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how do anarchism, violence, mean/end get along? or don't?

0 votes
i get that anarchism does not agree with "ends justify means" type of understanding; and that it is against violence in general.

i also get that there's a distinction between different uses of violence -what i'd call destructive/productive (used by the powerful, aiming to destruct agency and re/produce power) and resistant/reactive uses-.

so ends don't justify means, but context/position does? but are contexts and positions so easily definable? how is it possible to dwell on this in a coherent way?

also, i would really appreciate if you could offer me some readings on the subject.
thanks in advance!

edited for tags
asked Oct 13, 2013 by anonymous
edited Jul 15, 2014 by dot
You should definitely reconsider your assumption that anarchism is inherently or explicitly against violence!

I also don't think it's accurate to say that anarchists (as a whole) have a position on ends justifying means. That phrase seems to imply a moralistic approach. From my perspective, I don't oppose certain tactics because they're "immoral", but rather because I don't believe that those tactics will have desirable results.
i have the assumption that anarchism has more space (than socialism, for example) of the discussion of the means, and it's that discussion i'm looking for, i'm not seeking for a moral code.

"having desirable results" is dependent on the way they are achieved on my part. i'm trying to figure out a space between opposing violence at once; but i'm also trying to avoid it from becoming so central that it defines all, and then the whole radicalness of the act is judged on how violent it is.

1 Answer

+1 vote
I think you are getting your information about what anarchists are for and against from some biased sources.

There is nothing about anarchism that is inherently opposed to violence, in fact, we have a rich tradition of violence against what we hate. Some of it was even effective.

As far as ends and means, I also think you are painting us (us being anarchists) with a broad brush that ignores a lot of nuance. There are anarchists who advocate bombings and assassinations, there are anarchists who are only in favor of actions against inanimate objects, and there are those who will tell you we need to not act in any way that reproduces the violence of society. Then there are those who don't give a shit.

Violence is present in life. I am both not a fan of violence (or, to be honest, interpersonal confrontation - funny, right?!), and I want to attack and destroy every vestige of the world that I hate. That urge towards violence has none of the moralism you imply. It is about hatred, it is about anger, and it is about acting in a way that I choose to act in that moment.

You seem to be trying to distinguish between "good" violence (windows smashed, molotovs thrown at cops/fascists, etc) and "bad" violence (cops, US bombs, prison, rape, etc). I am hesitant to categorize violence in these ways. It is, and we are all involved in it, explicitly or implicitly. It is a question, at least to me, of what is going to work in a given situation.

Here are some things you might like to read:

Against the Corpse Machine http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/ashen-ruins-against-the-corpse-machine-defining-a-post-leftist-anarchist-critique-of-violence

You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship http://theanarchistlibrary.org/authors/libertarian-socialist-organisation (I am generally not in agreement with the overall tome of this text, but I think it is worth reading, especially with...)

You Can't Blow Up a Social Relationship... But You Can Have Fun Trying! http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-you-can-t-blow-up-a-social-relationship-but-you-can-have-fun-trying

How Nonviolence Protects the State http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-how-nonviolence-protects-the-state

Pacifism as Pathology http://zinelibrary.info/files/pap_imposed.pdf

The Master's Tools http://littleblackcart.com/The-Masters-Tools.html (I just got this and haven't finished it, but it seems like it is valuable in addressing some of what you are exploring)

I also think that some of the ideas explored in the writings of assorted individualists, nihilists, and illegalists might be useful in fleshing out the ambivalence I am trying to express about violence.
answered Oct 13, 2013 by ingrate (23,670 points)
edited Nov 11, 2013 by ingrate
jeez why was my answer to this deleted... no fun allowed.jpg

anyway, violence rapport is unjustified and bamboozling... i dont know about yall, but i dont accept it.

rapport in the linguistic sense as used by benjamin whorf. i recommend reading Language, Thought and Reality, a collection of his essays
this is also not an answer, just a refutation (empty) and a reference to a book, neither of which count as answering the question.
please make into a comment.
make it into a comment if you want, but what im saying is that the linguistic construct 'violence' and its rapport is some whack bullshit, and this is really relevant to any discussion of 'violence'.

people get lost by words all the time. just read the fucking question, some liberal making up a monstrous story, building on bullshit.

linguistics are key.
if you mean that violence is a loaded word, and what it refers to linguistically is constructed in a way that one just cannot take it for granted and talk as if it has a coherent meaning, i would agree. but then again, you get the sense of what i mean by violence when i use it.

but, on the "some liberal making up a monstrous story", i'm neither a liberal, nor making a monstrous story.

i'm simply trying to talk about violence without either being labeled as liberal; or a sectarian judging the radicalness of any sort of act by its adherence to use of violent means. and your judgement only makes the question more valuable to me.

it's probably because of the assumption that i was a liberal opposing violence on all terms, and now i'm beginning to "see" that it's no so. well, it's quite the opposite actually. i was more for a "violence against the oppressors are welcome on my part", and accused anyone who would disagree as liberal. but now, i think some time should be spared to the discussion, rather than making people shut up by calling them liberals.
lilah, sk's posts are so inarticulate that i would definitely *not* assume that they were talking about you as a liberal, or your story as the monstrous one.
nor is it generally worthwhile to take online accusations too seriously. i'm sure you know that though. :)