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How would an anarchist society have a military without a hierarchy?

0 votes
asked Sep 24, 2015 by anonymous
It depends on what you mean by a military? As I understand the term, a military or armed forces is a government sponsored fighting organization, whose existence is to further or enforce foreign or domestic policies of their government. So based on that, I'd say an anarchist society wouldn't have a military to begin with.
if you search for spanish civil war and/or lawrence on this site, you will find more comments and answers about the example of that time, when anarchists were actively fighting. you can also look to the example of rojava today, which apparently has fighting groups that have rotating/situational authority.

1 Answer

+2 votes
It seems likely that a formal military (like a standing one, the sort we would be familiar with in modern times) would be incompatible with anarchy - if a part of what we are against is class society and/or social stratification, maintaining a specialized warrior class seems pretty unanarchic (as human pointed out in their comment).

That doesn't mean anarchists can't fight or wage war or defend themselves. Some examples include the Makhnovschina in the Ukraine, who waged both offensive and defensive war through the Ukraine during the Russian Revolution (against both the Red and White armies), The anarchist militias of the CNT/FAI during the Spanish Revolution, or arguably, currently in Kurdish resistance to both Turkey and ISIS especially in terms of the YPG & YPJ forces, though there are a lot of folks who question the pedigree of Kurdish anarchism.

I think it is also possible to look to the fighting forces from various indigenous cultures that were not explicitly anarchist but that were non- or less- hierarchical, There are examples of these from almost every continent, if one takes the time to look for them.
answered Sep 26, 2015 by ingrate (23,670 points)
edited Sep 26, 2015 by ingrate