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Otter

Anarchy, Socialism, Communism, and community gardens

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Clem Fandango

Violently attacked 2 police officers and got what he deserved tbh.

is a total fascist and should just shut the f*ck up already tbh

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Clem Fandango

What about familial hierarchies? How does the anarchist reconcile a parent telling their child to, say, take piano lessons, or work harder (or stay!) in school?

Am I taking the anti-hierarchy too much at face value here?

Adults deciding when the gameboy goes away falls under 'justified authority.' If you cop a hard enough hit to the head I suppose it's back to having mum (or um, you're wife) making important decisions for you. You can have hierarchal authority under anarchism if it's justified. Wars and natural disasters: you aren't going to democratically coordinate an ad-hoc relief effort and there may not be time to call everyone into a worker's council when there's bombs dropping. Even a full blown totalitarian state could be justified by certain conditions. 'Hierarchy and authority are always wrong in perpetuity throughout the universe' would be a silly position to take. Rather, anarchists simply recognise certain systems of authority that we take fro granted as unjustified.

 

'Children's liberation', at least the kind I support, is more about shifting responsibility for children away from the individual and onto society. Children should have a right not to have harmful religious practises and the like not forced on them as they are in our society. That doesn't necessarily mean children should be making decisions for themselves, but by and large children should have some recourse if they feel strongly about something being imposed on them by their parents, even banal things like a change of home or school. Like if I want to take my kids to live in a shack in Alaska and get home schooled by their jerk uncle while I'm on the oil rigs three weeks out of the month, that's something a ten year old kid is competent enough to decide against.

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Fonz

Sorry to drag this into hypothetical pedantries, but I'm currently riding the NyQuil Unicorn and feeling thinky.

 

What about familial hierarchies? How does the anarchist reconcile a parent telling their child to, say, take piano lessons, or work harder (or stay!) in school? Surely the line is murky here, and surely these learned hierarchies will leave lasting impressions into adulthood.

 

I think most anarchists are okay with that type of educational hierarchies, since they're helpful and not very rigid, generally—well, some parents are hardline disciplinarians, but I don't this is a typical case. It's more a case of more experienced individuals guiding the young ones in order for them to develop as they can, and that, I believe, is manifestly benign. I'm opposed to parents forcing a child to play an instrument, but that's because, being a musician myself, I believe the child will become a slave to the instrument rather than actually enjoying it. I think it should be the kid's initiative, but that's a whole discussion of its own.

What we take issue with is authoritarian, institutionalized control, but familial hierarchies don't fit that description.

 

And furthermore, there is the issue of numbers; surely a group of 100 will exert authority over a group of 10, if, say, the group of ten wish to do something the 100 are not comfortable with. How then do we eliminate the oppression of the minority (be it race, gender, or simple difference of opinion)? And I realize that, in an anarchic state, there will be few rules dictating who can do what, but there will always be common resources to amicably manage or projects that require direction.

 

Am I taking the anti-hierarchy too much at face value here?

How do you mean, Otter? Well, by the rules of democracy, since direct democracy would be the model in vogue, the majority would get its way, but I guess the dissenting minority could choose not to take part in the action if the outcome of the suffrage is something they're very strongly opposed to. However, I don't think there could even be a vote on something that would alienate anyone on the basis of race or gender, since those two issues (racism and sexism) are major components of the contemporary socialist cause.

 

Like Mel said, anarchists don't reject all hierarchies, especially the simple, beneficial ones like familial hierarchies that are more about guidance than totalitarianism. For example, even some tribes have a tacit hierarchy in the form of the elders, whose say on matters is given extra attention because of their wisdom and worldliness. But again this is about counseling rather than controlling or oppressing. If it's beneficial to the majority, temporary authority may be justified on utilitarian grounds.

Edited by Black_MiD

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Eutyphro

And furthermore, there is the issue of numbers; surely a group of 100 will exert authority over a group of 10, if, say, the group of ten wish to do something the 100 are not comfortable with. How then do we eliminate the oppression of the minority (be it race, gender, or simple difference of opinion)? And I realize that, in an anarchic state, there will be few rules dictating who can do what, but there will always be common resources to amicably manage or projects that require direction.

Any just governance would be based on a set of basic human rights, which serve as fundamental principles.. Thus anarchist societies can also have constitutions that are not overridden by simple majorities. I don't think simple majorities are sufficient for other decisions either, but that is something to be found out in practice. You can't detail it far in advance, because it involves human beings who are unpredictable, and aren't predetermined and predictable like objects are... Every community can find out what works for them. This will take a lot of of time, and will always involve listening to those with strong objections every time they arise. But that is what actual democracy is like. It seems like a bizarre happening compared to governance in modern states.

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Clem Fandango

Like Mel said, anarchists don't reject all hierarchies, especially the simple, beneficial ones like familial hierarchies that are more about guidance than totalitarianism. For example, even some tribes have a tacit hierarchy in the form of the elders, whose say on matters is given extra attention because of their wisdom and worldliness. But again this is about counseling than controlling or oppressing. If it's beneficial to the majority, temporary authority may be justified on utilitarian grounds.

 

Well, no it's not necessarily about guidance, it's about taking responsibility for someone. So it is 'totalitarian' in a way: you decide where they go, who they see, what they watch on TV (if they watch TV). But it's justified and is permissible as long as children have recourse- as they do to a limited extent now.

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Clem Fandango

 

And furthermore, there is the issue of numbers; surely a group of 100 will exert authority over a group of 10, if, say, the group of ten wish to do something the 100 are not comfortable with. How then do we eliminate the oppression of the minority (be it race, gender, or simple difference of opinion)? And I realize that, in an anarchic state, there will be few rules dictating who can do what, but there will always be common resources to amicably manage or projects that require direction.

Any just governance would be based on a set of basic human rights, which serve as fundamental principles.. Thus anarchist societies can also have constitutions that are not overridden by simple majorities. I don't think simple majorities are sufficient for other decisions either, but that is something to be found out in practice. You can't detail it far in advance, because it involves human beings who are unpredictable, and aren't predetermined and predictable like objects are... Every community can find out what works for them. This will take a lot of of time, and will always involve listening to those with strong objections every time they arise. But that is what actual democracy is like. It seems like a bizarre happening compared to governance in modern states.

 

The idea is to eliminate individual interests that conflict with society, not to mitigate them with checks and balances. A society where 60% of people are strongly in favour of something and 40% strongly opposed is a socially stratified society, not a classless, stateless one. It's not as though people would seek to gang up on each other, after all, when do we see that even in federated democracies: people in Texas don't vote to steal all the gold in New Mexico.

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Fonz

 

Like Mel said, anarchists don't reject all hierarchies, especially the simple, beneficial ones like familial hierarchies that are more about guidance than totalitarianism. For example, even some tribes have a tacit hierarchy in the form of the elders, whose say on matters is given extra attention because of their wisdom and worldliness. But again this is about counseling than controlling or oppressing. If it's beneficial to the majority, temporary authority may be justified on utilitarian grounds.

 

Well, no it's not necessarily about guidance, it's about taking responsibility for someone. So it is 'totalitarian' in a way: you decide where they go, who they see, what they watch on TV (if they watch TV). But it's justified and is permissible as long as children have recourse- as they do to a limited extent now.

 

Hmm, I see. Maybe "guidance" was a bad or unclear word to use there. I guess it could be interpreted as totalitarian in a way, but I agree that it is justified in the sense that, ultimately, most parents make the decisions they make in accordance to what they consider to be the best for their children. So long as it's not abusive, I see no problem with that type of hierarchy either.

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Clem Fandango

Well, it's not that parents are perfect authority figures. More that we don't really have a choice; children are incapable of making their own decisions. And again, negative parental influence can be mitigated by society's involvement in a child's upbringing.

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Otter

The idea is to eliminate individual interests

Therein lies the rub; a functional anarchist state - the likes of which we've been discussing - seems to require more social conformity than our current situation. For example, when it comes to culture, art; who determines what is offensive? Or has merit? Or how late at night you can play loud music?

 

Its not like individual interests are purely manifestations of capitalism (I'm not suggesting you've said this) - sex, indulgence, expression, craft, construction, progress, taste, pride - these are all essential parts of human existence and all things that there will be competition and squabbles over. Capitalism simply exploits these. How, then, are these interests mitigated in a fair way without resulting in the stratification you mention?

 

And I guess more pressingly, how do we achieve that level of conformity without eliminating vast swathes of people?

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Fonz

sorry, Otter, I had typed a longer response, but accidentally deleted it. Hopefully this one still manages to address most of the points.

Therein lies the rub; a functional anarchist state - the likes of which we've been discussing - seems to require more social conformity than our current situation. For example, when it comes to culture, art; who determines what is offensive? Or has merit? Or how late at night you can play loud music?

As for art, I'm of the opinion that the artist should have no limits on what he can do with his work, so long as it's not harming anyone or an expression of pure hatred (this would include racism, homophobia, sexism and things of the sort). Then again, since the anarchist movement is hugely against these hateful prejudices, a functional anarchist society would be founded on values that oppose rather than support them.
There would be no consensus as to which art has merit, since that would defeat the purpose of art somewhat, and I don't think anyone here is trying to make artistic taste uniform anyway.
Concerning the issue of playing loud music late at night, most people refrain from doing it more out of common decency than any legislation or coercion, I'd say. Regardless, an anarchist society will have laws, rules of conduct agreed upon for the proper functioning of the society.

 

Its not like individual interests are purely manifestations of capitalism (I'm not suggesting you've said this) - sex, indulgence, expression, craft, construction, progress, taste, pride - these are all essential parts of human existence and all things that there will be competition and squabbles over. Capitalism simply exploits these. How, then, are these interests mitigated in a fair way without resulting in the stratification you mention?

I'd argue that most of those don't need to be addressed per se. Expression, craft, construction, progress and sexual liberation are huge parts of the socialist movement. If you mean sex as in sexual crimes, there would be laws against it, definitely. The other thing I'd keep an eye on would be pride, especially of the regional or national sort, which is unnecessary and divisive.

Edited by Black_MiD

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Moth

children are incapable of making their own decisions

Bullsh*t. Kids are plenty capable to make their own decisions. Are they going to make mistakes? Yeah they are, but everyone makes mistakes. Hell you can say that the older you get, the more likely these mistakes aren't little ones.

 

Kids aren't f*cking idiots.(ok, some are. Like little Jimmy in the corner that shoves crayons up his nose and smears sh*t on the walls of the stall) Anyone who has dealt with kids, know they can make their own decisions.

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Tyler

He wasn't implying by any means that children were incapable of conscious decision-making. Besides that, he is right anyway: children are oftentimes not equipped to make certain decisions about their lives. Were you able to enroll yourself in a particular school when you were five? Did you know how to instill the values of discipline or courage or solidarity with your peers when you were seven? Of course not, these are all aspects of life gained in adolescence, not platonic forms that exist in an ideal world independent of time. It is nice to be virtuous and say that children are capable beings, but there is a reason we define the age group of children as such: with their nascent understanding of reality and their otherwise dependent livelihoods, they are nowhere near prepared to account for themselves or make many of the decisions that come daily with being an adult. This is not so much a put down of kids as it is an accepting that there is a large difference between being an eight year old who can doddle about in grade school and learn about long division, and being a twenty-nine year old who works in factory that has to balance mortgage payments and a family of three to feed. There is a clear discrepancy in the amount of responsibilities and knowledge of life when comparing those two.

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Clem Fandango

Therein lies the rub; a functional anarchist state - the likes of which we've been discussing - seems to require more social conformity than our current situation.

People conform socially though. It's almost perfect the way people conform to the expectations of their gender and social class. Human beings generally do what is expected of them- like Jerry Seinfeld was in the news the other week ranting about 'political correctness gone mad' and is act isn't political in the slightest. Why did he say it? Because that's what's expected from middle aged white men.

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Clem Fandango

Its not like individual interests are purely manifestations of capitalism (I'm not suggesting you've said this) - sex, indulgence, expression, craft, construction, progress, taste, pride - these are all essential parts of human existence and all things that there will be competition and squabbles over.

I don't' really see how any of these are policy considerations. Tribal societies don't fall apart over sex and music taste.

 

You're still looking at it as though Capitalism is the natural state of affairs and anarchism is some crazy new idea to make humanity better. Capitalism is the rule of society by a very specific group of people- anarchism is every human society that has no class relations, It's a natural aspect of human development, not an equal and opposite ideology to Capitalism.

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Otter

Tribal societies are culturally limited and intellectually stunted. If you want us to throw out the lexicon of human experience we've all sampled from, well, you can pry that from my cold dead hands. ;)

I am decidedly NOT looking at it as if Capitalism is the natural state of things - I think there are many interesting things about the concept of anarchism and can see it, one day, maybe, working for everyone - but it's somewhat telling that because I question anything about it I'm branded an adherent of Capitalism.

Capitalism is 200 years old; modern civilization is debatably 15 times that. There haven't been any documented successful anarchic civilizations in our history and it isn't because we're clinging to some sort of fantasy that we must be ruled by capitalism or its forbearers.

Furthermore, your notion that 'people conform socially' is as unfounded as saying that capitalism is the natural state of things. People rebel. It's what, perhaps, we're most spectacular at. Don't tell me that we'd all be singing kumbaya in the town centre together. Somebody will be disgruntled; how does the anarchist deal with that?

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Niobium

Biker antifa

Edited by Niobium

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Clem Fandango

Tribal societies are culturally limited and intellectually stunted.

You say this like it's obvious. I don't accept this at all. For a lot of American history, one of the biggest problems in the country was people abandoning their lives to live with the Native Americans. In fact, America as a political entity owes its existence to indigenous ideas on governance. They had one of the greatest civilisations in human history; if it weren't for smallpox we'd be looking at a very different world.

 

 

 

Capitalism is 200 years old; modern civilization is debatably 15 times that. There haven't been any documented successful anarchic civilizations in our history

Humanity is 10-100 times older than that (depending on how you define 'humanity') and we've lived under what is essentially anarchism for almost all of that. Again, I don't know why Eurasian civilisation developed such rigid class structures, but it's not necessary for development. Let's remember that the Native Americans dropped the vikings so hard Europeans didn't come back for another 400 years, that their system of federation created the world's current super power, and that they as well as the Australian Aborigines had basic but highly sustainable agriculture. So if complex society's require class structures then you're essentially saying that once you have x amount of cows you need an aristocracy. Seems like such thinking is rooted in the belief that Capitalism is natural.

 

The Maori were also a somewhat advanced society, being able to resist the British Empire until they decided they'd benefit from joining (they'd eventually be persecuted as all PoC are in Western society but neither side knew that at the time). Keep in mind Australia existed at this point: the British had taken over an entire content right next door but couldn't establish more than a few settlements in New Zealand.

 

 

 

Furthermore, your notion that 'people conform socially' is as unfounded as saying that capitalism is the natural state of things.

No, it's actually quite well established. Our entire understanding of crime and gender relies on the idea that people generally do what's expected of them. People don't just take their ball and go home for no reason. People do rock the boat if they think they've got better ideas than the ones being put into practise, but that's a good thing in a rational society. Their concerns can be dealt with or dismissed based on a transparent process. If it's incredibly obvious in a society that a grievance isn't legitimate then it would go away. If a grievance is legitimate then you deal with it.

 

 

 

Somebody will be disgruntled; how does the anarchist deal with that?

Disgruntled how tho? If Jane USA has a problem with how things are done then she should get an answer. That's the whole point of a participatory, direct democracy. People should be able to freely challenge the legitimacy of institutions and the onus on institutions should be to prove they are legitimate. I don't see why, in a rational society, even one individual's grievances can't lead to massive societal change, if there's no rational reason to dismiss them.

 

The whole point of anarchism is that people should self-organise, not that they should be forced to fit it into me or mtd's specific conception of how human being's behave. Anarchism isn't about dictating to people what humanity should be, rather it's about giving every individual human a voice and the power to choose without the constraints of social stratification.

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jatiger13

The whole point of anarchism is that people should self-organise, not that they should be forced to fit it into me or mtd's specific conception of how human being's behave. Anarchism isn't about dictating to people what humanity should be, rather it's about giving every individual human a voice and the power to choose

Then why did you say this...

 

The idea is to eliminate individual interests

Edited by jatiger13

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Clem Fandango

That's taken entirely out of context, and even if it wasn't, it's a non-sequitur.

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Niobium

the two statements are not contradictory

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Clem Fandango

Since it's apparently confusing I'll clarify. I wasn't saying 'eliminate the individual' nor was I saying that the individual shouldn't have a right to their own opinions. I was saying- if you'd bothered to quote the complete sentence- that we should eliminate individual interest which conflict with society. So, instead of wanting an SUV, you want a new light rail system. Instead of wanting to find the finest wine, you want society to produce better wines etc.

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Hayduke

Capitalism is 200 years old; modern civilization is debatably 15 times that. There haven't been any documented successful anarchic civilizations in our history and it isn't because we're clinging to some sort of fantasy that we must be ruled by capitalism or its forbearers.

Well except for the ones that have been documented, such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anarchist_communities for starters

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sivispacem

Community =! Civilisation. Otter's technically right, the relevance of civilisation to communist theory is an entirely different question.

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Hayduke

Community =! Civilisation. Otter's technically right, the relevance of civilisation to communist theory is an entirely different question.

One could be pedantic and state that there's no such thing as a successful civilisation given that all societies in history have crumbled at one time or another, thus making the point moot. In any case the retort to that is that the lack of non hierarchical societies has more to do with the fluidity of power structures throughout history than it does with the notion that people can't make a barbecue without a chef, if you excuse the extremely vague metaphor.

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make total destroy

 

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Otter

 

Community =! Civilisation. Otter's technically right, the relevance of civilisation to communist theory is an entirely different question.

 

One could be pedantic and state that there's no such thing as a successful civilisation given that all societies in history have crumbled at one time or another, thus making the point moot. In any case the retort to that is that the lack of non hierarchical societies has more to do with the fluidity of power structures throughout history than it does with the notion that people can't make a barbecue without a chef, if you excuse the extremely vague metaphor.

Sorry for the late reply here, but let's say, for the purposes of this conversation, that a civilization needs to consist of at least... Eh let's say .2M people and function for a decade to be considered 'successful'. A rather generous application of the term but I think it still holds up. It's worth noting, though, that this is a bit of a fool's errand; civilization by it's very definition requires hierarchical power structures. An anarchic civilization is an oxymoron. Successful large scale anarchy just hasn't ever happened yet.

 

I'd argue that, yes, we could all barbecue without a chef, but it would not take long for someone to begin hoarding the hotdogs. I know this is a cyclical argument, but I haven't seen any proof to the contrary that wasn't sweeping some larger, scarier, truth under the rug. Or perhaps I read too many dystopian novellas? :p.

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Tyler

But the purpose of dystopian fiction is to critique or express issue with current regimes in a way that is safer than overt political satirizing. It is clearly not about actual speculation of the future--just look at 1984, and how it is Orwell's attempt to decry Stalinism and authoritarian regimes existing in his time. The same can be said of Huxley's fear of a decadent and amoral future with no guiding mission other than the attainment of pleasure in Brave New World. Even dystopian fiction today is premised on contemporary fears about modern issues, and is decidedly not about the future, per se. That's a small point in your argument, but I take issue with your (decidedly informal) use of dystopia as a reference for why exceptionally divergent systems of governance shouldn't be attempted.

 

If anything, the content of dystopian fiction is an argument in favor of social change in the hopes of avoiding an ultimate depravity and civilization-wide cultural doom.

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Saggy

 

 

Community =! Civilisation. Otter's technically right, the relevance of civilisation to communist theory is an entirely different question.

One could be pedantic and state that there's no such thing as a successful civilisation given that all societies in history have crumbled at one time or another, thus making the point moot. In any case the retort to that is that the lack of non hierarchical societies has more to do with the fluidity of power structures throughout history than it does with the notion that people can't make a barbecue without a chef, if you excuse the extremely vague metaphor.

Sorry for the late reply here, but let's say, for the purposes of this conversation, that a civilization needs to consist of at least... Eh let's say .2M people and function for a decade to be considered 'successful'. A rather generous application of the term but I think it still holds up. It's worth noting, though, that this is a bit of a fool's errand; civilization by it's very definition requires hierarchical power structures. An anarchic civilization is an oxymoron. Successful large scale anarchy just hasn't ever happened yet.

I'd argue that, yes, we could all barbecue without a chef, but it would not take long for someone to begin hoarding the hotdogs. I know this is a cyclical argument, but I haven't seen any proof to the contrary that wasn't sweeping some larger, scarier, truth under the rug. Or perhaps I read too many dystopian novellas? :p.

 

I looked at the Wiki article provided by Hayduke for five minutes and found a society which meets those criteria...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zomia_(geography)

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Otter

@tyler - You can't deny the other side of the coin - and there are many examples from Ayn Rand to episodes of Star Trek - dystopian views of the horrors of political correctness run amok, for example (everyone's favorite goofy example being Demolition Man) or the classic trope of the utopia that was achieved at the cost of some fundamental freedom. So no, I wasn't speaking of the genre in general, and I'd love to have a further conversation with you about this topic because I find any sweeping generalizations about such a large body of work to be incredibly frustrating - sci-fi in particular.

 

But you're right, it was a flippant tangential remark. :p

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Otter

 

 

 

Community =! Civilisation. Otter's technically right, the relevance of civilisation to communist theory is an entirely different question.

One could be pedantic and state that there's no such thing as a successful civilisation given that all societies in history have crumbled at one time or another, thus making the point moot. In any case the retort to that is that the lack of non hierarchical societies has more to do with the fluidity of power structures throughout history than it does with the notion that people can't make a barbecue without a chef, if you excuse the extremely vague metaphor.

Sorry for the late reply here, but let's say, for the purposes of this conversation, that a civilization needs to consist of at least... Eh let's say .2M people and function for a decade to be considered 'successful'. A rather generous application of the term but I think it still holds up. It's worth noting, though, that this is a bit of a fool's errand; civilization by it's very definition requires hierarchical power structures. An anarchic civilization is an oxymoron. Successful large scale anarchy just hasn't ever happened yet.

I'd argue that, yes, we could all barbecue without a chef, but it would not take long for someone to begin hoarding the hotdogs. I know this is a cyclical argument, but I haven't seen any proof to the contrary that wasn't sweeping some larger, scarier, truth under the rug. Or perhaps I read too many dystopian novellas? :p.

I looked at the Wiki article provided by Hayduke for five minutes and found a society which meets those criteria...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zomia_(geography)

 

 

A highly contentious view, to be sure, but obviously any stateless people would be difficult to define. But are we to take away that Zomia is a land of multiple societies that are all free of patriarchy, religion, etc? Certainly an interesting place to read about.

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