International Journal of Anarchism

ifa-Solidaritet - folkebladet - ISSN 0800-0220 - electronic issues ISSN 1890-9485 since 2009 - no 1 (48) editor H. Fagerhus

Bulletin of the Anarchist International

Anarchist principles for debate

by A. Quist, J. Moreno and P. Johansen 24.06.2008 - Updated

After experience from participating in a lot of discussions in newspapers, email lists and Internet fora, we have come to the following conclusion regarding anarchist principles for debate:

1. Anarchism is, a. o. t., based on dialog and free, matter of fact, criticism. A keyword is dialog, another is matter of fact ....

We will not discuss with people that behave like ochlarchists, i.e. not anarchist, using invectives, instead of sound matter of fact arguments. Sound, scientific, matter of fact argumentation is a part of anarchism. Use of invectives instead of sound, scientific, matter of fact argumentation means ochlarchy - mobbing - the opposite of anarchy.

We are not forcing these anarchist principles on anyone - it should be voluntarely accepted.

We don't use invectives because attacking the person in stead of the ball is authoritarian. If you take on the person, not the ball, you are authoritarian.

Using invectives only proves you are an ochlarchist, not an anarchist. Best arguments win among true anarchists, and invectives are never the best argument. Furthermore, if you use invectives, everybody that read a forum can see that you are an ochlarchist and not anarchist. Live and let live.

Invectives as "idiotic", "bitch", "moron", etc. you name it, are not anarchist, scientific, sound matter of fact arguments.

If you are using invectives, you are acting like a twelve your old kid that has got a contrary opinion, and behaving ochlarchical (ochlarchy = mob rule broadly defined). Try to act as a grown up person. Try to be more matter of fact and we may discuss with you. We don't discuss with ochlarchists. And calling for a ban, against free criticism, is authoritarian. Anarchists are for free speech.

But free speech, libertarian speech, is not ochlarchy, is not ochlarchist, including 1. defamation, libel, lies, the Law of Jante and using ruling techniques, see IJA 1 (36) and 2. Orwellian "1984" Big Brother newspeak, see Preamble of the International Anarchist Tribunal - the Anarchist Press Tribunal - and the IAT-APT resolutions and Brown Cards!

Furthermore, in a scientific, matter of fact debate, invectives have no place. Nobody that have the idea of what a scientific, matter of fact, debate is, will take you seriously, if you use invectives. We will not take you seriously, and nobody else should take you seriously if you use invectives in stead of sound, matter of fact, real arguments.

We say this, not as authority, from the top down, but as a friendly hint within the framwork of horizontal organization, i.e. social relations without ochlarchy, mobbing.

Our experience is that it is mainly the authoritarian party-members and sympathizers such as, say, from the marxist-leninist Rødt (Red) in Norway and the right populist Frp (also in Norway), that use invectives in the economic-political debates. The basic working class, the people as opposed to the superiors, use it very little in economic-political debates broadly defined. The working class in Norway is in general highly educated. Outside economic-political debates of course almost all people, also we, sometimes use invectives. Our experience as tourists and participating in anarchist gatherings, including anarcho-syndicalists, in Western Europe, also is the same.

The culture in North America is probably more authoritarian, a top - down approach (calling someone and idiot, is a top - down approach), than in the Anarchy of Norway. Ochlarchy is a top - down approach.

Less ochlarchy in debates will increase the libertarian degree and decrease the authoritarian degree. In general there is little premium on demagogical speech in the long run. Matter of fact argumentation, with scientific basis, wins in the long run. In general anarchist debate should be compatible with the hypothetical deductive method, based on this method and be matter of fact, and value judgements, especially negative - calling names etc., should be avoided. An exception may be to put real authoritarins liers and provocateurs at place.

To achieve a high standard on the economic-political debate, about anarchism and other -isms, and for anarchist action, and for further research, to take the basic course of anarchism, click on: Course, or similar knowledge, is a must!

Resolution, decided with general consent, by:
The International Anarchist Congress
The 11th Anarchist Biennial 27-28.11.2010
International Congress-Seminar on Anarchism
The AI/IFA network represents more than 50 000 anarchist world wide
To see the Website of the Congress - Click here!

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