Neither Alderaan nor Coruscant: The Politics of the Star Wars galaxy

  • Posted on: 21 November 2015
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From Self Certified

Like half the planet, I can’t wait for the opening night of The Force Awakens, the seventh instalment of the Star Wars saga on the big screen (not counting The Clone Wars animated film). The original trilogy dominated my childhood; I read the comics, I played with the toys and I watched those films over and over. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that they are to this day, one of the few pieces of entertainment that can get an emotional response out of me. I well up every time I see that awards ceremony at the end of A New Hope, but it has always bothered me that Chewbacca didn’t get a medal. I mean, he was just as big a part of the Battle of Yavin as Han was. Was there some prejudice towards non humans lurking under the hood of the rebel machine?

Looking around the auditorium in that temple on Yavin 4, Chewie is actually the only non-human you see, and for the first two films in fact, there are only humans fighting on the side of the rebel alliance (and the Empire of course, but we know them to be human supremacist from the outset). It’s only when the Mon Calimari of Admiral “It’s a Trap” Ackbar come on board in Return of the Jedi that we see a multi-species alliance fighting against the racist Galactic Empire. If you go right back to the time of the Clone Wars, to the origins of the Alliance to Restore the Republic AKA the Rebel Alliance (RA), you’ll notice that the key figures were human – Padme Amidala, Bail Organa, Mon Mothma – and at least in the deleted scenes of Revenge of the Sith, there seems to be only one non-human amongst the leadership, and she is what would be described in the Star Wars galaxy as near human.

There are two ways you could look at the politics of the Star Wars films of course. The first, and more traditional way for students of film, would be to analyse the intentions of the filmmakers and to examine the societal influences at the time. Undoubtedly, Vietnam and Watergate were present in the mind of George Lucas when he conceived the original trilogy, and the invasion of Iraq and the Neo-Con erosion of democracy in the US when he wrote the prequels; And maybe we’ll see some parallels between ISIS and The First Order in J.J. Abrams upcoming sequels The Force Awakens (Though Abrams has said the concept for the First Order “came out of conversations about what would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again”).

A Certain Point of View

The second way to look at it, is through the lens of an inhabitant of that galaxy. Imagine you’re part of a small leftist organisation on, say the planet Onderon. You’re looking at this galactic conflict between the totalitarian Galactic Empire and the RA, who want to restore the republic that the Empire emerged from in the first place and you’re trying to decide if you should support the alliance or organise independently; This is the approach I’m going to take. At this point, you’re either intrigued or you’re thinking that this is really stupid, that surely Star Wars is just a classic fairy tale of good versus evil, with heroes on one side and villains on the other. Well that is true, to quote Obi Wan, “from a certain point of view.’

Star Wars, however is a tale of multiple points of view. Firstly, you have the diametrically opposed positions of the Jedi and Sith, the mystics of the light side of the force and those of the dark. Secondly you have the Republican versus Empire angle, which is not strictly the same as Jedi V Sith as the former are political ideologies while the latter are religious or spiritual in nature. And lastly, you have the multiple points of view of the smugglers, slaves, bounty hunters and the few ordinary people we encounter along the way (which increases in number if you include canon sources from outside of the movies).

There’s a reason I picked Onderon as the planet our hypothetical leftist is trying to organise on. In The Clone Wars animated series, there’s a story arc where Anakin, Obi Wan and Ahsoka go there to assist and train a guerrilla army whose aim is to overthrow the Confederacy of Independent Systems’ puppet government and end the droid army occupation. Though the rebels eventually give in and join the Republic after their victory, initially they are just looking for independence. However, more interestingly, when they start winning victories and their propaganda gets through to the population, rioting breaks out in the capital city. It is possibly the first time in the Star Wars galaxy that we have seen a popular revolt, and it raises the question, what do the people want?

I Ain’t in This for Your Revolution

With the Imperial military enforcing Palpatine’s iron rule over the galaxy, you’d expect anyone who stood on the wrong side of the New Order to be at least an enthusiastic supporter of the RA. When we first meet the smuggler and petty criminal Han Solo however, he isn’t convinced. Solo becomes associated with Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa after taking a job to transport Skywaker and Obi Wan Kenobi to Leia’s home planet of Alderaan, for which he will be paid handsomely. After Alderaan is destroyed and Solo ends up taking Leia, Luke, the droids and the Death Star plans to the rebel base, he tells the princess, “Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid.”

Obviously some of Solo’s misgivings are due to the sheer military might of the Empire, he encourages Luke to go and work with him as a smuggler, citing what he believes is the impossibility of victory of the RA over the Death Star, but he also must realise that, while the alliance is more than happy to work with smugglers and criminals when the odds are against them, his activities will be just as illegal under the law of any new republic, just as they are under the Empire and were under the Republic that preceded it. Though Solo is eventually won over to the cause of rebellion, there are probably millions, if not billions of other petty criminals throughout the galaxy that think like him.

If there is little in it for the criminals in siding with the rebellion, then what is there for the ordinary folk? The moisture farmers of Tatooine struggled to make a living under the Republic, just as they did later under the Empire. The galactic capital Coruscant was a globe spanning city that had thousands of levels and where you lived was determined by class, regardless of the form of government practiced. As Asajj Ventress said to Ahsoka Tano, “Not everyone on Coruscant lives in a luxurious temple on the surface.” What benefit would the down and out of the lower levels gain from fighting for the rebels?

I Didn’t Come Here to Free Slaves

The Galactic Republic, that stood for a thousand years before it was reconstituted as the Galactic Empire, was in itself the recreation of a previous Republic that had stood for thousands of years before that. It was the old order, the defender of the elites of the galaxy and its democracy was selective. On a galactic level, there was indeed democracy, where each world sent a delegate to the senate on coruscant to have a say in the running of the Republic, but on a planetary level, the elites could decide to rule in any way they wished. There were constitutional monarchies, hereditary and elected, dynastic monarchies, corporate states and parliamentary democracies. Even within the galactic senate, there are corporate interests, bureaucratic interests, horse trading for position and what proves to be the perfect environment for the dark side force users, the Sith to operate.

This is the state of affairs that the Jedi Order are sworn to protect. If a member world government of the Republic faces any sort of threat, the Jedi step in to ‘keep the peace’, where keeping the peace really means maintaining the status quo. Even on Onderon, which during the early days of the Clone Wars was not a member of the Republic, the Jedi Council is reluctant to help the rebels because the government of the planet, a monarchy, has made the decision to side with the confederacy, regardless of the wishes of the people. They are only persuaded to provide training by Anakin Skywalker because of military necessity and the strategic importance of the planet in the war.

The Jedi way of non-intervention comes across as liberal piousness at times. While slavery is outlawed in the Republic, in the outer-rim where law and order is more haphazard and the Hutt crime-lords rule, it is ubiquitous. The Republic and the Jedi will not interfere in that because ‘the peace’ is more important than the plight of those who are bought and sold and put to work by ruthless bosses. When Anakin as a boy slave tells Qui Gon Jinn of his dream of a Jedi coming to liberate his people, the Jedi Master responds, “I didn’t actually come here to free slaves.” Though Jinn, as somewhat of a rogue Jedi, finds a way around freeing Anakin through a rigged gamble, the rest of Tatooine’s slaves remain in bondage.

By the Will of the Governed

When the second Death Star is destroyed at the Battle of Endor and the Emperor and Darth Vader die with it, the Imperial fleet, decimated by the alliance victory is in disarray. Seeing the opportunity, many worlds secede from the Empire and a New Republic is formed. The account of these events given in the new cannon novel, Aftermath, gives an insight into the trials and tribulations involved in forming a government out of the opposition to the New Order. The more idealist leaders of the RA, like Leia Organa, have a republican max vision of the Republic, where in her own words, “the foundation of a new Republic (will) be shaped by the will of the governed.” But others just want their positions of power back. Senators who served the Empire until the senate was dissolved shortly before the Battle of Yavin come flocking to the new capital on Mon Mothma’s home-world of Chandrila to resume their seats, while Imperial defectors are welcomed in the military. The rats desert their sinking ship but are welcomed into a new one.

That the New Republic is going to pick up from where the old one left off, is illustrated in Aftermath by what happens on the planet Akiva. The dynastic leader, known as the Satrap, hosts a conference of the Imperial command, but after a popular revolt the Imperials flee and he defects to the New Republic. “The Satraps saw the Empire’s betrayal and the rage of the people of Myrra – and decided that the only way to save their skins, and their rule, was to give it over, in part, to the Republic.” It looks, to all intents and purposes, as if Leia’s ideals will be shunted aside for the option that requires the least upheaval, meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. The fact that in the The Force Awakens, Leia is the leader of the Resistance and not a politician in the New Republic, shows us that she isn’t exactly happy with how things worked out.

We know that sometime after the foundation of the New Republic that the remnants of the Empire regrouped in the outer rim of the galaxy as the First Order, and we know that they will be the main villains in The Force Awakens. But it is rumoured (possible soft spoilers) that they got that foothold because certain senators of the New Republic, fondly remembering their excessive power and wealth under the Empire, argued for them to be allowed to consolidate their rule out there. Through horse trading for favours and the influence of Supreme Leader Snoke over some senators, the Empire gets to rebuild its strength to prepare to reconquer the galaxy. Leia, obviously unhappy with this state of affairs, goes rogue and sets up the Resistance outside of the New Republic’s jurisdiction.(End of Spoiler)

It’s True, All of it

Our hypothetical rebel leftist on Onderon then, might have a hard time throwing their support behind the Alliance to Restore the Republic, but the alternative is even worse. The Empire was a racist, human supremacist organisation that crushed all opposition. It is doubtful that the right to strike would be tolerated on the spice mines of Kessel. Therefore, it would be important to put up resistance to its rule. An organisation that spanned the galaxy that organised the exploited and oppressed, human and non-human alike would be necessary. But where the Rebel Alliance was engaged in battle with the Empire, military co-operation at least could be an option, all the while organising for a more complete liberty than even Leia Organa could support.

This organisation would do well to heed the words of a socialist, aeons in the future in another galaxy, James Connolly, who told the Irish Citizen Army prior to the 1916 rising, “In the event of victory, hold on to your rifles, as those with whom we are fighting (the Irish Volunteers) may stop before our goal is reached. We are out for economic as well as political liberty.”

We serve neither Alderaan (nor Chandrila), nor Coruscant, but interstellar socialism.

If you want to see how excited I am about The Force Awakens, or read my views on politics, league of Ireland football or dogs, follow me on twitter

 

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Comments

(This article was brought to you by Disney Inc)

"We serve interstellar socialism"... This isn't Infoshop, idiot!

Socialism is not anarchy, and serving it is servitude, just like YOUR servitude to this holy jewel of the spectacle machine.

To the Thecollective: I'm requesting you to ban such corporate product placement thinly-veiled as reformist leftie drivel. We'll have enough of it all over the place as toppling for the sacred moment of capitalism that the Holidays are, so NO, THANK YOU!

Just a reminder:

Anarchism was originally a sect of socialism. And still is, pretty much.
Except for the sociopaths. (hehe, i insulted you, he he; butts)
Why do you hate fun?

Right, yeah... either you join our cult of civil anarchist dupes, or else, you're one of those sociopathic nihilists. Or maybe a right-winger.

Must be fun in that world of senseless binaries.

Anarchism existed way before that bs ideology of social equity, which only a State can provide. I don't give a fuck about what was socialism in 1886, socialism is a sweeter pill for collectivistic capitalism.

I'm a sociopath who enjoys fun and doesnt approve of this message. Fuck your moral-ableism!

Star Wars is pulp sci-fi binary cosmology.

No it's a the holiest moment of the contemporary Spectacle next to football (both the Euro and NA forms) and hockey, in the form of a powerful war propaganda machine. Sorry kids, but Alec Guiness was right in despising such spectacle.... and Luke Skywalker WAS a metaphor on Jimmy Carter, and Darth Vader for Nixon, and the Emperor for Brezinski and/or Kissinger.

And big stupid Chewbacky was Reagan, or some other big lumbering moron in the political arena, maybe Mandela or Clinton?

John Lennon.

So Nixon was Carter's father?

Ye know, if you can't see the point of anarchists engaging with popular culture, you probably should give up. If your aim is not to popularise anarchist ideas then you're probably not an anarchist anyway.

To the guy who thinks socialism is not anarchy, (and the above commenter is mostly correct on the relationship between anarchism and socialism) why not stop by and read some of my other stuff.

And why don't you go read Stirner, you Leftard? Socialism is not anarchy. Socialism is a program, that requires a program to become a social reality. Programming is authoritarian and hierarchical, therefore not anarchistic. Take your order where it belongs, i.e. to its totalitarian society and quit your ridiculous attempts at colonizing anarchy, LEFTIST.

Rebel Scum

Wrong, buddy... I'm freelance.

Also I shot Greedo first. Fuck civilization!

Max Stirner was not an anarchist. He never called himself one and was in fact first labeled as one by Marx and Engels.

His program says nothing about abolishing the state, merely elevating oneself above it in an intellectual sense.
He was only rediscovered by actual anarchists in the 1890s - finding most approval among pro-market types - and had no influence on the development of anarchist theory at all in the 19th century.

Egoists/nihilists might as well just accept that they aren't really anarchists. They belong to a separate and distinct tradition that overlaps with anarchism sometimes, but is hardly the same thing.

They have no desire to realise a world free of hierarchy and domination, merely relieve their own alienation on a purely personal level. Nothing wrong with that in itself. But in practice it amounts to making peace with capitalism and statism, as it makes no attempt to challenge either - its purified form of lifestyle rebellion becomes just another form of consumerism among many; no different from bourgeois Bohemianism, Emo, or scene culture.

Personally I reckon this obsessive policing of who's a "real" anarchist by egoists and nihilists is simple projection. They must realise that anarchism is in fact something they have appropriated but not something they originated as a tendency. Plus they like the label because it appeals to their desire to sound edgy.

Welcome Connor to the Binary Critique Club at @news. Some are Stirnerists and it is true that the game is to rise above the State or religious binary mentality, the infrastructure is still ok to live within.

This is accurate because only anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian communism are true anarchism.

(end sarcasm)

I'll see your Stirner and raise you Kropotkin, Bakunin, Recluse, Goldman, Durruti etc

The vast majority of active anarchists are social anarchists/anarcho-communists.

The point is not that the majority of anarchists are social anarchists, and therefore "right", the point is that egoists/nihilists have a habit of vigorously policing (at least on this website) who's a "real" anarchist despite having less of a claim to the label anarchist than social anarchists do.

Debates on whether social anarchism or "post-left" ideology is "right" rarely seem to occur on this site, despite their pretence. Because whenever something social anarchist gets posted or brought up, the response is more often a dismissal of the person or the piece as "not anarchist" rather than a picking apart of the actual piece itself and what it's arguing for.

Though now that you bring it up, while the majority is not always right, nor is the minority - which seems to be the implicit defence of that dismissal of social anarchism, as by far the largest segment of those who who have called themselves anarchists historically and in the present day.

So pointing out that Stirner (let alone Nietzsche) never called himself an anarchist, had no wish to dissolve the state, and had no influence on the development of anarchist theory in the 19th century doesn't seem to make a difference. Because the Stirnerite can just childishly attack the principle of majority rule as if it makes all that irrelevant. It's like Aaron Eckhart's character in Thank you For Smoking: "I didn't need to prove I'm right. I just need to prove you're wrong, which means I'm right".

Where are you basing all of these assumptions? Anews comments? Wikipedia?

It seems that most of your initial critique is about word for word copied and pasted from Wikipedia. The influence on market anarchists is overblown, and not reflective of outside the US context. Take Severino Di Giovanni. Or Novatore. Or Frank Brand. Or The Bonnot Gang. Just for starters. These folks lived and fought and ways you describe egoists as living. I don't see where they lived according to your binaries of individual v collective, social v antisocial. Giovanni, for one, participated as much in publishing as action cells. In fact, before he died, he was trying to informally network all of south america. Even Armand participated in a rich, experimental social existence, and responded to letters from Giovanni's lover all the way across the globe. Other Galleanisti had picnics, free markets, reading clubs, and some even fled the US to set up a commune with the Magon brothers in Chihuahua. Brand didn't fight in the Spanish Civil War?

Looks indeed, like a lot of folks just sitting around twiddling their thumbs to me.

And where do you get this fixed sense of 'i,' or self? The idea here is not to put abstractions before your directly experiencing the world.

It's hard to take you seriously, and whether you make your arguments in good faith. I can't speak for him, but I don't get what you're implying re: stirner and dissolving the state. If he was 'getting back' of all abstractions the state would not be left out as a spook, like nation, law, etc.. It also sounds like you have a problem coping with the past and how it has transformed into the now. Let go. Things will get better. What did all of those dead folks say about socialism and the internet? Oh, that's right. They're dead. There was no internet. We're here now.

You can have your isms. You'd probably rather want them to cling to lest things get too out of control, lest there's anarchy.

I'm much nicer offline.

*in ways you DON'T describe egoists as living.

I will have my -isms.

One of those -isms is anarchism.

You can have "anarchy", or whatever you think that means. We clearly have different things in mind.

And I see no one has yet responded to the point about egoists/nihilists aggressively policing who's an anarchist despite Stirner not being one.

The egoists and nihilists involved in shit like bank robberies and insurrectionary stuff were little more than a joke, and I think you realise that.

Actually those were anarcho-communists. Nice try. Also anarchists aren't Marxists and don't follow ascendency or lines of orthodoxy. By definition, anarchism is heterodoxy supreme and your attempts to frame it as somehow holding to some sort of tradition is not only laughable, but goes against anarchism. Social anarchists and anarcho-communists are the most common assassin, yet people like you would like to repaint anarchist history to make it seem like egoists and nihilists were always to culprit meanwhile the anarcho-communists were just diligently doing the hard work to make a movement work. This is all nonsense.

How is having a critical analysis of other people's standing a form of "policing"? You're the one, socialist, aiming at policing people with your grand program for a fairer, equal society. If we don't want more of your mass society (which necessitates an authoritarian relationship to remain orderly and respect the economic principles of libertarian socialism, so not anarchistic at all), and don't want it to be more enforced down our throat and into our lives, so that's actually the very opposite of "policing".

There's assuming your ideas (what those nihilo-anarchists attempt to do), and there's enforcing them on others (what you're doing exactly here). Those are two worlds that aren't very convergent nor congruent... more in conflict with each other.

(that wasn't a reply to "culmine" of course, but to the over-civilized promoter of the spectacle and its civilization... and maybe Disney too since they're a major vanguard in global liberal socio-corporatism)

Anarchism IS libertarian socialism. That's the problem. A person living an egoist/nihilist lifestyle and doing their own thing is fully possible within an libertarian socialist setup, because it's even possible under state-capital.

Not sure what this "mass society" is supposed to be. Reckon it's simply what most people call "society" beyond the single individual alone. Sounds exactly like Ayn Rand here.

Anarchism means "without rulership"; ie: a non-hierarchical social order in which each individual stands in a horizontal power relation to each other individual, forming greater social bodies on the basis of voluntary association. So you clearly haven't studied any anarchist theory if you don't even realise the simple point about it being voluntary (in other words, not "forced").

What you seem to want is anomie (orderlessness), not anarchie (rulerlessness).

And as I said above, in practice this amounts to supporting capitalism and statism, as it makes no attempt to challenge them.

Anarchists never deny that their milieus are poorly lacking in practice beyond rock throwing street marches and paper box tossing and the trashing of an occasional cop car. Even the theoretical is wanting a fresh new set of social/psychic concepts beyond economics, gender equality and binary oppositions. There may be something to learn from the film - The Experiment - the original German version, I haven't seen the Hollywood remake, they say it is second to the original. But anyway, it shows that the dynamic is determined by the initial power status of the players, any theory is impossible to realize unless it begins from a clean slate, which is an impossibility, since the human gene fluctuates in its reaction to the environment, which then mutates to become more adaptable. Even going outwards from the psycho-genetic and instinctual feedback model then has the experimenter encountering mood variations over a broad spectrum of reactions to random physical and emotional phenomena. So any cultural mass of seemingly similar members, or the subdivisions within culture like teams or ideological associations are a thin veneer hiding a brutal history. Anyone who can save the world even in a small way is technically an anarchist, so there are more anarchists around than you imagine, they just don't declare themselves.

"Anarchism IS libertarian socialism."

oh jeez, another fucking social anarchist claiming theirs is the ONLY and RIGHT anarchy. i am so bored with you ideological dimwits.

To Connor:
How unpleasant to see you here after a long break...
I can't remember the last time anyone here tried to declare someone (living or dead) not a real anarchist -- at least not outside the context of irony/sarcasm/parody.

You're the one obsessing over who is or isn't a real anarchist; you're the one policing the murky boundaries with your cut-and-paste binary declarations. I'm not the only one who notices. I'm also not the only one who finds your attitude unnecessarily bellicose.

No, I didn't link to Goldman and Malatesta to prove anything beyond a reminder that the numerical adherence people have toward particular ideas isn't an indication of its relative importance or relevance. Their analysis is generic; I didn't bring them up to score some cheap point against social anarchists. Your continual insistence concerning the numerical superiority of the social anarchist demographic only invites ridicule; I already pointed out its irrelevance to whether it could be more or less important.

It's arguably accurate to keep the label "anarchist" away from Stirner. He never referred to himself as one -- for the simple reason that at the time "Der Einzige..." and "Stirner's Critics" were written, nobody called herself an anarchist as a positive affirmation; that time came a few years later when Proudhon did it. By the same criteria, William Godwin wasn't an anarchist either. But any historian of anarchism worth their salt has to acknowledge that Stirner and Godwin were important antecedents to the eventual development of European anarchism. I would argue that they were just as important as Proudhon; while the Frenchman was more interested in economic issues, the other two were more focused on the societal challenges to free thinking and a more general autonomy.

We all have our favorites, but dismissing and/or excommunicating any of them just because you disagree with their analytical emphasis is dishonest and authoritarian.
Only someone who's never read Stirner would assert that he wasn't interested in doing away with the state...

Anarchism as an elective position and proposed solution most certainly begins with Proudhon. Stirner is altogether different in approach and orientation to Proudhon. It has to be pointed out that Proudhon got to respectable successors to his ideas that essentially pre and configured classical anarchism. Stirner did not get the equivalent followups that he deserved in part perhaps because his ideas were MUCH more sophisticated. If Stirner had gotten those Bakunin/Kropotkin equivalent sequels like his French counterpart you would be looking at a fairly distinct branch of thought. Would it be anarchic like Proudhon's branch? I would argue it would be more so for reasons given by Grumpy. Stirner's anarchy(you can find the word in quote for yourself in Stirner's writing) is much more profound then being the foundation for a political-economic set of elective positions and proposed solutions(ideology).

Anything we do of Stirner relating to anarchism and anarchy is appropriation beyond his words(which he would very much want). I have my own ideas for how Stirner should used. In essence my idea of anarch after anarchist is very much in the spirit of what a proper branch of his thought might have looked like. There is no anarchist or anarchism in Stirner's writings but there is most certainly anarchy. For you to think he does not take on authority and state you clearly missed the quotes that say otherwise.

"The state rests on the - slavery of labour. If labour becomes free, the state is lost."

On Liberalism "Its aim is a "rational order," a "moral behaviour," a "limited freedom," not anarchy, lawlessness, selfhood. But, if reason rules, then the person succumbs."

Fuck's sake just read his evisceration of liberalism. Lastly.

"The fall of peoples and mankind will invite me to my rise."

How you don't see a definitive man of anarchy(beyond position and solution) in the modern epoch I have no clue.

I actually happen to like Stirner and see his philosophical approach as reconcilable with the politics of social anarchism. So did Gustav Landauer and Emma Goldman. He even said himself in Stirner's Critics that his ideas were not antithetical to socialism.

But he wasn't an anarchist. Whether he was aiming at "anarchy" is immaterial. So were many other thinkers of his own time and long before. The Tao Te Ching is also clearly aiming at anarchy in a philosophical sense (like Stirner). That doesn't make Taoists anarchists. Anarchistic, yes. Libertarian (in the original sense), yes. Though anarchism names something more concrete - a politics of system-change, not a mere philosophical attitude.

The point is that Stirnerites (at least in the contemporary day) have an annoying tendency to act as if theirs is the only real form of anarchism - despite anarchism historically and in numbers being synonymous with political libertarian socialism, not purely philosophical egoism - ignoring the fact that Stirner never called himself an anarchist.

the fact that stirner never called himself an anarchist is irrelevant. if you look at the ideas being expressed, they are unquestionably anarchist in nature. against ALL forms of authority over oneself. to say stirner's ideas were not anarchist would be ignorant or disingenuous - or both.

sorry chum, epic fail.

"Whether he was aiming at "anarchy" is immaterial. "

really!?!?!

i personally would MUCH rather associate with someone that does NOT call themselves an anarchist, but whose ideas and actions are "aimed" at anarchy - than with someone who DOES call themselves an anarchist but is nothing more than an academic, intellectual masturbator mired in socialism.

"The point is that Stirnerites (at least in the contemporary day) have an annoying tendency to act as if theirs is the only real form of anarchism"

that may well be true of some (the most vocal on here, perhaps). but in my experience, social anarchists are the most frequent deniers of any other concept of anarchy being "valid". seriously.

also, anarchists i am interested in are not into a "politics" of anything. but social anarchists apparently know nothing outside that realm.

you seem much more interested in labels ("so-and-so does not call themselves an anarchist") than in behavior and ideas.

but, like so many, you seem most interested in simply being "right".

Yup.

As far as human relations go not more. Anarchy Is what matters. Anarchism can either be an enabler of anarchy or(as Bob Black argues) an impediment.

The philosophical poetic approach and orientation to anarchy is the default approach. You can actually rate the quality of anarchists/anarchism by how political they/it are/is.

I don't think Stirnerian types want to take the anarchist/anarchism label away from you. In my and some others case here we are making a break with those labels and opting for a more Stirnerian consistant anarch/anarchy.

In a sense I guess I can agree that Stirner is not an anarchist. However Stirner Lao Tsu and those philosopher poetic types have shown themselves to be far less impediments to anarchy then their political-economic counterparts.

Not only is there no necessary conflict between the poetic/critical approach and the political/analytical approach, anarchism needs both or it's incomplete.

Too much political-economic analysis, and you end up with collectivistic workerist anarchism like the stuff WSA pushes.

Too much "poetic" egoist stuff, and you end up with Bob Black - a philosophical, but not economic, capitalist at heart.

A healthy anarchism needs to strike the right balance of what George Woodcock called "lifestyle rebellion and economic emancipation".

It's a good point that it's better to listen to libertarian theorists who don't call themselves anarchists than people who call themselves anarchists who aren't libertarian. But for the sake of coherence, it's better to reserve the term "anarchist" for those who not only exhibit anti-authoritarian ideas, but who also identified with the term. Another term, anarchistic, can be used to identify a certain person or current as having anarchist ideas (and interest to anarchists) without them actually being an anarchist.

This applies to Stirner and William Godwin very well. Not anarchists, but certainly anarchistic.

As for "impediments to anarchy", a big one, from what I can see, is tendencies whose idea of "anarchy" is acquiescence to the existing society provided one can practice one's own form of lifestyle rebellion. Basically "capitalism and statism are fine as long as I can have my own little space where I'm personally free from them".

To me, I can't imagine a positive form of anarchy that doesn't involve trying to spread voluntary, non-hierarchical modes of life to the whole planet. That requires focusing on system-change - which can only be achieved through social struggle - not personal practice alone.

I consider his extremities to be one of my points of departure along with the other deviant bohemian 'lifestylists'(Bey, Landstreicher, DuPont ect).

I really don't understand why you want anarchy mediated by organization. Goldman a long time ago talked of revolution and dancing being intertwined. What humans need more then anything are behavioral examples of what anarchy is as a life and activity. This is why Groucho is far more important a Marx for Anarchy then Karl is. This is what it comes down to.

Let the spreading of propaganda be left to politicians.

"I really don't understand why you want anarchy mediated by organization"

What, organisation?
You mean people actually doing things together as opposed to doing everything entirely alone? One would have thought it was ridiculously obvious, from an anarchist perspective, that the thing to oppose is hierarchical and centralised organisation. Not "organisation" itself. That's as immature and silly as opposing all language because you can't find the right words to express what you mean.

And of course primmies actually do that.

These weird and idiosyncratic redefinitions of words by "post-left" folks conflate entire concepts with their most authoritarian manifestations, then act as if everyone else supports that when they use the more mainstream definition.

"Organisation" comes to mean "hierarchical/centralised organisation"
"Work" comes to mean "forced work"
"Civilisation" comes to mean statist civilisation
"Socialism" comes to mean state socialism
"Leftism" comes to mean authoritarian leftism.

And so on, into self-marginalisation.

"Goldman a long time ago talked of revolution and dancing being intertwined"

She was also a syndicalist who saw organising workplaces and communities as essential.

And there's no record of her actually saying that "If I can't dance" quote. It's nice, but like "be the change you want to say" with Ghandi, it's probably misattributed.

Connor, organization is not merely doing 'things together'. It is a particular form of orientation mediation that is specific to modern position/solution based politics. Organization IS centralized and hierarchical. That is ultimately where it tends. It is akin to a form of language more then language as such. Organization is a particular form of arranging surrogate activities and other human endeavors that is irreconcilable with anarchy.

These are not idiosyncratic definitions. Post leftists like me are well read in people like Nietzsche and Stirner and people like myself become very good at spotting terms at their etymological root as well as what they actually correspond with in practice. All of the 'comes to mean' that you list are the ACTUALLY EXISTING manifestations of the listed words. There has never been anything other then these actual existing practices outside of idiosyncrasies that are likely unsustainable. Take the idea of a non state civilization for instance. There is not a single anthropologist worth his/her academic salt who would entertain such an idea simply because it does not show up on the historical record. Work is largely seen as a compulsory phenomena, organization is the mediation of positions and solutions divorced from immediate or context/specific life. Leftism and socialism all spring from these mediations.

I contrast this to what I see in actual stateless existences and I do not see the the things listed above. Goldman(regardless of whether she said the quote or not) was a bohemian at heart. It was a lot easier to be a syndicalist and a leftist and a leftist back then then now.

Landauer's praxis is the best complement to today's corporate State and its soft power, with this whole "community" mirage. The Terrible Community, that is.

"at the time "Der Einzige..." and "Stirner's Critics" were written, nobody called herself an anarchist as a positive affirmation; that time came a few years later when Proudhon did it"

What is Property?, in which Proudhon declared himself an anarchist, was published in 1840. The Ego and Its Own was published in 1844, four years later - and Proudhon criticises Proudhon within its pages.

Thank you for destroying your own argument.

Also, claiming all those folks here declaring anybody who's a "leftist", syndicalist, social ecologist, platformist, specifist, or whatever is "not an anarchist" are now doing so as a form of "parody" is downright pitiful.

It's like M. Night Shaymalan getting bad reviews for The Happening and post-facto declaring it a satire.

Connor Owens, can I masturbate on your tongue?

Only good anarchists are dead anarchists... and also those who've lost their struggle. I see..

Which of these didn't fail in their idealistic crusades or wasn't betrayed by their very own mandatory cooperation with socialists and commies and their political agendas? But Emile Armand, Lucy Parsons, Audre Lorde, the Bonnot Gang, Novatore, the situs (who weren't officially anarchists), and even Voltairine DeCleyre, aside than Sitrner, didn't sold out to the One Big Union or the false promises of a Red State. They're also just big names of dead people.

No they didn't became socialist emperors, but died as emperors of their own lives at least.

Can't say exactly where in all the Wobbly literature I've ever seen advocacy of a Red State. Guess that's par for the course on this site. If you can't come up with a good argument, just make up an entirely fictional position then claim whoever you disagree with must believe in it.

As for Lucy Parsons, she did however sell out to the Stalinist Communist Party in America.

For fuck's sake... What is a One Big Union if not a global Red State? Or are you stuck in that 100 years old conception of the State as merely the government?

When last I checked, it's just that: a trade union. Not a state, a union - for realising an economy beyond the wage system.

Not sure I've ever heard any Wobbly claiming "the IWW aspires to have a territorial monopoly on the use of physical force" (statism).

You appear to have a Humpty Dumpty attitude to language "When I use a word miss Alice, it means precisely what I choose it to mean. Neither more or less". That apparently extends to considering a trade union a state.

The root of economy is a planned patriarchical/hierarchical family structure that is in symbiotic relationship with the state, and all economies need people to work.

Redefining words again. With the whole purpose being conflation of an entire thing with its most authoritarian manifestation.

This shit is the very height of immaturity.

Economy comes from the Greek "oikos" + "nomos" (home/abode + structuring/organisation).

When a family out in the wilderness make decisions on when to pick berries and how to collect water and sticks, that's an economy in a basic sense.

And even if one were to accept this silly redefinition of the word, nobody is using the word to mean what you mean by it. Yet you bizarrely act as if they are.

It's as stupid as Marxists using "individualist" to mean capitalist, and then asserting that anyone who calls themselves an individualist must be a supporter of capitalism.

And it's etymology and function only strengthen my point. When you are talking about planning relative to forager cultures for specific day to day things and the structure of agricultural families you are talking about two different things. The Oikos structures were of course functionally and intentionally patriarchal and these hierarchical values permeate into the practice of economy.

There has never been an economic structure that was not in symbiosis with some sort of hierarchical family structure. My definitions simply match the etymologies and the historical practices. Individualist can mean capitalism, but the definition is shared enough that it is not problematic for me to use the term. I can point out inconsistencies in the cap individualists and show why my ideas of individuation make more sense. This cannot be done with something like economy which is largely derivative of hierarchy and agriculture.

since 'social-ism' implies some sort of economy, whether a market economy, barter economy or gift economy, ... a stateless economy is a legitimate concept, and the IWW seems a good fit.

There's no proof she was a member, and her relative sidings with commies was late in her life... actualy later than Saint Emma moved to Soviet Russia for a time, before realizing that the Soviet system wasn't any better. Parsons remained a radical anarchist at least upfront through the '30s and '40s until she died.

Your issue appears to be taking your historical analysis out of Wikipedia, where social context of a given time in history has to be understood for what is was and meant to those people, not by today's view. Soviet Russia was globally a glimmer of hope for many commies and anarchists worldwide, for a time, when some anarchists still believed that serving a socialist utopia was not contradictory to their beliefs. You know... like those "anarchists" who are convinced that socialism equates to anarchism so "hey, prole, just support your local IWW branch or the Party or the commyinity nonprofits or maoists and stop throwing molotovs, nihilist, or I call my socialist comrades in the police against you".

So who is not learning from history, again?

They have the force. Our only advantage is a slightly less obscured world-view. May the counterforce be with you.

We're everywhere, even though we aren't aware of it.

It's a trap!

Is the author of this article the same Leftie idiot who wrote this long, pedestrian product placement for Harry Potter and hackwriter JK Rowlings on Infoshop a while back, that also was the final nail-in-the-coffin of this doomed site? How much do they pay you per article?

Whoa, just received this by email...

At war with the star's system (or "For a new Lettriste conspiracy")

So you shills wanna harass us out of our digital cages with your corporate spectacle? Well guess what... it worked. We're accepting the provocation, and have decided to punch back at your masters.

There's still a few weeks left and the iron's still hot, so we're making this anarchist declaration of war against STAR WARS, as well as all of the lesser-hyped global corporate spectacle that'll follow.

Da fuck does that mean?

- Setting up dozens of dummy Google accounts behind Tor, at different times in different places if possible.

- Selecting texts... reports from actions, communiques, critiques, letters from prisoners you hold dear. Stuff published here and on other anarchist media, and link to the sources.

- Login to comment sections of any Star Wars-related or movie/entertainment websites, with Google accounts wherever needed, and post your texts, with links to the sources. Presenting it as leaked excerpts from the script could help.

- Shouldn't be interpretable as "political propaganda", as most sites have policies against this (especailly after that racist zealots campaign against John Boyega)... and do you wanna reproduce more alienating ideological abstraction? It should rather be about real-life struggles, as "naked" as possible, with this discreet paradigm relationship to the anti-imperial, rebellious subtext of Star Wars. Perhaps switching characters, organizations and places names with real-life people and places could help with a seamless mental transition, as long as it's clear this is about the real world not some weird fan fiction.

- Rince and repeat.

(The "we" here is nowhere exclusive to the few people starting this battle. This could be you!)

From fantasy fiction to live social friction!

Comment up there presents a good tactic that's quite easy to do and can pay off collectively.

Anyways that Connor guy so totally sounds like the local nationalist kids I've seen passing over the years, that are so proselytizing and constantly pushing their belief system and arguing desperately for it on other people who just don't want to listen to such dorks.

Get fucking laid, buddy, and please do something worthy out of your short, fragile life instead of harassing anarchists with your corporate product placements.

Congratulations on sounding like the most immature fratboy in your "analysis".

"Disagree with me and you're simultaneously comparable to both a nationalist and a corporate PR guy - which have no connection to anything you said other than I dislike both".

This constant immaturity is why nobody takes you "post-left" (ie: right-wing) guys seriously.

"you "post-left" (ie: right-wing) guys"

Srsly, lol... seriously you are just confirming hyperboles thrown at you on your binary moralism. We're either accepting to serve your grand socialist pipedream, or else, "right-wing" nihilio-crazy individualist. Coz you now the entire universe is made of RIght and Left...

Guardians of the Galaxy was a breath of fresh air in the genre of SciFi movies, finally a parody of the whole Star Wars Manichean dogma which became sooo boring, still clinging to monarchy and knights as the holy righteous saviors.

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