Live at the Marsh Theater, John kicks off the show by stating the anarchist position: that all states are inherently coercive, and therefore immoral. Ken pushes back, arguing that we need a state to protect us from each other. John reacts by defending anarchism, citing examples of ways in which modern states oppress their people. Surely, anarchy is preferable to states like we have. Ken asks what’s to stop him, under anarchy, from simply stealing John’s money. The two move on to accuse each other, lightheartedly, or loving chaos and tyranny.
The hosts welcome guest James Martel, editor of How Not to be Governed: Readings and Interpretations from a Critical Anarchist Left. He quickly dispels the myth of anarchy as a chaotic punk-rock situation, arguing that liberal capitalism has cast anarchism in this light to act as if that there is no alternative to the current system. After a break, Ken asks about the things we’d be missing out on under anarchy, like roads. James quips that states don’t build roads, people do – communities have been building roads long before nation-states existed. John questions how things would ever get done without the exchange of capital. James cites the example of the barter economy that functioned in Barcelona and other parts of Spain in the early twentieth century.
James brings up a key concept of anarchism: no representation. People can have others speak for them, but not represent them beyond what they consent to. He talks about assemblies of spokespeople who speak for those with like views. These assemblies, as they operated in Anarchist Spain, made decisions by consensus, rather than sheer majority vote. In this way, everyone is able to directly have a say in what gets done.A young audience member asks about what compels people to invent and create things such as iPhones without capitalist motivations. James replies that communities can still uphold intellectual property without coercion, but Ken and John aren’t satisfied with his answer that people would still invent for the fun of it. He goes further to say that when workers own their own labor, and do things collectively, they can do the same things they do now but in a way that doesn’t coerce them into oppression. Such collectivization is how anarchism would function.
- Roving Philosophical Reporter (seek to 6:40): Shuka Kalantari interviews Greg Horton, an anarchist living in Oakland, California about examples of anarchism in the past, and the influences that led him to his politics.
- 60-Second Philosopher (seek to 46:12): Ian Shoales sppeds through the story of Josiah Warren, whom he calls America’s first Anarchist, who founded an Anarchist society on Long Island called Modern Times.