71 thoughts on “The Dawson Street Declaration

    1. Joe

      yup thinking the exact same thing, what did they want to say.

      No Borders and no Nations.
      A unified Europe against a Capitalistic Europe.

  1. D

    Well they convinced me with that anyway, I’m off to be an anarchist now, where’s the meetings and who’s in charge so I can contact them?

    1. woesinger

      You’re going to need more practice at this anarchism business, I think.
      Or maybe you don’t.
      Who am I to tell you what to do?
      Feckit, sure, do what you want!

      1. Bobby

        Nope, that’s just you not understanding a fairly historically important and well known political philosophy.

        Grab one of those book things..

        1. Bangalore

          Is there any way you can summarize in meme form?

          something like ‘well intentioned anarchist’ or a pigeon who explains anarchism to people (i dont think pigeons been used yet)

  2. Jim.

    the message is correct – capital can freely enter and exit, but people can’t. Better than the usual tag graffiti.

      1. Jim.

        non-EU citizens can’t enter the EU freely, but EU capital can enter most non-EU countries freely. The EU Constitution, intergovernmental appendix.

        1. woesinger

          You are aware that there are a few minor differences between capital and people that might explain this discrepancy?

          1. woesinger

            Quite right, but capital also doesn’t need food, water, housing, light, heat, sanitation, education, employment etc.

            So can you see why states control the flow of people through their borders?

    1. Zackersetu

      i was just thinking that!! A bit of a random choice of colour tho … The Pink Ladies of the anarchist world perchance?

  3. Pigeon Street

    It’s not graffiti, it’s the new slogan of the European Union. Others contenders to make the shortlist were “Sieg Hei” and “Arbeit Macht Frei”

  4. Schma

    Find that crusty. Cut off his dole. Let him live in a binbag in a forest drinking his own recycled piss and see how much he misses capitalism then.

  5. fatonio

    Some of the comments here are frustrating – yes, it’s an incoherent, possibly technically misguided cry of rage. But at the same time, we can all sit around going ‘pff, crusty’, paying our PAYE, and watching our country’s money evaporate off to pay off the bank debts.

    Poor execution, 10/10 for spirit and effort.

        1. woesinger

          Ah – is that what Somalia is, a direct democracy?

          And before we go off into a tiresome thread of “oh Somalia isn’t a real anarchy in the political sense”, please consider the idea that when you have no authority, there is nothing to stop the person with the most charisma / resources / followers / believers / guns / all of the above becoming the authority.

          Please also take into account the historical lack of success of anarchist systems of governance (if that’s not a contradiction in terms), the deeply ingrained nature of hierarchy in human behaviour, and that humans greatly vary in their talents and abilities.

          1. droid

            Regarding the historical ‘success’ of Anarchism, please show me an example of an anarchist society that was allowed to exist for more than a few months or years. The closest we came was during the Spanish Revolution where the anarchists (who, btw, increased industrial output by 30% in two years) were attacked by both left and right and ultimately destroyed.

            Im assuming your Somalia example is supposed to be a joke? You obviously know the difference between chaos and anarchy, so I can only assume you’re trying to be funny.

            Somalia has virtually no political organisation, no suffrage and no democracy. Its pretty much the exact opposite of a society organised along anarchist lines as even the most retarded of first year pol science students could tell you.

          2. woesinger

            Would you care to posit reasons why examples of a successful and long-lived anarchist society are so rare if it’s such a superior form of government?

            The point about Somalia is that I cannot see how a society of actual human beings that tries to organise itself on anarchist principles will not either collapse into factional infighting between power blocs, devolve into either an autocracy or oligarchy of one form or another, or be picked apart by its non-anarchist neighbours.

            Perhaps that’s my failure of imagination, but human nature and history suggests otherwise.

          3. droid

            The fact that Anarchist organisations have been ruthlessly crushed by external forces is only a condemnation of Anarchism if you believe that the ‘success’ of a political system must be based purely on its military prowess and ability to defend itself.

            Ireland has little or no military might – why hasn’t it been ‘picked apart by its militarily powerful neighbours? Anything to do with a network of agreements and cooperation constructed in the common interests of diverse groups?

            Obviously there are many problems with the structuring of a society along anarchist principles, as there is with any system of societal organisation, but history gives us some glimpses of the possibilites – look at the success of hyper-regionalisation of Northern Spain, or the stunning effectiveness of Mahkno’s Black Army in the Ukraine.

            I would suggest that your comments imply not only a lack of imagination, but also a lack of historical knowledge – and more than a hint of smugness towards any suggestion that we can ever grow beyond the ‘least worst system’ that is currently doing so well for us all.

          4. Bangalore

            droid Im no anarchist but just want to applaud you in your intelligent and reasoned defense of it.

          5. droid

            Thanks. You probably are an anarchist but just dont know it! Ask most people if they want more say in their affairs and the decisions which affect their lives and if they want functioning local, regional and national governance that responds directly to their democratically expresed wishes, then the answer is usually yes.

          6. woesinger

            I’d regard ability to defend itself as a pretty fundamental property in a successful system of government/societal organisation. Not the only one, obviously, but it’s kinda important.

            History, and psychology more importantly, also suggests that there are some fundamental flaws in the idea of an anarchist system. Many Hippy communes (and I use the term in the technical sense, not the pejorative) in the 60s were set up to be leaderless – everyone with a fair say, full equality. Yet they quickly devolved into unequal arrangements because people with stronger personalities dominated those around them. And because everyone was supposed to be equal, there were no mechanisms in place to challenge these de facto leaders. (This is covered in Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self”).

            Like it or not, (and I’m not entirely pleased with it myself) there is a strong impulse in human nature towards hierarchy and clannishness. Leaders, specialisation of roles and hierarchies emerge naturally.

            Your examples: is it fair to claim the system in Spain as a success for anarchism when it sits within a non-anarchist framework? How broad a definition of anarchism are we drawing here?

            As for Mahkno, I’d genuinely like to have seen how he’d have done if given the opportunity to govern a state (in as much as an anarchist state can be governed) rather than command an army. Obviously, I’d be pessimistic as to its prospects, but it’d be an interesting experiment (as long as you didn’t have to live there).

          7. droid

            Right, so you would regard the Irish state as a failure, politically as its almost completely incapable of defending itself against any serious threat and could be wiped out by almost any of it’s neighbour’s armies.

            Not sure about your ‘commune’ example to be fair. In a functioning anarchist system implementing measures to limit personal power would be a fundamental precept. Tribal and small band anarchist agrarian societies have thrived, for centuries in south east asia (until relatively recently).

            Yes, regional autonomy in Spain exists within a wider framework of state capitalism and parliamentary democracy, but that does not invalidate its success or effectiveness. The rise of worker controlled industry in South America is another example of how small scale anarchist organisaiton can lead to positive results both for individuals and society at large.

            You seem to be under the impression that Im arguing for the total destruction of the state along extremist Anarchist principles. Im not.

            Any new Anarchist society would have to be built incrementally from the local level up and would involve mediation and accommodation with whatever system currently exists. Just like democracy, anarchism is not an ultimate state of being, but a set of principles against which progress towards a desired goal can be measured.

            The fact is that the capitalist democracy is rapidly leading us to oblivion, both at a national and global level. We’ve tried ‘strong’ leaders, pseudo democracy and utopian economics. The only credible alternative is to build a system allow people to have a genuine say in how to run their lives.

          8. woesinger

            I would not regard the Irish state a failure, as it still exists. But even the extinction of one capitalist democracy would not invalidate the “least bad” effectiveness of capitalist democracies. If most or all capitalist democracies failed, then we’ve clearly got a problem. To apply the same standard to anarchies (in the technical sense of the word) is even more problematic since successful examples are thin on the ground.

            As an aside – one of the problems with talking about anarchism is that there so many versions (which is good in that at least shows experimentation and innovation) that it’s hard to say anything definitive about it. I could be wrong, you seem to be inclined towards a mild variety of anarchy, akin to local autonomy within an overarching state structure – which might not be too bad an idea – though you’d have to wonder about how efficient and prone to petty corruption that kind of system would be.

            So, you say to make an anarchist system work, limiting personal power would be part of the basic framework. Who enforces that? Who decides that someone has broken the rules? Do you rely on common assent? If so, how do you avoid it devolving into tyranny of the majority or mob rule? Do you appoint people to arbitrate rules and conflicts? How do limit their power? What if common assent is to give someone more power than perhaps is good in the longer term? How do you deal with venal or ambitious people who game the system in bad faith to their personal advantage?

            These are problems that all polities face and have faced. Republics, constitutions, checks and balances etcetc are solutions that people came up with to solve them. Solutions that pose their own problems, of course, but solutions that seem, broadly, to work and be successful in a “least worst” sort of way.

            Anarchism at a tribal and small band level – are these real anarchies, or are we really just talking about clan-based hierarchies? I’d also add that the general and human development level of tribal societies and the levels of endemic violence (both within and between groups) in tribal/clan based societies doesn’t exactly recommend them as models to be emulated. They also have a history of poor performance against more organised and aggressive state-based neighbours.

            And even if you somehow make anarchy work at a small band level and solve the problems of tribal societies, how does it scale? Can it scale? My feeling is it doesn’t without turning into something other than an anarchy.

            As for capitalist democracy leading us to oblivion being a fact, I’m not so sure about that. A distinct possibility, perhaps. A fact? Not yet.

            There are many things wrong with the world – no argument there. however, turning every republic into an anarchy will not solve declining resources or population growth (two of the problems most likely to bring us to oblivion), unless the transition involves the death of billions of people. I don’t see how anarchy will particularly solve issues like global warming or help mitigate the effects of global warming that are already baked in. In fact the scale of many of these problems are such that fragmenting the world in a series of autonomous collectives seems like a great way to ensure that no effective global response is possible.

            To sum up, the democratic state, though an imperfect machine, is more resilient than you think. It’s able to scale to the level of nations (one of those quaint entities that the Dawson street writers seem to think is irrelevant), its been able to provide very high levels of human development, and survive robust challenges from competing types of polity. It strikes me that to solve the problems the world faces, the solution is not no democratic states, but better democratic states.

            Anarchies have done none of the above, probably because the very idea seems to ignore that real people cannot live up to the demands that the utopian vision of anarchism lays on them.

    1. Shorty

      It’s not just broadsheet though, I think it’s a more general reflection of internet discussion and commentary, particularly with regard politics. As said elsewhere “It is to ‘political’ discussion what Eats, Shoots & Leaves is to Das Kapital.”

  6. fitz

    Nihilists! F**k me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  7. Pidge

    Of course, perhaps the closest thing we’ve ever come to a borderless, post-national world is the EU…

    1. enn

      That’s what I was thinking. I agree that European unity is the more palatable way of saying ‘borderless oligarchy’ but…surely less national distinction is hardly the answer to this? It’s about as viable as legislating for John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

  8. Bobby

    Lovely to see. It put a smile on my face, also made me smile at the begrudgers.. they probably never complain about those giant poxy billboards than harass my eyeballs, but find time to piss and moan when someone does something nice

    Just ring Joe, you can piss and f**king moan all day, join in the chorus.

    1. woesinger

      Would it make you happy if I said most billboard advertising is at least as preposterous as this graffiti?

      It’s a bleedin’ disgrace, Joe!

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