The Revolution Without Specificity; A Critique of Anarchism Without Adjectives

An ongoing dispute between myself and some in the anarcho-communist, syndicalist, and platformist camps has to do with the issue of “anarchism without adjectives.” I define anarchism as the historic human struggle against authority that goes back to ancient times, whereas their perspective defines anarchism as sectarian anarcho-communism as it was in the late 19th and early 20th century along. Reading LibCom is often like reading warmed over 1930s Trotskyist material.


The Revolution Without Specificity; A Critique of Anarchism Without Adjectives

A critique of AWA as non-specific sectarianism by Rage Against Capital

Since the rise of things like “Anarcho-capitalism” and the modern mutualist/”Left-Libertarian” movement social Anarchists have had to deal with something calling itself “Anarchism Without Adjectives”. Now this term has some historical relevance in the social Anarchist project, however it has since been disconnected from it’s original meaning and offered up in a kind of vague and moralistic manner. Many people who identify with this label come to the view that making any prescription of how the revolution will or should unfold is “authoritarian”. This leads to platformists and syndicalists like myself being viewed as soft Leninists, or Bolsehviks by said people even though both tenancies broke from the Bolshevik and Leninist line. This has left a lot of room for so called “ancaps” to continue their failed campaigns at hijacking political Anarchism for the far right with many of them cloaking their right wing ideology in a thin veil of pragmatism. They usually say something like “Well, we should probably try both Anarchist/Communism and Anarcho-Capitalism to see what works”. These people take on the label of “Anarchist Without Adjectives” when really they are just glorified ancaps. Anacaps already state that if social Anarchism works for many people then they will “let” it prosper. These people have essentially the same “voluntaryist” methodology as ancaps do and often advocate identical views of the market as sacrosanct.

This all means that AWA as it’s called leads to what Kropotkin might call “authoritarian individualism” where adherents reject any kind of social preparation for a revolutionary change in society and instead posit that the only way to do things that is consistent with Anarchist politics is essentially letting the chips fall where they may. If you cross this absolutist form of individualistic politics you are immediately branded as a “Leninist”, “Marxist”, “Bolshevik”, “authoritarian”, ect..

I want to give some historical context so that we can understand AWA fully which it’s modern day advocates seem not to be able to do.


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