T Nation

Anarchy in Black Communities

Anarchy and Chaos in Black Communities
by Robert A. Wicks

[quote]
People often use anarchy and chaos interchangeably. They refer to civil unrest as “anarchy, total chaos.” As an anarchist of the anarcho-libertarian variety myself, naturally, this habit irks me. Anarchy is simply the absence of forceful authority. Chaos is disorder. The two things can coexist, but it may be shocking to some to find that the presence of the one does not imply the presence of the other. Nor does the absence of the one imply the absence of the other. They are neither unrelated nor equivalent. And the correlation between the two can often be surprising. This is particularly true among blacks.

I grew up in a black, rural community in Mississippi. I have always enjoyed listening to the stories of the past from my elders. Many of them were relatives from other cities such as Detroit and Chicago. Others were local, or from other parts of the South. One common thread among their reminiscences was the notion that while things were in many ways worse, since there were legal barriers in place which limited black property rights, the neighborhoods themselves were safer than the surrounding areas. In short, blacks were endangered when they encountered law enforcement or people who had the support of law enforcement, since those things enabled them to use force against blacks without fear of retaliation or negative repercussions. Within those black communities in many areas, however, there was no law enforcement, unless they had been summoned. The day-to-day life of those blacks, so long as they remained within their own neighborhoods was essentially anarchic. The state was what was encountered when one left the neighborhood, be it for business or pleasure…[/quote]

An other great example of how anarchy actually looks in practice.

I don’t see the anarchy part. I do see mention of legal barriers and limited property rights.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I don’t see the anarchy part.[/quote]

Anarchy exists outside of a forceful authority.

The community he grew up in was, for all intents and purposes, outside the law because no one strictly enforced the laws there. Police only came there if someone called them…which I am betting was very rarely.

And in all actuality, this is a picture of a typical neighborhood that does not see much in the way of intervention from outside law enforcement. Most of our lives are spent in “anarchic pursuits” – for example, peaceful commerce, studying, worshiping, making babies, etc.

[quote]
I do see mention of legal barriers and limited property rights.[/quote]
Yes, good point. He brings these up as the cause of most of the “chaos” inside the community.

This isn’t anarchy. Even though they were not directly influenced by day to day governing, there was always an unseen force ready to step in and oppress them. That is both a check on behavior and a unifying force as it gives a common enemy. Maybe it’s anarchy-lite…

[quote]borrek wrote:
This isn’t anarchy. Even though they were not directly influenced by day to day governing, there was always an unseen force ready to step in and oppress them. That is both a check on behavior and a unifying force as it gives a common enemy. Maybe it’s anarchy-lite…[/quote]

Low Carb Anarchy

[quote]borrek wrote:
Maybe it’s anarchy-lite…[/quote]

No such thing. One is either coerced by the state or one is not. All exchanges not dealing with the state are anarchic.

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