Auto-narchy = People's Power



The ULTImate DEMOcracy.


In 1991 the Soviet Union, one of the world's two Superpowers, ceased to exist.
It was dissolved by its own Parliament. Opposition to this step was minimal.
Most people in the Soviet Union supported the demise of their State.
Ever since the Soviet Union was born in the Russian Revolution of October 1917 many people all over the world saw it as the Socialist alternative to Capitalism.
This was so because the Soviet Union replaced private ownership of industry, commerce, and agriculture, by State ownership of the entire economy.
Socialism was based on the assumption that State ownership of the economy will put an end to oppression, exploitation, inequality.

This assumption was refuted by history. State ownership of the entire economy existed for decades in the Soviet Union, and in all 'People's Democracy' States but failed to end economic and political misery.
It did not abolish oppression, exploitation, inequality.
It replaced Capitalism by a dictatorship of State and Party officials.

Those who oppose oppression, exploitation, and inequality must now suggest an alternative to Socialism as well as to Capitalism, to Nationalisation as well as to Privatisation.
The pamphlet addresses this need.

Socialism (and Anarchism) emerged during the industrial revolution.
Socialist and Anarchist thinkers were the first to consider the impact of industrialization on society, morality, and politics. They revolutionized political thinking 150 years ago. Today we undergo a revolution of the means of communication but Socialist and Anarchist thinking ignores the impact of this revolution on politics. It is stuck where its founders put it 150 years ago.
This pamphlet suggests a new way of running a State and an Economy by applying the electronic communication revolution to decision making.
This opens up political possibilities unimaginable a mere 20 years ago.

An establishment political thinker recently wrote :
" Some form of managed Capitalism and a rather diluted, not very participatory liberal democracy, is what history has in store for mankind, and that is that... dreams of a leap into some radically new world have to be abandoned."
{ Alan Ryan, Warden of New College, Oxford, "Whatever happened to the Left" The New York Review of Books, Oct. 17, 1996. p. 42 }

This pamphlet proposes a leap into a democracy so participatory as to make all former political systems look like so many varieties of dictatorship.
If enough people desire this system the 21st Century will be very different from a
"rather diluted, not very participatory liberal democracy ".

Dare you consider a new alternative to Capitalism\Socialism\Anarchism, a direct democracy running State\Work\Education without representatives of any sort ?

The pamphlet consists of four articles :
1. Autonarchy - DirectDemocracy for the 21st Century.
2. Is Autonarchy possible ?
3. From Anarchy to Autonarchy
4. What is to be done ?

May 1, 1996

AUTONARCHY - Direct Democracy For the 21st Century.

The collapse of the Soviet Union has driven many to conclude that all alternatives to Capitalism are bound to fail and no alternative to Capitalism is ever possible.
Ethnic wars erupting after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia led many to conclude that the only solution to ethnic strife is by creating separate nation-states for each ethnic group.
These conclusions are premature.

1. The Soviet Union was ruled by a handful of leaders, and an appointed, unaccountable, self-perpetuating, bureaucracy. All decisions on politics, economics, and culture, were made by a few officials. 99% of the population were denied authority to make political decisions.Domination of politics, economics, and culture by a few officials is not an attractive alternative to Capitalism.It is a dictatorship of State and Party officials.
Today we can have a political system far more democratic than Capitalism and far more egalitarian than Socialism.
Today we can have a State where every citizen can vote at any moment directly - without representatives - on every decision of the State, at Work, in Education.
A State based on the right of every citizen to propose and vote on every political decision is an
Autonarchy meaning self - rule.
Autonarchy must be applied to work and education as well. All employees must have the right to propose and vote on every decision related to their work, and students/staff/parents must have the right to propose and vote on all decisions concerning education.
Innovations in electronic communication since 1980 make such a system possible.

2. Strife between nations, races, tribes, or religious denominations, stems from persecution, discrimination, and laws granting group-rights to one group while denying them to others.
The solution to such strife is not by separating the groups and creating separate states for each group but by laws granting minorities all group-rights enjoyed by the majority. Such laws establish a pluralistic state which treats all groups as equals irrespective of their size.

3. The core of every political system is a priority principle. It determins perference, and provides justification and motivation for individuals functioning in that system.
The priority principle of Capitalism is private self-centredness.
The priority principle of racism is racial self-centredness.
The priority principle of sexism is sexual self-centredness.
Theocracy stems from religious self-centredness.
Nationalism stems from ethnic self-centredness.
The priority principle of Autonarchy is:
Needs of the poorest must be attended before needs of the less poor.
Needs of the sickest must be attended before needs of the less sick.
Excepting these two needs of the many must be attended before needs of the few.
Protecting species from extinction and Nature from destruction and pollution are compulsory.
All people, despite all differences between them, have equal political authority.
Autonarchy is political Humanism, it rejects the priority of any self-centredness. It strives for :
1. A state run directly by all citizens and places of work run directly by all employees.
2. A law granting minority groups every group-right granted to the majority.
3. Active opposition to all discrimination and oppression.

1. Socialism or Autonarchy ?

"Socialism" has many meanings. Anyone using this term must provide a clear definition.
It isn't enough to speak of "Social Justice" since "Justice" has many meanings too.
It is inadequate to speak about "a regime which has abolished exploitation" since it isn't clear what exploitation means where State ownership of the economy has replaced private ownership.
Defining oneself politically by struggling against evils of an existing political system is inadequate, one must propose an alternative political system to replace the one that breeds the injustices.   Opposing oppression and exploitation without proposing an alternative political system leaves the ruling system intact. The system acts, the opposition reacts. Those who struggle against evils of a political system but do not offer an alternative to that system are politically impotent.
Anyone struggling to replace a political system must propose a clear, positive, alternative system to replace the rejected system.

The Socialist alternative to Capitalism is:"State ownership of the entire economy".
All regimes based on this principle have degenerated into dictatorships of officials.
This is not an accident due to special cicumstances. It is a structural feature of any State and Economy run by representatives, be they political leaders, officials, or experts.  In all Socialist States (and Parties) political power is in the hands of a few political leaders.
'Power' is authority to make decisions. 'Political Power' is authority to make decisions binding an entire society. In all Socialist states 99% of the citizens cannot influence decisions affecting every aspect of their lives. All decisions are made by a few leaders. There is an immense, inherent, inequality in political power between leaders and led in all Socialist states and Parties.
Socialist thinkers searched for a political system based on equality without exploitation or oppression but rule by representatives, hierarchical leadership, and State rule of the economy in all socialist States and Parties, produced dictatorships of a few leaders.
'Socialism' is inextricably associated with a dictatorship of State or Party leaders.    Nobody wants to live in such a system today.

All Political systems are based on priority principles.
The priority principle of original Socialism was Equality.
Its motto :"Treat all people as equals despite all differences between them".
Communists applied equality to ownership, Social Democrats - to social opportunities. Communists insisted on State ownership of the economy, so as to abolish inequality of property owned. Social-Democrats established state funded education and health services to provide equal opportunity for further development of all citizens.
Both failed to abolish economic and political inequality and misery.
None of them applied equality to political authority or to authority at work, in education, or in the family.
Socialist Anarchists insist on equality of authority but oppose any State.
Their alternative to Capitalism is a federation of self-managed communes aiding each other. They still disagree on the structure of decision-making in their communes.
Many Anarchist reject rule by majority decisions.  Some insist on communes of not more than 1000 voters. This is inadequate for running a modern industrial society.
Autonarchy applies equality not to ownership but to political authority in a State.
Autonarchy means equal authority of every citizen to decide every issue of State, Work, Education.
Applying equality to authority in the State means :
Every citizen has the right to propose and to vote on every political decision.
No extra political authority to any citizen at any time.
In short:"  Every  citizen - one vote - on every  political  decision".
Without equal political authority of every citizen all the time there is no democracy.
Equality of authority at work means that all employees have the right to propose and vote on every decision related to their work. This includes all decisions on profits, investments, hiring and firing.
Applying Autonarchy in a site of education means that educational staff, students, and students' parents, have equal authority to decide all matters of education.
Applying equality to authority in the family means that wife and husband have equal authority to make all decisions of the family, and from a certain age so have the children.
The system known today as "Democracy" allows citizens to decide who will make political decisions on their behalf. This makes people believe they decide how their society is run. It creates the illusion that they are free. Voters do not run society nor are they free.  Voters are free only to decide who will decide for them.
They have to live by decisions made by representatives hence they are not free.
People are free only when they live by decisions made by themselves.
People can never be completely free in society. In any society, even in the smallest anarchist commune, everyone's freedom is limited by other people's freedom.
For a society to be viable its members must agree to overcome disagreements by majority decisions which limit the minority's freedom. A society cannot be run by consensus.
Representative Democracy is freedom to decide who will make decisions on behalf of others. Elections grant political authority to representatives.
Free elections are freedom to choose rulers. You are free to decide who will decide for you.  This is preferable to Monarchy or Dictatorship where a single, unelected, ruler decides for everyone else, but it is not political freedom.
Political freedom exists only when every citizen has the right to decide every political issue.

Rule by representatives is legitimized by two arguments:

It is technically impossible for all citizens to vote on every political decision.
Political decisions require skills most citizens lack.

    The first argument has become obsolete after the recent revolution of electronic communication.     The second argument was always false.

Let us examine the second argument.To decide is to choose. To "make a decision" means "to choose one out of a number of possibilities".If only one possibility is available there is nothing to choose and hence nothing to decide.When two possibilities are available we have to decide\choose which to accept.

To decide is to choose.To choose is to prefer. Preference is not a matter of expertise.
It is a matter of priorities. Expertise is required for clarifying the possibilities available, and for predicting the outcome of a choice.
Predicting an outcome is very different from choosing an outcome.
Predicting requires expertise. Choosing is a matter of preference.
There is no expertise for preference, nor can there ever be.
Preferences stem from priority principles, not from expertise.
When a doctor tells a patient:'If you accept my proposals you'll live, if you dont you'll die', it is the patient, a non-expert, who has to choose. The doctor, an expert, only explains the possibilities.
Patients' choices depend on their preferences, not on expertise.
Many prefer death to life as disabled, in pain, or in prison.
Millions prefer 'Death before Dishonour', or 'To die for God/King/Country/Freedom'.
There are no 'Objective' criteria to determine preference.
Preference depends on priority principles, which are arbitrary.
Personal survival is not, nor was it ever, an ultimate priority principle.

The citizens of Athens discussed - 25 centuries ago - whether political decision-making requires a special talent or skill. Their conclusion was: "Every cook can govern".
Although they excluded slaves and women they chose their rulers by lot.
Extending this to our era means: every person, whatever her/his knowledge or experience, is as good as any other when it comes to prefer\choose between political options.
The Athenians applied this to their politics, they invented demos-cratia. Rule by the population.

Can those believing that political decision-making requires special skills tell us what special skills, or talents, do John Major, Tony Blair, Kohl, Chirac, Yeltsin or Clinton, have, that qualify them to make political decisions on behalf of millions?

2. Some History.

Rule by direct voting in meetings of soldiers, workers, and peasants, emerged spontaneously in the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917 and was crushed by Lenin who came to power in 1917 by advocating this form of governance.
The reappearance of the demand for equal authority to decide matters of State, Work, Education, occured during the general strike in France in May 1968.
This strike - the greatest in history, in scope and significance - paralyzed France in 1968. It began by Paris students protesting against outdated University regulations. The police attacked the students with truncheons. The students fought back.
Battles between students and police lasted a few days. Young workers, outraged by police violence, came to help the students. Absence of young workers from the factories paralyzed production. Gradually other workers joined in. Transport workers, teachers, government employees, the entire education and health sectors and finally even the prostitutes...
An entire modern society ground to a standstill during a period of peace and economic prosperity. By the end of May 1968 everybody was on strike.
No political Party or Trade Union called for, or planned, this strike.
All Parties and Unions opposed it. Stranger still - the demands of the strike were not economic.
Why did the entire population of France stop working during a time of economic prosperity, peace, and free elections, without raising economic demands ?
The strike was utterly unexpected and more widespread than anyone had ever seen.
The strikers did not raise economic demands. Instead, meetings took place in universities, in neighbourhoods, factories, schools, hospitals, even in mental asylums.
These meetings began to manage their areas of concern. People discussed issues neglected or ignored by the authorities, and voted on proposals for improvements.
In schools, pupils, teachers, and parents, jointly discussed education and voted on proposals for improvements. Pupils had the same vote as parents or teachers.
This repeated itself everywhere. 'Action Committees' sprang up in neighbourhoods all over the country. 'Self-management' was the guiding principle.
France's President, General De-Gaul, panicked and fled to Germany trying to bring the French Army stationed there to surround Paris and crush the strike. Meetings of soldiers decided against this and it came to nothing.
Soldiers' decisions overuled the General's decisions. Generals can decide whatever they like, if soldiers make their own decisions they overule the Generals'.

    Trade Unions' officials saw the strike as a threat to their authority. Why ?
When meetings of employees make all decisions concerning work Trade Unions become redundant. Owners too. This solves the ownership problem.
By making all decisions about their work employees become owners.
'Ownership' of something means authority to make all decisions about it.
Whoever has authority to make all decisions concerning X , owns X.
Ownership by employees is far more efficient than ownership by private or corporate owners. Tedium and profit can be divided by common consent without strikes or unemployment.  No one knows work better than those who do it.
Employee Autonarchy can consult experts to find out the possibilities available, but choosing between possibilities must be done by the employees, not by the experts, just as is done today by owners or their representatives who consult experts.
As for the Unions, they have long ago become fiefs of officials whose corruption stems from knowing that employees can represent themselves directly yet hiding this from the employees while hinting to employers that it is in their interest to negotiate with Union officials rather than directly with employees.
In modern industrial societies Union officials are concerned more with ruling employees than with serving employee interests. Meetings of employees can represent themselves directly far better than Union officials.
Trade Unions today are an essential component of Capitalism.
They are safety valves regulating tensions between employees and employers to keep Capitalism functioning. They stand - and fall - with the representative system.
Some Capitalists strive to replace Unions by private contracts with employees.
The regime of private contracts is worse than rule by Unions.
Both must be replaced by Employee Autonarchy at work. Employee Autonarchy on national, trade, and firm, level, can solve all econmic problems.
Trade Union officials will resist any attempt to change Capitalism and rule by representatives, into Autonarchy. So will every employer.
The 'Action Committees' in France in May 1968 dealt also with general problems of society and took political decisions. This made Political Parties obsolete.
All Political Parties, including Communist Parties all over the world, fought viciously against the French strike. They called it "Student Hooliganism", witheld information about it, distorted facts, peddled lies. Why ?
When mass-meetings make political decisions they overule all representatives including Political Parties. When people vote directly on all political issues, representatives, be they individuals or Parties, lose their authority.
That is why in 1917 Lenin hurriedly changed the slogan that brought him to power :"All power to the workers and soldiers COUNCILS" into: "All power to the Bolshevik PARTY".
Lenin's Party crushed the workers councils, first legally (1918),later militarily (Kronstadt, 1921).
Trotsky led the military attack on the stikers in Kronstadt, and executed those taken prisoners...
In 1968, when the French Unions and Communist Party realized they lose credibility by opposing the strike, they joined it so as to take it over and use it for their own purposes. The French Communist Party ordered its Union, the C.G.T., to demand a wage increase to buy off the workers and stop the strike. Pompidou's government realized that the Communist Party wants to save itself, and the system of representatives, and agreed to a 15% increase of basic wages, plus a reduction in working hours.
To everybody's surprise the workers rejected this offer. They declared :
"We do'nt want a larger slice of the economic cake, we want to run the bakery".
This demand was, of course, rejected by the French government, by the Communist Party, and by the Unions. Accepting it would have made them all redundant.
Gradually, after weeks of strike people began to drift back to work and the strike gradually subsided. Why ?
The reason for the failure of this unique strike was the inability of the strikers to unify the decisions of all meetings all over the country into a single decision.
Society must have the means to unify many decisions into a single decision.
This is necessary for running an electricity grid, transport and communication systems, health and education services, etc. The main justification for Central Government is its role as unifyer of decisions.
The inability of the strikers to produce an alternative system for unifying many decisions taken all over the country into a single decision binding the entire society enabled the Central Government to reassert its authority. Gradually the old system of representatives in France reasserted itself.
Is this the end of the story ? NO WAY !
The motives for this strike have not disappeared. Quite the opposite.
The motives for the 1968 strike are stronger today than ever before, not only in France but everywhere. The 1968 strike in France was directed against antiquated authority relations, against hypocrisy and corruption of politicians, against all Political Parties and Unions, and against the inability of citizens to have a say in decisions affecting their lives. These motives are stronger today than in the past.
Since 1960 at least 40% of the electorate in the USA never bothered to vote in any election to Congress and at least 30% did'nt vote for Presidents.
People abstain because they find elections ineffective in bringing about real change.
Today, as in 1968, Political Parties and leaders inspire boredom and disgust.
Most voters in the West today vote "against", not "for".
The 1968 strike was unexpected and faced problems never faced before, it lacked means to unify decisions taken all over the country into a single decision .
This enabled the French government in 1968 to reassert its authority.
Today electronic communication provide the means to solve this problem in a new manner.

3. Magnetic Card DirectDemocracy ( M.C.D.D.)

Personal computers, Computer networks, magnetic-card technology, faxes, cellular telephones, and communication satellites, did not exist in 1968.
Today their use is widespread. Millions today use magnetic cards daily to handle their finances.
Autoank Computers add decisions taken by millions of magnetic cards and display the totals within seconds.
By equipping every telephone with a magnetic card-reading device magnetic card technology handling our money can easily be adapted to handle our politics.
It can add, within seconds, decisions made by millions of citizens, and display totals immediately and continously on TV.
Direct voting on every political issue, and proposing decisions to vote on, by each and every citizen, never possible in the past, is possible today.
The technical reasons for having representatives are no longer valid.
The old battle cry of the citizens against the absolute authority of the King: " No taxation without representation" must be changed today into a new battle cry against all forms of representative authority :
It is technically possible today for every citizen to propose and vote by means of a magnetic card on any issue at any time and to see vote totals on TV within seconds.
DirectDemocracy is on the cards, technically, and historically.
It will replace the complicated and expensive system of Representative Democracy.
It is far more democratic than Rule by Representatives.
It is the ultimate democracy. It is too democratic for many democrats.
It will save a lot of money by abolishing all jobs of political representatives, deputies, officials, etc.
This will save millions spent on running Houses of Representatives, Governements, Presidents.
Moreover, it will abolish corruption and favouritism.
No one will have extra authority worth buying. Buying and selling votes will be a criminal offence.
Political Parties will have to change from vote collectors into spreaders of ideas.
Autonarchy means 'self rule', direct rule by all citizens.
Autonarchy is not Socialism, Socialism is rule by the Socialist Party, and State ownership of the economy.
Autonarchy is direct rule by all citizens with employees ruling their places of work.
Autonarchy is not A-narchy. A-narchy means 'without rulers' or State, Autonarchy is a State run directly by all its citizens.
Autonarchy combines aspirations of original Socialism and Anarchism for a society based on freedom, justice and equality, updating them for the 21st Century.

  Today most people earn their living by selling time, skill, or ability, to a private or corporate employer. Early Socialism considered industrial workers as the bearer of positive changes in society and took up their struggle.
An egalitarian alternative to Capitalism today can no longer base itself on industrial workers alone. It must include clerical workers, teachers, medical staff, agricultural workers, and housewives, who do not figure as workers at all but constitute half the population and are never paid for their work.
Today only those who raise demands for decision-making authority of all citizens, on every issue of the State and Work, challenge Capitalism.
Modern technology and social reality make possible an alternative to Socialism as well as Capitalism, more democratic and egalitarian than both.
Those seeking such an alternative must change their aim from the rule of one class (industrial workers) over the rest of society, to DirectDemocracy of all citizens not ruled by any class.
Socialism aimed to replace rule of owners of the means of production by rule of industrial workers. This suited a social reality that existed until the 1950s. A new technological and social reality exists today and requires a change in the aims of those seeking egalitarian alternatives to Capitalism.
Socialists and Anarchists have not adapted to the new reality, they have not come up with a new idea for 150 years. They have failed to update their proposals for alternatives to capitalism and will be irrelevant to most people in the 21st Century.
Autonarchy is a new alternative to Capitalism. It applies equality to decision-making in the State\ Work\Education\family. Autonarchy is rule not by a class but directly by all citizens, where every citizen has equal authority to propose, and vote on, every political decision, and no citizen represents others. Voters can appoint people to carry out decisions but those appointed must have no authority to make policy decisions and be recallable any time. Appointees' authority must be like that of Ambassadors, who carry out foreign policy but do not decide foeign policy.
Socialists still insisting on the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" must say so publicly and include their insistence on class dictatorship in their political programmes.
The technological and social reality of 1848, when the struggle for the rule of the industrial working class was progressive, is like the Stone Age compared to the social reality of today. The tremendous changes in society and technology must be met by new alternatives to both private and state ownership of the economy.
Anyone striving to advance political freedom beyond Representative Democracy (which grants political authority to a few representatives) must accept the authority of every citizen to make political decisions,  and implement the means to do so.
Direct Democracy makes Representative Democracy obsolete.
Direct Democracy is Peoples' Power without brokers for political power.
Direct rule of all citizens will replace governance by representatives.
There is no shred of doubt that despite all expected opposition Autonarchy will replace antiquated Representative Democracy.
This change will abolish the mystification of politics and the political alienation of the vast majority of the population.
Most people today consider 'Politics' a dirty business which must neverthless go on.
'Politics' is simply the making of decisions for an entire society. There is nothing dirty about it. The dirt which clings to politics stems from behaviour of representatives.
Representation breeds corruption due to its unequal distribution of political authority.
Representatives have political authority while those they represent have not.
Representation - not politics - is the source of corruption and gives politics a bad name.
The system of representatives is at fault, not the substance of politics.
People tolerate representatives, knowing they are corrupt, because they see no other way for running society. People have not yet realized that magnetic-card technology makes it possible to do away with representatives. Why be re-presented when you can be present ? We no longer need to sit in a hall and raise our hands to be counted. We can pass our magnetic card through a slit and vote by pressing a key.
Today presence can be electronic, not physical.
Millions can participate in a debate and vote without sitting in one hall.
The technical reasons for decision-making through representatives are no longer valid. This does not mean that the system of representatives will disappear of its own.
Vicious resistance to Autonarchy is inevitable. It will come from those who will lose authority, status, and income, when Autonarchy is implemented.
The main argument against Autonarchy is that of political expertise.
Opponents of Autonarchy argue that political decisions require special skills which most people lack. Any research into the special skills of political leaders reveals that it consists of two skills :
Hypocrisy and Conspiracy.
Hypocrisy is essential for dealing with voters, Conspiracy - for dealing with rivals. This is not a denounciation. Anyone involved in traditional politics knows this to be a fact of (traditional) political life.
No representative can succeed without expertise in Hypocrisy and Conspiracy. Those who rise to the top are best in these two skills. This is true whenever decisions are taken by representatives on behalf of others.
No other skill is required for becoming a political representative of others.
The Minister of Health is rarely a Doctor, nor the Minister of Defence a General.
Politics is 'decisions binding an entire society'. Making decisions means choosing one out of a number of options. To choose is to answer the question : " what is preferable ? "  Expertise does not determine preference.It never did.
It answers the question " what are the possibilities ?"
Experts can predict outcomes of choices, but choosing between outcomes is different from predicting outcomes, it is a matter of preference.
There is no expert for preferences.
Preferences are determined by priority principles, not by expertise.
No skill is required for making political choices and any person is as capable as any other for choosing one out of the available options.
What special skill, experience, or talent, do John Major, Kohl, Chirac, Yeltsin, or Clinton have, personally, or in common, that qualify them to make political decisions on behalf of millions of people ?

  Autonarchy demystifies politics and solves many political problems. It cannot solve all political problems.
No political system can ever solve all political problems. Society and the individuals it produces change and so do political problems. There is no guarantee that decisions taken by DirectDemocracy will always produce positive outcomes (however one defines "positive" and "negative").
No political system can produce, necessarily, only positive decisions.
DirectDemocracy can produce disasterous decisions just like Representative Democracy but in Representative Democracy disasterous decision bring about - at best - a change of representatives, whereas in DirectDemocracy they can lead to a reconsideration, and change, of the assumptions and priority principle that led to the disasterous decision.
Direct Democracy implies direct responsibility for the outcome of decisions. Those who voted for a decision are responsible for the results of that decision.
Indirect - representative - democracy, implies indirect responsibility. Those who voted for a representative are not responsible for every decision by their representative. Representation absolvs voters from responsibility for decisions taken by representatives. Voters can shift responsibility onto reprsentatives.
In case of an undesirable outcome of a decision by representatives voters may change representatives but they rarely change the considerations that led them to elect these representatives. In Autonarchy decision-makers must reconsider the reasons that led them to vote for decisions producing undesirable outcomes.
When decision-making is direct responsibility is direct. By re-considering their priorities for decisions that produced undesirable outcome people can modify them.
Those who do not understand that their own decisions led to undesired outcomes will make the same decisions again and again. Those who do understand can break out of this vicious circle.
Understanding makes possible liberation from repetitive undesired outcomes.
In Direct Democracy the ruled are the rulers. This makes them directly responsible for their society and restores their sense of being active shapers of society and community.   This sense has been destroyed by the egocentrism advocated by Capitalism and by citizens lack of responsibility for political decisions made by their  representatives.
When citizens make all political decisions directly they are not alienated by politics and change from passives cogs in a bureaucratic apparatus into conscious shapers of their society.

4. State and Ethnicity.

A State consists of the laws and everything required for making laws, enforcing laws and defending them against internal and external opponents.
Briefly : The Laws are the core of the State.
Ethnicity is membership in a cultural group.
There are States whose laws grant rights according to ethnic belonging.
If there are more than one ethnic group in such a state but only the majority group is granted group-rights, ethnic strife is bound to occur.
A common solution to ethnic/racial/tribal/religious strife, is a state with a majority of one group and laws granting rights to that group while denying them to others.
A different solution is a State whose laws grant equal group-rights to all ethnic/tribal/racial/religious groups irrespective of their size. This is a Pluralistic State.
Ethnic/Tribal/Racial/Religious States do not put an end to strife, they transfer it from the social domain to the political domain, from strife within the State to strife between States.
Only laws granting each minority the same group-rights granted to the majority can abolish the causes for strife. The laws must enable each minority to cultivate its cultural heritage and its language, and protect its members from persecution and discrimination. The State must enforce those laws.
The 'equal group-rights to all minorities' law must be protected from change by the majority. This contradicts the democratic principle of majority-rule but is necessary for avoiding strife. This can be done by declaring this law as a Basic Law which can be changed only by a very large majority. Laws granting equal group-rights to all minorities irrespective of size will be defended by all minorities.
By defending this law they defend themselves. Every majority can one day become a minority. A law granting all cultural groups the same group rights irrespective of their size will put an end to cultural strife.
South Africa today as ruled by the African National Cogress shows that such a system is possible even after many years of racist strife.
The ANC regime functions well despite all difficulties and residues of a long and cruel history of racial discrimination and oppression. Where there is pluralism there is a way. Where there is no pluralism there is strife. Not because there is no way, but because pluralism was rejected.
Those who reject pluralism are responsible for the consequent strife.
If people want a pluralistic state they can set it up despite all difficulties.
Autonarchy's solution to ethnic/tribal/racial/religious strife is a Pluralistic State.

5. Priority principles

Every law and every political system is a result of decisions based on a priority principle.
Priority principles create preference, motivation, and justification.
There are four main priority principles: Ego-, Ethno-, Theo-, and Anthropo - centred.
In other words, Self interest, National interest, God's interest, or Humanity's interest - however one interprets them - as priorities determining preferences.
Priority principles determine preferences, and preferences are - necessarily - mutually exclusive.
You can prefer only one out of two pssibilites, never both.
People acquire their particular priority principle from parents, teachers, tradition, or some psychological need.
The devoutly religious put loyalty to God before loyalty to Self, Nation, or Humanity.
Some of them aspire to a State whose laws are the laws of their religion and whose rulers are their religious leaders. Iran is an example. Its leaders reject rule by majority (Demos-cratia) because they believe that religious leaders know better than the majority what is good for the majority. This is Theo-centrism. It prefers Theocracy to Democracy.
Capitalism is founded on the priority principle of personal self-interest. Its moto: "my interests above all else". Many believe this is 'Natural' since animals in nature behave in this manner. Actually there are various behaviour patterns in nature, but even if all animals behaved selfishly it proves nothing about human society. Society exists because it restrains biological drives.
Human society is not a product of Nature but of restraints imposed upon nature, hence conclusions drawn from biology are mostly inapplicable to sociology.
Biological justification of politics is a common fallacy of racists\sexists.
Laws are not imposed on society by Nature\God\History\Reason. They are made by living people, who interpret Nature\God\History\Reason in various ways. Some think God is omnipotent, others think God is a superstition. Some think Nature, History, or Reason, are omnipotent others think they are materials which can be shaped in various ways.
Autonarchy is Anthropocentric, it rejects personal, national, and religious, selfcentredness.
The priority principle of Autonarchy is the wellbeing of all people.
However, Needs of the poorest must be attended before needs of the less poor and needs of the sickest before needs of the less sick.
Excepting these two needs of the many must be attended before needs of the few.
Protecting species from extinction and Nature from destruction and pollution is compulsory.
This is Humanism. It treats all people as equals despite all differences between them.
Autonarchy differs from Capitalism by its priorities.
The priority principle of Capitalism is Egocentrism, whereas the priority principle of Autonarchy is Anthropocentrism. Their different positions on ownership and authority stem from their different priority principles. Attempts to merge anthropocentrism with ego\ethno\theo -centrism were tried, and failed.
Such attempts produce a facade of one priority veiling another, dominant, one.
Priority principles determine preferences. As it is impossible to make a choice without a preference every person must have a priority principle.
As priorities are mutually exclusive every person has at any given moment, one, and only one, priority principle, (which can of course be changed).
Different priority principles produce different political systems.
When the majority prefers personal self interest the political outcome is Capitalism.
When the majority prefers national self interest the political outcome is Nationalism.
A majority upholding religious self interest gives rise to Theocracy.
When the majority rejects all forms of selfishness and upholds Humanism and political equality the political outcome is Autonarchy.
Socialists assumed that private ownership of industry, commerce, and agriculture must produce economic crises, poverty and misery, and must drive people to establish State ownership of the entire economy.
Economic misery was supposed to drive most people to establish Socialism.
These assumptions were proved wrong after W.W.2 . Government intervention in the economy can overcome economic crises and prolong Capitalism indefinitely.
Morevoer, facts (including economic misery) do not contain meanings of their own.
People give meanings to facts and do so according to their priority principles.
Human beings are not only tool-makers, they are also meaning-makers.
Facts have no meaning of their own. Their meanings depend on their interpreters.
An egoist, a nationalist, and a humanist will give different meanings to the same fact, each contradicting the other two. Meanings depend on priority principles, not on facts.
State ownership of the economy in a society where most people are self-centered will be a variant of Capitalism. State ownership of the economy in a society where the majority is theocentric will be a Theocracy.
Political systems are shaped by priority principles not by ownership relations.
The same means of production can give rise to different political systems each shaped by a different priority principle. Iraq and Iran are an example. One is guided by Ethnocentrism, the other by Theocentrism.
Authority too is shaped by priority principles. It is often imposed by force.
In a modern industrial society authority is based on consent rather than coercion. Consent can be due to a belief that there exists no alternative. Today social, technical, and political conditions make Autonarchy a feasable alternative to Capitalism but most people are unaware of this alternative. If those desiring Autonarchy promote it vigorously they could be in for a surprise.
On May 1st 1968 nobody in France imagined that by the end of the month the whole country will be on strike...

Dec. 2. 1996


Dear David,
Thanks for your letter. Since the collapse of the USSR all discussions on alternatives to Capitalism have stopped. Socialists stopped suggesting State ownership of the economy. Anarchists barely mention communes. The collapse of the USSR has ruled out Socialism as an alternative to Capitalism. The anarchist option cannot even be tested by history due to its rejection of any kind of State. As a result all those who reject Capitalism nowadays produce critiques of Capitalism but no alternatives to replace it. We must go beyond criticizing and start to consider new alternatives.
Return to 'True Marxism', 'True Leninsm', Trotskyism, or Anarchism, is backward looking. Marx, Bakunin, Lenin, or Trotsky, knew nothing about Magnetic Cards, Computers, Sattelites, Optical fibres. These technologies were beyond the boundaries of their imagination. The political implications of electronic communications revolution are ignored by all political thinkers. The revolutionary changes in communications technology make it possible, for the first time in history, to transfer and add up millions of decisions taken far appart into a single total in seconds and to display it continously on millions of TV screens. Political decision-making by millions of people is now possible. Politics is decision-making, and when means of communications change, decision-making changes. Traditional political thinkers, Left, Right, and Centre, ignore the consequences of the communications revolution on political decision-making and thereby render themselves irrelevant to 21st Century politics. We need NEW ideas taking account of new technologies, not return to old ones.
Political systems like those of the USSR/China are outdated and reactionary.
We need a political system more democratic than Capitalism and more egalitarian than Socialism.
Magnetic Card DirectDemocracy (M.C.D.D.) is such a system.
It can also be named Auto - narchy meaning Self - rule.
You asked :
" How can 200 million people rule themselves directly ? "
" What about production, distribution, police, courts, and the army ? "
" How can one guarantee that a small group will not take over power ? "
" What about the Constitution ? "
Let me try to aswer your questions :
FIRST. Every telephone must be equipped with a magnetic card-reading device enabling users to pass a magnetic card through a slit and send its data to a local computer as is done in supermarkets today.
The user dials a number and slides the card through the slit for identification.
Computer programs at the other end check the identity and prepare for further input.
Just as in an Autobank. Every citizen will have an additional secret PIN (Personal Identification Number), or Voiceprint, to prevent people from using cards that do not belong to them. In remote areas wireless telephones will transmit this data via sattelite to the computer. Peoples decisions enter computers which add up totals.
This technology functions in most banks and supermarkets all over the world today.
In the 21st Century much of telephone transmission will be by optical fibres greatly increasing capacity and speed. Using this technology every citizen can make every political decision.
The guiding principle of Autonarchy is:
Magnetic card technology can easily handle 200 million data inputs. A million or two can be fed into a local computers calculating totals to pass on to central computers.
Solutions to problems of production, distribution, etc, will be given by panels of experts for production and distribution when facing the need to do so.
There is a fundamental difference between creating solutions to social and political problems and DECIDING WHICH SOLUTION TO USE. Experts invent solutions to problems.
Politics is about deciding which solution to use.
Many believe expertise grants authority to decide.It does not.
Deciding is choosing. Choosing depends on preference. Preference is not a result of expertise, it stems from a priority principle.
Priorities have nothing to do with expertise. They are shaped by upbringing, education, beliefs.
Every decision depends on a priority principle and so do solutions to political problems.
There are no "Objective" decisions in politics. Decisions depends on priority principles.
The core of a political system is its decision-making system. This depends on two factors:
Suggesting a system for decision-making and a priority principle to guide decision-makers is all we can do today. Solutions to actual problems will be suggested by experts who will take into account circumstances we cannot foresee.
In Autonarchy all citizens will decide which solution to use.
Do you want to impose solutions without familiarity with actual circumstances ?
Do you want to tell workers how to run their work ?
All we can do today is win people over to our egalitarian, Humanist, priority principle.
If people share our priority they'll decide like us when facing actual problems.
Restructuring the Police, the Courts, the Army, will be topical when the majority will demand this. At present it does not.
What is topical today is the disgust with representative democracy.
In the last elections in the USA 51% of the electorate did'nt bother to vote !
This shows the enthusiasm people feel for politics by representatives.
Our task today is to convince the 51% there is another way to run society.
First we must deal with the structure of decision-making, later - with specific solutions.
SECOND. Proposals to vote on can be grouped like government departments today.
All TV sets will be fitted with cable\dish reception providing many channels.
Some channels will be permanently dedicated to political decision-making.
TV will show all proposals and vote totals in every government department.
Every proposal will require three votings before it becomes binding for the entire society.
A first vote will determine if a proposal is accepted by a necessary minimum of people.
Proposals failing to recieve a required minimum (say 1% of those entitled to vote) will be dropped.
They can be proposed again later. Proposals achieving the required minimum will be discussed on TV by panels of experts.
Citizens will have the right to question experts by phone, and to add new proposals.
These discussions can go on as long as the majority desires.
After hearing experts' opinions on possible outcomes of various decisions a second vote takes place. Voters dial a number, identify themselves by their magnetic card, and key in the number of the proposal and their decision on it: 1 = YES, 0 = NO, 2=ABSTAIN.
Computers add up the totals and display them on TV. Allowing time to study decisions that passed the second vote, a final, third, vote is taken on proposals. A proposal which recieved the majority becomes binding for everyone, else it goes back to the panel of experts for ammendments, modifications, and the discussion and voting are resumed.
Votes via private or public phones go to regional computers adding up regional totals then passing them on to central computers who add up grand totals and transmit them continously to TV.
TV shows anytime the following details in every government department:
1) Proposals for 1st vote.
2) Proposals that passed /failed 1st vote.
3) Proposals passed/failed 2nd vote.
4) Proposals passed/failed 3rd vote. And vote totals of each.
Proposals are organized by subject matter. Those interested in education need only switch into the channel dedicated to education.
Within minutes everyone can know every decision.
This is far more democratic and efficient than representative democracy.
THIRD. Voters can appoint people to oversee the implementation of decisions.
Appointees have no authority to make policy decisions, they are authorized only to implement decisions. Appointees can be changed by voters any time.
This is similar to the role of Ambassadors today, they carry out foreign policy but do not make the decisions shaping that foreign policy.
This Magnetic Card DirectDemocracy ( M.C.D.D.) is Autonarchy, i.e. Self -rule.
Some people will vote on every decision, others will vote only on what they consider important.
All will be able to decide what their society should do.
By proposing and voting on most political decisions people will become involved in their society and overcome their present political alienation, apathy, boredom, and disgust, induced by politics through representatives.
Instead of representatives we shall have Direct Democracy, Autonarchy.
Autonarchy is NOT Anarchy.  IT  goes beyond the Capitaslist\Socialist\Anarchist controversy on ownership. It grants those who have to carry out decisions the right to make those decisions. Autonarchy is not A-narchy as the State is not abolished but run directly by all citizens.
Autonarchy is not Oligarchy as the State is not run by a group but by all citizens.
Autonarchy will end political indifference of most citizens, 'atomization' of society, political favouritism, hypocrisy and corruption. Autonarchy can be implemented immediately. All the necessary technologies function daily in supermarkets and ATMs. Implementing the means enabling every citizen to vote directly on every political decision costs a fraction of the Defense budget. All employees in a country, trade, or firm, must form Employee autonarchies of the country, trade, or firm.

   Employee Autonarchy is decision-making by all employees on every issue at work. It solves most conflicts at work. It makes owners, and Unions, redundant. It improves production and makes work far more efficient, safe, and rewarding. It puts an end to strikes and unemployment. It can be applied to any number of people.

   There are many obstacles to overcome before Autonarchy is implemented but size of the population is not one of them. You asked: "What about the Constitution ? "
Anu Aautonarchy MUST have a Constitution and a Bill of Rightsd to safeguard minorities and individuals fromathe possibility of TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY  but details of a Constitution and Bill of Rights must be left to those drafting them.
They will take into account circustances we cannot foresee. One can propose a declaration of the basic principles of Autonarchy so as to provide a general idea what this system is about.
Autonarchy is based on the principle of EQUALITY OF AUTHORITY of all people in every domain of social life. To clarify this a bit more I suggest the following:


Every citizen has the right to propose, and vote on, every political decision.
People represent themselves only. Representing others is illegal.
Every citizen has one vote, and only one vote, on every political decision.
All votes have equal weight. Majority decisions are binding.
Needs of the poorest must be attended before needs of the less poor.
Needs of the sickest must be attended before needs of the less sick.
Excepting these two, needs of the many must be attended before needs of the few.
Protecting species from extinction and Nature from destruction and pollution is compulsory.
All employees must have the right to propose and vote on every decision concerning their work.
All employees in a country, trade, or firm, can form employee autonarchies of the country trade, or firm.
Employees at a site are the highest authority to decide matters of their site.
They have the right to veto any other decision concerning their site.
Teachers, students, and parents, have the right to propose and vote on the content of their education and how they should be taught, on a national and local level. At any educational site, staff, students, and their parents, are the highest authority to decide policy and practice at that site.
Staff and students at an educational site can veto any decision concerning their site.
Students have the right to veto decisions by staff and parents.
Any minority, while obeying majority decisions, has the right to campaign for its views and to propose - after a year - a new vote on previous decisions.
Any minority has the right to express its view.
Minority rights are irrevocable. They do not depend on the minority's views.
All cultural groups have equal cultural group-rights irrespective of their size.
People can be appointed to carry out decisions.
Appointees have no authority to make policy decisions.
They have authority only to carry out decisions of those who appointed them.
Appointees can be changed any time.
Each member of a family has equal authority in deciding matters of their family. Wives have same authority as husbands, and from the moment they ask for it so have the children.

Obstacles to Autonarchy are neither technical nor financial, but political, social, and psychological. Autonarchy is more democratic than any Democracy.
It is the ultimate democracy.
It gives people more political freedom than any other system by enabling them to live according to their own decisions. Freedom means living by one's own decisions.
In society, work, family, freedom is limited by decisions of others.
Autonarchy allows more freedom to more people than any other system.
Of the many objections to Autonarchy I consider here two:.

Is it desirable that all citizens decide directly all political issues ?.
How can one prevent the 'Dictatorship of the majority ' ?.
Here are my answers:
1. There are many examples of majority decisions producing disasterous results.
Is it therefore wise to allow majorities to decide every political issue ?
Whatever the answer it cannot serve as a justification for any other political system as there are examples of every decision-making system producing disasters for the decision makers.
No political system can provide a guarantee against decisions producing disasters for the decision makers.
We can leave aside unforseen factors not taken into account by the decision-makers.
Such factors will always emerge and cannot be avoided nor can decision-makers be blamed for failing to foresee them. We must consider cases like, say, the majority which voted the Nazis into power in Germany in 1933. The disasters resulting from this decision were not brought about by unforseen accidents.
They resulted from the priority principle of a majority which put its own wellbeing above the wellbeing of all others, and was willing to dominate, oppress, and exterminate 'inferior people'.
Such preferences by majorities, minorities, or individuals, can occur again in the future.
They prove nothing about a decision-making system.
The question that matters is :
Can disasterous consequences of decisions change priority principles that led to such decisions ?
The possibility that decision-makers will stick to a priority principle that produced disasters decreases as the number of decision-makers increases. A single person is far more dominated by anxieties, obssesions, and fixations than a group. Had Hitler's generals succeeded to assasinate him in 1944 they would have surrendered long before he did thus saving Germany, and the rest of the world, much suffering. Hitler survived the assasination attempt and due to his obssesion he continued with a lost war for another year causing much suffering to Germany and to the rest of the world..
Autonarchy, based on political decision-making by all citizens, is less prone to personal whims than any dictatorship, or representative democracy.

2. Majorities can do worse than err, they can try to oppress minorities.
Minorities oppressed by majority decisions will resist as best as they can, and undermine the stability, security, and prosperity, of the entire society.
A wise Autonarchy will introduce measures to safeguard minorities from oppressive majority decisions.
Laws protecting minorities from oppression and requiring a special majority to modify them must be introduced. Minorities need laws protecting them from oppression by majorities. A good example is the regime established by the ANC in South-Africa. Having won an absolute majority in the last elections the ANC could have introduced laws granting rights to blacks while denying them to whites. This could have been done democratically, by majority vote. Black racism would have been met by White resistance. This would have plunged society into violence, insecurity, and instability, as in the former White racist regime.
Wisely, the ANC did not use its majority to grant special rights to blacks.
It created a regime where rights do not depend on colour of skin.
Autonarchy must legislate laws to safeguard minorities.
An Autonarchy will be viable, durable, and prosperous, only if it grants minorities the same group-rights which the majority enjoys and desists from imposing the majority's beliefs, culture, or language, on any minority.
In cases of differences between geo-cultural regions, as in the European Community, there is a point in creating a federation of smaller Autonarchies rather than a single, large, Autonarchy.
A system can be devised wherein some decisions are made directly by all citizens of the federation while others are decided by citizens in each Autonarchic member of the federation. The right of an Autonarchic member of the federation to veto decisions of the entire federation must be ensured. Laws protecting minorities from majority oppression enhance the cohesion of the Autonarchy. Creativity in this direction can produce a political system which its citizens will enjoy rather than just endure.
I'm sure I did'nt answer all your questions and probably created more than I answered.
Answers will be invented by people facing actual situations. No political party foresaw the workers and soldiers councils in Russia in 1905 and 1917, they were invented by ordinary people, so were the Action Committees in France in 1968.
I believe that unlike in October 1917 in Russia, when a politically fluid situation was shaped by a sect into a preconceived mold and unlike the upheavel of May 1968 in France when the situation was ripe for Autonarchy but the technical means were nonexistent, the next upheavel in a modern, industrialized, society will have all that is required for a successful implementation of Autonarchy.
It is possible to implement Autonarchy first in one government department.
Lessons from this experience will be useful for implementing Autonarchy generally.
The massive indifference to elections in the West today indicates the decline of politics by representatives.
Political decison-making by representatives is a system whose time is up.
Democracy WITHOUT REPRESENTATIVES, AUTONARCHY, is the system whose time has come.

Nov. 7. 1996


Reading Bakunin's critique of Marx today - 124 years after it was written - one has to admit that history proved Bakunin right. The same can be said of Emma Goldman's and Alexander Berkman's critiques of Lenin written in 1922 after they saw Lenin and Trotsky attack and execute the strikers of Kronstadt who demanded that Lenin keep his promise "All power to the COUNCILS of workers, peasants, and soldiers" which brought him to power, but which he changed to:"All power to the Bolshevik PARTY" when he won power.
Bakunin wrote in 1872 :" In the People's State of Marx there will be, we are told, no priviliged class at all. All will be equal, not only from the judicial and political point of view but from the economic point of view. At least, that is what is promised. . .
There will therefore be no longer any priviliged class, but there will be a government and, note this well, an extremely complex government, which will not content itself with governing and administering the masses politically, as all governments do today, but which will also administer them economically, concentrating in its own hands the production and the just division of wealth, the cultivation of land, the establishment and developement of factories, the organization and direction of commerce, finally the application of capital to production by the only banker, the State.
All this will demand an immense knowledge and many "heads overflowing with brains" in this government. It will be the reign of the scientific intelligencia, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant and contemptous of all regimes.
There will be a new class, a new hierarchy of real and pretended scientists and scholars, and the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense, ignorant, majority.
And then, woe betide the mass of the ignorant ones.
Such a regime will not fail to arouse very considerable discontent in this mass and in order to keep it in check the enlightened and liberating government of Marx will have need of a not less considerable armed force. For the government must be strong says Engels, to maintain order among these millions of illiterates whose brutal uprising would be capable of destoying and overthrowing everything, even a government directed by heads overflowing with brains. "
{Bakunin "Marxism, Freedom, and the State", p. 18, Ch.3: "The State and Marxism"} {This text can be downloaded from }
. . . It will be for the proletariat a barrack regime, where the standardized mass of men and women workers would wake, sleep, work, and live, to the beat of the drum, for the clever and the learned a privilige of governing, and for the mercenary minded, attracted by the immensity of the international speculations of the national banks, a vast field of lucrative jobbery. At home it will be slavery. . . a State all the more despotic because it will call itself the People's State."
{op. cit. Ch.5, p.25}
This prediction, written in 1872, turned out to be correct whereas Marx's prediction that a classless State owning all means of production will usher in an era of freedom turned out to be wrong.
In the USSR and all 'People's Democracy' States the State owned all means of production but the entire population was oppressed by State and Party officials.
Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, anarchists who supported the Russian revolution and worked for it in the USSR from early 1920 to late 1921 had a similar critique of Lenin.
In her autobiography Goldman describes her last meeting with the anarchist Peter Kropotkin in 1920, agreeing with his observation:
"The Russian revolution was far greater than the French and of more potent worlwide significance. It had struck deep into the lives of the masses everywhere. No one could foresee the rich harvest humanity would reap from it.
The Communists, irrevocably adhering to the idea of a centralized State were doomed to misdirect the course of the revolution. Their aim being political supremacy, they had inevitably become the Jesuits of Socialism, justifying all means to attain their purpose.
Their methods paralyzed the energies of the masses and terrorized the people.
Yet without the people, without the direct participation of the toilers in the reconstruction of the country nothing creative and essential could be created."
(quoted by Emma Goldman in "Living my life" , Dover 1979, Vol.2 p.863)
After Kropotkin's funeral in February 1921 she adds:
"My grief over his passing away was bound up with my despair over the defeat of the Revolution which none of us had been able to avert." (p.869). Leaving Russia in December 1921 after witnessing the Red Army attack the striking sailors of Kronstadt she adds: "We were not running away from the Revolution.It was dead long ago." (p.919) adding later "We could do more for the country abroad than in Russia, work for a better understanding of the chasm between the Revolution and the regime and for the political victims in Soviet prisons and concentration camps." (p.927).
Goldman and Berkman saw in 1921 that the Communist Party led by Lenin had taken over the revolution establishing an extremely centralized State terrorizing the mass of the population and eliminating all opposition including critics from its own ranks.
The Anarchist critique of Marx's theories and of Lenin's practices turned out to be correct, profound, and valid. The fact that Anarchist predictions and warnings turned out to be correct while Marxist predictions turned out to be wrong raises the questions: Why did Anarchist ideas fail to win a big following while Marx's ideas and Lenin's practices atttracted millions ?
Why do Anarchist ideas today attract only a minute number of people ?
The fact that Lenin signed peace with Germany shortly after coming to power, as he promised he would, and committed himself to create a society based on social justice rather than greed won him the support of millions all over the world. Few heard the Anarchist critique while millions heard Lenin.
Yet even after Stalin's regime of terror became known in the West people did not accept Anarchist ideas. Anarchism did not provide a workable scheme for running a modern, large scale, industrial society.
It criticized Capitalism but did not provide an alternative to Capitalism.
Traditional 19th century Anarchism suffered from two drawbacks:
1. It was a mix of Individualist ('Life Style') Anarchism and Social Anarchism.
Ideas upholding absolute freedom of the individual against any majority were mixed with the Social Anarchism of Bakunin, Kropotkin, Berkman and Malatesta, of a Stateless society based on communes and mutual aid. This mixture confused many people.
2. The idea of a society without a State seemed unworkable to most people in the 20th Century.
Anarchism was a product of the 19th Century. In the 19th Century the State was run by a small elite of landowners and Capitalists and was stamped by its feudal heritage.
Education, Health, and Transport were private matters untouched by the State.
There was no minimum wage, no 40 hour working week, no paid holidays or sick leave, no unemployment benefeits, no State Health Insurance, no State paid pensions.
Appart from legislation and taxes the State left the economy to private interests.
The small elite running the State made the laws, appointed heads of the Legal system, Police, Prisons, and Army, oppressing the vast majority of the population. Women had no vote and no access to higher education.
After WW1 much of this changed and more after WW2 but by then Anarchist ideas crystalized and "The State" was enemy No.1.
After WW1 women got the vote in many countries, Social-Democrats came to power in some countries and initiated State-funded Education and Health services, State Pensions and unemployment benefeits, Public Transport, Housing projects, Public Works, etc.
The State became the largest employer in many countries and the main factor in the economy.
Those who aspired to liberate society from oppression, economic misery, exploitation, struggled for changing the structure and priorities of the State but not for abolishing it.
Could hospitals, roads, airports, or the electricity grid be built and run if the State were replaced by federations of Anarchist communes ?
Could Anarchist communes set up modern Medical Centres costing many times the annual income of many communes ?
Could a modern network of roads, railways, ports, airports, telephones, electricity, etc. be conctructed and run by, or as, communes ?
Very few Anarchist thinkers offered answers to these questions.
Anarchists disagree among themselves about the structure of decision-making in their own communes, let alone in society at large.
No wonder Anarchist ideas attracted mostly opponents of authoritarianism but not many of those searching an alternative system to Capitalism.
Bakunin died in 1876, before State funded Education, Health Service, Pensions, Unemployment benefeits, were implemented, before the invention of electric lighting, motor cars, airplanes, radio, TV, 40 hour working week.
For Bakunin The State was : "A tyranny of the minority over the majority in the name of the people" {op.cit. Appendix}. Which it certainly was in his time.
He argued against sending workers' representatives into existing Parliaments: " Is it not clear that the popular nature of this power will never be anything else but fiction ? It will obviously be impossible for some hundreds of thousands or even some tens of thousands or indeed for even only a few thousand men to effectively exercise this power. They will necessarily exercise it by proxy, that is to say, entrust it to a group of men, elected by themselves to represent and govern them, which will cause them without fail to fall back again into all the falsehoods and servitudes of the representative or bourgeois regime. After a brief moment of liberty or revolutionary orgy citizens of the new State will awake to find themselves slaves, playthings and victims of new power-lusters." {op.cit.p.27}.
All of which was valid until the 1980s.
Bakunin summed up his ideas on the State by the statement:
"State means domination, and all domination presupposes the subjection of the masses and consequently their exploitation to the profit of some minority or other ".
{op.cit. p.21} And so it is to this day.
Must this remain so forever, even after the invention, and daily use, of Magnetic Cards, Computer networks, communication satellites, and cable TV ?
Electronic communications technologies implemented in the 1980s open up possibilities unimaginable in the 1960s, let alone in Bakunin and Marx's time.
It is now possible to equip every phone with a magnetic card-reading device enabling the user to vote via the telephone on any issue.
Totals of all votes can be calculated immediately by computers and appear on TV.
Discussions on possibilities to be voted on can be done by experts on TV with people phoning in to ask questions or propose new ideas. After such discussions people can vote on the issues.
Every citizen must have the right to propose and vote on every political issue, and every employee must have the right to propose and vote on any issue related to his/her work.
People can be appointed to implement majority decisions. Appointees' authority will be like that of Ambassadors today. They carry out a policy but do not decide that policy.
Ambassadors have no authority to make policy decisions and can be changed any time.
Today it is possible to set up a political system based on the principle :
This direct rule by the entire citizenry, can be named: Autonarchy, meaning self - rule.
Electronic communication today can turn the whole country into a Parliament.
Physical presence is irrelevant, electronic presence is what matters.
Decision-making by representatives is obsolete.
Every citizen can be electronically present at every decision.
All can vote on any issue of State, Work, Education.
This was impossible in Bakunin's day but is possible today in many countries.
Autonarchy must be applied to work and to education.
Employees must make all decisions concerning their work on a national, regional, and local level.
Educational staff with students and their parents must make all decisions on education on national, regional, and local, level.
The State exists but is run by ALL citizens - directly - not via representatives.
Kropotkin would have liked the idea. Bakunin too, maybe even Marx.


If the ideas in this pamphlet appeal to you and you wish to help implement Autonarchy here is what you can do.
Find other people interested in these ideas and discuss the ideas together.
Think Globally, act locally.

      Set up your own local Committee for DirectDemocracy (CDD).
       Locality can be geographic, occupational, or electronic (via Internet), whichever.
Your committee should meet regularly, finance itself, discuss any issue it likes, suggest autonarchic solutions to actual problems, and implement them.
Publicize your ideas in every way possible, in print, on radio or TV , on the Internet, in oral discussions with friends, workmates, pupils, students, etc.
Be self-reliant but establish contact with other CDDs. Help create new CDDs.
When a number of CDDs emerge call for a local, regional, national, or international, conference, to coordinate activities, to learn from each other's experience, and to assist autonarchists and CDDs who need help.

       All CDDs should work to create a WORLD AUTONARCHIC MOVEMENT.
An Autonarchic Movement must not be organized like traditional Parties.

It must not have an Executive Committee which makes decisions on behalf of others. It should have a coordinating committee to facilitate coordination between CDDs and to exchange ideas between CDDs but, every CDD is free to accept or reject proposals of a Coordinating Committee.
Proposals of a Coordinating Committee are welcome but not binding.
Never lose sight of the basic Autonarchic priority principle:
'Needs of the many must be attended before needs of the few'.
Don't be self-centred. Do not allow local needs dominate global ones.
An Autonarchic organization has no leadership, either personal or communal.

It is an embryonic forerunner of the political system it strives to create.
Political systems are like their creators. Means shape ends in their image.
Relations between members of a DD movement should be like those they wish to see between members of an autonarchic society. So too should be the way every CDD, and the movement, function.
There is no need to wait until Autonarchy is implemented everywhere.

In small domains Autonarchy can be implemented without magnetic cards.
If it is possible to implement Autonarchy locally, in a firm, a school, a village, town, or borough, DO IT. Be prepared for stiff resistance.
Experience gained from such cases will be of use to other CDDs.
Keep your sense of humour. Grim politics produce grim results.

Don't just criticize, suggest autonarchic solutions to social and political problems.
Activate your creativity but keep your feet on the ground.
Do not be deterred by those saying your proposals will not work.
Great authorities insisted people will never be able to fly through the air, land on the moon, utilise atomic energy, cure infertilty, change hereditary traits, etc.
All were proved wrong. In politics 'impossible' is often a substitute for 'undesirable'.
Check out if those saying Autonarchy is impossible desire it.

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