Murray

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Murray moderator wrote (edited )

If you are indeed "familiar" with Black, and I have certainly seen his antics described by people who are much closer to a "lifestylist" way of of thinking than I could ever be being as I have been immune to fads for years, then you should NOTE one obvious thing. The continued tolerance of his vicious antics is OBVIOUS ! TOTAL ! UNEQUIVOCAL ! proof that the ideology of anarchism as it exists in North America has NO ! answer as to how to prevent psychopaths and other criminals from running rampant in whatever vague utopia they may have in mind. Black is not just a psychopath. He glories in it.

What amazes me about the arguments against a REAL anarchist movement is the delusion that their proponents have that a) they are new and b)that their illusionary syndicalist or anarchocommunist opponents have had nothing to say about such matters in the past or even the present.

First of all the various themes of the mishmash that is popular in American anarchism are actually 100s of years old and predate not only anarchism but modern society in general. "Primitivism" ie the "golden age" is thousands of years old.

"Insurrectionism" ie "the Apocalypse" is equally ancient. The arrogance of "bohemianism" may be younger, but it certainly predates the 1840s and Proudhon's declaration of "anarchism". So-called "spirituality" and the belief that so-called "primitive people" have some magical connection to nature also predates anarchism. I could go on and on with other examples, but the point is obvious. The average American anarchist has a grasp of history that it takes a microscope to see.

Similarily it is the height of both arrogance and ignorance to ignore the actual history of REAL anarchism ie when it became a mass movement. The most popular anarchist book in Spanish translation was Kropotkin's 'The Conquest of Bread', and his vision there has NEVER been exceeded by ideological lifestylists and has only rarely been exceeded by those outside of the ideology. Where anarchism has NOT been the badge of identity of a subculture it has always ! addressed matters that were outside of the workplace, and this was not restricted to Spain. This was a fact long before the 8 hour day or the birth of the ideologues who claim there is no more working class (I can remember the same claim being made by the likes of Marcuse in the 1960s). It is a delusional slander to say that this wasn't an obvious fact.

I will use the example of community gardens because I am quite familiar with both the technical and social context of same.

1)Ordinary people have done such things for decades WITHOUT the input of subcultural anarchists.

2)They do it BETTER technically AND socially than such "anarchists" do.

3)They outnumber the subculturists by at least a thousand to one and probably much more.

4)Such things are, of course, important whether they are "revolutionary" or not.

Personally I am NOT a 'revolutionist". They deserve attention BUT the attention of subculturists is often more destructive than beneficial. If, for instance, I was trying to set up a community garden I would try my damndest to get rid of the scrubby looking ideologue who wants to rant to the people about being "middle class" and how "civilization should be abolished".

Eventually all anarchists are going to have to make a choice. Set aside the liberal bullshit you were taught in school that every opinion is equally correct which has received dogmatic assertion amongst young anarchists that they should genuflect to "diversity of tactics". Either you go with your idea that there is a "non-confrontational" way to anarchism. I call it gradualist anarchism. Others have called it by different names. OR...you can go with the idea that anarcho- arsonists who endanger the lives of anybody living nearby should be glorified. I say this as a resident of a city where gang delivered bullets more often than not hit innocent victims rather than the intended target.

If you are like Bob Black and are willing to side with such people when they "justify" themselves by saying such things as, "I really didn't mean to burn the little bitch" then we have little to talk about. If, however, you are a bit above this PLEASE consider the implications of the tactics you advocate. Anarchism is not an ideology for violent psychopaths, no matter what the likes of Bob Black would have you believe.

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Murray wrote

Anarchism is historically labor movement and I think it's returning to being a labor movement via communalism; the only active anarchist movement that is capable of revolution (in Kurdistan). We need to attract the working class but we can't accomplish that by purposely being really eccentric (hair colors) or dictating peoples lifestyle.

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Murray wrote

There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first ... People have got their entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation. This is the heart of communalism and what sets it apart from useless lifestylist ideologies.

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Murray wrote

When I look around my community at the people who call themselves anarchists, most of them are not involved in any type of organizing that is working to negate capitalism/states/etc.

Anarchism to them is more of a punk lifestyle, a highly individualistic and hip way to live your life. I think these "anarchists" would be more accurately called radical liberals because all their solutions focus on individual change and they never critique structural problems. They'll like go dumpster diving every night and attend punk shows, but when you ask them to help organize or spread anarchy they just laugh and tell you to go read what bob black said about organizing (lol). I always feel like they are using postleft ideology to justify their first world hipster attitude and disengagement with class war.

The social anarchists I know all have some lifestyle commitments, but they never claim those commitments are revolutionary. So, it can be said that bookchin's claims are a false dichotomy there. But that doesn't change the fact that the majority of anarchists, the net movement, has become an ineffective and individualist response to society. Interestingly, the lifestylism strategy in anarchism is tightly correlated with the triumph of neoliberalism and the establishment of liberal post-modern theory. We can even see the individualization of radicals across different movements; the feminist movement went from structural criticisms to postmodern fun feminism at a similar time.

I'm always disappointed to see anarchists who think the current anarchist movement has no strategic problems. Bookchin's criticisms are sharp and on point as always.