Join the Department of Philosophy in "We Have Met The State and She are Us: Understanding, Power, and Anarchist Transformation"
a talk by Mark Lance, Department of Philosophy and Program on Justice and Peace, Georgetown University
Anarchism is a theory both of social transformation and of social organization that rejects institutions based on domination, coercion, and hierarchy, while embracing cooperative modes of interaction: mutual aid, solidarity, horizontalism, and free association. "No Gods, No masters, only comrades!" is a familiar rallying cry, but for all the consistency of emphasis, it remains far from clear just what any of this--starting with the very distinction between hierarchy and free association--amounts to.
In this paper, I pull together themes from philosophers such as Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, Bob Brandom, and John Haugeland, anarchist theorists Gustav Landauer, Murray Bookchin, and Colin Ward, and the theorist of nonviolent action Gene Sharp to sketch an understanding of the nature of social hierarchy that highlights a crucial and under-appreciated challenge to liberatory revolution.
My goal is not so much to solve theoretical puzzles, or to respond to other political philosophers, as it is to shed light on the strategic path we should take in building a movement. In the end, I argue, radical change requires a systematic constructive project that recognizes at the outset that we ourselves--whatever our political positions or allegiances--are deeply implicated in structures of hierarchy.