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+1 vote
Lets say that there is a community and no central government or hierarchical order. Then people in the group decide to make rules and threaten violence to those that don't follow. The group gains power and a government is formed in a community.

Basically what I am asking is, What if some people decide to use force and people can't stop them? What would prevent this from happening?
by (290 points)

if one takes critiques of civilization at all seriously, it doesn't take much to point out this already happened and no one was able to prevent it. perlman for example. the more important question is, how are we going to adjust, live and flourish with what's happening ever since?

3 Answers

+3 votes
generally speaking, if the group is autonomous and they all agree to have rules and enforcement, i say let em have at it. they are not anarchists. if they try to impose their rules beyond their group, they will be met with the force of all who oppose them. like this anarchist and my well-armed voluntary associates.

but perhaps more to the point, if some people decide to impose their will on others, and those others are incapable or unwilling to prevent that - even with all their trusted comrades - then i guess they are fucked. kind of like... most of modern human history. nobody i know, anarchist or otherwise, has any silver bullet for changing people's minds and behaviors. (lead bullets, maybe, heh heh).

one thought is that in a different world (community, whatever) - one where there were no hierarchical institutions etc - people would think and act differently than they do in this democrapitalistic shithole that is so ingrained it is taken for granted by almost everyone. and the need/desire to impose on others would not be the status quo. folks could actually relate directly with those they choose to, and conflict would likely be handled quite differently.

that's just one thought.
by (13.4k points)
+1 vote
Your questions are somewhat self answering. If "people can't stop them" then the answer to "what would prevent this from happening" is to point back to the first question.

""Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."
- Thucydides (History of the Peloponnesian War)

However, there are a number of counters to this from an anthropological standpoint, a many of which boil down to "These types of power grabs actually happen all the time, so cultures tend to learn to prevent the ground state for them from coming into being." As a non-anarchist example of such counters, iirc Marx mentions in Capital Vol. 1 that for all the shit it gets, Feudalism is actually a defense strategy against Warlordism, breaking up unalloyed power into chains of interlocking rings which are individually severable and the lengths of which can be turned against other lengths.

Ostensibly, a putative anarchist community would develop some such strategies before making it to the third generation after its founding.
by (1.4k points)
Just to explain my question in a different way, If the majority in a community based on non-hierarchical free associations(anarchist community) decided to do things against the minorities will and thought this was all for the best, there is no international law saying "no forcing on others" and many communities are not going to build themselves around an anarchist ideology. So, sometimes, force may be seen as more convenient in certain times. In practice, would this not happen often in these self-governed communities?

international law doesn't keep bad things from happening to minorities.

what does force being "convenient" have to do with anything? (and whether it is convenient or not depends on the value system of the people involved.)

if your question is ultimately, how does one keep bad things from happening to groups of people in anarchy, the answer is that a) bad things are not entirely avoidable, and b) to the extent that bad things can be stopped, it will be by the people involved, not by presumably impartial bodies of people who are outside of the situation as part of some legal system.

"what does force being "convenient" have to do with anything? (and whether it is convenient or not depends on the value system of the people involved.)"

It has to do with the question. 

"international law doesn't keep bad things from happening to minorities."

That supports the point I am making. What would prevent a government or force on minorities. Obviously, a government to control an area is inconsistent with anarchy, but how often and what would prevent this? 

If you want to criticize all the points I make on this site, you could at least do better than pretending that my points don't have to do with anything. 

lol. i don't want to criticize all the points you make. i want to understand them. you and i (at the minimum) use language differently from each other. given that this is the only forum we have in common, it requires words and explanations if we're ever to understand each other.

perhaps what i should take away is that you have no interest in understanding me, or in me understanding you. in which case, you could clarify by adding "this is not for dot" to whatever i should know is not for me.

dot, then why are you so interested in questioning my statements?

You and others do criticize, there is nothing necessarily wrong with this, but why such a focus? Are my answers pathetic?

edit: Like this, from funkyanarchy, "i find it interesting that no matter how much folks here try to answer your questions and engage you to try to understand what you are really asking/talking about, your responses seem preformed, rigid and ideological."

Thucydides has your answer to what would prevent this: nothing. If we hypothesize that an agency capable of wielding a monopoly on force has already come into being, then by definition it can do whatever it wants and no one can prevent it from doing so. A putative anarchist society would need to have as part of its foundational, every day practices efforts to prevent such a monopoly on power from developing in the first place or the work of dismantling such things as have already come into being. As to the extension of this, what do anarchists do about such an entity that has come into being on the other side of the planet? The answer is probably absolutely nothing: a putative anarchist society has no theoretically tenable capacity to project force halfway around the world, and doing so were such a projection possible is politically dubious from an anarchist perspective.
dot, I don't want to get off topic, so anyways, anything having to do with communities using force and forming a government has to do with my question. Funkyanarchy's answer was a good answer to my question.
"Are my answers pathetic?"

zer0, i apologize for using that word (in another thread). it was unnecessary and probably reactive, even if i did find the statement i was reacting to quite annoying.

disagreement, when done in "good faith", can be a great source of learning. i sometimes have a hard time believing that you are engaging in "good faith", based on what you say and how you say it (often with a definitive, "this is how it is" tone, imo). but other times you have expressed thoughts quite clearly and without that definitive tone (even if i continue to disagree).
i wouldn't say your answers are pathetic, but i don't think they're carefully thought out, and regardless they're confusing to me. i'd like to understand them better. you seem to get defensive about my questions, and i'm not willing to take too much responsibility for your defensiveness.
i would have to say i agree with what dot says above. said better than my previous comment.
0 votes
What would prevent this from happening?  Widespread anarchist philosophy in the community.  To start using force and form a government is not OK, and anarchists would want to prevent this from happening and want to weaken the group to the point of irrelevance if it did take control.

They would "want" to do this, but they can't unless there are enough of them to meet force with force. This group -- which once formed becomes a new and distinct living thing -- is either a "good-guy" or a "bad-guy" depending on whether or not it respects and supports equal rights to life, liberty and (legitimate) property. If it is a bad-guy the good-guys have a responsibility to fight it in proportion to their ability to do so -- Spiderman.  To dominate is wrong, but to try to weaken dominators is right. If there are enough anarchists, this group will be short-lived. Today there are simply not enough anarchists in the world to prevent the pheonomenon you describe.
by (600 points)

Syrphant, have you read Against His-Story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman? I think you should, and would be curious to know about your reflections and thoughts about it.

Here is a link: