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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15894/mutual-aid-and-spontaneous-order-the-anarchism-of-peter-kropotkin/

Mutual Aid and Spontaneous Order: The Anarchism of Peter Kropotkin

March 4, 2011 by

Kropotkin is one of the half-dozen cases of famous anarchocommunists that I would say are worth a second look. FULL ARTICLE by Jeff Riggenbach


Amanojack March 4, 2011 at 9:54 am

Nice article on spontaneous order. What a surprise. There is more in common between AnCaps and AnComms that meets the eye, and that is a good thing. Just get those AnComms to see self-evident economic truths and clear away the word fluff and they will join.

A Liberal in Lakeview March 5, 2011 at 3:35 am

Yes, the remarks about spontaneous order are illuminating. Especially enjoyable were the slaps to the faces of Darwinism and Hobbesism. I was left with the impression that a fair subtitle would be “Statism Is A Revolt Against Nature”.

As for converting AnComms, the project will be difficult to complete. Take this guy for example. Not only is he sympathetic to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement but also he claims that “Anarchism” is consistent with a “federative model, in which groups send representants to a higher-level group, which itself sends representants to a higher-level group, and so on”.

In other words, that Anarchist is a communist who believes in getting to the paradise by sweeping away existing governments rather than by taking them over through ballot or bullet. Once governments are gone, he’d roll out his “federative model”. “[W]e all live on one world”, he writes, “and our decisions affect everyone else, so we really have no choice in the matter.”

If you can cleanse his thinking of all that pollution, I’ll walk naked through city hall.

I live in Chicago.

Nick March 6, 2011 at 1:20 am

There is nothing to join. They are already anarchists. The extra-anarchist adjectives just reflect differing beliefs about what a stateless society will “look like”. As Anna Morgenstern said in Without Adjectives

“All anarchists, that is to say, all people who understand that no one is authorized to commit crimes, have one goal if they wish to see their desired future(s) come to pass, which is to destroy the myth of legitimacy. This is the one way that one can smash the state. Now there are several strategies and methods that might be used to do so, but everything that does not attack the myth of legitimacy directly or indirectly is extra-anarchist…. Where we disagree as anarchists is less important than where we agree.

A lot of “left” anarchists will claim, for instance, that anarcho-capitalists are not actually anarchists. This, to me, seems like confusion about what capitalism means to anarcho-capitalists. By the light of what leftist anarchists mean by “capitalism,” anarcho-capitalists are not non-anarchists, they are non-capitalists. And the reverse holds true too. An anarcho-socialist is not the sort of socialist that an anarcho-capitalist thinks of as “socialist.” But all anarchists believe that the state is nonsense and has no right to assert some sort of magical authority to do things that you or I cannot.

For the most part, and for good reason, anarcho-capitalists believe the market — spontaneous order — will produce a libertarian society (not the same as converting everyone to libertarians). If that’s true, then getting those other “types” of anarchists “to see” anything is a lot less important than, say, getting minarchists “to see” that the state is neither necessary nor legitimate.

Sione March 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Regarding the topic of spontaneous order, there is a fascinating book by Kevin Kelly on the subject. The title is “Out of Control.”

Spontaneous order is natural. It’d be a good idea to allow it in human affairs.


agdrummer March 5, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I really enjoyed the article,it was most interesting. Thanks Mr. Riggenbach

Paul Stephens March 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I didn’t know about Bookchin’s encounters with Rothbard and with the rest of the free market libertarian movement. I posted this to a list which includes Brian Tokar and others associated with the Institute for Social Ecology, but they didn’t respond to it.
Apparently, there aren’t many of us equally comfortable with Left and Right Libertarianism. I’ll try again with Emma Goldman and Rudolf Rocker. Rocker was totally new to me, by the way. And obviously of the first importance.

A. Viirlaid March 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm

And the essence of that work was the updating and further popularization of an idea traceable to Peter Kropotkin: the idea that if human beings are freed from the burden of the state, they will naturally find a way to live peaceably together; they will create a spontaneous order and live in it harmoniously. The idea remains an enticing one.

So the idea is that once we are “freed from the burden of an oppressive state”, we “will naturally find a way to live peaceably together”. (Sounds to me like Americans revolting against unfair British rule.)

We will then “create a spontaneous order”. (Perhaps enacted by the People’s Representatives?)

The question arises of whether this “spontaneous order” could include a Federal Government, a Judiciary, and a Constitution and Bill of Rights? (Maybe created partially via a Continental Congress?)

If it could, then what leads such a Federal Government to later develop into something that no longer reflects this “spontaneous order” within which we can all continue to “live harmoniously”?

For it does seem to me that there must be a problem in the ‘governing’ evolutionary process. Namely, in the social evolution (or devolution) that allows for what was so hopeful initially and so positively congruent with The People’s wishes (e.g. American Revolution) to degenerate. (Or so it seems in my observations.)

We have a promising “harmonious” existence which becomes over time more and more depressingly hopeless. It seems that the longer this initially-hopeful Government exists, the more it becomes counterproductive and acts against the long-term stability of the “harmonious life” that it spontaneously arose from, presumably as a guarantor of that harmonious life.

The problem somehow arises when that spontaneously-arisen Government morphs over time into something that no longer conforms to what actually at the start “spontaneously” arose as a reflection of “harmonious” order.

What causes this retrograde movement? Is it something in Human Nature? Is it something in the “competitive” nature of the political arena? Is it within the advancement of science and technology? Where is this effect coming from? Is it coming from the complexity of Modern Life and the multicultural world we live and work and trade in?

It certainly seems to be in opposition to the Hobbesian idea that “coercive” governments were established to prevent a “‘war of all against all’ [which made...] the life of the average human ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’”
Because now it is the government itself which has become dysfunctional and no longer reflects that which spontaneously arose so hopefully around the time of the American Revolution.

Whatever serves to create this disorder over time, it does seem that this process also arises “spontaneously”, and therefore seems to demand a periodic revisitation of how we organize and run our Western democracies. In other words, it seems to demand a periodic Renewal.

In my opinion, this argument, if valid, suggests that we not only vote periodically for our People’s Representatives as at every normal Election.
It seems also to suggest that we (much less frequently, perhaps once a century) revisit and vote for a reordering of what originally arose spontaneously to reflect our wishes as a Governing Paradigm.

In other words, we create a process that allows us every so often to re-create that spontaneous order so as to continue living in it harmoniously —— anything else would seem to lead to gridlock and chaos, where The People’s Spontaneous Order is no longer reflected in their public institutions. Or even worse, instead of gridlock, the current status quo could lead back to Revolution.

Or do the readers here think that the normal election cycle and the current political process is up to this task?

Or alternatively, do contributors here think that NO government can exist alongside the “spontaneous” rise of harmonious living and order after the “burden of the state” is removed?

A. Viirlaid March 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm

The necessary changes will provoke immense squawking from the interests concerned. But in economic legislation there is a universal aphorism: the loudest squawks come from those whose unjustified privileges are to be abolished.

See “THE EVILS OF CRONYISM” BY MARTIN HUTCHINSON for why a RENEWAL of American Democracy and American Government is necessary.


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