Social Experiments in Anarchism

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Social Experiments in Anarchism

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1leigonj
Editat: juny 2, 2012, 7:25am

A Town Without Traffic Wardens.

For the past year Aberystwyth, a town of approximately 18,000 people in West Wales, has conducted a social experiment in anarchism. Following a bureaucratic mix-up the town's traffic wardens were all laid off at once, without replacement, meaning that, without the threat of penalty to stop them, people have been free to park wherever they want on the town's streets. Apparently it has not gone well. People have indeed parked wherever they choose - on street corners, on double yellow lines for hours on end, in disabled spaces, and delivery drivers, whose access has been blocked by other vehicles, have particularly suffered.
Traffic Wardens are have now been reintroduced by the local council.

From the Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153430/When-Aberystwyth-experiment-crea...

From the bbc: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-18288078

Does this undermine the position that people will act rationally, in the general interest, without some form of authority to guide them - at least in cases of something which they need which is in limited supply (i.e. space, other resourses)?

2Lunar
juny 3, 2012, 1:41am

Does this undermine the position that people will act rationally, in the general interest, without some form of authority to guide them - at least in cases of something which they need which is in limited supply (i.e. space, other resourses)?

The above scenario is not a case of no authority. I imagine if any of those homes or stores decided to annex the adjoining curbside space for themselves or their customers, the authorities would rear their heads and crush them in no time flat.

3FrancoisTremblay
Editat: juny 4, 2012, 4:35pm

Another moron who thinks that Anarchism=anomie. Wonderful. For real "experiments in Anarchism," read Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century.

4leigonj
Editat: juny 6, 2012, 12:41pm

3

"Another moron who thinks that Anarchism=anomie."

Eloquently put. I'm no expert in Anarchism admittedly. This is also the first time I've come across the word 'anomie', but wikipedia defines it as 'a lack of social norms... the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and their community ties, with fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values'. Doesn't the above example of the traffic wardenless town imply that the underlying normal behaviour for a lot of people is simply to do what is convenient for them, unless encouraged (or 'coerced' if you prefer) to do otherwise? Many people lack self-regulatory values and authority makes up for that? Authority, and deference to it, masks the fact that a lot of people - if not everyone - is actually really quite selfish...?

2

"The above scenario is not a case of no authority..."

It is not a case of no authority at all, obviously, but in one particular area there was an absence of authority and that is where order, while not exactly collapsing, sagged.

(Of course, no doubt anarchism is something that people have to grow up with and the common man today, who is used to doing what he wants unless told not to, might well be too selfish and disconnected from his community to properly allow for a workable anarchist society).

5HectorSwell
juny 6, 2012, 6:25pm

OP

yeah, I think that’s a pretty good example of how most people would behave. People are not and have never been primarily rational. Anarchism only exists in books, as Francois points out. It’s always mucked up by the name-callers, semantic fetishists, and the like. Drag.

6FrancoisTremblay
juny 6, 2012, 7:02pm

Who the hell is flagging me on an Anarchist group? Speak up, you cowards.

7Lunar
juny 7, 2012, 12:19am

#4: It is not a case of no authority at all, obviously, but in one particular area there was an absence of authority and that is where order, while not exactly collapsing, sagged.

Well, no, even focusing in on this one particular area you can't say it's a case of no authority because any attempt by these people to autonomously organize themselves and the resource in question would be impeded by the city. If a storefront decided to put up a sign that read "One hour parking for Mr Fixit's patrons only," even a city without meter maids would have a response.

8KratosNOR
set. 27, 2012, 4:26am

Through media manipulation has people learned that anarchy is about not having any law the result is the same as a bunch of children in a candy shop without any adult present... everybody goes bananas as they say where I live.

People will tell me are you an anarchist? would you like to live in a place like Somalia without government or any control?

Well that is exactly the issue in the controller/controlled society that to the police state we are all potential criminals, even worst most of people will actually fall into the game and become real criminals if they can get away with it. We have been manipulated from birth into the assumption we are evil by nature and need someone to control us because by precise domestication we have never managed to become full adults, grown up people act like children buying expensive and unnecessary toys (cars, motorcycles, tools, clothes, shoes) from the consumerist world instead of trying to free themselves from working for a fraction of their produced capital.

Surprisingly enough the ones who claim know how to control us all belong to the same 100 families that own all the media and are the great investors in the stock-market they are the leaders of the multicorporative world...etc.

Anarchism the way I see it is not about the absence of order or about the absence of police (so we all can be criminals!) its about we people taking back the power that the state and the real oligarchical criminals have taken from us and about removing the parasitic elite that manipulates people. That the government forgets to have police does not mean that an anarchist experiment happens, it is a government error. Anarchists would most probably not remove the wardens but the parasitic bureaucrats unable to follow their tasks, or maybe replace the wardens with local organized groups that watch over their neighborhood in their free time since they work only 4 hours a day.

9PaulFoley
set. 27, 2012, 8:40am

People will tell me are you an anarchist? would you like to live in a place like Somalia without government or any control?

I wouldn't like to live in a place like Somalia, but I'd prefer to live in a place like Somalia without government than to live in a place like Somalia with government.

grown up people act like children buying expensive and unnecessary toys (cars, motorcycles, tools, clothes, shoes) from the consumerist world instead of trying to free themselves from working for a fraction of their produced capital.

Well that's just silly. You're free to not buy clothes and shoes if you don't want them...how you imagine you'd be better off without them is beyond me (and obviously beyond you, too, or you'd quit moaning and exercise that freedom!), but go right ahead.

10elenchus
març 5, 2013, 9:18am

There is an article in the Dec 2012 issue of Harper's in which a similar social experiment with traffic and self-organizing behavior proved a positive improvement: "Anarchist Calisthenics" by James C. Scott.

http://harpers.org/archive/2012/12/anarchist-calisthenics/

Neither of these cases "prove" anything for everyone, for all time ... but they're both instructive. I tend to think so much is guided by culturally mediated habit, and the habit has to be changed. We humans aren't tabula rasa which return consistent responses as our stimuli change, we're plastic and that's part of what has to be taken into account as we consider alternate social orders.