 19
Aggressiveness is often supposed to impose hugh constraints on political arrangements. But
there is little substance to the claim that humans are naturally aggressive independently of social
or cultural setting. The most that appears clear is that circumstances can be arranged, for
instance through crowding or provocation or cultural relocation, where peoples of more familiar

cultures will become aggressive^ — and perhaps people of other cultures will not, but will just
give up, as people often do in the face of immense brutality. Certainly some arrangements are

required to cope with or suitably isolate aggression, but these can be of a wide range of
alternative types. Once again, what is normally accounted human nature depends upon and
varies with culture and environment, which people often shortsightedly see as fixed: certainly,
such components as selfishness, cooperativeness, individuality do.
What is often much more important than either culture or nature in determining social

arrangements is another factor: namely, outside control or imposition. Whatever social

arrangements have evolved in a region (through local "nature and culture") can be overridden,

A striking illustration of environmental variation is afforded by the differences between savannah
dwelling and forest dwelling tribes of baboons. For a local illustration, consider Maori approaches to
war (like war conventions, a social phenomenon), before European corruption. Thus Best reports
that 'an individual, or a whole clan, might decline to take part in an engagement on account of some
evil omen, and such an action would be approved of (p.15). There are several, apparently reliable,
stories of Maoris engaged in war supplying the opposition with equipment or ammunition, or
temporarily abandoning their fighting effort to help out the other (British) side, so the battle could
proceed properly.
20Wilson's argument that humans are innately aggressive involves such an invalid move: he looks at the
behaviour of Semai men when 'taken out of their nonviolent society' by recruitment in a British
colonial army (p.100)! As well, Wilson's case rests on a dubious redefinition of innateness, and a
low redefinition of aggressiveness to take in form of mere (nonaggressive) conflict (pp.99-100).
19

11
and new arrangements imposed, in one way or another. With long-standing arrangements,

imposition is almost invariably from without, and the changes in arrangements typically involve
either violence in their adaption or mass migration of people or both. In the last two hundred

years, especially, the South Pacific has, like much of the newer world, been drastically so
affected, in a complex way. And the changes, still flowing strongly from the North, continue.
We are in the last days of the destruction of old cultures, and the destruction is now to a
considerable extend by more subtle cultural, economic and technological means than the cruder

methods of slightly earlier times. Outside control can be exercised, or occur, in many ways less
blatant than direct intervention of one sort or another, such as through introduction of new
technologies, economic sanctions, monetary and loan policies, etc., as well as through
exchange and training programs, textbooks, advertising and magazines, film and television (i.e.

through physical exemplifications of culture). European peoples in the South pacific are often
unwittingly, part of this quieter process of cultural conversion and erosion; but many of us are
now victimes as well as, or rather than, perpetrators (cf. Crough and Wheelwright).

Human communities have been — and many still are — as insensitive to other human
cultures as they are to the natural environment (witness American and their allies in Vietnam).

Like an ecosystem, a culture can be destroyed, or pushed beyond redemption. This is
sufficiently well-known. Yet the creation of political disaster areas proceeds apace — in blatant
cases typically by disruption of culture and lifestyle using violence^ There is furthermore,
where recovery is possible at all, a long recovery period, perhaps sometimes of the order of

human generations. Yet there is increasing production of these politically contaminated regions,
especially through imperialism, e.g. USA in Central America, Israel in Lebanon, Russia in

Afghanistan, Indonesia in East Timor and West papua, etc.
In the south Pacific, there are many quieter Northern influences at work, but the strongest

now is unquestionably the American. American companies, businessmen, academics, tourists
and warships, their technology and patents, films and television programs, are the most evident

and influential. There can be various motives and aims (and assumptions) behind the newer
cultural and economic imperialism, behind endeavours such as the American to install their "free
enterprise" philosophy and practice everywhere. 22 Granted it mostly contributes to American
economic supremacy, to American business23 and to the transfer of substantial regional wealth

and surplus value to the USA. But national economic reasons are not the only sort of reasons
21
22

23

These disaster areas should perhaps be cordoned off like those infected by communicable disease, but
from continuing disruptive, outside interference.
What is said about American cultural and political imperialism applies, with adaption, in a lesser
way, to imperialism and colonialism by other nation-states such as USSR, Britian, France and
Indonesia. USA has no monopoly on imperialism. US imerialism in the third world is in part
documented and analysed in Chomsky and Herman.
Though not invariably as the experience with the Japanese motor industry has indicated.

12
such policies are pursued; apart from the side-issue of integrity, that many Americans really do
believe in the optimality of their local ideals to the exclusion of other arrangements, there are
deeper and somewhat more respectable ideological reasons as well.
The imperialistic endeavours can be underpinned by a J^cripftve assumption that all

human nature is at bottom really like American human nature, for instance highly economically

oriented. Thus, but for political distortions (a political analogue of economic externalities) and

lack of technological means, other peoples would choose the American (political and economic)
way: they simply have not really been given the opportunity or means. For many peoples this

is simply not true; for most other cultures let us hope, or pray, that this is not the case.
Alternatively, or as well, a more arrogant prescriptive assumption may be at work, that all
human nature ought to be like American nature at its best, because America not only has the best

way of life in the world and mostly the best ways of doing things^, but has a special hold on
rationality. The free-enterprise system (perhaps with representative democracy American-style
tackedon) is the rational enterprise embodied. Certainly the system is sometimes peddled, by
genuine believers in the American way, with the same evangelism as Christianity, which was
often seen and presented as the rational religion, at least before science got at it. Well, science

hasn't got at the free-enterprise religion yet, but on the contrary now has a social division
heavily devoted to its justification and furtherance.^ However some philosophy has got at the

system, sufficiently to reveal that it is no unique embodiment of rationality — there is none such
— but is a decidedly irrational practice in many circumstances. Thus, it is especially irrational if

local goals are to preserve local environments and cultures, as much experience helps attest.
It is aspects of the false descriptive assumption, and what can emerge with its rejection,
that are a main focus in what follows (though various of the reasons for rejecting the

prescriptive assumption will also emerge or get recorded). An important underlying theme will

24

25

Thus, for example, American agricultural textbooks and agricultural spokespeople are fond of
announcing that American agriculture is the best in the world; similarly for environmental
protection, forestry, technology, university education, and so on. But since they are the best, it is
evident that these American ways should be exported, isn't it? Even granting the large assumptions,
No, firstly, because that is to neglect important regional and local variations and differences, and
secondly because these ways may interfere with other significant features of reginal life or culture.
It has not passed unremarked that the high standard of material life in USA depends in part on a very
fortunate inheritance (e g. some of the best and deepest soils) and in part, as in Europe, on a lower
standard of life and conditions elsewhere, upon siphoning off wealth and especially resources (US
currently uses about one-fifth of world resources and 30% of world energy) from other regions. To be
sure, economic apologetics proffer other explanations of American transcendence, e.g. ingenious
constuctions like that of Olson, built on a sandy logic of economic actors collectively locked into
economically determined arrangements, substantially independent of the resource base.
In elaborating on how modem societies control their citizens, Foucaul has explained various
extensive types of social control exercised and licensed through received social sciences, by way of
approved standards of normality, health, stability, adequacy, rationality, etc.: See Phil p.15.

13

continue to be that neither broader nor basic human nature is a single stable thing, but varies
substantially in ways that are highly political relevant — relevant to the sort of political

framework a society adopts. In freer societies, less imposed upon from outside or above, the

variation can be largely accounted for through cultural variation (which in tum depends on
environment, etc.). The alternative assumptions, are then, those of cultural pluralism, that

culture is part of "nature", shaping in particular local human nature. Of course once again

"human nature" can be pared back and back to try to remove cultural variations; but in this way
what are taken to be important superbiological features of human nature for political theory are
also excised (e.g. features that make prisoners' dilemmas and commons' tragedies come out

one way rather than another).
Just as different cultures can mean different social arrangements, so in a larger setting
they can imply different political organisation and different political directions. Where requisite
differences do not occur, because incongrous arrangements have been imposed, ca/tMra/

can

a powcr/hZ /brcc ybr change. Likewise developing elements of cultural

difference can be a potent base for social change — or resistance to imposed change —

(especially, in communities where other more orthodox bases for change, such as economic
incentives or penalties, have become inoperative or failed, or are not available.
Culture is however a double-edged instrument, not only to be used, but resisted. For
example, though leading [valuable] features of indigenous Pacific cultures are to be reactivated,
as forces for change, some features of these cultures are to be resisted (such as male

domination), along with many features of modern Western cultures. Features of culture are
thus used to resist and confront undesirable (implanted or imported) sorces of culture; such as,

inequitable political arrangements, excessive consumerism, persuasive advertising media and
loaded news systems, hollow suburbia, alienating job structures, etc. It is important not only to
build and design alternatives — for which elements of local culture afford a solid foundation —

but also to dismantle, and build up resistance against, prime sources of antagonistic culture.
This is as true for American culture as Antipodean. One of the chief reasons why mainstream

American culture is so individualistic, so competitive, so violent, and so forth, is that
movements offering or encouraging alternatives have been repressed by the dominant

corporations and the state apparatus (see especially Goldstein).

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/ssues fa wef/todo/ogy. Many of the prevailing sins of philosophy are writ large in
political philosophy.; Redefinitions, and redefinitional -otolJgies to try to close gappy

arguments, abound. Large assumptions are imported and regularly used, without due notice,
or too often any awareness: particularly pernicious are those of individualism and atomism, and
of thoroughgoing egoism. It hardly needs stressing that such assumptions are environmentally
unfriendly, at best,
w,
—-— —
* /%&1L ^p&enoMienon o/ excessive sfrengt/i. There is a deeply embedded in modern mainstream
intellectual aedvity and strikingly manifest in polidcal theory.

2
y"

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One reason is that much of it is done by poiitical 6,..Is with no adequate grounding in logic or critical
thinking.

A general feature of contemporary thought, as of much contemporary technology and
practice, is that of over-powering or of excessive strength. The phenomenon, as exhibited in
contemporary mainstream logic, where it shows up in excessive assumptions, and principles
more powerful than reason can justify, is dis^assesed elsewhere (from the perspective of
relevant logic, in RLR). Some of the same unwarranted assumptions, notably those of invariant
consistency and maximization, reach far beyond stock logical theory to apply, so it is regularly
claimed, to all rational practice, including political decision-making and obstitutional

arrangements (see MR).
Analogous features are incorporated in many of the arguments against anarchism. For
example, it is argued that anarchism cannot realise optimal delivery of public goods, ideal
conditions for this or that (e.g. free market functioning, capital formation and flow), and so on.
Not only do other alternatives not measure up to these standards (certainly prevailing
arrangements fall very far short), the standards themselves are quite excessive. Instead it is
enough that certain sorts of adequacy standards are met, that reasonable thresholds are
achieved. There is a most important corollary: that arguments against anarchism or anarchistic
institutional arrangement which assume maximizing principles or the like (as are presumed in
Prisoners Dilemma arguments, game theory, mainstream economics, etc.) are flowed from the

very outset, and should be set aside.
A central time in anarchism offers a somewhat different display of the excess
phenomenon. The issue concerns alleged justifications of the state, or state-like institutions.
Here all that reason and argument appear to warrant are much less powerful institutions, not
arrangements with the excessive powers of the state. To close the gap between what argument
and practice appear to justify and what the state claims, some opportunistic intellectuals have
tried, rather ^".^..^to redefine the state. But such low redefinitions, while imposing states on
societies that operated without them, leaves the contemporary state be^ereft of adequate

justification. In brief, such intellectual strategies lead from the frying pan to the fire.

So it is similarly with institutions within the state, such as property and law. Reason and
argument do not justify state property arrangements, only an opportunistically redefined
"property" which does not fulfil the same state and capitalistic role. Similarly with law and
state legal systems.

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NQRK4-N&-5RAFT

CULTURE AND THE ROOTS OF POLITICAL DIVERGENCE:

a South Pacific perspective

the Austral ian/American contrast
major

A

Political

change

industrial

of

-Function

in

in

regulate

and

control

and political divergence

principle then,

features of local and regional culture.
the

to

is

the South Pacific,

can,

North,

culture

be grounded in and

change. 1

from

the

powered

by

One organising theme, a corollary of

facilitates the transition from principle to practice:- It

argument,

is

that the requisite elements are present in regional cultures, the potentiality
is

for

there,

South Pacific region (and Australia

the

particular)

in

to

proceed in a very different social and political direction from the North (and

from

USA in particular).

the

American arrangements,

unsatisfactoriness of
the
2
in many frequently exposed respects , such a different
Given the radical

direction is worth taking - if it can be.

serious problem in the nay of

a

But

arrangements,

from outside or from above.

change is imposition of
And,

political

since imposition shades into

this is

only one of the obstacles impeding change in the

South Pacific and elsewhere.

Another forcing more and more peoples, no longer

political pressure,

sheltered

by geographical isolation,

arrangements

of

socio-political

is supposed to derive from human nature itself.

Free people are

economic people,

into the same type

in pretty much the American mould,

this route, economic imperialism can replace political

1.

Nature,

theory

- one

culture,
to

which

and control.

so it

is

By

claimed.

imperialism.

A supposedly,key question in political

we are said to have no satisfactory'' answer

in

the

absence of a worthwhile theory of human nature (or human natures) - is .his:

1.

Thus Abraham p.29ff.; Awa p.30.

2.

For a recent trenchant expose, see Cohen and Rogers.

1

*
7%-

To

extent does human nature allow tor alternative political and

what

arrangements? Or, to turn the question around:-

in

virtue

of

the

nature

of

possibilities?

How does that

much-promoted

Anglo-American

Enlightenment,

is

controls,

become)

from

or

superstition,

answer,

people

broad

range

directly

taboos and

(and

6

from

descended

are essentially

but for their

will

the

tribal

generally

shortage

information

of

free people are basically economic

people.

that is to replace one ideology by another.

ideology is no longer so

Enlightenment

political

of

(properly) concerned with maximising their

that is,

interests;

As ought now to be evident,
the

the

that once freed from systems of myths,

technical know-how),

(including

on

What restrictions are imposed

"nature" reduce the organisational options?

self-centred individuals,

gain

own

humans

social

evident:

what

But

recommends

it?

Under pressure of this sort, the Anglo-American answer gets transformed to the

that the economic picture of human nature is superior,

theme

rational

creatures.

and fitting

That 'self-appointed West European superiority
*

turn been disputed, since the time of Herder and the Romantics.

has

of

in

Fortunately,

however, the extensive ensuing dialectic can be substantially avoided

For all

these questions and answers presuppose, to begin

with, a certain

misplaced essential ism, that there is such an invariant nature common to human

beings,

which

such

exactly

separates humans from other

creatures.

suitably constant and invariant
5
necessary and sufficient conditions , are legion. They are
specify

an

essence,

Attempts
and

given

to
by

a frequent feature of Enlightenment thought. All men are the same
because of universal drives [such as to pleasure and the avoidance of
pain). These drives will operate independently of any location.

Chief among those drives was that towards self-preservation - Holbach,
for instance, stipulates:
we .shall
call
nature in man the collection of properties and
qualities which constitute him what he is, which are inherent
.o
his species, which distinguish him from other animal
species ur
which he has in common with them ... every man feels,
thinks,

3.

These people are also picked out under various alternative (but
strictly equivalent)
descriptions, e.g. as acquisitive m i?i ua s,
possessive individuals.

acts and seeks his own well-being at all times,
these are^
kilties and property thet constitute human nature ... o.
But th,, attempt at essenti.list defin.ti.n of human nature fail,,

in a quite

A, -t stands, th. d.dtniti.n is inadequate; tor net a!)
*c
yo<
/
humans seek just their o<an ujeii-being always; .ssome ar. altruistic, s<xne have

characterrst-c ^y.

other commitment,.

to

ego-sm,

by

replacing

rendering such internal
examples

suppose

Hoover,

uell-being-

egoism analytic.

(such a, human vegetables,

definition,

replacing

every

definition 1, again inadequate;

example,

avoid such tamtl.ar counter.ostance,

by

say

broad

m.ll-being',

And suppose to avoid other counter­

morons and th. like),

man' by

thus

every normal human'.

^normalise

the

then

the

But

tor it fails to distinguish humans from, for

It applies equally to dolphin nature or, for that matter,

dolphins.

to aori11 a nature.

Of

4.

course

the

definition can again be patched,

by

appealing

to

the

(From previous page)
See Berry, p.30ff., from whom the quote is taken,
It
is worth spelling out a little the extent of agreement and
disagreement with Herder. Nhat is applauded is

1.
'Herder's dismissal
dismissal of
of the
the Enlightenment's
Enlightenment's conception
conception of human nature
as static, acultural and ahistorical' (Berry, p.32), but no^
that 'each culture
... should be
31.
Herder's cultural relativism,
t judged by some faulty perspective such
treated on its own merits and no! .
"nature' (p.30), or from any other perspective.
In the
as
la belle
p.u,77^^k
of th. text ("huh presupposes PPP),
a good many
pluralistic cross-cultural judgements are made and defended.

Order's relativisation of human nature to culture,
and embodiment
32.
Herder s relafivisatio
through language that human nature
of it in culture; for example,
it is
Mi th
* 32).
(p
can be seen to be specifically embodied in culture'
but
theoretical
point;
relativisation the notion loses its original
same
cultural nature is open to many of the
ojhile failing in this role,
Nor can language bear the weight
sorts of objections as human nature.
Herder loads upon it.
A
it is speech and with that reason
Herder's human chauvinism:
33.
Man can choose, man
is king'
that differentiates man.
and freedom,
can choose, communicate, solve puzzles,
<
<=Hrn^^s
(p.36).
1Wild animals are free, ---- -----) out elementary reasoning;
m these ^^=-7
;
and carryand many other humans. Furthermore, 33 gets Herder into serious
chi 1dren
trouble, not to say inconsistency, with 1.

5.

6.

drying on Nittg.nste.n,
Abraham,
essence, p.23ff.
Berry p.17.

Berry supplies severa

pre^nt, Just these condition, for an

1 other similar examples.

cluster of -features that separate humans from other mammals or

anatomical
the

biological specification of homo sapiens.

But the resulting

to

normalised

definition,

with its analytical egoism, does little more than such biological

definitions

of

human:

it does not supply a nature,

deliver

not

does

it

The notion of human

superbiological

features of political relevance.

thus fragments:

into the satisfactory enough biological notion of human,

an

unsatisfactory

superbiological (or sociobiological)

and

of

that

addition^

The Romantics

What is this further, problematic, nature?

nature or essence.

nature

can be read as arguing that there is none, no nature as distinct from culture,

cultural

off

Peeling

only local nature (Herder's term) which coincides with culture.

excretions and variations in order to reach an essence leaves,

liKe

Wittgenstein's artichoke, nothing.
of human nature is a theoretical item,

The notion

cultural variability,

amid

stabi1i ty

but designed as wel 1

particular

type

everywhere

else.

of
7

fashionj;

fact

and

that

received,

not,

the

introduced to

a constant bulwark against

to justify ^as natural or, failing that,

political

economy and legislature, and

provide

relativism,

as superior^
its

imposi t i on
such

Tlsf?s resilient notion has been widely applied in
i

is not so easily dissolved,
notion

by one illustration.

is wri tten large in much

political

but is defective,

3

However the

theory,

the embedding theory is sound.
does not show that it or

a

and

is

Hnd it is

and in its socio-political selectivity it is,

as the

a piece with human chauvinism (which would
assign an unduly privileged position to human beings in the ecological

scheme

of things).

under

7.

. the superbiological notion of human nature begins to dissol\
*
A
any attempt to set it down,
in much the way that attempts supporting

Hence the Enlightenment program of imposing enlightened Western cultur^
everywhere,
later emphasised by Bentham. 'The Legislator, lowing t
human nature is ever the same [different countries do not have
catalogues of pleasure and pain], can reform the laws and even transplan
them from one society to another' (Berry, p.18).

namrg. This is a theoretical notion which has been used for multifarious
reforious, social and political purposes. Typically the notion has been deployed in a effort toy
i
.7"& $ 11T
A
enforce various restrictive types of social arrangements, archie ones (including defence foc^s,

to

chauvinism

human

humans

that

there

ethically

something

about

special

humans

The notion of human nature - a nature or essence for alj_

disintegrate.
only

down

set

(some special classes of humans excepted perhaps)
are

stable or constant social

some

- presupposes

holding

features

and

for

all

across different cultures, which are furthermore distinctively human

peoples,
features.

peoples

The

is

presupposition fails,

fully

characteristics

taken

remain,

because once cultural variation between

into account,

which

some

only

furthermore

are

rather

shared

by

trivial

shared

various

animal

cultures, such as those of primates.

Consider,

books,

or

historical

first,

such

products or tools of more literary cultures as

of contemporary cultures as telephones and computers.
cultures

lacked

such items,

their

possession

or

Since

most

distribution

obviously cannot figure as part of what marks out human nature. Consider next,

what are commonly taken to be key components of (human) nature, certain

then,

basic human needs,

such as food and shelter.

free of cultural and environmental

as required in the way of shelter,
place to place.

of

ways,

common
under

8.

These requirements are far from

determinants.

For look at what is regarded

and how it varies from culture to culture,

(And even what is taken as basic can often be met in a myriad

though acceptably in some cultures only in a few fixed

ways.)

denominator is the rather trivial requirement of some sort of

more extreme conditions - a requirement also of wombats.

The

shelter

The situation

This claim concerning human chauvinism is argued in detail in EE. But the
claim concerning human nature is only sketchily defended in the ex -or
the alleged social-arrangement-dictating features of human nature,
like
similar alleged features of economic or technological
determinism, are
rather major obstacles to be removed - especially insofar as they
supposedly severely and inevitably restrict the character of
u ure
societies - than the main business of the present enterprise.

Fortunately then the claim,
that the superbiological notion of human
nature is a defective theoretical one which dissolves,
is defende
elsewhere: not only, in effect, in work of Romantics from Herder on, but
also in significant recent literature. Foucault, for example, can be read
as saying
*
that human nature is an invention of the Enlightenment which
dissolves: "his much discussed ... dissolution of man is nothing more, or
less,
than the claim that
the attempt to establish order upon a
scientific understanding of human nature is both profoundly mistaken an
profoundly unstable" (Philp, p.15, italics added).

5

with

1-ood,

sex,

and

so on,

considerably from race to race,
by

many

people

is hardly better.

vary

Europeans for example being very inefficient

tribal standards and unable to survive satisfactorily where tribal
9
flourish.
figain the somewhat
trivial
lowest common denominator

applies also to various groups of animals.

human

requirements

Dietary

by some more complex list of jointly necessary

nature

conditions,

Nor are attempts to mark out

more

or

loosely

by a cluster of natural

and

features,

the

sufficient

more

much

successful, or of direct political application without the importation of what

is culturally at issue - values.

In any case, such vague and general

impose little constraint at all on apolitical

emerge

direction,

lists as

since

a

variety of political arrangements is compatible with such listings.

Accordingly,
political

theory,

human

nature

as such is not an

important

constraint

on

or a theory of human nature a key ingredient in endeavours
11

work out a political philosophy or political directions

to

.

The reason is

the reason that determining the conditions for the good life would

like

not

impose a satisfactory constraint on a political theory, namely presupposition
12
failure.
Like the meaning of life ,
the good life fails to demarcate a
single

'?.

thing;

there

are many styles of good lives.

So too there

is

human

The
converse is seen in the extent to which tribal peoples gain weight
on European diets. At another level, consider the Maori attitude to, and
underlying revulsion by, cooked food: see Alpers, p.7-9.

10. For one such list, which however requires pruning and adjustment, see
Nilson, p.22. As it happens, Wilson does not make anything much of this
list (which does not supply necessary conditions), immediately presents a
parallel
list for insect societies - a list which does considerable
damage to more traditional claims about human nature - and then proceeds
in effect
to demolish main criteria that have been used to separate
humans from animals and to restrict cultures to human societies <e.a.
p. 39) .
For more on contemporary "scientific" efforts to deploy a theory of human
nature for social and political ends, see Appendix 2.

11.

Which is perhaps as well, since we still have so little reliable and
unprejudiced information as to what "human nature" amounts to, what its
variational possibilities, in different environments, might be, or of the
possibilities beyond past terrestrial selections of cultures.

12.

On which see Routley and Griffin.

and human nature,

nature

depending on the culture or social paradigm and

on

Nature, both human and not, varies with culture and environment.

the setting.

there is no unique stable superbiological

Because of this two-way dependence,
human nature.

of

corollary

6

rejection also,

across races and tribes,

The picture is flawed in much the same way,

the

on

top.

culture affects local nature.

as the familiar picture of

then,

consisting of given uninterpreted sense data,

as

is

with culture as a variable

There is no such culturally invariant division:

perception,

nature

of the usual picture of nature as given, as a

as misleading,

notion

stable

the dissolution of the notion of human

stable

across

(normal) perceivers, with interpretation imposed on the neutral data.

Nor therefore is culture something that can be creamed off the top, so to
find real human features or basic nature

to

speak,

Certainly,

underneath.

cultures can be destroyed; however what results from removal by destruction of

a culture is not something closer to real people,
culture.

So

organisation

but people with a destroyed

it is also with attempts like Hobbes or Rawls to peel

off

in order to locate in a

the the top,

political

quasi-analytical

or

quasi-historical way, a state of nature underneath or preceding some organised

state

or

other.

A

flawed picture,

derived from mistaken

or

questionable

presuppositions, is assumed.

Nhat will be found underneath, or in the original

(natural) state, is, it

is usually conveniently assumed, a nature that fits the view to be developed
with the

explained

the

and

culture's

right values very fortunately in-built.

is

privileged

image

position of some

of itself,

and

status quo -

elements of the

as well
dominant

as

a

Northern

be

serves

for

economic man,

7

dominant

social

hardly surprisingly, that

fully competitive possessive individualism (much the same model,

which

to

or justified is something like present socio-political arrangements

paradigm - underlying human nature turns out to be,
of

Given that what

for Enlightenment man,

for

the

that is,
rational

myths,

The myth of unique human nature functions,

etc.)

person",

perpetuate

to

other

tike many

or instit particular social arrangements

special

and

pr ivi1ege.
Thus too the myth of human nature is linked to other culture-based myths,
myths

the

predominantly

rational)

all

of

humans

(normal)

self-interested

- to

bring

maximizers

no firm starting point in human nature,
myths.

aggressive
(at

least

some of the myths bound

in

urban-industrial humans.

contemporary

as

individuals

as

they

are

Mi th

the

image

of

up

As there is no underlying hard ground,
associated

so there is none in these

The South Pacific Mas, and remains, rich in cultures Mhich upset these

of

the

Melanesians,

Polynesians

None

aboriginal

peoples

comprised societies of individually-oriented

after

especially,

lifestyles and

strongly communal

their

to

a loM sufficiency threshold had been reached,

source of criticism from the

repeated

preparedness

European cultures

Australian

or

myths.

and

as

insofar

associated

indeed

and

maximizers;
Mork

stop,

Mas a major

that

came

to

dominate the region.

forms and types of

Even

aggressiveness,

and approaches to

Mar,

often

taken to be solid ground, are culture and environment dependent, and vary Mi th
13
both
parameters .
Aggressiveness is often supposed to impose
huge
constraints

on political

arrangements.

But there is little substance to the

claim that humans are naturally aggressive independently of social or cultural

setting.

for

13.

The most that appears

instance

clear is that circumstances can be

through croMding or provocation or cultural

arranged,

relocation,

Mhere

A striking illustration of environmental variation is afforded by the
differences betMeen savannah dMelling and forest dMelling tribes of
baboons.
For a local illustration, consider Maori approaches to Mar
(like Mar conventions, a social phenomenon), before European corruption.
Thus Best reports that 'an individual, or a Mhole clan, might decline to
take part in an engagement on account of some evil omen,
and such an
action Mould be approved of' (p.15).
There are several, apparently
reliable, stories of Maoris engaged in Mar supplying the opposition Mith
equipment or ammunition, or temporarily abandoning their fighting effort
to help out the other (British) side, so the battle could proceed

properly.

8

14

of

peoples

cultures will become aggressive

familiar

more

but Mill just give up,

people of other cultures Mill not,
in the face of immense brutality.

types.

depends

upbn

Once

shortsightedly

again,

as fixed:

see

as people often do

but these can be of a Mide range of

Mhat is normally

accounted

varies Mi th culture and environment,

and

perhaps

Certainly some arrangements are required to

cope Mi th or suitably isolate aggression,
alternative

- and

certainly,

such

nature

people

Mhich

components

human

as

often

selfishness,

cooperativeness, individuality do.

What

much more important than either culture or nature

is

determining social arrangements is another factor:

social

Whatever

imposition.

one

May or another.

from

invariably

namely, outside control or

arrangements have evolved in a

local^nature and cultureican be overridden,

through

region

and neM arrangements imposed,

With long-standing arrangements,

Mithout,

imposition

is

and the changes in arrangements typically

the South Pacific has,

especially,

in

almost
involve

either violence in their adaption or mass migration of people or both.
last tMO hundred years,

in

In the

like much of the

been drastically so affected, in a complex May. And the changes,

neMer world,

still flowing strongly from the North, continue.

We

are

in the last days of the destruction of

old

and

cultures,

destruction is now to a considerable extent by more subtle cultural,
and

technological

Outside
direct

control can be exercised,

economic sanctions,

film

and

television (i.e.

economic

earlier

times.

in many ways less blatant
such as through introduction

monetary and loan policies,

as through exchange and training programs,

magazines,

14.

or occur,

intervention of one sort or another,

new technologies,

well

means than the cruder methods of slightly

textbooks,

through physical

the

etc.,

advertising

than
of
as

and

exemplifications of

Wilson's argument that humans are innately aggressive involves such an
invalid move: he looks at the behaviour of Semai men when taken out of
their nonviolent society'' by recruitment in a British colonial
army
(p.100)!
As well, Wilson's case rests on a dubious redefinition of
innateness, and a low redefinition of aggressiveness to take in forms of
mere (nonaggressive) conflict (pp.99-100).

9

process of cultural conversion and erosion;

this quieter
are

unwittingly, part

European peoples in the South Pacific are often

culture).

or rather than,

victims as well as,

now

but many of

perpetrators (cf.

US

and

Crough

Wheelwright).

Human

communities

have been

and many still are

as

to

insensiti

other human cultures as they are to the natural environment (witness Americans
Like an ecosystem, a culture can be destroyed,

and their allies in Vietnam).

pushed
creation

political

of

typically

This is

beyond redemption.
disaster

sufficiently

apace

areas proceeds

where

is possible at all,

recovery

a

sometimes of the order of human generations.

production

of

imperial ism,

- in

these politically

e.g.

USA

in

contaminated

Central America,

long

blatant

cases

There

recovery

is

period,

Yet there is increasing

regions,
Israel

the

Yet

disruption of cultu-e and lifestyle using violence.

by

-fur thermore,
perhaps

well-known.

in

especially

Lebanon,

through

Russia

in

Afghanistan, Indonesia in East Timor and West Papua, etc.

In the South Pacific, there are
but

the

strongest now is unquestionably the

businessmen,
films

can

many quieter Northern influences at work,

academics,

American.

American

companies,

tourists and warships, their technology and patents,
are the most evident and influential.

and television programs,

be various motives and aims (and assumptions) behind the

newer

There

cultural

behind endeavours such as the American
16
Granted it
everywhere
.
their "free enterprise
*
philosophy and practice
17
to American business
and
mostly contributes to American economic supremacy,
and

economic imperialism,

These disaster areas should perhaps be cordoned off li.e
by communicable disease,
but from continuing disruptive,

infec ted
outside

in ter-ference.

What is said about American cultural and political imperialism applies,
with adaption,
in a lesser way,
to imperialism and colonialism by other
nation-states such as USSR, Britain, France and Indonesia.. USA
L.. has no
in
the
third
world
is in part
monopoly on imperialism. US imperialism i......... documented and analysed in Chomsky and Herman.
Though

not md.riaMy a. th. experience "ith the Japanese ctor industry

has indicated.

10

to

the transfer of substantia! regional wealth and surplus value to the

But

national economic reasons &re not the only sort of reasons such

are

pursued;

apart

from the side-issue of integrity,

really do believe in the optimality of their local

USA.

policies

Americans

that many

ideals to the exclusion

of

other arrangements, there are deeper and somewhat more respectable ideological
reasons as Mel 1.

imperialistic

The
assumption

that

(a

distortions

technological

economic)
means.

can

be

underpinned

all human nature is at bottom really

instance highly economically oriented.

for

nature,

endeavours

political

means,

May:

they

by

American

like

Thus,

descr i pt ive

a

human

but for political

analogue of economic externalities)

and

lack

other peoples Mould choose the American (political
simply have not really been given the

For many peoples this is simply not true;

of
and

opportunity

or

for most other cultures let

us hope, or pray, that this is not the case. Alternatively, or as Mell, a more
arrogant

prescriptive assumption may be at Mork,

that all human nature ought

to be like American nature at its

best, because America not only has the best
18
May of life in the Morld and mostly the best Mays of doing things
, but has
a

special

hold

on rationality.

The free-enterprise

representative democracy American-style tacked on)

18.

system

(perhaps

is the rational

Mith

enterprise

Thus, for example, American agricultural textbooks and agricultural
spokespeople are fond of announcing that American agriculture is the best
in the Morld;
similarly for environmental
protection,
forestry,
technology, university education, and so on.
But since they are the
best,
it is evident that these American Mays should be exported,
isn't
it? Even granting the large assumptions, No, firstly, because that is to
neglect important regional and local variations and differences,
and
secondly because these Mays may interfere Mith other significant features
of regional life or culture.
It has not passed unremarked that the high standard of material life in
USA depends in part on a very fortunate inheritance (e.g. some of
the
best and deepest soils) and in part, as in Europe, on a loMer standard of
life and conditions elseMhere, upon siphoning off Meal th and especially
resources (US currently uses about one-fifth of Morld resources and 30 X
of Morld energy) from other regions.
To be sure, economic apologetics
proffer other explanations of American transcendence, e.g.
ingenious
constructions like that of Olson, built on a sandy logic of economic
actors collectively
locked into economically determined arrangements,
substantially independent of the resource base.

by genuine believers in

bridled
Certainly the system is sometimes peddl
,

embodied.

which Mas often

with the same evangelism as Christianity,

American way,

the

at least before science got at
rational
religion,
as the
seen and presented
yet, but on the
got at the free-enterprise religion
hasn't
i t. MeH, science
justification and
division heavily devoted to its
contrary now has a social
sufficiently to
19
philosophy has got at the system,
furtherance.
However some
_
tp,t it is no unique embodiment of rationality - there -s none sue

reveal

decidedly irrational practice in many circumstances.

is

but

a

preserve local

environments

end

if local goals are to

irrational

especial ly

Thus,

cultures, as much experience helps attest.

is aspects of

tt

with

false descriptive

and what can

assumption,

.what follows (though various of
are a main focus in
rejection,that
th. prescripts, assumption Mill .'so -.rg. °r 9^

its

the reasons for rejecting
underlying theme Mil! continue to be

An

recorded).

nor

broader

emerge

basic

human

.
nature

is

a

single

in

substantially

sort of political framework a society adopts. In
outside

cultural

nei ther

important

ways that are highly political

upon *from

that

or above, the variation can be

variation

<Mhich

turn

in

depends

stable

thing,

varies

but

the

to

relevant - relevant

freer societies, less imposed
largely accounted for through
The

environment,etc).

on

those of cuitura! pluralism, that culture

alternative

assumptions,

are then,
..cal human nature. Of course once

is part of "nature",

"human nature"

again

^nations-,

but

shaping in particular

can be pared back and back to try to

m this way what are taken to be

remove

important

superbi ologi c a

*
matures of human nature for political theory are also excised (e.g
that

make prisoners' dilemmas and commons' tragedies

cu1tura'

feature

one way

rathe

than another).

1?.

in

elaborating on h.M

has

explained

^"soc'ial"control

various extensile typ

p. 15.

12

exercised

py^.y of approved

Just as dttterent cultures can.mean different social arrangements,

so tn

, larger setting they can imply different political organisation and different

directions.

political
incongrous

Where

requisite differences

had.

arrangements

been imposed,

do

not

occur,

because

cultural differences can

b.^.

nnuerful force for change. Lihemse d^.loping elements of cultural difference

can

a potent base for social change - or resistance to imposed

be

in communities inhere other more orthodox

(especially)

a, economic mcertioes or penalties,

have

bases for change,

become inoperative or

-

change

such

tailed,

or

used,

but

are not avaitable.
Culture is hotter a double-edged instrument,

For

resisted.

though

example,

leading

not only to be

of

[valuable] features

indigenous

Pacific cultures are to be reactivated, as forces for change, some features of
these cultures are to be resisted (such as male domination),

features

modern Western cultures.

of

along mth
used

Features of culture are thus

and confront undesirable (implanted or imported) sources

resist

many
to

culture;

of

such as, inequitable political arrangements, excessive consumerism, persuasive

advertising

media and loaded news systems,

structures,

etc.

for

culture.

chief

build

and

competi tive

encouraging

culture afford a solid foundation - but also

prime sources of

up resistance against,

is as true for American culture as Antipodean.

This

reasons

alienating

^hy
so

job

build and design alternatives
It is important not only to

which elements of local

dismantle,

holloa suburbia,

mainstream American culture

violent,

and

so

forth,

is

is

that

so

to

antagonistic
One

of

the

ndividualistlc,

so

offering

or

movements

alternatives have been repressed by the dominant corporations and

the state apparatus (see especially Goldstein).

2.
The

Why work with such an unfavourable contrast case as Australian—^iety^
regional and environmental orientation.

cultural variation and their force for change,

contrast

than

US

In defence of theme.

for instance Melanesian culture.

13

g

it Mould no doubt be easier to

culture with some other culture which diverges

Australian culture,

<_on-_

more

Or,

strikingly
differe

y,

ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL PLURALLISM
*
Let us begin by sketching, in summary form, what political pluralism was, and then

explaining what it becomes under contemporary plurallism, ecopluralism in particular. These
new pluralisms, while they differ markedly from former political pluralsm, undoubtedly can

build upon it
Political pluralism used to be a theory viewing social life in terms of groups, which were
said to be the priwMry .s*oc/o/
On this theory, an individual's primary allegiance is not to
any abstract government but to groups, unions, clubs, churches. Thus there is no absolute

necessity for a highly unified political or legal order - whence developed a critical stance
towards the state and towards sovereignty among somg pluralists and so elements of anarchistic
pluralism.

There was, however, no systematic theory of political pluralism (a further anarchistic

feature). The position (and both British and American pluralism, however different) were
unified not by any doctrine but by crinco/ response to growth of the state.
A major theme was, and remains, moderate

(as further explained in EP). Humans

are neither isolated atoms, nor components of centralised states, but social creatures who
function in crisscrossing groups of their own choice. Moreover, groups are genuine objects
with choices, capacities, purposes, etc.

Pluralist society respects and tries to reconcile diverse interests of humans without
thwarting them. Groups communicate via negotiation and the like; their operations are not
delegative from some higher authority.

Contemporary ecological pluralism takes over most of these scene setting features, but
emphasizes the communitarian bases, and expands the scope of communities and groups to

include

communities, which include creatures and systems other than humans. Perhaps

the best known example of such a mixed community is that, introduced by Naess and

elaborated by Devall (in 89) of a Norwegian community of bears and wolves, sheep and
humans (but earlier Leopold and other had offered examples of expanded communities). A

problem which group theory hides, perhaps deliberately, but which such communities at once

expose, is that of internal conflict. Conflict cannot be avoided even by going right down to

families or individuals; for as much conflict may be bottled up in a family or even in one

*

Early versions of the first section of these notes drew heavily on Vincent, TAeonej of
ytote. The text takes up the working draft of 'Philosophy, politics and pluralism: II.
Anarchistic pluralism'.

2

individual as in a small group. That is, there are no pure conflict-free atoms from which to

build up group or community structure.
Conflict within individuals is strikingly exhibited in certain sorts of schizopherenia. But
it happens also in many humans. On conflict issues, in dilemmatic situations, and similar, one
part of a person pulls in one direction, another part in another. Or, more accurately, because
often no such neat separation into directional components can be affected, there are inconsistent
allegiances, derives, drives. Under orthodox theory, it is presumed that such conflicts,

personal inconsistency, can be removed by artificial fragmentation. What happens in orthodox

social theory is that individuals are effectively broken down and whittled down, not without
significant.... . into iJca/ components — classical individuals — with properly organised

(duly transitive, etc.) preferences and coherent desires. While such idealization is alright for
limited theoretical purposes, let us not falsey imagine that it is adequate for a satisfactory social
theory. Let us not pretend that such thin classical individuals offer a saatisfactory model for

rich actual individuals.
Ecopluralism not only extends the group basis; like gontc contemporary pluralism, the

variety of positions and practices is also much expanded. Early political pluralism (so-called)
was far from advocating a plural variety. (Figgin, an early British pluralist, would have been

shocked at such a supposition: Vincent p.182.) A fairly narrow normative consensus was
assumed, e.g. Christian morality in British "pluralism", American political arrangements in
American "pluralism". Indeed several American "pluralists", political scientists from Bentley

on, erroneously "saw pluralism as a description of the American political system. In this usage,

pluralism moves into the area of interest group and pressure group theory' (Vincent p.183).
Herein lies the route to
p/ura/hwn: While the state may remain discredited as a unitary

order, it is now seen a complex multiple entity, which tried to incorporate and theorize diversity
of group life. In the American version, groups are seen as interested in reaching some kind of
bargain. Government policy is the outcome of group pressures. Government is alleged to seek

out some abstract national interest.
Public police is ...' the equilibrium reached in this struggle at any given
moment' .... Today's loser, it is blithely assumed, will be tomorrow's
winner.
Most American pluralists of this ilk assume that the contest between
groups will be fair and that there is some kind of lurking normative
consensus in the background. Certain types of behaviour are
presumably un-American. Practical politics, therefore, for the American
pluralist is about bargaining, compromise and trade-offs. There is no
normative appraisal of the State, but rather an gjtp/anation anJ partial/y %
yn^ti/icarion o/ wAat t/tgy ta%g to
actaa//y tAg ca^g in tAg qo/irica/
qrocc.y^g.y of the USA. Government is not an impartial umpire. It
reflects the dominant coalition on a particular policy — although it will
try to maintain some balance. ... In American pluralism a group is
simply a collection or aggregation of individuals acting in specific roles.

3

Most significantly the American pluralists were not concerned with any
normative account of the State as an institution or practice. They were
far more interested in examing, empirically, the effects of group
pressures on the actual activity of government (Vincent p.190 emphasis
added).

In even more degenerate Eastern European forms, pluralism comes down to some sort of
multi-party electoral arrangements;

plurality just amounts to many parties. Political

arrangements can however remain highly paternalistic and authoritarian. Because we are

interested in genuine free pluralisms, we shall leave these desperate terms behind.

EXTRA SPACE

Now consider the organisational possibilities for the Earth, i The Earth divides variously

into (geographical) regions; under ecological organisation the decomposition will be into

ecoregions. Those regions that are occupied will be occupied by structures of (mixed)
communities. The assumption that each occupied region is occupied by a single community is

too simple to account even for the present impoverished arrangements offering on Earth. Some

regions are occupied by communities of communities,

community structure so to

say.2 It seems unlikely that on Earth, given a suitable choice of regions, it is necessary to

ascend beyond communities of communities to third-order community structures. Thus for
each region it is appropriate to begin with the ancient ideal of a community of communities.
But of course there will be higher-order structure involved, such as regional federations of
regions, and federations of these federations, and so on and up. Call this organisational

structure, the Earth frame. This frame is not of course unique; there are many other ways, of
varying levels of adequacy, of unscrambling an organisational grid.

1

Off the Earth, in free logical space, case arrangements are wry much greater. Not only
can many terrestrial limitations be transcended, for instance with wiser creatures than
humans, and many fairer regions, but the interaction of regions can be avoided, so that,
for example, an intense dense industrial society need not transmit its pollution outside
its own borders, indeed in the right circumstances it need not be polluting at all. A
beginning is made in investigating this richer structure by Nozick, but even his useful
beginnings leave much to be desired, as brought out in UT.

2

Whether communities of communities amount just to communities will depend upon
the final characterisation of community, or what sort of members they can have and
the extent and character of the interrelations of their members. If communities were
mere set-like objects, it would be a matter of the transitivity of membership; but
obviously communities are more than mere sets, internal relations counting for much.

4

The frame selected is in fact intimately tied to real mundane arrangements. For the short
time that they survived state interference, the Spanish anarchistic communities coexisted and
coevolved in genuine pluralistic fashion (as Dolgoffs sympathetic description has revealed).
That is by no means the only occasion on which the old ideal of a community of communities
(communitas communitatorum) has achieved partial realisation, but is one of the better known

recent examples involving anarchistic communities in a limited geographic region - at a time in
world history when state domination of social life continues to break up communities and
impose a grey uniformity across former community diversity. But the concern here is not with

what is, with present depressing (but temporary) political realities, but with how things might
well be, with different and - no difficult feat - superior political arrangements, in particular

pluralist arrangements.

A recent picture of pluralistic political arrangements by Nozick supposedly allows for
virtually anarchistic communities within an overarching minarchic framework. It would seem a

simple matter to vary this picture, in particular, to weaken or strengthen the overarching
framework; and that indeed the system of Spanish communities (which of course did not

persist) weakened the minimum state arrangements in true anarchistic fashion to zero. Nozick

has however a complex (and also seriously flawed) argument that variations are without
justification, that political possibilities which can be justified are omc/t tighter than the wide

range of the logical possibilities would suggest.

A crucial early question once an Earth frame is untangled is, for each structural level:

what are the broad organising principles? Consider a more important case, the regional level.
Will the same broad principles reappear for each region? Only in a very tenuous fashion, if
such desiderata as regional diversity are to be given appropriate play. Naturally these had better

be included some procedure or other for conflict resolution where conflict is severe, but there is

a wide variety of procedures of very varying merit; some procedures or other for the numerous

issues that have to be dealt with to keep communities functioning, such as to take a sample of
issues, burying the dead, taking care of the indigent.

*

A crucial question, for each structural level,is: what are the broad organisational
principles? One working idea is that in the sort of organisational framework sought will enable
a mix of desiderata to be pushed over some far out natural thresholds. The comy desiderata

include liberal and environmental objectives, such as those of freedom, liberation. Life, liberty,
pursuit of happiness, etc.

3

Levels of organisation, by geographical region (functional with a that), local, small
ecoregion, large ecoregion, ... (old large state), continent - federations, world federation.

Direction of world reorganisation: to a plurality of possibilities, with different possibilities
in different regions. Cities for those who like them in the substantially ecologically destroyed

urban land recipes of the North. Etc.
Diversity is a prime desideratum. We should rgjoicc in Jhw-yity where it recurs, and

encourage ir where it does not, subject as always to certain constraints. In particular, then,
attempt to impose fashionable ideologies everywhere should be strongly resisted; this includes
religious faith and other gospels such as those of market capitalism and state socialism. Such
drives to unity and conformity, and intellectual monoculture, should be derailed. Evidently in

an interlinked system such as the Earth form, federal organisation should include arrangements

to block imposition of ideologies by expansive neighbours on other regions. (Included herein
are states; here is yet another reason for the abolition of states.)
Not to be encouraged, but opposed, are mc.MMnic ging/c-way movements, such as

messianic catholism, messianic communism, and messianic capitalism. These come with a

amvcrya/Mtic perspectic, and a single, allegedly universal set of values: they do not, unless
severely cut down in size, fit into a generous plurallism. Needless to say, these universalistic
(one-tuming) movements cannot rationally justify their practices. It can no more be established

that there is only one god with such and such properties (e.g. those ascribed to Allah under

Islam) than it can be established that there is only one logic; indeed the justificatory situation is

considerably worse (imagine the faithful chanting each day, facing one Cambridge or other,
"There is no logic but classical logic ..."; of course most Anglo-American philosophers are
committed to something like this in their philosophical practice, but they rarely recognise the

character of the commitment).
Note: Many of the economic objectives presented as absolute, are not merely dubious. They

are not intrinsic values, but merely instrumental, and instrumental to goals that a community
may not have. Leading examples of such objectives are efficiency, production.
Out of the same stable as broad monoculturalism, with its uniform urban systems,

universities, etc., is the method of consensus (or

one opinion, as it might as well

have been called). Consensus — unless severely limited, as for instance to argument on a

pluralistic structure — is anti-pluralistic. Nonetheless there can be consensus of a sort at one

remove, metaconsensus on one story, "agreement" to differ.
Limited agreement does however have its virtues in conflict resolution.
* To be sure, cases where have to resolve what is to be done, how to act. Many ways to go:

single uniform recipe approach too absolutist. On the other hand, it is not entirely situational.
Set of recognised decent procedures.

6

The problematicness of conflict, and need for its removal, is much exaggerated. The

drive for conflict-free conditions is like, and linked to, the drive for consistency. But conflict is

not always undesirable, but often advantageous (and perhaps, as Heracleitus claimed,
necessary). Often conflict should just be allowed to stand; it does not require resolution.
Political and social arrangements should allow for it and be able to absorb it. Where removal is
required, it is often by achieved by distancing, regionalisations etc.

APPENDICES
1. On Walzer's p/ara/Mm there is a plurality of distributive systems. From Plato onwards it is

suggested that only one distributive arrangement that can be justified, (p.5). Walzer suggests
the Rawlsian picture of reeled strand choosers provides

modern arrangements. But

'Justice is a human construction, and it is doubtful that it can be made in only one way' (p.5).

Thus there is a plurality also of distributive justice. While the argument is plausible, its
construction prescription is not. Walzers' 7%Mt'.? (p.6) is: 'the principles of justice are
themselves pluralistic in form [whatever that means); that different social goods ought to be

distributed for different reasons, in accordance with different procedures, by different agents;
and that all these differences derive from different understandings of the social goods
themselves — the inevitable product of historical and cultural particularism'.

There is also a theory of goods, and f/teir distribution. In the usual form, people

distribute goods to people. The basic relation is a proc^Jarg. In fact there are many
procedures: given, allocating, exchanging, selling, etc. Walzer wants to claim: People

conceived create goods, which they then distribute among themselves. This is really a
Concatenation of two procedures. His iJea is to split goods into quaser sphere, and to have
different dibtributive criteria for different spheres. This is said to be complex e^aa/ity (p. 18)!

According to Walzer, there are sp/tereg/ or regions of competition, etc. For example, in
Pascal: strength, beauty, intelligence, devoteness;

but it could be: rugby, soccer, rules, horse racing, mountain climbing, etc.
However there are divisions, barriers between these — but they compete for key items e.g.

money, fields, etc. [so population growth is a total menance for a easily pluralistic society.)
1] 'Personal qualities and social goods have their own spheres of operation, where they work

their effects freely, spontaneously legitimately' (p.19) wAat does this seem: work? by
legitimally? etc.
2] Disregard of those sepaate spheres is tyranny; Attempting to convert one good in one place
to another in another is ruled out.

Meaning of "complex equality" (nothing much of equality about it): 'no citizens' standing in

one sphere or with regard to one social good can be undercut by his standing in some other

sphere, with regard to one other good' (p.19). Thus political advantage does not confer

advantage in other spheres, e.g. health care, advoting, etc.

W 'open-ended distributive principle' (p.20): 'no social good x should be distributed to nea
.... who possess some other good y merely because they possess y and without regard to the
meaning of x'.

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ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL PLURALLISM^

Political pluralism was a theory viewing social life in terms of groups, which were

said to be the primary social objects. Further an individual's primary allegiance is not to
any abstract government but to groups, unions, clubs, churches. Thus there is no absolute
necessity for a highly unified political or legal order - whence developed a critical stance

towards the state and towards sovereignty among yomg pluralist^and so elements of

anarchistic pluralism.

There was, however, no systematic theory of political pluralism (a further anarchistic
feature.) The position (and both British and American pluralism, however different) were
unified not by any doctrine but by crit/ca/ response to growth of the state.
A major theme wa^aadd^a^ay&M^ one (as/in EP)t humans are neither isolated atoms,

nor components of centralised states, but social creatures who^werkedin crisscrossing
groups of their own choice. Moreover, groups are genuine objects with choices, capacities,
purposes, etc.

Pluralist society respects and tries to reconcile diverse interests of humans without
,
.
,

.
.
.
thwarting them. Groups communicate via negotiation etc.; their operations are not
delegadve from some higher authority.

Contemporary ecological pluralism takes over most of these scene setting features, but
emphasizes the communitarian bases, and expands the scope of communities and groups to
include
communities, which include creatures and systems other than humans.
Perhaps the best known example of such a mixed community is the exampley-^givaa by
Naess and elaborated by Devall (89^dhapter-^3)^of a Norwegian community of bears and

wolves, sheep and humans'. A problem which group theory hides, perhaps deliberately, but

which such communities at once expose, is that of internal conflict. Conflict cannot be
avoided even by going right down to familiar or individuals; for as much conflict may be

Early versions of the first section of these notes drew heavily on Vincent, TAcorier <?f
The text takes up the working drift of 'Philosophy, politics and pluralism: II.
Anarchistic pluralism',, and thus completes (so far as it can presently be taken) a series
on this generous topic
*.

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m..n<„, <l<AS,p. 31,). Today', loser, i, I, bh.hol, a,,u,„ed. wdl ho
tomorrow s wmner.
Most American pluralists of this ilk assume that the contest
tween groups wtll be fhir and that there is some kind of lurking
normative consensus in the background. Certain types of behaviour
are presumably un-American. Practical politics, therefore, fbr the
mertcan p urahst is about bargaining, compromise and trade-ofls
lore is no normative appraisal of the State, but rather an
of what they take to be
acm^
processesTnhXUSA
Gov
*
. dm^c^updTe^J^a
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the USA. Government
is
not an impartial umpire. It reflects
reflects the
the domii.^
dominant coalition on a
particular policy - although it will try to maintain some balance
*
I'.--D.
D. Roosevelt remarked, 'The
'
science of politics, indeed, mav
properly be said to be m large part the science of the adjustment of
conflicting group interests' (quoted in Nicholls, 1974, p. 2). This aim
is contrary to that of the English pluralists, who would have been
deeply critical of the idea that the State becomes a focal point for
group pressure, also that policy should emanate from dominant
coalitions of groups via the State apparatus. Individuals, in English
pluralism, pursue their goals within groups. The State should not be
inked to any such partial interests. Each of theSe groups is
recognized as a moral person with a legal status. In American
pluralism a group is simply a collection or aggregation of individuals
acting m specific roles. Most significantly the American pluralists
were not concerned with any normative account of the State as an
institution or practice. They were fhr more interested in examining
empirically, the effects of group pressures on the actual activity of
government,
th^y ^in not
cltscnsswn.

7bottled up in a family or even in one individual as in a small group. That is, there are no
<*/o
pure conflict-free it^ms from which to build up group or community structure.

'

@

Ecopluralism not only extends the group basis; like
contemporary pluralism, the
variety of positions and practices is much expanded. Early political pluralism (so-called)
was far from advocating a plural variety. (Figgin, an early British pluralist, would have

been shocked at such a supposition: Vincent p.182.) A fairly narrow normative consensus

was assumed, e.g. Christian morality in British "pluralism", American political
arrangements in American "pluralism". Indeed several American "pluralists", political
scientists from Bentley Erroneously on^'saw pluralism as a description of the American

political system. In this usage, pluralism moves into the area of interest group and pressure
group theory" (Vincent p.183). Herein lies the route to
While the state jLSxiiscredited as a unitary ordef} it is now seen a complex
multiple entity, which tried to incorporate and theorize diversity of group life. In the
American version, groups are seen as interested in reaching some kind of bargain.
Government policy is the outcome of group pressures. Government is alleged to seek out
some abstract national interest^In even more degenerate Eastern European forms, pluralism
comes down to some sort of multiparty electoral arrangements; plurality just amounts to
many parties. Political arrangements can however remain highly paternalistic and
. Because we are interested in genuine free pluralisms, we shall leave these
desperate ^rms behind.

/^copyV^ncent-l$0, on US pluraKstsof this sort]
/)^onsider the organisational possibilities for the Earth.i The Earth divides variously
into (geographical) rggto/ts; under ecological organisation the decomposition will be into
jporegions. Those regions that are occupied will be occupied by structures of (mixed)

communities. The assumption that each occupied region is occupied by a single community
is too simple to account even for the present impoverished arrangements offering on Earth.

Some regions are occupied by communities of communities,

community
structure so to say.z It seems unlikely that Earth, given a suitable choice of regions, it is
_

.

cm

1

Off the Earth, in free logicat space, case arrangements are very much greater. Not only
can many terrestrial iimiations be transcended, (widi for instance wiscr creatures than
humans, and many fairer regions, but the interaction of regions can be avoided, so that,
for example, an intense dense industrial society need not transmit its pollution outside
its own borders, indeed in the right circumstances it need not be polluting at all. A
beginning is made in investigating this richer structure by Nozick, but even his
beginnings leave much to be desired?
*.
4/7

2

Whether communities of communities amount just to communities will depend upon
the final characterisation of comwMnhy, or what sort of members they can have and

c?
/-

3
necessary to ascend beyond communities of communities to third-order community
structures. Thus for each region it is appropriate to begin with the ancient ideal of a

community of communities. But of course there will be higher-order structure involved,
such as regional federations of regions, and federations of these federations, and so on and
up. Call this organisational structure, the Earth frame. This frame is not of course unique;
there are many other ways, of varying levels of adequacy, of unscrambling an
organisational grid.

The frame selected is in fact intimately tied to real mundane arrangements. For the
short time that they survived state interference, the Spanish anarchistic communities
coexisted and coevolved in genuine pluralistic fashion (as Dolgoff s sympathetic description
has revealed). That is by no means the only occasion on which the old ideal of a
community of communities (communitas communitatorum) has achieved partial realisation,

but is one of the better known recent examples involving anarchistic communities in a
limited geographic region - at a time in world history when state domination of social life
continues to break up communities and impose a grey uniformity across former community
diversity. But the concern here is not with what is, with present depressing (but temporary)
political realities, but with how things might well be, with different and - no difficult feat superior political arrangements, in particular pluralist arrangements.
A recent picture of pluralistic political arrangements by Nozick supposedly allows for
virtually anarchistic communities within an overarching minarchic framework. It would
seem a simple matter to vary this picture, in particular, to weaken or strengthen the
overarching framework; and that indeed the system of Spanish communities (which of
course did not persist) weakened the minimum state arrangements in true anarchisdc fashion

to zero. Nozick has however a complex (and also seriously flawed) argument that
variations are without justification, that political possibilities which can be justified are mMc/z

tighter than the wide range of the logical possibilities would suggest.
A crucial early question once an Earth frame is untangled is, for each structural level:
what are the broad organising principles? Consider a more important case, the regional

level. Will the same broad principles reappear for each region? Only in a very tenu/ous
fashion, if such desiderate as regional diversity are to be given appropriate play. Naturally

the extent and character of the interrelations of their members. If communities were
mere set-like objects, it would be a matter of the transitivity of membership; but
obviously communities are more than mere sets, internal relations counting for much.

*j

these had better be some procedure or other for conflict resolution where conflict is severe,

but there is a wide variety of procedures of very varying merit; some procedures or other for
the numerous issues that have to be dealt with to keep communities functioning, such as to
take a sample of issues, burying the dead, taking care of the indigent.
A crucial question, for each structural level, is: what are the broad organisational
principles?
.

The working idea is that in the sort of organisational framework sought will enable a
mix of desiderata to be pushed over some far out natural thresholds. The, desiderata include
liberal and environmental objectives, each as those of freedom, liberation. Life liberty,
pursuit of happiness^etc.

Direction of world reorganisation: to a plurality of possibilities, with different

possibilities in different regions. Cities for those who like them in the substantially
ecologically destroyed urban land recipes of the North. Etc.
Diversity is a prime desideratum. We should re/'ozce in JivgrHfy where it recurs, and
if where it does not, subject as always to certain constraints. In particular, then,
attempts to impose fashionable ideologies everywhere should be strongly resisted; this
includes religious faith and other gospels such as those of market capitalism and state
socialism. Such drives to unity and conformity, and intellectualm^njt culture, should be
derailed. Evidently in an interlinked system such as the Earth form; federal organisation
should include arrangements to block imposition of ideologies by expansive neighbours on
other regions. (Included herein are states; here is yet another reason for the ahabition of
states.)

Not to be encouraged, but opposed, are
sing/c-way movements, such as
messianic catholism, messianic communism, and messianic capitalism. These come with a
M/uvcrM/Af/c perspectic, and a single, allegedly universal set of values: they do not, unless

severely cut down in size, fit into a generous plurallism. Needless to say, these
universalistic (one-turning) movements cannot rationally justify their practices. It can no
more be established that there is only one god with such and such properties (e.g. thvse

ascribed to Allah under Islam) than it can be established that there is only one logic; indeed
the justificatory situation is considerably worse (imagine the faithful chanting each day,
facing one Cambridge or other, "There is no logic but classical logic

of course most

Anglo-American philosophers are committed to something like this in their philosophical
practice, but they rarely recognise the character of the commitment).

Note: Many of the economic objectives presented as absolute, are not merely dubious.
They are not intrinsic values, but merely instrumental, and instrumental to %^that a
community may not have. Leading examples of such objectives are efficiency, production.

Out of the same stable as broad monoculturalism, with its uniform urban systems,

universities, etc., is the method of consensus (or
one opinion, as it might as well
have been called). Consensus - unless severely limited, as for instance to argument on a
pluralistic structure - is anti-pluralistic. Nonetheless there can be consensus of a sort at one
remove, metacon^ensus on^ one story, "agreement" to differ.

Limited agreement does however have its virtues in conflict resolution.
* To be sure, cases where have to resolve what is to be down, how to act. Many ways to
go: -si^i uniform recipe approach too absolutist. On the other hand act entirely situational.
Last of recognised decent procedures.

The problematicness of conflict, and need for its removal, is much exaggerated. The

drive for conflict-free conditions is like, and linked to, the drive for consistency. But
conflict is not always undesirable, but often advantageous (read perhaps, as Heracleitus
claimed, necessary). Often conflict should just be allowed to stand; it does not require
resolution. Political and social arrangements should allow for it and be able to absorb it.

C**------ -

Collection

Citation

Richard Sylvan, “Box 13, item 998: Draft chapters on anarchism, for correction,” Antipodean Antinuclearism, accessed May 18, 2024, https://nuclearharm.org/items/show/75.

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