I have already made some suggestions. But for a Maya to say something to the world that was not simply a comment on their own Maya-ness would be inconceivable. The Sakalava are noted subjects of the Maroantsetra dynasty (which created at least three kingdoms along the West coast). A later example of libertarian elements in Philippine history is the Diliman Commune which was a student uprising against the Marcos administration in 1971. It is, presumably, to preserve the possibility of winning the game that intellectuals insist, in discussing each other, on continuing to employ just the sort of Great Man theories of history they would scoff at in just about any other context: Foucault’s ideas, like Trotsky’s, are never treated as primarily the products of a certain intellectual milieu, as something that emerged from endless conversations and arguments involving hundreds of people, but always, as if they emerged from the genius of a single man (or, very occasionally, woman). Instead they are discussing whether to eliminate timeand-a-half for overtime. To clarify all this would be a major historical project. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology David Graeber PRICKLY PARADIGM PRESS CHICAGO. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology David Graeber. They want “societies.” So one is reduced to scouring the historical and ethnographic record for entities that look like a nation-state (one people, speaking a common language, living within a bounded territory, acknowledging a common set of legal principles...), but which lack a state apparatus (which, following Weber, one can define roughly as: a group of people who claim that, at least when they are around and in their official capacity, they are the only ones with the right to act violently). The fact is though that nobody has any idea how most people in North America would chose to define themselves if institutional racism were to actually vanish—if everyone really were left free to define themselves however they wished. Applied to theory, this would mean accepting the need for a diversity of high theoretical perspectives, united only by certain shared commitments and understandings. (“4-day week, 4-hour day.”) Again, on the face of it, this seems completely unrealistic, even insane. Some are political. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology David Graeber. Well that depends on how you define ‘marriage.’ Among the Nayar...”) Yet it resolutely refuses to do so. If a revolution is a matter of people resisting some form of power identified as oppressive, identifying some key aspect of that power as the source of what is fundamentally objectionable about it, and then trying to get rid of one’s oppressors in such a way as to try to eliminate that sort of power completely from daily life, then it is hard to deny that, in some sense, this was indeed a revolution. None of it was presented as some startling new doctrine. Crane Memorial Library (Deer Lodge Centre) Libraries Annex (not open to the public; please see web page for details) While not specifically anarchist, the UOD did incorporate mutual aid and direct action into their praxis and was a thorn in the side of the American colonial administration. But this is another story.) We are talking less about a body of theory, then, than about an attitude, or perhaps one might even say a faith: the rejection of certain types of social relations, the confidence that certain others would be much better ones on which to build a livable society, the belief that such a society could actually exist. But for the interim, there are all sorts of concrete suggestions on how the situation can be improved right now, without falling back on statist, protectionist, approaches. One odd result is that, as Ellen Meskins Wood has noted, we are in the habit of discussing what we call “modernity” as if it involved a combination of English laissez faire economics, and French Republican government, despite the fact that the two never really occurred together: the industrial revolution happened under a bizarre, antiquated, still largely medieval English constitution, and nineteenth-century France was anything but laissez faire. I’m afraid this is a somewhat complicated argument. On the one hand, the cult of the Great Goddess has been revived and become a direct inspiration for Pagan Anarchism, hippyish performers of spiral dances who are always welcome at mass actions because they do seem to have rather a knack for influencing the weather; on the other, Primitivists, whose most famous (and extreme) avatar is John Zerzan, who has taken Graves’ rejection of industrial civilization and hopes for general economic collapse even further, arguing that even agriculture was a great historical mistake. There was a certain amount of court ceremonial, but nothing that got in the way of governing. They could demand recognition as Mayan. “The revolution,” properly speaking. This is what I mean by “liberation in the imaginary.” To think about what it would take to live in a world in which everyone really did have the power to decide for themselves, individually and collectively, what sort of communities they wished to belong to and what sort of identities they wanted to take on—that’s really difficult. Most accounts of the history of anarchism assume it was basically similar: anarchism is presented as the brainchild of certain nineteenth-century thinkers—Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, etc.—it then went on to inspire working-class organizations, became enmeshed in political struggles, divided into sects... Anarchism, in the standard accounts, usually comes out as Marxism’s poorer cousin, theoretically a bit flat-footed but making up for brains, perhaps, with passion and sincerity. Modern Western notions of citizenship and political freedoms are usually seen to derive from two traditions, one originating in ancient Athens, the other primarily stemming from medieval England (where it tends to be traced back to the assertion of aristocratic privilege against the Crown in the Magna Carta, Petition of Right, etc., and then the gradual extension of these same rights to the rest of the population). They have not involved challenging power head on (this usually leads to being slaughtered, or if not, turning into some—often even uglier—variant of the very thing one first challenged) but from one or another strategy of slipping away from its grasp, from flight, desertion, the founding of new communities. Because when the skeptic says “society,” what he really means is “state,” even “nation-state.” Since no one is going to produce an example of an anarchist state—that would be a contradiction in terms—what we’re really being asked for is an example of a modern nation-state with the government somehow plucked away: a situation in which the government of Canada, to take a random example, has been overthrown, or for some reason abolished itself, and no new one has taken its place but instead all former Canadian citizens begin to organize themselves into libertarian collectives. The diversity was a function of the decentralized form of organization, and this organization was the movement’s ideology. We could also eliminate the entire advertising and PR industries, fire all politicians and their staffs, eliminate anyone remotely connected with an HMO, without even beginning to get near essential social functions. A superior military tradition? There has long been a related debate over what particular advantage “the West,” as Western Europe and its settler colonies have liked to call themselves, had over the rest of the world that allowed them to conquer so much of it in the four hundred years between 1500 and 1900. By these lights these were all, in a very real sense, anarchist societies. <> In the United States, most are the products of ongoing oppression and inequality: someone who is defined as Black is not allowed to forget that during a single moment of their existence; his or her own self-definition is of no significance to the banker who will deny him credit, or the policeman who will arrest him for being in the wrong neighborhood, or the doctor who, in the case of a damaged limb, will be more likely to recommend amputation. In what environments do they thrive? Mainstream social science actually isn’t much help here, because normally in mainstream social science this sort of thing is generally classified as “policy issues,” and no self-respecting anarchist would have anything to do with these. In northwest Madagascar there is now an “ethnic group” ensconced in a somewhat difficult, hilly back country referred to as the Tsimihety. It might seem a bit odd that among French revolutionaries of the time, it should have been the trade unionist emphasizing the power of myth, and the anthropologist objecting, but in the context of the ‘20s and ‘30s, with fascist stirrings everywhere, it’s understandable why a European radical-—especially a Jewish one-—might see all this as just a little creepy. Let me st… One of the most encouraging things about these new, anarchist-inspired movements is that they propose a new form of internationalism. All attempts at individual or collective self-fashioning or self-invention have to take place entirely within those extremely violent sets of constraints. But if not that, what? The desire to live free of Sakalava domination was translated into a desire—one which came to suffuse all social institutions from village assemblies to mortuary ritual—to live in a society free of markers of hierarchy. The elitists who coined the term always considered democracy not too far from simple rioting or mob rule; though of course their solution was the permanent conquest of the people by someone else. LibraryThing is a cataloging and social networking site for booklovers It’s never entirely clear what this is supposed to mean. The kind of tearing down of conceptual walls I’ve been proposing here makes it possible for us not only to confirm the importance of defection, it promises an infinitely richer conception of how alternative forms of revolutionary action might work. They could assert the right to continue to be Mayan. The elimination of advertising would also reduce the production, shipping, and selling of unnecessary products, since those items people actually do want or need, they will still figure out a way to find out about. In the long run the anarchist position on globalization is obvious: the effacement of nation-states will mean the elimination of national borders. Now consider the different schools of anarchism. Most, admittedly, fall shy of actually using the word “anarchist.” But as Barbara Epstein has recently pointed out anarchism has by now largely taken the place Marxism had in the social movements of the ‘60s: even those who do not consider themselves anarchists feel they have to define themselves in relation to it, and draw on its ideas. One obvious role for a radical intellectual is to do precisely that: to look at those who are creating viable alternatives, try to figure out what might be the larger implications of what they are (already) doing, and then offer those ideas back, not as prescriptions, but as contributions, possibilities—as gifts. He suggests, interestingly enough, that the famous Native American identification with nature might not really have been a reaction to European values, but to a dialectical possibility within their own societies from which they had quite consciously run away. Effectively, they were informed that, since they were Maya, they could not possibly have anything to say to the world about the processes through which identity is constructed; or about the nature of political possibilities. There is a way out, which is to accept that anarchist forms of organization would not look anything like a state. 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