Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Against Anarchy: The Politics Nonviolence, Civitas and p2p Democratization

I don't want to smash the state, I want to democratize it.

The following is a reverse-chronological anthologization of posts thinking democracy in relation to anarchist aspirations, nonviolent politics, and the question whether there really can be anything utopian about millions of citizens engaging in boring harm-reduction policy administration accountable both to consensus science and to its actual stakeholders on the public dime. Preview of coming attractions: if the world is not to be slaughterhouse forever, then the answer to that question has to be something like "yes."

Many of the aphorisms anthologized as Dispatches from Libertopia speak to these themes as well, I guess. As aphorisms go they are not as funny as you might like, but they don't take as long to read as my posts do.

Sometimes, in these posts I find myself trying to find new ways of talking about what seem to me very basic political ideas, even points of departure for political thinking as such. For example, there are quite a few posts that offer variations on the claim that taxation is indispensable to the creation and maintenance of public alternatives for the nonviolent adjudication of disputes rather than a form of violence, let alone the paradigmatic state violence. In spats with anarchist friends I offer up many variations on the argument that even though states notoriously can and do operate to rationalize violence and enforce hierarchies the struggle is not so much to smash states but to democratize them (as my slogan goes), since violence and hierarchy both precede and exceed state forms in a finite world shared by a diversity of stakeholders.

These can seem unconventional and even paradoxical ideas, and so I have to admit that people of good will can misunderstand or disagree with them. I know, of course, that there are plenty of people who are allies on important issues, in political campaigns, during particular actions, making radical art, and who are generally right on with their right on and yet who think of themselves as anarchists. But I personally think that what genuinely lefty, genuinely thoughtful anarchists think of as "anarchy" -- when they are not simply being naive narcissistic tools enabling reactionary politics and consumer complacency in bubbles of privilege -- is better thought of as "democracy." I get that it might seem something of a dick move to tell so many of the few people anywhere near my own wavelength as a queer atheist vegetarian democratic socialist feminist anti-racist anti-corporatist anti-militarist aesthete that their anarchism is aligned with American consumer-complacency and racist plutocracy when all is said and done -- but, honestly, if somebody who allied with me as much as so many lefty anarchists do sincerely thought I was enabling reactionary politics that horrify me, and offered up considered formulations to that effect to public scrutiny, I would want to hear them out on the subject more than I would want to devote myself to filing report after report to the hurt feelings department over it. But, hey, maybe that's just me.

Anyway, also anthologized here are posts on issues of access-to-knowledge and peer-to-peer democratization and on the anti-democratizing politics of elite-incumbent design culture (some of the posts anthologized under the separate heading Futurology Against Ecology are also relevant to this topic). What all these pieces share is the conviction that democratization is an interminable process of social struggles and experimental implementations, efforts to give ever more people ever more say in the public decisions that affect them, struggles for a sustainable, consensual, equitable, and diverse shared and made world, peer to peer.

A Clash of Spontaneisms: Howard Kunstler on Thomas Piketty, posted April 29, 2014.

The Military-Industrial Complex Is Not A Deeper State Than Our State of Democratizing Capability, posted February 23, 2014.

American Anarchism Is Racist Through and Through, posted July 20, 2013.

The "Mixed Economy" Isn't A Mix, It Is "Ideal" Capitalism and Socialism That Are Mixed Up, posted June 15, 2013.

Beyond "No Gods, No Masters," posted September 30, 2012.

Non-Violent Politics and the Democratization of the State, posted September 24, 2012.

Nonviolent Statism? posted September 20, 2012.

Conversations With Anarchists and Democrats, posted September 19, 2012

Nonviolent Revolution As the Democratization of the State, posted September 17, 2012.

And Many More! (A Happy Birthday to Occupy As It Is Growing Up) posted September 17, 2012.

The Ambivalence of Investment/Speculation As the Kernel of Reactionary Futurology, posted March 29, 2012.

"Stand Your Ground" As Secessionist Treason, posted March 24, 2012.

To Be Anti-Establishment Is Not the Same Thing As To Be Anti-Government -- In Fact Anti-Governmentality Is Almost Inevitably A Crypto-Establishmentarianism!, posted January 10, 2012.

Why I Am Not One of Those Democrats Who Are Fond of Ron Paul, Not Even Up To A Point, posted December 19, 2011.

Belgium Is Not Anarchy; Or, Scattered Speculations on the Radical Democratic Imaginary Against the Anarchic Imaginary, posted September, 2011.

cDc's Oxblood Defines "Hactivism" and Critiques Anonymous, posted August, 2011.

It Turns on Power: A Schematic Distinguishing the Politics of Technodevelopmental Social Struggle from Futurological Anti-Politics, posted August, 2011.

Riot, Try It: A Pragmatics of Urban Disruption in a Planet of Slums, posted August, 2011.

Why I Am Still Not An Anarchist (Or Am I?), posted July, 2011.

Indebtedness As A Lifelong Condition of Existential Precarity, posted July, 2011.

Politics of Design. Anti-Politics of Design, posted April, 2011.

The Egyptian Revolution Is Not Miraculous, posted February, 2011.

Democracy and Nonviolence, posted January, 2011.

p2p-Democratization, posted August, 2010.

Democracy Is Not Anarchy, posted July, 2010.

The Peer, posted February, 2010.

Prologue for Futural Politics, posted August, 2009.

Consensual Prosthetic Self-Determination and Progressive Democratization, posted June, 2009.

More on Freedom, posted May, 2009.

Arendt, Fanon, King On Violence, posted May, 2009

Designs on Us: Same Basic Contentions on the Politics of Design, posted May, 2009.

Science, Politics, and Administration, posted March, 2009.

Is Obama the Face of Ongoing p2p-Democratization? posted March, 2009.

Democracy, Consent, and Enterprise (And Their Contraries), posted September, 2008.

p2p Is Not Anarchy, posted April, 2008.

Left and Right, Back to Basics, posted December, 2007.

Eight Propositions on Taxes, posted December, 2007.

What's Wrong With Elitism? What's So Good About Democracy? posted December, 2007.

Thinking About the Politics of Design, posted December, 2007.

Democratic World Federalism Discussion on CRN, posted September, 2007.

Thinking Out Loud About Democratic World Federalism, posted September, 2006.

Why I Want to Democratize the State Rather Than to Smash It, posted June, 2006.

Democracy Among the Experts, posted June, 2006.

People-Powered Politics and the Emerging Technoprogressive Mainstream, posted June, 2006.

The Politics Are Prior to the Toypile, posted June, 2006.

Technology and Terror, posted March, 2006.

Technology Needs Democracy, Democracy Needs Technology, posted February, 2006.

World Without Work, posted January, 2006.

Trouble in Libertopia, posted May, 2004.

1 comment:

Bernard said...

Another reference on the usefulness of network knowledge to rebuild a political project : Yannick Rumpala, “Knowledge and praxis of networks as a political project”, Twenty-First Century Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, November 2009 ( ).