TOTW: Shifting the Posts
It's been 15 years since Jason McQuinn wrote Post-Left Anarchy: Leaving the Left behind.
In its opening paragraph he recalls the fall of the Berlin Wall 10 years earlier, and just three years after that receiving a manuscript, "Anarchy after Leftism," from Bob Black. Today, when we look back over Post-Left Anarchy, we are reviewing 25 years of critique and innovation.
"The alternative argued for by the post-left anarchist synthesis is still being created," wrote McQuinn. "It cannot be claimed by any single theorist or activist because it’s a project that was in the air long before it started becoming a concrete set of proposals, texts and interventions."
McQuinn had not yet witnessed the death knells of the American middle class and Leftism taking shape from 2009-2018. He was writing "Leaving the Left Behind" in the time shortly before George W Bush's second inauguration. The idea of the Left collapsing was still controversial in ways that today are accepted as facts of life.
Yet, I've noticed an increasing number of anarchists asking what post-post-left is.
Witnessing the collapse of the Left and being post-left are not the same thing. We can find ourselves using the same rituals, expecting similar results, and coming up with nothing.
McQuinn finishes his piece by saying, "Post-left anarchy is not something new and different. It’s neither a political program nor an ideology. It’s not meant in any way to constitute some sort of faction or sect within the more general anarchist milieu. It’s in no way an opening to the political right; the right and left have always had much more in common with each other than either has in common with anarchism. And it’s certainly not intended as a new commodity in the already crowded marketplace of pseudo-radical ideas. It is simply intended as a restatement of the most fundamental and important anarchist positions within the context of a disintegrating international political left.
If we want to avoid being taken down with the wreckage of leftism as it crumbles, we need to fully, consciously and explicitly dissociate ourselves from its manifold failures — and especially from the invalid presuppositions of leftism which led to these failures."
So, if we are ready to grapple with the question, what is post-post-left, are we ready to say how we are post-left?
In what ways do you think anarchists have divorced the left and created space of their own?