The Anarchist Constitution


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Anarchy as a constitutional principle: constitutionalising in anarchist politics

Although the appearance of the effort appears racially neutral, its enforcement has had a clear racial bias. This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. In fact, some studies indicate that white youth are significantly more likely to engage in illegal drug dealing than black youth. Any notion that drug use among African Americans is more severe or dangerous is belied by the data.

White youth, for example, have about three times the number of drug-related visits to the emergency room as their African American counterparts. Another indicator of the racial bias within the initiative can be shown through the difference in sentencing guidelines. In , the U. Congress passed laws that created a The history of the plight of other minorities under oppressive laws and governmental policies should not go unmentioned. Census and the policies it has created. The gap in equality on wealth, health, education, and employment between Blacks and Whites has continued to expand, further demonstrating the bias inherent in the construction of American society.

This requires a culture that focuses on anti-oppressive structures, and has the goal of collectively liberating all people. Luckily, such a vision exists, and it is called anarchism. However, through the fog of misperception and obscurity, lies a sociopolitical doctrine that challenges some of our deeply held assumptions on what the relationship between the individual and society can be, and calls us to work towards creating a truly free and cooperative society.

Behind some of the constructions of anarchism as a violent ideology are events that transpired between the years of and During this time period, individuals that identified as anarchists killed several ruling figures, including U. Such an investigation is beyond the scope of this paper, but suffice it to say, the use of violence, as a means to justify the ends anarchism seeks, is not a universally accepted tactic. Anarchist anthropologist, David Graeber, provides an alternative lens to view this dichotomy through his book, Fragments of An Anarchist Anthropology.

Graeber explains that the anthropological record does not support this conclusion, using three egalitarian cultures, the Piaroa, Tiv, and Malagasy, as examples. The leap was made: If Darwin had evidence that physical organisms adapt to fit their environment evolve , then society, even over short periods, must evolve in the same linear fashion. In other words, if evolution existed in physical development, it must also play a role in societal and cultural development within humanity. This was very appealing to the intellectuals of post-Renaissance Europe as it justified a superior attitude toward less complex societies.

Everywhere in the world, it seems, archaeological digs are reshaping our view of the distant past. Not only are these findings revealing that civilizations were older than once thought, but they are showing that man was smarter and more progressive. What if there never was any fundamental break, and therefore, we are not living in a fundamentally different moral, social, or political universe than the Piaroa or Tiv or rural Malagasy? Let us imagine, then, that the West, however defined, was nothing special, and further, that there has been no one fundamental break in human history.

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No one can deny there have been massive quantitative changes: This includes not only such obvious forms as the nation-state, … and the corporation, … but also such internalized forms as patriarchy, racism, and homophobia. Being subject to domination causes mental and physical oppression, both of which obstruct human growth.

For this reason, hierarchy is viewed negatively by anarchists, and instead, horizontal structures, dependent upon collaboration are encouraged. According to Anarchist writer, David Wieck, anarchism represents:. Correlative with this negation is the positive faith that through the breakdown of mutually supportive institutions of power, possibilities can arise for noncoercive social cooperation, social unity, specifically a social unity in which individuality is fully realizable and in which freedom is defined not by rights and liberties but by the functioning of society as a network of voluntary cooperation.

We are premising a society in which people have stopped living in fear of one another, in which gross violence, hatred, and contempt for life have become uncommon, in which alienation of person from person seldom reaches the malignant extremes to which we are accustomed. Thus, anarchism does not advocate violence or mayhem, but rather calls for the liberation of everyone by removing oppressive social structures and practices from within our communities. The vision anarchism has for society directly challenges a number of the core assumptions and principles held by mainstream America.

For one, anarchists believe the current legal system and the authorization it provides for governmental and state power is both harmful and unnecessary.

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The Anarchist Constitution

In theory, the government is supposed to be of, for, and by the people, but the reality of its function has only ensured the existence of a ruling class, whose power and interests are perpetually preserved by the system of governance. This opens the community to the abuses of power that result from hierarchical relationships.

This reliance on the state and the legal system creates an indirect way of resolving conflict. Rather than individuals settling disputes amongst themselves, they rely on impersonal laws to find a solution. To this point, Kropotkin writes:. Instead of themselves [the populace] altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. Allowing officials of the state to fill positions of power and determine policy for the community is problematic for the following reason:. By participating in policy debates the very best one can achieve is to limit the damage, since the very premise is inimical to the idea of people managing their own affairs.

As a result, communities that concede their power to the state, reduce their independence and freedom to determine the type of society they want to live in. The relinquishing of community power to a state government is unnecessary because there is no reason to believe the state can perform better than the community could. Anarchists believe we are capable of practicing a natural form of justice amongst ourselves, based on our conscience and innate ability to reason with one another, without trusting the process to a hierarchical ruling class of professionals.

Kropotkin explains the manipulative justification for law by saying:. Its origin is the desire of the ruling class to give permanence to customs imposed by themselves for their own advantage.

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Its character is the skilful commingling of customs useful to society, customs which have no need of law to insure respect, with other customs useful only to rulers, injurious to the mass of the people, and maintained only by the fear of punishment. The permanence of a state authority comes under further questioning when its actual existence is probed. Totalities, in particular, are always creatures of the imagination.

Nations, societies, ideologies, closed systems… none of these really exist. This is not an appeal for a flat-out rejection of such imaginary totalities … It is an appeal to always bear in mind that they are just that: The primary reason we acknowledge the authority of the state is its ability to use force as a means of enforcing compliance.

This means anyone who breaks the law can have their liberty taken from them, or be killed by state officials.


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Hence the sure-fire way to simplify social arrangements, to ignore the incredibly complex play of perspectives, passions, insights, desires, and mutual understandings that human life is really made of, is to make a rule and threaten to attack anyone who breaks it. This is why violence has always been the favored recourse of the stupid: It is also of course the basis of the state. If terrorism is something we collectively admonish, our next step is to be honest in our introspection, and overcome the glaring contradiction that surrounds us.

To live in a truly cooperative and free society, we must be willing to let go of our reliance on the external state and legal system, and begin to engage each other on a local basis, and take full responsibility for the structure of our communities and neighborhoods. However, the power to determine resolutions is given to individuals that do not have an interest in the matter, and prevent the individuals involved to determine their own form of justice.

Additionally, obedience to this system is enforced under duress. Rather than using force to achieve compliance, the anarchist approach to resolving conflict is voluntary, and believes justice can only be determined by the involved parties through dialogue. A justice system based on these principles exists, and is called restorative justice. Restorative justice is a form of conflict resolution, used by different indigenous groups throughout the world, to settle disputes between individuals.

An Anarchist Theory of Criminal Justice | The Anarchist Library

The framework restorative justice uses, allows it to be applied in any circumstance in which a conflict is deemed to exist. At its core, it is a form of community justice that recognizes the interconnectedness of communal living, and that harm and conflicts are symptoms of communal inadequacies.

Howard Zehr, a leading advocate and visionary for restorative justice, says that it has three primary pillars: Behind this is the belief that conflicts are created by misunderstandings and needs not being met for individuals. Offenders are permitted to tell their side of the story, but must also listen to how and why their actions led to the harm. Communism thus creates a basis for the liberty and Eigenheit of the individual. I am a Communist because I am an Individualist.

Fully as heartily the Communists concur with Stirner when he puts the word take in place of demand — that leads to the dissolution of property, to expropriation. Individualism and Communism go hand in hand. To create new ethical values. To create new aesthetic values.

Marc Stevens Interviews Federal Magistrate John Buttrick- No Evidence Constitution Applies

To communalize material wealth. To individualize spiritual wealth. AK Press, , p. Elizalde who was a founding member and first secretary of the Iberian Anarchist Federation. December , pp.

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A Short History of Anarchism. From Theory to Practice. Today the terms 'anarchist' and 'libertarian' have become interchangeable. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press p. Anarchists Seed Beneath the Snow. Interviews with Dwight Macdonald.

An Anarchist Theory of Criminal Justice

University Press of Mississippi, The Heretic's Handbook of Quotations. See Sharp Press, Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy. A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Uses the terms interchangeably, such as on p. The History of a Movement. See Sharp Press, , p. Limited Wants, Unlimited Means: Archived from the original PDF on Egalitarianism and Machiavellian intelligence in human evolution.

Gibson eds , Modelling the early human mind. Fragments of an anarchist anthropology 2nd pr. Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology. Robert Hurley ; Abe Stein translators. The Art of Not Being Governed. European Journal of Law and Economics. The Pathology of Civilization. Traces of an Omnivore. Woodhouse, foreword by A. Lindsay University of Chicago Press, Archived from the original on My Disillusionment in Russia. The Rage of Nations. Peter Arshinov, History of the Makhnovist Movement — , Workers' Self-management in the Spanish Revolution, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Tra Rio e Riascolo: Lama di San Giustino: Retrieved September 7, Affinity group Anarcho-syndicalism Synthesis anarchism Platformism. Bonanno John Zerzan Bob Black. Anarchism portal Politics portal Social and political philosophy portal Society portal Sociology portal. Retrieved from " https: Anarchist theory Economic systems. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons.

This page was last edited on 1 August , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Part of the Politics series on. Anarchism portal Politics portal. Part of the Politics series. Separation Associated state Dominion Chiefdom. Empire Hegemony Unitary state. Despotism Dictatorship Military dictatorship. Commune City-state National government Intergovernmental organisation World government.

Think of anarchist constitutional scholarship as counter-intelligence and strategic analysis. For example, the CIA was intensely interested in the internal disputes and intrigues of the Soviet Kremlin.


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  5. This wasn't because they were rooting for one side over the other as a matter of justice or morality. It had more to do with trying to predict future policies and acts of that government, since those in charge are the ones who effect those policies and actions. Any interventions by the CIA in this area would have been in service to realpolitik, solely to advantage the U. I suggest anarchists think about constitutional law in a similar way. There may be broad, abstract principles of justice and reason embedded in the constitution.

    But they have little to nothing to do with how the state realizes its own power. We consider the exercise of that power to be a problem regardless of its adherance to an over two hundred year old document. So we should try to predict the political zeitgeist and foresee threats to ourselves and our communities, analyzing these matters in cold, calculating terms rather than in an outraged, indignant matter. Constitutional scholarship has something of a rhyme or reason to it, and it might be helpful to understand as a rear-guard defense against the state while building our own autonomous institutions to meet our needs.

    To flip von Clausewitz's aphorism, politics is the continuation of war by other means. Anarchists should regard constitutional politics as nothing less.

    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution The Anarchist Constitution
    The Anarchist Constitution

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