A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, edited by Robert E, Goodwin and Philip Pettit, 1993.
Most of the seminal and interesting work on anarchism has come from outside universities and standard intellectual circles. Academics have contributed histories (e.g. Ritter, 1969), surveys (e.g. Woodcock, 1962) and (usually not so sympathetic) criticisms (e.g. Miller, 1984). With a very few exceptions, however, they have contributed little original anarchist thought.
Academics seem ideologically stuck with the state: 'Most political philosophers in the past few generation have what the psychoanalysts might call a "state fixation" ' (Mitrany, 1975, p. 98). 'The idea of abolishing the state entirely must', they say, 'strike us as Utopian' (Miller, 1984, p. 182); anarchists, of course, would regard it as 'eutopian'. It is easy to speculate on reasons for these attitudes, reasons connected with academics being part of the expensive state scene. While anarchism has vanished from the mainstream academic scene, it is again becoming prominent in alternative, especially green politics (e.g. Bookchin, 1989), and in work of disaffected academics with green affiliations.
Anarchism is considered essentially a modern ideology, arising after and in opposition to the modern state. Though there are significant anticipations of anarchism in earlier philosophy (notably in Stoicism and Taoism), and while there are worthwhile examples of early anarchistic societies, the main intellectual work begins only in the late eighteenth century with the outbreak of the French Revolution. Originally, 'the word "anarchist" . . . was used pejoratively to indicate one who denies all law and wishes to promote chaos. It was used in this sense against the Levellers during the English Civil War and during the French Revolution by most parties in criticizing those who stood to the left of them along the political spectrum' (Woodcock, 1962, p. 111). It was first prominently used in an approbatory way in Proudhon's What is Property} (1840), where he describes himself 'as an anarchist because he believed that political organization based on authority should be replaced by social and economic organization based on voluntary contractual agreement' (Woodcock, 1962, p. 111; cf. Lehning, 1968, p. 71). Since then there have been waves of anarchistic output of varying strength, most recently in the late 1960s.
Philosophically, anarchism is the theory, principles or practice of anarchy. It refers, according to the dictionaries, to the 'lack of coercive government', the 'absence of a political state', the 'want of authoritarian political heads or leaders, institutions or organizations'. In its normal political form, the term is applied to societies or communities, territories or countries. Politically there are three key structural components: authority, coercion and, normally comprehending both, the state. The notion has recently been extended beyond political arrangements to apply to other institutional forms, such as the church, science and law, to mean alternative forms lacking authoritarian structure and coercive methods. Thus appear such varieties as epistemological anarchism and philosophical anarchism. Although it is political anarchism upon which this essay focuses, those other far-reaching analogies should not be lost sight of: they matter. Anarchism is to political authority as atheism is to religious authority, and rather as scepticism is to scientific authority.
Principles, central and otherwise
Although the conditions specified for anarchy are normally taken as conjoined, it is possible to construe them disjointly, yielding what could be called 'diluted' anarchism. One diluted form which has obtained a little exposure is an anarchism appropriately opposed to the state but prepared to endorse carefully controlled coercive authorities. A differently diluted form is a de facto anarchism, which is opposed to all prevailing states because of some serious (but in principle removable) defect in each and every one of these states. This sort of anarchism is not opposed to the very idea of an ideal state or to a new wonderful order of states; it is not, so to say, a principled anarchism. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether historic anarchists are principled anarchists or merely de facto ones. There are limits, however, to how far definitional dilution should be allowed to proceed: a theory, such as Nozick's (1974) libertarianism, postulating a minimal coercive centralized state exceeds acceptable bounds of dilution.
In place of awkward locutions involving notions like 'absence', 'lack', 'want', anarchy can be better characterized in contrast to what it rejects: 'archy', or centralized coercive forms. That simpler formulation, anarchy as the rejection of archy, isolates the principle at work beneath arguments for anarchism. In so doing, it makes it immediately evident that much of what might vulgarly pass for essential features of anarchism actually are not.
First, a variety of political arrangements and organization, including governments of certain sorts, are entirely compatible with anarchy. All that is required is that these arrangements not include authoritarian or coercive elements. Certainly, it is true that territory without government, and therefore lacking an archist government, is anarchistic, but the popular converse fails: an anarchistic system may well have a small, smooth-running public administration, free of authoritarian elements (as did, for example, several societies substantially destroyed by European conquest). It may also be true, as dictionaries assert, that an anarchist would 'oppose all existing systems of government', but this is not a matter of meaning: it is crucially contingent upon the character of prevailing state systems (cf. Clark, 1984, pp. 118ff).
Nor are prevailing political forms everywhere so far removed from anarchistic alternatives, as a partial example indicates. When traffic police stop work, traffic keeps on going much as before. It is irrelevant to object that such anarchistic periods are mere interludes, presupposing surrounding authoritarian structures (somewhat as anarchistic end-states of Marxism are premissed on preceding super-productive authoritarian states). The point of such thought experiments is simply to demonstrate the error in the common assumption that anarchism is utterly remote from the political practice of complex modern states.
Such arrangements may be realizable as more than an interlude only in restricted or anomalous circumstances. The stronger anarchist theme is that there is never any need at all for authoritarian or coercive regulation - so such forms can be rejected universally. Universal anarchism encounters many problems (such as how to rectify especially degenerate or evil societies) which do not trouble less ambitious particular anarchisms such as those to be advanced here.
An attempt is sometimes made to render all anarchism universal, through the connecting thesis that for anarchism to succeed anywhere it must succeed everywhere (perhaps because otherwise it will be destroyed by ruthless or greedy states). The connecting thesis, though popular with critics, is implausible, however.
Just as it is mistaken to assume that anarchism is incompatible with government, even well-regulated government, so too is it erroneous to assume that anarchism is incompatible with organization, with regulation, with a positive non-coercive 'law', with order. Likewise mistaken, therefore, are the widespread assumptions that anarchism entails disorganization, disorder, confusion, lawlessness, chaos. Yet all these negative associations have been incorporated into degenerate popular meanings of anarchism. It is the same with related assumptions that anarchism implies violence, paramilitary activity or terrorism. A popular picture of the anarchist, encouraged by authors like Conrad, is the excitable fictional character with a bomb in his pocket -- not a Tolstoy or a Thoreau. These too are assumptions and pictures, with little basis either in semantics or in general anarchist theory or practice, promulgated by an unsympathetic opposition generally comfortable in present political systems or unaware of alternatives. Much of what is popularly and journalistically associated with anarchism consists of optional extras which are neither necessary nor even typical features of it. This is true not only of negative characterizations but also of other more benign features widely taken to characterize anarchism, Included here are attempts to tie anarchism to individualism, voluntarism, spontaneity or socialism.
With anarchy as with many other valuable terms, there has been a concerted effort at confusion or destruction of meanings - part of an extensive terminological vandalism in human intellectual affairs. Rather than reconciling ourselves to sacrifice of the damaged term 'anarchism', let us salvage the term explicitly for the pristine notion, isolating the conventional associations under the term 'degenerate anarchism'. Most of the fictional anarchists depicted by authors supportive of the present state system are degenerate and thus unrepresentative of real anarchists. There are many anarchists who are not terrorists, few who are; there are many who are not dangerous troublemakers bent upon violently upsetting local settled order; increasingly there are many anarchists within peace and environmental movements. While organization and government are entirely compatible with anarchism, that most conspicuous modern institution - the state - is not. It is the paradigmatic archist form. Nor are ancient power formations such as the empire and the kingdom really compatible with anarchism, owing not only to their authoritarian character and their extensive use of coercion and violence but also to their central organisation. But it is wrong literally to define anarchism in terms of 'hostility to the state' (as in Miller, 1984, p. 5), Again, that is not a feature of anarchism but rather a contingent and consequential one, derived from the conjunction of anarchism's defining features together with a particular standard theoretical characterization of 'the state'. Under a standard (though strong - stronger than necessary for anything that follows) characterization, the state is:
a distinct and sovereign body [:]... it claims complete authority to define the rights of its subjects . . . . Second, the state is a compulsory body, in the sense that everyone born into a given society is forced to recognise obligations to the state that govern that society. Third, the state is a monopolistic body: it claims a monopoly of force in its territorial area, allowing no competitor to exist alongside it. (Miller, 1984, p. 5)
It also normally claims other monopolies, such as on legal tender. It is virtually inevitable that such a state is a centralized authoritarian institution with extensive coercive powers. So it is that anarchism is often epitomized as directed at the dissolution of what is widely seen as the major political problem, the state. (As to why it is such a problem, anarchist critiques of the state, sketched below, will reveal.) With anarchism in a place, there is an end to any institution that is recognizably a state of that form.
Early English uses of 'anarchism' emphasized the corrupt, drunk-and-disorderly side of the notion, "contrasting disorder with splendid state order: that was what (in defiance of the original Greek meaning) 'anarchy' and ' anarchism' were introduced to mean (see the Oxford English Dictionary citations from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). Thus the early usage, which persists, contradicts what is here presented as the refined usage.
In technical presentations, this problem might easily be sliced through by coining a term to mean what 'anarchy' as refined means ('anakyrie' and 'anacracy' are such terms). Here, however, we shall simply persist with the refinement of the prevailing term -- and in the course of giving it etymological justification over the early corrupt uses, further refine. But the justification for refinement is not only etymological. What we need is not yet another term for disorder but, rather, a term to help break the false dichotomy between 'the state', on the one hand, and 'political disorder', on the other. Such a dichotomy falsely suggests that there are no further alternatives (like stateless orders of various kinds) and that without the state there is no political theory, merely untheorizable confusion.
Etymologically 'anarchism' derives from the ancient Greek 'an-archos', meaning 'without a chief or head' or 'without a top authority'. Of course, what the form derives from, though often indicative, does not determine what it now means. (Anarchism was not, after all, a distinguished ancient political theory; under familiar classifications, it is in fact the most recent and novel of major political ideologies.) Here, however, it is worth drawing out the etymological meaning because it is revealing. What it appears to exclude are political arrangements structured with a top element of any of the familiar authoritarian sorts (a monarch, a prince, a ruler, a leader, a president, a prime minister) and shifting from individual to group forms (a party, a clique, a ruling elite, etc.).
There are, analysis reveals, two interacting foci: (i) a top or centre; and (2) control or dominance flowing from this top, by what are adjudged inadmissible (in particular, authoritarian or coercive) means. A chief both stands at the top of a power hierarchy and exercises authoritarian control from there. Under this elliptical double-foci refinement, anarchy entails structure or organization without inadmissible top-down or centralized means. Let us look at the foci in turn, beginning with the more independent one: the top.
Topologically, 'without a top' amounts to 'without a centre', because by topological transformations ('bending') what is a top transforms to a centre, and vice versa. Thus, in excluding top-down relations, anarchism also excludes arrangements structured with a controlling centre, such as a ruling central government. Anarchism thus implies decentralization, but in a precise sense. Eliminating the centre does not thereby also remove all structure. It leaves available the possibility of a rich variety of structures, including network arrangements with no centres or with multiple 'centres' (federal structures, and such like).
Remarkably, the main features adduced are mirrored in logic, which can serve as a structural guide. It is striking, as well as technically advantageous, that logical and political predictions converge. Mainstream ('non-relevant') logics have algebraic structures with top elements, Boolean algebras in the case of classical logics. By contrast 'relevant' logics, which now challenge the classical logical paradigm, do not; their corresponding algebras need include no top element (Dunn, 1986). A plurality of local 'centres', regional nodes, induces no paradox.
Technical comparisons now reach much further than logic alone. Intelligent organisation without top or central elements may abound both in nature (for instance, in insect cerebral organization and in vertebrate brain structure) and in many future artificial intelligence applications. Logic and computing technology demonstrate what is widely appreciated outside political theory: that topless is feasible. There is thus both scope and need for twenty-first-century anarchism to be highly techno-logi-cally sophisticated.
There is, however, more to anarchism than lateral structuring, more than political structure without an operative top or head or centre. That more, the residue of the rejection of archy, is bound up with the operation of the active top, with the control it exercises, the power it exerts. Anarchists, generically, insist that it not operate 'by unacceptable means'; but as to what count as unacceptable means, different types of anarchists would offer different specifications. These include force, coercion, authoritarianism (and systems implying any or all of those, such as totalitarianism). More controversially, they might be said to include any means that are non-voluntary, non-individualistic, socialist or communist. As in the dictionaries, only coercive and authoritarian elements will here be ruled unacceptable in terms of undiluted anarchism. Holistic and tribal means are anarchistically admissible, as are utterly individualistic ones.
The two features are connected through the anarchist's response to the obvious question, 'If there is no head, top or centre, how are political affairs structured?' A standard anarchist response - not essential for mathematical structure, but incorporated in the modern definition of anarchism - goes as follows. There should be organization, of course, but that organization should be by acceptable means. That entails non-coercive, non-authoritarian organization; and that, in turn, is typically (though, again, by no means necessarily) taken to involve voluntary and co-operative organization.
There are many anarchist theories. For an anarchist theory is just any laterally structured theory which duly conforms to the principle of rejecting political authority and coercion. While received anarchist theories often try to restrict anarchism to certain more specific forms, 'pluralistic' anarchism does not. Plural anarchism not only admits plurality, but takes social advantage of it.
Not all of these anarchisms are of equal merit, however. Some forms (like those terroristic, violent or chaotic varieties of journalistic imagination) are decidedly undesirable, in much the same way in which the nasty states of modern history which anarchism opposes are undesirable. While standard anarchisms have been located in the more desirable or even eutopian end-range of anarchist systems, they by no means exhaust the satisfactory, or even the most promising, forms (see pp. 233-4). Indeed, in important respects the desirable range is significantly open for further elaboration of newer (and greener) forms.
As varieties of anarchy diverge widely, so too, correspondingly, do motivations and justifications for these divergent forms. These motivations range from entirely theoretical (conceding the warranted force of political scepticism) to practical (changing the local world); from personal and perhaps selfish (getting the state off one's back, or out of one's business and one's till) to other-directed (eliminating a state oppressing its people) to environmental (disestablishing another vandalistic state). Common motivations trace back to the common character of anarchism: repulsion by or opposition to oppression and domination, perhaps generalized from the state to all its variants and institutions, perhaps generalizing still further to all gross power relations. Indeed, it is sometimes suggested - correctly as regards gentler anarchisms - that what anarchy is really all about is gross power relations, their reduction and removal; the coercive and authoritarian powers of the state are but paradigmatic of such domination relations. There are other liberal democratic motives, further varying this theme: a yearning for removal of constraints and for more extensive freedom; or a desire for more extensive equality, which would, of course, diminish those inequalities which power delivers. Such motivations, too, have illicitly worked their way into variant characterizations of anarchism.
Many anarchists are joined by opposition to all naked authority or coercion. Indeed 'behind the anarchist attack on the state and other coercive institutions, there has often stood a fundamental critique of the idea of authority itself (Miller, 1984, P-15). An important, though certainly not invariant, motivating reason for anarchism does derive from a more sweeping anti-authoritarianism: the theme that no person or organization can ever rightfully exercise authority (of a political cast) over another. Picturesquely, it is the theme that no authority is justified: no one, state or other, has a right to push another around. Such general opposition to the principle of authority is dubbed 'philosophical anarchism' by Wolff (1970), terminology which is unfortunate in light of Feyerabend's (1975) different challenge to much in philosophical theory and practice going by the same name. Here some further classification helps. A principled anarchism takes exception on principled, characteristically ethical, grounds to objectionable authority or to coercion. Both grounds merit consideration .
There are many types of authority relations, not all of which are objectionable. Consider, for example, the relation of a student to an authority in some field of knowledge, who can in turn back up expert judgements by appeal to a further range of assessable evidence. Such an authority might be called 'transparent' (or 'open'), because anyone with time and some skill can proceed past the authority to assess claims made. Contrasted with these are 'opaque' (or 'closed') authorities, who simply stand on their position or station; such authority is objectionable in part because of its dogmatic character. Closely allied is the category of 'substantially opaque' authorities, who appeal to a conventional rule or procedure ('that is how things are done' or 'have always been done') without being willing or able to step beyond some rule book. Rule-book authorities are commonplace in bureaucracies, which often encourage such practice in lower level officials. With 'indirectly opaque' authorities, the justificatory procedure stops a step further back: there is a set of rules, which has been enacted (for reasons not open to, or bearing, examination) by a further substantially opaque authority.
Other authority relations are objectionable because of the way in which (or the means by which) they are backed up. There is nothing objectionable in the authority figure which exercises authority through the power of example, where what it exemplifies is in its turn satisfactory. Not so relations backed by coercive means, by violence or threats of violence: big stick authority relations. For instance, pacifists, being opposed to violence, condemn such relations on moral grounds, whereas they would not lodge any similar objections to non-violent and 'carrot' methods of trying to get things done. The overlay of this dimension on the other is represented in Figure 8.1.
carrot ← → stick transparent
possibly Benign Pacifist opposition ↓
Enlightenment opposition Liberal opposition
Matrix of authority relations
It will be evident that the objections to non-benign authority relations -- to what in clear cases may be presented as 'authoritarianism' -- can be of significantly different sorts. To more opaque authority relations, there are objections of 'Enlightenment' cast: reason is lacking for what an authority requires, proposes or asserts, as was the case in the authoritarian religious and political practice against which the Enlightenment was primarily targeted. (A significant stand of anarchism, a more theoretical anarchism, is a descendant: undisclosed 'reasons of state' are not adequate reasons.) To more coercive authority relations, there are objections from 'pacifist' devotees of non-violence. To both there may be a kind of 'liberal' opposition: the party subject to authority is being denied, in one way or another and for unacceptable reasons, a certain freedom sometimes explicated as autonomy (Wolff, 1970, following Kant). Naturally, then, 'liberation' movements are directed at breaking down authoritarian power relations, domination relations: masters over slaves, humans over animals, men over women, adults over children, and so on. On a par with that is the authoritarian power of states over citizens. Thus, a comprehensive civil liberties movement would merge with anarchist movements.
There are objections to closed authority, quite independently of the generally regressive methods usually deployed to back it up. First, by virtue of its very character, it is without ethical justification. Secondly, it is incompatible with other perhaps absolute desiderata, most notably autonomy. Because the state operates as a closed authority, the point permits nice development into an argument, from autonomy, to anarchism (thus Wolff, 1970; many archist critics have tried to bury Wolff).
There is a range of analogous objections to, what is very different, coercion and coercive methods. These are generally recognized to be ethically undesirable, if not outright impermissible (cf. Dahl, 1989, p. 42).
Arguments against and for the state
Beyond the theoretical arguments for principled anarchism, the main argument for anarchism can be concentrated in a detailed critique of the state, and therewith of state-like institutions. Anarchist critiques of the state assert that states and statelike institutions are without satisfactory justification; such institutions are not required for organizational purposes; such institutions have most inharmonious consequences, bringing a whole series of social and environmental bungles or evils in their train. In brief, they are unnecessary, unjustified evils.
The anarchist critique of the state does not end there, however. It typically includes further themes, such as: states are devices for channelling privilege and wealth to certain minorities with inside linkages to state power; and societies are not ineluctably saddled with states but, rather, states can be displaced or even decay (though they are unlikely to just wither away).
A corollary is that political obligation lapses. In so far as political obligation is obligation with respect to the state, political obligation vanishes with the exposure of the state for what it is and as without due justification.
The state is undesirable, or even downright evil
Anarchists maintain that states entrench inequities, domination and exploitation. States are devices for the protection of wealth, property and privilege; they redistribute upwards, and often concentrate, wealth and privilege. A minor but popular illustration is offered by the expensive conferences and other junkets that state employees or party officials organize for themselves and manage to bill to state revenue, in turn sucked up from inequitable taxation. Certainly, a main historical outcome of the state has been domination or exploitation of certain segments of society by others, and some see its main, and barely concealed, purpose as just that: domination and exploitation. States are typically corrupt. There are enquiries presently in train in many states in Australia, for example, which have revealed considerable corruption; there are prima facie cases for similar enquiries in most of the remainder. Nor is this a new phenomenon: these revelations often resemble older or ongoing scandals.
States are enormously expensive and constitute a heavy drain upon regional resources and accordingly on local environments. In poorer regions they are not merely a heavy burden but a main cause of impoverishment. One reason for their voracious appetite is an excess of over-remunerated and often under-productive state employees. Another connected reason is that many state operations are far from lean and efficient; instead, they incorporate many duplications, drag factors and dead weight. Under anarchisms of all varieties, these heavy cost burdens, weighing down subservient populaces, would be shed. Costs of organization would be very significantly reduced. States have excessive power and are continually accumulating or trying to accumulate more, through more centralization, further controls, additional licences, and so on. Obvious responses to excessive power are separation of powers, achieved by decoupling and some fragmentation, limitation of powers. Modern separations of church from state, and executive from administration from judiciary, illustrate broad separation procedures. Functional decomposition, breaking powers down to specific functions, carries that separation further, and continues it with sharp limitations of the powers of resulting departments. It can be combined (as will appear) with earlier anarchism which aimed to curtail power through institutional excision, decentralisation and federation.
States are major impositions on everyday life. They are intrusive and demanding. Never has this been more forcefully expressed than in Proudhon's famous denouncement of state government:To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonoured. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality. (Proudhon, 1923, p. 294)As a result, there are constant demands for the reduction of the cancerous state, for removing parts of it through deregulation, for selling off state enterprises and so on. There are two troubles with such demands from anarchist standpoints. First, they never go far enough, to the complete reduction of state activities to zero: they characteristically retain parts supportive of bigger business. Second, they proceed in the wrong way: they strip away social safety nets, rather than ripping off business support nets (such as limited liability, strike-limiting legislation, and so on).
States, for all that they have been promoted as delivering public goods, are mostly dismal news for environmental protection and health and for social justice. Furthermore they are liable to impose substantial hazards or risks upon subservient populations - not merely through military and like activities but, more insidiously, through support and promotion of dangerous industries, such as nuclear and giant chemical industries.
States usually exert a heavy pressure to uniformity, they tend to eliminate plurality and cultural differences. These pressures are exercised by a state in the alleged interests of national unity against its enemies, external and internal. Even the most liberal of states tend to make the lives of minorities more difficult in times of stress, such as war. They are always espousing national values, state interests and commonly assimilation and adoption of state values. Such exercises are conspicuous, not only in citizenship ceremonies and other state rituals such as national sporting and religious events; more importantly, they are virtually ubiquitous in elementary education.
States are a major source of wars, and the major source of major wars, which are undoubted evils, however supposedly inevitable. They are major sources and suppliers of military technology and weapons, the means of war. Roughly, the more powerful and 'advanced' a state, the further it is engaged in weapon production and export. Without states it is doubtful that there would be any nuclear weapons, and accordingly, without weapons with which to fight them, there would be no prospect of nuclear wars.
States are irl other respects too, a serious drag on a more satisfactory international order. That there are not more, and more satisfactory, international regulatory organizations 'is mainly a matter of the reluctance of nation states to surrender their powers and the dangers of their being dominated by very powerful states. If only nation states would be dissolved into specialized [departments] there is every reason to believe that most world problems could be handled by appropriate specialized [organizations]' (Burnheim, 1986, p. 221).
Two corollaries emerge. First, states cannot be justified merely historically, by virtue of being in place or having evolved. Unsatisfactory items in place, like man-made or natural disasters, lack justification and sometimes permissibility Nor, second, can they be given a straightforward utilitarian justification. For states appear far from a good bargain on a preliminary consideration of costs. That is especially true of bad states (far from uncommon) which engage in politically motivated incarceration or torture of their citizens, and so on. Where are the compensating benefits? Would we really be significantly worse off without these bad states, or even the better cases? Apparently not, especially given that we can get along without them (allowing for alternative non-statist arrangements which states have precluded or systems they have usurped). But arguments for states are not usually so directly utilitarian, or simply historical, in character. Such arguments would make it look as if we might well opt out of state organization, and often be better off doing so. No, it is contended that, contrary to appearances, we cannot get along without state cossetting: states are necessary.
The state lacks adequate justification
The state is not a self-justifying object. But none of the justificatory arguments to the state is cogent. A familiar theme concedes that the state is problematic but claims that it is a necessary evil. But the contrary seems more nearly correct: states, though generally evil, are hardly necessary. It needs stressing, furthermore, how weak the necessity claimed has to be. For it is becoming increasingly easy, with the advances in logical modellings and computer simulations of other worlds (involving 'virtual states', and the like) to envisage accessible worlds organized without modern states.
No doubt, then, the necessity has to be of some more pragmatic sort - a 'social human necessity', for example, appealing to emergent features of humans, kinks of human nature, obtruding in unfavourable situations of high concentrations and extensive scarcity. (These are, of course, situations which states themselves have helped contrive.) Remarkably, none of the extant arguments leading to the state makes it plain that such a weak pragmatic 'necessity' is involved, though they would hardly establish more. And they do make strong, implausible assumptions about the invariably brutal situation outside states (in 'states-of-nature', and so on) and about human motivation and practice (its utterly selfish, self-interested, acquisitive and frequently debased character).
Mostly, little serious effort is any longer made, outside a few abstruse texts, to justify the state. Within contemporary institutional arrangement the state (like Big Science) is simply taken for granted: as axiomatic, as God was under medieval arrangements. But unlike God - who was Good personified and therefore had a large problem with the extent of evil in the world - the state is acknowledged as problematic and far from unimplicated in the evil of the world. Such a problematic object cannot stand up as merely postulated. Nor is there any argument for the state, corresponding to the ontological argument for God, as that organizational structure than which nothing more perfect can exist. Outside the flawed imagination of German idealists there is no such Super State: all actual states are manifestly highly imperfect; all humanly realizable ones are likely similar.
As a result of the institutionalization of the state itself as a received and central part of modern political arrangements, the onus of proof has become curiously inverted. Efforts to justify the state have become fairly ideal and academic, no longer a serious issue; and the onus has thus been transferred to anarchists to demonstrate that human social life could proceed well and smoothly (as it now does, of course) without states.
While anarchists are not absolved from offering some account of operations of good social lives without states (for except in fairy tales it does not all just emerge, unplanned, in the new stateless setting), neither are statists absolved from justification of de facto statist arrangements, beginning with the state itself. In so far as efforts to justify the state as pragmatically necessary are attempted, these generally take one of the following forms.
Justifications for the state sometimes rely upon ideal reconstructions or political thought-experiments, which relate the mythological development of the state from an imaginary pre-state situation. The most notorious of these constructions are the social contract theories (of Hobbes, Rousseau, recently Rawls), whereby individual members of a society fictitiously enter into an enforceable contract, inescapably for themselves and all their descendants, setting up the state, primarily as a security arrangement. (Gough (1936) investigates 2000 years of such justificatory attempts, concluding that none such succeeds.) In later versions there is much negotiating and bargaining in contrived situations, where humans lose many of their distinctive features and accoutrements in an effort to ensure some initial fairness (Rawls, 19 71).
A variant on contract theories, which justify some sort of state arrangements as if they arose in an ideal way, is retro-justification of the state as naturally arising as a sort of super-insurance agency from (suitably contrived) pre-state arrangements. For example, the minimal state evolves from a competing set of state-like security agencies one of which somehow, through some 'invisible hand', gains a monopoly, and is retro-justified through insurance arguments concerning risk and compensation (Nozick, 1974).
Now, modern states did not arise in any such 'natural' or contractual way. Often they were imposed by conquest or through colonialization, and (with a few exceptions) using military means rather than by offering much sweetness and light and choice. Nor do the ideal constructions or mythic histories offer much justification for these resulting state power configurations. For the states so delivered are very different from those most people presently toil under.
In any case, the arguments involved do not succeed. They are extraordinarily full of gaps, by the standards of contemporary logic; and they depend upon some utterly implausible assumptions (for example, as to how vile conditions are in extra-state situations, as to how property is distributed there, and so on). No doubt some of the gaps could be plugged by further (furthermore, contestable) assumptions; but such analytic work remains to be attempted and assessed. Meanwhile the state continues to operate, unjustified.
In any case, such arguments characteristically exhibit unlikely and even paradoxical features. For example, in consenting to a political state for security purposes, participants proceed to establish an institution which is far more dangerous to them than the power of others taken distributively. Presumably those smart enough to enter into a social contract for a state would be smart enough to foresee the problems of hiring a monster - and to avoid states in consequence.
Finally, these arguments, even if somehow repaired, would not establish an institution with anything approaching the power and complexity of the modern state. Arguments leading to the state typically establish only a rather minimal state, with certain protective and regulatory powers. Such a minimal state would not deliver many of the goods which economists, still less socialists, have come to expect of the state. The arguments certainly do not establish anything like the oppressive paternal state with a panoply of powers to which many citizens are forcibly subject - powers that states have accumulated by their own unjustified predatory activity. In this respect too, arguments for the state resemble arguments for God (Routley and Routley, 1982). Deistic arguments characteristically establish (in so far as they establish anything) only a quite minimal 'that which': a first cause, a most perfect object, a universal designer, 'clockmaker', or the like. They do nothing to establish many of the powers or properties ascribed to God.
Unavoidable state functions
A second approach in trying to justify the state is couched in terms of the functions which the state discharges. The state is necessary for this or that. In particular, it is necessary for the optimal provision of public goods (including, but not limited to, preservation of public order).
Notice that this important type of argument need not presume to establish necessity. It is obvious, from the operation of nastier states, that societies can function not only without optimal provision of public goods, but indeed with very little state provision of any such goods. It would, moreover, be a rash archist who pretended that modern states deliver anything remotely approaching optimal allocations of public goods. Two things follow. First, justificatory exercises which (like those drawing on game theory) assume optimal assignments fail as entirely unrealistic. Second, anarchistic alternatives need not ensure optimal allocations to defeat their statist competitors; indeed, it may only be a matter of exceeding the state's rather poor provision of public goods. -
Most of the arguments attempting to justify the state in terms of its role in the provision of public goods depend further upon a false private/public dichotomy, flowing from individualism, in which the private is delivered by individuals or individual firms and the public is delivered by the state. In between, however, lie many social groupings: clubs, communities, unions, societies, clans, tribes, and so on (Buchanan, 1965; Pauley, 1967; McGuire, 1974). Such groups, too, can deliver social goods of a broadly public sort.
As the modern state developed more or less at the time of the rise of individualism in its exuberant modern forms, it is unremarkable that there is a heavy individualistic setting presumed in most arguments to the state. A central group of these arguments comprise variations upon Prisoners' Dilemma situations, including therewith the 'Tragedy of the Commons' (Hardin, 1982; cf. Taylor, 1987). These arguments take the following broad form. Individuals operating on their own, in certain prearranged (game-theoretical) settings which involve but limited relations to other individuals also operating independently, will sometimes make seriously sub-optimal decisions or follow sub-optimal practices - unless brought into line by an outside influence, too swiftly presumed to be a surrogate of the state. Even on their own ground these arguments are inconclusive (as Taylor, 1982, shows).
It should be evident, even without going into any details of these important arguments, that the state is neither necessary nor sufficient for resolution of the problems that issue from independent individual operations and from individual competition. It is not sufficient because tragedies of the commons (such as the overexploitation of commons' resources by competing fishermen, farmers or firms) can proceed apace in the presence of the state, and may even be encouraged through state activity. It is not necessary because the relations of interdependence among individuals in dilemma or tragedy situations can be exposed, and restored, in a variety of ways into which the state (possibly of no help) does not enter - for example, by establishing communication linkages, by social activity, conciliation and arbitration through engaged organizations, and so on. (Commonly, such relations are, in any case, evident in analogous real-life situations before the state becomes involved, or can be got involved.) That also shows how anarchism can resolve such dilemmas as need to be resolved in the absence of the state: namely, by having alternative arrangements, structure and organisation in place which will serve instead.
One of the major deceits of modern political theory lies concealed in the persistent theme that the state, with a centralized monopoly on coercion, is necessary in order to assure adequate public goods, including public order. For the most that appears required, the most that arguments would deliver, are specific organizations that look after specific kinds of goods, those necessary for this or that. There is no inherent reason why societies should not institute and regulate specialized bodies co-ordinated among themselves (by negotiations or, failing that, by recognized arbitrators) to ensure the adequate maintenance or production of various types of public goods, including control of damaging crime. Each such institution could gain community standing from its support base, for instance through achieving democratically generated recognition. Such an institution would aim to secure execution of its recommendations and decisions by sanctions and like admissible means, and in doing this it could mobilize in co-operation with other recognized institutions (Burnheim, 1986, p. 221).
There are many examples of such bodies operating successfully internationally. Those for postal and communication arrangements were among Kropotkin's favourite examples (see Baldwin, 1970), and much in the modern academic literature on international relations now confirms the rich opportunities for 'co-operation under anarchy' (Oye, 1986). Another example considered by Burnheim (1986, p. 221) concerns the case of international sport. As he remarks, each major sport has its international body that regulates a variety of matters, ranging from the rules of the game to the administration of competitions. While such bodies are, of course, open to schisms and rivalries, these are seldom a major problem. Moreover their organization generally succeeds despite the fact that they have few sanctions to ensure compliance other than, for instance, excluding competitors from participation in the events they organize.
An anarchism viable for other than small communities appears to presuppose some such alternative organizational and social arrangements. If such a system is to persist, then its prospects are exceedingly poor if it is nothing more than 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. Correspondingly, people come more and more to expect the government to what they might formerly have done, or have banded together to do, themselves. The state again proceeds, like other persistent systems and ecosystems, to establish conditions for its own survival: to become needed for social and even for individual activities and functions.
Core state functions: public order and defence
Now that the state is established, many of these social substitutes are under threat of withdrawal. Under ideological pressure from economic rationalism, pliant states have been attempting to corporatize, privatize or relinquish more and more of what had become regarded as necessary state functions, including some necessary to meeting basic health and shelter needs of citizens. But curiously, given the magic capabilities of the market, a few core state functions remain sacrosanct, such as taxation and money supply, defence and public order. While it is not particularly difficult to see how financial organization could devolve from state control, to social, community or private management (as historically), the issues of public order, property security and defence are regarded as essentially state functions; these are the functions of leaner minimal states, particularly recalcitrant to state excision. It was not always so (state police forces are a recent retrograde development), and it need not be so.
Another apparently powerful argument for the state, deriving from similar (mixed game and choice theoretical) sources, asserts that the state is required for these essential functions, for instance in order to control and to limit such social evils as crime and corruption. Observe, however, that it is not supposed these features of life are eliminated under the state; so questions arise about tolerable levels, cost-benefit ratios of varying levels of controls (down to the point of any controls at all), and so on. Observe again that the typical state, so far from limiting corruption and crime, is itself a major source of them. The state structure, by virtue of its power, expanse and character, induces much of the evil it is supposed to remove, such as crime.
There are several different reasons for this. For one, the state tends to become the guardian of a partisan morality and tries to prosecute what, outside a 'moral minority', are not offences at all but are instead victimless 'crimes'; thus arise a range of medical, sexual and drug 'offences'. For another, the state acts to protect its questionable monopolies: whence a range of banking, gambling, gaming and other offences. For yet another, the state supports social outcomes involving gross inequalities and privatization of wealth and resources: whence property crime.
Anarchists all agree that the major background source of these crimes - the state and its legion of 'law and order' officers - should be removed. They differ over what, if anything, replaces this extensive apparatus. Different types of anarchism are bound to offer different suggestions. Under communist forms, where an extensive institution of private property vanishes, property crimes will therewith disappear also; under individualistic forms which sanction unlimited accumulation of property, some procedures for safeguarding property will need to be provided. Again, however, there are many and much less demanding ways of achieving the requisite protection of property than a resort to the state. One is that which effectively operates in many places that also waste their finances paying for ineffectual police protection: namely, insurance. Another is social, neighbourhood or community security.
As with security of property, so with other kinds of security, including territorial defence: different types of anarchism will propose and experiment with different compatible forms. Social and individualistic types will both operate defence through institutional arrangements, social types through functional bodies geared just to defence of relevant territory, individual types through a set of defence firms. Each sort of arrange ment allows for various kinds and levels of defence (individualistic types depending upon what is purchased). In particular social arrangements allow for social defence, a kind that is stable, highly compatible with gentler anarchism, and invulnerable to the severe political problems generated by standing armies (Sharp, 1990).
There is really no practical alternative
This is more an excuse for the state than a justification of it, of course. Advocates of the state none the less rely upon it heavily. Anarchism, they insist, has not worked in practice; it is, they infer, therefore unworkable. Neither is true. Before the modern era of states, it seemed to work well enough in some places, for instance in parts of the Americas and of the Pacific. Since the modern advent of states, it has been afforded but little opportunity to work at the national level, but it remains strikingly operative at the transnational level (Luard, 1979, p. 163).
According to a condescending pragmatic argument, simple primitive societies may have been able to struggle along without state structure or organization, but it is entirely out of the question for the practical operation of modern industrial societies. No recent anarchist societies have worked. A short response is again that few have had an opportunity to succeed. There is extraordinarily little room for social experiment in modern state-dominated societies. Moreover, where anarchist societies have had some chance to flourish (as, briefly, in Spain before they were suppressed), some of them appear to have functioned moderately well.
At the international level, anarchy has operated for many generations. The arrangements work: in this sense they are successful, though hardly ideal. The international order is anarchistic, because there is no coercive government or authoritative political body with authority backed by enforcing power. International order is instead a prime example of anarchy. (While it is not a wonderful example, neither are many states terrific examples of archy.) It affords a conspicuous standing counterexample to stock arguments, like that of Hobbes, to some sort of well-ordering authority, such as the state (Oye, 1986).
Granted, international order leaves much to be desired. There are, accordingly, repeated calls for new world orders of one sort or another. But it has been persuasively argued (through a sort of top-down argument against states) that international order is as bad as it is because of the power and intransigence of states. The standard recommendation for an improved world order is through stronger international institutions. But an alternative recommendation, which would follow equally well from the diagnosis of the problem of world order, is an anarchist prescription calling for the erosion of states and diminution of state sovereignty.
As for real testing in practice, there is now no experimental space outside states. There used to be some room in the world for sizeable political experimentation, for testing different arrangements. We are now locked into large, overpopulated states with little room to move, let alone to experiment without states. There is, however, space within more liberal states for limited experimentation, and there is increasing scope for simulation and modellings as computer power and versatility grow. Most of the experimentation has been with small commune arrangements. What practice has shown - about all it has shown, negatively - is that communistic arrangements do not tend to work well for long with present humans, unless they are committed to a strong ideology. Various other sorts of arrangements can work well enough given opportunities (as the well-established commune movement in Australia demonstrates).
'With the state removed', it is said, '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 social insurance scheme or a bank: but a state itself can fail, despite support of other states, despite states all the way down. There is no ultimate guarantor.
There is the further matter of the character of the guarantor. In theology, a further, illicit stipulation serves to ensure that God has the right features. In the case of the state, nothing guarantees that an 'ultimate guarantor' is not (rather like most states) corrupt, unfair, heavy-handed and incompetent. If in social relations a guarantee cannot be obtained without coercive authoritarianism, it is unlikely that a satisfactory one will be obtained with it. So even if an ultimate guarantee was needed, none of satisfactory character could be guaranteed.
Lesser assurances without the state can none the less be offered. A bank's books can be opened 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 intrusive interventions, treating the person as a closed system and relying on a doctor's guarantee of the person's health. So too with the social structures the state purports to guarantee.
Varieties and options within anarchism
There are several recognized varieties of anarchism, among them: individualistic anarchisms, anarcho-capitalisms, anarcho-communisms, mutualisms, anarcho-syndicalisms, libertarian socialisms, social anarchisms and now eco-anarchisms. These varieties are not particularly well characterized. They are by no means at all mutually exclusive. So far even a satisfactory classification is lacking. Usually something of a ragbag is offered. Textbooks single out a very few varieties for scrutiny, invariably leaving out others that are as important.
Still, it is not difficult to discern some of the more independent dimensions along which variation occurs and which, accordingly, are relevant to an improved multidimensional tabular classification. (Some of these 'dimensions', it ought be noted, are not strictly linear, but that they are not, and that they are not fully independent, does not impede a much-improved classification none the less.) Some main dimensions are presented in figure 8.2.
The 'part-whole' dimension (figure 8.2.A) is a significant dimension of variation for organizational arrangements for analysis (see Routley and Routley, 1980). It helps to account for a major bifurcation between European anarchisms, which tend to be socially-oriented, and American anarchisms, which (except for religious communities, which are usually European transplants anyway) are typically highly individualistic. For markedly holistic arrangements to persist, some strong ideological glue appears required, such as an immersing spiritual ideology; not so for more relaxed community arrangements.
There are other dimensions, relevant for the bifurcation as well. One such is the 'property spectrum'. Although it can be compressed into two-dimensional form, it is better presented three-dimensionally, as in figure 8.2.B. This spectrum evidently connects with the preceding holistic dimension. Both contribute to what was the old right-left division (a sort of crude superposition) and to what should be seen as superseding it, which is a three-colour political spectrum (figure 8.2.C). This relates in turn to differences in ways of comprehending group decisions (figure 8.2.D), of procedures for effecting social change (figure 8.2.E) and for agents of change (figure 8.2.F).
The schemata presented are clearly far from exhaustive. Nothing has been directly included concerning distribution methods (market versus command, open versus closed storehouses, and so on), there is nothing on admissible technology, nothing so far on work-leisure arrangements - to take three important examples. More pieces will be picked up as we proceed, and some of the rather schematic sketches ventured above will receive some development in what follows.
Once the relevant (n) dimensions are duly elaborated 'an' anarchism can be located and classified (pigeon-holed in rc-space) by placement in each dimension. For instance, a type of anarchism advocated elsewhere is located as follows; it is social (with a significantly qualified communistic safety-net, to each according to her or his basic needs); it is market-oriented but non-capitalistic, with diminished ownership; it is democratic but without politicians and with alternative electoral arrangements; it is pacific but not bound by 'constitutional' procedures; it utilizes modest safe technologies and soon (Routley and Routley, 1980).
Thus there are many anarchisms, a rich variety of different types, some of them scarcely investigated or known. That anarchism composes such a plurality has proved puzzling to those who assume it must be a single ideology, either individual or collective. Indeed, the pluralist character of anarchism has led even apparently sympathetic critics to 'wonder whether anarchism is really an ideology at all, or merely a jumble of beliefs ...' (Miller, 1984, p. 3). Of course, the impression that anarchism 'is amorphous and full of paradoxes and contradictions' is marvellously assisted by conflating 'degenerate anarchism' and 'diluted anarchisms' with unadulterated anarchisms, chaos with order, individualistic anarchisms with socialistic with holistic ones, and so on.
By properly regarding anarchism under a standard model for pluralism as a sheaf of overlapping types assembled around a core characterization (that of the refined explication above), 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 peace or a green movement (on obtaining a movement, however, see pp. 240-2).
Such pluralism as anarchism unproblematically exhibits does not enjoy an impressive historic track-record, and it does not go unopposed either outside anarchism (e.g. because it makes refutation so much more difficult) or within. Standard anarchist positions have tended to shy away from pluralism in the direction of rigid monistic forms and toward insistence upon particular structure, organization and distributional methods - leading to much intense and often fruitless discussion and friction between anarchists committed to different arrangements. True, there was a doctrine of spontaneity, according to which the masses would, in the course of the revolution overthrowing the state (in the very heat of that revolution!), spontaneously decide upon new arrangements. That made it appear that nothing anarchist was excluded, any structures at all were open for consideration. But it was also assumed that certain arrangements would be selected, towards which active (and likely doctrinaire) anarchists in a vanguard would provide guidance.
Anarchists -- over-attracted, like others, to monistic schemes -- have regularly attempted to advance their own schemes by introducing many further postulates that reach far beyond anything that flows simply from the basic characterization of anarchism. Some examples of optional, and rejectable, extras from a recent anarchist manifesto include:'. . . direct democracy, destruction of all hierarchies, maximization of freedom, total Revolution, no ends-means distinction, no leaders, optimism about an anarchist future . . .' (most of this Australian student manifesto may be sourced not only in classic anarchism but in recent work, e.g. Bookchin, 1989). But genuine anarchists are not bound by any of that.
Because of the expansive pluralism of anarchism, it overlaps many other ideologies. Indeed, it overlaps all that do not include, as a theme, unmitigated commitment to a state or like central coercive authority. Thus, while anarchism excludes fascism and is incompatible with state capitalism, anarchism overlaps liberalism, democracy and even Marxism (since Marxism affords a future 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 the negation of democracy (as Dahl, 1989, p. 50 erroneously supposes); it does not entail undemocratic procedures. There are, in the plurality of anarchisms, forms that are democratic, in various ways, and others that are undemocratic. Democratic forms may well enjoy 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' (Burnheim, 1986, p. 218).
Is its goal individual freedom or communal solidarity? Sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes neither, sometimes both. A pluralist anarchism offers several different sorts of communities, not just one kind: independent individuals, families or firms, perhaps interrelated and organized through markets and 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. In simple cases, this can be accomplished through regional patterning, with different varieties of anarchism in different places. (Such a modelling for political pluralism is further elaborated in Sylvan and Bennett, 1990.) The brief interlude of anarchism in Spain afforded a small-scale example of such a regional patterning, with different varieties of anarchism at work.
The different 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 (or instance, with members with strong religious or ideological commitments); some will not succeed at all. Some verge on incoherence, such as those genuinely against coercive organizations which approve of terrorist 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 possibilities), there are common organizational and structural features. Such cluster features are what hold the plurality together. These include non-coercive 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. Though there are many different strands that can be interwoven through the pluralistic out-fall from the basic characterization of anarchism, there are some broad tendencies common to virtually all anarchistic arrangements. These include:
Reliance on self-regulatory methods of organization 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, but analogues of centralized control and coercive legal systems are rarely considered except in diluted forms.)
Emphasis on voluntary methods, in place of imposed methods. (Coercive methods are of course excluded by virtue of basic characterization; de facto power may remain, of course, but it will be without justification.)
Favouring of decentralization and deconcentration, rather than centralized or concentrated structures. (That does not imply there can be no downward relations: of course, under federal arrangements there will be, and natural sideways relations as well, amounting to a full control system.)
Discouragement of empowerment, encouragement of depowerment, with opposition to oppression and domination as a corollary.
But although each type of anarchist society will have such organizational features, they will differ in detail. A main distributional feature of a simple communist society may comprise a common storehouse from which members take according to need, whereas in a simple individualist society distribution will typically proceed through some sort of market exchange. More generally, different types of anarchism will offer different economic theories. Those with stronger individualistic component will tend to rely not merely upon market or allied exchange arrangements, but upon capitalistic organization; thus anarcho-capitalisms, logical end-points when libertarian-ism and economic rationalism are really driven to state minimalization. These types of anarchism, whose small home base is the United States, propose several, often ingenious uses of private and market means to substitute for social and state functions Frie:dman, 1973; Rothbard, 1977). But they provide no satisfactory resolution of ubiquitous market failure, which becomes even more widespread and severe without the state, and accordingly they remain unacceptable for environmental and other progressive social movements (Dryzek, 1987, p. 86). The types of anarchism favoured here avoid these fatal flaws by striking an intermediate route: regulated markets without capitalism.
How is such complex organization to be achieved without a state? Does not such organization and government require a state? To remove that familiar assumption and associated blockages - encouraged by too much life under states and too little experience of alternatives - take a wider look around. Look at how many activities and procedures are organized without states or any essential participation of states: by voluntary arrangements. Prominent examples are sporting organizations, churches, labour unions and business corporations of various sorts. In short, organization can be accomplished through a range of appropriate institutions .
Such examples also provide the appropriate key to how more extensive organization 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, or functional parts.
There are other valuable clues to stateless reorganization. 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. . . (Gramsci, 1971, p. 63)Recent empirical investigations tend to yield allied results. People tend to follow rules and obey laws they regard as substantively moral or otherwise satisfactory and procedurally fair (Tyler, 1990, p. 178). There are important messages here for anarchistic organization, for arrangements without coercion, overt or otherwise. Anarchistic rules will try to go with the prevailing flow, and will only vary (as over vindictive punishment, which still remains popular) where an evidently satisfactory justification can be given. More generally, smarter anarchistic arrangements will aim to include desirable self-regulating systems, such as fair small-scale markets.
As there are too many alternatives in the pluralistic cluster to list examine all of them, let us consider only some with preferred features. Anarchistic societies of any complexity, including cities, will typically consist of a network of decentralized organizations, or of federations of these. Most organizations will thus be regional, but beyond that set up according to issue, role or function. So they will conform to an eco-regional functionalism (a mixture of political functionalism with ecological bio-regionalism: on which see Mitrany, 1975, and Sale, 1980, respectively). Many of the stock features of decentralized political functionalism will accordingly recur: separation of powers, tailoring of administration to needs, and so on. The organizations will furthermore be non-coercive; no individual or group will be forced to join. Typically, they will be voluntary arrangements.
A critical question is how these organizations substituting for the operation of state and its bureaucracies are to be controlled, regulated, and so on. In much-favoured democratic structures, such as electoral bureaucracies, control is usually weak and remarkably indirect. A populace weakly selects a central parliament, which through other bureaucratic bodies exercises some control of state organizations. A genuine anarchism is obliged to dissolve or provide substitutes for central parliaments. It has an obvious option, namely direct democratic control of state-substituting organizations (such as replacements for present departments of local, regional and federal governments).
A simple way of achieving this is through sortition. There the membership of the governing component of each organization is chosen randomly from those qualified of the regional community who volunteer to be on it. In some cases volunteers may require accessible qualifications, such as having served before at a lower local or federal level. ('Levels', note, which stack up in flat-topped pyramidal arrays, do not imply any vicious hierarchy.) Furthermore, some volunteers might be disqualified on the basis of their past record. Where the community decides that certain categories of people (disabled, minorities, and so forth) should be represented, 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 Politics). Nowadays it is called 'demarchy' (Burnheim (1985), from whom main details of administrative arrangements can be drawn), a term with unfortunate prior meanings. Here in its anarchistic form it will be alluded to under the neologism 'demanarchy'.
Such demanarchy has the immediate virtue of removing a most expensive duplication: namely, between elected government ministers and their appointed counterparts in the civil Service (between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Permanent Secretary of Treasury, for example). Indeed, the whole charade of central parliamentary government, ministers and hordes of minders, governments and replicating opposition teams, is duly removed - inevitably under non-centralization. Such top-down parliamentary centres are eliminated. In so far as anything replaces them, it is the dispersed community, having no centre, which is linked directly to functional organiziation.
Gone or seriously reduced with the demise of the centre are several stock political worries, directed against anarchism, such as those of coup, takeover, insurrection or invasion. These usually involve capturing the centre and its command structure, no longer there to capture; there is no command or control structure that could be taken by an invader or through internal insurrection. Community defence is thereby rendered much easier. The stock problem of who controls the controllers is also largely removed, partly because control is so diffused and partly because a main controller is the federated communities (which is one of the advantages of more direct democracy).
Appropriate functional institutions take care, then, of the day-to-day running of community affairs, of standard administration. But what of major policy, big-issue decisions, resolution of conflict, changes of political direction or structure? Where necessary these can be accomplished from the bottom, through referendums, propositions, and the like (with public assessment organized through a suitably independent electoral college), rather than in present top-down, inflexible fashion. (Some of these methods, of which there is worthwhile experience in parts of Europe, are sketchily investigated in Wolff, 1970; with recent rapid improvements in communicational tecnology, such participatory methods can be much sophisticated, on which see McLean, 1989.)
The outline offered invites many questions and criticisms. How is such a stateless structure is to be financed without coercive mechanisms available? Observe that unless the target is being pursued for other reasons (such as criminal or political activities), coercive means are very rarely resorted to in order to obtain revenue payments from wealthier corporations, firms or individuals -- from where in a more equitable community much of the funding would derive (by contrast with most present states). Note, too, that very much less public revenue would be required to support anarchistic systems, because several 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 adversarial courts).
None the less there remain many institutions to finance, including smaller substitutes for some of the abolished structures (such as social defence arrangements). There are several parts to a satisfactory answer as to how to finance these institutions.
Many institutions can be largely or entirely self-financing through fair user-pays principles or because (like customs and import organizations) they collect revenue. 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), through rental taxes on property or leases, through gift and gains taxes and through auctions (of goods that would previously have been inherited). How this would work depends upon community arrangements.
Consider, for instance, anarchistic arrangements where that most problematic item, private property, has not been instituted or has been weakened or abolished (as again under main proposals of European anarchism, by contrast with North American forms). After all, full private property, like the state, manages to stand, without satisfactory justification (Carter, 1989, p. 126). While small items may be held, valuable durables - roughly, any durable worth stealing for re-sale in present systems - will be rented 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 environmental controls, they enable the social component of generated wealth to be reflected through a rental charge, they can be of finite term and of such a form as to exclude excessive accumulation and transfer by inheritance. In place of the customary 'land titles office' a 'durables office' with subdivisions for types of durables would be instituted, with each durable being indelibly marked or described. (Here as with referendums modern computing facilities remove many previous obstacles to such developments: anarchist organization 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. Leases of scarce commodities can be allocated according to need and ability to use, not merely through an historically rooted market distribution, as with private property. It is private property, not a market-extended system of distribution, that is really distinctive of capitalism. It is that which not only provides a place to park and increase capital but also it enables transmission of accumulated wealth (within a family or dynasty, for example) and control of the means of production. It is that which a social anarchism opposes and would dissolve.
A frequent criticism, intended to demolish not just social anarchism but all types, is that no form of anarchism has developed an adequate economic theory. Now, a cynic might well observe in response that no strand of capitalism or of socialism has either. But theories there no doubt are, in certain narrow reaches, in abundance.
Anarchism, it is true, commonly assumes the benefits of autonomous market operations. Indeed 'the individualistic ideal is one of personal sovereignty in the market place'; but then 'is not the state an indispensable prerequisite for a successfully functioning economy?' (Miller, 1984, p. 169). There are two parts to a response. First, markets functioned before states and function outside states, for example internationally. States are inessential. Second, whatever institutions are required for the operation of markets can be supplied regionally under anarchistic fragmentation of the state. Problems remain only for individualistic forms, which have to locate (available) privatized replacements for social structures.
How much background structure do markets depend upon, and how much of it might presuppose the apparatus of a state? A market has a place of transactions (which can be common or waste ground) and a supply of goods or services, to be exchanged there for other goods or services (barter) or for currency (in a money economy). Buyers and sellers enter the market to effect exchanges. No doubt there are certain things presupposed by markets: at least limited entitlement (leasehold or property rights), so a seller is entitled to transfer to a new user what is offered for sale; contractual arrangements; and, in a money economy, some recognized currency. Also normally presumed, where markets operate, are certain levels of security against invasion, assault and theft; but these are normal expectations for much of social life, even for conducting a conversation. As for the rest, except perhaps for currency, it is a mere pretence that a state is required for their assurance: customs or tribal arrangements will ensure both property in transportable goods and recognition of verbal contracts or undertakings; modern stateless organization can also. 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 thern (Hayek, 1976). And banks themselves do not require a sponsoring state, even if sometimes that helps, as in bailing them out.
It is also said, against anarchism, that 'a central agency seems necessary to maintain any society-wide distribution of resources' (Miller, 1984, p. 172). Which 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 is intended in the charge is surely 'a just distribution of resources', so that the blatant inequalities now observed in even the wealthiest societies are mitigated and the conditions of the worst off are alleviated. But that is simply drawing upon experience of capitalism: anarchism would not start out from such an invidious position. Furthermore, it is again assumed that there are only two ways of righting such (capitalistic) maldistribution: through purely private means or by a centralized state means. So presented it represents a false dichotomy - private or state. In that dichotomy, 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 whether it is instead an inefficient and officious nuisance. There are many stateless alternatives. One option canvassed redistributes some funds collected from resource sales and leases. Another option is a socially instituted 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 (Taylor, 1982).
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 realize some distributive ideal 'between communities' (Miller, 1984, p. 173). There are major difficulties, now. But that is scarcely an argument for a central authority. Some redistribution and a small transfer of wealth already occurs, deliberately undertaken through non-state organizations, without any central authority involvement. There is no decisive evidence that central authorities help facilitate global redistributions; it may well be, as many suspect, that they make matters worse.
Roads to anarchy: old routes and new inputs
Anarchism, even though theoretically viable, is undoubtedly hard to obtain, for states are now extremely well entrenched, and form a club of their own. None the less, opportunities arise for overthrowing them. Periods of crises, in particular, afford opportunities - which should be seized, as they may not arise often. A well-prepared anarchist group will organize, then, when the moment arrives, pounce. But such opportunities and risky revolutionary routes are only one way to change. As there is a plurality of anarchistic positions and end-states, so too there is a plurality of routes to anarchism, but not in any directly corresponding way. Figure 8.3 provides a survey of the larger possibility field.
Ways Evolutionary Revolutionary Intra-state: within state setting 1. Typically slow or incremental operations through received political channels 2. Typically rapid operations circuiting established channels: coups, insurrections, etc. Extra-state 3. Operations establishing alternative organizations bypassing or substituting for statist arrangements 4. Operations comprising external interference or intervention: by negotiation, military means, sanctions, examples, etc.
Ways to change
Pluralistic anarchism is not obliged to dismiss political and constitutional routes to anarchism or to anarchist objectives, including therein more congenial state arrangements. A state may be, or become, more congenial as regards how decently it treats its peoples, environments and neighbours: it may also be more benign in that it does not significantly impede anarchist political 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 organizational structures and (as it were) alternatives to archist arrangements (such as 'people's banks' and 'time stores'). What are in important respects anarchist communities can operate within, and be modelled within, less intrusive states. (The limits to this quasi-anarchism, elaborated in Nozick, 1974, are explained in Sylvan and Bennett, 1990). States that better meet anarchist (and green-socialist) criteria for benignness can conveniently be distinguished as more 'sympatico' states. A committed anarchist can quite well also be committed, as an intermediate goal among others, to achieving more sympatico states. That, in turn, may involve political activity, conventional or unconventional.
Main anarchist routes to change lie, however, outside conventional politics. They comprise, first, substitution for the operations and functions of the state, through alternative arrangements set up within the territory determined by the state (e.g. the succession model in Routley and Routley, 1982; the Utopian framework of Nozick, 1974). Except in Utopian circumstances, successful substitution is bound to lead to confrontation with the state. Other main routes lead more directly to confrontation and to revolutionary means, routes through direct action, against state activities and practices.
Goal-directed change through forms of direct action - in significant respects a contemporary upgrading of former anarchist ideas of actions through deeds and propaganda by deeds - requires both some planning and a movement to carry through planned operations. Planning and organization of anarchist action is certainly not excluded, in revolutionary operation or elsewhere. The rival 'spontaneity' view, still fashionable in many anarchist circles, depends upon the unpromising idea of directly igniting the radically dissatisfied masses (and is ideologically underpinned by a confused picture of freedom). Furthermore, it issues in bad decision-making, choice deliberately uninformed by available information, for instance as to more desirable ends and means. Naturally, however, planning is not and cannot be total, and it should not be too inflexible.
Unfortunately, it is hard to find anywhere, even in the worst of states, much anarchist planning, and there is little visible evidence of constructive anarchist movements any more; what gets exhibited in on-going crises of states is degenerate anarchism. There is undoubtedly much scope for anarchism proper to become involved in those crisis situations, for instance by influencing and organizing active dissatisfied groups, and for it to flourish.
What are also now conspicuously exhibited are extensive movements, making considerable use of direct action techniques, substantial parts of which have heavy (but often under-appreciated) anarchist commitments: notably environmental and peace movements, which are highly compatible with social anarchism (Martin, 1980; Rout-ley and Routley, 1980; Dobson, 1990). A main contemporary chance for social anarchism lies in mobilizing these movements, activating their latent anarchism. That is the great hope for the future (Callenbach, 1992).
See also 6 political science; 12 marxism; 13 socialism; 14 autonomy; 15 community; 16
contract and consent; 18 corporatism and syndicalism; 19 democracy; 24 envir0n-mentalism; 2 6 federalism; 2 7 international affairs; 2 8 legitimacy; 2 9 liberty; 30 power; 31 property; 34 secession and nationalism; 36 state; 38 totalitarianism
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