4.1. Anarchistic

It is often mistakenly thought that anarchists favour disorder and chaos. In fact the essence of anarchy as a political philosophy is the promotion of private, voluntary ordering as an alternative to the hierarchical ordering of, principally, the state. Malatesta writes,

of the destruction of all political order based on authority, and the creation of a society of free and equal members based on a harmony of interests and the voluntary participation of everybody in carrying out social responsibilities.[1]

Anarchism thus does not imply so much lack of ordering, or even a lack of authority per se, as lack of hierarchy. Authority that stems from the natural influence of an expert amongst her peers is welcomed by the anarchist. As Bakunin wrote:

In general, we ask nothing better than to see men endowed with great knowledge, great experience, great minds, and, above all, great hearts, exercise over us a natural and legitimate influence, freely accepted, and never imposed in the name of any official authority whatsoever, celestial or terrestrial.[2]

Anarchism is therefore quite a natural structure for a governance network between peers. Social movements structured in such manner have been termed SPINs: “segmentary, polycentric, integrated networks,” and have been the subject of study for well over 30 years.[3]

Notes

[1]

Malatesta, E, Anarchy (1974), 13

[2]

Bakunin, Mikhail A, God and the State (1970), 35

[3]

Gerlach, Luther, The Structure of Social Movements: Environmental Activism and Its Opponents (1999)