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0 votes
I am asking this question in earnest, as I have seen frequent references to a belief/goal in "smashing the state." There are over 300 million in the United States, with a wide spectrum of beliefs, affiliations. Do anarchists believe in the dissolution of the constitution for example?

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4 Answers

+3 votes
I don't know whether to say that anarchists believe in the "dissolution of the Constitution" because that seems like an oddly specific and petty concept. Doing away with the Constitution as a legal document is a miniscule act compared to the whole intent of the anarchist project.

Then again, a lot of Americans with a vague notion of "freedom" in mind tend to think in terms of Constitutionalism being the ultimate protector of liberty and justice, so maybe this question is important to some people...

Another problem with this question, though, is that it maybe implies that "smashing the state" is a singular and definite moment in time, whereas I would say that the process of destroying modern capitalist society (and its institutions) is bound to be an ongoing occurrence until the day it fades from memory - speaking in grandiose, hypothetical terms.

That is to say, it's not necessarily a matter of "how will people cooperate and organize after the rev", because the process of destruction is bound to involve cooperation and affinity and creating new commonalities and relationships.

At the same time: it's not even necessary to envision a new form of social organization to replace the present. The urge to destroy the present is enough.
by (8.7k points)
+2 votes
Anarchists envision no form of government (or "government" if you prefer) after the state is smashed. That's a minimal definition of anarchism: no government.

Since the Constitution is an outline of what the Founders thought was a good way to form a government, it only makes sense that anarchists would ignore it. A further problem with the worldview inherent in it is the whole rights-based discourse, which most regulars here (and many other anarchists) abhor.

The enshrining of rights, duties, and obligations of a government toward its citizens (and vice versa) is the basis of duping people into believing that government is a correct, just, and humane mechanism for solving class-based conflicts. Anarchists call bullshit on that.
by (570 points)
+2 votes
as lawrence alluded, anarchists don't believe in "dissolution of the constitution" because, for one thing, that would require a body to dissolve it and that body of people would be representing other people, and representation means that people are not doing for themselves (to be simplistic for the sake of this example). ignoring the constitution, as it is a document of state-craft, is more what anarchists (would) do.

some anarchists just want government and capitalism gone, and define those in more constrained ways (ie, government = people with a certain amount of power; capitalism = individuals at a certain remove from production who yet control production). other anarchists see capitalism and the state as philosophical and psychological constructs as much as material ones, and believe that we all participate in those constructs and so we all need to change before anarchy can actually happen sustainably.

bolo'bolo is a good (not perfect) idea of how it might work to have many different people living in different ways that are on some level compatible.
it seems to me that the most practical anarchists are the least visionary; imagination suffers when people try to figure out steps for how to get from where we are now, to where we want to be.
what kind of anarchist one is probably depends a lot on whether one thinks that creativity is more helpful than practicality or vice versa.

this site tends to err on the side of visionary, and it sounds like you're more interested in practicality. that could be good for both of us, but is more likely to leave all feeling dissatisfied. :(

it would be great if they weren't so opposed.
by (53.1k points)
"the most practical anarchists are the least visionary; imagination suffers when people try to..."

sorry, dot.  gotta call bullshit on this.

i think there might be visionary, and be delusionary, and the vast expanse of grey in between.  

If i plant a stand of timber today, that i will never live to see harvested;  am i visionary?  am i practical?  or do i exist outside of a false dichotomy?

[edit:  deleted the sugar plums, pixie asses, and a few other things that no longer made sense in light of day. ]
the point of my dichotomy was not to be True, but to point to tendencies.
it is easy to point out that these things do not need to be opposed, but i stand by my observation that (here, at least) they usually are.

but perhaps what seems clarifying to me seems constraining to you.
i think i probably just misunderstood the point you were making.
or rather, read the tendency part and then lost it in other thoughts that bubbled up.  sigh.
–1 vote
I see one of voluntary cooperation, one that has no men with guns ordering us around, no flashy light box mind manipulations to keep us in line, so that the men with guns don't actually have to push us around physically, just in our minds.  Instead of stopping at an empty intersection because the light is red we will yield and proceed when safe to do so.

'Government' without a state will be an exercise in personal self discipline.
Responsibility and reputation will become things that will shape our decisions.

Town hall meetings will take place online and in person, voting will occur, but dissent will not be crushed by oppression, or derision.

Monetary wealth will be replaced with quality of life, no longer will we work for tax freedom day, no longer will the fortunate few hire thugs to keep us in the factories and themselves in power.

What government will look like in the absence of a repressive state apparatus will be an exercise in imagination, restricted only by desire and ability.
by (320 points)