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Program Information
Renewing the Anarchist Tradition 2
Assemblies of Authority and Coercion, and the Structure of Anarchist Political Theory
Richard Gilman Opalsky
 Michael Caplan  Contact Contributor
May 17, 2002, 11:58 a.m.
A talk about how the fusion of authority and coercion maintains social, economic, and political inequities.
Producer: Michael Caplan
Uploaded by: George King
From postrevolutionary Russia to the current processes of "globalization," a distinctive critique emerges from the perspectives of anarchist thought. This critique takes as its object "coercive authority." The critique of coercive authority can be located throughout the history of radical thinking, and as such, seems to be essential to certain ideological positions. Coercive authority is not reducible to authority-by-itself or coercion-by-itself, and that ideologies that oppose authority-by-itself or coercion-by-itself misunderstand the nature of oppressive power. It is only the manifestation of authority and coercion together that works toward the maintenance of social, economic, and political inequities. After defining the unique construction of coercive authority, this presentation will discuss how its critique works as the foundation for an anarchist political theory.

This talk was presented at the third Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference, at the Institute for Social Ecology, August 2001.

For further information on the conference, please visit

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Institute for Social Ecology, Plainfield, Vermont
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