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Debating In The Classroom: Anarchism

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

Disclaimer: When engaging in debates, it is important to remember that most discussions are based on a variety of perspectives and opinions. Thus, it is important to bring to the table various views, arguments, and ideas to the discussion in order to further explore the complex issues at hand. This blog post is intended to provide some of these talking points, so that we may have a more productive and engaging debate and explore the various facets of the issue in question. It is important to note that these views do not necessarily represent the views of Be Monsterful Ltd or its staff, they are simply presented as topics of discussion. Furthermore, the arguments presented here should not be taken as facts, but rather as potential catalysts for further exploration and investigation. Ultimately, debates and conversations allow us to come to a greater understanding of the complex issues at hand, so it is important to have productive dialogue in order to fully explore all of the potential angles.


We have attempted to create arguments that will remain valid over time; however, the world is constantly evolving. Be wary of accepting everything you come across, especially if it is suspect or already known to be inaccurate. Legal systems and regulations often change quickly, so do your due diligence and research thoroughly.


This blog is designed to be international, but the writers are based on the values and systems of British society, which may not necessarily be applicable to the jurisdiction in which you are debating. It is important to take into consideration local customs or differences in values when interpreting the arguments presented in this blog, as the debate within your own country may have its own intricacies which are not reflected in the broader global debate.

Before evaluating our blog for ideas, try to brainstorm your own arguments. The points offered in our blog might not be comprehensive or thought-provoking, so it's best to not rely on it too heavily. Practising generating your own points is important, as the motion announced during debates may not be listed in our blog.


Does each argument have its own merits when standing alone, or can it only be used as a counter to the opposing side's argument? Where key points clash, they have been directly arranged against each other. However, some points may be used to rebut an argument rather than giving their own positive case.


In the classroom


Teachers should adjust the format of their lessons to best fit the material. When creating debates, they should ensure that each side has the same amount of time to present their viewpoint and the same number of participants.

The class can be actively involved in the debate through the roles of chairperson and timekeeper, floor debate, and audience voting. Additionally, students can be given peer assessment sheets to evaluate the debate as it happens or can be assigned as journalists to write a summary of the debate for homework.


Teachers have the freedom to choose any topic when working with younger learners or in language classrooms, as the main purpose is to enhance speaking and listening abilities. Debates can be a powerful teaching instrument to impart knowledge and comprehension in other areas of the curriculum.


The teacher must determine the ratio of weight given to the student's debating skills versus their knowledge and understanding of the topic during the assessment of the debate.


Teachers may find it beneficial to use topics from our blog (or ones they generate) to conduct ‘hat’ debates in the classroom. To do this, teachers should write out the topics and place them in a hat, then randomly select two students. The chosen students should draw a topic and each speaks on the matter for a brief timeframe. Alternatively, teachers can have the students practice ‘rebuttal tennis’, where they take turns providing rebuttals to each other. This activity is a great way to involve large numbers of students and can be used to introduce a new topic, review student learning, or just to engage students.


Anarchism


Many anarchist theories share a common belief in the unjustifiable nature of state authority. These philosophies, though diverse, are united by a rejection of state power and its imposed values or interests on citizens. Furthermore, anarchism can be compatible with other views such as 'anarcho-capitalists', who advocate for a free market without government interference; and 'anarcho-socialists', who argue that cooperation will produce greater equality than any governmental system could achieve.


Pros

Many anarchists argue that the state is an unacceptable infringement of individuals’ natural right to autonomy, as not everyone who resides under its authority consents to its existence. They argue that natural autonomy must be respected, as it allows individuals to make their own moral choices and pursue their own interests, something which the state does not have the right to impose upon them.

Anarchists recognize that even democracies are fundamentally oppressive systems in which an educated, privileged caste of politicians and bureaucrats impose their will on ordinary people. Anarchists aspire to live in a non-hierarchical society based on free association, where individual freedom is of the utmost importance and the tools of power wielded by the state, such as government, taxes, laws and police forces, are rendered obsolete. Voting rights and the separation of powers alone are inadequate means to counter the influence of the state, and democracy as a form of government is incompatible with true anarchy.

Anarchism can create stable political conditions in which people are able to flourish while retaining their independence. We know that on a small scale, anarchist cooperatives, typically combined with some degree of wealth distribution, are able to be successful and prosperous. On the other hand, the state encourages us to think only in terms of our own narrow self-interest, when in reality humans are capable of much greater cooperation and have an innate inclination towards it. This self-sufficiency of individuals is not manifested since the state gives the impression that everyone can depend on its structural presence and services.

Even if anarchism may not be the correct path, it offers a valuable contribution to political conversations. We tend to accept government regulations too easily while overlooking the implications of such decisions on our lives. The 'Occupy' movement, for example, served as a powerful reminder of the abuse of power and law enforcement that ultimately sought to protect those in positions of privilege in the wake of the global financial crisis (2008). The anarchist perspective raised awareness of the injustice of this system.


Cons

It is apparent that not everyone will agree with the government, but to expect them to do so would be an unreasonable ask for societal legitimacy. It is necessary for everyone to abide by a set of shared standards in order to guarantee fair distribution and enforcement of the law. Everyone should strive to act according to notions of justice, equity, and reciprocity. If anarchists make moral claims, they should advocate for cooperative solutions that are beneficial to all parties involved. If they deny the relevance of ethics, then they are rejecting moral discourse, which is an ultimately misguided stance.

The solution to the issue of undemocratic democracies is reform, not anarchism. Democracies can be made more consistent by decentralization, proportional representation, and increased use of referendums. The power imbalances that are subjects of a complaint will still exist in an anarchist state, as wealthy elites will have their own military forces and monopolize resources. Without the moderating influence of the government, this imbalance of power will be even greater. Rather than completely replacing the state, there exist other less drastic remedies to reduce the power of the state.

‘Free association' between individuals (perhaps local collaboration in agriculture, education, or commerce) that succeeds will endure and eventually be formalized into its most beneficial form. An anarchic 'state of nature' will consequently evolve through the institutionalization of cooperation on larger scales into something similar to the societies we currently have. This implies an imperative requirement for administrators, and arbitrators to determine on disputes, and law enforcement branches. Therefore, anarchism is a futilely antiquated move - a condition of anarchy that can never carry on as it will consistently be fragile.


Anarchy is sometimes utilized as a political justification for acts of terrorism and civil disobedience in the name of 'animal rights' or 'environmentalism'. Of course, these are commendable aspirations, but these actions should be understood for what they truly are - selfish and hostile behavior masked as an expression of 'anarchist' value. A genuine anarchist would not consume, clothe themselves with, or utilize anything generated by those who belong to the structured state. As long as these terrorists and eco-soldiers make use of the products of the labor of the members of the hierarchical society they wish to overthrow, they are being hypocritical.

Possible motions


A motion in a debate outcome is a proposal presented to the audience to be debated and voted on. It is made by the debaters and then voted on by the audience or judges of the debate. This is usually the final step in a debate, to decide the victor.


This House advocates anarchism.
This House holds the opinion that any form of governing authority is void of legitimacy.
This House affirms that the inhabitants of democracies have the right to freedom and self-determination.

This House maintains that citizens of democracies are not obligated to adhere to laws they find to be unfair.
This House proposes that each generation should vote to affirm the treaties which bind them.
This House laments that the term 'anarchism' has become a pejorative term.

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