.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 we rule."

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."
-Alex Ferris

There is always a monotheism on the horizon of despotism.
-Gilles Deleuze

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

Emma Goldman
Henry David Thoreau
Friederich Nietzsche
Gilles Deleuze
William Godwin
Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Peter Kropotkin
Paul Feyerabend
Murray Bookchin
Hakim Bey
Colin Ward
Noam Chomsky
Ursula K LeGuin (The Dispossessed)
Sir Thomas More (Utopia)
Percy Shelley
Arundhati Roy
William Wordsworth
Errico Malatesta
Stephane Mallarme
Oscar Wilde
Felix Guattari
Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri
Michel Foucault
Mikhail Bakunin
Abbie Hoffman
Derrick Jensen
Gustave Courbet
Camille Pissaro
Georges Seurat
Georges Sorel
Emiliano Zapata
Leo Tolstoy
George Orwell
Paul Goodman
Aldous Huxley

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 formulas."
-Noam Chomsky

"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 etc.
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 "nature".
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."
-Alex Ferris




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