Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What do Anarchists mean by Liberalism.

Both Marxism and Anarchism oppose Liberalism and argue they better fulfil it's promises.

What is Liberalism?

Liberalism is basically a flawed worldview comprehensive and coherent within itself.
Liberalism has it's political,philosophical and psychological aspects.Representative democracy expresses and encourages liberal thinking on all these fronts. Reformism always has some degree of liberalism running through it.

Liberalism is a way of thinking that is decontextualized, ahistorical, treats things in a vacuum, unsystematic, undialectical, individualized, fails to make connections or makes sloppy connections,  sees only individuals as important, methodological individualism, atomized, politically reformist, egoistic, selfish, hobbesian, essentialist, abstract, ivory tower, unsystematic, gradualist, abstract notions of rights/law/justice.

A liberal therefore is someone who is a liberal thinker in the above described senses it says nothing about their politics or cultural approach.

Liberalism philosophically arises when liberalism arises politically and the two seem to go together throughout history up to the present day. Liberalism is therefore like a disease.

Liberalism is more like a set of tendencies in thought and action  than a type you can tick off with  necessary and sufficient conditions.

Liberalism is both expressed in philosophy and politics.

Liberalism is Hobbes' war of all against all, Jeremy Bentham,  Richard Cobden and John Bright,  Ayn Rand's Individualism, Max Stirner's Egoism, John Rawl's concept of  The Original Position and ideas expressed in his work Political Liberalism,  Locke's ideas on property/law/justice and rights, the ideas of Milton Friedman, of Hayek , of Murray Rothbard,  Greens who ignore systematic oppression like Capitalism or Patriarchy in favour of vague sources like greed, corruption or neo-liberalism.

Politically, Liberalism has both 'left wing' and right wing versions.Liberalism can either but soft centre left politics or right wing politics especially classical liberalism or free market libertarianism. The right wing version is more extreme.

Typically it's expressed by the 'soft left', 'centre left', reformist 'left' e.g. by greens, social democrats, left liberals, Labour 'left', some democratic socialists, conspiracy theorists etc.

Liberal politics:- support for obama, Constitutionalism,  Reformism- support for voting/ political parties, Pacifism, Social Contract Theory, John Sutart Mill type views on Representative Democracy, Liberal Feminism, 'radical centrism',  Classical Republicanism, Liberal(bourgeois) Democracy,Bourgeois nationalism, Bourgeois Socialism( aka Democratic socialism) , Liberal neutrality
Ronald Dworkin, 

Liberal Philosophy- Decontextual, Ahistorical, Atomistic, Individualistic.. Examples like Cosmic ordering, "try praying",  New age thought, Law of Attraction, The Secret, Idealism?, Possibly Taoism, Hermit, Monastic Religion, social atomism sociological theory), New Thought, Christian Science, Subjective Idealism, 

Liberal Psychology- the problems are individual and internal, the solutions are internal and individual, no systematic critique, Self help psychology,

Examples of 'Left Wing' Liberalism:- Green peace, RSPB, Zeitgeist, The Venus Project, Amnesty International, parts of the Green Party, John Rawls, Lifestylism, Ethical Consumerism,  Obama Supporters, Intentional Communities, 'Islands within capitalism' type thinking, Individualist Anarchism, Voting, Representative Democracy, Reformism,  Maynard Keynes, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham,  The SNP, The Yes Campaign, the US democratic Party, Thomas Friedman, Agorism,  c4SS?,  The Liberal Democrats(UK), Stop the war coalition? and C.N.D.?

Right wing Liberalism:-  Ron Paul, Mises, Murray Rothbard,Hayek, Milton Friedman, Law and order types, Conservatism, UK conservative Party, UKIP, UK Libertarian Party,  'Anarcho'-Capitalism, Thatcherism, Freeman of the Land, Nightwatchman State, John Locke, Thomas Jefferson? he Austrian School of Economics, Methodological Individualism, Objectivism, Minarchism,  Chicago school of Economics, 'Perfect Competition', Voluntaryism,

Other Liberal thinkers:- Montesquieu,Adam Smith, Kant, Bastiat, Herbert Spencer,Karl Popper, James Buchanan, Robert Nozick,  James Madison, The Founding Fathers of the US government, 

Liberal philosophical beliefs:- 

  • very vague.
  • May advocate human nature.
  • It's a perspective which is individualized, individualistic,  atomistic, non historical, non contextual, non-systematic, sees problems e.g. sexism as one off individual incidental events, instead of systematic, inherent, historical , intersectional, interconnected.
  • Thinks oppression is solely a state of mind and/or incidental .
  • Might be class collaborationist ("why can't the rich and poor get along)  instead of in favour of class struggle.
  • Tendency to oppose systematic concepts like rape culture or institutional racism or white supremacy or patriarchy or class. Tends to overwhelmingly be reformist, pacifist. Misunderstands problems as incidental and so misunderstands the solution thinking the answer is reformism whether that be new laws, different people in power, new political parties etc.
  • End up victim blaming.
  • Problems put down to greed, The Tories, Neo-liberalism, 'unregulated capitalism', 'crony capitalism' etc. instead of capitalism and other kinds of oppression itself.
  • 'few bad apples' talk.
  • Liberal tactics: Lifestylism, voting, Ethical consumerism,
  • Liberalism is new-agey
  • Liberalism is the idea problems are individual not social.The idea homelessness is due to personal failure not society's failure.
  • Liberal puts the locus of control on the individual person and on their internal psychology.

Leninism is reformist in that it tries to reform the state- and does into state capitalism- but is not liberal in that it has a pretty systematic critique of society except the state,hierarchy etc that anarchism does.

liberalism conceals oppression and mystifies it.

Liberal things to say :

  • "there is no such thing as society"-Thatcher.
  • "You just need to grow up, learn to work within the system, and recognize that compromise is a simple fact of life that you cannot avoid."
  • "I am against corporate-person-hood but breaking a window of a bank is violence."
  • "What we need is not an end of capitalism but an end of crony capitalism!"
  • "If you keep blocking the streets during your marches, the 99% will never support you"
  • "We are lucky to still live in an actual democracy."
  • "You must vote"
  • "Stop targeting the cops, they’re only here to help us!"
  • "I’m all for gender equality, but I don’t call myself a feminist because you can’t end sexism by"
  • "The world’s not going to change. This is just the way it is"
  • "The problem is cronyism and corporatism, not capitalism"
  • "Aren't you just making it worse by putting energy towards what you’re fighting? We all just need to think positive"
  • "You keep seeing racism everywhere because you're looking for it. It's all about your perception"
  • We need to get into positions of power, then we can change things for the better.
  • "peoples state"
  • "workers state"
  • "But the police are part of the 99 percent"
  • "You should stop complaining and start trying to change things"
  • "If you don't vote you have no right to complain"
  • We have to listen to people from *all* sides
  • " I want us to become the state"
  • "we are the state"
  • "You *say* you’re against capitalism, but you have a computer, and shoes, and a phone…"
  • "Abolishing the state would be a perfect way of creating massive inequality"- except the state maintains capitalism and so inequality and the state itself represents inequality in power and decision making. Capitalism could not exist (for long) without the state.
  •  "Suffering is a choice"- it's true you can change how you feel about situations but it does not necessarily change the situation  circumstances for you to feel you're suffering because well you are e.g. the slave  

To contrast the two:- 

Anarchist thinking is   Historical, contextual, class struggle, interdependence, relational, interconnectedness, dialectical, holistic, pragmatic, empirical, practice orientated, systematic, comprehensive, anti-essentialist, interdisciplinary, anti-ivory tower, not abstract, anti-dualism, Queer Theory, Critical Theory, Intersectional, experimental, provisional, fallibilist, goes to the root i.e. radical, becoming, process philosophy, Hegel, Deleuze, Systems Thinking, Systems Theory,

community, communitarian, collective, individual and the collective, concrete,grounded,

Liberal thinking is  Absolutist, abstract, vague, surface, singular, non connection,isolation, seperation, individualist,
uber rationalistic, ivory tower, analytic philosophy, narrowminded, narrowly focused, dualistic,

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