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Gathering Together to Smash the State: An Analysis of Rhetorical Artifacts from the 2002 North American Anarchist Gathering
Unformatted Document Text:  Gathering 6 philosophies erupts in terms of pragmatics—how to free the worker and individual from the shackles of capitalist oppression. The Marxist solution to this problem lies in the development of a centralized power structure—essentially, a dictatorship of the people that combined the state and civil society. “Marx argued that the primary activity in Civil Society was production, and that all members of society could not individually share in legislative power if the civil and political spheres were separated” (Schecter, 1994, p. 7). Therefore, it was necessary for a central authority of the people to develop that would control production and legislation. Anarchists argue that this Marxist solution is problematic because the centralized power structure will lead to the same corruption and abuses by elites. Much of anarchist literature and political theory is based on decentralization of authority and production in an attempt to make each individual truly free and autonomous. There are three primary theories or narratives of how this can be accomplished. The first of these came from Proudhon (1873), who believed that decentralization was a process that developed from mutualist associations. Mutualist associations were collectives of individuals who worked together to create products that they could use as well as provide for other mutualist associations. Proudhon foresaw three sectors of production that would be undertaken by the mutualist associations: agriculture, artisan, and industrial. The products of one mutualist association would provide for their needs, the surplus would be used to trade to the other mutualist associations for their products. According to Schecter (1994) there were conditions to being a part of one of Proudhon’s mutualist associations. All members had the same rights. All members had to assume equal share in conducting less rewarding tasks. All members had to have crucial technical skills that allowed them to contribute to multiple aspects of production, which gave those members a conception of the productive endeavor as a whole. All functions in the mutualist associations

Authors: Atkinson, Joshua.
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Gathering 6
philosophies erupts in terms of pragmatics—how to free the worker and individual from the
shackles of capitalist oppression. The Marxist solution to this problem lies in the development of
a centralized power structure—essentially, a dictatorship of the people that combined the state
and civil society. “Marx argued that the primary activity in Civil Society was production, and
that all members of society could not individually share in legislative power if the civil and
political spheres were separated” (Schecter, 1994, p. 7). Therefore, it was necessary for a central
authority of the people to develop that would control production and legislation.
Anarchists argue that this Marxist solution is problematic because the centralized power
structure will lead to the same corruption and abuses by elites. Much of anarchist literature and
political theory is based on decentralization of authority and production in an attempt to make
each individual truly free and autonomous. There are three primary theories or narratives of how
this can be accomplished. The first of these came from Proudhon (1873), who believed that
decentralization was a process that developed from mutualist associations. Mutualist
associations were collectives of individuals who worked together to create products that they
could use as well as provide for other mutualist associations. Proudhon foresaw three sectors of
production that would be undertaken by the mutualist associations: agriculture, artisan, and
industrial. The products of one mutualist association would provide for their needs, the surplus
would be used to trade to the other mutualist associations for their products.
According to Schecter (1994) there were conditions to being a part of one of Proudhon’s
mutualist associations. All members had the same rights. All members had to assume equal
share in conducting less rewarding tasks. All members had to have crucial technical skills that
allowed them to contribute to multiple aspects of production, which gave those members a
conception of the productive endeavor as a whole. All functions in the mutualist associations


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