Postanarchism: A Critical Assessment Reply

By Benjamin Franks

Anarchism was not a major concern for political theory/philosophy from the 1930s to the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was only with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the corresponding decline in the hegemonic primacy of orthodox Marxism, that other radical socialist movements, including anarchism, were (re-)discovered by academia.

Alongside this renewed interest in anarchism, there has also been a small, but significant departure, with the development of an identifiable ‘postanarchist’ movement, which includes most prominently Lewis Call, Todd May and Saul Newman, polemicists such as Bob Black and Hakim Bey, and many of the post-millennial contributors to the Institute for Anarchist Studies, Perspectives on Anarchist Theory and journals such as Anarchist Studies.

Articles informed by postanarchism can be found in Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen’s recent collection Changing Anarchism and defenders of postanarchism appear on bulletin-boards and discussion groups. This ‘cottage industry in “Post-Anarchism”’ is the product of artisans working individually, and collectively, through associations like the Anarchist Academic Network and the newly established Special Group for the Study of Anarchism under the auspices of the Political Studies Association. There is also a useful collation of key authors on the ‘what is postanarchism?’ website.

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