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–5 votes
how close has society gotten, at any time/place, to a desirable, generally anarchist position? when/where, how long did it last, & what did it look like? (apart from the days of men dwelling in caves, of course)
I want to answer this, but before I trot out Spain, or the Ukraine, or wherever, I want to know: why apart from the days of men dwelling in caves? Apparently this should be obvs, but it isn't.

Not an anarcho-primitivist,

yay! let's talk about when the men are in the caves and the women are playing video games and everyone else is at the beach...
those are the best days of all.

edited for accuracy. :)
@ingrate- just a pre-emptive measure to avoid those that would like to stray from my intended meaning, tho i am unaware of their number on this site.
dot- if I could upvote your comment, I totally would ;)

(12 characters)

2 Answers

–3 votes
Anthropologist named Malinowski visited the Trobrianders on an island in the Pacific in the late 1800's.
It was the least neurotic population he came across in all his research and operated under a system of matriarchy in which the parents built huts on the edge of the villages where the adolescents could explore their sexuality with compete freedom. there was no criminality and no leaders.
It would be more accurate to say they where ALL leaders or ALL had leadership qualities.
The fact that they lived in a society within which children where not infected with the neurotic plague that we see in patriarchal systems meant that the masses did not need leadership to tell them what to do simply because their natural leadership that they were born with was not destroyed as is the case in our patriarchal social system.
They had a natural morality as opposed to our system of compulsive morality.
There are 2 books by Wilhelm Reich which shed alot of light on this subject. In 'The invasion of compulsory sex-morality' he asseses Malinowski's research by the Trobrianders and in 'Mass psychology of Fascism' he explains very convincingly why we so neurotically have a need for leadership. Must reads for serious anarchists.
matriarchy is not compatible with anarchy, any more than patriarchy is.  just saying...
+2 votes
"Anarchist state" is a contradiction in terms but certain geographical regions have experienced a degree of anarchy or anarchistic social structures in recent history.

Southeastern Spain during the mid-1930s is often brought up as an example, maybe most famously by George Orwell (writer of 1984 and Animal Farm) when he traveled to Spain to fight in a socialist militia and later wrote about his experience and particularly his admiration for the anarchist-controlled region of Catalonia.

The Free Territory that existed primarily in southeastern Ukraine during roughly 1918-1921 tends to get brought up.

There was an anarchist region somewhere in Korea during 1929-1932.

The Mexican Revolution had significant anarchist elements (often referred to as Zapatistas, Magonistas, or rarely, "liberals" of a certain variety) and there were some anarchist strongholds that held out against the end of the revolution.

And of course there's little to point either way to what extent anarchy might have existed in any number of ancient societies with no recorded history, or a history recorded and interpreted by people with their own ideological biases. Men in caves.

And-and, as an important sidenote to this, framing the question in terms of "society" doesn't necessarily specify the scale you're talking about. Are anarchist neighborhoods included here? Anarchist cities? Packs of anarchistic nomads with no set geographical region to claim? If anarchistic relationships and interactions happen within a society that might otherwise not be anarchist, does this count as becoming closer to an anarchist "society" (or a destruction of society as we know it)?

This is a really old question so I doubt these semi-rhetorical counterpoints are going to get answered, but looking at this particular Q&A didn't seem satisfactory to me.
by (8.7k points)