Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed #77 released (+editorial)

  • Posted on: 2 June 2016
  • By: thecollective

From Anarchy Mag AJODA #77 (followed by editorial)

An editorial, reviews, essays, a column, fiction, letters, and a survey in this issue

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Latest issue released:

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#77, Spring/Summer 2016

Contents:

Editorial: On Social Democracy and Elections

Inside Anarchy

Book reviews:

Imaginal Machines and Precarious Rhapsody

Bad English

Essays:

Reinstating the State in Anarchist Critique by Uri Gordon

Theological Residues by Frank Love

Having No Dog in the Fight: AK Press vs. Michael Schmidt by Lawrence Jarach

Column:

Transgressive Crime Fiction and Noir

Fiction:

Lies Retold

Homuncula

Media Reviews

Embarrassments to the Milieu

Letters

Survey

Why Are You Reading This Journal?

 

On Social Democracy and Elections

It’s that time again, when after four (or eight) years, the presidential election becomes “the most important of our time.” The clowns might be different, but the circus remains the same: filling vacancies on the Supreme Court, a rollback of abortion rights, foreign wars and targeted assassinations, the growing prison population, the expansion of the surveillance state... The campaigns of Trump and Sanders will surely be remembered as footnotes; the former is so buffoonish that even other Republicans can’t help making fun of him, while the latter, a Socialist Jew, is obviously unelectable to the Executive Branch. Sure to be forgotten as well (at least until the next time) is the excitement of a certain group of self-described anarchists who, every so often, throw aside what might generously be characterized as a half-hearted adherence to anarchist principles, and proudly embrace and exercise their rights as American citizens. To vote. Over the years, plenty of these part-time anarchists have chosen to engage in electoralism, but they have usually done so privately, not daring to try to convince anyone that such engagement furthers any anarchist vision or project.

It was bad enough that there was a Hope Bloc to greet Obama’s 2009 inauguration; this time around we have to stomach the spectacle of anarchists being shills for a Social Democrat Surprisingly — or not! — pro-Sanders anarchists have something of an actual history to draw on. Murray Bookchin (when he was still pretending to be an anarchist) was a Sanders booster from the days when the current senator was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont; Sanders’ tenure as an elected official may have been part of a real-world experience that contributed to Bookchin’s municipal, and state-level pro-Green Party electoralist deviation.

A quick reminder: when anarchists use the term direct action, we mean any activity undertaken individually and/or collectively outside/against/without the use of elected or self-appointed representatives, especially those in government. Like all principles are supposed to be, the anarchist promotion of direct action is non-negotiable. One of the contributing factors to the definitive dissolution of the First International was a split over the electoralist strategy of Socialists; anarchists embraced direct action as an explicit rejection of legal politics. It doesn’t necessarily mean breaking shit (although that can be part of it), but it doesn’t mean volunteering to get arrested, and it certainly doesn’t ever mean petitioning politicians to change policies or laws.

From the 1870s, most anarchists have not considered legality and parliamentarianism to be worthwhile strategic or tactical principles; when Socialists — who do — set up their Second International in 1889, they almost automatically excluded and/or ejected anarchists from it. Social Democracy, the ideology originating in the Second International, has different wings, from the electoral-fetishist, right-wing, non-Marxists all the way to the left-wing, insurrectionary, Marxist state capitalists (who eventually rejected the gradualism embodied in the Second and set up a Third International in 1919) more commonly known as Leninists. It's Important to recall that all Leninists (and their various sectarian subgroups who worship Trotsky, Mao, Che, Ho, Stalin, ad nauseam) have showed themselves to be among the most implacable enemies of authentically radical social change. For the last 100 years, from Mexico to Russia, from Germany to Spain, from Vietnam to Hungary and Cuba, social democrats have proudly presided over the slaughter of anarchists and other radicals who have promoted the non- hierarchical self-organization — aka, direct action — of working class and poor people.

There’s no reason to think that Bernie Sanders would be any different.

A presidential election year could be a time to point out and decry the many deliberate inadequacies of what constitutes American-style democracy: the near-total focus on religious issues; self-appointed Super Delegates; the pro-slavery origins of the Electoral College; the continual erosion of the provisions in the Voting Rights Act; the inordinate focus on Swing States; the Citizens United decision; to say nothing of the absurdity of having a two-party system that refuses proportional representation... Instead, pro-Sanders anarchists acquiesce to the junior high school level, lowest common denominator, internally contradictory, mythology of one- person-one-vote majority rule, and the average citizen’s (alleged) full participation in political decision making. That’ll show the state!

Regular readers of this journal may find the observation unduly trite, but it bears repeating that most of what’s wrong with American anarchists, especially the activist subcategory, is that a sizable segment remains committed to some form of Leftism. From being immersed in projects championing some vague notion of Social Justice” to acting as unpaid social workers, too many American anarchists continue to wallow in the strategic mire of defacto social democracy, constantly working to ameliorate the worst aspects of neoliberal post-industrial capitalism. This was seen most clearly in the various Occupy camps around the country; horizontally organized charities are still charities; eviction/foreclosure defense is predicated on the idea of private property; representation (with or without the famous mandated delegates) remains unchallenged. It’s not that projects that provide food and shelter are useless or unhelpful; plenty of people otherwise unable to squeeze out a basic level of survival at the bottom of the capitalist pyramid certainly appreciate the help. But to pretend that these activities are the seeds of the new inside the shell of the old is a delusion. Like voting. Most of the organizational structures and decision-making processes in such projects tend to mirror the worst aspects of virtually all varieties of the Left, like paternalism, bureaucratism, and institutionalized authoritarianism.

Electoralism, as an integral aspect of good citizenship, can’t be separated from this. Perhaps there’s some alluring residue of the patriotism left over from those junior high school civics classes, some form of loyalty to the whole “right of petition for the redress of grievances” thing. For whatever reason(s), too many anarchists continue to harbor illusions about the responsiveness of the duly elected legal representatives of the citizens of the United States; that’s why they still organize and participate in demand-based protest, justified by rights-based discourse. Shamefully, too many anarchists can’t seem to resist the temptation of propping up political parties espousing moderate progress within the bounds of the law. @

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Comments

nothing new, but still a solid, right-on editorial.

Is there any way to buy a single copy of this?

from little black cart. they don't have the newest issue yet, but usually get them pretty quick.

As linked in the post, you can also go directly to the publishers:
http://anarchymag.org/subscribe/

Mr Grumpy - there is a review of a book on grammar that I think you would appreciate.

Just saying these words makes no sense to me. Cognitive dissonance is at work here.UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE IS THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION, an expression first uttered by Proudhon, an anarchist with many contradictions.Direct Action means ,at a minimum, no voting. Why are anarchists showing up at anti Trump protests? And why are they bragging about It? More cognitive dissonance. Democracy is not Anarchy. Period.If you are pro democracy, go for it.There are plenty of leftist groups and organizations in which you can participate.Just don't show up with the CIRCLE A on a black and red flag, because sooner or later the leftists will insist putting the flag back in the closet.

Those leftist tinged anarchists are not going to stop showing up. The Millsteinian leftist anarchist still makes up a large proportion of anarchism unfortunately. To them it's more about anarchism then anarchy which does have a relationship with democracy(the direct brand).

The post left memo is still few and far between.

i am guessing that you are referring to Milstein appearing to stress anarchism-as-theory over direct action (anarchy), but she seems to be open about such questions. she says

“All these iterations [her writings including her edited anthology of 13 essays in ‘Taking Sides’] have been political interventions: as provocation, as direct action to discomfort, as challenge to what I consider nonliberatory praxis. They are also an invitation to constructively debate the many thorny questions for where none of us have the answers, to hone our strategies and tactics within social struggles while tangibly looking out for each other.

They [the thirteen essays in this anthology (‘Taking Sides’)] assert that we must unearth, contest, and aim to dismantle all manifestations and structures of hierarchical power, wherever we find them, including when they appear in our movements. They pick a side: freedom versus domination, in the most expansive sense. And they see this commitment as a lived practice, inherently filled with generative tensions”.

it seems like her philosophy cup is not full and still thirsty, no?

Why are you so concerned with leftist anarchists? Leftism in general? Just seems like an obsession with little real world context to justify. Everything said is always abstract, with no real world input into why your opinions against leftism matter. Seems like you are arguing with your imagination more than with real leftism.

I guess it is a matter of terminology.I prefer the term consensus in the way Gelderloos it. I don't want to get into a terminological squabble.

I meant to say the way Gelderloos uses the term

nice piece. decent mag.

Does anyone know if AJODA take cash instead of checks for subscriptions?

"Murray Bookchin (when he was still pretending to be an anarchist) was a Sanders booster from the days when the current senator was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont; Sanders’ tenure as an elected official may have been part of a real-world experience that contributed to Bookchin’s municipal, and state-level pro-Green Party electoralist deviation."

the author just straight up made this up. not only about sanders, incidentally, but about the "state-level pro-Green party electoralist deviation" as well.

http://mosquitocloud.net/murray-bookchin-the-bernie-sanders-paradox-when...

Conjecture and no substance in AJODA? Shouldn't Mister Grumpy be checking these things for facts? It is nice to make up something, like Bookchin and Bob Black hanging out with Ben Morea, talking about the S.I. and doing rails off of some hooker's tits.

"The campaigns of Trump and Sanders will surely be remembered as footnotes; the former is so buffoonish that even other Republicans can’t help making fun of him, while the latter, a Socialist Jew, is obviously unelectable to the Executive Branch."

Why make an anti-Semitic assertion when it is obviously untrue? "Clinton, a blond haired scandalized woman, is obviously unelectable to the Executive Branch". Who ever wrote this editorial needs to stop being so damn lazy in how they think.

The author doesn't seem to be saying those things directly. Rather, it is implied that those things are what many other people think. Who is lazy in how they think?

Hillary Clinton wants half of all women to be women. No thank you sir.

the indirect [non-] action of the mother in cultivating and sustaining a nurturing space nourishes and inductively shapes the development of those that come into that space. keeping the cookie jar full conditions the dynamics of the enabling living space which are at the same time conditioning the expressive dynamics of the inhabitants of the living space [Mach].

the illusion that everything that happens has to be made to happen is what is killing us; i.e. the concept of 'will' or 'purpose/intention/causation' as being responsible for the condition of the world we live in is bogus. Western science and Western institutions of governance, commerce and justice are based on a belief in 'causation and responsibility'. it is bullshit [superficial illusion] and it leads directly to the emotional need for 'one overall responsible' as in 'mono-arch', 'ruler', 'commander in chief', which leads in turn to 'elections' and to the leader-follower form of democracy. this anthropocentric [humans spoken of as jumpstart-authors-in-themselves] organizing approach of Western society is 'organization' that exists only in semantic reality; i.e. it is disorganization in the overall natural scheme of organization.

'direct action' is the abstract artefact of noun-and-verb language-and-grammar. it does not exist in the physical reality of our actual, natural experience. It is like 'Katrina's direct action against New Orleans', a 'semantic reality', a story we make up based on the visibly manifest [the tip of the iceberg] which fails to acknowledge the physically real source of authorship; i.e. the transforming relational continuum.

the article's equivalencing of "non- hierarchical self-organization — aka, direct action" is bullshit. nature is non-hierarchical self-organization and there is no 'will' or 'purpose/intention'- [intellectual principle-] driven 'direct action' at the bottom of it. the relational interdependencies among things in the natural habitat open up opportunities that inductively actualize [epigenetic influence] and shape the expression of creative potentials [genetic potentials].

the leaderless 'direct action' of Katrina or ourselves is a semantic fabrication that drops out the natural precedence of epigenetic influence over genetic expression. the result is a semantic reduction of relational dynamics in the one-sided terms of 'intention-driven', independently-existing 'things-in-themselves'.

personal emergence into the wild is terrifyingly joyous is
to make home is a-gar-den is convergence is a place-of-heart-beat.
coming together means a passionate dynamic between uniquely-driven stuff.
one moves toward Exarchia only by their unconditional intention to
adventure

step up to the plate and swing,
batta batta batta, shwing!
or you will strike-out looking.
or chew peanuts in the dug-out of non-action (mom's basement)
watching the ego-driven players dual-it-out.
either way: one accepts the situation affectionately, or one is bored to death.
… it's how you play the game

"For the last 100 years, from Mexico to Russia, from Germany to Spain, from Vietnam to Hungary and Cuba, social democrats have proudly presided over the slaughter of anarchists and other radicals who have promoted the non- hierarchical self-organization — aka, direct action — of working class and poor people." This is a great paragraph that suggests excellent explanations of history, and it makes Bernie look less like an amusing lesser of three evils and more like a nightmare. No Bernie! Anyone but Bern!

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