Will Anarchism Always Fail? 12

Styx/Tarl is an excellent commentator on many levels but he gets a lot of stuff wrong in this. Although many anarchists portray anarchism in the worst possible light, so it’s not surprising there are so many misconceptions about the philosophy.

As everyone probably knows, I’m anarchist, although I have my own approach and generally distance myself from the “mainstream” anarchist movement. For instance, I reject much of the standard left/right paradigm and I certainly reject the blue tribe/red tribe dichotomy that defines much of US politics.

I reject both the conservative/right-libertarian plutocratic approach as well as the leftist/socialist/progressive statist approach. I’m more about individual liberty, voluntary association, decentralization, bottom-up organization, confederalism, voluntary federalism, localism, cooperativism, autonomism, mutual aid, direct action, self-organization, self-management, direct democracy (contextually), etc.

In a historical context, I am obviously far left, although tactically I would consider myself a radical centrist (or revolutionary centrist) as opposed to establishment centrism (the neoliberal/neocon duopoly). I would distance myself from much of what passes as “left” nowadays. I embrace the full range of anarchist, libertarian, decentralist, anti-state, or anti-authoritarian thinking, with the emphasis being on decentralized, voluntary, pluralism. I see different political and cultural groups as the modern equivalent of religious sects and ethno-cultural tribes (which is what people used to fight over in the past). My main emphasis would be on self-determination for all to the greatest degree possible.

I see my political outlook as basically the same one I would have taken if I were a Native American or African tribesman during the period of colonialism, where you had hundreds or thousands of tribes fighting each other with all of these eventually being overrun by the colonial empires. “Hey, we gotta forget about this petty shit and look at who is coming over the mountain and from the ocean!”

I think the main thing that would set me apart from the mainstream anarchist movement is that I reject the progressive/reactionary dichotomy as being the essence of political conflict. The kinds of social conflicts that leftists emphasize are real (class, race, gender, “culture war,” global North/South, etc) are real but they’re not all that there is. Also, what “constitutes” progress is often debatable. Eugenics and Prohibition were considered progressive in their time. I’m more about power vs anti-power. The problem with most leftist thinking is that it is simply about replacing one ruling class with another. I generally agree with Burke’s critique of the French Revolution, Bakunin’s critique of Marxism, and the left-communist/anarchist critique of Leninism on all that. I think that kind of approach has failed too many times in the past. I’m also opposed to reductionism (for example, the idea that everything can be explained by race or class). I hold to an analysis of power relations that is more like that of Max Weber or the elite theorists.