"A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence." ~ Jean-Francois Revel
Anarchist Forum Statism
Exclusive to STR
November 29, 2007
The anarchist movement never ceases to amaze me. I constantly face people who are anarchists and have been anarchists for a very long time and know everything about the great anarchist thinkers, yet who merely wish to replace the state with something rather similar but with the prefix "anarchist." I also receive numerous death threats from anarchists who believe my views of what an anarchist society would be like (not my choice, but my prediction) are wrong.
One has to wonder what is wrong with anarchists who want a state of their own instead of the state today--or who think they have a right to kill, or at least threaten to kill, another human being simply because he says things they don't agree with. It doesn't add up--anarchists can't both be against the state and want a state of their own, and they cannot call for equality and freedom while threatening to use force on other people.
The same goes for privacy, which is something I am strongly in favor of. I frequently receive thank you e-mails from anarchists discovering the forum on my web site Anarchism.net because the forum doesn't require registration and giving up your true identity. As I have learned from these e-mails, most anarchist forums require their users to first register in order to take part in the discussions.
I don't see the reason for wanting to know exactly who is saying what in a forum. Especially if you are anarchist--what could possibly be your interest in being able to identify who says what? Unless you want surveillance and control over the forum and anyone who uses it.
Actually, this seems to be the reason for the required registrations. Most anarchist forums are supervised and moderated by people who believe they know what should and shouldn't be accepted.This isn't only for the protection of the forum, which would be a valid reason--there are quite a few people who think it is "funny" to plant illegal material on web forums in order to make the government shut the site down. No, the reason for requiring registration and moderating the forum is to control what thoughts are expressed.
Does this make sense from an anarchist point of view? Maybe if you dedicate the forum to a certain idea and believe in your right to control your property. But most anarchist forums aren't dedicated to a specific idea; they are established to let anarchists discuss whatever issues they find interesting. And most anarchists don't support the idea of property--they believe property is a privilege enforced only in state capitalism.
As a market anarchist, I believe it is my full right to moderate the forum I have invested time and money in establishing, and I also believe I have the right to require registration if I want to. But I see no reason for doing so--if I want the discussion to be free and let as many people as possible express their views (which would actually be anarchism in action), I cannot moderate. So I refuse to moderate my forum and I do not ever require registration. This is the only way you can have a free discussion, and I very strongly believe a free discussion is what anarchism is about.
So why do all these anarchist websites everywhere offer moderated forums? The only reason I can think of is that the people who run the forums are blueprint anarchists--they don't want to abolish control, structure, and system; they want to replace the state with their own "superior" system. And they don't want to allow people who are not already dedicated to The Cause to express their ideas. As always with statism, people who think differently must be silenced and excluded. Or eliminated.