JFK and the Definitive Statement on Anarchism <smile>

Joseph M. Reagle Jr. (reagle@mit.edu)
Sat, 24 Jul 1999 09:26:08 -0400

At 01:43 AM 7/24/99 -0500, Jeff Bone wrote:
>Good lord. What a morass of definitions, redefinitions, historical

Indeed. Anarchism and Fascism couldn't be further apart. The only thing that
hasn't been thrown in this is "terrorism" which is how "anarchism" first got
a bad name because many of the assassinations at the turn of the century
were by self proclaimed anarchists. Ironically, this is now largely
forgotten and the "pink taint" is the thing that most Americans concern
themselves with. Additionally, I believe the association with violence has
been countered by very principled anarchists such as Tolstoy and Gandhi, as
show in my own ethical principles. [1]

[1] http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/goatee/anarchists/punk-ethic.html
An Anarchist's Punk Ethic

Ironically, in the past week I wrote on defining anarchism [2] and the media
hype on the JFKJr crash [3]!

[2] http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/goatee/9906-07#22th
99.07.22.th anarchism defined

[3] http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/goatee/9906-07#23fr
99.07.23.fr tragedy? (Anarchist's Thoughts on the Kennedy Crash)

> http://www.diy-punk.org/anarchy/secAcon.html
>In particular, I find the following statements from that article
>> A.1.4 Are anarchists socialists?
>> Yes. All branches of anarchism are opposed to capitalism.

Yes, the Anarchist FAQ [4] is an excellent resource, though overly
socialist. The first part of the answer above is simply not true. Not all
anarchists are socialists, though they are willing to criticize capitalistic
power structures -- at least that is my case. [2] Anarchism shares the same
"personal freedom" pole with Libertarianism: Anarchism is closer to the left
on economic issues, Libertarianism to the right. Regardless, it can get
fuzzy and there is even a label called: "Anarcho-Capitalism." For a
good/simple explanation of these distinctions, see [5].

[4] http://www.diy-punk.org/anarchy/
An Anarchist FAQ Webpage

[5] http://www.pitt.edu/%7Egebanks/pers/political.html
Libertarianism & Anarchism

Regardless, I think the salient characteristic of Anarchism is a consistent
willingness to criticize systems/institutions of power, including the "free
market"! However, this does not mean one is a socialist.

i think socialism as an economic and governance mechanism is totally
bogus. u can not ignore that humans are (in the aggregate) stupid
and greedy. socialism is far too naive on this point. perhaps
capitalism and democracy are the best of all poisons available to
us, but still dangerous as institutions of power -- even though
they are assumed to be a panacea to all social problems. it is
because they are touted as such wonderful things that i spend a lot
of my time critiquing them. while i think you need to construct
social and economic systems that account for and thrive given
greed, that does not mean it is a virtue; we should try to do
better. do not let congress decide anything that the individual
could decide for herself. build robustly in anticipation of
stupidity and greed, but expect and push for self-sacrifice and

at an individual level, within a specified scope of empathy, people
are quite decent. however, put them together and they are
frequently greedy, stupid and disclaim all moral responsibility. to
me anarchy is a discursive method that criticizes systems and
institutions of power, be they naive or pragmatic.


[2] http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/goatee/9906-07#22th
99.07.22.th anarchism defined

The better section to focus on from [4] is:

"And, just to state the obvious, anarchy does not mean chaos nor
do anarchists seek to create chaos or disorder. Instead, we wish to
create a society based upon individual freedom and voluntary
co-operation. In other words, order from the bottom up, not disorder
imposed from the top down by authorities." [A.1.1 What does
mean? Anarchist FAQ]

"Anarchists maintain that anarchy, the absence of rulers, is a
viable form
of social system and so work for the maximization of individual
liberty and
social equality." [A.1.1 What does "anarchy" mean? Anarchist FAQ]

[4] http://www.diy-punk.org/anarchy/
An Anarchist FAQ Webpage

If that sounds a lot like Tim talking about the Web, I agree! [6]

[6] http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/reagle/regulation-19990326.html
Why The Internet is Good: Community Governance That Works Well.
Regards, http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/
Joseph Reagle E0 D5 B2 05 B6 12 DA 65 BE 4D E3 C1 6A 66 25 4E
independent research account