on .anarchism

[on .anarchism]

Updated July 15, 2004 .

"Perhaps, there is no greater love than that of a revolutionary couple, where each of the two lovers is ready to abandon the other at any moment if revolution demands it." - Slavoj Zizek (are we supposed to take that seriously?)

In the 21C, with the dominance of 'lifestyle anarchism,' when an investment in "anarchism" is referenced in conferences or in public, there are generally two responses: 1. anarchism is for the young (the implication--the naive, uneducated, idealist, and so forth); 2. anarchism is seductive, inviting, often fashionable but rarely (read: never) tenable.

The difficulty remains if what is, today, is assumed as anarchism. There exists a construction of anarchism in the popular consciousness that renders (re)imagining the project an immense task. There exists a crusty-punk uniform of anarchism (a few other uniforms too--enough black already). Anarchism is a little too defined for what it speaks to:

- Anarchism as a tactic. For the moment when you say: fuck it. Anarchism, then, is not necessarily ethically positive, nor does it imply that all "anarchic" acts are good acts.

- Anarchism as a sexy thing. Seductive, yes.

- Anarchism as a refusal. An exit. Not only a refusal to play the game, but a rejection of the game itself.

- Anarchism as the dare (throw a bottle as far as it can go to see where it explodes).

- Anarchism as the act of asserting desire. A kind of basic flux, a madness. Ridiculing, of control that detains "civilization."

- Anarchism as not about destroying everything. The powers that be already have that well under control.

- Anarchism as always about love. Love as the most beautiful and destructive thing of all. Love destroys work, deadlines, stress, tension.

- Love as always about hate, too, as Terre Thaemlitz writes (liner notes to Lovebomb, Mille Plateaux). Which is why there is always this violence. Anarchist love as coming to terms with love's inherent violence.

- Unfortunately, capitalists today are our best anarchists. Transnational capitalists do whatever the fuck they want. It doesn't mean they get away with it, but they do.

- Apparently, anarchism as what many of us have been doing all along?

(Ignoring here the organisational, collective forms of anarchism, Bookchin and all authors--just musing, dreaming of post-anarchism, erasing earlier tendencies to determine what it is):

The Architecture of Information: Open Source Software and Tactical Poststructuralist Anarchism
Michael Truscello

"Formal political philosophy cleaves "either to the pole of what ought to be or to the pole of what is at the expense of the tension between the two" (4). Strategic political philosophy recognizes the contingencies of history and social conditions, often addressing the concrete historical conditions under which the political "strategies" are composed, but never allowing ethical goals to be subsumed by contextualizations; thus the aim is to promote the "assumed justice," the ethical goals, given the historical context (8). Strategic philosophies graph power onto the world in the form of "concentric circles" which emanate from a central "core problem" (10). This concept of power distinguishes strategic political philosophies from tactical, since tactical philosophies, such as anarchism and elements of French poststructuralism, May argues, remain "in the tension," where there is no center of power, only intersecting practices of power (11). By remaining in the tension between what ought to be and what is, unlike formal and strategic philosophies which tend to gravitate to one pole or the other, and by conceptualizing power spatially as a network of interconnecting matrices, tactical philosophies reject representational political intervention, such as that of a vanguard, and embrace the decentralization or removal of hierarchical power structures. May believes the move from macropolitics to micropolitics in French poststructuralism, in particular the work of Foucault, Deleuze, and early Lyotard, is analogous in many ways to the tactical philosophy of many early and modern anarchists."

posted. Wed - August 13, 2003 @ 07:21 PM           |