The anarchism which developed among such men was compatible with the exercise of authority and coercion, processes without which no large-scale social reconstruction could be effected. This should occasion no surprise, since the example of the primitive anarchies shows that authority and coercion are not to be identified exclusively with the State. What the Spanish anarchists aimed at was the abolition of the State and certain forms of activity upheld by State power (lawyer, moneylender, landlord, for example), which entailed driving out, and keeping out, representatives of the State, and instituting new social arrangements, The resort to coercion and appeal to authority implied in this would have been inconsistent with anarchy only if serving to create new groups which, masked by no-State slogans, claimed and exercised authority and power over all other groups. When this is kept in mind a new construction can be placed on the authoritarianism attributed to some of the leading anarchists, notably Bakunin, which need no longer necessarily be construed as aberrations.
To advert to the distinction between anarchy and free society: in the primitive world there is anarchy, but not free society, and in Spain anarchy was instituted, but not free society. It would be naive to expect authority and coercion to be abolished in civil war conditions, but in any case anarchy does not require their abolition. At the same time, it must be admitted that anarchists have often spoken as if what they wanted was the abolition of authority and coercion in all forms. Take Kropotkin in his Encyclopaedia Britannica article, for example:
Thus we arrive at our first working
hypothesis: the three-level structure of law.
Chiba (1986: 4-5) criticises
the fact that Western research has mainly focused on assessing to what extent
Western legal influences have been unidirectionally received, rather than taking
a more sophisticated plurality-focused perspective:
Reception of law is one of the topics frequently discussed by the proponents
and students of model jurisprudence.
For, plainly, such a procedure and the acknowledgement
of either authoritative text or persons involve the existence of rules
of a type different from the rules of obligation or duty which ex hypothesi
are all that the group has.
This is totally hypothetical indeed, since Hart here claims that certain groups
of ‘primitive’ people, either in the distant past, or probably in Asia or Africa
today, have simply not developed methods of clarifying doubts about any of
Other examples may be found
in the laws of marriage and family, land and farming, local organizations,
professional guilds, castes and stratifications, ethnic minorities, and so on,
insofar as officially sanctioned by state law in one form or another.
Before discussing these theories, with an emphasis on their differences and shortcomings, it should be clearly understood that they do have overlaps on some issues, especially at the more empirical level of analysis. For example, pluralists talk of several "interest groups" that clash over government policies. That seems very different from the Marxist emphasis on the conflict between two rival social classes, the capitalist class and the working class. However, Marxists go on to say that the capitalist class has "fractions" or "segments" that can have disagreements with each other, and they stress that the working class is multi-layered and internally divided politically.
From this perspective, power bubbles up from the grassroots. Citizens in democratic capitalist societies form that try to influence public opinion, lobby elected officials, and back sympathetic political candidates in the electoral process. Pluralists cite studies showing correlations between public opinion and government decisions as evidence for the validity of this analysis.
Principlism is a moral approach based on judgments that aregenerally accepted by most intellectual, cultural and religioustraditions. For example, the Belmont Report defines 3 keyprinciples by which to judge the ethicality of biomedical andbehavioral research. These principles are:
Although liberalism fails as a general framework for understanding power structures across time and places, many social scientists of the 1950s and early 1960s thought it made sense -- in the form of pluralism -- for the specific case of the United States, which does have a market economy and a democratic electoral system. However, events of the 1960s and 1970s, in combination with power structure research, raised serious questions about the theory that caused it to lose some of its appeal for a decade or two. At that point it seemed to a growing number of social scientists that corporations did have predominant power and that the government was not responsive to the interests of the general public. Since that time pluralism has made a comeback by focusing on the seeming successes of various liberal interest groups, such as the environmental and consumer movements in the 1970s.
“But suppose we assume that the anarchist hypothesis has come about in the fact, that the present type of social organization has been destroyed, that nations and governments have ceased to exist, and that standing armies, bureaucrats, parliaments and especially policeman and jails have been swept away. Unfortunately people would still have to live, and therefore use the land and other instruments of production. Unfortunately again, arms and weapons would still be there, and enterprising, courageous characters would be ready to use them in order to make others their servants or slaves. Given those elements, little social groups would at once form, and in them the many would toil while the few, armed and organized, would either be robbing them or protecting them from other robbers, but living on their toil in any event. In other words, we should be going back to the simple, primitive type of social organization in which each group of armed men is absolute master of some plot of ground and of those who cultivate it, so long as the group can conquer the plot of ground and hold it with its own strength” (The Ruling Class, 1939, p. 295).
Once these principles have been established the practicalactivity then becomes that of specifying how the principles are tobe used in specific situations and balancing the principles withthe other competing moral principles. In using this approach, everymoral decision will be dilemmatic in that the agent will be to somedegree either morally right and morally wrong under a singleprinciple, and/or there will be two or more competing moralprinciples and the agent will not be able to completely fulfill oneor more moral principles without violating or competing with one ormore other moral principles. Dilemmatic decision-making is notunusual when making pluralistic social decisions. The Bill ofRights in perfectly exemplifies this process. A citizen’s , for example, does not allow someone to yell “FIRE” in acrowded theater when there is no fire as individual andLiberties are constrained by other and liberties andtherefore they must be specified for specific situations and thenbalanced with the other inevitable competing principles.
The most detailed statement of a revised pluralist view, called neo-pluralism, suggests a "new liberalism" has arisen in the form of citizen's lobbies (Berry, 1999). This view puts great emphasis on the battles between liberal interest groups and the Christian Right over cultural values, noting that the liberal interest groups often win, but this is irrelevant in analyzing corporate power. The neo-pluralists grant that major foundations, especially the Ford Foundation, funded many of the new citizen interest groups at their outset, which makes them creatures of moderates within the corporate community, not independent interest groups. However, these theorists reply that such groups are now independent due to money raised through direct mailings and other outreach efforts.