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The Power of Anarchist Analysis


«But I liked the anarchists most because they asked penetrating and useful questions and refused to defer to authority.»


«That doesn’t mean that there are no legitimate authorities. But it does mean that no authority is presumptively legitimate. The king’s orders might be good ones, but they are not good because he is the king, and their being good does not necessarily make kings good or necessary. Your professor may be right, but they are not right because they are your professor.»


«The anarchist has a brain that won’t shut up. They cannot keep themselves from asking “What is this? What is it for? Must things be this way? Can they be different?” Children, of course, ask questions like these, and one reason I like anarchists is that they refuse to stop asking questions that we all had as children but never received satisfactory answers to. If you asked: Why are some people very rich and other people very poor, and why do the rich people not just give the poor people enough money, you were probably fed some bullshit that doesn’t really make sense. Some of us just stop asking questions eventually, but anarchists are uncommonly stubborn people who do not accommodate themselves to the society around them no matter how intense the pressure. »


«The anarchist tradition is also strongly democratic. If you read old anarchist books, you will find that they are accessible, because anarchists believe in the “democratization of knowledge” and are suspicious of having a small class of intellectuals be the only ones who understand things. Anarchists are generally pro “decentralization”: They do not like concentrated power, and they raise important questions about how we can balance the need to accomplish things with making sure there is mass participation. (Occupy’s general assemblies with their consensus process were an example of anarchist democracy, which is beautiful and uncommonly inclusive but often maddeningly inefficient.)»

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