Author Topic: Anarchy vs. Fascism?  (Read 17432 times)

Offline neriana

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Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« on: July 10, 2004, 10:54:45 PM »
A question I've been pondering lately:

How much control of speech makes free exchange in a community impossible, and how much is necessary to permit it?
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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2004, 12:04:48 AM »
So do laws like our(Australian) Racial Vilification laws impose censorship or protection of individuals?
I think the truth lies in how any community enables free exchange.
Free exchange/free speech is obviously hindered in those communities where punishment for dissent results in isolation and loss of freedom, even death: but in those countries many people don't believe and trust their govt and media, and resistance can be strong. The Chinese govt is trying to monitor texting, to prevent dissent. So what will the Chinese people come up with next? Something, I'm sure.
In countries where free exchange is a prized part of culture, the opportunity for free speech is limited by access, not by law. If you or I want to dissent, what do we do? Strike, demonstrate, write a letter to the editor. How effective is that dissent? Only if a gatekeeper in the media lets it through. Look at Michael Moore. Even rich successful writer/directors have trouble with access. It isn't the law  trying to stop him from speaking, it's the publishers and film distributors. And we all sit around congratulating ourselves on our freedoms.
We need to worry about how we restrict free exchange in our culture. The discussion is always high-jacked by someone with an objectionable view to someone else, fighting about their right to be insulting. In the meantime, voting for people we don't know and trust is the highest form of political expression open to us. So we get GW and John Howard.

Offline cliffette

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2004, 12:28:21 AM »
For true freedom of speech, take an internet message board which can take a massive server load. Open it up. Don't moderate.

Free speech happens when people don't feel victimised or threatened, no matter what their beliefs, hates or likes - thus they can talk about whatever they want and express whatever opinon they want (hence the internet, with its anonymity, is an ideal playground)... However, they may not be heard amongst the babble of others exercising their rights to free speech. I don't think anybody wants true free speech.

So perhaps your answers are i) Not too much, and ii) Just enough - and the happiness of the community that results is likely your answer to whether you got the balance right.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 12:29:57 AM by cliffette »

Eral

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2004, 01:30:19 AM »
But even on the InterNet people are not free from abuse. Go to The Age -Your Say site, Cliffette. It's like the playground of the lobotomised, there.
I think people do want free speech/exchange(I like how Neriana phrased that) but it's impossible to eliminate conflict.

Offline cliffette

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2004, 01:46:27 AM »
Oh, you do get abuse on the internet, but they are just words in the end. They can only hurt you if you let them hurt you, whereas the physical world could end up with you being seriously injured - that's all I meant by 'freedom from victimisation/threats'. I should have put a 'real' in there.. However, I know some people can end up feeling very victimised on the net and end up self-censoring/leaving a community forever!, which I guess goes back to Neriana's question and your point about protection vs censorship.

So... I have no answers for you.  :-\
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 01:48:17 AM by cliffette »

Offline jester

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2004, 06:01:11 AM »
Anarchy :D.... oh... this is not a poll right?

The main misunderstanding of anarchy is that while it is without leaders it is not without rules. Anarchy is a bad system to describe fora, because first of all people have to invest a lot of their time and energy (could be and most likely is a team effort), but someone also has to be ultimately responsible, even after everybody has abandoned ship. So it all boils down to Ken, Cam, Jason, Neil and everybody else who set up a board. Limiting a forum by certain rules is always good as it allows everybody else to adhere to these or even discuss this within the communities. Implicit rules which are enforced, but not written down somewhere can neither be followed nor disputed. Communities also evolve with their members which takes nothing away in the end from the big fish, but they thrive on members, so being widely hospitable is a good thing for any community.
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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2004, 06:21:30 AM »
we all barrack for anarchy, jester. How else would we have any fun? But please list the rules of anarchy for me. (I want to see if I've broken any.)
I agree that the web offers greater freedom of expression, but you still have gatekeepers: people who decide what is and isn't going to go on the board. And you still get bullies. And people who don't know what the rules are.(Usually because they don't read that sticky that says READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST)
I think there is always control on speech, whether self-censorship or external.
The factor allowing free exchange is individual courage.

Do I sound pompous, or is it just warm in here?
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 07:08:43 AM by Eral »

Offline seanas

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2004, 08:30:31 AM »
can i modify yr post eral?

"the factor allowing free exchange is self-confidence"

where self-confidence derives from one's specific history - ie, it depends upon structural (gender, race, class, sexuality, education, social position. etc) features.

as for rules of anarchy: i'm guessing you live in melbourne - if so, try the anarchist section of the little bookshop underneath trades hall on lygon st; or in sydney, try black rose bookshop on king st. there'll be more literature there on anarchism, including on ways an anarchist society might run, than you could shake a stick at.
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Offline jester

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2004, 11:09:17 AM »
Anarchy exists for many people only as a propaganda term. Do this or else you will have anarchy (*menacing growls in the background*)! If you share a flat with friends and you discuss who has to do what when until you get a unanimous decision that would be anarchy. A majority vote would be like a democracy. The one who moved in first telling all the others what to do when would be fascism. The possibility to inherit that position would be monarchy and so on. There is a tradeoff between quick reaction and compliance. From my simple example I think one would agree that compliance is easiest in the first case, whereas decision making in the later cases. The effort you have to waste on reaching a decision ( a lot of time 'wasted' talking) can be related to the effort you have to put into enforcing the decision. Consequently any form of anarchy takes the most commiment and responsibilty.

When I ever get back to Oz I have to try those two bookshops. :)
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2004, 11:33:30 AM »
Anarchy exists for many people only as a propaganda term. Do this or else you will have anarchy (*menacing growls in the background*)! If you share a flat with friends and you discuss who has to do what when until you get a unanimous decision that would be anarchy. A majority vote would be like a democracy. The one who moved in first telling all the others what to do when would be fascism. The possibility to inherit that position would be monarchy and so on. There is a tradeoff between quick reaction and compliance. From my simple example I think one would agree that compliance is easiest in the first case, whereas decision making in the later cases. The effort you have to waste on reaching a decision ( a lot of time 'wasted' talking) can be related to the effort you have to put into enforcing the decision. Consequently any form of anarchy takes the most commiment and responsibilty.

When I ever get back to Oz I have to try those two bookshops. :)

And here I thought Anarchy just meant being generally pissed over having to move out of your parent's flat and get a job. ;)

Offline Regullus

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2004, 12:01:53 PM »
 A genuine question. Has there been a successful example of an anarchistic society?

Offline Kish

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2004, 12:10:06 PM »
I believe, like communism, it's been known to work on a very small scale, but breaks down quickly once you get into double-digits.
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2004, 12:14:36 PM »
It's hard enough to get unanimous agreement on what to have on a pizza, and that's dealing only with people you like. ;)

Offline jester

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2004, 12:31:09 PM »
Sorry Bob for sounding so preposterous. ;) I agree it is very hard to get there and it may be true that it only works in very small numbers. :(  Like most political ideas it works sometimes, but hinges on the people involved. Theoretically I also learned about checks and balances in democracy, (doesn't work well in my country sometimes) and now the reps hold both Congress and the presidency in the States atm, if I am not completely mistaken. Having studied Economics I am too used to things only working in theory I guess.
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2004, 12:43:19 PM »
Sorry Bob for sounding so preposterous. ;) I agree it is very hard to get there and it may be true that it only works in very small numbers. :(  Like most political ideas it works sometimes, but hinges on the people involved. Theoretically I also learned about checks and balances in democracy, (doesn't work well in my country sometimes) and now the reps hold both Congress and the presidency in the States atm, if I am not completely mistaken. Having studied Economics I am too used to things only working in theory I guess.

Having studied political science I am used to things not working at all. ;)

Offline seanas

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2004, 03:34:53 PM »
the classical answer to the 'functioning anarchist society' question is barcelona (and catalunya more generally) during the spanish civil war. barcelona is generally understood to have been under the red+black flag for about 2 years during this time; having been overrun by the Francoists it's hard to say if it would have continued; it's equally hard to say if it would ever have come into being if it wasnt for the civil war. on the other hand, catalunya has a *long* (thousand or so years) history of self-governance - which is generally what a functioning anarchist society would default to.

some people have claimed that nestor mahkno's (?sp?) ukraine during the russion civil war was also anarchist, but this one is a lot more arguable: you could easily argue it was anarchic in the pejorative sense... ;)

a lot of cities have come under some form of anarchist and/or communist organisation during revolutionary moments over the last 150 years: paris during the commune, berlin and many other german cities during 1919-21; petrograd under the petrograd soviet until stalin took over, for example. in all cases they ended up getting squashed by reactionary forces; whether they would have continued if they *werent* squashed by reactionary forces, or whether they were unsustainable utopian moments is a question for writers of alternative histories.
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Offline jester

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2004, 04:51:56 PM »
A question I've been pondering lately:

How much control of speech makes free exchange in a community impossible, and how much is necessary to permit it?
How much freedom of the press do you get from some media conglomerates who dictate the truth? Why do I get the strange feeling that this question is not as theoretical as it might seem at first glance? You could also have asked how much regulation a community needs. I mean not many people would argue for the virtues of fascism. :P
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2004, 05:59:41 PM »
You could also have asked how much regulation a community needs. I mean not many people would argue for the virtues of fascism. :P

I've always been surprised by the huge number of people who will argue for the virtues of fascism. Likely the majority. It's usually predicated on the idea of a benevolent fascism, with the subtextual assumption that those who will end up in control will have views similar to the person making the pro-fascist argument. There's an inherent appeal to simple answers and direct, compromise free solutions. Understanding that is key to understanding the current political mood in most of Asia and North America (I can't comment on the EU, as my only direct experience of that part of the world is of the UK and my views are distorted through the lense of UK, American and Japanese media).
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 06:44:20 PM by BobTokyo »

Offline jester

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2004, 06:52:04 PM »
I know that would be the 'my way or the highway'- faction in every country. It is just the same misunderstanding that made Platon think that a dictatorship of philosophers would be a desireable idea.
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2004, 07:45:01 PM »
I know that would be the 'my way or the highway'- faction in every country. It is just the same misunderstanding that made Platon think that a dictatorship of philosophers would be a desireable idea.

I've spoken with a very large number of mainland Chinese scientists and University students over the years, the well educated and worldly people you'd most expect to be pro democracy, only to be told that the problem was not a totalitarian one party state but local corruption. It made little difference if the conversation occurred in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo or Philadelphia. The "conservatives" in my familly and among my coworkers in America think nothing of calling for government censorship and an end to the rights of due process, free speech and free association, and the "liberals" I've known are no better. I tend to agree with Pratchett's comment that "Humanity was designed with an unfortunate tendancy to bend at the knees".

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2004, 09:04:08 PM »
I believe, like communism, it's been known to work on a very small scale, but breaks down quickly once you get into double-digits.

To my knowledge, all modern experiments in communism (like half-forgotten Owen's communes) had failed; archaic communizm of prehistory I think is up till now was the only successful model.

Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2004, 09:21:00 PM »
I believe, like communism, it's been known to work on a very small scale, but breaks down quickly once you get into double-digits.

To my knowledge, all modern experiments in communism (like half-forgotten Owen's communes) had failed; archaic communizm of prehistory I think is up till now was the only successful model.

Whenever some-one points to the distant past or distant lands to provide examples of the success of their pet social science theories, it may be best to let your most skeptical instincts come to the fore. Even when dealing with very recent political and ecconomic history the level of casual distortion by true believers can be absurd. Personally, I don't take on faith anything told to me by a passionate advocate of an idea when the example offered refers to current events, let alone hypothetical events that may have occurred a few millenia back. 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2004, 09:42:50 PM by BobTokyo »

Offline BigRob

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2004, 11:00:21 PM »
All political systems have their problems and I don't believe there is one prefect (or even best) system. I think some control will always be required, lest everyone start assaulting one another with handy objects.  :)
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #23 on: July 11, 2004, 11:12:39 PM »
All political systems have their problems and I don't believe there is one prefect (or even best) system. I think some control will always be required, lest everyone start assaulting one another with handy objects.  :)


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Offline Cybersquirt

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Re: Anarchy vs. Fascism?
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2004, 05:06:52 AM »
Facism would allow for no free exchange - My way or the highway... hmm... "If you're not with us.." George W.  "If you don't like it..."  or the most reviled: "America, love it or leave it".

Anarchy, I agree, is too often confused with total chaos and unfairly paired with violence. 

"Anarchism, historically speaking, is concerned mainly with man in his relation to society.  Its ulitmate aim is always social change; its present attitude is always one of social condemnation, even though it may proceed from an individualist view of man's nature; it's method is always that of social rebellion, violent or otherwise.  But even among those who recognize anarchism as a socio-poltical doctrine, confusion still exists.  Anarchism, nihilist, and terrorism are often mistakenly eqated, and in most dictionaries will be found at least two definitions of the anarchist."  ..(and later)..  "I shall treat anarchism, desite it's many variations: as a system of social thought, aiming at fundamental changes in the structure of society and particularly--for this is the common element uniting all its forms--at the replacement of the authoritarian state by some form of nongovernmental co-operation between free individuals." Anarchism, George Woodcock

The anarchists concieve a society in which all the mutual relations of its members are regulated, not by laws, not by authorities, whether self-imposed or elected, but by mutual agreements between the members of that society, and by a sum of social customs and habits--not petrified by law, routine, or superstition, but continually developing and continually readjusting, in accordance with the ever-growing requirements of a free life, stimulated by the progress of science, invention, and the steady growth of higher ideals.  No ruling authorities, then.  No government of man by man; no crystallization and immobility, but a continual evolution--such as we see in nature". Modern Science and Anarchism, Kropotkin

I think those are excellent definitions.  Never really took the time to look them up, but it should come as no surprise that they strike a chord in me  ;)

I think that, too often the idea of Anarchy is maligned because Anarchists, almost by their very nature, will differ on how (or, indeed, if) anarchy needs to "be imposed" or "it will occur".  "Imposing" Anarchy implies violence - I like to think that it will occur, but not in my lifetime.  Anarchy may quite possibly remain nothing but an unachievable model society.

I really believe Anarchy is the only medium (edit: system) condusive to allowing a free exchange of ideas, as people need to listen and be capable of hearing.  (edit: And be united behind the ideal of the betterment of society as a whole - if they 'like things they way they are' then.. ...)  But for Communication to be successful people need to Really listen, and then really hear (without injecting their own 'agenda' or prejudices) what that person is actually trying to relay.

(edited for spelling and a bit of clarification)
« Last Edit: July 12, 2004, 08:38:28 AM by Cybersquirt »
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