Posts Tagged ‘power strategies’

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 1, 2014

 

Sing along!

Sing along!

Anarchism: Give it a Look

 

            Most people, myself included, have glided right past the Anarchists when searching for a group of like-minded political minds.  Anarchists are represented in history and the media by bombings, assassinations, societal disruption and chaos.  Ironically, anarchists themselves – including founders such as the Frenchman, Proudhon – almost embrace this misperception, though it’s hard to imagine how the tenets of anarchism would support such behavior.  Anarchism itself is about establishing society through voluntary, personal arrangements, and flattened – as opposed to hierarchical – organizational structures.  Anarchism is not about chaos, but rather it is about organization through organic growth, personal connection, local rather than global activity, civic rather than state involvement, all with an accent on the adjective “voluntary”.  The roots of the word anarchism mean “against government”.  Governments are coercive.  Governments have definite structure.  Anarchistic arrangements are voluntary; they have mutable structure.  People change what they want.

Most strange of all, anarchic communities function well all around us.  In fact, we are probably part of several.  Anarchism has already been shown to work.  So, it is strange that we act as if the movement were something we couldn’t associate with.   Because we do.  Successfully.  Already.

There are already established threads of anarchism which are very strong, such as the free market, where a voluntary exchange of goods between individuals has created an incredible amount of wealth and efficient distribution of goods.   The family might also be considered a very successful anarchist structure which creates extremely tight bonds between members of what begins as a voluntary arrangement.  Neighborhood activities, bowling leagues, associations, clubs, theater and sports groups, etc… these are all voluntary activities which create a rich civic structure.  The moral basis of anarchism stems from the legal concept of natural law: that the best laws we can enact are outgrowths of what comes to be accepted behavior between two or more reasonable adults: ‘rules of order’ they might be called.  Anarchism is a wholly ‘grass-roots’ phenomena which creates its community as it grows.  It claims no territory, but can inhabit a vast area.

Probably the first question usually asked, once people have decided to consider the question is: How would an anarchist form of government work?  Well, unlike other governmental arrangements, an anarchist government cannot be described until it has evolved and matured to the state where we might refer to it as ‘something which could perform the tasks of a government’.  An anarchist government, because it is not coercive, cannot be initially conceived.  It must grow.  We might as well ask, “What can water do?”

Better to just pour it on the ground and see what happens.

Here are some books which have begun to address what ‘water might do’:

“The Art of NOT Being Governed” by James C. Scott

“The Vountary City / Choice, Community, and Civil Society” a series of essays edited by Paul Johnson

Pictures from Google Images

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From the Editor’s Perch…

July 9, 2013

Editor’s disclaimer:  Just because we talk the talk doesn’t mean we can necessarily walk the walk.  If we all had to be good at what we talk about, not much would get said.

This takes place at the funeral home. BERNICE has angered her other son, BERT, who has decided to bury her in her underwear.

This takes place at the funeral home. BERNICE has angered her other son, BERT, who has decided to bury her in her underwear.

 

Two Guidelines for Relationships

 

These are two nuggets of wisdom, which in my experience, should be fundamental in guiding any relationship – but especially those between men and women.

 

This first was related to me by a psychiatrist years ago.  He said, the secret to dealing with women is to listen to what they say, and then to do what you want.  He said that the way most men get into trouble is that they either listen and don’t do what they want; or they don’t listen and do do what they want.  I believe this advice is also useful when the roles are reversed and for nearly all relationships.  It’s hard to maintain a head of steam when you really listen.  And when the other person won’t listen it’s hard not to get a head of steam.  When a man only does what he’s told, the woman comes to wonder why she needs to be married. And when a man doesn’t listen at all, a woman comes to wonder the same thing.

 

The second guideline is that doing is not listening; listening is listening.  I’ve heard this rule memorialized in a hundred country songs.  Typically the husband is brought around to the fact that he has not paid enough attention to his wife, and so he brings her flowers, buys her a diamond, gets her a dress, buys a bigger house, takes her on a trip…  anything to shut her up.  But he’s still not listening, and the resentment abides.  Or, we’ve seen this rule broken in a numerous families.  The worldly parents either refuse to take the childrens’ concerns seriously, or they don’t take the time to grant the children an audience.  To smooth their feelings, they buy them stuff.  But it doesn’t make matters better.  The parents have alienated their children and taught them to harbor and monetize their grievances.  Each family gathering becomes another trial through which the children receive punitive damages for pain and suffering.

 

Gifts have a long history of being used to shut people up.  Politicians typically greet a hostile crowd bearing gifts.   Explorers offer gifts to native tribes whose lands they are crossing.  Corporations give gifts to the leaders of the nations they exploit.  When the local theater heads finally spoke to the local playwrights, (whose plays they had refused to produce), they came for the sole expressed purpose of offering them ‘opportunities’.  Whenever anyone offers you a gift – especially one you’d like, it makes it bad form to bring up a grievance.  So you contain your bile, and smile.

 

It’s very common for someone to try and make up for some rudeness by doing something for the aggrieved party.  This is fine and good the first couple of times around.  But eventually, it becomes what it is: purchasing the right to treat another person poorly.

 

In my estimation, the best thing to do when you have refused to listen to somebody – is to listen.  That’s it.  That’s all.  All it takes is a little time.  Just listen, and then do what you want.

Photo by Candice Kerwin of scene from a play by Carl Nelson, “Into the Wild Blue Yonder”.


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