A Response to an “Anarchist Writer” regarding Post-Left Anarchy

A response I left to a blog about  Post-Left Anarchy here
While I don’t consider myself a Post-Left Anarchist I have been influenced by the philosophy. I disagree with your assertion that Post-Left Anarchy is Leftist or restates old Anarchist ideas as if they are new. There is plenty of good Post Left Anarchy writings out there, and their critique of Leftism is very concrete.

The big difference between Left-Anarchism and Post-Left Anarchism is the former views things from a collectivist point of view and advocates mass movements as a way of overthrowing the current order and establishing a new order on the basis of mutual aid, voluntary cooperation and consensus. Post-Left Anarchists are individualists who view mass movements as reified abstractions. They reject the concepts of class, mass movements and revolution in favor of individual insurrection. Post-Left Anarchists seek to step out of society and create life on their own terms.

From the Post-Left point of view, the Left-Anarchists idea of recreating society is just another form of slavery as they view society and civilization as a whole as the ultimate institution of slavery.

It sounds like you have done some reading on Post-Left Anarchy already, but if you would like to research further I recommend CAL Presses Post Left Anarchist Journal Modern Slavery – available at – http://littleblackcart.com/Modern-Slavery-1.html , the Jason Mcquinn archive at the Anarchist Library – http://theanarchistlibrary.org/authors/jason-mcquinn  and of course Bob Black’s books Anarchy after Leftism and Nightmares of Reason – available here – http://theanarchistlibrary.org/authors/bob-black

Post-Left Anarchists have been greatly influenced by Max Stirner’s Dialectical Egoism as laid out in his 1844 masterwork The Ego and Its Own (Better translated The Unique and its Property) as well as Fredy Perlman’s & John Zerzan’s critiques of Civilization. Dora Marsden has also had an influence on Post-Left Anarchist thought.

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The LGBT Movement; a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Individuals categorized as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender by the dominant order have had to deal with discrimination for a long time. Now their lifestyles are finally becoming acceptable to mainstream society thanks in large part to changes in corporate culture.  What does this mean for people seeking to dismantle civilization and own their lives? Nothing.

lgbtrights

Liberal think tanks are quick to point out that the fight for LGBT rights is far from over. But rights are merely privileges given to a slave by their master. In this case the master is the United States Government. LGBT groups are constantly fighting for the Government to grant them the right to not be fired, the right to join the military, the right to marry etc.

While it is certainly understandable that individuals who identify as LGBT want the same privileges as everyone else, their willingness to utilize State Power to get those privileges shows  they are enemies of people who want to live free of society and its constraints.  People involved in the LGBT movement do not want freedom, they want equality of servitude.

I certainly don’t begrudge anyone for fighting for their own interests. And I sympathize with people who have been discriminated against because of the way they choose to live. But I realize that these same people will not hesitate to label me as an outcast and criminal for my anti-statist Weltanschauung.

Denver riot police

LGBT equality is not my equality. It just means people who identify as LGBT will find it easier to get in positions of power where they will be able to  kill me for not being a subservient slave.  At the end of the day does it really matter who the cop beating in my skull prefers to have sex with?

 

 

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Decolonizing: The Newest Fad in Leftist Recuperation

Back in late 2011 when the Occupy movement still had some momentum, there was a big debate in Oakland about whether to change the name from Occupy Oakland to Decolonize Oakland.

In the end they decided to stick with the name Occupy, but a group split off and took the name Decolonize Oakland.

The reason for the name change as I understand it, is that the term “Occupy” is  offensive to some people who define themselves by one of the social categories the dominant civilizing forces put them in.

Considering Occupy is a word used when a Colonial or Imperial force commodifies the land indigenous people inhabit or even the indigenous people themselves, it is not surprising that the people most affected by this process would want to choose a different name.

The problem I have with this is not that people want to disassociate themselves from a word that carries the connotation of chattel slavery and genocide. My problem is the people that make up Decolonize are still defining themselves by the social categories imposed on them by the dominant order.

While I acknowledge that oppressed groups of individuals experience their dispossession in unique ways that can form the basis for solidarity, I also acknowledge that defining oneself by a social category imposed by the dominant order robs people of the ability to  create their lives on their own terms in free association with others.

As a mass movement, Occupy Oakland defines itself from the point of view of class struggle. The virtuous “99%” versus the villainous “1%.” The individual desires of each member of the 99%  do not matter to Occupy Oakland. What matters is that each individual member of the 99% subordinate their desires and passions to the class struggle ideology of Occupy Oakland.

I commend the members of Decolonize Oakland for rejecting the economic class struggle program of Occupy Oakland.

The problem is Decolonize Oakland is merely switching out one form of ideological subordination for another!

According to the Decolonize Oakland Points of Unity, Decolonize Oakland is a

“collective of queer people of color and people of color.”

While the desire to break free from the Occupy movement is understandable, the creation of a new group based on a shared social identity imposed upon them by the dominant order requires each unique individual to subordinate their individual autonomy to the group.

Their Points of Unity go on to say:

We decolonize to claim spaces for the self-determination of communities of color in Oakland.

Decolonize Oakland speaks of monolithic communities of color where none exist. What does exist are individuals living in Oakland who have been assigned social identities that alienate them from their own lives.

Rather than striving to free themselves from the network of institutions that alienate them from their own lives and creativity, they seek to create a mass movement using an in group/out group dynamic that treats everyone in the in group as “good” and everyone in the out group as “bad” regardless of the individual thoughts, desires and passions of the members of the groups Decolonize Oakland assigns people to. (Meet the new rulers, same as the old rulers)

It should be noted that the motivation for this partially comes from the failure of a large percentage of the individual members of Occupy Oakland to acknowledge and comprehend how the social identities imposed upon them put them at odds with other members of Occupy Oakland who have different social identities imposed upon them.

But the solution is not to create a myriad of splinter groups each with their own political program based on the social identities imposed upon the members of each group. The solution is for each individual to use their own unique creativity and passion to break free from the social roles imposed upon them by the dominant order.

From this viewpoint, it doesn’t matter which involuntary social group an individual belongs to. What matters is their will to break free of all social identities so they can create their own lives according to their individual passions and desires.

Only then will individuals be able to create their own lives according to their own unique passions and desires and see other people as individuals striving to create their own lives as well.

At that point individuals can freely associate based on affinity and begin attacking the ideological structure that creates the institutions that enforce the rule of civilization.

If we fail to free ourselves from the bonds of imposed social identity and subordination to political ideologies, our struggles will merely replicate the institutions and structures that oppress us.

And if that is the case, why bother?

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Michael Albert’s Weird Idea of Freedom

According to Michael Albert, Participatory Economics  is a proposed economic system that uses “participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society.” (Michael Albert, Parecon: Life After Capitalism – Verso, 2003)

Albert believes ParEcon will allow “workers and consumers” to have aself managed say over their economic lives, a condition of solidarity with others, equitable incomes for their labors, diverse opportunities and options, and ecological balance.” (Parecon & Participatory Society, ZCommunications website)

ParEcon and its Political Organization, The International Organization for a Participatory Society have gained favor with several famous Leftists such as Noam Chomsky & Arundhati Roy.

Although ParEcon is more or less a rehashing of old Leftist ideas like Syndicalism and Social Ecology, Roy calls Parecon a brave argument for a much needed, more equitable, democratic, participatory–alternative economic vision.” (http://us.macmillan.com/realizinghope/MichaelAlbert)

Personally, I see nothing brave, needed or desirable in a philosophy that openly advocates compulsory labor as a means of emancipation. I do not doubt that Albert means well, but I can’t help but think that his attachment to modern industrial civilization keeps him from developing a truly liberatory philosophy.

Rather than seeing human beings as autonomous individuals with our own unique needs, wants and desires, Albert describes us as “workers and consumers” and speaks of us having a say in our “economic lives.”

I am not interested in having a say in my “economic life.” In fact, I do not want to have an economic life at all!

At best, the only freedom I would have if forced to live in a Participatory Economy is the freedom to be a self-managed wage slave, essentially owned by the Techno-Industrial-Monstrosity known as Participatory Economics.

In his seminal essay The Abolition of Work, Bob Black claims…

“Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.”

I whole heartedly agree! If work is “production enforced by economic or political means” as Black asserts, then using “participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society” is just another form of slavery like Capitalism, Communism or any other political philosophy based on compulsory work.

Anyone can label their oppressive political philosophy “liberatory,” just ask Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand or Mao Tse-tung!

In his essay On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,  Henry David Thoreau claims “That government is best which governs not at all.” He believed when people are ready for it, that is the government they will have; no government. At the end of the day, government is simply the name we give to the institutions that exist solely for the purpose of forcing us to work!

What Albert, Chomsky, Marx, Bookchin, Rand, Smith and countless other political philosophers fail to realize (or at least mention) is that humans did no work for over 99% of our existence! It is only with the introduction of agriculture and domestication approximately 10 to 12 Thousand years ago that the oppressive slavery known as work came to be!

In his famous essay The Original Affluent Society, anthropologist Marshall Sahlins shows that pre-agricultural/domestication humans met all their wants and needs with relatively little effort and had an amazingly varied and healthy diet!

So if our modern techno-industrial world makes our life harder, why do we cling to it?

Neo-Primitivist philosopher John Zerzan claims that hunter-gatherers lived a playful, egalitarian lifestyle free of hierarchy, division of labor or forced sexual roles. (John Zerzan, Twilight Of The Machines – Feral House 2008) That sounds much more appealing to me than Michael Albert’s philosophy of compulsory yet somehow self-managed slavery.

Perhaps its time we quit looking to other modern domesticated humans for ideas on how to free ourselves from slavery and started looking to our “wild” hunter-gatherer ancestors?

Rather than striving for a Participatory Economy that allows us to self-manage our own slavery, I advocate the anti-political philosophy of Non-Participatory Economics. My “social program” is no social program. My personal program can be summed up with the phrase – Gone to Croatan. 

To all you anti-authoritarians, anarchists, abolitionists and plain ole’ human beings out there I say feel free to join me, or not. Do what you want to do, not what I think you should do. And to Michael Albert and all the other ideologues out there who want to force me to sacrifice my own autonomy for their political philosophy, be it left wing, right wing, socialist, anarchist, capitalist or whatever, I say FUCK YOU!

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