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Introductory essay on postanarchism

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What is postanarchism?[edit]

First of all consider what is not; postanarchism is not an "ism" - it is not a coherent set of doctrines and beliefs that can be laid out *positively* as a bounded totality. As used here, this profoundly *negative* term refers instead to a broad and heterogeneous array of anarchist and "anarchistic" theories that have found that have been rendered homeless by the overly normalized doctrinarity of most of the classical anarchisms such as syndicalism, anarchocommunism, and platformism as well as their contemporary descendants. This situation is reflected not only in theory but also in the practice of such groups as the antiborder movements, People's Global Action, the Zapatistas, the Autonomen and other such groups that while clearly "antiauthoritarian" in orientation, do not explicitly identify with anarchism as a *tradition* so much as they identify with its *spirit*. The absolute origin of the term, is from the title given to a concept developed by Saul Newman in his book "From Bakunin to Lacan: Antiauthoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power" where it refers to a theoretical move beyond classical anarchism into a more open and hybrid theory, achieved through a synthesis with key concepts and ideas from poststructuralist theory. In this sense it is quite similar to the "postmarxism" of Ernesto Lacalau and Chantal Mouffe in that while it is postanarchist it is also postanarchist - in other words it is not a complete rejection of classical anarchism but rather a step beyond the limits defined for it by Enlightenment thought. Yet this definition is contested and is now and probably always will be unstable - others have have chosen to define the term more broadly, including also ideas and concepts from critical theory, post-leftism, situationism, postcolonialism, autonomism, postmodernism, existentialism, postfeminism, Zapatismo and other contemporary critical-theoretical tendencies. Still others sympathetic to such a project yet skeptical of the urge to move "beyond", explicitly reject the term "postanarchist" and argue that by keeping the term anarchist intact, but adding the adjective "poststructuralist" before it, anarchists preserve what they see as the historically continuous antimodernism that can be found even in classical theorists such as Mikhail Bakunin.

Who are the key thinkers?[edit]

There are no hard and fast "key thinkers" here and as such there is no "canon" either as there might be in many easily defined and disciplined ideologies - this is because postanarchism is not a positivity but a negativity; it is a *rejection* of the doctrinarity of tightly bordered (striated) ideology and an embrace of the borderless multiplicity of (smooth) theory. That said, it is in fact true that certain thinkers within classical and contemporary anarchist theory have far more in common with the "postanarchist turn" than most others do, just as certain thinkers within poststructuralism and critical theory have more in common with an antiauthoritarian analysis than most others do. A few potential classical and contemporary anarchist theorists of interest in this regard might include Todd May, Mikhail Bakunin, Saul Newman, Emma Goldman, Luis Gambone, Max Stirner, Salvo Vaccarro, Hakim Bey, Errico Malatesta, Juergen Muemken, Wolfi Landstreicher, Edson Passetti, and John Zerzan just to name a few. Poststructuralist and other critical theorists that lean towards an antiauthoritarian analysis and would thus be of interest might include Michel Foucault, Kathy Ferguson, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Michael Shapiro, Guy Debord, Timothy Luke, Giorgio Agamben, Jean Baudrillard, Jens Bartelson, Manuel de Landa, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, Judith Butler, Chris Hables Gray, Luce Irigaray, James Der Derian, Paul Feyerabend, and Donna Haraway - for starters. Other than these well-known "theorists", are the equally if not more important, growing numbers of people who just feel dissatisfied with *all* ideologies in general, yet who can also sense the profound resonance an nondoctrinaire antiauthoritarian analysis has within the contemporary social movements.

What are the key sources for such theories?[edit]

Relevant Books:[edit]

  • Agamben, Giorgio "Means Without End: Notes on Politics"
  • Alker, Hayward R. and Shapiro, Michael "Challenging Boundaries: Global Flows, Territorial Identities"
  • Angus, Ian "Technique and Enlightenment: Limits of Instrumental Reason"
  • Angus, Ian "Anarcho-Modernism: Towards a New Critical Theory"
  • Antliff, Allan "Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde"
  • Bartelson, Jens "The Critique of the State"
  • Baudrillard, Jean "The Mirror of Production"
  • Bauman, Zygmunt "Modernity and the Holocaust"
  • Benjamin, Walter "Reflections"
  • Bey, Hakim "Immediatism"
  • Bhabha, Homi "The Location of Culture"
  • Black, Bob "Anarchy after Leftism"
  • Brown, Wendy "States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity"
  • Call, Lewis "Postmodern Anarchism"
  • Clastres, Pierre "Society Against the State"
  • Clastres, Pierre "Archaeology of Violence"
  • Cleaver, Harry "Reading Capital Politically"
  • Clifford, Michael "Political Genealogy After Foucault: Savage Identities"
  • Conley, Verena Andermatt "Ecopolitics: The Environment in Poststructuralist Thought"
  • Connolly, William "The Ethos of Pluralization"
  • Crimethinc Ex-Workers Collective "Days of War, Nights of Love"
  • Cross, Mike "Communities of Individuals: Liberalism, Communitarianism and Sartre's Anarchism"
  • Crump, John "Hatta Shuzo and Pure Anarchism in Interwar Japan"
  • Day, Richard "Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements"
  • Day, Richard "Multiculturalism and the History of Canadian Diversity"
  • Dean, Mitchell "Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society"
  • Derrida, Jacques "Spectres of Marx"
  • Debord, Guy "Where are my Spectacles?"
  • Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix "A Thousand Plateaus" and "Anti-Oedipus"
  • Ferguson, Kathy "The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy"
  • Ferrell, Jeff "Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy"
  • Feyerabend, Paul "Against Method"
  • Foucault, Michel "Power/Knowledge"
  • Foucault, Michel "Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison"
  • Goodman, Paul "Growing Up Absurd"
  • Goodman, Paul "Drawing the Line"
  • Gorz, Andre "Farewell to the Working Class"
  • Greil, Marcus "Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century"
  • Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio "Empire"
  • Heidegger, Martin "The Question Concerning Technology"
  • Horkheimer, Max and Adorno, Theodor "Dialectic of Enlightenment"
  • Kadlec, David "Mosaic Modernism: Anarchism, Pragmatism, Culture"
  • Katsiaficas, George "The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Movements and the Decolonization of Everday Life"
  • Knabb, Ken "Situationist International Anthology"
  • Laclau, Ernesto and Mouffe, Chantal "Hegemony and Socialist Strategy"
  • Marshall, Peter "Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism"
  • May, Todd "The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism"
  • Morland, David "Demanding the Impossible? Human Nature and Politics in Nineteenth Century Social Anarchism"
  • Muemken, Juergen "Freiheit, Individualitaet und Subjektivitaet: Staat und Subjekt in der Postmoderne aus anarchistischer Perspektive"
  • Newman, Saul "From Bakunin to Lacan: Antiauthoritarianism and the Dislocationof Power"
  • Nicholson, Linda and Steven Seidman, "Social Postmodernisms: Beyond Identity Politics"
  • Perez, Ronaldo "Anarchy and Schizoanalysis"
  • Perlin, Terry "Contemporary Anarchism"
  • Plant, Sadie "The Most Radical Gesture: the Situationist International in a Postmodern Age"
  • Purkis, Jon and Bowen, James “Twenty-First Century Anarchism: Unorthodox Ideas for a New Millenium”
  • Redding, Arthur "Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence"
  • Roszak, Theodore "The Making of a Counterculture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society"
  • Schurmann, Reiner "Heidegger on Being and Acting: From Principles to Anarchy"
  • Sloterdijk, Peter “Critique of Cynical Reason”
  • Soguk, Nevzat "States and Strangers: Refugees and Displacements of Statecraft"
  • Starr, Amory "Naming the Enemy: Anticorporate Movements Confront Globalization"
  • Virilio, Paul "Popular Defense and Ecological Struggles"
  • Walunywa, Joseph "Post-Colonial African Theory and Practice: Wole Soyinka's Anarchism"
  • Whimster, Sam "Max Weber and the Culture of Anarchy"
  • Zarrow, Peter "Anarchism and Chinese Political Culture"
  • Zimmerman, Michael "Contesting Earth's Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity"

Relevant Journal Articles:[edit]

  • Bamford, B. “Letter to Editor”, FREEDOM Nov. 15 1997
  • Bookchin, M. “New Social Movements: The Anarchic Dimension”, in D. Goodway, D (ed.) For Anarchism: History, Theory and Practice, (London: Routledge, 1989) , 259-274
  • Caputo, J. “Beyond Aestheticism: Derrida’s Responsible Anarchy” Research in Phenomenology 18(1988): 59-73
  • Call, L. “Anarchy in the Matrix: Postmodern Anarchism in the Novels of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling”. Anarchist Studies, 7: 99-117
  • Day, R. "From Hegemony to Affinity," in Cultural Studies, September 2004 v. 18 n. 5, pp. 716–74
  • Derrida, J. 1992 “Force of Law: The Mystical Foundation of Authority” in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice ed. Drucilla Cornell et. Al. (New York, Routledge, 3-67)
  • Easterbrook, N. (1997) “Anarchy, State and Heterotopia: The Political Imagination in Henlein, Leguin and Delany” in C. Wilcox and D. Hassler (eds.) Political Science Fiction (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press): 43-75
  • Ferguson, K. 1982 “Saint Max Revisited: A Reconsideration of Max Stirner” Idealistic Studies. 12(3), 276-292
  • Ferrer, C. (org.) El Lenguaje Libertario. Vol. 1 e 2. Montevidéu: Editorial Nordan-Comunid, 1991
  • Gemie, S. (1994) “Counter-Community: An Aspect of Anarchist Political Culture” Journal of Contemporary History. 29: 349-367
  • Gill, S (2000) Toward a Postmodern Prince? The Battle in Seattle as a Moment in the New Politics of Globalization”, Millennium 29 (1) 131-140
  • Friedman, J. “Postmodernism Versus Postlibertarianism” Critical Review 5, no. 2 (Spring 1991) 145-158
  • Hartley, D. 1995 “Communitarian Anarchism and Human Nature” Anarchist Studies 3
  • Hunt, L. “Politics and Anti-Politics: Nietzsche’s View of the State” History of Philosophy Quarterly 2, no. 4 (October 1985) 453-468
  • Lucia, M. “Anarchy and the Condition of Contemporary Humanism” in History of European Ideas, v16/n4-6/p577
  • May, T. "Kant the Liberal, Kant the Anarchist: Rawls and Lyotard on Kantian Justice", The Southern Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 28, #4, Winter 1990
  • May, T. “Between Genealogy and Epistemology: Psychology, Politics and Knowledge in the Thought of Michel Foucault” University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993
  • May, T. "Is Post-Structuralist Political Theory Anarchist?",Philosophy and Social Criticism, Vol. 15, #2, 1989
  • May, T. “Anarchismo Ontologico in Gilles Deleuze, Ovvero Come Diventare Un Nomade Ontologico,” tr. Lorenzo Fabbri. Antisofia 1: Potere, 2003
  • May, T. "Morality and Poststructuralism", Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics, 1997
  • May, T. "Beyond Foundationalism and its Opposites: Toward a Reasoned Ethics for Progressive Action" (co-authored with Mark Lance)", American Behavioral Science, Vol. 38, #7, June/July 1995
  • May, T. "The Politics of Life in the Thought of Gilles Deleuze", SubStance, Volume 20, #3, 1991
  • May, T. "The Community's Absence in Lyotard, Nancy, and Lacoue-Labarthe", Philosophy Today, Vol. 37, #3, Fall 1993
  • Merquior, José Guilherme . Michel Foucault, ou o Niilismo de Cátedra. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1985, p.217, 238 e segs
  • Morland, D. "Anarchism, Human Nature and History:Lessons for the Future." Twenty-First Century Anarchism. Ed. Jon Purkis and James Bowen. London: Cassell, 1997. 8-23.
  • Moore, J. “Anarchism and Poststructuralism” Anarchist Studies 5 (1997) , 157-161
  • Muemken, J. (1998) ‘Keine Macht fuer Niemand’, Schwarzer Faden 19 (1): 34-46
  • Passetti, E. "Foucault Libertário". In: Revista Margem. Temporalidades Faculdade de Ciências Sociais da PUC-SP. São Paulo: Educ-SP, 1996
  • Ritter, A., “Anarchism: A Theoretical Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980)
  • Schalow, F. “Revisiting Anarchy: Toward a Critical Appropriation of Reiner Schurmann’s Thought” Philosophy Today 41 (4) 556 (1997)
  • Schrift, A. “Reading, Writing, Text: Nietzsche’s Deconstruction of Author-ity” International Studies in Philosophy 17, no. 2 (1985) 55-64
  • Schurmann, R. 1986 “On Constituting Oneself an Anarchistic Subject” Praxis International 6(3): 294-310
  • Schurmann, R. “What Can I Do?” Journal of Philosophy 82 (1985) 540 –547
  • Schurmann, R. “Adventures of the Double Negation: On Richard Bernstein’s Call for Anti-Anti Humanism” Praxis International 5:3 (1985) 289-290
  • Schurmann, R. “On Self-Regulation and Transgression” Social Research 49 (4) 1038 (1982)
  • Simpson, J. “Archaeology and Politicism: Foucault’s Epistemic Anarchism” Man and World 27, no. 1 (1994) 23-35
  • Surin, K. “The Undecideable and the Fugitive: Mille Plateaux and the State-Form” Substance 66 (1991) 102-113
  • Tifft, L. “The Coming Redefinitions of Crime: An Anarchist Perspective” Social Problems 26, no. 4 (1979) 392-402
  • Vaccaro, Salvo. "Foucault e o Anarquismo". In: Margem, op. cit., p. 158
  • Woolsey, W. W. “Libertarianisms: Mainstream, Radical and Post” Critical Review 8, no. 1 (1994) 73 – 84


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