Graeber and Grubacic anarchist critique of liberal state

2020-09-10, 2020-09-12

Some notes on the anarchist ("stateless socialism") critique of the liberal state.

  1. The reigning political common sense. That is, how societies must be organized. Our current one is the liberal state.

  2. Theories of social evolution (dominated the 19th Century and remain with us today)

    • human societies can be organized according to stages of development [an invented notion]
    • each stage has its own characteristic technologies and forms of organization
    • how much "freedom" and "equality" is consistent with an advanced commercial society based on a sophisticated division of labor
    • social evolution called "progress" early on
      • not just a matter of increasing complexity, differentiation, and integration
        - but a kind of Hobbesian struggle for survival
      • the phrase "survival of the fittest" coined in 1852 by Spencer to describe human history
      • this ides taken up by market liberals to propound a "gladitorial view" of human history in which only the strong survive
  3. Anarchist critique of this liberal state

    • the rule of law is ultimately based on arbitrary violence
      (a secular version of an all-powerful God that can create morality because it stands outside of it)
    • the need for punitive law and the apparatus of the state is not because of a flaw in human nature
    • they (punitive law and the state) exist owing to the existence of the institutions of private property, and money
    • the existence of these institutions by their very nature drive people to act in ways that make coercive means necessary
    • equality is the condition for any meaningful freedom

Pages that link to this page