Anarchism: A General Formula

Anarchist News

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

The interval between the interruption of the “Margins and Problems” survey and the appearance of this first draft-section from the Constructing Anarchisms manuscript has been considerably shorter than expected—a pleasant surprise after the slow going of the last month or so. I’ll talk more about the structure and aims of the book as the pieces come together, but for those who have been following the workshop, these initial sections should be recognizable as new approaches to familiar problems.

Anarchism-in-general: We are addressing anarchism as something that we can make our own, meaning that, in a certain sense, we can each make our own anarchism. Thus, there will be anarchisms, in the plural, that we must learn to identify by their shared characteristics. Part of our task here will be to establish the elements that must be defined in order to present an anarchism. But, in order to be recognizable as an anarchism, each instance must present itself as not just logically or ideologically complete and consistent, but also as intelligible within patterns of historical development.

That may all sound needlessly complicated, but one of the goals here is to capture and clarify the wide range of meanings that the term can and regularly does have in common usage. The anarchism-in-general that we hope to somehow make our own is the vague, inclusive mix of ideas, practices, publications, organizations and traditions that comes to mind when we speak the word “anarchism” with no other clarification. It is both the context for the construction of more individual anarchisms and the evolving product of the interaction between old and new constructions. No one espouses this anarchism-in-general. It is not a matter of theory or ideology, but instead a particular, evolving range of possibilities. So when we say that this is the anarchism that anarchists share, we are making only the most modest claims about specific goals or beliefs held in common.


Categories: Anarchism/Anti-State

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