New Anarchist Publication! "entanglement: on anarchism & individualism"

  • Posted on: 6 September 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)
photo of cover of publication "entanglement: on anarchism & individualism"

We are excited to announce the release of a book-length writing project called “entanglement: on anarchism and individualism.”

From the introduction:
“What you hold in your hands is an experiment in collective analysis and writing. It is also a critical engagement with the place individualism does hold and/or should hold in anarchism.
Initially, one person asked some friends to come together and co-create a collection of texts against individualism. Whether the project is actually against individualism is still up for debate. We’ve done a lot of playing with language and some of us prefer “on individualism” or “critically engaging with individualism.” In reality, it is all of those things and also other things too – defenses of duty and futurity, critiques of some old philosophers, calls to reconsider oppression and social position, some explorations of the interdependence of all forms of life, and thoughts on our wider interstellar context.”

Entanglement is a collection of five pieces that critically engage with individualist politics in anarchism and anarchist communities. They are:
A defense of responsibility, duty, and sacrifice;
A critique of Nietzschean anti-morality and a reflection on anarchist ethics;
A story that weaves together many of the interdependent threads that make us up, and along the way looks at the feminist rejections and hypervalorizations of care, and what they have in common;
A critique of Stirner and egoism; and,
An exploration of what it means to understand our relationships as the basis of our freedom, rather than something which limits its possibilities.

To find it online check out (or here). For paper copies, write to us at!



...I don’t mean to start a quarrel with those who could otherwise be my accomplices. I see this only as an exploration, a calling out of a way of thinking and behaving that effectively excludes and dissuades people and groups from participating in social struggle if and when they participate primarily because they think they should do so.

bless whichever one of the five white male authors wrote the first essay, trying to call us sinners back to church. almost brings a tear to your eye.

This is some garbage trolling. Do you have a critique or did you just get uncomfortable and started listing identities to help you calm down?

the link for the pdf doesn't work

new links have been added to the bottom of the post, see if that works

the "here" link works. i find it odd that there's no author or contact information (other than an email). maybe it's a generational thing, but i always find even pseudonymous projects to be more engaging than totally anonymous ones. there's no context for this booklet, so anyone and their cousin can claim to be one of the authors in any future discussion, and nobody can contradict them. continuity and context are definitely more appealing.

Everyone in Canada knows who wrote this

so all fifty anarchists in and around Montreal constitutes "everyone"? now i feel better...

There are at least 50,000 anarchists in and around Montreal. But these last five years or so they just got busy with "projects", or with work, work, work, and "fun" with friends over the weekend. I think some of them got really nice well-paid jobs in like the spectacle industry and maybe the government (oops!) and university chairs, but hey that's just dual-power building... Better believe it or else.

Cause he and his friends ain’t exactly the future of anarchism and anarchy.

This publication is rife with fundamentalist Christian values cleverly disguised as radical alternative relationships.

maybe it would have been more truthful if it had kept the against individualism subtitle…

"Anarchy is a collective possibility, not an individual one."……………………
"What matters most is………………"
"we should"
"we should"
"we should"
"Anarchist freedom can't…"
"we must"
"we must"
"we must"

maybe the other essays i didn't read in this are less "piss-poor" than the few that i did…maybe less full of "straight-up" ("bad faith?") misreadings/misunderstandings?

So many shouldisms and other covertly authoritarian devices, coming from unreliable local dudes who never really did much for "anarchism" themselves outside of publications. There's still something preachy in here.

I'd prefer more peachy.

" Nietzsche rejects both the state and morality precisely because he avows raping, pillaging, murdering, and war as laudable activities. "

huh? i'm no expert on nietzsche, but that seems like a willful twisting of meaning.

Anti-morality is always erroneously perceived as immorality, an entirely different condition. Yes, a twist of meaning.

On The Genealogy Of Morality ...

"life acts essentially—that is in its basic functions—in an injuring, violating, pillaging, destroying manner and cannot be thought at all without this character."

“this mastery over himself also necessarily brings with it mastery over circumstances, over nature and all lesser-willed and more unreliable creatures”

"In order to discharge one’s ressentiment one must become like a marauding Viking or Homeric hero, an artist of expressive violence."

Beyond Good And Evil ...

"In all willing it is absolutely a question of commanding and obeying, on the basis, as already said, of a social structure composed of many “souls”, on which account a philosopher should claim the right to include willing-as-such within the sphere of morals — regarded as the doctrine of the relations of supremacy under which the phenomenon of “life” manifests itself."

"life itself is ESSENTIALLY appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation."

Human, All Too Human ...

"War essential. It is vain rhapsodizing and sentimentality to continue to expect much (even more, to expect a very great deal) from mankind, once it has learned not to wage war. For the time being, we know of no other means to imbue exhausted peoples, as strongly and surely as every great war does, with that raw energy of the battleground, that deep impersonal hatred, that murderous coldbloodedness with a good conscience, that communal, organized ardor in destroying the enemy, that proud indifference to great losses, to one’s own existence and to that of one’s friends, that muted, earthquakelike convulsion of the soul."

The Gay Science ...

"I welcome all signs that a more virile, warlike age is about to begin, which will restore honor to courage above all!"

i don't have the time or energy for a nietzsche 101 lesson right now but… you should [also] check your quote sources… because, for one, the guardian is not nietzsche no matter how rad "marauding vikings" are…

and this one "bad faith" quoting is a perfect example of (intentional) misreading… because choosing sides + group think, etc… etc… etc…

tl;dr: actually read nietzsche

Hey rfa, Vikings had gay blonde dreads, just saying about Nietzsche not appropriating Nordic/Aryan mythology for his unique philosophy.

This was the "marauding Viking" quote source:
agreed that this source itself seems to be misquoting from a guardian article, and the quote should have been better verified before posting.

The original comment was taking a quote from an entanglement critique of Nietzsche and questioning whether it really reflected Nietzsche's meaning. The misattributed quote aside, replying to that comment with quotes from Nietzsche that are connected to the substance of the critique seems like a reasonable way to reply.

For those who disagree with the critique, replying to those quotes with an explanation of why they do not support the critique would be a good way to meaningfully build on the discussion. And engaging with the broader argument being made in the section of the entanglement article that the original comment was quoting from would be even better. For example, this is the intro to that section:

"One of the main problems with Nietzsche’s position on morality is that the framework in which it exists is inherently authoritarian. Nietzsche expresses a palpable disgust for the “common man” along with a quite overt desire to subjugate this repugnant creature. Not only does Nietzsche reserve sovereignty and actualization for those worthy aristocrats who possess sufficient “will”, but the mastery that Nietzsche espouses is not only selfmastery as sometimes suggested, but also (and inherently) mastery over others..."

There's been a lot said about the translation of resentment/ressentiment but it would be interesting to hear substantial engagement beyond that particular semantic question.

if i spent the time required to thoroughly critique every misquote, assertion, or misreading (intentional or not) of nietzsche, stirner, etc. i would have no time at all left for ATTACK!

but…if "you" think these "quotes" are indeed the proof that nietzsche meant such and such ["evil" thing] was "good" (they're not), then i encourage you to continue sourcing them…if actual, then pay careful attention to the context and you'll find that nietzsche isn't at all saying most of what many people (misrepresenting his ideas) are claiming he's saying.

What does it mean that no one on this comment thread is engaging at all with the substantive anarchist critique of Nietzsche in this publication, beyond unsubstantiated disagreement and semantic quibbles? rfa, even in the exchange we just had you continued to only refer to the Nietzsche quotes I posted and seem to have completely ignored the quote I pulled from the relevant section of entanglement. It is from article that is doing exactly what you suggest I do: paying "careful attention to the context" of what Nietzsche is saying, and through this reading finding that what he is saying is quite authoritarian. What say you? (to this, or any of the other critiques in the article).

I'm also surprised that no one has engaged at all with the 20+ page article critiquing Stirner! This is the anarchist news comment section, is it not? Literally the only response is a few words from boles calling the authors idiots for equating "Stirner's Unique with Locke's Individual" among other things. You are quick to criticize for pulling quotes in bad faith and not engaging with the broader context of the ideas, but then when dozens of pages of critique are posted that are based on careful readings of the texts, as far counter-arguments go, this comment section is... *crickets*

"a conspicuous lack of counter-arguments in this comment section"
you do understand that it takes some time to read something as torturous as this collection of strident and moralistic meanderings, right? you do understand that if, at a certain point, the reader (despite a good faith effort to wade into the mass of misreadings and misrepresentations) decides to give up, then there will be nothing to discuss, right? you do understand that this document is not covering topics that are especially fascinating for most of the regular critics here, right? you do understand that people don't comment here just to keep you amused, right?

here's a challenge for you: why don't you condense these alleged "dozens of pages of critique" into a few sentences of targeted brilliance and let the rest of us engage with those (or not)? since you're obviously a fan of the project, why not let the rest of us in on the good stuff?

So you're saying that you expect thus far people have been commenting and criticizing the text without having read it? Does this include yourself, boles? How would you or others know it is a "mass of misreadings and misrepresentations" if you haven't read it?

I didn't expect to be amused, I expected to see attempts at refutation and counter-critique. An exchange of ideas, debate, argument. So far, most of what I've seen has been semantics and shit talk. I'm not gonna write an entanglement CliffNotes to ease your reading, but I will wait patiently to see if the more substantial responses come later. And if they don't, I will be slightly disappointed but not completely surprised.

other than to echo what boles said and to restate my (hilarious) "i would have no time at all left for ATTACK," comment, i'll add… i'm not spending the energy to critically engage with your "findings" that 'nietzsche lauds rape and is quite authoritarian' because it's quite a big bunch of bullshit. i'd also wager that "no one has engaged at all with the 20+ page article critiquing Stirner!" for similar reasons.

i said good day!

rfa, you majestic person you! The problem of toxicity is real enough and it's not to be found in the source material so much as a slight correlation to the tendency imo.

A bit like finding introspective personalities in a bookstore! Imagine that.

zombie! i not quite sure what this means… but one day we will embrace and look out over our hard-won, detoxified anarchyland and exclaim, "all is well!" and it will be good.

Saying that keyboard warriors, both for and against, seem to be dragging your pals, max and fred, through the mud and it's a damned shame!

ah! thanks for clarification. and yes, it is a shame. not because they're my pals (i would despise them both as people for sure) but because the ridiculous, authoritarian vision of most social @s is reaching new levels of stupid in nicely packaged, easily digestible morsels that will surely make anarchy more difficult

If only any of these "social @s" represented a real threat to you or anyone ... Le sigh

I'll read all of it eventually, but I'm in the middle of 3 or 4 books so it'll take some time. It would definitely be helpful, if you still have the original pre-PDF documents, to make it available in a format that I could put on an ebook reader; the epub/raw text on is kind of a mess.

@news commenters are significantly worse.

i take the following to be pretty obviously true: there is a lot that is toxic in individualism-infused discourse of the present moment, or attractive to toxic fuckers, or something. also, this toxicity is going to alienate people, including people who fit whatever stereotype of christian-activist-identitarian you're thinking of, and people who aren't that all.

so, yeah, some of those alienated people have engaged. no doubt some bad faith or misreadings on their part - like, that's a given, i don't even need to read it to know that'll be there. (disclosure: i read 2 essays so far.)

is anyone going to engage back, tho? or will it just circulate in the anti-individualist echo chamber and get rejected entirely by the (more) individualism-oriented crew.

i hope for the former.

so shadow, i hope you can recognize that your paragraph on toxicity applies equally to communist/syndicalist-infused discourse, which also alienates people. when anti-individualists misquote and/or misread and/or misunderstand Stirner or anyone else, they are doing anarchism a tremendous disservice just as surely as any misquote, misreading, and misunderstanding of Bakunin or Goldman or anyone else does. when the author of the Nietzsche essay says "Note that “ressentiment” is merely the French word for resentment" he's an idiot. "resentment" in English is a combination of anger and jealousy, a quiet and personal attitude of dissatisfaction that usually remains private; "ressentiment" in French (and in 19th century philosophy in general) entails those feelings but adds a layer of hostility turned outward (whether at the perceived provocation/provocateur or a convenient scapegoat) that includes a desire for revenge with the goal of rebalancing universal moral scales. to misconstrue this is a serious blunder (just as other idiots equate The Spectacle with advertising or Stirner's Unique with Locke's Individual or Foucault's Biopower with Big Pharma), provoking me to call into question that particular essay, and by extension -- if it was truly a collaborative effort as they insist in the introduction, then the four other white boys have the same clearly inadequate comprehension -- the entire project. it's a critical fail on par with calling the IWW the "International Workers of the World."

further, the exhortations to duty and morality are definitely off-putting to anyone with even a passing understanding of the criticisms of activism that have been circulating for at least the past 50 years. this is neo-platformism mixed with the worst of new leftist sub-maoism. the authors might consider a little more research into their antecedents.

and they themselves have made it nearly impossible "to engage back" through their anonymity and lack of a more easily accessible contact (as i already noted above).

There is an email address prominently displayed on the entanglement website and when you click the email address there is also a PGP public key and fingerprint C2F3 A00A 281F 7D12 A591 786A 7A99 CEDA FEEE A713 ...

Sent them an email three days ago; no response so far...

1. I have had this conversation about the word "ressentiment" before. It's worth noting that, for the francophones, the two words are the same, with no apparent problem. I consider use of "ressentiment" in English a mistranslation that has been doubled down upon. We can't ask Nietzsche what his opinion would have been about the use of the French term in English copy because he's dead. It is clear, though, that he used the word in French - as he used other French words - because he existed in a context where French was a prestige language and German, like any language, had lacunas of vocabulary. I think the English word "resentment" would work just fine for both the normal meaning and the more precise philosophical meaning. But that's an opinion and who cares. Bit rude to call someone an idiot for it.

2. While it would not serve a person well to offer a critique of the "International" Workers of the World, it would also be remiss to dismiss a person entirely for getting one word wrong. It's a common mistake, repeated frequently in mainstream media when they cover the IWW. Some people are dyslexic. Some people just don't care. So, bad example. Not a critical fail, just an unfortunate mistake. Pedants will jump on you for it, of course...

3. You seem convinced they are five boys. You're wrong, lol. Why is it important to you (and others) that this be the case, tho?

4. The second paragraph is more interesting, but being "definitely off-putting" would be the whole point, right? And you name "the criticisms of activism" as something you have an understanding of, which makes me think of a canon of texts to which you align yourself... I can think of a person talking about evolution, and someone would object by saying, "That's definitely off-putting with even a passing understanding of the Book of Genesis." Like, um, first of all, maybe the criticizer DOES have an understanding of those texts, but just doesn't hold them as holy. I'm not trying to be a dick here, just, it seems to me that this is a criticism of a canon and its adherents, and you are reacting in a pretty kneejerk way typical of other adherents of other canons.

5. I forgot the things about communism or syndicalism at the beginning of your comment. anyways, conceded.

6. It'd be real easy to engage back. You're sort of doing it right now. You could also read the text more charitably and carefully and write a direct response, or wander off from it and write some other sort of essay, à la Alejandro de Acosta on Wolfi Landstreicher's "Wilful Rebellion". And you could post it here. The Entanglement crew would hear about it I'm sure.

No there's a latter Freudian/Marxist translation describing ressentiment as the class conscious version of the standard envious resentiment, yes, but ressentiment still carries that little nuanced advantage when used to describe the politically tainted class-consciousness inflicted condition.

This is a more pertinent application and translation to the recent Idpol movement and the doctrine of oppression:-

That definition of ressentiment is soooo relevant to the new psycho-political paradigm which is infecting Western culture at the moment.

sorry shadow for the too brief response but please look at this and then tell me the terms are functionally and philosophically the same

it's like saying that the French word "sensible" means the same thing as the English word "sensible." nope

It is the exact same meaning in French and English. Unless you believe some existentialist philosopher's more specific connoting has more weight -for some aristocratic bullshit reason- than the more vernacular meaning of the word "ressentiment" for French-speaking people, the French and English versions mean the same.

American anti-intellectualism triumphs once again. Can the implacable force of the authentic proletarian revolution be far behind? You know the one I mean, the one that finally does away with ridiculous notions of linguistic pedantry. Even a stodgy and unfunny near-caricature of 19th century anarchism like Wayne Price understands the value of analytical coherence.

Language develops by forces of cohesion, not principles of coherence cast by philosophers from their ivory towers. Laguage seldom origjnates from writers, but philosophers are less than writers, for how thre latter are true linguists, while the former are rhetoricians. Difference is that linguists care about forging language for daily use, as a living speech, whereas the philosopoher uses it as a tool of cultural selection and power concentration.

What I bunch of poppycock. There is no separation to be had between cohesion and coherence for one thing. Philosophers at their best represent a check and balance point in language especially when too much common overgrowth occurs.

Also language can't just be crudely forged as it to a large degree maps reality to begin with. Philosophers at their best get that and try to shift gears accordingly.

Alas shadowsmoke! Methinks they are perhaps too invested in their foppish poppycock!

Trolls on @neqs r upset bout dis book

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