The Authority Smashing! Hour


6/16/2009 The Authority Smashing! Hour

Today’s show features an interview with Norman Finkelstein about his recent visit to Gaza and his organizing effort for a march on Gaza to take place Jan. 1st, 2010.

*please excuse some technical difficulty we encountered during the opening.

6 comments on “6/16/2009 The Authority Smashing! Hour

  1. Julia
    June 16, 2009

    Awesome guys! Keep me updated for when the whole thing is on YouTube. In the meantime, your blog/radio show is making me smile.

    – Julia

  2. Tyler
    June 17, 2009

    I wish I could have called in. But I took a really long nap through the show.

    I would like to comment on jrpigg. I agree with him that in principle the state should be opposed and abolished. However, without the state, many people would be out of work (like my Dad who works for the city), and a lot of the good things the state provides may be gone. Plus I’d be scared shitless at opposing the authority of cops.

    I think that many of the measures “anarchists” are using are really state socialist measures, at trying to improve conditions for workers and the poor. Not that these measures aren’t valid, but they are not anarchistic. A true practicing anarchist would oppose both the state and corporations, which would not be chartered without the state. A real anarchist would run the risk of being poor and getting arrested, a risk many people (myself included) are not prepared to take. For example, two years ago in Spokane, the anarchists threw garbage cans through the windows of the National Guard, and launched a protest against the police force on the fourth of July.

    The state does uphold these “private tyrannies” so this argument that without the state we would be ruled by “private tyrannies” is not entirely true. A limited state that only protects the rich would do this, but in a stateless society, there would be no laws protecting corporations or private property. While I usually disagree with them, anarcho-capitalists recognize this.

    • jrpigg
      June 23, 2009

      First off … I am entirely okay w/the direction of anarchist “reformism.” I think we do have to get what we can get, through the state or otherwise.

      Anyways … some brief replies to Tyler

      “However, without the state, many people would be out of work (like my Dad who works for the city), and a lot of the good things the state provides may be gone. Plus I’d be scared shitless at opposing the authority of cops.”

      As far as some people becoming unemployed w/out the state … In the short term, such a thing would be true, but I’d hasten to emphasize that this is would only be a short term situation. Many previously state jobs would immediately carry over (infrastructure, teachers, etc …). The rest of these jobs would become expendable (true enough), but like the milk delivery men or ice delivery men or switch board operators of old … those employed for those more extraneous expendable jobs would eventually be moved over into other areas of production as society streamlines. After all the anarchist position is one of increased social efficiency across the board from our factories to community management.

      As far as being afraid of the cops … I think we can look the wisdom of Alan Moore for a little advice. We shouldn’t be afraid of them; they should be afraid of us. While this seems flip on the surface, I think that once the state is gone the very small class of oppressors loses their legal smokescreens and the auras of (illegitimate) authority … they would have everything to fear from the people. And … this is something that you point at right here:

      “A limited state that only protects the rich would do this, but in a stateless society, there would be no laws protecting corporations or private property. While I usually disagree with them, anarcho-capitalists recognize this.”

      The system is fundamentally designed by them to protect them … it is not fundamentally a system to protect us. If we strip away the system, we strip away their means of protecting themselves. For this reason, the anarchist anti-state position is more radical than the Marxist anti-state position. So, if we can roll back the power and scope of the of the state, our direct action against the capitalist and state hierarchy can be far more radical, like out and out expropriations (i.e.: Zanon –> FaSinPa).

      As such, I think Chomsky’s metaphor of the cage is limited.

      As I typed the above … David and Jonathan touched on these sorts of things when they were talking about the police in the first ~15 minutes of this very next show on 6/23.

  3. power2theplankton
    June 26, 2009

    I believe that the response to my question (followed by a rather offensive allusion to such a question’s connection to “white privilege) in this episode needs some further examination. I suppose you may have assumed that I had joined the conversation to socialist anarchism-bash, but the truth is far from that. What I am alluding to in my question is a problem of scale, and scalar organization. It is not an insurmountable problem with anarchism, but one that exists in many “localist” initiatives. The “local trap” is the assumption that anything that occurs at a local scale is intrinsically desirable. Such localism becomes a mantra in spite of evidence that shows that sometimes the assumption that such decentralization will work is unfounded, and sometimes it is not. But the issue is that on the one hand local group’s agenda can get lost as it joins larger groups, and on the other hand, the numerous cases in the literature that show how local control does not always lead to socially or ecologically desirable outcomes. The argument then is that, first, there is nothing inherent about the local scale that is desirable. There are a number of contextual conditions to be met at the local scale before such local institutions could exist without hierarchy, ecological degradation, or large inequities. Second, there is a need for organization and solidarity across scales, which could culminate into worldwide struggles against global issues such as climate change, worldwide fisheries destruction, nuclear proliferation, labour issues etc. Yet at the same time, these movements need to have a large degree of autonomy, and transparency. Such solidarity exists to some degree right now but needs to be strengthened. Thus we are faced with the issue of simultaneously increasing the capacity of local institutions to self-control, and coordinating at a global level to ensure that a local success here is not canceled out by a local failure there, or a global failure that affects all locales. We are all embedded into an intricate network of interactions that are simultaneously local and global, biological and physical, cultural and organic, and it is navigating within this web that I am trying to get an understanding of. I hope that this rewording of the question/comment is now deemed practical, because I think it is kind of important. If you have something to say on this topic, I would love to hear about it in the next show. I will not be able to call up for quite a while as my summer is quite busy, but I will continue to listen in.

    • jrpigg
      July 12, 2009

      Well p2p … I’ll toss in my two cents.

      When you refer to the “local trap” as the problem of assuming that the local is inherently desirable, I think we have to mindful of the fact that the “local” is a solution counterposed to the nation-state and corporation. Obviously, the “local” is not necessarily a solution w/in our current hierarchical structures. After all, what good is the reduction to the “local” if that locality is still dominated by and for the interests of the few (a hierarchy of whatever organization)? No good at all (perhaps even worse).

      In other words, the “local” per se is certainly not a bulwark against exploitation, degradation, and the like.

      However, an ANARCHIST (not yelling; just don’t know how to do italics on this blog) “local” takes on a completely different dimension b/c the abuses inherent to political and economic hierarchy would be greatly limited, relatively speaking (at least if we believe what anarchist theorists and history have to tell us).

      So, as power becomes more and more diffused and social decision making (i.e.: government) becomes more and more consensual (for lack of a better term at the moment), we’d likely see the most heinous environmental nonsense fade away as the local communities come to recogize that they have a more pressing and immediate obligation to steward their own land rather than fill coffers of a distant corporate elite or a local petty capitalist overlord. In other words, the “local trap” is a solution insofar as we understand and anticipate that people will not willfully destroy the environment that they depend upon w/in a free and noncoercive social and economic milieu.

      An aside: I think of the (sometimes heavy) emphasis on the local, both in theory and praxis, as a sort of prefigurative politics but not one that isn’t fraught w/problems w/in our current circumstances.

  4. power2theplankton
    July 13, 2009

    Thanks for replying to my comment.

    The idea of the local stewardship of the land has been well established, yet capitalism has eroded what was once a subsistence or “moral” economy (though i don’t have any illusions that this form was perfect before capitalism). Increasing connectivity between local and global through markets, roads, trains etc… has definitely changed this economy and eroded traditional or customary management rights.

    But you are right, this system is a coercive one, and the removal of such coercion would certainly help.

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This entry was posted on June 16, 2009 by in The ASH.
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