Friday, 23 November 2018

Desire and Destruction: Anarchism at an Impasse

 Anarchism as an idea inevitably trends towards an acute structural ambiguity at its dialectical extreme points. Anarchism-the elective expression of anarchy-has it an obvious structural impasse on the issue of material desire vs material destruction.

Anarchy, in the Proudhonian sense began as a world building progressive project. While there were some more destructive minded intellectuals even as far back as the mid 19th century, it was primarily an idea of world building starting with Proudhon and going through the three subsequent successors in Bakunin, Kropotkin and Malatesta. What has always made anarchism anarchism through and through is it's negational logic, this is something that exists even in its political economic iteration. What that negation now amounts to is much more profound then it was in the 19th century.

The 20th century has happened and questions concerning technology(or machineology as I prefer to call it) have been asked and the answers and solutions have been fairly profound from an anarchist perspective. As a radical dialect anarchism has shifted from red to green and the green element of anarchism has called for a material destruction of the world on a profound level. This destruction is part of a call back to the wild or at the very least a less domesticated non civilized form of existence. What has arguably been lost in all of this development is the fact that anarchism is also very much an a desire driven ideology and the drive for desired material abundance has been a primary part of anarchism for it's entire history. One can say that the red/green split in many ways is indicative of this split. The anarchism of the 19th century was about preserving abundance at or near all cost(Malatesta). While the all or nothing approach to abundance can certainly be rejected at this point should material abundance and desire be sacrificed for some brave undefined ecological green new world?

There is an undeniable paradox between the drive to destroy the world and the drive to change it. To change the world is to have that change be registered and this requires some type of historical structure to map this change. There is an unavoidable performative contradiction in this radical approach. To be against world building is to be against world change, there is no escaping this. World destruction would most certainly require facilitated world change on an unimaginable level without the aid of some type of cosmic disaster. World Society(as John Jacobi calls it) is certainly something to be against but to register against it is to register within it(what you resist persists as Jung says). Unmediated change can only be profoundly personal and mostly unregisterable to the world. Personal psychological change has always been the sufficient ingredient to radical change relating to anarchy. It is this insurrection driven change that cannot be conditioned or controlled by a facilitated revolutionary process(Stirner). It is psychological before material.

What of desire in all this? Material excessive desires have been lost in the logic of green and black anarchist destructive urges. Desire should be unlimited and the only mediation to this should be might, competence(Stirner) along with the restrictions of physical reality and other differentiated desire driven psychologies. Clearly abundance should not come at all cost if autonomy and anarchy are to be preserved and pursued. Abundance and autonomy need to inform each other but the latter should always have precedent over the former. There are discursive limits to the former that make something like trans humanism not applicable, the former however should not be curtailed by some unworkable primitivist scheme. It was always a mistake to make anti-civilization a literal elective position as opposed to a philosophical one, anti-civilization works best as a way to be in but not of the world, to not be psychologically sublimated to world society. Once again psychological change is the sufficient approach, world change is the mediation and world destruction-as human facilitated-is inseparable from world change.

The synthesis to this is a Stirnerian infused anarchy as opposed to negation driven anarchism. The anarchy of Stirner is not driven by negation, along with an elective mediating ist/ism, but by desire difference and divergence. These 3 Ds are the sufficient approach for a performatively congruent anarchic practice. I have called this Anarch-Egoist-Anarchy, the next logical step after post-left anarchism and post-anarchism. There is also an undeniable Deleuzean element to this difference and desire approach as there is much compatibility to be found between Stirner and Deleuze on the 3 Ds. There is an undeniable place for negation and destruction in the context of civilization and history, but negation and destruction are the means and not the ends. Difference and desire transcends negation and destruction. Divergence is the movement away from a homogenized authoritarian context through insurrection and other means. Let there be an egoist ecology of owness and not an ecology of sacrifice of desire which is the other side of the coin to sublimating oneself to an artificial homogeneous mass society.

Let us default back to desire then, but not without some destruction along the way which should only be creative and not pathological. As long as there is reification and memory there will always be a homogeneous world to navigate in and around. Trying to destroy the world is as silly as trying to save it. Save, change and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day it all ends badly anyway in the big entropic picture.