Monday, July 20, 2009

Accursed Anarchism: Five Post-Anarchist Meditations on Bataille

"I am myself a war" --Georges Bataille

Any inquiry into the nature of Georges Bataille's troublesome relationship with Marxism appears to me to be a matter of banality expressed through the hysterical (or worse, university) discourses inhabited by those who would not dare probe the traumatic nature of Bataille's commitment to sovereignty[1]; in any case, this vexing relationship is by now a matter of common knowledge and it proves useless if one is truly interested in the exploratory and transformative practices associated with philosophical meditation.[2] Likewise, recent attempts to situate Bataille as the to-finally-be-discovered father-figure of a distinctly post-structuralist/post-modernist lineage have not been met by deaf ears nor by idle pens (c.f. Dorfman, 2002);[3] for instance, not long after Bataille's death Tel Quel—an avant-garde literary journal operating out of Paris at the time—had incisively granted Bataille this very appropriate distinction – the irony of which becomes exposed as the occurrence preceded the popularization of structuralist thought itself (Botting & Wilson, 1991: 5-7, esp. pg 6). What remains to be excavated from Bataille's texts, however, is the nature of his commitment to that proud adversary of Marxist thought: anarchism. This venture resolves itself into two interrelated questions: (1) how might a contemporary anarchist read into Bataille's work? and (2) how might Bataille read into traditional anarchism and how might this reading inform contemporary anarchist philosophy?

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