Theory of Peace in anarchist thought

Submitted by LostYonder in AskRaddle

I am seeking some references on the idea of peace as developed in anarchist thought. Peace, as a conceptual idea, is more often than not studied through the framework of liberalism, tying it directly to how states enter into and avoid conflict.

While potential ideas of anarchist peace are situated as resistance to the state, global inequalities, etc., I am particularly interested in how an anarchist society is built around the idea of living in peace, be it communist, communitarian, primitivism, or any other way of imagining anarchy.

What does it mean to be living in peace? what are the values and social practices that foster peaceful living? what mechanisms (social, cultural, religious) might support peaceful living?

Any thoughts, opinions, and/or references would be greatly appreciated.


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Tequila_Wolf wrote

I think that defining 'peace' ahead of time and propping it up as something desirable is not really compatible with anarchy.

We can take guesses at what peace would look like but as soon as we're building our future on an 'image' of what peace is then we're letting ourselves be defined by abstractions

  • which will always be inadequate to reality,
  • which will work as authoritarian structures that predefine our actions,
  • and give people reasons to police us whenever they see us as not acting in accordance with that abstraction - especially people who set themselves up as 'experts' on the abstraction, in this case, 'peace'.

This is roughly what I understand many anarchists who consider themselves anti-ideological or anti-utopian to be assuming.

That doesn't mean we can't experiment with different ideas of peace. What is your interest in peace specifically?

One more thing. I'm reminded of an amusing bit of the book bolo'bolo, where p.m. sets out a blueprint for an anarchist utopia. In it, he doesn't assume that there will be peace. He even imagines entire comminities/towns/'bolos' that are dedicated to banditry. So I don't think we need to be imagining societies without battles, but really the sense of scale that the fighting you imagine in his society has is nothing like that of state-capitalism. It feels kinda human.


LostYonder OP wrote

My interest is part of a research project actually, finding different critiques of and alternatives to peace as a liberal/statist project.

I fully get and appreciate that peace should not be imagined as an ideology, a "road-map", a utopic imposition. Though, that is one approach - a sort of guiding principle, how to imagine a peaceful society, or at least one freed from the mass destruction of state-capitalism and more equitable than liberal impositions.

I think what I am trying to get at is, is peace as an overarching value of social relations, a social ethic--how we interact with one another, our sense of giving, our hospitality towards strangers, our willingness to not accept any form of injustice or inequalities. That is, is there a conceptualization of peace as a lived ethic of everyday encounters and interactions?


Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I'm not actually familiar with the idea of peace as a liberal/statist project.

I don't think I've ever encountered peace outside of this thing that is imposed by authoritarian structures - a false peace, perhaps exemplified by the quiet road during curfew under martial law.

Based on that it seems I'm not concerned with peace so much as I desire the collective capacity to make war against those who impose their 'peace'.

So if anything, peace is (something like) knowing I have the capacity together with those like me and others to live free from imposing or being imposed on by authoritarian structures of all kinds.

Probably more to say here but I'll leave it at this for now.