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Question: looking for anarchist opinion for 4th grade government unit

Public teacher writing elementary unit on government. Anarchy is one type of government covered. Looking for a variety of opinions to add to unit. I would love to move beyond the common stereotypes...with some help!
Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences and ideas. Hopefully I will get a variety of opinions so you don't feel like the "token anarchist" (no, really...some of my best friends are anarchists) In my 4th grade class we do a week introduction to different types of government/power structures (more indepth study on our current government system to follow). We look at dictators, monarchies, anrchy and democracy. I am interested in going a little deeper than the traditional "anarchists wear black and throw stones at Starbucks" stereotypes. One of my roomies in college was an self proclaimed anarchist--but i never got a clear idea of what that meant. A few questions for those who have more experience with the philosphy than I: How would you define anarchy? What would a community look like that was "governed" by anarchy? How are the rights of individuals protected in an anarchy? How do things get done? What are some of the pro's and cons of the system? Do you know of any communities functioning under anarchy? What are they like? If you are part of the anarchy movement, why does it appeal to you? What would you invision for the future of our country? How does an anarchist collective function? These are just some ideas. Feel free to inform me in any way that works (uh, respectfully of course). I really have only a week to introduce the subject, but would like to have a better perspective to share with my students. Remember--they are only 10. Big picture would be great! Thank You
4 Cornerstones of Anarachy 16.Aug.2004 21:42

Aunti Enlightenment

Well, anarchy of course can't have fixed in stone cornerstones, or First Principals, because it means Without ("An-"" First Principals ("Archy"). Karl Marx was undoubtably important to anarchist economic thinking, but modern anarchy goes beyond a rejection of economic slavery. Every 10 year old can understand the opposites (dialectic) of the Master and the Slave. The teacher more or less is an authority figure, a master, and the student a subservient figure, a slave. Another pairing is the "parent" and the "child".

The traditional view, the view of what is sometimes called "modernity" or western civilization, is that in such a relation the "master" is a person who "holds" power -- and the slave is a person defines by the exercize of the masters power.

In anarchy, a new view of power and power relations emerges. Power is diffuse, uncentral, and locates in the interplay, or interstice, between master and slave figures. One way to express this is that the master can't really "exercize" power unless the slave goes along with it. For example if all the students leave the classroom, the teacher is no longer able to play the role of master. It is only thus, for anarchy, with the emergence of a new view of power, that a new view of the persona can emerge. The etymology of the word "good", for example, as Shakespeare uses it is in a "good subject", is "one who serves the King." A "goodly man" is a man loyal to the king. A subject, or persona, is itself cohered around the concepts of a person standing it correct or legitimized relation to authority.

An anarchist steps outside this master slave dialect of modernism (most powerfully articulated in Hegel), and, as the Diggers of 1620 understood, "serves no master."

At the same time anarchist thinking understands that power relations exist. Power relations, for example, between a parent and child, for example, are not neccessarily or even predominately unhealthy. But they are not "authorized", naturally cast in bronze, ordained by God, or natural Darwinist order, or law of the State. They are only existing as long as the parent and child choose to exercize them.

A footnote, maybe not needed for your classroom: Any anarchist who retains a stone foundation in Hegel, Aristotle, St. Augustine (such as J. Zerzan emphatically does) builds their house on Christianity...the search for the primitive garden of eden...whether they recognize it or not.

afaq! 16.Aug.2004 21:56


the anarchist faq is going to help answer most of your questions. u can view it here =  http://www.anarchistfaq.org/

"happy reading"

Red and Green anarchists 17.Aug.2004 09:39

join up

Anarchy in practical terms also deals with the means of production and where/how we get all the material items like books, paper, metal, etc..

Red anarchists are usually into having a non-hierarchal place where the metal is produced, "factories" without foremen. There is no state ownership of the place as in communism, because in anarchy there is no state in existance. Red anarchists are distinguished by supporting "technology", a loose term that includes products made in factories that require some complex machinery to produce..

Green anarchists prefer using "tools" only. Tools term anything that can be made rather easily by a few people without any complex machinery and/or outside energy input. Shovels from a blacksmith, woven baskets, clay pottery are all tools. Green anarchists also prefer to live as close to the wilderness as possible, citing the numerous problems (eutrophication from fertilizer runoff, damming/diversion of rivers, famine/food waste, etc.) we face as caused by civilization's hoarding of material items and food. Agriculture is part of this problem, and led up to the stratification of society as classes emerged from non-heirarchal tribalism. The ideal way of food gathering is a hunter-gatherer lifestyle with minimal dependance on organized agriculture..

The rift between the red and green anarchists is really not that significant. Collectively we all want to end capitalism and live in a truly free society. What seems to be the most likely outcome is people will choose a red or green lifestyle wherever they live, with some people doing part of both..

The above info is personal interpretation of limited subject reading. To find out more;


info on red/black anarchist flag;


Anarchy for your class (and I don't just mean your students!) 17.Aug.2004 12:23


It's all about RELATIONSHIPS. Any system, including a human community, is more than just the sum of its parts... it also has a given set of relationships between those parts, a pattern of organization.

What you are doing right now is an example of anarchy. Because you are asking for assistance, and we are responding with what we have to offer, we are all engaging in mutual aid for ourselves.

Anarchy is not simply another political system. It is qualitatively on a diiferent level. Anarchy, that is, a web of non-hierarchal relationships, is the very pattern of nature. Without anarchy, ecosystems couldn't exist, for while there is competition in nature, it's always within the context of symbiosis. There is a limited amount of resources on earth, so ultimately, on the large scale, everything must be recycled. Anarchy means the reintegration of human beings with the rest of life on this planet.

Nor is anarchy some distant mega-utopia. Rather it occurs every single day in countless instances (again, like this dialogue itself). Any human relationship that is cooperative and mutually beneficient, that avoids one-way dependance but facilitates cyclical interdependance, has an aspect of anarchy. Anarchy is an organizational state (in the non-political sense of the word!) characterized by dynamic stability. Novelty and diversity is generated everywhere, but the whole stays stable.

Anarchism is the deliberate practice of expanding the depth and range of these everyday moments.

Relational Anarchism is the same practice - but broken free of dominator paradigm holdovers (ie, unneeded and unwelcome pieces of Marxism) such as targeting only specific institutions like "The State" or "capitalism". For Anarchism to be its full self, must be applied to domination wherever it occurs - thus not only joining, but fudamentally merging, "Red" and "Green".

Some beautiful sources are: Vandana Shiva, Fritjof Capra, Ashanti Alston, Chris Crass, Bell Hooks, Bob Black, Judi Bari, and Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatistas. Good luck with your course, and let us know how it goes, if this info has been helpful, what do you think/feel, etc.

Thanks So Far! 19.Aug.2004 11:00

Teacher with questions

Just to give a quick shout out to those who have taken the time to share ideas and resources. I look forward to following your links, reccs, and new ideas. Please, keep them coming. It is important for teachers to keep learning and thinking about new ways of doing things.

Are there any kid friendly folk that my kids could interview (one idea i have is for them to talk to people who have lived under or with or for different types of "govenment"). They would probably ask simple questions and need clear, age-appropriate answers (i.e. concrete). Many are 2nd language students...so that make the clear and concrete definately important. Because it is so different in ideology from our current society ("ours" used lightly here), it will probably be the most difficult for kids to grasp. Any good resources for this?