The role of the state

William S. Lear rael at
Thu Oct 8 20:48:35 PDT 1998

On Thu, October 8, 1998 at 16:38:11 (PDT) Alex LoCascio writes:
>>This is absurd. Anarchists come in a variety of stripes, from those
>>who prefer free associations and a minimal state to those who froth at
>>the mouth at any mention of social organization.
>But then, even those who prefer a "minimal" state are no longer
>anarchists, since "anarchy" by it's very definition is the absence of a
>state. ...

As Chomsky writes, anarchism has a "broad back". Human society incurs the burden of a "state", however minimal it is (state of nature, anyone?), and anarchists who pretend otherwise are fooling themselves (what color will stoplights be?, how much is a dollar worth? when will the meeting be?). This all turns on your definition of a "state" --- massive, centralized, dispersed, thin, temporary, etc. Any way you slice it, humans will always have to work together.

> Chomsky, on the other hand, has advocated *expanding* the powers
>of the government in order to curb the power of multinational
>corporations (a proposal that I actually agree with; but then again, I
>don't consider myself an anarchist).

He does this only as a matter of pragmatics ("goals versus visions"). He has made quite clear the reasons he has done so --- to protect people from the ravages of, e.g., corporations. His ultimate goal is to dismantle all forms of unjustified power.


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