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How does Anarchism work in a big city?

+1 vote
Hey, I'm A democratic Socialist, and I'm very curious about Anarchism. I understand how it would work in a agricultural society, but I live in New York City. How  would Anarchism work in a city of 8 million people? Thanks!
asked Apr 10, 2014 by anonymous
I'd say it wouldn't or perhaps that the city itself would go through a period of organic change.
Most of the active folks on here are anti-civ to one degree or another so you probably won't find the answer I suspect you're looking for here.

This might be of interest, but personally I wouldn't call Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War 'anarchist':
http://roarmag.org/2012/09/living-utopia-a-hopeful-lesson-from-anarchist-catalonia/

2 Answers

+1 vote
It already does.
Anything that isn't directed by a government agency or a central corporate cabal already exists in a form of anarchy.  People do what needs done.  They talk with each other to decide what needs done.  They live their lives, and they let a little anarchy in.  Governments and corporations just hang around the edges, pretending to be necessary.
"But the market provides ..."  The market doesn't provide shit.  People provide. And they do so because of a common mass-delusion involving computer bits representing colored pieces of paper representing the shiny rocks that used to sit in a now empty vault....?  And if tomorrow there were no more bits or papers or shiny rocks, then they'd probably get up and do it anyway - if what they did was useful - because it was useful and someone was counting on them and because they were actually human beings and not just a factor in some vicious economic equation.

The current classic is
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-anarchy-works
it is long but well indexed.  If you have a "yeah, but..." Peter has probably already answered it with a practical example.

I'll add this, just because i personally like it:
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/margaret-killjoy-take-what-you-need-and-compost-the-rest-an-introduction-to-post-civilized-theo
especially the section::  If We Had Our Way
"What does a city look like if it’s not a city anymore?"
you probably won't find it reassuring.  But I'd point out that cities are more figment than fact, mostly villages that grew until they ran into each other and melded along the borders.  Some shared infrastructure sure, but even now surprisingly different socially and culturally, even a few blocks away.

There are probably others, that'll do for a start.

Good luck.
(ps:  plant edibles, you're probably gonna need them.)
answered Apr 11, 2014 by clodbuster (1,950 points)
Not really in favor of the domination of institutions, especially those of civil society. I don't think such a vision could be considered an anarchy and it would be fairly easy to expose the existence of a state coming from any element within this giant mess of institutions that aren't the government or corporations. Religious ones as well as philosophic ones and by religion I am also including the ugly ones that want a religious state. By philosophic ones, I'm including the ones that favor hierarchy as a method of efficiency.

Giant democratic organs, like those envisioned by Bookchin, may rule the day and Bookchin had to admit his vision is not an anarchist one. The state would find its way into any mass society vision. I won't stop your revolution, but I also won't call such things an anarchist society unless it meant only a society dominated by people calling themselves anarchists.
just so we're clear - i agree w/ your criticism of mass society (i was trying to be gentle on a newbie).  Any commitee/overlord that can impose their will is by nature hierarchical - and by its nature unacceptable.  Any society dominated by any philosophy, even anarchy, is obviously a dominion - and is equally horrifying.  We've really set ourselves a dilemma there, haven't we?
+2 votes
if you think that anarchy is what is normal, and normal people do it every day, unnoticed and uncelebrated (crimethinc), then see clodbuster's answer.
if you think that anarchy will mean that how things are produced and worked with won't change that much, that mostly what will change is how decisions get made and who makes them, then anarchy in new york could work through people breaking into smaller groups - like workers councils. and perhaps you'd like to read michael albert's parecon books.
if you think that anarchy requires a shift in how we conceive the land and our place on it, then it's not possible in new york, as new york currently stands. see green anarchy (the us magazine that came out for a number of years), green anarchist (from the uk), etc. (or you can keep visiting this question and perhaps one of our resident greenies will break it down more.)
answered Apr 11, 2014 by dot (50,920 points)
edited Apr 11, 2014 by dot
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