Nottinghamshire Indymedia



> UK Indymedia
> Global Indymedia

> Guidelines
> Chatroom
> About Us
> Security

> Projects
> On Ya Mobile
> Local Weather

Support Us

We are an all volunteer collective and receive no regular funding. Please consider donating.

Local Events

This events wire is no longer being updated. Please use the new site to publicise events.

More local events on Veggies/Sumac Diary

Freedom of Information

Search archives


Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements


South Coast

Other UK IMCs
Bristol/South West
Northern Indymedia


satellite tv


estrecho / madiaq
la plana
northern england
nottingham imc
united kingdom

Latin America
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
puerto rico


South Asia

United States
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

West Asia


fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs

If Not Capitalism, What?

Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) | 19.11.2008 08:27

CSSGJ Annual Lecture - University of Nottingham

CSSGJ Annual Lecture 2008

If Not Capitalism, What? by Hilary Wainwright, Editor Red Pepper Magazine, and research director of the New Politics project of the Transnational Institute , Amsterdam.

The lecture will take place in B62, Law & Social Sciences Building, University Park Campus, University of Nottingham on 27th November, 2008 at 5:00 pm.

All are welcome.

Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ)
- e-mail:
- Homepage:

Download this article in pdf format >>
Email this article to someone >>
Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article >>

Socialism, obviously

19.11.2008 10:07

Long live Cuba - a shining example of how to survive the squeeze!


social involvment

19.11.2008 10:31

we recently done a project, on a tunnel all the kids ame down and painted the walls.
a joint venture, NACRO wrexham communitys first,police.
Nacro was giving points away for the involvment of projects in our community,you cash them in and you can go to the pictures or bowling, the kids did not no this at first but took pride in doing stuff in the summer holls,for free.
C/F had some cards done a kind of trump,playing cards of local people, C/F,MPs etc
Point being that capatilism works in all forms,some body from NACRO wrexham stated in a seminar on susstainability,that we have to bribe the kids and adults in doing stuff in its own community,i see this as a form of capatilsm and brainwashing.
how much did the trump cards cost and how much for the points system.
kids love doing activities,if it was not for some volunters it would of gone all tits up,all i see in this is the professionals getting a name for controling the communitys through money.
long live freeconomy


not so obvoius

19.11.2008 10:37

anarchy all the way.
problem is when we get anarchy, you socialists will still write your paper as if it was your revolution.



19.11.2008 13:26

Yeah lets go anarchy...
I've always wanted to live in a Mad Max world, bartering for some horseshoes with a bag of grain. It'll be like a giant role playing game. brilliant (except there might not be any food to eat).

This isn't Water World. And you are not Kevin Costner


Mao & Ross - consigned to the toilet of history

19.11.2008 14:07

You're demonstrating a great understanding of the principles of mutual aid and autonomy there Ross! None of the anarchists that I know is interested in being Mad Max or Kevin Costner. It's a pretty poor straw man argument to suggest that anarchy is a 'role-playing game'. We're more interested in developing solidarity amongst humans with no gods and no masters.

Of course, I'm sure that's too namby pamby for you. You'd rather be following orders from some great leader who will bring our freedom to us from up on high. Pity that freedom looks and feels so much like enslavement.

We've had enough of the Maoists and Leninists, their 'liberating' discipline and mass murder on the side. Flush them down the toilet of history with all the rest of the shit.



19.11.2008 16:16

Sorry - it was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek...
Seriously, do you have any links on this principal (something non-biased please) ?

Personally, i believe the less control there is, the more we tend towards anarchy in the true sense.
Your plan would work is everyone was nice and honest and thought like you did.
But most aren't and they don't.


Well Duh!

19.11.2008 16:44

"Your plan would work is everyone was nice and honest and thought like you did.
But most aren't and they don't."

That is the point, either we can pretend people are capble of the great moral feat of seizing power on behalf of everybody else and voluntarily handing it over and forgoing the considerable influence and privilege that they've got. Or, we think: that's not likely, now is it? In which case we have to organise our society such that no-one has power or privilege, mutual aid, co-operation and all that.

another anarchist


19.11.2008 17:01

Yes. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and all that.

But surely someone needs to be in charge? someone to co-ordinate and have a cohesive vision?
If no one was in charge, people would just do what they wanted to do (anarchy) and serve their own selfish interests. It would be everyman for themselves. Cooperation would be based on an extremely limited set of parameters that are extremely short sighted. It would be like returning before feudal times.

Is there any examples in history of the type of Anarcy you mean in progress? Because I can't think of any in the present day


The leftist state is still the state!

19.11.2008 17:21

Indeed Ross, and that is precisely why nobody should have power over anybody else, and why it is far safer and absolutely desirable to have power uniformly distributed among a society made up of equals.

Crucially, we need to be equals in an economic sense too, thus making antisocial or violent acts towards one's fellow humans both unnecessary and unlikely. Why steal or fight each other when you can truly have control of your own life, and when all have an equal input and an equal share of all of the global commons?

This kind of society would also liberate all people to care for themselves and those around them, again drastically reducing and containing a major source of many social ills.

No anarchist has ever said that anarchy is perfect, and there would certainly be a transitional period, but it's far more equitable and likely to result in a decent quality of life for everybody than any of the alternatives.

Not least this socialist / statist communist idea that there will suddenly come a "magic point" where we all miraculously get our freedom back from the ruling party. (And some say anarchy is unrealistic?)

The important thing to realise is that anarchy is not a doctrine set in stone, but a dynamic reality that is created, lived in and tweaked by it's participants.

As Leo Tolstoy put it: "...even if the absence of Government really meant Anarchy in the negative, disorderly sense of that word - which is far from being the case - even then no anarchical disorder could be worse than the position to which Governments have already led their peoples, and to which they are leading them."

No to ALL authority! No to ALL hierarchy!

...which is why the authoritarian left are only slightly less loathsome than the authoritarian right.

Another Other Anarchist

To Another Other Anarchist

19.11.2008 18:20

Thanks 'Another Other Anarchist',
I think i see your points. But individuals are so different from on another.
- You have a person who wants to work hard, save, invest and build a live for themselves
- Then you have another person who is happy to blow all their money at the pub and never save for a rainy day.
I couldn't see how thes two ideologies could cooperate?

And if everyone had the same economic wealth there would always be people who want more by what ever means is available. Greed and manipulation is not just in the upper government / business levels. It is at every level right down to benefit fraudsters. Its a basic animal trait born through evolution.

It'll might work if there was just say 100,000 people in the UK. But we need very high levels of coordination to be able to live in our population density. And to achieve that, people need to be in charge to make unpleasant decisions for us.

If i could see an example of where it has been attempted, tried or tested then it would make more sense to me.

My personal view of the problem is that politicians are 'professional politicians'. They don't have training and proof of ability in running organisations. They just get to where they are by working up the party ladder and suddenly they are in power, not based on ability, but based on popularity. This is the most stupid system in existance.


Human Nature

19.11.2008 19:55

Hi again Ross.

It would take a seriously strange person to do absolutely nothing with their life. I'm sure they do indeed exist, but I believe that when empowered with actual control over their lives, most people would want to use that to good effect.

I mean, what would you do, if (after meeting your basic living needs such as food, water and shelter) you could do whatever you wanted with the rest of your time?

Schooled (or rather, unschooled) in the right way, people would explore their own creative sides, and be able to pursue their own dreams and aspirations to make them a reality. The people currently down the pub all day every day are those who have most likely had their creative instincts and motivation crushed during years of social conditioning which (on whatever level) did not agree with them. It is largely because society as a whole places too much emphasis on working to create things in the pursuit of profit, and not enough emphasis on people just being... people.

If nothing else, sponging off of the rest of society is less likely to happen under an anarchist system than it does under any of the alternatives, not least the current system. Actually, the sponges, parasites and villains I'm thinking of are mostly at the top of the current system, and they're already getting away with it scott free! The bad kind of anarchy (chaos, disorder, violence, greed etc.) is ALREADY here, in which those with the means and the power do whatever they want, and the rest of us put up with the consequences.

True anarchy is not like that, because it recognises that our freedoms exist inside the context of a wider community, and that we have our rights and freedoms because of the rest of our community, rather than in spite of it.

Greed and manipulation are human nature. Kindness and generosity are also human nature. Violence, love, hatred, fear, trust... all are human nature. So since human nature encompasses all aspects of humanity, I think it is safe to say that there is no one defining universal human nature.

As self-aware beings, we can make a choice to move beyond the darker sides of our survivalist instincts. Given the right circumstances in which everybody felt individually valued, as well as fully supported and involved in the wider context of their communities, we would create the conditions necessary to foster the better sides of human nature, and empower people to do so.

Besides, in an anarchist society it would be impossible to accumulate wealth or power - but for that to happen, the population at large need to stand up together and take what is theirs.

Regarding very high levels of coordination: who has a better view of what needs doing "on the ground"? The people actually there doing it, or the leaders at the top? We can organise ourselves non-hierarchically and achieve immense levels of coordination, because it is in our own self-interest to do so in an anarchist society. Nobody in charge is required - we just have to be directly involved in the organising ourselves.

Grassroots groups are able to (and indeed already do) reach "unpleasant" decisions by consensus, and again, if anything, everybody is more likely to understand why an "unpleasant" or decision had to be made, since they will have had personal involvement in coming to that decision. Unpleasant decisions can still be the most popular, when they are made in an inclusive and non-coercive manner.

Anarchy has been tried and tested in all kinds of situations, but many of them are on the smaller, more local scale. However, anarchist organisational principles have also been used to good effect on larger scales from Climate Camp to the anti-G8 camps and more. There are a few examples from around the world - some tribal societies operate on essentially anarchist principles in which there is no leader and they share all food and resources equally. There's also the classic (albeit imperfect) example of Spain in 1936:

Even if you don't fully believe that worldwide anarchy is desirable or realistically achievable, there are plenty of anarchist principles that can be adapted and put to good use in everyday life. That too is a part of the revolution - right here, right now, wherever you make it happen.

Hence the beauty of anarchy, and my love affair with it. Sure it's imperfect - but it's so adaptable, so natural and so equitable that it can't help but be better than anything we already have.

The alternative is having people tell us what to do with our lives. Do you need somebody to tell you what to do with your life, or are you the best judge of that? So apply the same reasoning to everybody (in a world where people are actually valued as human beings from birth, and the principle of mutual aid applies across the whole of society), and together we'll create a much better world.

If you want to understand more about how an anarchist world could work, The Anarchist Federation have a pretty decent booklet called "Aspects Of Anarchism". It is written from an anarchist-communist perspective, but covers many questions that often get asked about how a future anarchist world could work - such as on crime and punishment, human nature and so on. The online version of it is here:

All the best.

Another Other Anarchist

very interesting

19.11.2008 21:00

Hi again Another Other Anarchist,

I really, genuinely, appreciate the time you've taken to write such an intelligent post. I promise I will definitely look into it more via your links because I freely admit I know very little of Anarchy (beyond the Mad Max films!)

Have you ever thought of running for leadership? Because I'd seriously consider voting for you! Your genuine passion is certainly refreshing. I have expect David Cameron's script writers will be using some of that for material.

"I mean, what would you do, if (after meeting your basic living needs such as food, water and shelter) you could do whatever you wanted with the rest of your time?"
I have a reasonable job and am very lucky to be working for a company that does gives a toss about its employees. I tried self-employment for 4 years which gave me a lot of freedom, but ultimately I was still working my Ass off for the man (my clients half of which were horrible). But, if I didn't crave wealth so-to-speak, I would put more energy into creative pursuits (I'm a graphic designer) and sports.

I remember meeting many Aboriginals in australia (was there for 4 years). Many are alcoholic and not very nice people. Massive chips on their shoulders. But i realise, after meeting one particular guy, that it was the system that destroy their lives. He said that they used to just work about 2 hours a day. Now they have to work 35+hrs a day.

It brings to mind a remarkable story i heard was that told by a friend of mine that I have just remembered now. It may interest you, although I cannot remember the exact details unfortunately.
He runs a tiny business doing computer 3D visualisation. A client he saw was involved in windfarm development (i think they had 30 staff or so). Their company structure sounded very unorthadox. Everyone was paid the same wage and they took turns in different roles and leadership through a democratic system (i admit I scoffed at this point!). However, he said it somehow just all managed to work, not only that, it was a very successful and smooth operation.

Perhaps these things work on a small scale, due to their controlled membership?
The right people make the right things happen. You are right. "The system" will grind people down to self-destruction. So the transition period is probably the sticking point. How do all the greedy numbnuts prescribe to such a system without taking advantage of it is something that is very hard to answer.

It would make a very interesting reality TV experiment:
Different communities following different sytems for a year and seeing the outcome in terms of success and failure. Would be very revealing. Unfortunately, I suppose TV producers would just choose numbnuts for all communities just to make it 'interesting'.

I cannot constructively comment anymore because I need to learn more about this.
But, I certainly agree that the current systems projected end-point is not a pretty one.

many thanks


Thanks both

19.11.2008 23:51

Thanks both for your interesting, open minded and polite discussion. I am sure that many other readers will find it enlightening..

Perhaps it would be worth having a listen to the recent 'Sumac Debate' on the topic of Anarchy, hopefully coming soon to

A reader


20.11.2008 13:35

- You have a person who wants to work hard, save, invest and build a live for themselves

Ross -you have a complete non-understanding of globval capitalism and the production of money - do you think these people exist in a vacuum. The bourgoise left puritans and their jobs fetish are out of touch ( obviously still happy to rob the global south of their land, ( finite ) minerals, and food.

signed an underclass anarchist who has done plenty of shite poorly paid jobs and believes the left are as full of shit as the right ( who, funnily, are less hippocriotical about their biggotry ) and I don't like flowery situationism neither. - get hard skills. and grow food.

compost toilet

Mischievous Misinformation

20.11.2008 20:44

Somebody has posted comments here under the name of 'Ross'. It is not me, Ross Longhurst, and I don't think it is Ross Bradshaw.

But for the record I am a communist and I have just returned from Nepal where a revolution led by Maoist communists is in progress. While there I did not come across anyone who has ever heard of anarchism or Trotskyism. How lucky they are!

In the world today there are many oppressed and exploited people who are rising up in armed revolutionary struggle; in Nepal, India, the Phillipines, Peru, etc.. None of these struggles are led by anarchists or Trotskyists. The communists have led some great revolutionary breakthroughs, particularly in Russia and China, and also we have seen great setbacks with the restoration of capitalism in Russia and China. We must critically learn from these experiences so as to do better in the future. Anarchists and Trotskyites have never led any successful revolutionary insurrections anywhere. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here.

I shall be delivering a report on the developing revolutionary struggle in Nepal and the time and place will be announced in due course. Anarchists and Trotskyites are welcome to attend and make their criticisms.

Ross Longhurst

Sceptical about the 'successes' of Russia and China

21.11.2008 10:20

Ross Longhurst wrote:
"Anarchists ... have never led any successful revolutionary insurrections anywhere"

Well if they were anarchists they wouldn't be leading anything! Anarchist insurrectionists generally take the stance of trying to support and involve themselves in struggle without acting as a vanguard.

I'm also a little bit confused about what you mean by success. I, and I'm sure many others would agree with me, would say that Russia and China were both examples of revolutions that were rapidly overturned by reactionary counter revolutions led by... communist parties!

To say that the Russian revolution was brought about by authoritarian communist cadres would be misleading in the extreme. It was a popular insurrection and included many anarchists, such as the Anarchist Black Army in what is now the Ukraine. Of course anarchistic tendencies were brutally repressed by the incoming Bolsheviks and Trotsky with his Red Army were at the forefront - massacreing the workers at Kronstadt and forcing Makhno into exile.

I'm sure the people were welcoming their liberating communist masters then! Liberation my arse!

These kind of actions and the subsequent terror of Stalin forced many on the left to reconsider their positions of support for the Communist Parties. Of course, there are always some who are willing to continue to delude themselves.

I think you should define a 'successful' revolution for us, Ross. Russia and China haven't been successful in liberating the oppressed in the long run and so can't be held up as superior to any of the many anarchistic insurrections that have been short-lived. In fact, to look at contemporary insurrection there is considerable evidence of the principles of anarchism at work: Chiapas and Oaxaca in Mexico, West Papua, the banlieus of Paris, Copenhagen, the Niger Delta, etc. The most well known of these revolutionaries are the zapatistas whose revolution without taking power has been massively influential.

The anarchists also have a different measure of success. As they do not wish to create anarchist 'states' the lack of such states should not be held up as proof of their failure! Anarchists strive to take back control of everyday life and open up space for people wherever possible. The takeover of territory and systems of political control are not on our agenda.

If authoritarian communism was as good as you say it is, Ross, why are there so few communists in Nottingham today? And why am I constantly coming across new people who profess to be anarchists?

Nestor Makhno

Would like to hear more

21.11.2008 16:44

I would be interested to hear more about your trip to Nepal, Mr Longhurst. Would you be willing to publish a report on this site?


publish please

21.11.2008 17:32

Ross I too would like to hear about your nepal experience, and hope that you do put something on the newswire


Murderous Maoists

21.11.2008 17:35

We've already seen where Maoism leads, as demonstrated only too well by "The Great Helmsman" himself!

14 to 20 million deaths from starvation during the "Great Leap Forward". Tens of thousands killed and millions of lives ruined during the "Cultural Revolution".

Not to mention the creation of one of the most totalitarian states in existence, with a dreadful record on human rights and oppression even to this day.

For an educated Westerner outside of the Chinese "Iron Curtain" to stand in praise of Maoism is - quite frankly - utterly despicable!

So Ross Longhurst, I can only guess at what your reasons are for continuing to sing the praises of such a despot as Mao! Perhaps you just love the chairman's written work, and can't bring yourself to recognise the reality of where his totalitarian ideas truly lead? Perhaps you turn a blind eye to all the murdering, starvation, political imprisonment, summary executions and all the rest of the atrocities committed under Mao?

But let's not kid ourselves - a Maoist state may be "liberated" from the evils of capitalism, but it's still a totalitarian nightmare that makes 1984 seem like a pretty desirable alternative!

As the saying goes: "There's none so blind as those who will not see."

Mao oppressed and exploited literally millions of people, and his shameful legacy continues to this day. There's a lesson to be learned there, but I daresay I'm not the first to try and point it out to you.

There are hundreds of anarchists in Nottingham. I think you may well be the only Maoist - and long may it stay that way! Nothing much but an amusing eccentric, destined to continue his solitary campaign of self-deception and hero worship.

Well, we anarchists do not need any sacrosanct doctrines handed to us by any "great leaders".

We recognise that there is no such thing as a "great leader" - that all humans are just human, and should only have dominion over themselves, and that it is incredibly dangerous to consign our freedom to the control of ANYBODY else!

Not least a distant totalitarian despot (or collection thereof) who tells us that they are acting in our own best interests!

What sort of lunatic actually wants a system where their "choice" is either to conform to what the leaders say, or to be sent to a gulag and possible execution?

Authoritarian communism has been shown - multiple times now - for the utter disaster that it is.

So why not just get over it and move on, Ross Longhurst? My guess is probably because you just can't accept reality, or bear to modify your vision of how a better world could actually be arrived at.

If the Maoists win in Nepal, the population there will still ultimately lose. Some successful revolution that will have been... I don't think!

Now, as "Nestor Makhno" has pointed out, anarchists do not "lead" anything! To make such a criticism demonstrates that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how anarchy works.

There are no leaders. There is no vanguard. There are no rules. We are anarchy, and it's whatever we collectively make of it at any given moment.

I know that's a difficult concept to grasp for someone who is used to obeying rules from a central authority (or worse, a book written by a central authority), but internal principles (arrived at by mutual consensus, properly participated in and understood by all) win out over external authority any day of the week.

You may think you and your Maoist friends know what is best for me and my life, but I'm telling you now: you don't, and you never will.

So what's the point of your "revolution", if afterwards we basically just have to do what you and your comrades say? That's not liberation or freedom - that's domination!

Maoism, Marxism, capitalism, Trotskyism, communism, fascism, even liberalism - at the end of the day, it's all shit from the same bucket, in which others dominate our lives and we have littel to no say in the matter.

Anarchy is the only remotely realistic option, if we are ever to be truly liberated.

Another Other Anarchst

Hmmm... anarchism... Hmmmm....

22.11.2008 00:27

I agree with you another anarchist, although I'm a beginner on these issues, from the brief things I've seen from the communists ie. Russia, and China.... for someone to praise that social structure is absurd.

Also regarding Anarchism...

One thing that I've noticed about anarchist is they have a very benevolent view of Human nature... they seem to believe that remove (whatever their belief is) social conditioning ie. the state/corporatism and people would be benevolent and cooperative.

I would have to disagree; as human beings we have a good and bad side, we have a choice which one 2 cultivate... of course nature and nature play a role in our development however our choices are ultimately ours. It is a simple fact that if we give some people every possible good circumstance to make choices that would lead them to greater spiritual deveopment some would simply choose a life not only destructive to themselves but also to others in society.

Their have been many people throughout history who have 'broken the mould' of their social conditioning, 'when there's a will there's a way' however many people have chosen to follow the social conditioning. How many people do you know avoid looking at society at a different perspective from the one presented on the mainstream media? How many times have you personally done self destructive acts, or done things that hurt other intentionally, and when other more productive and benevolent opportunities have been clear and available to you? How many people do you know to quote shakesphere 'take the line of least resistance' ie. whatever is convenient based on a desire for peer approval, laziness, etc, Vices are an intrinsic part of human nature.

However I believe a society can on a small scale perhaps small village size however with a mixture of temperments, psyches, cultures (unless anarchists propose some kind of purging of all culture from peoples minds, which i know some leftists do) on the scale of britain and other countries... I'm certain there would be social chaos. Some Leftists seem to beleive that if we purge all people of their culture and religions then they would be 'free from conditioning' and be more tolerant cooperative people, an attitude that seems like blatant elitism (only the anarchists are free from social conditioning and pure), also the atheist communist takeover and it's 'underground' thriving communities in Stalin Russia and Mao China shows that people's religious beliefs aren't going to go away.

Also how do anarchists propose 'educating' a violent racist who if the constraints of the law (however deeply flawed the system is) were lifted would think nothing of killing and maiming people not of his race? We've seen spontaneous benevolent cooperation in New york during the blackouts but we've also seen gang violence in new orleans. The darker/dangerous/hedonistc side of life will always be a choice for some people and always has been, other social systems ie. communism/capitalism/modern goverment systems at least have something to 'deal' or 'constrain' this side of society ie. the police, however Anarchism seems to propose nothing other than the naive belief that people will respond postively to postive opportunities which is something any psychologist,youth worker, or 'spritual' mentor will tell you is a naive hope.

Many leftists it seems tend to ignore people's autonomy/internal choice, believing they can be 'shaped' into good by a social structure or lack thereof. As capitalist are found of putting it (I'm not a capitilalist by the way) leftists seem to only believe in human behaviour and not human consiousness.

(I've known 1 staunch communist who couldn't understand why a company didn't 'trust' some teenagers and allow them to open a cashier desk by themselves without the need for a supervisors authorization key... he was 30 odd year old man... bizarre)

Sorry for the rant... these thing bug me when I hear them


re: anarchism

22.11.2008 11:23

GrammatonCleric wrote:
"One thing that I've noticed about anarchist is they have a very benevolent view of Human nature... they seem to believe that remove (whatever their belief is) social conditioning ie. the state/corporatism and people would be benevolent and cooperative."

i don't think that's quite accurate. i would suggest that anarchists believe that the violence of hierarchical systems is considerably more dangerous than the violence of individuals.

"as human beings we have a good and bad side... It is a simple fact that if we give some people every possible good circumstance to make choices that would lead them to greater spiritual deveopment some would simply choose a life not only destructive to themselves but also to others in society."

good and bad? spiritual development? these sound like moralistic judgements. anarchists reject morality because it has roots in religious thought - something which we believe constrains and subjugates humanity.

however, i do not believe that, were capitalism and states to be abolished, everyone would be full of love and joy. that said, mass warfare, genocide and wage slavery would be things of the past (to mention just a few).

"many people have chosen to follow the social conditioning."

and what drives that social conditioning? the power structures in society e.g. the state, capitalist companies, the media, etc. in the absence of these hierarchical organisations the source of the conditioning is cut off.

"Some Leftists seem to beleive that if we purge all people of their culture and religions then they would be 'free from conditioning' and be more tolerant cooperative people"

i'm not sure i agree with that precisely. however, i think the uncoupling of people's innate desires from the 'spooks' of authoritarian capitalist thought would be a very positive thing indeed.

"Also how do anarchists propose 'educating' a violent racist who if the constraints of the law (however deeply flawed the system is) were lifted would think nothing of killing and maiming people not of his race?"

i have news for you, cleric: people do carry out these acts with the law firmly in place! the worst perpetrators are states. i cannot speak for other anarchists, but i would not seek to educate such an individual. i would take direct action to stop them carrying out such acts.

"We've seen spontaneous benevolent cooperation in New york during the blackouts but we've also seen gang violence in new orleans."

quick question: did the gangs precede the end of state control in new orleans? another question: did capitalism and hierarchical divisions end when the state lost control in new orleans? if yes to either of the above then it ain't anarchy. these things can't be wiped out overnight.

"The darker/dangerous/hedonistc side of life will always be a choice for some people"

great! i think the difference between anarchists and leftists is that anarchists are much *less* utopian in how we view other human beings. but really, what's wrong with dark, dangerous and hedonistic anyway?

"other social systems ie. communism/capitalism/modern goverment systems at least have something to 'deal' or 'constrain' this side of society ie. the police"

constrain is the correct word there. when has constraint ever been a positive thing? people are constrained to prevent them being free. it's also interesting to note that states and corporations are almost never subject to these constraints, despite them being the most dangerous things in modern society.

"Anarchism seems to propose nothing other than the naive belief that people will respond postively to postive opportunities"

not really. anarchists suggest that people would be able to live with considerably more dignity and freedom if the massive constraints on them imposed by hierarchy were lifted. to put it another way, people around the world are currently subjected to massive violence through the interventions of states and capital in their lives and this causes massive suffering. anarchism proposes that this suffering be ended. how people then live their day to day lives and protect themselves from other individuals is up to them. anarchism is the philosophy that people are better at running their own lives than other people are.

i would suggest that it isn't anarchism that is optimistic but it is people like yourself who are pessimistic about other human beings. is it really true that the moment the rule of law is ended everyone will run about murdering and raping? no, of course not. most of us will continue trying to live our lives as best we can.



23.11.2008 00:21

Hey Anti-Cleric (love the name),

Thank you for the response and helping me to understand about Anarchism more.

Anarchists reject morality?… If it’s like most people who I’ve engaged with who say they reject morality, or that it’s subjective, you probably judge it as wrong (morally) to judge things as wrong... Morally, or to attempt to enforce one‘s concept of morality. From experience I know that judgements of what is the proper or acceptable conduct for human beings (morality) is unavoidable. Anarchists seem to be of the view that any human conduct is ’proper’ or ’acceptable’ as long as it doesn’t entail physically harming another against their will (which is of course a moral judgement).

(regarding the term spiritual I know atheists who use the term to refer to man’s internal/creative/intellectual development)

Also regarding what drives the conditioning… I agree the media, marketing, government, also ’shape’ us. I would also say that music/art is an extremely influential ’conditioning’ tool, also our family life/upbringing, and culture. Are anarchist against culture aswell as religion? How would anarchists eliminate those deep conditioning avenues of human lives? ‘Education’?

How do Anarchists propose to end Hierarchical structures? How would you ‘wipe them out’?

Conditioning from media, marketing, government, - and I add music/entertainment industry, is playing a significant role in how perceive, and what choices people make in their lives. However there has to be something susceptible to being conditioned in the first place… our internal vices and vulnerabilities. Also these philsophies and ideologies that we are being ’conditioned’ come from the mind of man in the first place. Those will not go away, and left to man’s own devices, without the ’conditioning’ from culture, society, media, etc that Anarchists propose to ’wipe out’ will re-emerge or new various belief systems will emerge from the mind of man and look to manifest a social structure….

Also the issue of self- protection which you have said is up to individuals to decide how they want them hmmm… I’m going to say something that isn’t popular or ‘PC’ but is true there are people in society who have a distinct advantage when it come to violence namely men and people with access to weapons. Also martial arts or families passing on methods of violence is commonplace, some people are quite simply better at violence than others - believe me on that - the average skinhead would probably take on 2 normal guys, also a well-trained group armed would take on, and takeover other groups untrained and unskilled - how would ’combat’ training be unlearned or prevent from being passed on to some at the exclusion of others (which is what would create these violent gangs capable of dominance over others).

What would stop people from attempting to run other people’s lives? What would ‘stop’ the formation of tribes emerging and then into governments?

Megalomania (for it’s intrinsic feeling of empowerment, and not just for money, or fame) is a vice within each of us, and what are current government institutions but groups of individuals who have ’put’ a social structure in place and maintain it by force, what would stop the same from happening in a Anarchist society? From a commonly accepted historical perspective - didn’t humankind begin as Anarchist and eventually develop into various different social structures?

Pessimistic me… yes unfortunately… of today’s society perhaps in the past I would be. I know for a fact they only thing that has stopped me from seriously hurting other people has been A) someone else ‘tougher’ than me enacting revenge, or more commonly the police and going to prison for a portion of my life. I also know that (to parapharse a conservative writer) is that the only thing that checks some people’s violence is someone else in their social circle equally ‘capable‘, or the threat of law.

The Anarcho-capitalists who don’t believe in government at least believe in at type of ’constitution’ which rules are to prohibit people from initiating force on each other and to employ private companies which would enforce it, but they at least have some kind of moral outlook and ’code’ that they believe society should be organized around. Anarchism seems to me at best (but I don’t believe is realistic) will provide a blank slate of beliefs for a group of people only for other ideologies and social structures (governments) to rise up again.

Do anarchist believe that a collective cooperative drive towards a common goal is what would emerge. It simply sounds like non-governmental democracy to me, that results in (as Aaron Russo, and other anti-democracy and pro-republicans - not the poltical party the social structure - put it) tyranny of the majority.

- Homepage:

humming and hawing don't get you nowhere

23.11.2008 12:18

GrammatonCleric wrote:
"Hey Anti-Cleric (love the name)"

that's anti clerics of all dominations rather than yourself :)

"Anarchists reject morality?… If it’s like most people who I’ve engaged with who say they reject morality, or that it’s subjective, you probably judge it as wrong (morally) to judge things as wrong..."

i think there's a distinction to be made between morality (good and evil) and ethics (taking a course in life based on a philosophical viewpoint). i would say that anarchists reject morality for its basis in 'what other people want you to do (often for their own good)' in favour of a personal decision about how to live your life.

"Are anarchist against culture aswell as religion?"

anarchists are against hierarchy.

"How do Anarchists propose to end Hierarchical structures?"

the number of ideas is probably as great as the number of anarchists. look up anarchist communism, anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-primitivism, anarchafeminism and post-left anarchism for a few of the most popular (and often widely differing) strands of thought.

"However there has to be something susceptible to being conditioned in the first place… our internal vices and vulnerabilities."

you see, you call them vices (negative emphasis) - i call them desires (positive). i would rather take a positive view of my drives than a negative one seeing as they form the basis of who i am.

"Also the issue of self- protection which you have said is up to individuals to decide how they want them hmmm…"

well, i am of the opinion that people are able to work together in their communities for the protection of themselves and others... and not only that, but that they would *want* to! after all, the alternative, as you point out, doesn't look good. again, the martial artists and skinheads that you describe already exist in society. personally, i don't feel very protected from them by the police or the criminal justice system. i know many people who have been attacked and haven't received justice. i might not receive greater protection in an anarchist society - i don't know that, just a speculation - but at least i'd be able to do a lot more positive things without all of the constraints that law and policing ential.

"What would stop people from attempting to run other people’s lives? What would ‘stop’ the formation of tribes emerging and then into governments?"

all of the anarchists.

"Megalomania (for it’s intrinsic feeling of empowerment, and not just for money, or fame) is a vice within each of us"

not within me! sure, i sometimes feel the desire for self empowerment but not at the expense of my fellow humans! i do not desire to be a master of slaves and i don't think many people genuinely do. rather i would wish us all to become masters without slaves.

"the only thing that checks some people’s violence is someone else in their social circle equally ‘capable‘, or the threat of law."

i believe that you have fallen into the trap of taking on board this society's values as immutable fact. for a start, violence is not intrinsically antisocial. what about violence that stops a rapist from raping or a mugger from mugging? (or an anarchist from toppling a rapacious social system for that matter!) also, i would say from my own perspective that what stops me from being violent almost all of the time is that i understand that my violence would cause others (and probably myself too) to suffer. as i believe that it is human suffering that prevents a positive society from flourishing i am very wary of violence, unless it would prevent a greater suffering. if all that is stopping someone from being violent is the threat of the law it's a very sick society that we're living in.

"The Anarcho-capitalists who don’t believe in government at least believe in at type of ’constitution’ which rules are to prohibit people from initiating force on each other and to employ private companies which would enforce it"

which is precisely why they aren't considered to be anarchists by most people. what they propose is tyranny of the corporation on its own as opposed to the tyranny of the corporation enacted through states (the current setup).

"Do anarchist believe that a collective cooperative drive towards a common goal is what would emerge."

no (at least not all of us). i think anarchy would release a great diversity of human life.

"It simply sounds like non-governmental democracy to me, that results in ... tyranny of the majority."

i disagree. of all the major political philosophies, anarchism is the one that respects dissent most of all. this can be seen in many of the consensus decision making models widely used by anarchists today, which make accommodation for the views of dissenting minorities to the extent of allowing them to block decisions until they are satisfied with a proposal. anarchy encourages diversity and the process of working towards a decision that is acceptable to all. democracy is the real tyranny of the majority.


Anarchic Anarchism

24.11.2008 10:45

Well, what a lot of hot air. The recent comments here show that the anarchists seem to be rather confused and have little "consensus" on what they are trying to achieve. But it is interesting to note that the criticisms which anarchists and Trotskyites make about communist led revolutions are exactly the same ones made by the bourgeoisie and their ideological apologists.

Yes, some terrible things happened in the course of revolutionary struggles in Russia and China. It is also the case that there were some very wonderful developments in terms of the liberation of workers and peasants. The point is which is more important; the achievements or the failures of these great revolutionary breakthroughs? Also what can we learn from these experiences and how can we take revolution further as my comrades in Nepal are trying to do.

Somebody suggests that there should be a debate about anarchism, perhaps at the Sumac Centre. I would be happy to participate, perhaps on the topic "Is Anarchism the Answer?".

Ross Longhurst

Abstract now available

24.11.2008 12:57

If not capitalism, what?

It ain't over till it's made over. The old neo-liberal order is in severe crisis and its leaders in a state of uncertainty and even confusion. But those struggling to help a new order to be born are not prepared. Preparedeness involves organisation and popular mobilisation around proposals which defend people's living standards and livelihoods against attempts to resolve the crisis at their expense. But it is also about grasping a moment when those with power are wobbling on their back foot, and being politically bold and institutionally imaginative to build the necessary self-confidence to construct the basis of a new order as we resist. So Hilary Wainwright reports back from her investigations in theory and in practical experiments into what alternatives could provide the elements of such foundations.

mail e-mail:

Ross L really doesn't understand anarchy

25.11.2008 01:07

Ross L, I say again: you really, REALLY don't understand anarchy!

Anarchists very much have consensus on what we are trying to achieve - an end to all forms of hierarchy and domination.

Beyond that starting point, different schools of anarchist (and individuals within and without those schools of thought) have their own specific ideas about the type of society we wish to create. But the starting points of anarchy are very much agreed on, universally, even between anarchists who disagree with each other on just about every other issue.

That, again, is the beauty of anarchy - plenty of room for dissent, and acceptance of minority views as far as it is practically possible to accommodate them (and it doesn't stop there).

It really is such a simple concept - doesn't require any books in particular to understand it (though there are plenty of good ones), and doesn't require years of study in order to become an "expert". You simply start with yourself, apply some principles (NOT rules!), and work from there.

It is a moot point and a straw man that "our" (actually "my" - I speak only for myself) criticisms of communist revolutions are the same as the bourgeoisie. In fact, it's such a desperate attempt at point scoring, that I'm surprised I'm even bothering to entertain it with a response - but there we go.

People are not truly liberated if it is done so at gunpoint, or if they are dragged into a new system of which they have had no part in defining (and can do little to alter). That is not liberation, just another form of domination - by your silly Maoist books and sheeplike adherence to Maoist doctrine.

I really don't think I can explain it any more simply than that!

Wonderful developments in the liberation of workers and peasants? Doesn't count for much when "The People's (Official!!!!!!!!11111)" authoritarian bastards decide they don't like your dissent, does it?

If we aren't free to dissent, then we aren't free. Period!

What makes you think that your preferred form of government is any less awful than that of the capitalists? In fact, I'd say there's plenty of hard evidence to demonstrate that in many ways, authoritarian communism is far, far worse than capitalism. (That's not saying capitalism is good, by the way.)

Presumably you've heard of the Gulags, and know what happened to the people sent to them? People including plenty of anarchists and others who dared to think for themselves. As one of the previous posters said: "Liberation my arse!"

Your much hallowed communist "liberation" is nothing but enslavement in yet another type of authoritarian dystopia.

Why can't you see that being "free to do as we tell you" is nothing like actually being FREE, Ross L?

Now, perhaps if you just called yourself a communist then you and I might not have quite so much to argue about. But it is precisely because you are a Maoist that I find your claims of "learning from experience" utterly laughable!

Get rid of the old doctrine and think for yourself Ross - perhaps you might even come up with some original ideas about how the type of society you want could be brought about... but then, that might lead to... ANARCHY!

You don't need to follow the words, books or ideas of some "great" leader. Please, please just think for yourself, and ditch this deification guff!

Then I might take you seriously when you say you've learned from the mistakes of the past. But you'd have to stop calling yourself a Maoist, and walking around waving a banner with your god's face on it (because really, that's what you follow: a religious cult, nothing more, nothing less).

No gods - no masters!

Anarchists should definitely distance themselves from the authoritarian left, which is why I, as an anarchist (somewhere between green anarchist and anarchist communist, though I prefer not to be too specific - it's the anarchy that's important to me) absolutely do not consider myself part of the "left wing".

Fuck the left, in fact!! (There, I said it, and I really mean it!)

You're nothing but baggage that we'd do well to leave behind, and likewise to anarchism's attachment to leftist ideas. It is high time to permanently sever that link and define ourselves on our own terms. (Yes, I know Bob Black has been saying that for years - and he's right!)

To be honest, I don't know why we even let you authoritarian lefties come on OUR May Day celebration.

Oh, you didn't know? May Day is entirely, 100% rooted in anarchism! If I had my way (and I don't), we'd take direct action and tell you to piss off until you stop telling other people how to live their lives and glorifying deceased brutal self-appointed dictators.

This is in part why I haven't attended May Day for the last few years, because it's too embarrassing to be seen alongside even a small bunch of mass-murderer worshipping authoritarian dinosaurs!

Another Other Anarchist

Doesn't explain anything

27.11.2008 12:12

Your post didn't actually answer any of my questions...

Regarding meglomania... (who's talking about enslaving I'm talking about a desire for power and social influence) your saying you've never had a desire for leadership? Never derived any egoistic pleasure from having influence socially?

Are u saying it's wrong to have morality because it makes judgements on what is Good or Evil?

Regarding how would you hold violent people in check, or make them accoutable... I personally know people who have been subjected to violence and attackers haven't been brought to justice... I have met others (like myself) who have been punished by the Law after being caught. Others I know have been locked up for a few years. Again my question is how would unjustified violence be punished in our society or prevented (like police I've seen patrol and park visibly outside of nightclubs,it does deter violence I know from personal experience).

Also I would prefer to hear your particular way of how you would 'wipe out' hierarchies from existence rather than read about them elsewhere, It has the bonus that I can ask you to elaborate of certain points, like I am now. How exactly would you guys bring about the end of hierarchies, and what makes you guys so sure that is what is best for everyone?

Also what about people who want to form hierarchies and people who want to live under them (out of free-choice) what is your view on them and would they have a place within your society?

What is your justification for the destruction and abandonment of all hierarchies? Oppression? I haven't seen anything convincing from you that an Anarchist society would prevent oppression from the; skilled and violent, or the same systems being re-formed. Your saying it would produce a diversity yet you are saying they would be free from hierarchies which seems (honestly correct me if I'm wrong) would only leave the option of a egalitarian co-operative society.

The idea that an anarchist society would produce a fairer society... unless there is something physically in place to prevent uprisings and tribes bent on power developing it would more or less return to the same point eventually in history that we are now.

Again the systems you dislike (and in their many varieties) are a product of human minds, you may change the external conditions but you will never eradicate the thoughts and desires that created such social structures that you detest.

You guys seem to believe tha itt is the structure of our society that influences people to go down the pub, join gangs, waste their life, etc. I honestly do agree that our society and the media, music etc influnce people to pursue certain choices over others, and shape their perspective of their choices however... how would you eradicare the vices (or desires :-) of seeking immediate gratification and happiness without striving? how would eradicte the selfishness, lack of sense of responsibilty, and inability to handle frustration that is part of the internal make up of the hedonists and violent people (that I've known, and have personally flirted with)? Far to many people (as a black man I've heard this from 'nation of islam' supporters that it isn't really the fault of the gangsters or rappers that they promote and live a life of vice,it is the structure of society. They seem to only believe that people at the top have self-responsiblity and choice and the people at the 'bottom' of their perception of the hierarchy, are mindless drones whose anti-social and self-destructive behaviour isn't a result of self-choice (even if formed from ignorance, or a environment of 'street' culture). We need a blanace in our understanding and perception of society.

Also trust me I know that violence is sometimes necessary and justifiable.

- Homepage: