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How do anarchists respond to the "Hitler would have won without the Allied forces" baloney?

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asked Dec 13, 2012 by anonymous
I would agree? other groups like anarchists and communists recognized what a serious threat hitler was much sooner, and they may have been more ethically consistent in how they fought back, but I'm glad nobody was relying on anarchists to defeat the nazis...

although I often think about how differently the rest of the 20th century might have gone if a charismatic anarchist had assassinated Hitler (which almost happened a few times)...

(I may not have understood what you were getting at with this question though: perhaps you could explain a little more?)
i expect the comment about "hitler winning if not for allies" refers to the need for organized militaries to combat evil enemies, (since anarchists weren't enough to win against hitler themselves).
which seems like a fairly standard occurrence of gauging reality by reality's standards - or accepting the status quo. in a situation in which anarchists had more power, the world would have been different enough that germany might not exist at all (no borders, anyone?), or that there wouldn't have been the depression that germany was suffering from between the two world wars, that culturally allowed for jews et al to be scapegoated, etc etc.
part of the point of anarchy is that there is not the kind of top down structure that enables a charismatic leader to run amok...

but yes, the question is how do anarchists deal with non anarchists who want to subjugate them... and the answer (i think) continues to be that anarchists will deal with it in various ways, depending on the scenario. how else would be possible?
oh ok I get it now

I'd say though that it's still perhaps not baloney. For me, the situation of a total, global lack of hierarchy is an extremely distant possibility. I think that historically it has almost always been more of a situation where zones of autonomy exist uncomfortably at the margins or interstices of evil empires, but generally the people living in these zones would not at all have the ability to ever militarily defeat forces aiming to subjugate them.

On the rare occasions when anarchists have tried engaging in a full on military confrontation with some enemy, they've fared really badly. So I think that saying that we will 'deal with it in various ways' is definitely a true answer, but if we ever want to 'win' we might want to think about that more...
both starhawk's book (Sacred Thing title, i think) and a better book by pat murphy called The City, Not Long After, deal with anarchic society dealing with attempted violent overthrow. the ending of The City wasn't satisfying to me, but the tactics she posited were interesting. as much for what they say about conflict today as what they suggest for Other situations.
also philip k. dick wrote a short story (this might appeal to you more?), i think called "The Last of the Masters".

ahhhh, science fiction :D
In retrospect this is sort of getting out of hand. I have no idea what this question has to do with "anarchy 101" but you take what you can get, eh?

1 Answer

0 votes
A) Godwin's Law, having to resort to testing unfamiliar ideas against the most infamous mass-murdering dictator in history generally means you've run out of better arguments.
B) It's ignorant and dishonest not to see the similar authoritarian tendencies (nationalism) within this society albeit not as spectacular perhaps (not yet anyway). If everyday people were to responsibly ask, in good faith, what traditions, what principles, and what philosophical ideas lead to that mess, they might then instead recognize the utility of those that sought to avoid it. However modest it may be, anarchist ideas could very well be influencing society at large in some small measure (and thus perhaps all the more vital!).

C) As dot's first comment alludes, the hideous spectacle that Hitler became would not have been possible under radically different social, historical, material, and economic conditions.  

D) Hitlers forces were eventually weakened by oil/gasoline shortages. It's difficult to imagine how such problems would play out these days given that states now have to contend with peak-oil limitations in both war and within civil society. Hard to say with certainty but we don't know if "Hitler" is even possible in the same way, or on such a grand scale, in the new millennium.
answered Dec 17, 2012 by skitter (4,320 points)
edited Dec 17, 2012 by skitter