August 2008

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Anarchism and the Law


The author wrote this as part of his Dissertation in 2008 in Queens University titled ‘Anarchism and the Law’. The author firstly recalls a historical overview of the anarchism, its proponents and their position on laws and how society deals with anti-social behaviour and their vision for the future, from Godwin to the present especially during revolutions when anarchist ideas and movements flourished. He then moves on to the thorny subject of the meaning of “law” and its relationship anarchism, liberalism and authoritarian socialists.

The last few paragraphs examine case studies from Paris Communards 1871, Makhnovichna (the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army in the Ukraine) 1917-22, CNT-FAI militia in Spain 1936-39, Christiana in Denmark today, EZLN in Chiapas today. The response of anarchist groups in Ireland and abroad to crime and the law is also briefly discussed and reviewed.

Finally the author concludes which serves as a lesson to us all,

“Saying ‘no blueprints’ (detailed outlook) is a cop out for having no solution. The past always imposes itself on the present. For anarchism to have a future anarchists need to convince more people. If anarchists want to be taken seriously they have to be able to provide credible alternatives on the key issues that concern people including crime prevention.”