You can't map anarchism.

Submitted by subrosa in lobby

A quick rant.

The political compass led many people to believe that anarchist tendencies (or anarchist 'schools of thought') are like a list of systems you can choose from. It's probably the main reason why fresh internet-anarchists most commonly identify as anarcho-communists, because it offers a vision for what a hypothetical anarchist society might look like. They went shopping for a new ideology, and then they waste hours defending and debating how these imaginary future anarchists would handle criminals. They waste too much time answering inherently flawed questions and misconceptions, too worried about practicality.

This "anarchism as a system" way of thinking makes individualist approaches inaccessible. It makes post-left critique seem useless. It makes people confuse tactics with critique, historical movements with theory.

I'm starting to think that modern anarcho-communists in particular aren't too interested in anarchy. They often put communism first, the 'anarcho' part is then merely used to distance themselves from authoritarian/statist stuff. To many ancoms, mutualism is some weird economic system that doesn't exclude markets. On the political compass, markets seem much closer to right-wing libertarian ideas, markets seem closer to capitalism, so that must mean mutualism is less anarchistic than anarcho-communism, right?

None of this shit matters. It's silly to think we can design an alternative beforehand, in detail. Some of these ideas can offer a contrast to what is now, they may be helpful for people to realize that it doesn't actually have to be the way it is now. But that's about it. When you hold on to ideas of 'how it should be', you limit yourself to a very narrow set of ideas that have very little to do with today's reality, and that in itself will most likely do more harm than good.

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_caspar_ wrote

I agree as well. I think the common intro to anarchism youre describing is indicative of living in a world that demands politics-> demanding policy debate. this governance-centered civilized logic (even if critical of it, still tied to and within it) paired with an absence of philosophy (which is also hardly ever seriously introduced or discussed in basic political studies) largely leads to this type of creative stagnation.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

I agree with the contestation of ideological mapping, but market anarchism really fucking sucks

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TheLegendaryBirdMonster wrote

Yeah the word "anarchism" is itself a negation, and anarchy only be defined by negation. I belive this is "anarchism"' 's greatest strength. it makes it hard to explain anarchism with anything else than "not this and not that", but it's worth it imo.

It's really easy to evolve the meaning of anarchism as our understandings of archy evolve. As you said, it's also why there's all the internet infighting, anarchist's definition of "true anarchism" will be different depending on their education and implication in certain subjects. Luckily nobody can define true anarchism with an affirmation.

The best way to explain anarchism, is to do anarchy.

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Sid_Knee wrote

"I'm starting to think that modern anarcho-communists in particular aren't too interested in anarchy. They often put communism first, the 'anarcho' part is then merely used to distance themselves from authoritarian/statist stuff." - I'm glad someone else thinks this, I've been thinking it for a while now. Where I live anarchism has come to mean a mish-mash of mostly reformist ideas, with some vague notion of building dual-power through reformism. Overthrowing the state is never mentioned, nor is the word revolution.

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lautreamont wrote

"anarchism as a system" is nothing else than a rebranding of socialism, which is DOA, as people that get into it eventually "grow up" from it after a few years, and move to more mainstream politics or economics.

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