Submitted by ziq in Anarchism (edited )

In response to this (sarcastic) comment:

And informed by this earlier statement by the same user:

A hierarchy is an artificial construct that depends on the principle of authority.

Authority is the socially-enforced rule that the ruler in a hierarchical relationship gives commands and the subordinate obeys under threat of (legitimized) violence.

Authority is a violent act. It has nothing to do with the act of rendering aid to a child; feeding them or preventing them from falling into a pool and drowning.

A parent-child relationship needn't be a hierarchy unless you construct it as such.

If I offered my boss a meal, or saved them from drowning, I wouldn't be exercising authority over them. That action doesn't create a hierarchy.

But just by being my boss, they are constantly exercising authority over me and I'm constantly their subordinate. I am ruled by them. I am constrained by the boss-worker hierarchy.

Authority is a deliberate social construct that divides people into either rulers or obeyers; using violence and the notion of "morality" to maintain this coercive system. Talking back to your boss, refusing their authority: That's a big 'moral' no no. Society uses that to uphold the oppressive dynamic and to keep you controlled and obedient.

"Voluntary" hierarchies? They're merely an excuse for perpetrating structural violence that is legitimized by appealing to authority.

That is the opposite of anarchy; it's archy.

Parenting is only hierarchical when parents choose to force their authority on their child.

An anarchist parent uses child-rearing methods that treat the child as an autonomous individual and not as a subordinate to their authoritarian demands.

Anarchist parents see themselves as caretakers, not authorities, and legitimizing parental authority with the excuse of "justifiable hierarchy" is a scapegoat. It's not justified. Using violent coercion to control children is not anarchy.

"Justifiable hierarchy" is a fundemental misunderstanding of anarchy that needs to be thrown out before it further dillutes our (really very easily defined) objectives.

We tend to overthink things and that leads to mountains of round-about revisionist theory that only detracts from anarchy and leaves people confused about what even our most basic objectives are.

Every oppressive political ideology considers the hierarchies they enable to be justifiable. Anarchists know better.

Anarchy is, was and always will be the outright rejection of hierarchy.

When you compromise and make excuses to construct hierarchies; what you're practicing is no longer anarchy.



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Brick wrote (edited )

The "against all unjustified hierarchies" definition of anarchy is a fallacy. It could just as easily apply to any political group, for instance:

Monarchists: "hierarchy is justified by divine right, royal blood, hereditary titles, the size of your armies, the bounty your ships can plunder."

Republicans: "hierarchy is justified by the so-called 'consent' of the governed, borders, nationality."

Ancaps: "hierarchy is justified by 'voluntary' (ha) choice, property ownership, ability to earn wealth."

Fascists: "hierarchy is justified by racial purity, nationality, military might."

So how are anarchists different from all these believers in 'justified hierarchy'? It's simple: We reject all attempts to justify hierarchies.

We oppose being ruled altogether, we don't simply request less rulers be placed over us.

Anarchy is a total lack of any hierarchy, rulers, or authority. We see all these things as unjustified.

If you decide some hierarchy is justified, you've stopped being an anarchist and are using the descriptor in bad faith.


notmy_realname wrote (edited )

This may be a dumb, or at least uniformed, question, but can you explain what you mean by hierarchy? I don't think I understand what people mean when they say they are against all hierarchy. I'm going to pose a hypothetical which may seem like a trick question, but after trying for a while to think of a hypothetical which doesn't seem like a trick question, this is the best I came up with. Hopefully it can clarify for me what people mean when they say they are against all hierarchy.

Let's say there is a group of people on an island, Group A, living together in a way they all find agreeable. Group B wants to invade the island and take all the bananas from the island, and agrees to work together to do so. Group A is against this idea, and agrees to fight against Group B. For both Groups A and B, can you explain whether they are acting in support of a hierarchy, and why or why not?

My reason for giving this hypothetical is that I think in this situation both sides would see their own interests as being "anti-hierarchy", in that they are both attempting to quash the other side's rule over the bananas, but both sides obviously can't be right, so I'd like to know how someone who has obviously thought more about what hierarchy means thinks about a situation like this.


ziq OP wrote

So group B don't live on the island and are invading it to steal group A's food (and kill them if they get in their way)?

Then group B are invaders, aggressors. Group A need the bananas to survive. Defending their home and their survival is self defense.

Group B are trying to implement a hierarchy where they can invade other people's home and take their food by force. They will colonize and kill and probably enslave the islanders. B are pro-hierarchy for sure. A are just defending themselves from invasion.