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Monday, June 08, 2015

No Beginnings

Anarchism means No Beginnings, from archein, "to begin, to rule": There is no need for a word "archism" because "politics" is that word.

21 comments:

Elias Altvall said...

Actually no. Anarchism is derivations from anarchy which is anarchos which translates to without rulers. I understand the decreipt state anarchist movement is in America with the so called "lifestyle" and libertarians but your always your weakest when you desperately tries to make all anarchists and especially historical anarchism (socialism) into the samething. If archism means rulers then why is politics that word. I atleast thought politics original etymological meanings, especially in its aristotelian meaning, was active engagement with ones community structures and decision making. Yet politics as has been referred to since 16th century has always meant the rich and powerful decision making not the peoples, so to speak.

Dale Carrico said...

archon, ruler, derives from archein, to begin, to rule. My point is not to deny the familiar derivation but to point out that beginning is inherent in that ruling which is less familiar. That sense is conspicuous in for example, archetype which is the origin/master type from which subsequent variations/copies arise. The nature of rule is citational and reiterative in a performative account of the political of the kind one discerns in works by Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler (which I have always found congenial), norms/institutional forms are enacted in an ongoing way, a matter of improvisation within constraints. Yes, of course you are right that politics derives from polis, and names the values/experiences emerging from the state of plurality in which one is immersed in settlements/cities. That plurality is the condition in which Arendtian action -- a matter of beginnings or at any rate interruptons are introduced into the given with unexpected consequences -- and the performative rematerialization/refiguration of Butler's forceful but flexible public norms. There is nothing desperate about this proposal or weak about its premises, tho' of course it may turn out to be wrongheaded like anything one thinks through at theoretically, but it is meant to be illuminating if unfamiliar. I continue to think anarchist theory misses much that is indispensable, and in its evocations of "spontaneous order" -- whether in the market pieties of the right or in the consensus pieties of the left -- anarchism tends to be a reactionary disavowal of the contentious plurality recognition of which is the point of departure for political thinking. This error sometimes yields bad politics on the ground, and definitely yields some terrible sloganeering, but I still think that anarchist-identified activists are often congenial and indispensable allies in democratizing politics practically speaking, usually in spite of the anarchist notions in the name of which they think they are acting.

Dale Carrico said...

The querelle des anciens et modernes in its political face is the distinction of a politics conceived as a matter of providing occasion for the excellence of the few as against amelioration of hardship for the many. I am not one to deny the abiding reality of plutocratic power throughout history, but surely what is interesting about politics since the 16th century is precisely the democratizing and sometimes revolutionary insurgencies of people-power?

Elias Altvall said...

I still think you miss the nuances of anarchist theories. I personally at least seperate what is today considered anarchism into three parts. One is historical (or classical)anarchism based around the concepts of class struggle, revolution, organization and socialism. It is a form of socialism in fact when one looks closer to history about the labor movement one finds anarchism being a much bigger influence then classical marxism, due to the syndicalism. This movement is also the one where I personally feel have always had a agonistic feel and a rejection of consensus. For example in Emma Goldmans "Minorities versus Marjorities" talks mostly about the absolut need for creative dissent.

Then there is lifestyle anarchism which sadly has a bigger impact on the movement nowadays since the anarchist movement died almost out after WW2. It is meaningless and more or less reactionary and has been throughout the history of anarchism been dirided and critqued as meaningless and bourgeouis.

Then there is libertarianism which has nothing what so ever to do with anarchism historically as a theory that it is dishonest to even refer to it in the same sentence without explaination which sadly you do.

Now I personally think it is kinda of strange to claim that anarchism ignores or does not take into account plurality considering that there is no evidence for this. Excepting the claim that it is the consensus decision making what about the anarchists that rejects consensus decision making as precisely what you criticise.

As regarding "spontaneus order" I refer to Sam Dolgoff book "The Relevance of Anarchism to Modern Society". It can be found on libcom for free.

I feel as if you ignore the history and political theories of the movement in favor of perpetuating what dumbass modern anarchist says. Which is part of the reason why I personally can not call my self an anarchist. But to talk of a theory with no mentions of its theoretical bedrock or to talk about two movements as if they are the same because of the words they use, not the meaning behind them. By that logic what is the difference between MRA and Feminism, or social democracu and conservatism, or welfare state and police state.

Right wing "anarchism" is liberalism taken to its logical point. A private poperty regime that functions like feudalism.

Elias Altvall said...

I agree with you that it is interesting that we have over the last centuries been democratizing our societies through periods of direct action and organizing our efforts in a manner that was opposite to the etablishments. But again politics and when anarchists (have historically) dismiised it have also the function of making only the smallest amounts of effort to change it self to include more ameliorating efforts. Also while we have democratized society it is still just a republican system of representation that has struck up in order to better facilitate the market structures that run our society. So capitalism is better than feudalism but I still feel that is kinda like the ridiculous argument about whether christianity or islam has killed more people.

I do not wish to sound like I am angry or trying to attack you as a person but I feel occasionally like you make way to much effort of emphasising political action as oppose to direct action of achieving political change and progress. Community organizing, industrial organizing and simliar direct action measures are way more effective than politcal action when pushed in the right direction. I mean the New Deal happened largely due to the unions radicalism and the threat of revolution than to actually want to change the system to help the people more. Much how like the Square deal decades earlier was jsut ameliorating some effects of the "free" market system due to union organizing and reovlutionary fevor. I am just suggesting that revolution can just spontaneously happen out of nowhere but if one organizes and pushes to radically change the system it cannot be done by appealing to politicians who, while meaning well, is not powerful enough to do it alone.

My complaint is largely that you equate anarchisms with eachother that for me does not make any sense, from a historical or theoretical position.

Dale Carrico said...

I don't equate the many strains of anarchism that interest me but I do try to identify salient continuities among them. I think there is plenty of anarchist theory and history to suggest such continuities are well worth thinking through. You don't, but it isn't exactly clear to me why you seem so bothered by my efforts. You really do quite a bit of a priori pruning of both historical and contemporary anarchist campaigns and formulations and strains in order to arrive at the preferred version of the one true anarchism you think is not susceptible of my analysis.

It seems to me our choices may look prejudiced and selective to one another in pretty much equal measure, and maybe that means we'll always talk past each other a bit on the topic. I mean, maybe you simply sympathize with the theories more than I do. That's fair enough. I am trying to be more careful about distinguishing the political theory from actual activists on the ground who do great democratizing work in the name of all sorts of things they think of as "anarchism" that may not have much to do with the aspects of the theory I focus on. That has been helpful for me, and exchanges with you and with Ian Alan Paul and others contributed to that.

I don't think it is fair in the least to imply I emphasize electoral politics over other forms of political education, agitation, organization, expression. I always insist that voting is indispensable but altogether inadequate. I have engaged in direct action all my adult life and my teaching almost never addresses itself to partisan politics while cultural criticism and direct action methodologies (especially revolutionary nonviolence) come up in my classes quite often.

I write about voting because I am annoyed by those who eschew voting because they think it is an occasion for making purely aesthetic and ethical stands, when voting seems to me instead a matter of taking up a better tool on hand to accomplish ends on a political terrain that requires far more than voting rather than letting others take up a worse tool in the service of worse outcomes on that same terrain. When people propose they indulge this stupidity because it shows they are smart, or that they exhibit this indifference to differences that make a difference because it shows they are more righteous I call out the egregious errors involved and the privilege that usually enables it as I see it.

I must say I do not agree that direct action is "more effective" (or "less effective" either!) in some general way than legislation or education or other interventions are -- usually the effectiveness of a particular organizational strategy in a particular historical moment is beholden to other forms of politics over long struggles that have many vicissitudes.

I can assure you that I don't feel personally attacked by your differences of opinion at all -- and I definitely don't think you would have to be angry with me to express them! People accuse me of being angry when I'm just trying to be clear -- or even trying to clarify something for myself I'm unsure of -- all the time, and it always surprises me. People accuse me of rage sometimes when I'm actually feeling quite lighthearted and amused about a topic. These things don't often translate well online, of course. You've posted here quite a lot, quite substantially -- I trust your seriousness and congeniality and good faith, disagreement isn't a problem. Best to you, d

Elias Altvall said...

Yet you do not offer the context nor the very differance of opinions of anarchist themselves in order to explain what is suppose to be continuities and what might have come later and for what reason it has come. I feel you have misunderstood my ideas by ascribing an aprior element to them. What I stated was that in order to criticize anarchism as an politcal theory historical context and developements are importents. There is no such thing as true anarchism as there is no true democracy or true socialism. If I believed that I would call my self an anarchist because I would not have a problem with certain theories since I could just call them not-anarchists and move on. But because of that I take a position of being inspired by anarchism but recognizes the limitations of their theories when it comes to change and progress. I also hate the anti-modern sentiment that exists in parts of anarchism which for me tends to be authoritarian and leads to ridiculous conclusions and romantization or what about insisting on simplicity when I rather have a complex free society than a simple authoritarian society.

I actually feel the aprior comment by you, can easily be applied to you as well, considering that you from the start assume a position of similiarity between two movements which developed from different positions, assumptions, ideas and historical context. The continuities you keep insisting exists between "Left" anarchists and right wing "anarchist" is not there. And by continuing to ignore the criticisms that exist within this movement you ignore completely a plurality of opinion.

My problem is that I feel you continue to ignoring the historical reality of anarchism. I mean you want to complain about the current forms of anarchism fine but do not claim you crtitzing the political theory rather a set of opinions made by people who are anarchist or have a faulty impression of anarchism. It also leads to you universalizing anarchism much like the very faulty historiagraphers of anarchism has done to. Anarchism arose in a specific context and place and has developed from that. It is a part of socialism you and anyone lese taking it away from that context makes the words meaningless. Much like if Michel Foucault decided to analyse discipline without attaching it to the historical developements in order to expose what theories and ideas leads to those societal developements.

I think I do sympathize more with anarchism. It could be because anarchism for me was the politcal theory that made a socialist along with the mars trilogy. But the reality is that it is becuase of anarchism that I become convinced that we must democratize our societies. Anarchism for me as a historical movement while definitely not alone is the movement that tries to achieve socialism through direct democracy.

Elias Altvall said...


I understand and I think I commented on the debate you had with the absenteeist, I did not mean to bring up that since I also believe in voting but like you and I think even more than you I consider it incredibly inadequate. My point about the political action talk was more about and underlining theme in your talks about anarchism. For example you commented that there has been an incredible democratization in the world of politics since the 16th century but this does not mean that somehow now politics reflect people wishes, simply that it can under circumstances reflect it better because of organizing, direct action and education.

For me direct action includes education. And the fact that you simply responded by saying that the effetiveness of a organizing strategy depends on many different actions which I brought up. My point was more how the things we on the left consider to be triumph is not something generally achieved by politician from goodness of their hearts but more from people organizing and radicalizing to achieve changes which have largely happened because as a way of ameliorating the effects of capitalism and other structural problems rather then getting rid of them all together. Of course it could be argued that this is better because despite the romantisation of revolution it has just as big a chance of being converted to a more authoritarian regime.

Hope this will clear up some misunderstanding but I doubt it will remove the disagreements which of course are okay. Disagreements are some of what makes life colorful and allows you to examine your own ideas. Part of the reason why consensus descion making is faulty.

Dale Carrico said...

to criticize anarchism as an politcal theory historical context and developements are importents

I agree, all of them, including the anarcho-capitalists and insurrectionists you don't like to talk about as much.

I actually feel the aprior comment by you, can easily be applied to you as well

I agree with you. I conceded this point in my last response to you, hoping that such a concession would make you less likely to feel attacked by my continued disagreement.

The continuities you keep insisting exists between "Left" anarchists and right wing "anarchist" is not there.

I disagree with you. This is what we have been arguing about. A bald assertion to the contrary isn't likely to change my mind.

And by continuing to ignore the criticisms that exist within this movement you ignore completely a plurality of opinion.

I don't ignore the criticisms, I foreground what I take to be important continuities you disagree with me about. I anticipate and respond to objections arising from that plurality of opinions you accuse me of ignoring, but disagreeing isn't ignoring.

you continue to ignoring the historical reality of anarchism. I mean you want to complain about the current forms of anarchism fine but do not claim you crtitzing the political theory rather a set of opinions made by people who are anarchist or have a faulty impression of anarchism

I emphasize different parts of that history than you do. You are free to think differently and say so here, but I disagree that your sense of the "reality" of anarchism is the only or best one, and I disagree that all of the people you describe as having a "faulty impression of anarchism" aren't simply anarchists who disagree with you about it.

Anarchism for me as a historical movement while definitely not alone is the movement that tries to achieve socialism through direct democracy.

I believe that democratic socialism is the movement that tries to achieve more democracy through more social justice and I agree with the late American democratic socialist Michael Harrington that even so compromised a tool as the US Democratic Party at its best can be a force for democratic socialism if people are clearheaded about the differences among the many political tools we have at our disposal to make change.

the things we on the left consider to be triumph is not something generally achieved by politician from goodness of their hearts

I agree. I should think that my agreement would be quite obvious, given my repeated insistence that voting is not a matter of finding a dream date or surrogate parent of celebrity worship-object but a matter of putting the best tool among actually-available options in a position to do the best that can be done there rather than a worse actually-existing alternative devoted to comparatively worse outcomes.

people organizing and radicalizing to achieve changes

Political parties are among the sites in which such educating, agitating and organizing takes place. Issues campaigns, assemblies, demonstrations, publications, courtrooms, unions, schools, art venues are others.

I doubt it will remove the disagreements which of course are okay.

Yes and yes. Again, my very best to you, d

Elias Altvall said...

I want to start by saying thanks to time differences I sometimes will comment in like 2 am in the morning on a work day which I should really stop doing but if I see you commented back I will be distracted from sleep anyway, so I'm fucked. This explains if I have used contradictory words or just plain misspellt.

I can talk about "anarcho" capitalist and insurrectionist if you want but what have they added to the movement in general except for the insurrectíonist a reexamination of ends and means. My point is largely how "anarcho" capitalist are ahistorical and takes nothing from the historical development or contexts of anarchism as a political theory: I mean Murray Rothbard has admitted that they stole the word libertarian from anarchism. Insurrectionism I have never dinied being anarchists and in fact you will find in my last post me pointing out that I personally feel that they are authoritarian and meaningless to anarchism as a whole. This of course does not mean that they should not be criticised nor that they are not anarchists, simply that they still represent a minority among anarchists in most historical contexts.

I do not feel attacked by you. Actually one the reasons I tend to respond to these is the fact that I like most of what you say. I in fact consider you to be an inspiration as well. You made me realise that I had to reread the so called "postmodernists" of Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Ranciere, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler and Richard Rorty. Even if I hate Richard Rorty.

"A bald assertion to the contrary isn't likely to change my mind"

The samething with me because I feel your pont about continuities are largely an assertition as well.

No disagreeing is not ignoring but by making bold statements and assertitions that are in debate and argumentation in the movement it self and is largely a modern phenomena. The explicit idea of consensus is modern idea that appeared after the 1960s as an example. It is like criticizing marxism as authoritarian ignoring people like Karl Korsch, Anton Pannekoek, Guy Debord, Harry Cleaver, Walter Benjamin, CLR James (despite his asseration of Leninism), Jean Paul Sartre, Henri Lefebvre, David Harvey etc.

I have used the word THE wrongly sense upon rereading it makes the impression as if there is only one valid view but what I mean by "faulty impression of anarchism" is for example the asseration (also done by some anarchists) that anarchism is universal, as old as mankind or dealing purely with the "state" not the state as a historical manifestations of oligarchical, plutocratic and centralising organization. There is no one reality but many competing what I mean by the historical reality of anarchism is looking at the developements, theories, ideas and expressions of anarchism how they developed and against what society. We can reject people as not being anarchists if they have nothing in common with the historical movement and theory. I mean If I call my self an democratic socialist but then insist on the fact that the Soviet Union was socialism and democratic wouldn't you question me calling my self a democratic socialist.

Anarchism for me as a historical movement while definitely not alone is a movement that tries to achieve socialism through direct democracy. One amongst multiple ones. For me the problem with democratic socialism is the fact that it is really unclear for me where it begins and stops. I mean Olof Palme (a swedish prime minister) was a democratic socialist but introduced neoliberalism into Sweden and traded arms with Saudi Arabia. Ben Gurion in Israel started the ongoing wars and conflicts with Palestine, while not doing it on his own (obviously) he as a prime minister never stopped it or tried to. But it also contains GDH Cole, John Dewey etc. What I mean is should we not make clear what democracy means and if to achieve it must we not match means and ends.

Elias Altvall said...

Politcal parties are definitely a site for the things you say but the problem with most politcal parties is that they recreate (to use new left terminology) the bureaucratic relations of the current state and corporate world. For me that is a problem that has to be recognized and understood. Unions are as emasculated as they are in the west because of the fact that they have very little internal democracy and functions more like a bureaucratic engine to achieve successes. I am an active union member in Sweden which means that I have first hand experiance of the coalition between state, corporate and unions. And I work in the public sector.

Thank you very much for this debate I wonder if it will continue. :S

Dale Carrico said...

You complained that "to criticize anarchism as an politcal theory historical context and developements are importents," to which I responded, "I agree, all of them, including the anarcho-capitalists and insurrectionists you don't like to talk about as much."

In your most recent response you devote a paragraph to answering my objection: I can talk about "anarcho" capitalist and insurrectionist if you want but what have they added to the movement in general except for the insurrectíonist a reexamination of ends and means.

My objection was that you dismiss market spontaneist and other right-wing anarchist theories, schools, movements from anarchist history. Your response seems to confirm my objection. You scare-quote "anarcho" before capitalist which begs the question at hand, then you ask what these anarchisms have added to "the movement." But that is neither here nor there, the question is not whether you approve of these anarchist strains but whether they are anarchist. Of course I agree with you that these views are false and facile. That is not our disagreement. Our disagreement is that you deny anarcho-capitalists, insurrectionists, among other self-identified anarchists are anarchists at all, and you never really support that claim apart from declaring that they aren't the kind of anarchists you sympathize with. I don't sympathize with them either, but I do think that there are continuities between the naturalization of certain norms and forms as "the market" in anarcho-capitalism and a naturalization of different norms and forms in the spontaneisms underlying key practical/theoretical strains more familiar in left-anarchist claims about "direct" democracy and consensus decision-making and natural mutualism as well as insurrectionary strains of anarchism (both left and right) recalling the early Propaganda of the Deed and still advocated by a loud minority of anarchist-identified activists today.

Dale Carrico said...

You continue: My point is largely how "anarcho" capitalist are ahistorical and takes nothing from the historical development or contexts of anarchism as a political theory

When you say anarcho-capitalists are ahistorical you are simply denying that they are a part of the history of anarchism. When you say they "take nothing" from the development of anarchist theory you are simply denying that they have constituted part of that theory. These are the questions under debate. I already know that you dismiss right-anarchisms from True Anarchy by your lights, repeating the point over and over isn't actually supporting your view. I honestlydon't understand how you can deny the influence of a reactionary like Max Stirner on the development of anarchist theory when so many of the anarchists you recognize as such admit his infuence on their anarchism, for example; think of a figure like the American Lysander Spooner, do you deny he is engaging in anarchist theorizing at a formative moment, even if he is a pet of the libertopian right? Again, my point is certainly not to claim these figures make sense or deserve our sympathies. They don't. But they are part of the story of anarchist theory, many self-identified anarchists have cared about them deeply. It is the denial of these obvious connections that seems to me ahistorical and decontextual.

Insurrectionism I have never dinied being anarchists and in fact you will find in my last post me pointing out that I personally feel that they are authoritarian and meaningless to anarchism as a whole. This of course does not mean that they should not be criticised nor that they are not anarchists, simply that they still represent a minority among anarchists in most historical contexts.

Insurrectionists are anarchists, you agree, but "meaningless" because they aren't the kind of anarchists you approve of, and in any case represent a "minority" historically -- how sizable a minority? with what impact? in just which contexts? (I must say the insurrectionists tend to seem most prominent in the same moments when anarchism itself is most visible and impactful -- tho' hardly for the better.)

We had an earlier exchange in which you criticized my attribution of a reactionary kernel of what I called spontaneism in all/most strains of anarchist theory, wherever they located themselves on the political spectrum, and as that conversation proceeded I took up historical questions in much greater depth. If you would like a reminder it is here. I don't expect you to agree with my assessment, but I do think it is a bit glib to suggest that my critique is superficial or ahistorical even if you don't find it compelling.

Dale Carrico said...

You raise lots of other issues as well. You point out that it isn't always easy to see where democratic socialism ends and other forms, social democratic, liberal, neoliberal begin. You point out that political parties are vulnerable to plutocratic capture. You point out that there are conspicuously anti-authoritarian Marxists and post-marxists even if one might want to critique, even from a position sympathetic to much of Marx, authoritarian tendencies in some Marxist texts or formations -- I would offer up such a critique myself, arguing that the reductionism, historical determinism, and avant-gardism discernible in some orthodox Marxist texts are indeed vulnerable to authoritarianism. These are all interesting points but I doubt we disagree about them particularly or at any rate interestingly nor do I think they speak much to our bone of contention about anarchist theory. As I have said before I prioritize democracy over socialism in my own democratic socialism, socialism is for me the means to the end of democratization, a democratization that requires public investments in a scene of consent beholden to general welfare/equal recourse to law and accountable public administration of common goods all of which are antithetical to anarchism in any construal (one of the reasons our debate has such stakes for me). A short, simple delineation of my vantage can be found in: Left and Right: Back to Basics.

Elias Altvall said...

So if I got you right. Your definition of anarchism is selfindentification, not coherency with the historical developements and contexts. I deny anarcho capitalists and primitvist the anarchistic label because I can not see their promixity to the political theory of anarchism. I do see insurrectionist as anarchist (sadly) because of their place in history and theorically. In the end the anarcho capiltalists are people who self indentifies as anarchists but in reality adhere to none of the things in anarchist political theory like occupancy and use, democratic associations, federalism and anticapitalism etc. The primitivist again share nothing with anarchism (anarchism was in the late 19th century apart of the progressive movement in America) though I agree that sadly there exists more corrolation here but it is also a corrolation with marxism. Now I agree with you about naturalisation of mutualism which leaves anarchism vulnerable (as a political theory) to reactionary thinking.

What do you mean that they are a part of the history of anarchism? Yes they sadly are a part of anarchisms history but what I mean by ahistorical is the fact that they have nothing in common with anarchism as a politcal theory (again anticapitalism). What was the first anarchist text again? A book that concluded with Property is theft. All anarchists throughout history has agreed with this conclusion.

Have I ever said Max Stirner has not influence anarchism because I really doubt that I have. Ignoring Max Stirners influence is like ignoring Nietzche influence on the movement or Ralph Waldo Emerson or Karl Marx.

I really can not take you seriously when you keep claiming I believe in a True Anarchy. All I have said is to critize anarchism (or any poltical theory, philosophical system or religion) you have to look at the historical developements, contexts and continuied theorizing. There are plenty of anarchists with which I disagree with and suprise I still call them anarchists. Lysander Spooner was an anarchist he railed against wage slavery, state, property (as it exists in capitalism) and continued intil his death to advocate revolution. For me it is a problem when people are claiming continuities based around ignoring what people said and in what context they said them.

When I say meaningless I mean in my opinion, not historically since thanks to them most people overlook actual periods of anarchistic influence like 1890s to late 1930s when the syndicalist unions had their heyday and they were influenced more by anarchist organization theory than marxism in favor of a period of desperation in a movement losing steam after getting kicked out of the International, Jura federation breaking up and starting to organizing unions.

I feel you overemphasise a part of anarchist history without actually adressing the circumstances and contexts that made a very small minority do those acts. You more or less just say it happened and that means anarchism is reactionary without addressing the contexts and therefore achieving a better and more substantial critique. One of the reasons I critize and comment your anarchist entries is simply because for me at least critique requires knowledge of the subject matter. But while I know you have read texts and other things I doubt you are completely up to date about anarchist history and historiagraphy which in my last comments referred to. I feel as though my main problem, and therefore comments, are that you could to such a better job critiquing anarchism as a political theory but mainly just appears like a comment not attached to any analysis.

Are not all things means to an end? I mean I am socialist because I want a free society. I believe in democracy because otherwise socialism wouldn't function. I do not see a seperation between democracy and socialism. If anything was proven by the Soviet Union it is that socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality.


Elias Altvall said...

Also one of the best critiques of parts of anarchisms tendency to nauralization of mutualisms. Errico Malatesta, an italian anarchist who pretty nailed everything you've criticised under that "continuity". Another one Alexander Berkman, Erich Muhsam, Gustav Landauer, Emma GOldman, Rudolf Rocker and Sakae Osugi.

Elias Altvall said...

You somewhat missed my point about that democratic socialism comment. Yes, it was about where does the other political theories start and ends but it was more about what concept of democracy do you have to have in order to consider your self a democratic socialism. Since I feel democracy is not diserable and must change if your conception of democracy is representative government (it is better than monarchy and other autocratic regimes but is also oligarchical and plutocratic origins. I agree with Murray Bookchin about the subject) but it is still the form of government that brought us the wonders of imperialism.

Dale Carrico said...

I really can not take you seriously when you keep claiming I believe in a True Anarchy. All I have said is to critize anarchism (or any poltical theory, philosophical system or religion) you have to look at the historical developements, contexts and continuied theorizing.

So, you are no longer denying anarcho-capitalists are anarchists and that interesting things might emerge from an analysis of anarchist theory that takes seriously structural similarities among ideologically distinct accounts and movements within anarchist history? That's all I am doing. You can deny that I pay attention to historical developments and contexts just because I pay attention to different ones than you will, but this is just our disagreement as it has always been. Maybe not taking me seriously anymore can take the form of agreeing to disagree on this impasse that hasn't budged through all our exchanges, nor looks likely to.

You more or less just say it happened and that means anarchism is reactionary without addressing the contexts and therefore achieving a better and more substantial critique. One of the reasons I critize and comment your anarchist entries is simply because for me at least critique requires knowledge of the subject matter. But while I know you have read texts and other things I doubt you are completely up to date about anarchist history

Yes, it is indeed quite clear that you don't "take me seriously" if this is what you say I am doing, and doing so because I'm such an ignoramus. Concerning Malatesta, Berkman, Goldman, Rocker I cannot say that I think they have already said everything I am trying to, but no doubt I've just been misreading them, as so many others, for more than a quarter century now.

On democracy, I must say that is my own priority, and that I regard socialism/socialization as a means toward the end of ongoing democratization; and frankly one of the things that reconciles me to many anarchists at street level -- despite my disapproval of the theoretical accounts they tend to make of themselves -- is that it seems to me at their best they are doing substantially democratizing work too.

Elias Altvall said...

I have never denied anarcho capitalists a place in anarchist history just like marxism has a place in anarchist history and vice versa. What I have said is that they are not anymore anarchist than marxist are. There does happen a very interesting thing if you do an analysis about them which is that anarchism has to be socialist in order to be coherent with history. Anarcho capitalists is what happen when you univeralise anarchism and not look at the historical context and developements that lead to anarchism as a political theory. Much like how anarchists have an imperalistic reading of Taoism in order to make it desperately fit within the "anarchist" framework. I think the last comments have always had an air of agreeing to disagree with you, what I can not take seriously is not your comments about anarchism but your comment that I believed in a True Anarchy. Not, your comments on anarchism.

Yes, it is indeed quite clear that you don't "take me seriously" if this is what you say I am doing

That is what I feel your are doing.

, and doing so because I'm such an ignoramus.

No, my comment about you not being up to date about anarchist history was faulty at best, massively wrong at worst when I reread it now. But what I tried to say was that I get notion that for you the period of (let use the term golden age, despite the bullshit it is) Golden age of anarchism is the period of propaganda of the deed yet for me and I would say most anarchists this period is one of strange behaviors, organization theory and sadly authoritarian content. The real "Golden age" of anarchism is the period of syndicalistic unions, massive class struggle and complete multicultural and internationalist organizations.

You are taking my "not taking you seriously" comment out of context. I specifically referred to your comment about True Anarchy, not your critique of anarchism which I definitely take seriously otherwise why would I comment. I do not run around the internet engaging into debates with everyone talking about anarchism or other matters. If that was the case I would spend my time going crazy at Stephan Molyneux youtube page. It is specifically because I take your comments and criticisms about anarchism that I comment.

I never said everyting you are trying to say have already been said by them. What I said was the naturalizing of mutualisms have already been critized by them. This of course does not mean it shouldn't be critized more or that it still is not there, simply that the assumption that every anarchist have these ideas are strange. Anarchism is not like marxism, a specific philosophical system that informs the politics beneath but a political theory that incorporates many different philosophical viewpoints. I mean Mikhail Bakunin, Pyotr Kropotkin, Elisee Reclus, Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman and Rudolf Rocker has only some things in common from a philosophical point of view. Reclus and Kropotkin insisted that their anarchism was a scientific socialism and had a mechanistic materialism informing it. While Rudolf Rocker, Malatesta and Goldman all rejected that anarchism or socialism in general was scientific in nature. This does not mean that I have the perfect or only valid interpretation about these people or of the theory in general. There is always a plurality of interpretations that could be equally valid yet there is surprisingly something that can be wrong. Yet that wrong is of course debateble and subject to criticism.

My problem with some anarchists I have met on the ground is a tendency towards rejecting other movements that have similiarities because of a absolutist viewpoint of purity but that does not change the fact that they alongside with other movements are doing substanial democratizing work.

Dale Carrico said...

The real "Golden age" of anarchism is the period of syndicalistic unions, massive class struggle and complete multicultural and internationalist organizations.

Fair enough. As someone who is less sympathetic with anarchist theories (but sympathetic with many anarchists when they are not theorizing) I guess I simply see a history of variously symptomatic episodes, none of them golden exactly and all of them democratizing at their best, anti-democratizing at their worst.

[T]he naturalizing of mutualisms have already been critized by them. This of course does not mean it shouldn't be critized more or that it still is not there, simply that the assumption that every anarchist have these ideas are strange.

Again, fair enough. I do still hold this view but I can see that the proper defense of it demands a more scholarly treatment than online conversations among friends. Our exchange has convinced me to add a chapter on anarchism to my long-cherished long-planned book on Arendtian politics!

[Anarchists] alongside with other movements are doing substanial democratizing work.

There we are mostly agreed. Not bad for the last word, my best to you, d

Elias Altvall said...

I did say it (golden age) was bullshit. Except in comics. There you have to give credit where credits due to the massive creation phase that occured, even if most of it was bad. Yet we got Wonder Woman and Superman so I am happy. I just did not find a better word.

My best to you as well. See you next comment, hopefully about another subject. :D