The Politics of Postanarchism
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What is the relevance of anarchist thought for politics and political theory today? While many have dismissed anarchism in the past, Saul Newman contends that anarchism's heretical critique of authority, and its insistence on full equality and liberty, places it at the forefront of the radical political imagination today. With the unprecedented expansion of state power in the name of security, the current 'crisis of capitalism' and the terminal decline of Marxist and social democratic projects, it is time to reconsider anarchism as a form of politics. This book seeks to renew anarchist thought through the concept of postanarchism.
new tyranny – a prediction that was confirmed in the experience of the Bolshevik revolution and its aftermath. We have seen in recent times the collapse of these two competing ideologies. Political liberalism – to the extent that it ever existed as anything other than a theory – has been eroded not only by market fundamentalism (neoliberalism), where the market subsumes the political space, but also by the politics of security, in which the totalitarian logic of emergency and control has
University Press, 1994), p. 169. The Euthanasia of Government 45 51 See Peter Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread, and Other Writings, Marshall S. Shatz (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 52 Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, p. 736. 53 See Gilles Deleuze, ‘Many Politics,’ in Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet (eds), trans. Hugh Tomlinson, Dialogues (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), pp. 124–53. 54 Kropotkin, The State, p. 44. 55 Bakunin, Political
not absolute. It is thus ubiquitous, but ever open to challenge.’44 For this reason, the revolution against power must also be a revolution against identity and roles: a process of radical subjectivisation by which we work ourselves out of the bind of power. Insurrectionary politics must, therefore, take place also at the 66 The Politics of Postanarchism molecular level of the subject: questioning the subject’s involvement and complicity with the power that dominates him or her through fixed
insisting that the appropriate domain of politics is not the state, but autonomous spaces that define themselves in opposition to it. For Schmitt, the nation-state is the primary locus of politics because it is the sovereign state which decides on the friend/enemy distinction. However, from a postanarchist perspective, the state is actually the order of depoliticisation: it is the structure of power that polices politics, regulating, controlling and repressing the insurgent dimension that is
anarchism has a necessarily ambiguous relationship. But we can say at this stage that the radical and decentralised democracy invoked at times by the Marxist tradition, points towards, and seems to aspire to, a form of anarchism. Marx claimed in his early writings that ‘democracy is the solved riddle of all constitutions’; and that ‘all forms of state have democracy for their truth and that they are untrue insofar as they are not democracy’.7 Can we not say the same about anarchism? Perhaps, in