Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Know Much About Anarchy

Dan Berrett of The Chronicle of Higher Education traces in large part the intellectual roots of and justification for the "Occupy" movement to one David Graeber, a scholar who studied the community of Betafo in central Madagascar from 1989 to 1991.
Betafo was "a place where the state picked up stakes and left," says Mr. Graeber, an ethnographer, anarchist, and reader in anthropology at the University of London's Goldsmiths campus.

In Betafo he observed what he called "consensus decision-making," where residents made choices in a direct, decentralized way, not through the apparatus of the state. "Basically, people were managing their own affairs autonomously," he says.

The process is what scholars of anarchism call "direct action." For example, instead of petitioning the government to build a well, members of a community might simply build it themselves. It is an example f anarchism's philosophy, or what Mr. Graeber describes as "democracy without a government."

He transplanted the lessons he learned in Madagascar to the globalism protests in the late 1990s in which he participated, and which some scholars say are the clearest antecedent, in spirit, to Occupy Wall Street.
I don't know about you, but "direct action" sounds a lot like "self-reliance" to me, but without the adorning "PhD" attached.   Thus far, I haven't seen much of it in the "Occupy" movement. 

Just the opposite, I'd say.

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