The Future of the Anarchist Movement in North America

These are the currents that will need to emerge within the context of North American anarchism if the movement is to eventually become politically competitive.

  1. A general consensus will need to develop in favor an an ecumenical approach that recognizes the legitimacy of the many different forms of anarchism even while individuals and groups retain their own specific orientations.
  2. The movement will need to be open to a variety of economic tendencies, and cease the endless bickering between an-caps and an-coms, perhaps combined with the recognition of the need for institutional or territorial separation of those with irreconcilable differences.
  3. The anarchist movement will need to get past the “rightist phobia” that exists in many corners, and recognize the legitimacy of the variations of anarchism with rightist leanings or influences.
  4. The future anarchist movement will not necessarily shy away from a radical leftist critique of the current order, much of which is quite valid, but will be much less consumed with dubious concepts such as microaggressions and “no platforming.” This would have the effect of marginalizing the more unsavory sectors of the anarchist movement, such as the antifa and the more extreme “social justice warriors,” who will likely be absorbed the liberal wing of the system in the process.
  5. The anarchist movement will subsequently become focused on addressing a much wider variety of issues, not just those of interest to run of the mill leftists, and organizing among a much wider range of demographics beyond those of interest to the Left.
  6. The central focus of the North American anarchist movement will be the development of a society-wide pan-decentralist consenus, and the development of effective tactics and strategies for achieving this goal.

The way in which the libertarian/anarcho-capitalist/voluntaryist strands of anarchism are presently eclipsing the PC anarchists in terms of size and strength is the first step in this evolutionary process. The next step will be an evolution towards something resembling the pan-anarchist perspective. The growth of pan-anarchism should be accompanied by frank and serious discussion of organizational strategies and tactics. Much of the commentary produced by ARV-ATS thus far has been an effort to get the ball rolling in this direction.

The subsequent ambition should be to grow the much larger, tactically effective, strategically prescient pan-anarchist movement to the point where it is able to break into the mainstream. This will involve producing propaganda that is capable of offering a radical critique of issues that are of interest in the mainstream (e..g. this list of concerns raised by John Whitehead) as well as economic analysis that is capable of moving the discourse beyond the usual “capitalism vs. socialism” or “big business vs. big government dichotomy” (e.g. the issues raised by Kevin Carson, Larry Gambone, and Will Schnack). In other words, we need an economic critique and system of meta-analysis that rises above the usual debate over preferred economic systems. Likewise, we need to bring into the mainstream the critique of centralization offered by thinkers such as Leopold Kohr, Kirkpatrick Sale and E. F. Schumacher.

Lastly, an effort will need to emerge towards the creation of organizational vehicles for the purpose of advancing the movement’s wider set of objectives, whether this is the All Nations Party, Panarchist Party USA, Pan-Secessionist Meta-Party, Free Nations Coalition, or something different altogether.

11 replies »

  1. I admire your pan-anarchist strategy, but anarcho-capitalists are simply not anarchists by the traditional meaning of that word. They have nothing against hierarchical organization and rulers in the workplace. They are anti-statists at best and minarchists at worst, because I really don’t see how a capitalist society would even sustain itself without the eventually development of a state and imperialism (see link below on medieval Iceland as an example of the failure of market-oriented social relations to maintain a stateless society). Maybe ancaps could make useful idiots in our revolt against the state, but after that…

      • Sounds like you’ve been taking lessons from Hegel. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic contains some bit of truth. However, his apparent belief that the “struggle to the death” was the origin of all hierarchical social systems is simply not true. Moreover, the belief that hierarchical organization is an inevitable consequence of human nature is also disproved by the evidence. Humans lived in egalitarian social groups with weak or muted leadership for most of our history. Relatively small-scale, autonomous societies, whether they be hunters and foragers or non-intensive agriculturalists, have reverse dominance hierarchies whereby the group dominates leaders if or when they get too bossy and aggressive. This phenomenon has been well documented by anthropologist Christopher Boehm in his book Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior. You can read a summary of his findings by seeing the links below.

    • Who cares is Anarcho-Capitalists are ‘tru anarchists,’ what the fuck kind of revolutionary goes around sucking the flaccid old cock of tradition?
      You listen to me, kid, liberals and defenders of property have been crushing kings, breaking barons, expelling bankers and setting up sheriffs on pikes before you bunch of socially-minded heretical Protestant saps decided you were so fucking alternative.

      If property and contract societies are not ‘anarchism’, then fuck anarchism, and fuck anarchists.

      • I don’t adhere to the original meaning of anarchism for the sake of tradition, you belligerent cunt. I adhere to the original meaning of anarchism because I strongly believe in its principles. There is no integrity in turning the meaning of a philosophy on its head in order to pose as a radical revolutionary.

        Liberals have indeed overthrown despotic governments, and replaced them with soft-despotic governments which are more insidious. Liberals have also done deep damage to group cohesiveness through their insistence on the atomization of individuals. Capitalist liberals have also displaced and impoverished millions of people in “developing countries” through a combination of insidious international financial institutions, multinational corporations and state coercion. Liberals have also done deep damage to the environment, but that’s probably just leftist nonsense in your mind. I could go on but I think that I have made my point.

        When I speak of capitalism, I am not merely referring to deferring from the immediate consumption of a good in order to reinvest it for a profit. No, I am referring to an socioeconomic system in which a propertied class uses their ownership of the means of production to dominate a non-propertied class in order to extract surplus value for capital accumulation. Ancaps often claim that capitalism is the natural result of “free-markets”, but history says something different. History shows that the development of capitalism was facilitated by government policies such as enclosure, subsidies and legal privileges protecting the interests of a propertied class. The article linked below, titled The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand, gives a detailed documentation of this fact.

  2. In the debate between anarcho-capitalists and left-socialist anarchists, I generally think the former are better on statism, and the latter are better on corporatism.

    I also think we need a critique of the relationship between big capital and the state of a kind that rises above normal individualist vs. communalist debate among anarchists. Carson’s “Iron Fist” piece is a step in that direct, and I’ve previously offered a contribution of my own:

    • I’m not sure why you think that ancaps are better on statism than social/actual anarchists. Can you elaborate?

      I try to rise above the individualist vs. collectivist binary thinking myself. The same goes for the right vs. left paradigm. In many ways you can say that I am a “post-left anarchist” (not to be confused with a “right anarchist”). However, the issue I have with capitalist ideologues calling themselves anarchists goes beyond any left vs. right or individualist vs. collectivist dichotomy. I have disagreements with virtually all of the schools of anarchism, but I can’t justifiably say that anarcho-communists, anarcho-syndicalists, anarcho-primitivists and mutualists are not anarchists. I actually suspect that some ancaps are actually mutualists that have unstudied understanding of the term capitalism.

      • The classical anarchists were very good on the state. Kropotkin’s work is this area is fantastic, for example. But most modern left-anarchists seem to have a most Marxist view of the state, i.e. merely as an instrument of the ruling class. That’s a fairly limited view of the state, but I think it explains why many of them veer off into “anarcho-social democracy” a la Chomsky.

        • I agree that many contemporary anarchists have a narrow Marxist view of the state. However, Carson gives me the impression that mutualists, whom I consider social or “left” anarchists, tend to have a broader understanding of both the state and corporate capitalism.

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