The Politics of Postanarchism

The Politics of Postanarchism

The Politics of Postanarchism

The Politics of Postanarchism

Synopsis

What is the relevance of anarchist thought for politics and political theory today? While many have dismissed anarchism in the past, Saul Newman contends that anarchism's heretical critique of authority, and its insistence on full equality and liberty, places it at the forefront of the radicalpolitical imagination today. With the unprecedented expansion of state power in the name of security, the current 'crisis of capitalism' and the terminal decline of Marxist and social democratic projects, it is time to reconsider anarchism as a form of politics. This book seeks to renew anarchist thought through the concept ofpostanarchism.

Excerpt

Why be interested in anarchism today? Why be interested in this most heretical of political traditions, whose shadowy existence on the margins of revolutionary politics has lead many to dismiss it as a form of ideological mental illness? the central claim of anarchism – that life can be lived without a state, without centralised authority – has been an anathema not only to more mainstream understandings of politics, which bear the legacy of the sovereign tradition, but also to other radical and revolutionary forms of politics, which see the state as a useful tool for transforming society.

Furthermore, anarchism has often lacked the ideological and political coherence of other political traditions. While there is a certain body of thought that is unified around principles of anti- authoritarianism and egalitarianism, anarchism has always been heterodox and diffuse; while it has had its key exponents, anarchism is not constituted around a particular name, unlike Marxism. Indeed, despite the startling originality of some classical anarchist thinkers – and it is my intention in this book to bring this theoretical innovation to light – anarchists have usually been more concerned with revolutionary practice than with theory. Moreover, while anarchism has historically had a certain influence on workers’ movements, as well as on other radical struggles, it has not been as politically hegemonic as Marxism. Anarchism has flared up in brilliant flashes of insurrection – revolts and autonomous projects throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – but these have just as quickly died down again, or have been savagely repressed.

Yet, despite these defeats, and despite anarchism’s marginality, we can perhaps point to what might be called an ‘anarchist invariant’: the recurring desire for life without government that haunts the political imagination. the rejection of political authority in the name of equality . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.