This piece is the tenth essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.” A fundamental difference between anarchism and statism is that anarchists do not assume that public officials are any more morally entitled to use force or to threaten people with violence than anyone else.
Classical liberalism emerged as a radical ideology, challenging the status quo of monarchy, mercantilism, religious tyranny, and the ancien regime. The liberals promoted two ideals, markets and democracy, as alternatives to the old despotisms. Yet markets and democracy seemed to be at odds.
There has long been a certain kind of democratic spirit in anarchism. Of course when we bring forth the imagery of statist and authoritarian injustice, we feel the rhetorical pull to illustrate it as a collective issue, one that is relevant and applicable to all.
The relationship between democracy and anarchism is undoubtedly a contentious one. In his work The Principle of Federation1, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon makes it clear that democracy has an important legacy to respect. Because Proudhon declared that Universal Suffrage was above The Republic, he had to evaluate the character of democracy in ideal terms. Proudhon categorized democracy…
As a working definition of democracy, I think about the best we can do is this description of anarchy in Pyotr Kropotkin’s 1911 Britannica article on anarchism — the attainment of harmony: “…not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free arrangements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional,…
Philosophical Considerations If we had the luxury of sticking to the philosophical terrain, the question of distinguishing anarchy and democracy would, it seems to me, pose very few problems. Certainly, it would be unlikely to pose the persistent, seemingly intractable problems that it does at present. Anarchy describes the absence of rule, while democracy describes…
This piece is the fourth essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.” Democracy is a word that evokes an array of affective responses depending on time, place, and people involved. For the Patriot movement, democracy stimulates a constellation of ideals, values, and principles.
This piece is the third essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.” Democracy: the universal war cry of justice. We’re told by the left — both moderate and radical — that all socio-political problems almost always arise from a pure lack of democracy.
This piece is the second essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.” “Democracy” and “anarchism” are broad, vague, and hotly contested terms. Even if we stick to specific definitions, there are still arguments about what these definitions mean in practice.
This piece is the opening essay in the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium: “Anarchy and Democracy.” Fighting over the definitions of words can sometimes seem like a futile and irrelevant undertaking. However, it’s important to note that whatever language gets standardized in our communities shapes what we can talk and think about.
Mutual Exchange is the Center for a Stateless Society’s effort to achieve mutual understanding through dialogue. Following one of the most divisive Presidential elections in recent American history and a dangerous victor’s contested ascension to power, the political climate is one of intense ideological strife and disagreement.