humanispherian

humanispherian OP wrote

A desire to have better fights has really been the thing that has connected me to the anarchists I considered allies or accomplices. And "tension" is a good word, charged as it is in various ways, for what might be inescapably at the core of anarchism (with or without some reference to Bonanno's talk.)

I've ended up doing a bit of follow-up already in a Twitter thread, spurred by some annoying capitalist misreadings of anarchist history.

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humanispherian OP wrote

Part of the reason for a "beyond good and evil" approach—which does not preclude identifying acts as undesirable for various more specific reason—is precisely that prejudices and conventions are at least as like to lead to slavery, torture or genocide as a more individualist approach. And, of course, Armand was fairly clear about what would replace the rejected elements:

We want, on the contrary, an individualism that radiates joy and benevolence, like a warm hearth. We want a sunlit individualism, even in the dead of winter. An individualism for disheveled and delirious Bacchantes, which expands and spreads and overflows, without priests and without masters, without borders and without shores. An individual that does not want to suffer or carry burdens, but does not want to make others suffer or to inflict burdens. An individualism that does not feel humiliated when called upon to heal the wounds it may have thoughtlessly caused along the way. Ah! What a rich, what a beautiful individualism that is!

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humanispherian OP wrote

I think you're right in your understanding of prefiguration. I'm just at a funny place in my understanding of anarchism. "Constructing Anarchisms" is, for me, all about putting what I think I know to the test, so that I can perhaps talk a bit more confidently on the other side about some of these practical issues. A number of these questions suddenly have, for me, all sorts of new wrinkles to smooth out.

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humanispherian OP wrote

The real difficulty with the Proudhonian material is that there is a whole toolkit to master and anarchists haven't done much of that work over the years. The theory of collective force is the rationale behind "property is theft," a notion that presumably nearly all anarchists agree with, but even those of us who are pretty committed to this kind of anarchist analysis may still feel like beginners when it comes to translating its terms into, say, the terms used by anarchist communists.

I'm honestly still wrestling with what prefiguration can really mean for anarchists, given the rather fluid nature of what we might hope to prefigure. It's a question I've been wrestling with in my notebooks lately, but I can't claim to have come to any very firm conclusions.

(And apologies for the delay in responding. It's been a heck of a week.)

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humanispherian OP wrote

"Does not preclude" only makes sense in a context like our own in the anarchist milieus, where the question of "markets" is so divisive—and also perhaps so badly understood. Is it "weaselly" to refuse to "pick a side" in a fight that I think misses the point pretty badly? Others can decide.

I'm uncertain whether "gift economy" is a useful description of what anarchist communists intend. Anthropological accounts of gift economies include a lot of elements of individual property, competition, etc. that I'm not sure really apply to the common property that seems generally proposed. I've used the notion in some writing about property, in ways that I hope makes giving a really central element. But the an-com position I encounter most often just sidesteps the questions of property and value as much as possible: the complexities of things make precise divisions and valuations possible and less precise judgments are (for various reasons) undesirable. Sometimes it seems to come down to "nice people don't put numbers on things."

I think we have to be prepared for circumstances that do not involve plenty, let alone "post-scarcity," and that it will be some time before we can say that the possibility of exploitation is no longer one we need to guard against. That means confronting questions of valuation and property—hopefully with a deep understanding of the difficulties, which is why I tend to bring things back to the application of the theory of collective force—and establishing norms and forms that help us to protect one another. Some of those will be unmistakably "market" forms, but one of the fine things that past "market anarchist" experiments have given us is some examples of norms and institutions that have tendencies very different from the elements of capitalist markets.

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humanispherian OP wrote (edited )

Seems like I do that about once a week on The Site That Shall Not Be Named.

We say "does not preclude" in order to emphasize that it is others who have narrowed the anarchistic options, while mutualism is anarchism with the (anarchistic) options left open and we'll address specific situations with specifically appropriate practices.

"The Character and Scope of the Mutualist Market" covers some basic issues and "Collective force: notes on contribution and disposition" is sort of a deep dive into principles.

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humanispherian OP wrote

The people who have hung in haven't been the ones who expressed the most interest initially (as often happens), so I've adjusted the way I'm approaching this second phase. There's a pdf of the whole first phase, but I'm also treating the historical survey as if there will be newcomers.

I think that the format for the survey will be fairly clear in the next couple of posts. And I check in regularly various places, including here, to see if there are questions.

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