Will Anarchism Always Fail? 12

Styx/Tarl is an excellent commentator on many levels but he gets a lot of stuff wrong in this. Although many anarchists portray anarchism in the worst possible light, so it’s not surprising there are so many misconceptions about the philosophy.

As everyone probably knows, I’m anarchist, although I have my own approach and generally distance myself from the “mainstream” anarchist movement. For instance, I reject much of the standard left/right paradigm and I certainly reject the blue tribe/red tribe dichotomy that defines much of US politics.

I reject both the conservative/right-libertarian plutocratic approach as well as the leftist/socialist/progressive statist approach. I’m more about individual liberty, voluntary association, decentralization, bottom-up organization, confederalism, voluntary federalism, localism, cooperativism, autonomism, mutual aid, direct action, self-organization, self-management, direct democracy (contextually), etc.

In a historical context, I am obviously far left, although tactically I would consider myself a radical centrist (or revolutionary centrist) as opposed to establishment centrism (the neoliberal/neocon duopoly). I would distance myself from much of what passes as “left” nowadays. I embrace the full range of anarchist, libertarian, decentralist, anti-state, or anti-authoritarian thinking, with the emphasis being on decentralized, voluntary, pluralism. I see different political and cultural groups as the modern equivalent of religious sects and ethno-cultural tribes (which is what people used to fight over in the past). My main emphasis would be on self-determination for all to the greatest degree possible.

I see my political outlook as basically the same one I would have taken if I were a Native American or African tribesman during the period of colonialism, where you had hundreds or thousands of tribes fighting each other with all of these eventually being overrun by the colonial empires. “Hey, we gotta forget about this petty shit and look at who is coming over the mountain and from the ocean!”

I think the main thing that would set me apart from the mainstream anarchist movement is that I reject the progressive/reactionary dichotomy as being the essence of political conflict. The kinds of social conflicts that leftists emphasize are real (class, race, gender, “culture war,” global North/South, etc) are real but they’re not all that there is. Also, what “constitutes” progress is often debatable. Eugenics and Prohibition were considered progressive in their time. I’m more about power vs anti-power. The problem with most leftist thinking is that it is simply about replacing one ruling class with another. I generally agree with Burke’s critique of the French Revolution, Bakunin’s critique of Marxism, and the left-communist/anarchist critique of Leninism on all that. I think that kind of approach has failed too many times in the past. I’m also opposed to reductionism (for example, the idea that everything can be explained by race or class). I hold to an analysis of power relations that is more like that of Max Weber or the elite theorists.

12 comments

    • Oh my gosh Jim Bell you’ve had a lot of issues with our comment system and I think you should consider becoming an editor already. Hit the contact button will ya? Talk to Keith.

        • Above, you said: “Oh my gosh Jim Bell you’ve had a lot of issues with our comment system”
          Could you describe these “lot of issues” you said I have had. I had one issue, yesterday. What were the others?

          • I remember another post when you had a problem with a comment not showing up. There have also been times when you’ve complained about not being able to edit your comments. I remember having to edit a comment for you at one point. There were also times when you wanted one of your comments edited but by the time I noticed and saw that you were having a problem and responded – you were over it. Again, I’m only trying to help. I do remember bringing up the idea of making you an editor – on a few occasions, so that you’d have the power to edit your own comments and maybe help others with edits when they are having similar problems.

            • “I remember another post when you had a problem with a comment not showing up.”

              First, how long ago was that? Second, how does that amount to “Oh my gosh Jim Bell you’ve had a lot of issues with our comment system”

              “There have also been times when you’ve complained about not being able to edit your comments.”

              Did you see an explanation as to how we are supposed to edit our comments? I never saw one.

              ” I remember having to edit a comment for you at one point. There were also times when you wanted one of your comments edited but by the time I noticed and saw that you were having a problem and responded – you were over it. Again, I’m only trying to help.

              Explain again, if you ever did: How is a person supposed to be able to edit his own comments? I don’t see a mechanism?

              “I do remember bringing up the idea of making you an editor – on a few occasions, so that you’d have the power to edit your own comments and maybe help others with edits when they are having similar problems.”

              AHA! Well, I don’t remember THAT. But, it sounds like you are acknowledging that:
              1. There is, indeed, a mechanism to edit comments. AND
              2. You must have known that it wasn’t available to me.

              Hmmmmmm.

              Could you find your reply and show me that these facts were indeed explained to me…at that time? Things are getting clearer…

              • Well Jim Bell, I’m not going to dig up a bunch of comments and posts from the past because honestly I just don’t feel like it. But if there’s anything I can do to help going forward let me know.

  1. This will be the FOURTH comment I have posted on this area today. I now see two of the first three, but not the first one.
    And what does YouTube have to do with anything? I don’t believe that I mentioned YouTube in any of my comments today.

    • Well this post has a Youtube video embedded into it. So when I responded to your comment about your reply not coming through, and you said that you weren’t sure what I was talking about, I thought then maybe you were referring to a comment under the actual Youtube video, and not the ATS thread. I don’t know if you tried to leave a comment under the Youtube video and it didn’t come up – and that’s what you were referring to? I don’t know. I’m only trying to help man. I don’t see any other comments that came through at ATS from you. Whatever it was, you weren’t being censored, I promise. We don’t censor anything here. But we do use WordPress lol which has its flaws.

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