Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Harvey on Anarchy and Authority

".... To begin with, the left is not very good at answering the question of how we build massive infrastructures. How will the left build the Brooklyn bridge, for example? Any society relies on big infrastructures, infrastructures for a whole city—like the water supply, electricity and so on. I think that there is a big reluctance among the left to recognize that therefore we need some different forms of organization. The left is not very good at answering the question of how we build massive infrastructures, for which we need some different forms of organization. There are wings of the state apparatus, even of the neoliberal state apparatus, which are therefore terribly important—the center of disease control, for example. How do we respond to global epidemics such as Ebola and the like? You can’t do it in the anarchist way of DIY-organization. There are many instances where you need some state-like forms of infrastructure. We can’t confront the problem of global warming through decentralized forms of confrontations and activities alone.... I have never been in an anarchist meeting where there was no secret authority structure. There is always this fantasy of everything being horizontal, but I sit there and watch and think: ‘oh god, there is a whole hierarchical structure in here—but it’s covert’.... At some point we have to create organizations which are able to assemble and enforce social change on a broader scale. For example, will Podemos in Spain be able to do that? In a chaotic situation like the economic crisis of the last years, it is important for the left to act. If the left doesn’t make it, then the right-wing is the next option. I think—and I hate to say this—but I think the left has to be more pragmatic in relation to the dynamics going on right now.... For example, it would be interesting if Podemos looked towards organizing forms of democratic confederalism—because in some ways Podemos originated with lots of assembly-type meetings taking place all over Spain, so they are very experienced with the assembly structure. The question is how they connect the assembly-form to some permanent forms of organization concerning their upcoming position as a strong party in Parliament. This also goes back to the question of consolidating power: you have to find ways to do so, because without it the bourgeoisie and corporate capitalism are going to find ways to reassert it and take the power back...." - David Harvey on 'Consolidating Power'


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