R.I.P. Infoshop, 1995-2020 Reply

Infoshop was the longest-running left-anarchist site on the web. It had been around almost as long as the Internet has been available for public use.  However, its archives remain available. The following article by the recently deceased left-anarchist David Graeber on “The Twilight of Vanguardism” is interesting.

“The Twilight of Vanguardism”

By David Graeber, Infoshop

This essay was delivered as a keynote address during the “History Matters: Social Movements Past, Present, and Future” conference at the New School for Social Research (www.newschool.edu/gf/historymatters for more information).

Revolutionary thinkers have been saying that the age of vanguardism is over for most of a century now. Outside of a handful of tiny sectarian groups, it’s almost impossible to find a radical intellectuals seriously believe that their role should be to determine the correct historical analysis of the world situation, so as to lead the masses along in the one true revolutionary direction. But (rather like the idea of progress itself, to which it’s obviously connected), it seems much easier to renounce the principle than to shake the accompanying habits of thought. Vanguardist, even, sectarian attitudes have become deeply ingrained in academic radicalism it’s hard to say what it would mean to think outside them.

The depth of the problem first really struck me when I first became acquainted with the consensus modes of decision-making employed in North American anarchist and anarchist-inspired political movements, which, in turn, bore a lot of similarities to the style of political decision-making current where I had done my anthropological fieldwork in rural Madagascar.

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