Posts Tagged ‘post-anarchism’

Commodification and Linguistic Anarchism

January 6, 2017

Commodification

To think of things as commodities is to be part of a religion. This religion took the form of capitalism and dominates society today. Just as metaphysical Christian ideas have real, physical consequences, metaphysical commodity ideas have real, physical consequences. Just as Christian practices reinforce the belief in Christian values, capitalist practices reinforce the belief in commodity values.

Religions have come and gone, but since feudal monarchy was defeated in 1918, capitalism has ruled over all incompatible worldviews. The commodification of the planet is increasing as is the belief in commodity value and there is no indication that it will slow down. Competition between different worldviews leads to conflicts between worldviews if they include a system of reward for their believers. In addition, commodity values are limited by the demand for commodities, which creates competition over profit within capitalism.

The struggle for profit is increasingly focused on quick gains. The past is beyond more commodification and the future is difficult to commodify because it’s uncertain, particularly in the long term. Hence, the commodification of the present is increasing. Commodity values are not inherently evil, if they’re temporary or only occur on a small scale there’s not much to worry about, but once it becomes systematic the relative nature of these values establishes a praxis that overrules the real, subjective evaluation it’s based on and it is this systemic practice we call capitalism.

Waste

The supply of (more…)

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Post-Anarchism – Introduction

March 11, 2016

Post-anarchism means ‘late anarchism’. It is not separate from anarchism, nor is it merely the combination of anarchism and post-structural analysis. I think of it as a reunification, or perhaps synthesis, of anarchism after the split between anarcho-communists and anarcho-individualists, although that is more what it feels like to me than what it actually is. It also attempts to step out of the shadow of state-political anarchism, which predominantly consists of anti-fascism and anti-statist communism. Not to deny that anarchism is political in any sense of the word, just to emphasize that these two modern expressions don’t proportionally represent the basis of anarchist theory as I see it.

Post-anarchism is a deconstruction and reconstruction of anarchism that is still underneath the umbrella of anarchism. It differs from the similarly-named post-left anarchism, which builds on the socialist tradition. Post-anarchism is more like an unhitched river with occasional tributaries ranging from diverse sources, like e.g. existentialism, liberalism, protestantism, Buddhism, physics, neurology, prehistoric cultures and the list goes on. Since anarchism is inherently anti-dogmatic it has no problem with revisionism. However, this is not a platformist attempt. Instead it is in itself an example of the type of organizations or federations it promotes, namely ones that start with one person reaching out to other people with similar thoughts, although not necessarily the same thoughts. Each person or group has their own focus and this is true for this text as well. Basically, post-anarchism, as I present it in this text, is how I think post-anarchism should be defined, meaning I’ve given myself the right to define it after having given myself the right to proclaim myself a post-anarchist.

After re-reading my latest writings a number of times I’ve come to the conclusion that the main feature of my post-anarchism is that it reduces all the problems in anarchist analyses to organizations and so to relationships and so to the subject in the world. This includes property, capital, violence, bureaucracy, representation et cetera. This allows for all previous theories to still be true and relevant and so doesn’t negate the past of anarchism and its bedfellows but rather provides a base structure in which all the different analyses can come to rest in their proper places and in their proper relationships to each other. I believe anarchism should have a place in organizational theory next to Max Weber, game theory and common laissez-faire realpolitik. However, that is a major undertaking and this text is merely an introduction.

I will introduce my view on post-anarchism/anarchism by listing a few topics which I believe are relevant to analyze, without going into too much detail. The list is not meant to be complete and it’s not in any specific order and my ramblings on each topic are meant as kick-starters rather than as closing statements. Since I’m rambling a bit and not trying to clarify many demarcations it helps if you already know what anarchists have focused their analyses on in the past.

Skipping a large chunk of history, people in Europe were criticizing God, the king and the nobility after the Enlightenment. In the 19th century Stirner talked about the equality of individuals, Déjacque about compassion that ignored family and lineage, Bakunin and Proudhon about mutual engagement in labour. Just before WW1, Kropotkin, the last major figure in anarchism, talked about natural organization. More recently, the anarchist critique against oppression has been combined with black liberation, feminism, ecology, LGBTQ, disabilities and various other issues. However, all the combinations haven’t necessarily combined with each other and some of the newest combinations, like anarcho-capitalism, contradict the rest of anarchism. Bookchin stopped calling himself an anarchist because of the anarcho-capitalists and the post-left anarchists have been trying to reformulate the red-and-black current but little has changed since Kropotkin. I’m focusing on theory but just to have it mentioned, anarchists were most active in France and Germany during the 19th century, and then, in chronological order, in the Russian (including in the Ukraine), Spanish and Syrian civil wars. We might also add the many assassinations of the rich and powerful, like Prince Franz Ferdinand, and uprisings like the Zapatistas’ in Mexico and further note that anarchists take part in anti-fascist demonstrations, union strikes, squatting, street occupations et cetera. For all of these events it’s unclear to which degree and how many of the participants are anarchists.

I want to change the focus from the state, marxism and anti-fascism and not to have arguments predicated, explicitly or implicitly, on their underlying theoretical assumptions (e.g. free will is foundational to marxism). Here are a few topics I think need to be considered or more in focus to improve the theoretical principles of anarchism:

  1. Home
  2. Identity
  3. Subject
  4. Language
  5. Communication
  6. Ideology
  7. Territory
  8. Cities
  9. Digital Space
  10. Economy as logistics
  11. Power
  12. Freedom
  13. Organization
  14. Bureaucracy
  15. Prison
  16. Revolution
  17. State versus politics
  18. Informal relationships
  19. Representation versus responsibility
  20. Symbolism and metaphysics
  21. Capital as imagined value
  22. Education

The concept of home needs to be deconstructed. Does it need to be a physical territory or a certain building or is it a state of mind? Whatever it is it shouldn’t replace your identity with a generalization that you are like those who are (physically) around you.

Sure, the language and culture in my immediate environment are important to me, but the history of “my” land/country/state/nation/culture is not relevant beyond whatever has survived, in the form of culture and artefacts, into the present. My siblings might have influenced my identity, but mere historical facts have not, and either way it’s not generalizable. We have virtual homes online as well, on platforms like wordpress.com, which represents both a complex infrastructure and a single brand that can be adopted as a symbolic identity for a group.

Should I not open “my” home to you? Why is this piece of the planet mine and not yours? Should we really have toll stations on every threshold? It’s not easy to answer these questions. Similarly, on the one hand I wish the oppressed peoples of the world were freed, but if that means they then create nation-states of their own, then we’re still going to have to deal with that problem. How small units must we divide ourselves into and on which basis? Maybe that question is the wrong one anyway.

Language is important for identity, although not to the extent that ideologies or ideas are shaped solely by words as many ideas exist prior to and next to the words that represent them. You might feel at home when you identity yourself with someone you meet and language matters; social, (more…)