Anarchism Reloaded

By Uri Gordon

The contemporary reemergence of anarchism on a global scale deserves serious attention from students of ideology. As the defining orientation of prominent activist networks, anarchism today is the principal point of reference for radical social change movements in the North and represents a mature and complex genre of political expression. This article offers a synchronic and diachronic analysis of contemporary anarchist ideology, based on participant research on large-scale ideological expression in anarchist movement networks. I identify and discuss three major conceptual clusters which mark contemporary anarchism’s stable ideological core: (a) the construction of the concept of domination and the active opposition to all its forms and systems, (b) the ethos of direct action as a primary mode of political engagement, both destructive and constructive, and (c) the open-ended, experimental approach to revolutionary visions and strategies, which endorses epistemological pluralism and is strongly grounded in present tense action. From a diachronic point of view, it is argued that these three elements are the product of network- and ideological convergence among ecological, feminist, anti-war, and anti-neoliberal movements, associated with the multi-issue politics of alternative globalization and local grassroots politics. The re-emergence of anarchism thus highlights the continuity between movement networks, political culture, and ideological articulation, and draws attention to important processes in the life-cycles of ideological formations.


Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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