Episode 5: Post-Leftism, Fascist Creep, and Wolfi

  • Posted on: 14 August 2017
  • By: thecollective

From Horizontal Hostility (Jul 30, 2017)

In this episode the hosts discuss post-leftism, an article by Alexander Reid Ross, and some drama around the recent discovery that Wolfi Landstreicher had published through a fascist-aligned publisher. What is the post-left? How widely should we cast that term? Are the clusterfucks often associated with it (Bob Black, Hakim Bey...) more characteristic than other figures or tendencies? Will defends many of his haters, arguing that the post-left provides critical and valuable insights that anarchists must integrate, the other hosts are skeptical. The hosts discuss the particular weaknesses of some flavors of post-leftism to fascist entryism, and the disappointing wagon-circling that has resulted from certain critiques, as well as the weaknessness of those critiques. Do anarchist norms against snitching or collaboration with fascists constitute a form of policing or "boycott politics"? Note that immediately after recording Wolfi released his account which people should also read.

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Comments

Do the hosts of HH respond to the defense in episode 50 of The Brilliant of the criticism they had given in their previous episode? No sign of it in the description, and The Brilliant hosts pointed to outright false claims and misquotes on the part of the HH hosts (as well as being called "sociopaths"). I would be curious to hear a response from HH - seems a bit shitty to ignore it on a number of levels.

I agree with the above - this show suffers in general from a lack of actually referencing or quoting things in place of making vague assertions. For example, Gillis claims about 19 minutes in (see, citations are nice!) that there is a merging of tankies and nihilists, who say they broadly agree with one another but differ only on specifics - maybe this is my lack of social media use and trawling through the bowels of the Internet, but where in the fuck is this happening? I have read most of the post-left/nihilist/egoist anarchist texts and have only read and heard unqualified condemnation of anything in the old Left. No one I correspond with in the milieux with nihilist sympathies has ever exhibited the least affinity for a tankie position.

Also, for the record HH hosts, I call myself a nihilist anarchist but also hold very dearly to my own anarchist ethics. It is about rejecting Absolutes, not rejecting an ethos toward anarchic relations.

To 18.45: Here we have the contradiction: absolutely being against "Absolutes!" Any anarchist who claims to be non ideological yet holds their anarchist principles dearly is actually being ideological but being opaque about it. Nothing bad about being ideological, just means you would sooner die for your beliefs than sell out, maybe?

being ideological means your ideas own you, rather than vice versa. when you hold ideas above (ie, more important than) yourself, you are an ideologue. call it dogma if you like.

I just make shit up because I'm a self aggrandizing, ancap, shit lord. I don't need proof that tankies and nihilists actually are merging, I just put it on the internet and my sock puppet accounts repeat it until it's the truth. Everybody knows this.

Yeah that Brilliant episode 50 had some hard hitting analysis. Between the hosts condemning ITS but not really and Aragorn whining about being called "anti-black" and how it's not his fault because Society! Top-tier discourse all around.

^ HH hosts butthurt that their crappy critique was taken apart by people with more than half a brain.

"Anti-blackness" is by definition social - have you actually read Wilderson, or do you just like calling people "racists"?

I would *never* list CrimethInc as significant to PLA, for one - absurd to place Anarchy in the Age of Dinosaurs as the key text rather than Anarchy After Leftism

The reddit PLA page gives a better definition than Gillis:

1) The Left

- critiquing the Left as nebulous, anachronistic, distracting, a failure & at key points a counterproductive force historically ("the left wing of capital")
- critiquing Leftist activists for political careerism, celebrity culture, self-righteousness, privileged vanguardism & martyrdom
- critiquing the tendency of Leftists to insulate themselves in academia, scenes & cliques while also attempting to opportunistically manage struggles

2) Ideology

- a Stirner-esque critique of dogma & ideological thinking as a distinct phenomenon in favor of "critical self-theory" at individual & communal levels

3) Morality

- a moral nihilist critique of morality/reified values/moralism

4) Organizationalism

- critiquing permanent, formal, mass, mediated, rigid, growth-focused modes of organization in favor of temporary, informal, direct, spontaneous, intimate forms of relation
- critiquing Leftist organizational patterns' tendencies toward managerialism, reductionism, professionalism, substitutionism & ideology
- critiquing the tendencies of unions & Leftist organizations to mimic political parties, acting as racketeers/mediators, with cadre-based hierarchies of theoretician & militant or intellectual & grunt, defailting toward institutionalization & ritualizing a meeting-voting-recruiting-marching pattern

5) Identity Politics

- critiquing identity politics insofar as it preserves victimization-enabled identities & social roles (i.e. affirming rather than negating gender, class, etc.) & inflicts guilt-induced paralysis, amongst others
- critiquing single-issue campaigns or orientations

6) Values

- moving beyond anarchISM as a static historical praxis into anarchY as a living praxis
- focusing on daily life & the intersectionality thereof rather than dialectics / totalizing narratives (except anarcho-primitivists tend toward epistemology)
- emphasizing personal autonomy & a rejection of work (as forced labor, alienated labor, workplace-centricity)
- critiquing Enlightenment notions of Cartesian dualities, rationalism, humanism, democracy, utopia, etc.
- critiquing industrial notions of mass society, production, productivity, efficiency, "Progress", technophilia, civilization (esp. in anti-civilization tendencies)

Anarchy After Leftism by Bob Black is the key text of the post-left? I rest my case. -a left anarchist

^ Appeal to Ridicule.

RACIST!

Jason McQuinn is the founder of the tendency. Bob Black is just the inspiration.

McQuinn will tell you as much. Black already had the substance written for over 15 years going into 1999 thereabouts. McQuinn gave it the name.

It doesn't seem like the three hosts other than Gillis have much familiarity with PLA literature at all - some of them seem almost to admit this in moments during the podcast. One host seems to say he has literally never heard of the critique of reification before.

During this entire criticism of PLA, there are no references to texts or specific ideas of thinkers aside from name-dropping a few at the beginning and briefly referencing an incidental aspect of Zerzan's thinking.

None of the hosts acknowledge that some PL@s literally don't want a mass society at all - but only a radically decentralized and non-federated collection of small, face-to-face communities - and that that is where their critique of /society/ is coming from.

Disappointing and sloppy overall - only bright spot was Gillis doing a so-so job of defending the critique of reification: D+

What in the ever loving fuck of fucks is this non-anarchist, self serving, larper, ancap, vomit doing on our beloved anews?

This is some of the cringiest shit ever. What compels people with the most minimal understanding of something to put themselves out there on the record to make asses of themselves by trying to speak authoritatively about it?

I waited the entire episode for any of their examples to come out. They even called each other provide it and it just never came. They remained outside the box the entire time, never opening it, showing its contents and discussing the merits and flaws of what specific authors were really saying. This was a bad faith attempt to disrespect anyone identifying as post-left anarchist. Taking ARR for gospel is also a bad move. This guy is a douche that hunts for people to out because of his peak experience fucking over someone that probably was flirting with white nationalism.

Like a security guard that actually caught a thief, this motherfucker, ARR, is high off the thrill of the hunt and wants to hunt more. His vigilance probably has him scanning his own for tendencies and he probably would call out his mother in front of a crowd for smacking him on his hands for stealing. "Property is theft mom! You are an abuser and a bully! Fascists are like that. And we should destroy fascists".

Basically saying ARR wrote in bad faith, making connotations and showing no evidence. Correlations, sure. TAZ has been used by ravers as well as anyone else. Kind of like how fascists used syndicalism. It is an organizational model and those that argue for methods of organizing can more easily be co-opted in part than, say a critical theorist that has nothing but bad, but accurate things to say about those who would do the co-opting.

Anyways, I'm glad I don't know the guy and I bet if someone started digging into his life, they would find the bad bad thing he did that drives him to hunt others. I recommend it.

ARR is a such mean meanie. He really hurt my feelers by pointing out contemporary and historical instances of political entryism and ideological intersections between post-left anarchism and fascism. What a bully.

vagaries to paint many people as things that they are entirely against. really no one should need to say more about him than that he called novatore a proto-fascist. it demonstrates the absolute uselessness of his language and categorizations. the only people who find him convincing are the people who already believed what he had to say.

Post leftism isn't ideological or political so entryism is practically impossible.

That's a complete lie. There's nothing more intensely more politicized than the non-political.

44 seconds I'll never get back. Actually, it's not totally terrible though Will's sidekicks aren't the brightest bulbs on the porch. Just think how much better it would have been if they had taken the time to google post-left and spent maybe the better part of an hour reading what dropped. One mischaracterization to set straight is the idea that we somehow circled the wagons after Wolfigate broke. With the exception of one or two second generation post-leftists most of us held our mud and waited to hear what Wolfi had to say about the situation. Not surprising actually, most of the first gen of post-left thinkers (Baby Boomers, Will, not Gen X) are social mediaphobic--an impression that Wolfigate has made even more salient. Suffice it to say Wolfi' reponse was brilliant, rational, and somewhat contrite. He also made public ecopies of The Unique and It's Property, so that no further funds went to the fascist. In fact I'm proud of our response, measured and not knee-jerk, in many ways it mirrored our response to Schmidtgate. Which in spite of ARRs mountain of evidence, and the howling of the jackals in @news comments, most of us waited to hear what Schmidt had to say. When his response went public most post-leftists, of course, smelled blood, and we went for it. So not a terrible podcast, but could have been better.

If "it's a leftist witchhunt there all coming with pitchforks" is a brilliant, rational, and contrite response then I guess...

In a realm where commies and other Leftists still are force-conflating individualism with "right-wing" and egoism with "fascism", that ain't much a surprise that the most dogmatic of the antifascists are going after spooks to "purify" anarchism, using the tiniest missteps to finally get rid of their source of butthurt.

Clearly that's not going to succeed.

As if these jokers represent a serious analysis on the subject. I'm an egoist nihilist and I say if you don't watch out, some shady fuckers will make entry using "anti-moralism" as one of their many dog whistles. That's why critiques of the -authoritarian- left and morality in general, can't just be a shallow hipster sneering competition.

Someone tell them to set up their RSS feed right so my podcast app can play their podcasts. CAN'T THE TECH WORSHIPERS GET THEIR TECH RIGHT?

Anti-Civ podcasters are winning the podcast tech game wtf.

Much like their "anarchism," they fake their l33t skillz too.

They seem right on the edge of making some decent and original points about ways fascism and the post left might wind up bumping shoulders, but then just retreat to the sounds of their own voices.
I don't know, both fascism and a lot of the big influences on the post left seem like reactions to the realization that the heroic leftist dream revolution is unlikely to happen and that in fact most of the population isn't interested in it anyways. A lot of the early fascist thinkers were jaded, disappointed ex-leftist radicals too. That's interesting to me, and the ways that sort of cynicism and letdown can lead down very different paths is totally worth talking about honestly and inquisitively. But neither those looking to smear the post left or defend its good name are, so this is what we get I guess.

So much what's been said so far is on the mark. Especially the RSS. A few other thoughts.

The podcast has the same core flaw of Anarchy Radio. The subject heading sums up much of it already but so far at least HH seems merely a vehicle to criticise others or settle scores with imagined adversaries while all the time hiding their own views. Using William Gillis as an example here (I don't know the others) a few in my own circles would be interested to learn how anarchism can be reconciled with transhumanism. That should not be interpreted as an attack or a criticism, merely that like a couple of other forms of anarchism-with-hyphens, it can leave others scratching their heads.

I confess to being puzzled (and this is in good faith) how transhumanism can avoid simultaneously in practice exclude the majority from any perceived benefits while also acting as an handmaiden of Capital.

Sir, do you not know that there's a silent agreement among anon posters here to not say what we really think?

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