The majority of recent co-operative ventures cannot be regarded as success stories: Nor are the apparent pre-conditions for success particularly acceptable to anarchists. Robert Oakeshott, for example, concludes that there are at least four such conditions: This chapter does have the merit of raising issues which are unfashionable both among the defenders of the contemporary British welfare state and among its critics.
Since it was written we have moved into the era of cuts in welfare expenditure, imposed byboth Labour and Conservative governments.
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It is not at all easy to take part in the arguments surrounding the cuts from an anarchist point of view. On the other hand is the political right which claims that the people who derive most from the public services are people who could perfectly well afford to meet their true cost. And in fact it is perfectly true that the poor derive the least from welfare provision. The whole argument is complicated by the fact that we have now entered the period of mass unemployment. Welfare is administered by a top-heavy governmental machine which ensures that when economies in public expenditure are imposed by its political masters, they are made by reducing the service to the public, not by reducing the cost of administration.
Writing in , A. This was nowhere better demonstrated than in the evolution of the National Health Service. In the ten years before its reorganisation, health service staff generally increased by 65 per cent. However, during that period medical and nursing staff increased by only 21 per cent and domestic staff by 2 per cent. The rest was administration. Similarly the former chief architect to the DHSS is now convinced that the advice he gave for ten years on hospital design was in fact misguided.
We have failed to come to terms with the fact that our publicly-provided services, just like our capitalist industries, also propped up by taxation, are dearly bought.
This was less apparent in the past when public services were few and cheap. Old people who recall the marvellous service they used to get from the post office or the railways, never mention that these used to be low wage industries which, in return for relative security, were run with a military-style discipline, to which not even the army, let alone you or I, would submit today.
Any public service nowadays has to pay the going rate, and there is every reason why this should be so. The question at issue is whether government provision is the best way of meeting social needs. This chapter deals, however inadequately, with the objection most people raise to anarchist ideas: Since this book was first published there have been three new contributions to this debate.
One, which, sadly, fails to live up to the promise of its title is Larry Tifft and Dennis Sullivan: The Struggle to be Human: Crime, Criminology and Anarchism Cienfuegos Press Though anarchists do not call this rebuke punishment, it is easy to show that they should. Beginning with community control in an underdeveloped society, we have progressed through various stages of formal, professional, bureaucratic justice as industrialisation has gathered momentum.
However, recent years hav witnessed a new wave of dissatisfaction with centralised, bureaucratic structures through which most aspects of our life are managed. In areas as diverse as government, industry, health and welfare, the emerging trend is toward devolution, decentralisation, democratisation and popular participation.
Anarchy in Action
A part of this trend is the de-centralisation of criminal justice to a form of community control which was once commonplace Many commentators are rapidly reaching the conclusion that only people involved in and aware of the community can act as effective forces in crime prevention and that simply increasing police and court capacity will neither solve the problems presently plaguing criminal justice systems, nor equip these systems to cope with changing trends in crime. It is felt that the only way out of the present situation is for criminal justice and the community to be brought closer together, so that those who judge and those who are judged are part of the same society The muted and tentative conclusions of this chapter still seem to me to be valid.
If I were writing it today I would certainly have had more to say about the collapse of employment. When this book was written Britain had , workers registering as unemployed. This was thought at the time to be a scandalous and totally unacceptable figure. Eight years later the figure has risen to 3 million October Belatedly we are groping after alternative forms of work to employment. Nobody really believes that manufacturing industry is going to recover lost markets.
Nobody really believes that robots or microprocessors are going to create more than a small proportion of the jobs they displace. Finally we have even lost faith in the idea that the service economy is going to expand to fill the jobs lost in the production economy. Jonathan Gershuny shows in his book After Industrial Society Macmillan that service industries themselves are already declining and that what is more likely to emerge is a self-service economy. It is the inexorable whittling away of employment that is leading to speculation about the potential of other ways of organising work, a theme of several chapters in this book.
Hence the growing interest in what is variously termed the irregular economy, the informal economy, or the black economy. What, in a phrase, will it be like to live in a world dominated more and more by household and hidden economies and less by the formal economy? One of the possibilities they see is of a dual labour market: Not the captains of industry. Not the manipulators of the machinery of government. Suppose our future in fact lies, not with a handful of technocrats pushing buttons to support the rest of us, but with a multitude of small activities, whether by individuals or groups, doing their own thing?
Suppose the only plausible economic recovery consists in people picking themselves up off the industrial scrapheap, or rejecting their slot in the micro-technology system, and making their own niche in the world of ordinary needs and their satisfaction. Anarchism practical, metaphysical, theoretical, mystical, abstractional, individual, social? How would you feel if you discovered that the society in which you would really like to live was already here, apart from a few little, local difficulties like exploitation, war, dictatorship and starvation?
The argument of this book is that an anarchist society, a society which organises itself without authority, is always in existence, like a seed beneath the snow, buried under the weight and its injustices, nationalism and its suicidal loyalties, religious differences and their superstitious separatism.
Of the many possible interpretations of anarchism the one presented here suggests that, far from being a speculative vision of a future society, it is a description of a mode of human organisation, rooted in the experience of everyday life, which operates side by side with, an in spite of, the dominant authoritarian trends of our society. This is not a new version of anarchism. And a modern anarchist, Paul Goodman, dedared that: You may think that in describing anarchy as organisation , I am being deliberately paradoxical. Anarchy you may consider to be, by definition, the opposite of organisation.
But the word really means something quite different; it means the absence of government, the absence of authority. It is, after all, the principle of authority which ensures that people will work for someone else for the greater part of their lives, not because they enjoy it or have any control over their work, but because to do so is their only means of livelihood. It is, after all, governments which prepare for and wage war, even though you are obliged to suffer the consequences of their going to war.
But is it only governments? The power of a government, even the most absolute dictatorship, depends on the agreement of the governed. Why do people consent to be ruled? It is because they subscribe to the same values as their govrnors. Rulers and ruled alike believe in the principle of authority, of hierarchy, of power. They even feel themselves privileged when, as happens in a small part of the globe, they can choose between alternative labels on the ruling elites. And yet, in their ordinary lives they keep society going by voluntary association and mutual aid.
Anarchists are people who make a social and political philosophy out of the natural and spontaneous tendency of humans to associate together for their mutual benefit. Anarchism is in fact the name given to the idea that it is possible and desirable for society to organise itself without government. The word comes from the Greek, meaning without authority , and ever since the time of the Greeks there have been advocates of anarchy under one name or another. The first person in modern times to evolve a systematic theory of anarchism was William Godwin, soon after the French revolution.
A Frenchman, Proudhon, in the mid-nineteenth century developed an anarchist theory of social organisation, of small units federated together but with no central power. He was followed by the Russian revolutionary, Michael Bakunin, the contemporary and adversary of Karl Marx. Marx represented one wing of the socialist movement, concentrated on siezing the power of the state, Bakunin represented the other, seeking the destruction of state power. Another Russian, Peter Kropotkin, sought to give a scientific foundation to anarchist ideas by demonstrating that mutual aid — voluntary cooperation — is just as strong a tendency in human life as aggression and the urge to dominate.
These famous names of anarchism recur in this book, simply because what they wrote speaks, as the Quakers say, to our condition. But there were thousands of other obscure revolutionaries, propagandists and teachers who never wrote books for me to quote but who tried to spread the idea of society without government in almost every country in the world, and especially in the revolutions in Mexico, Russia and Spain.
Anarchism, instead of being a romantic historical by-way, becomes an attitude to human organisation which is more relevant today than it ever seemed in the past. Organisation and its problems have developed a vast and expanding literature because of the importance of the subject for the hierarchy of government administration and industrial management.
Very little of this vast literature provides anything of value for the anarchist except in his role as destructive critic or saboteur of the organisations that dominate our lives. The fact is that while there are thousands of students and teachers of government, there are hardly any of non-government. There is an immense amount of research into methods of administration, but hardly any into self-regulation. The brains are sold to the big battalions, and we have to build up a theory of non-government, of non-management, from the kind of history and experience which has hardly been written about because nobody thought it all that important.
If you want to build a free society, the parts are all at hand. If you look at the history of socialism, reflecting on the melancholy difference between promise and performance, both in those countries where socialist parties have triumphed in the struggle for political power, and in those where they have never attained it, you are bound to ask yourself what went wrong, when and why. Some would see the Russian revolution of as the fatal turning point in socialist history. In one of his prophetic criticisms of Marx that year Bakunin previsaged the whole subsequent history of Communist society:.
Marx is an authoritarian and centralising communist. He wants what we want, the complete triumph of economic and social equality, but he wants it in the State and through the State power, through the dictatorship of a very strong and, so to say, despotic provisional government, that is by the negation of liberty. His economic ideal is the State as sole owner of the land and of all kinds of capital, cultivating the land under the management of State engineers, and controlling all industrial and commercial associations with State capital.
We want the same triumph of economic and social equality through the abolition of the State and of all that passes by the name of law which, in our view, is the permanent negation of human rights. The home-grown English variety of socialism reached the point of divergence later. There is a mass of Socialistic feeling not yet conscious of itself as Socialism. But when the unconscious Socialists of England discover their position, they also will probably fall into two parties: And when socialism has achieved power what has it created?
Monopoly capitalism with a veneer of social welfare as a substitute for social justice. The large hopes of the nineteenth century have not been fulfilled; only the gloomy prophecies have come true. The criticism of the state and of the structure of its power and authority made by the classical anarchist thinkers has increased in validity and urgency in the century of total war and the total state, while the faith that the conquest of state power would bring the advent of socialism has been destroyed in every country where socialist parties have won a parliamentary majority, or have ridden to power on the wave of a popular revolution, or have been installed by Soviet tanks.
What has happened is exactly what the anarchist Proudhon, over a hundred years ago, said would happen. When we look at the powerlessness of the individual and the small face-to-face group in the world today and ask ourselves why they are powerless, we have to answer not merely that they are weak because of the vast central agglomerations of power in the modern, military-industrial state, but that they are weak because they have surrendered their power to the state.
It is as though every individual possessed a certain quantity of power, but that by default, negligence, or thoughtless and unimaginative habit or conditioning, he has allowed someone else to pick it up, rather than use it himself for his own purposes. When large organisations utilise these energy resources, they are drained away from the other spheres. Gustav Landauer, the German anarchist, made a profound and simple contribution to the analysis of the state and society in one sentence: He sees the social principle wherever men link themselves in an association based on a common need or common interest.
What is it, Buber asks, that gives the political principle it ascendancy? All forms of government have this in common: The measure of this excess which cannot, of course, be computed precisely, represents the exact difference between administration and government. The political principle is always stronger in relation to the social principle than the given conditions require. The result is a continuous diminution in social spontaneity. The conflict between these two principles is a permanent aspect of the human condition.
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Or as Kropotkin put it: If we want to strengthen society we must weaken the state. Totalitarians of all kinds realise this, which is why they invariably seek to destroy those social institutions which they cannot dominate. Wilson in the United States, which has since become so dominant that even Eisenhower, in his last address as President, felt obliged to warn us of its menace. Shorn of the metaphysics with which politicians and philosophers have enveloped it, the state can be defined as a political mechanism using force, and to the sociologist it is one among many forms of social organisation.
It is directed at the enemy without, but it is aimed at the subject society within. This is why Buber declared that it is the maintenance of the latent external crisis that enables the state to get the upper hand in internal crises. Is this a conscious procedure? Or is it a fundamental characteristic of the state as an institution? For just as Marx found that in the era of unrestrained capitalism, competition between employers, knowing no other weapon than the exploitation of their workers, was transformed into a struggle of each employer against his own workmen, and ultimately of the entire employing class against their employees, so the state uses war and the threat of war as a weapon against its own population.
But it does look like this if you are part of the expendable population — unless you identify your own unimportant carcase with the state apparatus — as millions do. The expendability factor has increased by being transfered from the specialised, scarce and expensively trained military personnel to the amorphous civilian population.
States, great and small, now have a stockpile of nuclear weapons equivalent to ten tons of TNT for every person alive today. In the nineteenth century T. War is the expression of the state in its most perfect form: War is the health of the state — the phrase was invented during the First World War by Randolph Bourne, who explained:.
The State is the organisation of the herd to act offensively or defensively against another herd similarly organised. War sends the current of purpose and activity flowing down to the lowest level of the herd, and to its most remote branches. All the activities of society are linked together as fast as possible to this central purpose of making a military offensive or a military defence, and the State becomes what in peacetime it has vainly struggled to become The slack is taken up, the cross-currents fade out, and the nation moves lumberingly and slowly, but with ever accelerated speed and integration, towards the great end, towards that peacefulness of being at war This is why the weakening of the state, the progressive development of its imperfections, is a social necessity.
The strengthening of other loyalties, of alternative foci of power, of different modes of human behaviour, is an essential for survival. But where do we begin? It ought to be obvious that we do not begin by supporting, joining, or hoping to change from within, the existing political parties, nor by starting new ones as rival contenders for political power. Our task is not to gain power, but to erode it, to drain it away from the state.
One way or another, socialism must become more popular, more communalistic, and less dependent upon indirect government through elected representatives. It must become more self-governing. All authoritarian institutions are organised as pyramids: It advocates an extended network of individuals and groups, making their own decisions, controlling their own destiny. The classical anarchist thinkers envisaged the whole social organisation woven from such local groups: These units would federate together not like the stones of a pyramid where the biggest burden is borne by the lowest layer, but like the links of a network, the network of autonomous groups.
Several strands of thought are linked together in anarchist social theory: He gives this as a homely example: The habit of direct action is, perhaps, identical with the habit of being a free man, prepared to live responsibly in a free society. In the modern state, everywhere and in every field, one group of people makes decisions, exercises control, limits choices, while the great majority have to accept these decisions, submit to this control and act within the limits of these externally imposed choices.
The habit of direct action is the habit of wresting back the power to make decisions affecting us from them. The autonomy of the worker at work is the most important field in which this expropriation of decision-making can apply. Similarly, decentralisation is not so much a technical problem as an approach to problems of human organisation. A contemporary anarchist advocate of decentralisation, Paul Goodman, remarks that:. In fact there have always been two strands to decentralist thinking. Lao-tse or Tolstoy, make a conservative peasant critique of centralised court and town as inorganic, verbal and ritualistic.
But other authors, e. Proudhon or Kropotkin, make a democratic urban critique of centralised bureaucracy and power, including feudal industrial power, as exploiting, inefficient, and discouraging initiative. In our present era of State-socialism, corporate feudalism, regimented schooling, brainwashing mass-communications and urban anomie, both kinds of critique make sense. We need to revive both peasant self-reliance and the democratic power of professional and technical guilds. Any decentralisation that could occur at present would inevitably be post-urban and post-centralist: Precisely because we are not concerned with recommending geographical isolation, anarchist thinkers have devoted a great deal of thought to the principle of federalism.
Proudhon regarded it as the alpha and omega of his political and economic ideas. He was not thinking of a confederation of states or of a world federal government, but of a basic principle of human organisation. Autonomous direct action, decentralised decision-making, and free federation have been the characteristics of all genuinely popular uprisings.
Revolution is the destruction of all coercive ties; it is the autonomy of groups, of communes, of regions, revolution is the free federation brought about by a desire for brotherhood, by individual and collective interests, by the needs of production and defense; revolution is the constitution of innumerable free groupings based on ideas, wishes and tastes of all kinds that exist among the people; revolution is the forming and disbanding of thousands of representative, district, communal, regional, national bodies which, without having any legislative power serve to make known and to co-ordinate the desires and interests of people near and far and which act through information, advice and example.
Revolution is freedom proved in the crucible of facts — and lasts so long as freedom lasts, that is until others, taking advantage of the weariness that overtakes the masses, of the inevitable disappointments that follow exaggerated hopes, of the probable errors and human faults, succeed in constituting a power which, supported by an army of mercenaries or conscripts, lays down the law, arrests the movement at the point it has reached, and then begins the reaction.
His last sentence indicates that he thought reaction inevitable, and so it is, if people are willing to surrender the power they have wrested from a former ruling elite into the hands of a new one. But a reaction to every revolution is inevitable in another sense. This is what the ebb and flow of history implies. The lutte finale exists only in the words of a song. As Landauer says, every time after the revolution is a time before the revolution for all those whose lives have not got bogged down in some great moment of the past.
There is no final struggle, only a series of partisan struggles on a variety of fronts. And after over a century of experience of the theory, and over half a century of experience of the practice of the Marxist and social democratic varieties of socialism, after the historians have dismissed anarchism as one of the nineteenth-century also-rans of history, it is emerging again as a coherent social philosophy in the guerilla warfare for a society of participants, which is occurring sporadically all over the world.
For what we have been witnessing is a revival of anarchism in modern dress or masquerading as latter-day Marxism. Just as nineteenth-century Marxism matured in a struggle against anarchism, so twentieth-century Marxism may have to recreate itself in another struggle against anarchism in its latest guise. Whether or not he is right about the new anarchists depends on a number of factors.
Firstly, on whether or not people have learned anything from the history of the last hundred years; secondly, on whether the large number of people in both east and west — the dissatisfied and dissident young of the Soviet empire as well as of the United States who seek an alternative theory of social organisation — will grasp the relevance of those ideas which we define as anarchism; and thirdly, on whether the anarchists themselves are sufficiently imaginative and inventive to find ways of applying their ideas today to the society we live in in ways that combine immediate aims with ultimate ends.
In every block of houses, in every street, in every town ward, groups of volunteers will have been organised, and these commissariat volunteers will find it easy to work in unison and keep in touch with each other Or rather let them expound their muddle-headed theories as much as they like, provided they have no authority, no power! And that admirable spirit of organisation inherent in the people Give the people a free hand, and in ten days the food service will be conducted with admirable regularity. Only those who have never seen the people hard at work, only those who have passed their lives buried among documents, can doubt it.
An important component of the anarchist approach to organisation is what we might call the theory of spontaneous order: Kropotkin derived his version of this theory from his observations of the history of human society as well as from the study of the events of the French Revolution in its early stages and from the Paris Commune of , and it has been witnessed in most revolutionary situations, in the ad hoc organisations that spring up after natural disasters, or in any activity where there are no existing organisational forms or hierarchical authority.
You could have seen it in, for example, the first Aldermaston March or in the widespread occupation of army camps by squatters in the summer of , described in Chapter VII. Between June and October of that year 40, homeless people in England and Wales, acting on their own initiative, occupied over 1, army camps.
They organised every kind of communal service in the attempt to make these bleak huts more like home — communal cooking, laundering and nursery facilities, for instance. One feature of these squatter communities was that they were formed from people who had very little in common beyond their homelessness — they included tinkers and university dons. It could be seen in spite of commercial exploitation in the pop festivals of the late s, in a way which is not apparent to the reader of newspaper headlines.
An interesting and deliberate example of the theory of spontaneous organisation in operation was provided by the Pioneer Health Centre at Peckham in South London. This was started in the decade before the Second World War by a group of physicians and biologists who wanted to study the nature of health and of healthy behaviour instead of studying ill-health like the rest of the medical profession. They decided that the way to do this was to start a social club whose members joined as families and could use a variety of facilities in return for a family membership subscription and for agreeing to periodic medical examinations.
In order to be able to draw valid conclusions the Peckham biologists thought it necessary that they should be able to observe human beings who were free — free to act as they wished and to give expression to their desires. There were consequently no rules, no regulations, no leaders. This faith was rewarded: Homer Lane was the man who, years in advance of his time, started a community of boys and girls, sent to him by the courts, called the Little Commonwealth. It is taken by the child in discovery and invention. The self-governing structure of the Little Commonwealth was evolved by the children themselves, slowly and painfully, to satisfy their own needs.
He gives this description of one particularly aggressive group: It happened once that a boy sprang through a double window ignoring his injuries from the broken glass. The dinner table was finally deserted because each one sought out a corner in the playroom where he crouched to devour his food. Screams and howls could be heard from afar! Not only did the children settle down, but they developed a strong attachment to those who were working with them This attachment was now to be used as the foundation of a process of re-education.
The children were at last to be brought up against the limitations imposed upon them by the real world. Time and again those rare people who have themselves been free enough and have had the moral strength and the endless patience and forbearance that this method demands, have been similarly rewarded. In ordinary life the fact that one is not dealing theoretically at least, with such deeply disturbed characters should make the experience less drastic, but in ordinary life, outside the deliberately protected environment, we interact with others with the aim of getting some common task done, and the apparent aimlessness and time-consuming tedium of the period of waiting for spontaneous order to appear brings the danger of some lover of order intervening with an attempt to impose authority and method, just to get something accomplished.
But you have only to watch parents with their children to see that the threshold of tolerance for disorder in this context varies enormously from one individual to another. We usually conclude that the punitive, interfering lover of order is usually so because of his own unfreedom and insecurity. The tolerant condoner of disorder is a recognisably different kind of character, and the reader will have no doubt which of the two is easier to live with.
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I once spoke to a Scandinavian journalist back from a visit to South Africa, whose strongest impression of that country was that the White South Africans barked at each other. They were, he thought, so much in the habit of shouting orders or admonitions to their servants that it affected their manner of speech to each other as well. What brought his remark back to my mind was its reverse. Crime and violence diminished. We all seemed to be making a special effort to make life tolerable, just because it had been so intolerable before.
Now that the Prague Spring and the Czechoslovak long hot summer have retreated into history, we tend to forget — though the Czechs will not forget — the change in the quality of ordinary life, while the historians, busy with the politicians floating on the surface of events, or this or that memorandum from a Central Committee or a Praesidium, tell us nothing about what it felt like for people in the streets. At the time John Berger wrote of the immense impression made on him by the transformation of values: Those for whom, a few months before, the highest ideal was a consumer society, offered money and gold to help save the national economy.
Economically a naive gesture but ideologically a significant one. I saw crowds of workers in the streets of Prague, their faces lit by an evident sense of opportunity and achievement. Such an atmosphere was bound to be temporary. But it was an unforgettable indication of the previously unused potential of a people: Everything went on spontaneously Nobody was giving any orders at all.
People knew of their own accord what ought to be done. Each and every one of them was his own government, with its orders and regulations, while the government itself was somewhere very far away, probably in Moscow. Workers of various state organisations supplied them with food. Postal workers established certain free telephone communications between university towns. The same brief honeymoon with anarchy was observed twelve years earlier in Poland and Hungary. Poland had less chance to show this than Hungary, where for weeks there was no authority.
In a frenzy of anarchist self-discipline the people, including the criminals, stole nothing, beat no Jews, and never got drunk. They went so far as to lynch only security policemen AVH leaving other Communists untouched The moral achievement is perhaps unparalleled in revolutionary history It was indeed intellectuals of some sort that began both movements, with the industrial workers following them. The peasants had of course never ceased to resist since , but from the nature of things, in a dispersed and passive manner.
Their sole initiative was the astonishing and deeply moving despatch of free food to Budapest after the first Soviet attack had been beaten. May I tell you one thing about this common sense of the street, during these first days of the revolution? Just, for example, many hours standing in queues for bread and even under such circumstances not a single fight. One day we were standing in a queue and then a truck came with two young boys with machine guns and they were asking us to give them any money we could spare to buy bread for the fighters. All the queue was collecting half a truck-full of bread.
It is just an example. Afterwards somebody beside me asked us to hold his place for him because he gave all his money and he had to go home to get some. In this case the whole queue gave him all the money he wanted. Not even camera shops, opticians or jewellers. Not a single thing was touched for two or three days. Motorists — and considering that they were Cubans this was miraculous — behaved in an orderly manner. Industrial workers, with points to make, demonstrated in small groups, dispersed and went home; bars closed when the customers had had enough and no one seemed more than normally merry.
Havana, heaving up after years under a vicious and corrupt police control, smiled in the hot sunshine. In all these instances, the new regime has built up its machinery of repression, announcing the necessity of maintaining order and avoiding counter-revolution: You have to dig around for them among the personal impressions of people who just happened to be there. In looking at the work in this field of the professional historians, he writes: Many of these dangers are revealed, at a purely ideological level, in the study of the counter-revolutionary subordination of scholarship.
The dangers exist both insofar as the claim to knowledge is real and insofar as it is fraudulent. Insofar as the technique of management and control exists, it can be used to diminish spontaneous and free experimentation with new social forms, as it can limit the possibilities for reconstruction of society in the interests of those who are now, to a greater or lesser extent dispossessed. Where the techniques fail, they will be supplemented by all of the methods of coercion that modern technology provides, to preserve order and stability.
As a final example of what he calls spontaneous and free experimentation with new social forms, let me quote from the account he cites of the revolution in the Spanish village of Membrilla:. On the other hand, it has many churches that have been burned. Money was abolished, work collectivised, all goods passed to the community, consumption was socialised. It was, however, not a socialisation of wealth but of poverty. An elected council appointed committees to organise the life of the commune and its relations to the outside world.
The necessities of life were distributed freely, insofar as they were available. A large number of refugees were accommodated. A small library was established, and a small school of design. The document closes with these words: But they were controlled, because special privilege or corruption would not be tolerated. Only when such prejudice is abandoned will it be possible for historians to undertake a serious study of the popular movement that transformed Republican Spain in one of the most remarkable social revolutions that history records.
When the first two are absent, the third, as infinitely more human and humane form of order has an opportunity to emerge. Liberty, as Proudhon said, is the mother, not the daughter of order. Accustomed as is this age to artificial leadership Studying their members in the free-for-all of the Peckham Centre, the observing scientists saw over and over again how one member instinctively became, and was instinctively but not officially recognised as, leader to meet the needs of one particular moment. Such leaders appeared and disappeared as the flux of the Centre required.
Because they were not consciously appointed, neither when they had fulfilled their purpose where they consciously overthrown. Nor was any particular gratitude shown by members to a leader either at the time of his services or after for services rendered. They followed his guidance just as long as his guidance was helpful and what they wanted. They melted away from him without regrets when some widening of experience beckoned them on to some fresh adventure, which would in turn throw up its spontaneous leader, or when their self-confidence was such that any form of constrained leadership would have been a restraint to them.
Take me to your leader! This is the first demand made by Martians to Earthlings, policemen to demonstrators, journalists to revolutionaries. I am neither a leader nor a professional revolutionary. I am simply a mouthpiece, a megaphone. The military psychologists learned that what they considered to be leader or follower traits are not exhibited in isolation. Each directs and is directed in his turn.
Therefore there is no fixed and constant authority, but a continual exchange of mutual, temporary and, above all, voluntary authority and subordination. The anarchist concept of leadership is completely revolutionary in its implications — as you can see if you look around, for you will see everywhere in operation the opposite concept: There are very few comparative studies available of the effects of these two opposite approaches to the organisation of work.
Two of them are mentioned in Chapter XI. Another comes from the architectural profession. The other began with an attempt to understand fully the needs of the people who were to use the building around which, when they were clarified, the building would be fitted.
For the first type, once the basic act of invention and imagination is over, the rest is easy and the architect makes decisions quickly, produces work to time and quickly enough to make a reasonable profit. The work takes longer and is often unprofitable to the architect, although the client may end up with a much cheaper building put up more quickly than he had expected. Many offices working in this way had found themselves better suited by a dispersed type of work organisation which can promote an informal atmosphere of free-flowing ideas The work has got to be organised not on the star system but on the repertory system.
The team leader may often be junior to a team member. That will only be accepted if it is commonly accepted that primacy lies with the best idea and not with the senior man. The essense of such technique should be to emphasise individual freedom of initiative, instead of authoritarian direction by a boss Similar findings to those of the RIBA survey come from comparative studies of the organisation of scientific research.
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I am bound to say that I doubt if he really practised the philosophy he describes, but it certainly corresponds to my experience of working in anarchist groups. On what principle, then, was our organisation based, if there were no votes, no directives and commands, no secretaries, presidents, vicepresidents, etc.? What kept us together was our work , our mutual interdependencies in this work, our factual interest in one gigantic problem with its many specialist ramifications. I had not solicited co-workers. They had come of themselves.
They remained, or they left when the work no longer held them. We had not formed a political group or worked out a programme of action Each one made his contribution according to his interest in the work There are, then, objective biological work interests and work functions capable of regulating human co-operation. Exemplary work organises its forms of functioning organically and spontaneously, even though only gradually, gropingly and often making mistakes. Just as organisational ties result from common work interests, so they dissolve when the work interests dissolve or begin to conflict with each other.
You can be in authority, or you can be an authority, or you can have authority. The first derives from your rank in some chain of command, the second derives from special knowledge, and the third from special wisdom. The fantastic inefficiency of any hierarchial organisation — any factory, office, university, warehouse or hospital — is the outcome of two almost invariable characteristics. One is that the knowledge and wisdom of the people at the bottom of the pyramid finds no place in the decision-making leadership hierarchy of the institution.
Frequently it is devoted to making the institution work in spite of the formal leadership structure, or alternatively to sabotaging the ostensible function of the institution, because it is none of their choosing. The other is that they would rather not be there anyway: Perhaps the greatest crime of the industrial system is the way in which it systematically thwarts the inventive genius of the majority of its workers.
At the outset of modern industry, three generations of workers have invented; now they cease to do so. As to the inventions of the engineers, specially trained for devising machines, they are either devoid of genius or not practical enough None but he who knows the machine — not in its drawings and models only, but in its breathing and throbbings — who unconsciously thinks of it while standing by it, can really improve it. Smeaton and Newcomen surely were excellent engineers; but in their engines a boy had to open the steam valve at each stroke of the piston; and it was one of those boys who once managed to connect the valve with the remainder of the machine, so as to make it open automatically, while he ran away to play with the other boys.
But in the modern machinery there is no room left for naive improvements of that kind. Scientific education on a wide scale has become necessary for further inventions, and that education is refused to the workers. So that there is no issue out of the difficulty, unless scientific education and handicraft are combined together — unless integration of knowledge takes the place of the present divisions.
The situation today is actually worse than Kropotkin envisaged. Their capacity for invention and innovation is not wanted by the system. People do go from womb to tomb without ever realising their human potential, precisely because the power to initiate, to participate in innovating, choosing, judging, and deciding is reserved for the top men.
If ideas are your business, you cannot afford to condemn most of the people in the organisation to being merely machines programmed by somebody else. Creativity is for the gifted few: This is what our education and culture condition us to believe, and this is a culturally induced and perpetuated lie. People like simple ideas and are right to like them. Unfortunately, the simplicity they seek is only to be found in elementary things; and the world, society, and man are made up of insoluble problems, contrary principles, and conflicting forces.
Organism means complication, and multiplicity means contradiction, opposition, independence. One of the most frequently met reasons for dismissing anarchism as a social theory is the argument that while one can imagine it existing in a small, isolated, primitive community it cannot possibly be conceived in the context of large, complex, industrial societies. This view misunderstands both the nature of anarchism and the nature of tribal societies.
An impressive anthology could be made of such items, as the travel books and works of popular anthropology roll off the presses — from Aku-Aku to Wai-Wai. Several anarchist writers of the past did just this: Nowadays you can spend a lifetime exploring the structure of African music or the ingenuity and variety of African architecture.
In the same way early observers described as sexual promiscuity or group marriage what was simply a different kind of family organisation, or labelled certain societies as anarchistic when a more searching examination might show that they had as effective methods of social control and its enforcement as any authoritarian society, or that certain patterns of behaviour are so rigidly enforced by custom as to make alternatives unthinkable.
The anarchist, in making use of anthropological data today, has to ask more sophisticated questions than his predecessors about the role of law in such societies. There is usually no specific code of legislation, issued by a central authority, and no formal judicial body of the nature of a court. Nevertheless there are rules which are expected to be obeyed and which, in fact, are normally kept, and there are means for ensuring some degree of obedience.
On the classification of these rules and the definition of law anthropologists are divided. Indeed Kropotkin in his essay Law and Authority singles this out as the antithesis of law: But what kind of political organisation? Evans-Pritchard and Meyer Fortes distinguished three types of political system in traditional African societies.
Several African societies which are law-less in this sense — in that there are no patterns for formal legislation nor for juridical decisions, and which have no law-enforcement officers of any kind — are described in the symposium Tribes Without Rulers. I mean this in a positive and not a negative way: Only the intricate interrelations of interests and loyalties through the interconnection of cultural ideology, systems of social grouping, and organisation of institutions and the consequent moral enforcement of each by the other, enables the society to work.
The Dinka are a people numbering some , living on the fringe of the central Nile basin in the Southern Sudan. It is a part of Dinka political theory that when a subtribe for some reason prospers and grows large, it tends to draw apart politically from the tribe of which it was a part and behave like a distinct tribe. The sections of a large subtribe similarly are thought to grow politically more distant from each other as they grow larger, so that a large and prosperous section of a subtribe may break away from other sections In the Dinka view, the tendency is always for their political segments, as for their agnatic genealogical segments, to grow apart from each other in the course of time and through the increase in population which they suppose time to bring.
This system originally functioned against a background of anarchy; there was no law-enforcing agency. But whilst there was nothing resembling a state, there was a society, for everyone recognised, more or less, the same code, and recognised, more or less the universal desirability of pacific settlements of disputes Suppose a man is accused of an offence by another: The rule, the decision procedure, so to speak is that if some of the co-jurors fail to turn up, or fail to testify, or make a slip while testifying, the whole oath is invalid and the case is lost.
The losing party is then obliged to pay the appropriate fine determined by custom. In some regions, the rule is even stranger: A notch above reality from the start, If Like the film, Mick Travis and his two friends are apolitical. They're in revolt against an autocracy that denies them individual freedom in the name of fossilised abstractions: Obedience, Team Spirit, Tradition, Duty.
In , when Vigo's children hurled tin cans and old shoes from a rooftop, it was an innocent prank. In , when the trio and their lovers open fire on school dignitaries, staff and parents, they mean business. But so does autocracy. Led by a military Founder, it fires back with superior weapons from the school armoury, and a close shot of Mick continuing to fire fades abruptly to a black screen, with If This final transition from fantasy to reality suggests that the revolution is doomed to failure, but a failure that's also a warning.
Five years later, at the age of 50, the relatively benign anarchist of If His view of the repressive world extends to the country as a whole, a wide-ranging satire on the idea of "This England". McDowell plays a young man named Mick Travis, but he's not a miraculous survivor from the rooftop of If The name is a metaphor for any bright young man of the time, innocently ambitious at first, finally disillusioned by a society in which politicians, the law and big business are corrupt and unfeeling, liberals and do-gooders inept or simple-minded.
Anderson still empathises with Mick, but from a distance this time. In the final scene he appears as himself, a rather formidable although ultimately benevolent authority figure who not only auditions Mick for what turns out to be a film within the film, but acts as a mentor of youth a role he had begun to play in his own life.
So the two-way traffic between reality and fantasy is even more daring and complex, with several actors playing multiple roles and the Brechtian device of Alan Price's brilliant songs commenting on the action. In a film lasting three hours, energy and satirical invention decline from unflagging to sporadic only in the last 30 minutes; but its observations on the cult of success, the various corruptions of power, and the search for longevity through a deranged scientist's version of cloning, could have been made yesterday.
As no British company would finance If
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