Helpful Critiques of Anarchism?

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anon (not verified)
Helpful Critiques of Anarchism?

I just read Hakim Bey's 1987 essay "Post-Anarchism Anarchy" and found it full of juicy tidbits. Any other readings like this that attempt to move beyond the stagnation of modern anarchism while providing useful critique? Not so much interested in post-structuralist anarchism in this case, as those works tend to posit more than critique. Looking for helpful stuff on what anarchism isn't today, where it's failing, etc. Non-prescriptive kinda stuff.


TaoistBitch (not verified)
I'll start

Anything can be critiqued for any number of reasons. Any critique of anarchism is a critique of what anarchists do.

The best critique I can think of concerning modern day anarchism is that anarchists themselves tend to be kinda snobby and moralistic but they dont present much in the way of alternatives to how non-anarchists live.

Theres nothing particularly special or useful about critiques, despite that they are a form of rebellion against...something. However, as anarchists we can create atmospheres and situations where people can feel more welcome to be critical and to make those criticisms more useful and less insulting than found elsewhere.

Ged (not verified)
Critique of anarchism?

I don't think there's a problem with anarchism (socialism/communism) without the state. It's a matter of criticism of so called anarchists! Those who have tried to reinvent the wheel so to speak to fit into their own little selfish lifestyle world. this mainly means middle class angry youth watering down our ideas of class struggle and for socialism (anti state socialism)! Although a lot of stuff they do and say is fine but essentially it's punk culture and rebellion without long term clear aims.

anon (not verified)
Yes TaoGal, and another

Yes TaoGal, and another criticism is "anarchisms" position within the freedom of speech/treason binary concept realm, thus becoming institutionalized by a methodology on inclusion/exclusion rhetoric. This is where Stirner wins by exceeding all cultural and group moral and value systems and placing the onus upon the individual, however unique or obnoxious they may be, to practice their freedoms unhindered by any authoritarian propositions.

anon (not verified)
two topics on the library (related to above comment)

It is also possible to browse the library via topics:

post-left (62 txts)

post left anarchy (17 txts)

TaoistSlut (not verified)
post-left line of thought

post left critiques aren't really a critique of anarchism per se, it's more or less a critique of anarchist practice that includes activisty, political, and Marxist frames of mind. Anarchism is supposed to be a practice that rejects such notions as "the greater good" or "the people" beforehand, but a lot of would be world-changers see it as some sort of revolutionary psychology that liberates oppressed workers, and anarchism is pretty much the most edgy form of this available. To me, anarchism is so appealing because it gives all of us a way to begin to reject that inner control freak who wants to change so many aspects of the world we live in and start to begin to just feel the ebbs and flows of this universe we live in. Other than that I haven't found much of a way for it to improve my life, there are many anarchists projects I've come up with in my head but they're practically all useless unless someone else wants to do it with you, or it could benefit someone else.

anon (not verified)
from an old comment on 101:

from an old comment on 101:
I think the current poll on is actually a really solid collection of interesting or semi-interesting critiques.

a. You have never won
b. People are experts
c. Revolution is a science
d. Politics is about power and you have none
e. Your tactics are futile and your strategy is non-existent
f. Society!

in case these aren't clear to folks - here is my interpretation.
a. we have never won. this means that we have no proof that things can work in the way that we want them to. intra and inter cultural examples are either on such a small scale, or are so divorced from modern life, that we have no realistic way to know if they would work now in a big enough way to be satisfying to any of us.

b. there are social needs that people fulfill (nuclear protection agencies, police, environmental regulators, etc, to refer to some previous questions on this site), that are necessary for the world not to be destroyed. those roles require the current world that we live in (the kind of specialization and ways of thinking that come from an alienated social form).

c & e. the implication is we don't know what we're doing.

d. we are diametrically opposed to the only thing that would allow us to make the level of change that we claim to want.

f. we are so implicated in the ills of our cultures that we could not actually create anything significantly different.

anon (not verified)
Better counter-arguments

I don't agree with most of these points. Especially for the issue of pursuing power, which brings zero new perspective in relation to society's dominant dogma of accumulating power, as capacity for domination and more empowerment. Power worship is at the core of capitalism, yet it is also a worshiping of dead potentialities (i.e. property, family/group capital, investments, etc), not living dynamics. The buildup of capacity, in opposition to the perceived social death that is losing. That is not a doctrine for those that negative society's bullshit institutions and values.

The adage that even CrimethInc repeated, that "we all are after power", is very problematic, as it is nothing else but echoing the dominant ideology in capitalist society. While this is hinting at Nietzsche's analysis, the latter was also analyzing people's sensibilities within the capitalist world, from a capitalist perspective. If you've studied even of basics of child development, you'll see it's not exactly what drives children in their growth. Rather pursuit of satisfying their desires, as well as curiosity, interest in the unknown. The pursuit of power is a way to twist those intents through the social programming, into a neverending quest for more power, yet it is unnatural. No non-human animal is after power.

Nietzsche in his better writings was rather, just as Schopenhauer, for a worshiping of LIFE, that is inherently an epicurian paradigm. We assert life against all conditions, negating the politics that seek to harm, bring down, exploit life (what the quest for power always does). Power is closer to death than life. Endless guarded parking lots in North America will prove that (or where have you been?), as parking lots are a reification of capitalist power, and not in any way paving the way for more life to happen (where they are actually based on a destruction of previous lives).

anon (not verified)
Where did schopey affirm life

Where did schopey affirm life?
i thought his whole schtick was denying the will and how the will was the root of all suffering and therefore life was suffering, with the anesthetic of art ir whatever.
Novatore says the contrary of him in that quote i won’t look for. needless to say, this is one of the least interesting routes one take this conversation, my fault.

anon (not verified)
It may have been in the

It may have been in the translation from German whereby Schoppy's term for desire was mistranslated to "will", as in, the driving will, what powers a person to get out of bed in the morning. Psychology was in its infancy during this era, everyone was still immersed within a tribal-like consciousness which made no distinction between cultural values and individual human emotions. There was only a duty towards the State or to Gods.
A German language scholar may throw more light upon these meanings.

TaoistBitch (not verified)

"d. Politics is about power and you have none"

this isn't about pursuing power, i think what this person is person is saying is that you need to have power to really control things within "society" or the non-anarchist world, and that without power there's no hope in reversing what those do who have it.

And i agree with your disagreement that "we all seek power". I don't care about power at all, other than the power to do what I want and pursue what i want. The way crime thinc. mentions it makes it sound like a sort of monolithic idea that's part of our nature, i think the raw pursuit of power is empty and boring, UNLESS it's about seeking the power to do what one wishes. A lot of people don't want to be president or be super wealthy because they see that in the end it ultimately subtracts from the pursuit of desire instead of enhancing it.

anon (not verified)
To be succinct like

To be succinct like
haiku, power is a dog,
chasing its own tail.

senileoldtroll (not verified)
A lot of theory/analysis I've

A lot of theory/analysis I've read, suffers from a basic lack of understanding power, regardless of whether you might think it's desirable.

For example, possibly one of the largest distinctions between different types of anarchist theory is between those which are content to sit around with books and critiques, play at reasoned argumentation OR the attempt to give form to a murky sort of collective power, build it and put it in to practice.

These two activities are so fundamentally different but get confused under the same labels. The former can conveniently ignore most realities of power, while picking and choosing targets at a whim, frequently suffering from myopia, congratulating itself for being clever after slapping way at a keyboard for however long, celebrating minor publishing accomplishments in the absence of anything else.

The latter can't accomplish a damn thing without desiring, building and exercising power in tangible ways. Pretty big diff, no? Different planets in different solar systems.

You might tell yourself you don't care about power but this is a lot like how choosing to be peaceful means very little if you can't fight worth a damn in the first place.

anon (not verified)
yes, true. we'd understand

yes, true. we'd understand each other better in the context of a shared life, but we're disparage texts, without tone, or context or facial expressions. but to point at language: "power", some people avoid that word and would use "force", "capacity", "ability", "potential and kinetic" etc. some are against coercion and hierarchies as a principle, others are merely against them being generalized and overpowering, and would tolerate them or even benefit for them at a smaller scale where they don't see it as harmful. we can't pretend we're all the same under the label "anarchism" or even "anarchy" we're so different and hence all the dispute.

yet like you say, if we were to orient tactically against our supposed common enemies (some just see it as preferred genre of literature) then those disagreements would not get in the way of attacking together. yet it's not the inner fighting which inhibits the attacks, we just fight each other to pass time. if "attacking" (see how i avoid saying building power?) could be as accessible and appealing to all as bickering to pass time, if it were ingrained in a day to day. but there that's a threshold that i think we see only a minority will cross. more than building power, if we could learn from these people by example, by doing, not like this.
some are trying to do this, but like you say, those people and places are frequently co-morbid with some form of politics, but which corner of this earth isn't? better to oppose it there than to be unobtrusive to it tucked away in a closet.
problem with internet is how it separates. it makes those who yearn to learn from those who crossed the threshold to sit behind the screen to "meet" them and "learn" from them, but that's time taken away from actually living it. of course that's oversimplifying it.

senileoldtroll (not verified)
now I just want to twist it.

now I just want to twist it. how can I make it more obnoxious? building DUAL POWER THRU STRUCTURE or something!!! There, thats twice the cringe, right?

Anyway, for serious, you're quite right. Perhaps I gradually understood better than you initially might have hoped? ;)

anon (not verified)
Haiku poetic Stirnerian here

Haiku poetic Stirnerian here SOT, just saying activistß ARE the dog chasing its own tail, so there!

anon (not verified)
"For example, possibly one of

"For example, possibly one of the largest distinctions between different types of anarchist theory is between those which are content to sit around with books and critiques, play at reasoned argumentation OR the attempt to give form to a murky sort of collective power, build it and put it in to practice. "

this is a binary perspective, seeming to completely disregard individual anarchists who are neither academics nor social anarchists into "collective power".

imo, ANY kind of "collective power" will ultimately be abused, and should be rejected by anyone against authoritarian relations.

anon (not verified)
YES to the comment above! (07

YES to the comment above! (07:06)

senilelumpentroll (not verified)
that opinion has at least as

that opinion has at least as many problems as the position it's trying to negate. lots of things you use every day can be abused.

anon (not verified)
winning and losing.

winning and losing.

even supposedly critical thinkers can't seem to leave that false dichotomy by the wayside with the rest of a moralistic, objectivisty mindset. no wonder they talk about 2 sides of the brain (left-brain, right-brain); it must be the root of binary thinking.

anon (not verified)

I find this critique of anarchism way better and more well-sourced than an essay by an establishment promoter of pederasty called Hakim Bey.

anon (not verified)
what would be helpful?

what would be helpful?
we lost, the game is over.
do we shake our opponent's hand?
do we flip the table?
do you walk away with your head low or your chin up?
is there a silver lining to your defeat?
do you have a circle of friends who will give you consolation?

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