CAPITALISM / FASCISM / ANARCHISM
….for any musical innovation is full
of danger to the whole state and ought to be prohibited. So Damon
tells me, and I can quite belive him: -he says that when modes of music
change, modes of the State always change with them. -Plato
To my simple mind there are three basic social/political dispositions.
One sees the world in terms of the things and places it controls. This
is capitalism, a society of laws that define and defend private
property. "Who we are is what we own."
Another sees the world in terms of the people it controls. This
is fascism (or fundamentalism or totalitarianism), a society of rules
that define (and coerce) the behaviours of others. "Who we are is who
The third disposition sees the world in terms of the way it
responds to the people and situations it encounters. This is anarchism,
a society of stimuli that promote discovery, responsibility, and
co-operation. "Who we are is how we treat people."
All societies blend these dispositions together to varying
degrees. There is not and possibly never will be a purely capitalist,
fascist, or anarchist society. Humans will always want to possess, to
judge, and to co-operate. The type of society a group of people produce
is a question of emphasis.
"Anarchy does not mean disorder, it means without hierarchic rule.
As a philosophy it advocates an order that evolves from mutual
co-operation and adaptation as distinguished from an order imposed
(from above) on non-equals by a boss, a ruler, a priest, or a state. It
assumes the responsibility and creativity of its participants, trusting
them to invent needed forms and methods in response to situations
rather than coercing their co-operation through institutionalized power
or threat. At its simplest, it expects an individual to see other
individuals as trustworthy co-contributors rather than rivals or
minions, embracing differences instead of fearing them, generating a
society (or body of work) created by voluntary participation."
There is always a monotheism on the horizon of despotism.
There is no need to fear that the diminished concern for law and order
in science and society that characterizes an anarchism of this kind
will lead to chaos. The human nervous system is too well
organized for that. There may, of course, come a time when it
will be necessary to give reason a temporary advantage and when it will
be wise to defend its rules to the exclusion of everything else.
I do not think that we are living in such a time today.
-Paul Feyerabend "Against Method"
Some Anarchist Writers and Artists
Henry David Thoreau
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Ursula K LeGuin (The Dispossessed)
Sir Thomas More (Utopia)
Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri
Some of these (such as Tolstoy) do not call themselves anarchists but
expressed anarchist principles. Hardt and Negri, for example,
define Multitude as "singularities that act in common". I have
not included some proclaimed anarchists like
Johnny Rotten because their expressions of anarchism seem
to me to be primarily destructive or calculated for shock value and
those motivations seem to stem more from resentment than anything else.
It is important to remember that anarchism is a work in progress rather
than yet another system of doctrines and dogmas. In its broadest sense
it’s a utopian fantasy, but opportunities for small scale applications
of co-operative principles abound in life (Colin Ward’s Anarchy in Action-available
from AK Press)) and recent science has demonstrated that
chaos isn’t a mess but an orderliness we haven’t been willing or able
to perceive. I find the ideas of the more contemporary
anarchists (Ward, Goodman, Bookchin, Chomsky) more applicable than
those of the classical anarchists because they address situations with
which we are familiar.
"Anarchism, in my view, is an
expression of the idea that the burden of proof is always on those who
argue that authority and domination are necessary. They have to
demonstrate, with powerful argument, that that conclusion is
correct. If they cannot, then the institutions they defend should
be considered illegitimate. How one should react to illegitimate
authority depends on circumstances and conditions: there are no
"Anarchism is grounded in a rather
definite proposition: that valuable behavior occurs only by the free
and direct response of individuals or voluntary groups to the
conditions presented by the historical environment. It claims that in
most human affairs, whether political, economic, military, religious,
moral, pedagogic, or cultural, more harm than good results from
coercion, top-down direction, central authority, bureaucracy, jails,
conscription, states, pre-ordained standardization, excessive planning
Anarchists want to increase intrinsic
functioning and diminish extrinsic power. This is a
social-psychological hypothesis with obvious political
implications. Depending on various historical conditions that
present various threats to the anarchist principle, anarchists have
laid their emphasis in varying places: sometimes agrarian, sometimes
free city and guild-oriented: sometimes technological, sometimes
anti-technological: sometimes communist, sometimes affirming property:
sometimes individualist, sometimes collective; sometimes speaking of
Liberty as almost an absolute good, sometimes relying on custom and
Nevertheless, despite these
differences, anarchists seldom fail to recognize one another, and they
do not consider the differences to be incompatibilities."
-Paul Goodman ‘The black flag of anarchism’
The fear of freedom is strong in
us. We call it chaos or anarchy, and the words are
threatening. We live in a true chaos of contradicting
authorities, an age of conformism without community, of proximity
without communication. We could only fear chaos if we imagined
that it was unknown to us, but in fact we know it very well.
-Germaine Greer "The Female Eunuch
Now that most of the self-described Leninist states have withered it might behoove us to read Karl Marx with an open mind.
Capitalist democracy has begun to harden in its arteries. The
exploitation, coercion, and manipulation, that were always present in
it have lately, through the pervasiveness of corporate power, become
most of what it does. A system that has brought us to what we are
hearing as music now, that defends destroying our environment, that
expects people to be satisfied eating and working at McDonald’s, etc.,
is in desperate need of harsher and more creative critque.
It can happen here.
"Class war is viable and productive, even essential, but we need to
keep in mind that what we are opposed to is the existence of class, the
social structures that try to force its definitions and iniquities upon
us. Despising individuals for abstract reasons is dangerous,
bigotted, and largely ineffective. It is the the coercive
template of class (whether it is social, economic, religious, or
ethnic) that oppresses all of us and we will make better progress with
our revolution if we direct our destructive energies toward that."