OHA/ODA in English (was: Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox] Re: Oekonux and politics)
- From: Stefan Merten <smerten oekonux.de>
- Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2003 03:24:07 +0200
Hi ThomasB and [ox-en]!
2 hours ago Thomas Berker wrote:
Some days ago, Graham asked for a short summary of the discussion around
power, domination, anarchism, and organisation on the German list a while
ago. Later on, this reply to Stefan contains some of this. I should say
that I was not a neutral observer...
Ok, so I'll pose some questions in English now. May be I get answers
--On 10. oktober 2003 19:57 [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] smerten oekonux.de wrote:
[...] I remember well how the OHA discussion started more than 1 1/2 year
ago. I dared to cite a systematic sociologist. Have I been bashed on
the German lists! From the start there were all kinds of suspicions
against me and my intentions. If there is one important debate on
Oekonux which may receive the label "closed-minded" then it is this
one. IMHO it is not by chance that this is on a classical topic of the
I was one of the people 'bashing' Stefan for approvingly citing mainstream
sociological theory, which tries to legitimise power and domination by
naturalising it ('when groups reach a certain size they have to be ruled in
one way or another, if they want avoid chaos'). [Stefan may provide you
with another story]
Indeed my story is different. I'll spare you of it.
Instead I'll pose some questions:
* Do I understand correctly that your claim is that there is no
"natural" source for using power and domination?
- If so, what about the creative powers (potestas) Holloway outlines
and you seem to welcome?
-- Can you give an actually working criterion by which creative
power can be distinguished from instrumental power?
- If so, do I understand correctly that you claim that every
legitimization of power is only ideological in the sense that it
is only a fake argument really covering some hidden agenda?
* How do you think people should cope with disturbances?
- For instance: What about spam?
- For instance: How to deal with other off-topic mails on the
- In case you're saying "This won't happen any more if ...": Can you
prove this or at least give some evidence?
These are not rhetorical questions. I'm really interested in answers
to each of them.
I think this has changed a bit now but there is still *a lot* of
scepticism only to admit other ways of thinking about
OrganizationDominionAnarchism than the traditional left (may be more
the anarchist currents).
The 'traditional left' was not sensitive about power at all.
The anarchists always were. That's my main background.
text (cannot find it now, but there is a review of his new book, which
seems to be similar in tone:
Actually for weeks now I have a scanned version of a review of this
book I want to post to [chox] or [ox]. I just did find no time to
overwork and post it.
Anyway. I still think that the concept of alienation I'm suggesting is
far more useful here. The concept of alienation does not relate to
some abstract definitions of how to label this or that action or by
whom it is executed. Instead it puts a focus on what should be
achieved by some action and how this goal relates to the social
environment the action takes place in. Legitimation for power and
domination is thus drawn from a concrete situation - and it is
For instance spam. I think it is perfectly clear that spam to the
Oekonux lists is as clearly alienated to the goal of Oekonux as
something can possibly be. Thus implementing power structures such as
SpamAssassin to stop spam is taking responsibility for the goals of
the project. By Holloway's definition I guess it would be instrumental
or creative power completely depending on the side you are currently
looking at. I mean the spammer *is* oppressed by SpamAssassin. And
that you implement your power structure in software does not strip the
power structure off. I find this aspect of Holloway particular weak.
Mit Freien Grüßen