Anarchism/Anti-State

Politics, power and the state: a Marxist response to postanarchism

By Simon Choat

Recent years have seen the development of a new form of anarchism. Under the label ‘postanarchism’, writers such as Todd May, Saul Newman and Lewis Call have sought to combine the insights of anarchism with those of recent Continental philosophy, in particular post-structuralism. A central but neglected element of postanarchist thought is its critique of Marxism. The main aim of this article is to counter the postanarchist dismissal of Marxism. It will: introduce the key ideas and arguments of postanarchism; locate its critique of Marxism, demonstrating its importance to the postanarchist project; and highlight weaknesses in the postanarchist critique of Marxism. It argues that the postanarchist portrayal of Marxism is reductive and misleading. Contrary to postanarchist claims, many post-structuralists have drawn inspiration from Marxism rather than rejecting it: as such, Marxism anticipates many of the poststructuralist-inflected ideas of postanarchism, in particular their approach to the state, power, subjectivity and politics. In addition, some Marxist criticisms of classical anarchism apply equally to postanarchism, thus raising questions to which postanarchists should respond.

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Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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