Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Anarchy and Cooperation

J. L. Speranza makes an interesting observation in his comment upon my note at http://griceclub.blogspot.com/2010/05/meager-principles-of-anarcho.html#comments

"For the 'liberal' -- whom I interpret alla British thought, to cover mainly Locke -- the 'co-operation' between individuals seems enough. But this 'co-operation' is NOT anarchic. There IS a principle that the anarchist, if he exists, must deny."

Speranza wasn't specifically disagreeing with me, but it was clearly an inconsistency in Sartre if one took the term "anarchy" in some strict sense.  Consider http://www.iep.utm.edu/sartre-p/   In this reference Storm Heter, authored an essay entitled "Sartre's Political Philosophy", and wrote, "While never presenting a complete portrait of his ideal society (whether in fiction or non-fiction), Sartre was a lifelong advocate of socialism.  In interviews late in life Sartre allowed himself to be called an 'anarchist' and a 'libertarian socialist' (See 'Interview with Jean-Paul Sartre' in The Philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre, ed. P. A. Schilpp, p. 21.). . . ."

I'm not sufficiently tempted to buy Schilpp's book.  I know Simone De Bouvier was very critical of Benny Levy for the "interviews" (http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Now-Interviews-2007-publication/dp/0226476316/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274220456&sr=1-1) he extracted from Sartre late in life: "Sartreans, including Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre's longtime companion, were furious when these interviews between Sartre and his secretary, Levy, appeared in Le Nouvel Observateur a few months before Sartre's death in 1980, interviews whose authenticity Sartre confirmed. The critics claimed that Levy, a Maoist convert to orthodox Judaism, exploited Sartre's failing health, forcing him to abandon his leftist principles and to adopt a messianic Judaism."  Sartre was nearly blind and of doubtful strength if not of his own faculties.  She clearly didn't credit Benny Levy's interview.

Surely Speranza is correct in saying that anarchy precludes cooperation, but I would have said the same thing about Existentialism, that it precludes or at least makes bizarrely unnecessary, cooperation, and yet Sartre wrote a good deal about cooperation without ever relinquishing his Existentialism. 

Then too anarchists can't do without some sort of cooperation.  Note that Noam Chomsky calls himself an Anarcho-syndicalist.  The form of cooperation, without calling it cooperation, Anarcho-Syndicalism advocates is "trade unionism."  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism

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