Why We Have To Work With the State

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Dale Carrico:

"I want not to smash the state but to democratize it. I am no anarchist, and I have to say that neither is my patience unlimited when it comes to anarchists.

Not to put too fine a point on it, it seems to me that the definitive ideal of democratization, equity-in-diversity, is not attainable in the absence of good government, and unless we create and maintain institutions for the nonviolent adjudication of disputes the permanent possibility of violence inhering in human plurality will prevail.

Given the susceptibility of all states to capture by incumbents and all authorities to rationalization anarchism provides an indispensable vantage for critique, but few resources from which to educate, agitate, and organize the ongoing struggle for democratization, consensualization, and equity-in-diversity.

The red thread of inequity and violence undertaken by tyrannical and corrupt governments is horrible to contemplate and should bolster the resolve of radical democrats, but anarchists just seem to me to throw the baby out with the bathwater or, worse, seem in their assumptions about politics to have remained in the nursery themselves, mistaking hopes for harmony (or, worse, the customary coercions of contract for peace), or declarations of abstract principle for the painful compromised concrete struggles for reconciliation or reform.

In particular, I regard the endless recurrence to fantasies of "spontaneous order" on the part of anarchists -- whether they fancy themselves to inhabit the left or the right or some place "beyond left and right" -- a parade of functional facilitations of oligarchy.

Now, I abhor empire, and it is a deep confusion to identify all government with empire, or to insinuate that those who would struggle to make government of by and for the people more convivial pine after a "good empire" (both of which the commenter did in framing their question in the Moot).

As for why governance now needs to be planetary in scope (this was the topic of the post which occasioned this upgraded exchange from the Moot), as I said, global governance already exists now, but in authoritarian corporate-militarist forms, and it is the struggle of our living generation to democratize this existing global governance in the interests of sustainability and fairness not to invent some planetary government ab initio and as some kind of end-in-itself.

Our environmental problems are planetary in character and the nation-state system is manifestly inadequate to cope with them (thus threatening us all with literal destruction) while at one and the same time the public realm has been likewise rendered planetary through p2p-media formations that are the register in which contemporary citizenship makes its play. The planetary character of our problems, of the emerging terrain of political agency, and even of existing institutions are already before us, the work is to democratize them else be enslaved or destroyed by them.

As for the more basic questions posed about the presumed dispensability of political life as such: Human plurality is palpable, as is our interdependency with one another, peer-to-peer, and our shared indebtedness to the archive of history's accomplishments and troubles are all facts of life. That we are obligated by the voices of those with whom we share the world is no less true when we deny it or rationalize it away. Equity, diversity, consent are fragile but indispensable to human flourishing and must be accomplished through civitas. Until these fundamentals are grasped one cannot expect to talk sensibly for long about politic matters." (http://amormundi.blogspot.com/2010/07/democracy-is-not-anarchy.html)