Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Panned Anarchism

Keith Preston actually took some time on his site to respond to my criticism of his approach so I shall return the favor.


I think I should get straight to the point on primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary approaches seeing as this is really the heart of the matter.

While I can agree that certain cultural critiques along with identity politics have gotten out of hand, I don't see your first order approach as any better. Ironically, much of the cultural critiques are micro derivatives of those bigger topics of empire and geopolitics that were badly framed to begin with. I don't consider those issues to be first hand problems to tackle for various reasons. For one thing, anarchists have an inherent affecting problem when it comes to those areas of wanted change. Anarchists have no power to affect geopolitics on their own terms.

On the issue of empire, I don't consider that to be major problem for anarchists to tackle simply because we don't really live in system of empires anymore. We live in a compulsory exploitative epoch, not an imperialist one. At most there are carry over legacies of empire with the US being the last man standing. Capital and State much more significant  drivers of this world then this over emphasized empire of yours but even bigger then that would be the problems of work and organization and the continued quest for power(to name the important ones). Critique of the state for instance is(as Bob Black says) but one form of the critique of organization and work. From this I consider lifestyle/personal preferences to very much matter simply because they are inseparable from any serious orientation against work. For me orientation and not organization are what matter.

As far as means and ends separated bedfellows and ideological converts, I am interested in neither. On the whole I am of a fairly radical opinion that quality anarchist orientation must move away from elective positions and proposed solutions for the simply reason that anarchists must always cede their immediate terms and preferences to have any sort of effect. As I have argued repeatedly, the affection problem is something that anarchists likely can't over come. The best that they can do perhaps steer certain positions in their favor, but not to the point of being enveloped in power play machinery. I can perhaps agree with you that some of the more puritanical positions of certain forms of anarchism in league with latter leftism are of no interest to me. I consider much of the radical analysis on race to be wrong at this point(the definition of white supremacy and the existence of social privilege for example). I myself am not particularly concerned with the single issues that you speak of.

The last I will say about imperialism is that I don't consider that to be a traditional anarchist problem. I associate it much more with Lenin and his ilk who turned it into a problem for their own statist purposes. Anti-Imperialism is, as Lawrence Jarach argued, just another statist ideology. It is also the same ideology that was responsible for the radical left not dispensing with nationalism as whole and continuing its appeal toward the rest of the 20th century through to today. It is Lenin who legitimized the idea of 'oppressed' nations, an idea that arguably permeates all the way down the marxist induced privilage and structural supremacy analysis that we see today. In this regard, Empire all the way down to the cultural criticism that you see as lesser importance are actually fairly linked by a common Marxist based analysis. What is needed is for anarchists to demarxify themselves of much of the radical 20th century.

On the issue of decentralization, that is something I would certainly like to see, but it is not exactly something you can really organize for. Historically decentralization happens because of political economic breakdown. Decentralization never happens by shared disparate demands as seen by occupy or the anti-globalization movements before it. The best that anarchists can do is operate on their own terms with groups that are at least as close to them as possible. I think there are some good things to be said about the Cascadia movement which has a lot of anarchist ingredients behind it. It is a secession movement, but it is done the right way for the right reasons. There are also geopolitical resource events that could also quicken the process without any kind of disparate group organizing. Peak Oil and the contraction to resilient economies could essentially make decentralization inevitable(see the writings and ideas of Nicole Foss). The best that anarchists can do is speak and act only as they can speak and act without any muddled means and ends in between.

Finally on Stirner, I certainly agree that he is at the top of the heap and beyond. I have argued that he is not really an anarchist in the sense that he represents an entirely different branch of thinking then what began with Proudhon. The people who I think get him the most are the anti-/apolitical types of anarchists who reject any kind of formal position, solution or organization altogether. I don't think he should be conflated with ancaps at all considering they had entirely different ideas of property and individuality. People like Rothbard represent a sort of privational individuality that is contingent on property relations and rights. While it is a Marxist term of abuse(applied to people like Stirner), the term bourgeois individualism suits them. The closer continuum to Stirner would be the likes of Emile Armand and Renzo Novatore who represent a more philosophical, poetic and experimental conception of anarchy. The modern variants would be the likes of Bob Black, Hakim Bey and Wolfi Landstreicher. This is essentially my anarchy. I have taken to using the words anarch/anarchy as opposed to anarchist/anarchism  as I think it is more in the spirit of what Stirner was orientating towards.