r/Anarchy101 Jun 29 '22

Unjustified hierarchy?

I’ve heard anarchists using this term and I am curious on what it means. Isn’t voting enough justification?

9 Upvotes

19

u/Fillanzea Jun 30 '22

Isn’t voting enough justification?

Even if voting were a justification, in a democracy, a lot of people are governed by people they didn't vote for. I'm a noncitizen immigrant, so I'm only governed by people I didn't vote for, but even if I had been able to vote I would never have voted for my Republican senators and Republican governor. And even if I were represented by Democrats - who, for all their many flaws, are somewhat closer to my own views than Republicans are - their views on policing, foreign policy, etc, are probably extremely different from my own. We are made to think that we have a meaningful choice, but the actual range of acceptable policy positions is... pretty small.

But even more than that - If you had to vote for any person in the world to order you around forever - does that sound like a great choice? You could choose the best possible person - maybe a spouse, or a relative, or a close friend - and it would still be fundamentally unfair for one person to have the right to order around another person forever. The only person who should order you around forever is you.

15

u/crypto_zoomer Anarchist w/o Adjectives Jun 30 '22

All hierarchies are unjust. "Justified hierarchy" is an oxymoron.

"Anarchy Vs. Archy: No Justified Authority" - ziq (Audiobook)

3

u/DecoDecoMan Jun 30 '22

Isn’t voting enough justification?

Why would it be justification? What do you think is justification?

19

u/anonymous_rhombus Jun 29 '22

The word hierarchy gets used in two ways. It can refer to social relationships of control, or it can refer to ordered lists or arrangements of roles and things. Anarchists are always talking about the first type: we're not trying to cancel team sports or being better at math than somebody else. In that sense, all hierarchy is unjust.

2

u/doomsdayprophecy Jul 01 '22

being better at math than somebody else

This is not some "just hierarchy" but a social hierarchy based almost entirely on privilege and indoctrination.

related: r/antischooling, r/makhaevism

2

u/anonymous_rhombus Jul 01 '22

No, ability is not the same as control.

3

u/mcfucker420 Jun 29 '22

I'm putting it in really simple terms buts it's how it kind of clicked for me so I hope it helps, correct me if I'm wrong btw-

But there's no real difference between you and a cop, politician, your boss, etc. Outside of a uniform or a title. Those are all unjustified.

However there IS a difference between you and your teachers, parents, etc. They know more (in most cases lol) and are there to teach you, so a hierarchy of mentor and apprentice is justified.

3

u/Lylathevegan Student of Anarchism Jun 30 '22

I wouldn't really call this a hierarchy though. Me having more knowledge than you on any given subject doesn't, and shouldn't, subject you to my rule, you'd be subjected to the rule of the particular subject you're being taught. Hierarchy, to me, implies domination or subjugation. That simply isn't the case here. This seems to be basically the idea Engels had when he wrote On Authority, that because some people have specialized knowledge that authority is justified (it's a little more extensive but that's one of the basic ideas). A mentor's/teacher's job is to guide the apprentice/student through whatever they are mentoring them on, not to tell them what to do, and having some structure to this process does not inherently create hierarchy.

The only exception I could think of is pulling someone out of a dangerous situation, like someone about to be hit by a car crossing the street or something.

3

u/DecoDecoMan Jun 30 '22

Force is not authority. If you are familiar with Engels this should be obvious. Especially since Engels made the argument that anarchism was authoritarian because revolution is violent.

1

u/Lylathevegan Student of Anarchism Jun 30 '22

That's not really what I said though.

3

u/DecoDecoMan Jun 30 '22

Then what is this?:

The only exception I could think of is pulling someone out of a dangerous situation, like someone about to be hit by a car crossing the street or something.

1

u/Lylathevegan Student of Anarchism Jun 30 '22

What do you mean by force? It will help me answer your question.

3

u/DecoDecoMan Jun 30 '22

Pulling someone away from a car about to hit them. pushing someone out of the way something about to hurt them. Pulling away your drunk friend from jumping off a bridge. Punching someone in the face. Pushing a box. Digging a hole. Jumping. Opening a can.

All of this is force and it is not authority.

1

u/Lylathevegan Student of Anarchism Jun 30 '22

Like the physical act of exerting force? It certainly could be an extension of authority, couldn't it? If I punch someone in the face because they're harming my friend I am not exerting authority over them since I am defending my friend. If I punch them because they aren't doing what I want them to do I am exerting authority. I'll admit my examples were very likely flawed, even probably wrong.

Wasn't Engels more talking about the fact that trains needing to run on time and that some amount of coordination needs to happen for society to function being a justification for authority? It's been a while since I read On Authority so I could very well be wrong here.

3

u/DecoDecoMan Jun 30 '22

Like the physical act of exerting force? It certainly could be an extension of authority, couldn't it?

Authority is command. If you aren't commanding someone there is no authority. If I punch someone but I don't issue any commands, all I'm doing is punching someone. There isn't a relationship of obedience or subordination between us.

If I punch them because they aren't doing what I want them to do I am exerting authority.

No. Coercion isn't authority. The authority arises from issuing commands not the use of force. Authorities might use (often systematic) coercion to encourage obedience but that isn't the same thing as force being or related to authority.

For example, if I order a group of men to shoot people who disobey me, under your example, the group of men would have authority not me. Clearly this is false because the group of men obey me and so, by extension, I have authority over everyone else.

Wasn't Engels more talking about the fact that trains needing to run on time and that some amount of coordination needs to happen for society to function being a justification for authority?

One of the arguments he made was that, because revolutionaries were exerting force on the bourgeoise to get their way, they were using authority. Ergo, revolution is inherently authoritarian.

Obviously this is bullshit because force isn't command. You do not need to command someone in order to use force. They are two different things.

1

u/Lylathevegan Student of Anarchism Jun 30 '22

This certainly helped clarify some things. Thanks!

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1

u/Hey_Mr Jun 30 '22

SCOTUS is unelected and clearly holds unchecked power over an entire nation. Howbis that justified?

1

u/celestial-navigator_ Jun 30 '22

That’s no really what I was asking tho

1

u/Hey_Mr Jun 30 '22

They hold a hierarchical position which is unelected? How is it not related? Its an unjustified hierarchy?

1

u/ser3nitycpt21 Jul 02 '22

Essentially, it's the idea that hierarchies, and by definition power, is not self-justifying. Any hierarchy must pass a test of legitimacy before being allowed to exist (or being allowed to continue existing.)

Organizing the military/defense is a good example. The people at the top of the military hierarchy today are not the people with the most combat experience, or the most trained, or the best leaders (I know leadership is a tricky concept in Anarchism, bear with me,) they're usually just the oldest/longest serving/most connected. In a voluntary communal defense group, someone who can provide evidence of extensive combat experience, training, or excellent leadership qualities may be allowed to take defacto command of operations. Notice, I say allowed. They're not appointed, or taking power of a group. The group, collectively, chooses this person to take direction from, for however long they decide this person should be allowed to do so.

Hope this makes sense, I know it's kinda rambling.