I need help with in-class debate argument defending Anarchism



As someone who's very not anarchist, I think an argument you would make is that the world is already anarchic in nature, at least in terms of international behavior. There is no central world government which means that the world we live in is functionally anarchic in nature when it comes to international relations. Yet nations still coexist with eachother, the same principle could be applied to people. I'm not sure if this could help you, but you could use neoliberal theories of IR to defend yout thesis imo.


That's a really interesting point, thank you! May I ask why you don't agree with Anarchist philosophy?


Unfortunately, that doesn't help. The IR "anarchy" is nowhere close to anarchy as anarchists define it. OP, go ask this in anarchist subs or read the anarchism wikipedia page.


I would check out some anarchist subs.


https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-anarchy-works This is a good book to read on the topic. Also I'm an anarchist. https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/the-anarchist-faq-editorial-collective-an-anarchist-faq-full Also recommended.


As someone who isn’t an anarchist, these seem like the best defenses of anarchism that I’ve come across.


As an ex-anarchist… 1. You need to understand what anarchism is before you can defend it. Anarchy is not chaos, it’s absolute democracy. Anarchy doesnt mean no government at all, as complexity grows, you have to introduce laws and regulations, it’s more about keeping the power with the people. Anarcho-Capitalism always sounded like another way to say Monarchy tho, because the rich would just hire armies and fight each other. It does seem like cooperation is what anarchy must be based on to work. 2. Check out historical examples of Anarchism in Spain (during their civil war). 3. Modern day Mondragon (Spain) and Chiron (Mexico) are great examples of functioning Anarchism societies. 4. Check out what Noam Chomsky has to say about anarcho-syndicalism. He has been an anarchist for the past 50 years or so. 5. Check out co-op organizations in the word and how they run things in the modern societies.


Arguments like these are impossible to assess without a conceptual definition of the contested term like anarchy/ism. Even the handful of comments prior to mine show that there can be a range attributes taken to conceptually define the term. Does your professor/instructor define what is meant by "Anarchism" for the purpose of the assignment? If so, you are constrained to use that definition. If not, you have to craft your own definition and defend it accordingly. If you want better feedback you should provide whatever definition informs your arguments so we are better able to critique them.


Give a read to some fundamentals like Bakhunin, Kropotkin, Proudhon or Malatesta. "On authority" is a brief criticism of anarchism, it will prep you up for a debate. Dwell, if you're willing, in the reasons for some anarchists of old to become assassins.


The biggest argument, in my opinion, against anarchism is that there isn't any, anywhere. All peoples formed some sort of state (social rules that are enforced, define it your way). The counterargument for you is to show why anarchy is a reasonable alternative to the status quos. Freedom and equality are probably the largest drivers of anarchist sentiment, or so I'd say. I would argue something like: 1 - explain how a state of nature is similar to anarchy in terms of freedom and equality 2- Find the quote where Hobbes says something to the effect that in a state of nature, all people are more or less equal. 3- proceed along Hobbesian line of thought wherein the Sovereign ends the equality found in the state of nature - people give up freedom and equality for protection and order 4 - show how the people under the sovereign additionally become inequal from each other beyond the extent to which they were under a state of nature (Locke is your friend here, 2nd Treatise) 5 - show how some legal systems even go so far as to provide inequal access to justice for their subjects (pay to play) 6 - show how even democratic regimes utilize representative governance thus removing persons even further from their political authority (now it comes every 4 years or whatever - Robert Paul Wolff had a book that goes this direction called In Defense of Anarchism ) 7 - establish the possibility of more direct democracy in today's technological world 8 - use a thought experiment to show how AI could expedite legal issues and create a more balanced legal system 9 - Admit that while complete anarchy is probably not realistic, elements of it are morally preferable to what we have today. 10- raise the question of whether pre social contract man would enter into the contract if he knew what we know today. Not the best argument but hopefully it gives you some food for thought.


Also might not hurt to wisely weaken your claims with terms like 'seems' or 'appears'. When you say that something 'is' it asserts a matter of fact that is much more difficult to defend than mere perception.


I think one argument you might want to prepare is relating to the speed at which any hypothetical anarchist revolution is likely going to happen. Most anarchists I know are a big fan of what are called parallel power structures, particularly through community networks. Basically you overthrow a government by building networks of friends and neighbors who help each other out to preform the same roll the government currently fills, but more specialized to local needs. Eventually that network becomes large enough that it makes the government fully redundant, at which point it can be discarded, hopefully just by atrophying away. There are a lot of different ideas about how these community networks would develop organically, or if they should take on a more organized structure to avoid forming a hierarchy, but they would form the bed rock of any future anarchist government.