Sunday, March 29, 2009

some anarchist questions

So today has been good. I've had a good time hanging out with my friend andd his novia. It's been nice. I won't tell you what my plans for the evening were because they're mildly incriminating. I remarked that the bag I was carrying was the worst thing I could be holding were I to be searched. The only way It could have been more incriminating would have been the addition of explosives or firearms.

So my lovely plans for the night were not gone through with. I wasn't planing anything particularly bad, but I'm understandably paranoid about police reading through profiles which have UC Davis affiliation. They don't have anything better to do in this town, so I'll take the fifth.

Among the things I carried was a book called "Patterns of Anarchy". It's an overview of anarchist thought throughout the last century or so. That's the time that has been the most filled with anarchist influence. Sadly much of the influence has gone by the wayside. Most people when they think anarchy think of chaos and destruction. This is a misconception brought about by governments (primarily in this case the US government) to discredit anarchist ideals. Whenever there was some sort of violent upheaval among people in the late 1800s and the early 1900s, anarchists were blamed. In many cases the anarchists blamed were found to be innocent, the haymarket affair being one prime example.

This propaganda against anarchism started being more fervent around the time that state police and pinkertons were being first used to quell strikes in factories primarily in the midwest. Before this time police as we know them did not exist. The first state police were created solely to break up union activity and prevent organising of the working populous.

It would take a lot more time and a lot more research and citing of sources to tell you all about other important things in this history. I don't have the time or the primary sources from which to work. I'd suggest a few books if anyone wants to hear my suggestions. The point however is that anarchy has gotten a bad name because it's been taken from it's original meaning and used as something entirely different.

Anarchy literally translates to Without Government. It's that simple. there are may differing views on how this would work, and what sorts of organisational structures would exist, but the unifying principle is that the governments which thusfar exist are primarily dominating entities.

My take on this is fairly complicated and nuanced, and with my primary vehicles for promoting these ideals still in the editing and revising phase I can't just give you my manifesto. I'll explain the general ideas but they don't stand as well without details and examples.

Essentially I don't approve of organisational structures which take on a life of their own. One example would be the US Legislature. The general operating principles and the unwritten cronyism and corporate influence do not change when the people in the legislature change. We can refer to the legislature as a single entity which for all of my life has been essentially unchanged. The influence of corporations on bill writing and on voting is very heavy no matter who the senators and congrespeople are. There are changes in attitudes to social programmes and tax plans, but there is no change in attitudes on the influence of the corporate on the process. This is an example of the organisation taking on a life of its own. In this instance the legislature is its own entity made up of the people in it, but not defined by them. Once they enter said system they conform to the requirements of the system.

This is observable in corporations, large religious institutions, and other governments. The particulars are different, but in each case one can discern core values and operating principles which are held above those of the people who make up the group.

The reason I'm not fond of these supra-human entities is because they are indifferent. There isn't evil there, because there is no morality or accountability. A company has its goals and pursues them in whatever fashion best allows it to meet them. If a company's goals are profits and growth (as is very often the case) they will move towards those goals everything else be damned. It is only when public disapproval, or interactions with the government promise to hinder growth and profit that tactics change. Though the decisions to pursue these avenues of action are ostensibly made by people, the consistency of these decisions across companies suggests that the decision doesn't care who makes it.

All of this has been floating in my head tonight because I'm severely bothered by the way that a lot of things are going. That the "best country in the world" the US of A is as bad as it is seems a bad sign to me. If this is the best, then we humans are doing something wrong.

My friends and I were biking throughout Davis and I kept grabbing my U Lock out of my back pocket and brandishing it. The heft felt good in my hands. The whole time I was worried about and wondering about police. The power that they had over me, the fact that they could call my holding of the ULock (a potential weapon) "Probable Cause" and theoretically kill me; all of that bothered me deeply.

There are hundreds of things wrong with modern policing, but I cannot say it as well as was done in "Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America" The title is intentionally hyperbolic. The research is wonderful and the topic matter as important as this stuff gets.

The whole point here though is that I've been thinking politics and social organisation and the influence of capitalism on the media.

All of this was crystalised while we watched "The Motorcycle Diaries" it was good, and very affecting. Since then I've been looking for non-corporate news sources (much harder than it sounds) and have been thinking of how best to write the third part of my novella (which draws heavily from my organisational ideals).

I'm getting a bit to bleary eyed to continue on this topic, but It must be noted that one needs question the society in which they live. Whatever one comes to is their own, but so many people don't do that. Things are good, or so they seem, because we've internalised so many of the control mechanisms.

Just think about how things work, and how you want to be involved in the processes. Do you vote, and if you do is there actually any efficacy in it? My ideas aren't well formed enough in this post for one to mull them over really well, but if you see something in them think of the organisations you are in and around; how are they changed when new people enter them, what are their core operating principles, and how do those principles differ from the stated principles?

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