Makes many interesting comments about how very many everyday experiences and habits are reflections of 'anarchist principles/ideas. I thought that this tangential viewing of anarchist ideas I was very interesting.
Anarchy recognises an order that the state denies and seeks to suffocate. I think Schiller took this order, created by the people's participation in a mutual place by means of ordinary speech, to be self-evident when he wrote:
It is thus that concrete individual life is extinguished, in order that the abstract whole may continue its miserable life, and the State remains forever a stranger to its citizens, because feeling does not discover it anywhere. The governing authorities find themselves compelled to classify, and thereby simplify, the multiplicity of its citizens, and only to know humanity in a representative form and at second hand.
The state seeks to subordinate ordinary speech by establishing an external written code. Unlike ordinary speech political speech is concerned to exercise power over other places by means of writing. Writing attempts to eclipse the contingent and particular speech of participants with external and generic rules.
Scott recognises that the substantive order deviates from the formal order of writing, and that the substantive order is capable of both enabling and sabotaging production, but in Two cheers for Anarchy he imagines a political process that directs its own place rather than other places. This error persuades him to put his faith in the capacity of deviance to influence the rewriting of political texts.
But in the majority of cases deviance is a covert activity and participants accept that they cannot alter, only avoid, political texts. So while the participation of politicians in their constituencies may be a principle of democratic politics, in practice it is an empty gesture with little influence on the political process. So some become part of the system and others reconcile themselves to marginal lives.
Scott himself recognises and exhibits both accommodations. He describes several case studies that illustrate the problem, but he gazes at the subordination of the many to the writing of the few with an `anarchist squint'. This reflects the half-hearted gestures of those who sympathise with ordinary speech, but accomodate institutions governed by writing.
Anarchy protests against those texts whose implicit imperative is the control of other places and delight in mutual experience undeflected by authority. But anarchy's fatal weakness is its vulnerability to the usurpation of its places by barbarians and barbarian states.
4 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?