Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

How do you respond to idiots that think that Somalian society is "anarchy"?

+7 votes
I'm getting pretty damn tired of hearing it!
asked Apr 29, 2010 by enkidu (6,110 points)
cookies!                                    !

5 Answers

+3 votes
 
Best answer
You can easily say, that although there is not recognized state (or there is, that just controls few districts in Mogadishu), it's not anarchy. There is Somaliland, Puntland and the south that is now controlled by islamists. In all these areas there are authorities with their police force, bureaucrats, laws, armies and justice. Just by not having internationally recognized government doesn't mean that those places are without authority, there is central authority, and in many places very strict authority.

If people look for anarchy, better to look to different indigenous areas, although formally part of some state, but practically without much influence from said state.
answered Sep 17, 2011 by rot (480 points)
selected Jan 28, 2016 by dot
+5 votes
the problem is that technically the idiots are correct; somalia has been without a functioning government and state for over a decade.

one response to that observation is that there are no anarchists in somalia (at least none that we've heard about), and that the state there was deliberately destroyed not by anarchists, but by the u.s. military, and the u.s. military is neither a humanitarian nor a progressive outfit.

anarchists and other anti-state radicals would have destroyed the somali state in order to liberate the somalis from government, all the while encouraging somalis to remember how to go about organizing themselves to fulfill their own needs outside the realm of capitalism and statecraft.

the destruction of government in a situation where class domination still exists means the nakedly oppressive rule of the most powerful class without any pretense to legitimate authority (like parliamentary democracy or something similarly goofy): in other words "warlords" and "pirates." the destruction of governments and states needs to include the destruction of all institutionalized hierarchies (class-based, gender-based, ethnicity-based, etc) -- otherwise all you get is the brutal chaos seen in somalia, parts of haiti, parts of afghanistan...
answered Apr 29, 2010 by lawrence (610 points)
–5 votes
The problem is a misunderstanding of Anarchism.  Anarchism is not synonymous with chaos; rather than being characterized by a lack of organization, anarchism is actually a type of organization.  Anarchism is a way of organizing a society such that no one has any more or less power than anyone else.

Anarchism is not the lack of government, it is the lack of rulers.

The Somali situation is one where who ever has the most guns can wield coercive power over others.  That can either be local warlords or international warlords, like the U.S. forces, African Union forces, or Ethiopian Forces.

Part of the problem is that people see government as being the same as 'order.'  The truth is that governments create the vast majority of the chaos in this world.  The situation in Somalia is not chaotic now because there is no government, it is chaotic because of how it has been constantly abused over the past hundreds of years by governments, foreign and domestic.  

Governments do create a type of order, they create order among the ruling class so that they can make chaos for all the rest of us.
answered Apr 29, 2010 by Taigarun (1,720 points)
you seem to forget that human beings have instincts.
i wonder wtf you were thinking about taigarun, having now had more exposure to your thinking, most of which doesn't seem as wingnutty as this answer from a year ago.
anarchism is not the lack of government? really?
anarchism is, among other things, absolutely the recognition that government always means rulers. surely that is basic to an anarchist understanding? can you explain that sentence, if not any of the others here?

biomecanoid, what do you mean?
Dot, I agree with you.  Government always means having rulers.  What I was saying is that you can have rulers without having government.

I don't agree with everything I said, but I think the sentence you took issue with is the one that makes the most sense here.

My perspectives have changed over the last year, to be more insurrectionary and more nihilist.

I think the analysis I gave of Somalia is very shallow and lacking.  I specifically think that autonomous movements in Somalia do deserve more attention.

I think the things I said in the first paragraph are one way to look at what anarchism is, but certainly not the only one.

Could you tell me what other ideas you disagreed with?  Do you not agree that governments exist to make a peace between the ruling class so that they can better exploit us?  Do you not agree that people call Somalia 'Anarchy' or 'Chaos' because they think Government=Order?
ok. that makes sense. i guess i didn't read it the way you meant it, and perhaps that is more on me than on you.
i may have been distracted by the "anarchy is a type of organization" even though that isn't what i spoke to in my comment.
0 votes
The mistake there is reducing anarchism to rejection of the state. Anarchism has always been more than that and so anarchy means "without rulers" and rulers can be your boss or the local feudal lord or a street gang who wants to exploit a community through extortion.

From the few things that i have read about Somalia, even though there is not a funtioning state, Islamic clerics have a local ruling function and so they impose sharia law and its horrible punishments on things like adultery.
answered Sep 11, 2011 by iconoclast (3,250 points)
+2 votes
anarchy is no authority, not just no state. simple.
answered Oct 1, 2011 by scum (710 points)
...