Is Anarchism collectivism or individualism? The answer is neither, and both.

Anarchism is rather a fusion of the two: Stigmergy.

A beautiful ant colony on College Campus in Mu...
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The latest post from Kevin Carson, while very good on its own as always, just introduced me to a term I’d never head before: Stigmergy. And reading about it, as trite and annoying as it may be, made me want to declare: THIS.

This seems to fit in perfectly with my understanding of how an anarchist society might develop around chaotic principles and emergent order. I always understood however that such a society would include both strong individualism and powerful collective action. However those terms are usually demonized or assaulted by statists and propertarians respectively and you end up with endless ad hominems and misunderstanding (“LOL isn’t Libertarian Socialism an oxymoron LOL”) which make us lose endless time trying to unschool people out of.

It’s very good to know that there’s a term which precicely describes how an anarchist organization would look like and does not imply strawmen of Bolsheviks or Randroids.

The more interesting thing is how such a term is primarily related at the moment to animal organizational forms, particularly those of insects such as ants and their swarm intelligence. And if one considers how ants are arguably the most productive and industrious species of the planet, it really paints some interesting possibilities in case a species which has far more power and intelligence in one unit than a whole ant colony (i.e. humans) embraces a stigmergic social organization.

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3 thoughts on “Is Anarchism collectivism or individualism? The answer is neither, and both.”

  1. Ants are also the most warlike species. Huge numbers of ants hold huge wars over huge pieces of land.

    1. True, but not all species of ants and usually it is an interspecie warfare, much like humans currently "wage war" in a sense on the whole biosphere in order to secure resources. In short, I don't think that it stigmerhy that makes some species of ants warlike.

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