Saturday, January 2, 2010

Michel Onfray: Postanarchism explained to your grandmother

According to a recent addition to wikipedia: "Recently, the french hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray has embraced the term postanarchism to describe his approach to politics and ethics. He advocates for an anarchism in line with such intellectuals as 'Orwell, Simone Weil, Jean Grenier, Foucault, Deleuze, Bourdieu, Guattari, Lyotard, Derrida and theorists of May 1968' which for him was 'a nietzschetian revolt in order to put an end to the One truth, revealed, an to put in evidence the diversity of truths, in order to make disappear ascetic christian ideas and to help arise new possibilities of existence"

Here is a rough babelfish translation of a news piece from I take full responsibility for any errors in translation. For more information on Michel Onfray see his wikipedia page here.

Postanarchism Explained to Your Grandmother

Last Thursday, the Renaud-Barrault room of the theatre of the Roundabout was full. Michel Onfray gave an conference presentation called "Postanarchism explained to my grandmother". Onfray made fun of the popular books of postanarchist thought and the history of ideas that ntellectuals make regularly with few expenses; addressing adult readers as they would do to children.

Rejecting this kind of simplistic step, Michel Onfray, in the spirit of the Popular university of Caen, intends to revisit the history of anarchistic thought--multiplicitous and contradictory though it may be--by asserting a right of inventory: to retain the ideas which still seem to him of value today and to push back the unacceptable and/or considerably dated standpoint.

While following this logic, the author of Contre histoire de la philosophi (Against a history of philosophy) traces the contours of postanarchism, a current which also exists on the other side of the Atlantic. It starts by sweeping without care a certain number of dogmas (one of its great businesses) of anarchistic thought: the rejection of State; the refusal of elections; the idea according to which capitalism would be overcome in a cataclysmic unfolding on a global scale. On the contrary, for the philosopher, the State is useful, to vote makes it possible to express a power struggle and capitalism is the substantial shape of the world - it is only liberal capitalism which is to be denounced.

Michel Onfray then moved onto a screening of the writings of authors known as anarchistic to make his statement: exit stage the positions of warmongers, homophobes and the male chauvinist pigs of Proudhon, and say yes to pragmatism; exit stage the Christianity of Tolsto├» and the negativity of those which became anarchistic by bitterness; and say yes to positivity, and with all that which is likely to develop the life instinct; yes in the place of the Justice defended by Louise Michel, with the categorical imperative of Bo├ętie -- "Be solved not to be useful more and you will be free" -- reactivated by Thoreau, with the phalansteries of Furrier, the anarcho-syndicalism of Albert Camus in The Revolted man, with education, the pleasures of the body, etc.

If the anarchistic thought were bled by the Commune then by the War of 14-18, before the triumph of the Marxism, the author thinks that anarchism for a time disappeared in the sea and then reappeared. He regards May 1968 as a Nietzschean revolt which put an end to the Truth by highlighting the diversity of multiple truths, and erasing the Christian ascetic ideals thereby marking the emergence of new possibilities for existence.

Michel Onfray proposes a post-anarchism for the past; for today and for tomorrow. Read more...