Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Primitivism, post-Modernism, Chomsky and anarchism


There are those who want to popularize anarchist ideas, and then there are those that want to radicalize them. The post-modern anarchists, not unlike the primitivists, are, of course, going to be dismissed by the former group of thinkers who are nothing more than bent on tradition. What is truly interesting, however, is why, afterall, Purchase believes it worth discussing the so-called popularity among radical intellectuals of dismissing the working class while, in the same breath, admitting that these post-modern anarchists are just a very small group. He has mixed up the description of post-modern anarchism with the advocacy of it. What is more ironic is that the book does not tackle, in any way, post-modern anarchism. Why does Purchase feel the need to include them?

"The dismissal of the working classes is currently popular among "radical" intellectuals. Some of the stupidest political ideas and outlooks maybe found among primitivists (back-to-the caves) and post-modernists. A few individuals mistakenly believe themselves to be avant garde anarchist thinkers or philosophers. Post-modern `anarchists' (a tiny clique embedded in the academy) believe class analysis is passé and the working classes largely irrelevant and/or virtually non-existent. Primitivists believe workers exist but are just human robots within our evil industrial-technological civilization, which will end with our return to the caves. Quizzed about his views on such nonsense, Chomsky sensibly replies that "post Modernism is gibberish" (216), and primitivism would entail "the mass genocide of millions" (226). For Chomsky, "technology is a pretty neutral instrument," utilizable for both good and evil ends. (225) He dismisses the post-modernist denial of "fundamental class differences." He hasn't "much problem in discerning class differences and their significance. In fact we see class issues rising all the time." (228)"


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Postanarchism is not what you think: The role of postanarchist theory after the backlash

Postanarchism, according to Rousselle, “has never received the amount of attention or sympathy that it deserved from the radical community at large” (infoshop, 2007). He continues, “Part of the reluctance, I suspect, results from the empty spaces occupying the bookshelves of universities, alternative bookstores and radical lending libraries across the world today” (ibid.). However, the reception of postanarchist theory, I would suggest, is hindered less by the problems associated with its propaganda than with a fundamental misunderstanding, on the part of its critics (in particular: Antliff, 2007; Cohn & Wilbur, 2003; Cohn, 2002; Day, 2005; Franks, 2007; Sasha K, 2004; Zabalaza, 2003) of what the postanarchists’ claims have been. This tension has hindered further dialogue and clarification on the key issues raised in the postanarchist writings and has erected a barrier which can only be dislodged through a careful and attentive investigation into the way in which the debate has played out on both sides of the fence. Judgement must be reserved on the basis of whether the resulting demarcations are worth retaining or abandoning.