anarchism or rev movement

Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-first Century (2004) by andrej grubacic & david graeber via kindle version from anarchist library []:



Increasing numbers of revolutionaries have begun to recognize that “the revolution” is not going to come as some great apocalyptic moment, the storming of some global equivalent of the Winter Palace, but *a very long process that has been going on for most of human history (even if it has like most things come to accelerate of late) full of strategies of flight and evasion as much as dramatic confrontations, and which will never — indeed, most anarchists feel, should never — come to a definitive conclusion.

*maybe.. but i don’t think it really has been going on.. we’ve been too obsessed/intoxicated with not letting go of same song ness.. to me.. we haven’t yet tried anything legit diff.. and to me.. when we do.. it will not be a long process at all.. since to me.. that legit something different is something every soul already craves.. they just need to see how to jump off.. or how to jump in.. or whatever verbiage to leap/re\set

It’s a little disconcerting, but it offers one enormous consolation: we do not have to wait until “after the revolution” to begin to get a glimpse of what genuine freedom might be like. As the Crimethinc Collective, the greatest propagandists of contemporary American anarchism, put it: *“Freedom only exists in the moment of revolution. And those moments are not as rare as you think.” For an anarchist, in fact, to try to create non-alienated experiences, true democracy, is an ethical imperative; only by making one’s form of organization in the present at least a rough approximation of how a free society would actually operate, how everyone, someday, should be able to live, can one guarantee that we will not cascade back into disaster. **Grim joyless revolutionaries who sacrifice all pleasure to the cause can only produce grim joyless societies.

*again.. i don’t think we’ve seen legit freedom yet.. why we keep perpetuating myth of tragedy and lord et al

**imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)


There are still thousands of academic Marxists, but almost no academic anarchists. This lag is somewhat difficult to interpret. 

to me.. can’t combine those two words.. any form of m\a\p

Anarchism, in the standard accounts, usually comes out as Marxism’s poorer cousin, theoretically a bit flat-footed but making up for brains, perhaps, with passion and sincerity. Really the analogy is strained. The “founders” of anarchism did not think of themselves as having invented anything particularly new. *The saw its basic principles — mutual aid, voluntary association, egalitarian decision-making — as as old as humanity. The **same goes for the rejection of the state and of all forms of structural violence, inequality, or domination (anarchism literally means “without rulers”) — even the assumption that all these forms are somehow related and reinforce each other. None of it was seen as some startling new doctrine, but a ***longstanding tendency in the history human thought, and one that cannot be encompassed by any general theory of ideology.

*not basic principles of legit free people.. ie: voluntary compliance; decision making is unmooring us law; et al

**if this is true (about the word anarchism).. then *are not part of it.. they are cancerous distraction

***to me.. none to date are legit/untoxicated/anarchist ish

endnote 1: This doesn’t mean anarchists have to be against theory. It might not need High Theory, in the sense familiar today. Certainly it will not need one single, Anarchist High Theory. That would be completely inimical to its spirit. Much better, we think, something more in the spirit of *anarchist decision-making processes: applied to theory, this would mean accepting the need for a diversity of high theoretical perspectives, united only by certain shared commitments and understandings. Rather than based on the need to prove others’ fundamental assumptions wrong, it seeks to find particular projects on which they reinforce each other. Just because theories are incommensurable in certain respects does not mean they cannot exist or even reinforce each other, any more than the fact that individuals have unique and incommensurable views of the world means they cannot become friends, or lovers, or work on common projects. Even more than High Theory, what anarchism needs is what might be called low theory: **a way of grappling with those real, immediate questions that emerge from a transformative project.

*oi.. need curiosity over decision making.. otherwise.. being ruled.. ie: socrates supposed to law; maté trump law; .. by any form of m\a\p

**if legit free..

need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

On one level it is a kind of faith: a belief that most forms of irresponsibility that seem to make power necessary are in fact the effects of power itself. In practice though it is *a constant questioning, an effort to identify every compulsory or hierarchical relation in human life, and challenge them to justify themselves, and if they cannot — which usually turns out to be the case — an effort to limit their power and thus widen the scope of human liberty. Just as a Sufi might say that Sufism is the core of truth behind all religions, an anarchist might argue that anarchism is the urge for freedom behind all political ideologies.

*this is what you talk about in graeber interview w thwaite.. at end on reaction vs radical.. if you go there.. ie: effort to id compulsory/hierarchical/challenge/limit.. then actually perpetuating the rat race


Anarchists are distinguished by what they do, and how they organize themselves to go about doing it. And indeed this has always been *what anarchists have spent most of their time thinking and arguing about. They have never been much interested in the kinds of broad strategic or philosophical questions that preoccupy Marxists such as Are the peasants a potentially revolutionary class? (anarchists consider this something for peasants to decide) or what is the nature of the commodity form? **Rather, they tend to argue about what is the truly democratic way to go about a meeting, at what point organization stops empowering people and starts squelching individual freedom. Is “leadership” necessarily a bad thing? Or, alternately, about the ethics of opposing power: What is direct action? Should one condemn someone who assassinates a head of state? When is it okay to throw a brick?

*need to quit thinking/arguing .. cancerous distractions

**oi.. all cancerous distractions.. ie: any form of democratic admin; meetings ness; leader\ness; direct action; et al

Marxism, then, has tended to be a theoretical or analytical discourse about revolutionary strategy. Anarchism has tended to be an ethical discourse about revolutionary practice. As a result, where Marxism has produced brilliant theories of praxis, it’s mostly been anarchists who have been working on the praxis itself.

perhaps.. but not legit diff praxis.. ie: imagine if we

But the three essentials that run throughout all manifestations of anarchist ideology are definitely there — anti-statism, anti-capitalism and prefigurative politics (i.e. modes of organization that consciously resemble the world you want to create. Or, as an anarchist historian of the revolution in Spain has formulated “an effort to think of not only the ideas but the facts of the future itself”. This is present in anything from jamming collectives and on to Indy media, all of which can be called anarchist in the newer sense. In some countries, there is only a very limited degree of confluence between the two coexisting generations, mostly taking the form of following what each other is doing — but not much more.

One reason is that the *new generation is much more interested in developing new forms of practice than arguing about the finer points of ideology. The most dramatic among these have been the development of new forms of decision-making process, the beginnings, at least, of an alternate culture of democracy. The famous North American spokescouncils, where thousands of activists coordinate large-scale events by consensus, with no formal leadership structure, are only the most spectacular.

*if still stuck in forms of decision making.. not alternate.. not new form


*Actually, even calling these forms “new” is a little bit deceptive. One of the main inspirations for the new generation of anarchists are the Zapatista autonomous municipalities of Chiapas, based in Tzeltal or Tojolobal — speaking communities who have been using **consensus process for thousands of years — only now adopted by revolutionaries to ensure that women and younger people have an equal voice. In North America, “consensus process” emerged more than anything else from the feminist movement in the ’70s, as part of a broad backlash against the macho style of leadership typical of the ’60s New Left. The idea of consensus itself was borrowed from the Quakers, who again, claim to have been inspired by the Six Nations and other Native American practices.

*even deeper.. not conditions for legit free people

**public consensus always oppresses someone(s)

Consensus is often misunderstood. One often hears critics claim it would cause stifling conformity but almost never by *anyone who has actually observed consensus in action, at least, as guided by trained, experienced facilitators (some recent experiments in Europe, where there is little tradition of such things, have been somewhat crude). In fact, the operating assumption is that no one could really convert another completely to their point of view, or probably should. **Instead, the point of consensus process is to allow a group to decide on a common course of action. Instead of voting proposals up and down, proposals are worked and reworked, scotched or reinvented, ***there is a process of compromise and synthesis, until one ends up with something everyone can live with. When it comes to the final stage, actually “finding consensus”, there are two levels of possible objection: one can “stand aside”, which is to say “I don’t like this and won’t participate but I wouldn’t stop anyone else from doing it”, or “block”, which has the effect of a veto. One can only block if one feels a proposal is in violation of the fundamental principles or reasons for being of a group. One might say that the function which in the US constitution is relegated to the courts, of striking down legislative decisions that violate constitutional principles, is here relegated with anyone with the courage to actually stand up against the combined will of the group (though of course there are also ways of challenging unprincipled blocks).

*still whales in sea world in deep need of detox.. so yeah.. legit think it’s diff.. but legit .. not diff.. same song

**we need an alt that doesn’t have a requirement of deciding on something..

***oi.. so maté trump law ish.. so stifling.. such a hidden structural violence.. spiritual violence.. such a cancerous distraction.. because we don’t think it is

*One could go on at length about the elaborate and surprisingly sophisticated methods that have been developed to ensure all this works; of forms of modified consensus **required for very large groups; of the way consensus itself reinforces the principle of decentralization by ensuring one doesn’t really want to bring proposals before very large groups unless one has to, of means of ensuring gender equity and resolving conflict… ***The point is this is a form of direct democracy which is very different than the kind we usually associate with the term — or, for that matter, with the kind of majority-vote system usually employed by European or North American anarchists of earlier generations, or still employed, say, in middle class urban Argentine asambleas (though not, significantly, among the more radical piqueteros, the organized unemployed, who tend to operate by consensus.) With increasing contact between different movements internationally, the inclusion of indigenous groups and movements from Africa, Asia, and Oceania with radically different traditions, we are seeing the beginnings of a new global reconception of what “democracy” should even mean, one as far as possible from the neoliberal parlaimentarianism currently promoted by the existing powers of the world.

*huge red flag we’re doing it/life wrong.. we need a problem deep enough to resonate w/8bn today.. a mechanism simple enough to be accessible/usable to 8bn today.. and an ecosystem open enough to set/keep 8bn legit free

**no req’s.. just a means for infinitesimal structures approaching the limit of structureless\ness and/or vice versa .. aka: ginorm/small ness

***to me.. if req’s and consensus.. if any form of democratic admin.. then same song.. not diff.. not new

*Again, it is difficult to follow this new spirit of synthesis by reading most existing anarchist literature, because those who spend most of their energy on questions of theory, rather than emerging forms of practice, are the most likely to maintain the old sectarian dichotomizing logic. Modern anarchism is imbued with countless contradictions. While small-a anarchists are slowly incorporating ideas and practices learned from indigenous allies into their modes of organizing or alternative communities, the main trace in the written literature has been the emergence of a sect of Primitivists, a notoriously contentious crew who call for the complete abolition of industrial civilization, and, in some cases, even agriculture. **Still, it is only a matter of time before this older, either/or logic begins to give way to something more resembling the practice of consensus-based groups.

*the diff isn’t theory and practice.. the diff is if we have the legit center of problem.. otherwise spinning our wheels to perpetuate myth of tragedy and lord et al

**yeah.. all comes back around.. to cancerous distraction


What would this new synthesis look like? Some of the outlines can already be discerned within the movement. It will insist on constantly expanding the focus of anti-authoritarianism, moving away from class reductionism by trying to grasp the “totality of domination”, that is, to highlight not only the state but also gender relations, and not only the economy but also cultural relations and ecology, sexuality, and freedom in every form it can be sought, and each not only through the sole prism of authority relations, but also informed by richer and more diverse concepts.

that’s fuller too much law ness.. let go

This approach does not call for an endless expansion of material production, or hold that technologies are neutral, but it also doesn’t decry technology per se. Instead, it becomes familiar with and employs diverse types of technology as appropriate. It not only doesn’t decry institutions per se, or political forms per se, it tries to conceive new institutions and new political forms for activism and for a new society, including **new ways of meeting, new ways of decision making, new ways of coordinating, along the same lines as it already has with revitalized affinity groups and spokes structures. And it not only doesn’t decry reforms per se, but struggles to define and win non-reformist reforms, **attentive to people’s immediate needs and bettering their lives in the here-and-now at the same time as moving toward further gains, and eventually, wholesale transformation.

oi.. again.. *not new/diff .. if still ie: meetings ness; decision making ness..

**to legit do this.. need 1st/most: means to undo our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature so we can org around legit needs

*And of course theory will have to catch up with practice. To be fully effective, modern anarchism will have to include at least three levels: activists, people’s organizations, and researchers. The problem at the moment is that anarchist intellectuals who want to get past old-fashioned, vanguardist habits — the Marxist sectarian hangover that still haunts so much of the radical intellectual world — are not quite sure what their role is supposed to be. Anarchism needs to become reflexive. But how? On one level the answer seems obvious. **One should not lecture, not dictate, not even necessarily think of oneself as a teacher, but must listen, explore and discover. To tease out and make explicit the tacit logic already underlying new forms of radical practice. To put oneself at the ***service of activists by providing information, or exposing the interests of the dominant elite carefully hidden behind supposedly objective, authoritative discourses, rather than ****trying to impose a new version of the same thing. But at the same time most recognize that intellectual struggle needs to reaffirm its place. Many are beginning to point out that one of the basic weaknesses of the anarchist movement today is, with respect to the time of, say, Kropotkin or Reclus, or Herbert Read, exactly the neglecting of the symbolic, the visionary, and overlooking of the effectiveness of theory. How to move from ethnography to utopian visions — ideally, as many utopian visions as possible? It is hardly a coincidence that some of the greatest recruiters for anarchism in countries like the United States have been feminist science fiction writers like Starhawk or Ursula K. LeGuin

*oi .. what we need is something deep, simple and open enough for everyone.. today..

**true.. but for that to be legit listening.. need to listen to gut.. itch-in-the-soul first.. imagine if we listened to the itch-in-8b-souls 1st thing everyday & used that data to connect us (tech as it could be.. ai as augmenting interconnectedness)

***this is ****that


One way this is beginning to happen is as anarchists begin to recuperate the experience of other social movements with a more developed body of theory, ideas that come from circles close to, indeed inspired by anarchism. Let’s take for example the idea of participatory economy, which represents an anarchist economist vision par excellence and which supplements and rectifies anarchist economic tradition. Parecon theorists argue for the existence of not just two, but three major classes in advanced capitalism: not only a proletariat and bourgeoisie but a “coordinator class” whose role is to manage and control the labor of the working class. This is the class that includes the management hierarchy and the professional consultants and advisors central to their system of control — as lawyers, key engineers and accountants, and so on. They maintain their class position because of their relative monopolization over knowledge, skills, and connections. As a result, economists and others working in this tradition have been trying to create models of an economy which would systematically eliminate divisions between physical and intellectual labor. Now that anarchism has so clearly become the center of revolutionary creativity, proponents of such models have increasingly been, if not rallying to the flag, exactly, then at least, emphasizing the degree to which their ideas are compatible with an anarchist vision.

Similar things are starting to happen with the development of anarchist political visions. Now, this is an area where classical anarchism already had a leg up over classical Marxism, which never developed a theory of political organization at all. Different schools of anarchism have often advocated very specific forms of social organization, albeit often markedly at variance with one another. Still, anarchism as a whole has tended to advance what liberals like to call ‘negative freedoms,’ ‘freedoms from,’ rather than substantive ‘freedoms to.’ Often it has celebrated this very commitment as evidence of anarchism’s pluralism, ideological tolerance, or creativity. But as a result, there has been a reluctance to go beyond developing small-scale forms of organization, and a faith that larger, more complicated structures can be improvised later in the same spirit.

There have been exceptions. Pierre Joseph Proudhon tried to come up with a total vision of how a libertarian society might operate. It’s generally considered to have been a failure, but it pointed the way to more developed visions, such as the North American Social Ecologists’s “libertarian municipalism”. There’s a lively developing, for instance, on how to balance principles of worker’s control — emphasized by the Parecon folk — and direct democracy, emphasized by the Social Ecologists.

Still, there are a lot of details still to be filled in: what are the anarchist’s full sets of positive institutional alternatives to contemporary legislatures, courts, police, and diverse executive agencies? How to offer a political vision that encompasses legislation, implementation, adjudication, and enforcement and that shows how each would be effectively accomplished in a non-authoritarian way — not only provide long-term hope, but to inform immediate responses to today’s electoral, law-making, law enforcement, and court system, and thus, many strategic choices. Obviously there could never be an anarchist party line on this, the general feeling among the small-a anarchists at least is that we’ll need many concrete visions. Still, between actual social experiments within expanding self-managing communities in places like Chiapas and Argentina, and efforts by anarchist scholar/activists like the newly formed Planetary Alternatives Network or the Life After Capitalism forums to begin locating and compiling successful examples of economic and political forms, the work is beginning. It is clearly a long-term process. But then, the anarchist century has only just begun.