the theory or practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, usually resulting in a weak position for the individual or community with respect to governmentIt is too much to expect Allen himself to have more than a superficial, dogmatic attachment to this definition, but this definition is susceptible to substantive analysis.
One problem is that it's ambiguous whether an anti-statist using this definition objects to concentrating political power in general, or concentrating political power in some specific way, i.e. in the state. I don't know which horn of the dilemma Allen wants to get stuck on, so I'll address them both.
The second sense is trivially stupid. A state is a concentration of political and economic power (and the distinction between political and economic is itself only the most superficial distinction; they are two sides of the same coin); when you concentrate power, what you get by definition is a state: a collection of individuals who act to maintain and perpetuate — by force and propaganda — the power that they have concentrated. The only coherent reading of the second sense of anti-statism is that power should not be concentrated democratically; it should be concentrated, rather, in that class of people (i.e. the owners of capital property) who somehow deserve concentrated political-economic power.
(It is instructive to note that Libertarians typically disclaim loyalty to the Republican party, but they denounce Republicans only when they appear to act democratically instead of protecting de facto capitalist privilege. I know many Libertarians who "hold their nose" and vote Republican; I don't know a single one who would vote Democratic even if a Republican government were to start two wars of aggression, bail out the finance monopolists, increase the size of the government and deficit, nakedly interfere with the private individual rights of women over their own bodies, and generally act in the most egregiously "statist" manner possible. But I don't know that many Libertarians, I don't really like any of the ones I know, and I have a smidgen of grudging respect for exactly one.)
The first sense of statism is at least not trivially stupid; indeed I myself tend to prefer more distributed rather than more concentrated political-economic power. But there are two problems with this sense.
The first problem is that our modern technological civilization requires a considerable degree of economic concentration. A Boeing 747 costs about $318 million (about 13 million person-hours at the average wage, or about 127 person-lifetimes). And that's just for one aircraft: the production facilities are a couple of orders of magnitude larger: Boeing's present market capitalization is about $51 billion dollars, or about 20,000 person-lifetimes (and that doesn't count direct external, public costs, such as Boeing's share of academic and scientific research that has been conducted at public expense). That's not a trivial amount of concentration. If one is against concentration per se, must we therefore sacrifice air travel?
The second problem is how to distribute or prevent the concentration of political-economic power. We've been concentrating political-economic power since the dawn of civilization, and we have seen a succession of states that have achieved preeminence by more effectively concentrating political-economic power. This concentration hasn't been imposed by space-aliens landing in their flying saucers and enslaving humanity; this concentration has been always the work of human beings. If, as left anarchists and (some) Libertarians assert, it is somehow "natural" for human beings to cooperate on a large scale without the concentration of political-economic power, then why has it not happened, ever, anywhere on the globe, over at least five millennia? This kind of large-scale voluntary cooperation might be desirable (I myself find the idea appealing) but I really cannot see how it can be called natural in any reasonable sense of the word. Allen demands that I "show [him] an example where [communism] has worked or even partially worked now or in the past." I can ask the same of him: Show me an example where Libertarianism has worked, or even partially worked, now or in the past. Presumably he cannot hold as examples
communists, fascists, NAZI's, socialists (called New Democrats in Canada), Liberals (in Canada), Conservatives (everywhere), Democrats, Republicans, Greens and on and on. They are ALL statists according to that definition and my usage, and they differ only in degree of application.(Of course the demand itself is nonsensical; on these grounds one would have to denounce human civilization itself.)
When we study economics, political science, sociology, psychology, game theory, anthropology, literature, humanities or any other intellectual field having to do with the behavior of human beings on any scale from the individual to the world, we see that "individualism" and "collectivism" (enforced cooperation) are in an extremely complicated dialectical relationship. Our progress as a world civilization (such as it is) has been not a movement from one to the other, but rather an elaboration of the dialectical relationship between the two. We have been working out precisely what should be in the domain of individualism and what should be in the domain of collectivism. And we cannot work out this trade-off analytically; we have to work it out dialectically, evolutionarily, by trying things and seeing what works and what doesn't work.
I am certainly willing to admit that Lenin, Stalin and Mao's attempts at communism didn't work in the long run. I want to know precisely why they didn't work, and what we can do differently. I have some theories — I think explicitly democratic political institutions are absolutely necessary; neither dictatorial, oligarchal nor republican solutions will work — but simply dismissing anything that has anything in common with these experiments — or, more precisely, anything in common that threatens one's own political, economic and social privilege — as "statism" is uncritically and unskeptically ridiculous.