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How Would An Anarchist Revolution be Defended?

I was Wondering
I have been reading the anarchist texts for years and it all seems very logical and good, but I have one major question. If any nation ever has an anarchist revolution how would it be defended? With no hierarchy or military structre it seems the nation would be invaded and overrun by capitalist right away. After the Russian Revolution the U.S. and British imperialist invaded the country from all sides, without a standing army they would have been crushed. Even in Spain the anarchist employeed a traditional military structure, please correct me if I'm wrong. I suppose decentralized militas could work but it seems it would be a long shot against an organized miltary machine. I think there seems to be any idea amongst anarchist peaceniks that we will have a revolution lay down our arms and live in peace, history seems to suggest otherwise. We would be naive to think the imperialist, capitalist nations would allow such a revolutionary society to go unchallenged. So how would we defend our revolution with no athouritarianism at all? I'm sure there must be a good answer to this, I probably haven't studied it enough, but it's easier just to ask.
i've been wondering too. 30.Apr.2003 02:23


i've been wondering about that too for quite awhile. Anyone have any feedback or ideas? sounds like it's something on people's minds, especially considering all the military stuff lately.

You're missing the point 30.Apr.2003 03:24


The way to encourage people to adopt a philosophy of non-domination is to preach it as the gospel. This may sound kind of evangelical but it may be the only way to politically socialize the people into supporting anarchism. And yes I do realize that my wording above seems to contradict my anti-fundamentalist rhetoric, but sometimes the problem lies within the human conscience and that's where the change must come from.

Feedback 30.Apr.2003 04:07


Anarchism will be the norm when the oil is gone, and will be extremely difficult, if not downright impossible, to implement on the scale of a nation, beofre that (i.e. while there's still hydrocarbons and the associated trigger-happy merkavas and F-16s and...).

Some argue that before oil entered the picture, there were still kingdoms (of course) and a few McDemocracies and a few dictatorships, and anarchy was already difficult to implement... and thus will be equally unlikely in the post-oil age...

They forget that we're 6 billions now, were only one before, and the natural resources have been much depleted since.

It's gonna be a wild ride... And after wards we won't hear anymore "is anarchism viable?" because there won't be anything else.

g - (slightly overoptimistic today, maybe).

Try again, Bakunin 30.Apr.2003 06:03


"Anarchism will be the norm when the oil is gone"

That's fucking weak. Capitalism and private property were around before human beings discovered oil and how to use it, and they'll be around long after. (For example: The diesel engine was originally designed to run on peanut oil)

Anarchism will be the norm when anarchists can demonstrate a model of society that goes beyond eating out of the garbage, breaking shit and fighting with the police.

Yes, yes, I know, Spain in 1936.... Is this Spain? Is this 1936? No. Thanks, try again.


Spanish Militias 30.Apr.2003 06:17

George O.

"Even in Spain the anarchist employeed a traditional military structure, please correct me if I'm wrong."

In 'Homage to Catalonia,' Orwell describes the anarchist militias and how they all called each other 'comrade.' They went to great lengths to remind each other that they were equals. Orwell even said that the anarchist militias were some of the best around.

chris 30.Apr.2003 06:39


As I said,

Some argue that before oil entered the picture, there were still kingdoms (of course) and a few McDemocracies and a few dictatorships, and anarchy was already difficult to implement... and thus will be equally unlikely in the post-oil age... They forget that we're 6 billions now, were only one before, and the natural resources have been much depleted since. .

Thanks for your feedback though.

For those who don't understand what the above implies: oil is used for most everything in our so-called western civilizations. On the mailing-lists of oil specialists they're sh*tting their pants while trying to imagine the upcoming 5 years. The irony is, they're s*-scared of "the coming anarchy"... the irony is not lost on my, who like most people here, know the difference between "chaos/anarchy" and "anarchism/anarchy".

But how would you? 30.Apr.2003 08:20


What would you do to keep an orderless orderliness? Would people behave themselves in an anarchist society? There would have to at least be a system of informal law to prevent murderers from walking free...And speaking of anarchism, what would have happened if it had been the norm in the Confederate South? Would the blacks still be suppressed by white racists? Anarchism need not be a tolerant, profeminist phenomenon.

How Anarchism Would Look Like 30.Apr.2003 09:15

New World Odor

Imagine a bunch of arrogant, self-righteous White people (or is that redundant?) sitting around discussing Bakunin, Emma Goldman, blah, blah, blah...and you will have you prototype Anarchist society.

Of course, this sounds very much like contemporary Western Liberal Capitalist democracies. Instead of bullshitting about Bakunin, they bullshit about Freedom, Democracy, and Weapons of Mass Destruction....

Meet the New Boss...same as the Old Boss.

Correct! 30.Apr.2003 09:49


It's not enough to just go anarchist or go socialist with your politics. The change requires a rethinking of personal, family, and community value systems. In developing my Sephirothian philosophy of humanity I have definitely noticed this. I still believe that a continued increase in occultic and alternative spiritual and religious paths is inevitable; perhaps we should place hope in these new cultures and belief systems if we wish to see a brighter future. Then again, early Christianity was also very egalitarian much like today's Neopagans and totally unlike the televangelists and religious fundamentalists.

Anarchism 30.Apr.2003 10:22


Above comment is dumb. Dont want to disect because it would be just to annoying.

Anarchist militias. Ive heard of this working a couple different ways but i assume it might be something like what we usually have at demos with the bloc. People with communications devices (cell phones, walkie talkies) and movement devices (legs, bikes, cars) scouting out areas or getting reconnaissance on whoever were fighting.

There are always natural leaders in society. Its whethor these leaders offer knowledge or offer authority that set them apart. When you have someone who knows more tactics or knows more effective tactics with dealing with someone or someones people should be able to use that information effectivly. example: Comms person : Those fascists are coming over that hill. Random person: Lets go hide behind that rock and shoot them. Random person 2: If we flank there left side than we will win. If two people would guard me on right i will go. Random person 3/4: Ok. Random person 2: Sounds better. -Action is taken.

How do militias form? Like affinity groups. how are they run? Its a matter of how the group would like to run itself. They could appoint one person to be the commander for one day, which i think is silly, or they could make collective decisions quickly on what tactics they are going to use. Exp. if they bomb us should we dive under a house. Group- yes. Tactics settled. But things like should we shoot this fascist coming at us- No need for group discussion.

I think thats a valid argument. Anarchists need to step up and realize that for the last 20 years or so we have been idenifying more and more with punk culture. Thats not a bad thing but what this does is merely marginalize us because we can no longer be inclusive while this music movement that only incorporates, usually, white middle class males continues to be such a large part of our movement.

We need to set up programs that show people that anarchism is a better option not just preach bakunin and kropotkin to each other in endless debates that dont really matter in the end. i think that food not bombs is doing that, i think that critical mass has done that, reclaim the streets and what anti capitalist action has done recently has been starting to get this idea out to the people in our own movement. Because it hasnt even reached people who are anarchists that think for some reason there going to be the genius vanguard leader, there magically going to turn into this eloquent anarchist speaker who rallies the masses to anarchism and smashes the imperialist, fascist system. WAKE UP CALL FOR MOST ANARCHISTS! Your not god! nor are you that important. We are as important as we are effective and a goddamn lot of us arent being effective. Lets start living by our principles like, property is theft, and be constantly giving stuff away. ORGANIZE RESIST

Confederate south? Anarchists are against all forms of oppression hierarchy and capitalism. They believe in liberty equality freedom. How would the racism be? Anarchists would do whatever they could to destroy it.

Paolo Freire 30.Apr.2003 10:33


This is one of my favorite topics. Although Paolo Freire isn't outwardly an anarchist (as far as I know) he writes about this obstacle to overcome opression without becoming the oppressors. He puts a lot of faith in humility when teaching our children. He talks about removing the teacher/student paradigm and realizing a more teacher/teacher student/student structure. I really like this idea that we have as much to learn from kids as they have to learn from us. Althought the things we can learn from them aren't as traditionally masculine and dominant, that is exactly the point. They can teach us how to laugh, and misbehave, and also how to learn again. We are all seeing that many of the people in power have a lot to learn, and much of this could be learned in a first grade classroom; respect, no hitting, proper English, etc.
Like the revolution, it will not happen overnight, but it can be integrated into the revolution (as I believe it is in some charter schools, and other alternative educational centers), so we have less to do after the battles are won. The idea of reteaching society without heirarchy, and patriarchy is a beautiful thing. And so is being able to check out books from the library without worrying that my name is on a list somewhere.

To yElp 30.Apr.2003 11:00

In The Know

"There are always natural leaders in society. Its whethor these leaders offer knowledge or offer authority that set them apart."

Leaders have authority by definition or they can't lead. There exists no sustainable model of social living (in any species) without authority. The reason, in part, is that societal members inevitably disagree. Your example below is incomplete:

"When you have someone who knows more tactics or knows more effective tactics with dealing with someone or someones people should be able to use that information effectivly. example: Comms person : Those fascists are coming over that hill. Random person: Lets go hide behind that rock and shoot them. Random person 2: If we flank there left side than we will win. If two people would guard me on right i will go. Random person 3/4: Ok. Random person 2: Sounds better. -Action is taken."

You left out the part where Random person x disagrees with Random person y over which tactic will be more effective. Now what? If x and y do different things, they are both ineffective, and therefore the fascists win.

This dialoge is an example. Many of us agree that the current system has serious flaws--but don't agree on how to address them.

Anarchism won't work in for a large--say greater than two--group. People diagree. If large groups are to achieve things, they must agree to act in concert. This simply doesn't happen among people or non-human primates, or other animals in the absence of a leader, and a leader with the authority to direct the action of others. Find a working anarchistic model and I'll listen. Until then, the very philosophy of the anarchists defeats them before they get anywhere because they can't coordinate their actions enough to be effective at any meaningful level.

Anarchism won't work.

anarchy 30.Apr.2003 11:46


I have to admit, as much as I detest the excessive social hierarchy we're seeing the USA these days, I can't see pure anarchy as being a stable social arangement. Such a system, in my view, would at the very least be unstable to takeover by ruthless powermongers who are willing to use deception to gain power and influence. It's also hard to see how a productive economy would develop without some kind of specialization, something that is best exploited by coordination and authority. On the other hand, if I could pick just one word to describe what the United States needs a good, strong dose of right now....

But Sephirothism would! 30.Apr.2003 12:19

You know my name

Perhaps pure anarchism would not work, but that doesn't rule out the possibility of localism (the only government is the local government-no nations or countries, only city-states) combined with a syndicalist economy. Even Mussolini's economy was a little bit syndicalist (though the cooperatives were smothered by fascist red tape in the same way as a capitalist enterprise was under his corporate state system). The Spanish fascists were officially called the National Syndicalist Falangist Party. So syndicalism has both a fascist and anarchist history, and there's no reason you couldn't have syndicalism paired with independent local townships or city-states. Or you could have market syndicalism operating under a limited, Jeffersonian government (minarcho-syndicalism?) similar to the early US in the early 19th century (without the slavery or conquering of native lands I am assuming).

One thing needs to be done: the people must lead the politicians, not vice versa. Government has no business promoting certain ideals or moral values to the people, it's supposed to be the other way around. People should promote their values to other people through cooperative action. I believe in the end such a system would be far more likely to allow the just to prevail.

To promote Sephirothic policies from within the establishment, I would recommend the following reforms be initially enacted:

Immediate disarmament of all police officers.

Complete separation of police and military.

An impeachment program for abusive police officers.

Allow all adult citizens (over age 18) to carry concealed weapons in public as a means of policing their own communities.

Lowering of the drinking age to 18, and lowering of the nightclub-admission age to 16.

Legalization of marijuana and all hallucinogenic and entheogenic drugs.

Abolition of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Introduction of a Marijuana Tax Bureau (MTB) to regulate the purity and THC potency of commercial marijuana and levy taxes to collect revenue necessary for drug-addiction treatment programs.

Legalization of the adolescent viewing of sexually explicit or lingually profane literature, music, and cinema. (This does not apply to performers of pornography)

Withholding of federal education funding for any state that prohibits consensual homosexual or heterosexual oral or anal sexual acts.

Shortening copyright terms to ten years maximum for all literature, music and film.

Reform of the federal holiday system; move Thanksgiving to September or early October and recognize May 1 and November 1 as legal holidays.

Abolition of Daylight Savings Time.

Development of architectural reform programs to encourage more diverse and aesthetically intense urban and suburban architecture.

Doubling of public arts and music funding and guaranteed musical education in any field for all children and adolescents.

Development of a more aesthetically intense public plant-landscaping system.

Increased public use of palm trees and other exotic and visually subtropical ornamental plants in cool temperate climates.

Development of nonprofit, community gardens where individuals can grow food to nourish the self, the family, or the community.

Development of free community housing for the homeless.

Living wages through a combination of minimum wage increases; wage supplements funded by public monies; rent control; public health insurance; and public legal insurance.

A strict environmental policy with an emphasis on conservation, alternative energy and renewable resources. Implementation of hemp agriculture.

Withdrawal from the WTO. Repeal of NAFTA. Establishment of democratically controlled trade management associations to make sure international trade is serving the interests of the people.

A National Economic Policy based on sustainable development and availability of necessary social and economic resources in case of crisis.

Localized economic organization based on a mixture of private, public, syndical and corporative firms. Public ownership of all utilities and water sources.

A nationwide passenger rail system to provide a minimum service of three daily visits to every metropolitan area and town with a population of over 5,000 residents.

Steep taxes on petroleum products to encourage cleaner energy consumption.

Reduction in the military budget by $200 billion with at least $20 billion re-allocated to infrastructure and the development of the national passenger rail system.

A universal public health insurance agency that is responsible for paying all non-cosmetic health costs through tax funds.

Restrictions on prescription drug advertising and strict price and profit ceilings for all pharmaceutical companies with a workforce greater than 2,000 employees.

A publicly funded institution to research the potential benefits of holistic health and alternative medicine.

A heavily progressive income tax graduated on a nearly infinitesimal scale; one tax bracket for every $100 in income.

That's all.

how a nation/state/region would defend itself 30.Apr.2003 13:18


Assuming that an anarchist society was set up, I would hope that it could be defended nonviolently.

That means, there would be no "anarchist army" or any "anarchist militias". The first benefit of not having large groups of people who devote their time to figuring out how to best kill and destroy would be that other nations would have a hard time explaining how this anarchist country is a "threat". Imagine G.W. Bush trying to explain to the US why this country would need to be "liberated" from a government which doesn't exist. The second benefit, obviously, is there would then be large groups of people free to be productive rather than destructive.

If this country "A-Land" wasn't any physical threat, the capitalist governments would most likely do what they did with Communism - make it out to sound as "evil" as possible, say that "the anarchists are trying to spread their evil thoughts and ways... they are infiltrating neighboring countries and (you guessed it) even our own country". Anarchism in A-Land would be made out to be an ideological threat to the capitalist country, and the government would try to make people afraid enough to support an attack. At this point, the citizens of A-Land can simply wait, and hope that the good people of Capitalist-land remember the governments history of lies (e.g. Gulf of Tonkin). That would be unlikely, but as long as A-Land didn't respond to any provocative attacks Capitalist-land would have a hard time getting people to accept and support an invasion.

Assuming the enemy country did scare its people into supporting a war, or brainwash them into thinking it was a war "of liberation" (hey, I guess that worked for the Nazis, oh and the Bush-cabal) the good citizens of A-Land should utilize "civilian defense" aka "nonviolent national defense". If you aren't familiar with it, Gene Sharp wrote at least one book on it [1]... basically, the idea is that you deny the occupying force their objectives. For example, if they say they come to liberate you, you let them... but when they set up a government for you, you do not recognize this government. If they come to take your resources, you don't cooperate (non-cooperation is a central theme of civilian defense). When France invaded the Rurh of Germany in 1923 in an attempt to take over the mines and plants, the French "were received in silence by an angry and impotent population. The offices of the mining syndicates were closed, the great coke and blast furnaces remained idle, the shops of Essen were barred and shuttered and the blinds of every windo drawn againt the invaders. Railwaymen refused to carry coal from France, policemen refused to remain on duty rather than salute French officers, youthful enthusiasts sabataged signals, points, and telephones, sank barges and opened locks, and the shopkeepers and restaurant proprietors refused to serve French soldiers and the girls to speak to them."[2] The German resistance lasted long enough to force negotiations, France left, and a better repayment plan was drawn up. Their was some brutality by the French occupiers, though I doubt it was worse than an actual war would be, and the brutality of the French army against the mostly nonviolent Germans contributed to the demise of that French government in 1924, so one could say that the Germans defeated the French w/o even using their military (of course, a greater power like the US would last longer, but even war against a verified brutal regime which had worked on WMD provoked a great deal of protest - imagine the protests if we were attacking Canada).

There are all sorts of ways nonviolence can be used as an effective resistance. Most of the examples history has provided are of a spontaneous nature, and they could almost certainly be improved. There are plenty of examples where nonviolence failed, as there are examples of where violence failed... if a country were to put as much effort into studying nonviolent methods of "war" as it does violent methods and practicing them, it seems likely that civilian defense would be a practical and effective method of defense.

1: See "Civilian-based Defense, A Post-Military Weapons System" Gene Sharp, Princeton University Press

2: Arthur Bryant, Unfinished Victory (London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd. 1940), pp. 124-25

See also:
"In Place of War, An Inquiry Into National Defense" Grossman Publishers, NY 1967

"The Politics of Nonviolent Action" Gene Sharp
(This one is good for nonviolent forms of protest as well as methods of civilian defense.

I don't need no stinkin school zones 30.Apr.2003 13:36


If you think the freeways are a mess now, just wait until the Aanarchists/Libertarians remove the police, transportation & safety regulations, and all criminal statutes pertaining to the highways.

What fun -- better bring a gun!!!

coercive coercion 01.May.2003 11:28


Please bear in mind that in order to have a socialist/anarchist society, you would still need some sort of coercion to insure that everyone shared and that everyone received a share. That would require an infrastructure, which would become a defacto government. If no coercion was necessary, and everyone shared because they were basically "good", then ANY system of government (or non-government) would work because everyone was behaving and playing nice with one another. Personally I think socialism and anarchy are mutually exclusive because it would have to be coercive, but capitalism and anarchy would not work either because people generally do not act with enightened self interest.
It isn't the government that is the problem, as we certainly have the government we deserve. It is the people, and their unwillingness to accept that they are part of a greater system.
And no matter what, an anarchic system would require an armed populace. Both for external threats (imperialism) and for internal threats (there are no more cops). I'm guessing that is not consistent with many of the people on this boards ideology.