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is anarchism political?

+4 votes
is it a political position?
asked May 6, 2010 by anonymous

3 Answers

+5 votes
 
Best answer
If by "politics" you mean a question of power relations, then yes anarchism is political. If by "politics" you mean a system of representational legislative functions, then yes, anarchists propose to destroy it. If by "politics" you mean interest in the functions of the state and government, then yes anarchists want to destroy that too.

Anarchists and other radicals are anti-political in that we all want to live our lives without the dubious so-called benefits of living under a system of statist politics, whether democratic, autocratic, dictatorial...
answered May 6, 2010 by lawrence (13,580 points)
0 votes
Politics is defined as "the relationship within a group that allow particular people to have power over others."  This definition is as applicable to the functioning of the US as it is to what gets called "office politics," or the tensions within groups of friends.

Anarchism is about building new relationships with one another where you can have power with instead of power over.  We solve problems by working together on a voluntary basis.  So our real work is against politics.  We are against the politics of how states rule over subjects, we are against the politics of how men rule over women, we are against the politics of how white people rule over people of color, etc.
Anarchist do have a position, but it is a philosophical position, not a political position.

In the US this is muddled because people tend to define politics as "what you think should happen," which ironically is a question not of politics but of philosophy.  People have trouble seeing this in the US because the philosophy of classical liberalism is taught to us from a very young age.  The philosophy is so widespread and unrecognized that people think of it as 'truth' instead of philosophy.  (In the US, people on the street who have never heard of John Locke will argue his ideas with you.  This is very common and very disturbing.)
answered May 6, 2010 by Taigarun (1,740 points)
–1 vote
This questioner also asks "is anarchism a political position?"  However, the previous two answers refer to the first question "is anarchism political," and, I think, the more interesting of the two.

There are many definitions of "politics" that include the dynamic of "power over."  For example "use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control."  Other definitions seem somewhat circular "the science or art of political government" or "the practice or profession of conducting political affairs."  More surprising and somewhat heartening is the following wikipedia definition "Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions."  Now I didn't read the entry that carefully, but as I skimmed it, I could clearly tell that whoever authored it isn't an anarchist.

Yet that description "politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions" is not a bad one.  The basis of the word, "politic" has definitions that include "astute, ingenius; wary, discreet" which I think lend themselves to idea of "power over."  But do they have to?  I've seen all these qualities exhibited in a positive way in decision-making, as well as a negative way.

So I'm really answering "what is politics" not "is anarchism political" here, but I think the one answer is partially found in the other.
answered May 6, 2010 by whiskeyjack (100 points)
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