A Virtual Post-Anarchist Roundtable: An Interview with Jürgin Mümken, Anton Fernendaz de Rota, and Süreyyya Evren [Part 1]
<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://adcs.anarchyplanet.org">Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies Blog</a>
<strong>Duane Rousselle:</strong> Post-anarchism has come to mean different things to different people. In the anglophone world, Saul Newman has described a Lacanian/Stirnerian “post-anarchism,” Todd May has called for a practice-oriented “post-structuralist anarchism,” Lewis Call has described a time of “post-modern anarchism,” and Hakim Bey has called for a reinvention of traditional anarchist discourse in his 1987 essay “post-anarchism anarchy.” In my own research, I have noticed that there is a striking difference in the way post-anarchism has been conceived in the non-anglophone world. I would like to ask you a bit about what post-anarchism means for you and for your audience.
<strong>Jürgin Mümken:</strong> In order to answer the question of what post-anarchism means to me, I must first of all discuss my ‘philosophical beginnings.’ While I was studying architecture during the end of the 1980s, I grappled with the problem of prison architecture. I was struck by Michel Foucault’s <em>Discipline and Punish.</em> This was serendipitous for me because at that time in Germany, Foucault barely played any role in those discourses that occurred outside of philosophy.</td><td><img title="fart. how can you be post something that has never been" height=220 width=220 src="http://i53.tinypic.com/260a5hf.jpg"></td></tr></table>
In the 1990s, I began to bring together Foucauldian thought with anarchism. When, in 1997, my first article on this topic—“No Power for Anyone: Attempts at an Anarchist Appropriation of the philosophical project of Michel Foucault”—was published in an anarchist newspaper, I did not know about the analogous argument in the Anglo-American world. In this article I referred also to the method of <em>deconstruction</em> present in Judith Butler’s work. I called my approach a “deconstructive anarchism.” However, I now argue that this ought not to be a new anarchist trend, as I had formulated it at the time, but rather a form of anarchist thought with wide-reaching consequences in intercourse with the dominant categories and concepts of our time.
While doing research on the Internet I discovered the work of a student in Berlin, whose thesis was that I had in fact been carrying on the thought of Todd May. As I have said, I made recourse to Judith Butler’s <em>deconstructivism</em>, elaborating that an anarchist society ought not to be identified through the absence of power but rather that it is founded upon a reversal of power relationships in accordance that no rigid state of authority be permitted to develop. At that point in time, I had just published my book <em>Freedom, Individuality and Subjectivity: State and Subject in Postmodernity from an Anarchist Perspective</em> but I had not yet heard of Todd May or Saul Newman. I began to research their work on the Internet and came upon the term “post-anarchism.” I considered (and then adopted) the term as my ‘label.’ Later I registered the website http://www.postanarchismus.net. Today post-anarchism remains for me a label within, but increasingly tightly-bound with, the multifaceted approaches to the contemporary actualization of anarchist theory and practice.
However, I do not use the term “post-anarchism” to set myself apart from “classical anarchism.” Foucault, Derrida, Butler, Deleuze, among others, can help us to read classical anarchism <em>again</em>. For example, there are many new and interesting things to discover in Stirner and Bakunin. In the anglo-American world, the German and French approaches to post-anarchism are largely ignored, whereas May, Newman, Call and Day have had no real relevance in the debates in German.
To me post-anarchism means an actualization of anarchist theory and practice with help from the “post-structuralist toolbox.” The prefix “post” stands for challenging and rejecting some of the basic assumptions of classical anarchism, but not for the abandonment of anarchist goals. For me, post-anarchism holds fast to the goal of a classless and stateless society, the term only makes sense within that context.
<em>This is part one of an ongoing conversation about post-anarchism with Jürgin Mümken, Süreyyya Evren, and Anton Fernendaz de Rota. It has been translated from German to English by Enkidu (enkidu[at]AngryNerds.com) with adaptations by Duane Rousselle.</em>