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International Journal of Anarchism

ifa-Solidaritet - folkebladet - ISSN 0800-0220 No 1 (35). Editor H. Fagerhus - Contact IJA

Bulletin of the Anarchist International


Anarchism defined

I. A special anglophone language problem and a brief definition of anarchy and anarchism

The words anarchy and anarchism are a bit problematic. Sorry to say,  anglophone languages are very much twisted in an Orwellian "1984" "newspeak" way, to fool the people via the education to worship authority, compared to Nordic language, say,

A. Rules, rule = regler, regel  (relatively fixed ways to settle things in an orderly way, i.e. regulations and regulatory means); but also

B. Rules, rule = hersking, hersker, herske (to be an arch/ruler, act as an arch, bestiality).

Thus in English/American the words 'archein (Greek) = herske (Nordic)' is translated to B. "rule" = to be an arch etc., but "rule" also is used as A. 'regel' = "rule" (i.e. rule(s) in the meaning of relatively fixed way(s) to settle things, disputes and conflicts in an orderly way, i.e. regulations and regulatory means = regel/regler). And thus, due to using one word to mean two very different things, i.e. A. and B, the anglophones are forced in an authoritarian way to think very much false and wrong about realities, with respect to anarchy, freedom and authority, that the Scandinavian people are not to the same extent. See the point! Anglophones are very much fooled by the authorities in this way, thus you probably cannot easily think free, but like a slave via psychological ruling, to think authority = ruler is necessary to keep order. In Norwegian a situation "an (without) arch(y)" "uten hersker" may very well considered to be with 'regler' because "hersker" = rules, and "regler" = rules,  are quite different words. This is very difficult to understand with an anglophone basis.

C. Furthermore the Greek word "an" is not meaning "without" in general, but just as "an" in anaerobe and similar words, i.e. "an" means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter, i.e. management in the meaning of coordination related to anarchy. Thus the whole thing gets often mixed up in the anglophone sphere, the language falsely forcing people to think that rule and rulers are necessary to settle things in an orderly way. 

D. To fix this linguistical/language problem in a simple way, we mainly use the word "rules" in the meaning of one or more rules in case A, and the words "rule" and "ruling" in case B, unless something else is mentioned. We will now present a brief definition of anarchy:

The word "anarchy" origins from Greek. The original meaning, that everybody should stick to, is the following: The prefix "an" means "negation of", as in anaerobe vs aerobe, anandrous vs -androus, anhydride vs hydride, etc; i.e. "an" means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter. The suffix "archy" means "rule (not rules or law), ruler, rulers, superior in contrast to subordinates, etc.", from Greek "archein", "to rule, to be first"; and "archos", "ruler" i.e. in a coercive, repressive, etc. manner, slavery and tyranny included. As mentioned "an" means without what is mentioned in the suffix, but keeping what is essential in the matter, i.e. in this case management in the meaning of coordination, but without ruling. The 'ruling' is not essential, but an evil alienation, i.e. bestiality. Bestiality is especially the hall-mark of systems with more than 666 per thousand (ca 67%) authoritarian degree, see map below. [The term "ca" is an abbreviation for the latin circa, which means about or approximately.] Thus "Anarchy" doesn't mean "without coordination, management, administration, etc.". Anarchy is management, coordination and administration etc. without ruling and thus without rulers. NB! Remember D. Anarchy and anarchism also of course have and use regulations and regulatory means when necessary and optimal, i.e. significant selfregulation. That anarchy, means an-arch-y, i.e. management and coordination without ruler(s), not just "without rule", a vague term that superficially may be interpreted and manipulated in a lot of inconsistent ways, i.e. non-authoritarian as well as authoritarian, must never be forgotten. "An" means "without" as in an-aerobe, etc, "arch" means "ruler(s)" broadly defined, and "y" in this connection stands for system, management, coordination, as in monarch-y, oligarch-y, etc. The "an" is connected to "arch", not "y". Thus (an-arch)-y means without arch, but not without system, management, coordination, it means (an-arch)-system, management, coordination. In short an-arch-y = (an = without arch = ruler(s)) y = management.

E. Anarchism is political systems and organizations coordinated as  anarchy in the above meaning and manner, but also the political tendency advocating anarchy understood this way, and the scientifical knowledge about anarchy and the ways to reduce non-anarchist tendencies.

II. Anarchism is a modern sociological science broadly defined

Anarchism is a modern sociological science, this is a basic principle of anarchism declared by Pjotr Kropotkin in "Modern science and Anarchism" 1903, and still valid anarchism: "Anarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on  the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society. This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it... Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases [= methodology] which have served for the revision of all natural sciences.

Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases [i.e. the anarchist principles in general, the basic libertarian  working hypothesis and theories updated] and by the practical life... But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific investigations; and makes use of the method by which modern natural science ... were developed. Owing to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every scientific concept of the universe is created. Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific.  No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim... [The method is a part of Anarchism]: Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science. Whithout entering into  further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action [called Anarchist praxeologi, human action research, today], enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciences." [Thus Anarchism is a modern sociological science broadly defined, including political economy etc, based on the methodology of modern natural sciences.]

III. Anarchism is and updated research front based on the natural scientifical method

Furthermore in the book "Modern Science and Anarchism" (1903) a.o.t. Peter Kropotkin declares - and gives the reason why -  anarchism is defined as an updated research front of libertarian social scientifical research, using the methods of modern natural sciences, i.e. mathematical relations, statistics etc. Anarchism: "Its method of investigation is that of the exact natural sciences, by which every scientific conclusion must be verified... (using) ... the concrete language of natural sciences, -- so we proceed in dealing with the facts of social life...  -- not by the dialectic method, but by the natural-scientific method, the method of induction and deduction... We had better give up using the sonorous words which only conceal the superficiality of our semi-learning. In their time the use of these words was, perhaps, unavoidable -- their application could never have been useful.. No struggle can be successful if it is an unconscious one, and if it does not render itself a clear and concise account of its aim...

Perhaps we are wrong and they are right. But in order to ascertain who is right, it will not do either to quote this and that authority, to refer to Hegel's trilogy, or to argue by the "dialectic method." This question can be settled only by taking up the study of economic relations as facts of natural science. Whithout entering into further discussion of the principles of Anarchism and the Anarchist programme of action, enough has been said, I think, to show the place of Anarchism among the modern sociological sciencesAnarchism is an attempt to apply to the study of the human institutions the generalizations gained by means of the natural-scientific inductive method; and an attempt to foresee the future steps of mankind on the road to liberty, equality, and fraternity, with a view to realizing the greatest sum of happiness for every unit of human society. In Anarchism there is no room for those pseudo-scientific laws with which the German metaphysicians of the twenties and thirties had to consent themselves. Anarchism does not recognize any method other than the natural-scientific.

This method it applies to all the so-called humanitarian sciences, and, availing itself of this method as well as of all researches which have recently been called forth by it, Anarchism endeavors to reconstruct all the sciences dealing with man, and to revise every current idea of right, justice, etc., on the bases which have served for the revision of all natural sciences. Whether or not Anarchism is right in its conclusions, will be shown by a scientific criticism of its bases and by the practical life.... But in one thing it is absolutely right: in that it has included the study of social institutions in the sphere of natural-scientific investigations; has forever parted company with metaphysics; and makes use of the method by which modern natural science .... developed. Owing to this, the very mistakes which Anarchism may have made in its researches can be detected the more readily. But its conclusions can be verified only by the same natural-scientific, inductive-deductive method by which every science and every scientific concept of the universe is created."

This basic principle of Anarchism, [i.e. the hypothetical deductive method, see http://philosophy.hku.hk/think/sci/hd.php ] per definition or seen as a methodological working hypothesis, is still valid and confirmed on all later anarchist congresses discussing this question in a scientifical, matter of fact, way.  This libertarian, scientifical, way of thinking and research, praxeology i.e. human action research included, is the way to settle disputes, make action programs based on the anarchist principles in general, and develope anarchism further, - it is the basic methodological framework of anarchism and the Anarchist International. The other basic principles of anarchism are presented and discussed at (Click on) http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html and via links of this web-site.

IV. Anarchism vs other -isms defined by the most basic principles

( 1 ) Anarchies vs archies. Societal, political-economical systems, including organizations and political tendencies; economical, political or politological, sociological and anthropological systems, may be anarchies or the negation of anarchy = archies. Thus the total amount of societal systems S = anarchy + archy <=> S = anarchies + archies. Anarchy = anarchism, with respect to societal systems broadly defined.

( 2 ) Archies may be expressed as x-archy, where x is one of a set of systems characteristics of archs, say, ( mon, olig, poly, plut, ochl, matri, patri, hier, etc; but not an) or a logical union of several x-es reflecting different forms of archy/archies as opposed to anarchy/anarchies, i.e. the negation of x-archy = archies.

( 3 ) Possibility of anarchy. It is assumed that these terms reflect concepts that may be defined in a way that anarchy is not impossible in reality, i.e. the amount of anarchies in real terms is greater than the empty set, zero. Anarchy is matter of degree = tendency. Anarchy, i.e. an anarchist social system, may have 100% or a significant degree of anarchy, i.e. less than 100%, but above a given significant level.

( 4 ) Significant anarchist tendency = anarchy. As anarchy is the negation of x-archy it may not have any amount, i.e. significant tendency towards or of x-archy. Thus anarchy may have zero or insignificant tendency towards or of archies. The significant level is defined on aggregated dimensions.

( 5 ) Dimensions: a) There are an economic dimension and a non-economical dimension in societal, political-economical, system context: One aggregated economical, and one aggregated non-economical dimension, i.e. political/administrative rank broadly defined. Empirically this reflect economic remuneration and political/administrative rank of organizational social systems' maps broadly defined. b) The economical dimension measures socialism vs capitalism, where the degree of capitalism is the tendency towards or of economical archies (x-archy) and the non-economical dimension is autonomy vs statism, where the degree of statism is the tendency towards or of political/administrative archies. c) Along these two dimensions different forms of anarchy and archies (x-archy), are measured and mapped. The degree of socialism = 100% - degree of capitalism. The degree of autonomy = 100% - degree of statism. Socialism and autonomy are defined as insignificant degree of capitalism and statism respectively, and capitalism and statism is defined as significant degree of statism and capitalism respectively. Thus, socialism and autonomy are defined as significant degree of socialism and autonomy, and capitalism and statism are defined as insignificant degree of socialism and autonomy respectively .

( 6 ) Anarchism and other -isms. Anarchy is the negation of archies related to the economical and political/administrative dimensions, i.e. socialism and autonomy. Capitalism is economical plutarchy, including hierarchy and may be other x-archies broadly defined in an economical context. Statism is political/administrative monarchy, oligarchy, polyarchy, ochlarchy (mob rule), the archies of rivaling states within the state, i.e. chaos; and the tyranny of structurelessness i.e. disorganization, and/or political plutarchy, and it may also include other archies, say, being matriarchy, if the main rulers are women. Furthermore

1. Statism without (economical) plutarchy/capitalism = marxism ((state-) communism, state-socialism);

2. statism plus (economical) plutarchy/capitalism = fascism (populism included);

3. socialism without statism = anarchy = anarchism;

4. (economical) plutarchy/capitalism without statism = liberalism.

Libertarian (in the meaning of 'libertaire' (french) or 'libertær' (nordic)), and real democracy (realdemocracy) are synonyms for anarchist, anarchy and anarchism. Anarchy and anarchism are sometimes called the third alternative, social form, or way. (This must not be mixed up with Tony Blair's non-anarchist "third way = neue mitte" of Gerard Schröder, or Adolf Hitler's "dritte reich".)

Archies (x-archy) are defined equal to authority and State/government in societal context. Thus authority and State/government in societal context are liberalism, fascism and marxism broadly defined. And thus anarchy and anarchism are systems without any authority and State/government, in societal context, i.e. economical and political/administrative, also called political broadly defined. These societal, political concepts of state/government and authority, must not be mixed up with statism and the authoritarian degree, as defined related to economical-political mapping. Furthermore insignificant tendency towards or of State/government is not State/government, and insignificant tendency towards or of authority is not authority, but anarchy and anarchism.

( 7 ) Significant level at 50%. Anarchy has less than 50% tendencies towards or of archies, x-archy, aggregated on the two relevant dimensions, on a scale from 0 => 100%. Thus more than 50 % tendencies towards or of archies, x-archy of relevant x-es, aggregated on the economic and/or the non-economic dimension, are not anarchist, not anarchy. Thus anarchy has 100-50% degree of socialism and 100-50% degree of autonomy, and archies have less of one or both, i.e. more than 50% degree of capitalism and/or statism.

( 8 ) Anarchy defined: Anarchy and anarchism mean system, coordination and management without ruling and rulers (not without rules). i.e. co-operation without repression, tyranny and slavery, and archies mean system, management and coordination with ruling and rulers, i.e. the negation of anarchy and anarchism. From greek 'an', as in anaerobe vs aerobe, i.e. keeping what is essential of the object, (in this case system, management, coordination) but without the special characteristic mentioned in the suffix, i.e. 'arch', ruling and ruler(s), from archos (ruler) and archein (ruling, being first).

( 9 ) Not totalitarian: The question of anarchism and anarchy vs archies is limited to the societal political-economical systems' management and coordination. What is interesting in anarchist perspective is whether or not the economical-political system has authority, i.e. ruling and rulers - or not, with respect to the societal managent and coordination. Other uses of the words anarchy vs x-archy and anarchies vs archies are principally irrelevant to anarchism, and should in general be avoided.

(10) Not valid concepts. Concepts as anarcho-archy = anarchy-x-archy in any form, meaning system, coordination and management "both with and without ruling and rulers" at the same time and place, are not allowed for, because such concepts are contradictive, and thus are nonsens and not logical and scientifical, because this is in reality not possible, and anarchism and anarchy is about realities. Thus anarcho-marxism, anarcho-capitalism = anarchy-plutarchy, anarcho-ochlarchy, anarcho-chaos, anarchy = chaos, anarchism = anarchy = minimal state or libertarian state, state in general, anarcho-statism, anarcho-authority, etc, are nonsens and not valid concepts, but confused Orwellian "1984" "newspeak" that is not anarchist, but authoritarian, i.e. chaotic, and should be avoided.

Briefly defined State in a broad societal meaning is systems with significantly large rank and/or income differences and/or inefficient, i.e. significantly vertically organized. Anarchies are systems with significantly small rank and income differences, plus efficiency, i.e. significantly horizontally organized.

In addition to these axioms and most basic principles of social sciences, anarchy and anarchism and other -isms, other principles of policy defining authority more precise and concrete in a societal context, structural and functional, performance included, must be introduced, and the significant level of anarchy vs archies must be calibrated for applied and practical research and analysis. This is a.o.t. discussed on the file (click on:) http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html , search for 'calibration' and 'principles'. The axioms (1) - (10) are consistent with the economical-political maps below:

V. The economical-political maps

*) The stars indicate the position of the Norwegian economical-political system after the revolutionary change in 1994/95.

The map to the right with four quadrants illustrates the four main forms of economical-political systems with a) all forms of anarchies in the upper quadrant in the middle, and b) all forms of archies in the three other quadrants. The quadrants are. 1. Marxism (State socialism), 2. Fascism (populism included), 3. Anarchism, 4 Liberalism. The map with the 16 sectors defines the four main different tendencies or subsystems of the four main forms of economical-political systems respectively. (Esquerda means left, and direita means right - the other names are easy to understand in English).

Anarchies may have insignificant tendencies of different forms of archies (x-archy), say, plutarchy, ochlarchy, etc. Plutarchy, ochlarchy, etc., in general x-archy, mentioned as parts of an anarchist system, are always insignificant tendencies of x-archies on aggregate societal level, that together make up the authoritarian tendency of the anarchist system, measured by the authoritarian degree (the distance from the top of the map). Ochlarchy broadly defined as an authoritarian tendency is further explained in the Oslo convention (click on:) http://www.anarchy.no/oslo.html . Thus, there may to a minor extent be small, or local, plutarchs, ochlarchs, etc., in general x-archs, in an anarchist system, especially at relatively low degrees of anarchy, as long as they all in all don't represent a significant authoritarian tendency on aggregate, societal level. Such small, or local, plutarchs, ochlarchs, etc., in general x-archs, are usually called plutarchists, ochlarchists, etc., in general x-archists, to get a more logical use of the words. Thus, real plutarchs, ochlarchs, etc. in general x-archs, are significant plutarchs, ochlarchs, etc. in general x-archs, on societal level. They must all in all make the degree of statism or capitalism or both > 50%. Significant tendencies of plutarchy, ochlarchy, etc., in general x-archy, on aggregate societal level, in economical as well as political/administrative terms, may not exist in an anarchist system. If significant tendencies of plutarchy, ochlarchy, etc., in general x-archy, on aggregate societal level, either in economical or political/administrative terms, exist in a system, the system is a form of archy - and not anarchy.

All capitalist (degree of capitalism > 50%) systems (fascist and liberalist) are economical plutarchies, i.e. have a significant economical plutarchist tendency on aggregate societal level. Economical plutarchies may in general also be mixed with other significant x-archies defined in economic terms, say oligarchy. Fascist systems always have both a significant economical plutarchist tendency, and statism (significant degree of statism, i.e. > 50%). The statism (significant) is defined by x-archies in political/administrative terms, i.e. significant tendency on aggregate, societal level. Marxism, i.e. state-socialist systems, may not have any significant capitalist/plutarchist tendency on aggregate, societal level, but of course have statism (significant). Plutarchy defined in political/administrative terms is always connected to economical plutarchy, but economical plutarchy may of course be without political/administrative plutarchy. Liberalist systems may not have any statism (significant degree of statism > 50%) on aggregate, societal level. Thus systems within the liberalist quadrant have a degree of autonomy > 50%, they have autonomy (significant). The borders of the anarchist quadrant represent anarchist systems. The border between the marxist and fascist quadrant represents marxist systems and the border between the fascist and liberalist quadrant represents liberalist systems.

Anarchism and anarchy are socialism plus autonomy as defined above, see the economic-political map, a system significantly flat organized both economic and political/administrative, efficient and fair, without top heavy pyramid economically and/or political/administrative, based on significant statism and/or capitalism. The results of the economic-political systems of the anarchies Norway, the Swiss Confederation and Iceland confirm the basic libertarian hypothesis that a horizontal structure, i.e. a significant autonomous and socialist system, is efficient and fair. Empirical data of other systems confirm that a top heavy structure, capitalist (economical plutarchist) and/or statist, is unfair and/or inefficient.

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