The Failure of Anarchism: A New Book from Keith Preston

Available from Black House Publishing.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, anarchism was the most feared revolutionary movement in the world. However, in the century anarchism was eclipsed by the rise of the modern totalitarian states, world wars, and the emergence of technocratic managerial economies. Meanwhile, anarchists have failed to provide alternatives to this dominant form of political economy.

In this work, the anarchist theoretician Keith Preston places the blame for these failures on the shoulders of his fellow anarchists. He criticizes the contemporary anarchist movement for having degenerated into a fashionable youth culture that has lost the ferocity of historic anarchism. Instead, present day anarchists are more likely to serve as the lackeys of political correctness than the vanguard of revolution.

Preston discusses the possibility of new directions for modern anarchists. These include the formation of strategic alliances for the purpose of overthrowing states, ruling classes, and empires by means of the visionary concept of pan-secessionism. He recognizes that anti-state revolutionaries will eventually need to achieve victory through “fourth generation warfare” i.e. an insurgency on the model of groups like Hezbollah or the Peoples War Group.

Further, Preston argues that the social base of anarchism should not be fanciful intellectuals or privileged-class university students. Instead, the foundation of revolutionary struggle should be the “lumpenproletariat” of the permanently unemployed, the dispossessed, the prisoner, the prostitute, and the homeless. Preston subsequently surveys a plethora of trends that provide a basis for anarchist optimism.

7 replies »

  1. Anarchy, as I see it and experience it, is not subject to “blame” and/or “failures”. It would need to be collectivist in nature to be so. I’m referring to an individual(s) blaming others for this or that failure, regarding what I call “movement mentality”.

    Anarchy is simply the absence of political authority. Read this:

    When one adds “ism” to “anarch”, however, she then enters the world of collectivist thinking. Anarchism, I suppose, would be subject to blame and failures and argumentation. Sam

  2. There was a time when Americans believed in freedom.

    The US is dying from a million cuts. Part of the reason the USA is a nanny police state now is that whenever there is a problem, the kneejerk reaction in the US is to call for a new law.

    Nanny state laws are not the best solution, however. Nanny state laws lead to more laws, higher fines, and tougher sentences. Thirty years ago, DWI laws were enacted that led to DWI checkpoints and lower DWI levels. Seatbelt laws led to backseat seatbelt laws, childseat laws, and pet seatbelt laws. Car liability insurance laws led to health insurance laws and gun liability laws. Smoking laws that banned smoking in buildings led to laws against smoking in parks and then bans against smoking in entire cities. Sex offender registration laws led to sex offender restriction laws and violent offender registration laws.

    Nanny state laws don’t make us safer, either. Nanny state laws lead people to be careless since they don’t need to have personal responsibility anymore. People don’t need to be careful crossing the street now because drunk-driving has been outlawed and driving while using a cellphone is illegal. People don’t investigate companies or carry out due diligence because businesses must have business licenses now.

    The main point of nanny state laws is not safety. The main purposes of more laws are control and revenue generation for the state.

    Another reason laws are enacted is because corporations give donations to lawmakers to stifle competition or increase sales.

    Many laws are contradictory, too. Some laws say watering lawns is required, while other laws say watering lawns is illegal.

    Many nanny state laws that aim to solve a problem can be fixed by using existing laws. If assault is already illegal, why do we need a new law that outlaws hitting umpires?

    Nanny state laws are not even necessary. If everything was legal would you steal, murder, and use crack cocaine? Aren’t there other ways to solve problems besides calling the police? Couldn’t people educate or talk to people who bother them? Couldn’t people be sued for annoying behavior? Couldn’t people just move away? Even if assault was legal, wouldn’t attackers risk being killed or injured, too? Do people have consciences? Having no laws doesn’t mean actions have no consequences.

    If there is no victim, there is no crime.

    We don’t need thousands of laws when we only need 10.

    Freedom is not just a one way street. You can only have freedom for yourself if you allow others to have it.

    Should swimming pools be banned because they are dangerous? Hammers? Bottles? Rocks? Energy drinks? Pillows?

    Control freaks might get angry when a neighbor owns three indoor cats, but what did the neighbor take from them? Why should this be illegal? Is outlawing cats something a free country should do? Doesn’t banning everything sound like the opposite of freedom?

    Instead of getting mad at people who like freedom, why don’t people realize that freedom is a two way street?

    If you allow others to paint their house purple then you can, too.

    If you allow others to own a gun then you can, too.

    If you allow others to swear then you can, too.

    If you allow others to gamble then you can, too.

    Who wants to live in a prison?

    Think. Question everything.

    • The best solution for this country is total violent revolution. If that doesn’t work then carpet bomb it with nuclear weapons.

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