Anarchist Critiques of Democracy

Thursday, July 13, 2017
WMB - Hugh Fraser Seminar Room 2 (University of Glasgow)
Uri Gordon , Politics and International Relations, University of Notiingham
In the of anti-political  - and on occasions anti-democratic - sentiment surrounding the Brexit vote, this paper explores the relationship between anarchism and democracy. This paper argues that the association between anarchism and democracy is both conceptually unsound and strategically misguided. Anarchists do sometimes associate their decentralist practices with democracy, attempting to use the widespread appeal of the term as well as to criticise capitalist states as undemocratic. At the same time, the identification of non-hierarchy with democracy is so ambitious as to disqualify almost all political experiences that are widely considered democratic, while ignoring democracy's inescapable element of coercive enforcement. Moreover, in the West the identification unnecessarily entangles anarchism with patriotism, to the extent that it appeals to national founding myths.