Hearing this, the club reached out to the organizers of the event, the Gender Justice League , and offered to assist with security or to provide escorts. Brooke Wylie, the head of security for the Gender Justice League in charge of overseeing the person security detail for the event, did some research on the club.
She told them the event had a policy of having no open carry that is, no visible weapon , which they were fine with. She accepted their offer. Police were also present, but many marginalized groups do not trust them to provide protection at public events, especially when far-right groups are involved. Each member showed up with a concealed handgun. This scenario — in which armed community groups are working together to patrol a Pride event and protect it from other malicious and potentially armed groups — is becoming more and more common.
There are more guns than people in America — approximately million in a country of million people. An average of 34, people died each year from firearms; in , of those deaths were the result of police shootings. And the memory of the Pulse nightclub shooting in , when 49 people were killed at a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida, is still hanging heavily over the LGBTQ community. Throughout the day, Puget Sound members stood watch oversections of the park, staying connected via walkie-talkies.
We want to build relationships with people in our community, we want to appear approachable. While the group has not used deadly force, a former member of the group, Willem Van Spronsen, recently made headlines when he was killed by police after trying to set fire to Ice vehicles in a parking lot outside the Northwest Detention Center In Tacoma, Washington, a private immigration detainment facility.
Gun control advocates are quick to point out that more guns often means more violence, no matter the intent behind them. At a Milo Yiannopoulos rally at the University of Washington in , an antifascist protester was shot in the stomach by a Trump supporter named Elizabeth Hokoana, who then claimed self-defense; if convicted, she faces up to 15 years in prison. This is the context in which an armed community defense group has been invited to protect a trans pride event.
The thinking goes that, since there are already guns everywhere, and the people who want to hurt minority groups are often heavily armed, their side may as well have guns, too. When asked about how they would react if a survivor of gun violence came up and confronted them about their decision to bring guns into a public protest space, the Puget Sound Club members say that they would approach the situation with empathy. A member named Seraphiad pointed to their own history with gun violence as a starting point.
For many other left-leaning organizations, guns remain a difficult topic. The second amendment has attained almost religious significance to some conservative gun owners, while gun control has become a defining issue for centrists and liberals, the opinions of those on the more radical left vary. Our members represent a diversity of viewpoints on this topic.
Others have been more forthcoming. Blanchfield also sees an issue in the way armed groups have the potential to inadvertently replicate existing oppressive structures. Twenty-one members turned up that day. But when the prominent individualist publisher Benjamin Tucker went over to Stirnerist egoism in the late nineteenth century, he split the American individualists.
This, as much as the competition from collectivists credited by Bookchin [6- 7], brought about the decline of the tendency. Although there were exceptions, the moralistic natural-rights individualists — which were most of them — usually ended up as essentially advocates of pure free-market capitalism.
But no more than Stirner did they exhibit any interest in laissez-faire or any economics. For instance, take L. Susan Brown please! As Marx so truly said, the educator himself needs educating. And as Diogenes said, why not whip the teacher when the student misbehaves?
Alcoholics Anonymous is the only Protestant cult which still imposes this requirement. Most believers never made it that far. Nowadays, anarcho-communism is Bookchinism or it is nothing — according to Bookchin Susan Brown is hardly heretical in pointing out ch. As anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker wrote and he was only summarizing the obvious :.
In modern Anarchism we have the confluence of the two great currents which during and since the French Revolution have found such characteristic expression in the intellectual life of Europe: Socialism and Liberalism Anarchism has in common with Liberalism the idea that the happiness and the prosperity of the individual must be the standard in all social matters. And, in common with the great representatives of Liberal thought, it has also the idea of limiting the functions of government to a minimum.
Its supporters have followed this thought to its ultimate logical consequences, and wish to eliminate every institution of political power from the life of society 16, 18— Nobody chooses his ancestors. Rationally, no one should be ashamed of them. Visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, even unto the fourth generation Exodus — as the Dean is doing, pretty much on schedule — hardly comports with the Enlightenment rationalism he claims as his ancestry 21, Having lambasted individualists as liberals, he turns around and insinuates that they are fascists!
This would be a sophisticated version of guilt-by-association if it were sophisticated. McCarthyism is the political strategy of guilt by association. The Senator sought to uncover association as evidence of guilt. The Dean affirms guilt as evidence of association.
And another thing, nineteenth-century romanticism was neither exclusively conservative nor exclusively German. So was the V Almost openly erotic references to iron and steel recur with monotonous and pathological frequency in Nazi rhetoric. As John Zerzan remarked in a book the Dean claims to have read 39—42, 62 n. Behind the rhetoric of National Socialism, unfortunately, was only an acceleration of technique, even into the sphere of genocide as a problem of industrial production.
For the Nazis and the gullible, it was, again a question of how technology is understood ideally, not as it really is. Man gives them form and spirit. A Hegelian, a Jew, a sort-of scholar, a Marxist, a hopeless city- statist — does this sound like anybody familiar? Moore We are developing and proclaiming a great new idea that runs through modern life: the idea of mechanical beauty. We therefore exalt love for the machine, the love we notice flaming on the cheeks of mechanics scorched and smeared with coal.
Have you never seen a mechanic lovingly at work on the great powerful body of his locomotive? His is the minute, loving tenderness of a lover caressing his adored woman Flint The Germans conquered Europe with Panzers and Stukas not by blood-and-soil hocus-pocus. Nazi ideology is far tool incoherent to be characterized as either pro- or anti-technological.
It was vague and inconsistent so as to appeal to as many people as possible who desperately needed something to believe in, something to free them from freedom, something to command their loyalty. And finally, individualist anarchists are terrorists — or rather, anarchist terrorists are individualists. The inseparable association of anarchism with terrorism commenced for Americans with a specific event: the Haymarket tragedy in Chicago in Eight prominent anarchists involved in the union movement, but indisputably innocent of the bombing, were convicted of murder and four of them hanged one committed suicide on the basis of their anarchist agitation and beliefs.
Schuster ; Woodcock And the anarchism with which the link was forged was the collectivist anarchism of the Haymarket defendants. That they were, as individuals, innocent is irrelevant to the genesis of the mad-bomber legend. Some thought it the most effective way to dramatize anarchism and disseminate it to the masses.
Anarchy after Leftism
August Vaillant, who bombed the French Chamber of Deputies, was a leftist Tuchman 91 and a member of an anarchist group Bookchin The Spanish anarchists whom the Dean esteems above all others , had perhaps the longest terrorist tradition of all. There were sporadic bombings in the s which became chronic, at least in the anarchist stronghold of Barcelona, in the s Bookchin ch.
The pistolero phase subsided as the anarchists, who were getting the worst of the violence anyway, were driven underground by the Primo de Rivera dictatorship at the same time that a measure of prosperity took the edge off the class struggle. But anarcho-terrorism never ceased. Terrorism has been, for better or for worse, a recurrent anarchist tactic for more than a century. Here is how he does the stretch:. In the traditionally individualist-liberal United States and Britain, the s are awash in self-styled [that word again!
Ad hoc adventurism, personal bravura, an aversion to theory oddly akin to the antirational biases of postmodernism, celebrations of theoretical incoherence pluralism , a basically apolitical and anti-organizational commitment to imagination, desire, and ecstasy, and an intensely self-oriented enchantment of [ sic ] everyday life, reflect the toll that social reaction has taken on Euro-American anarchism over the past two decades 9. A critic will choose two dissimilar works — the Tao Te Ching and the Nights , let us say — and attribute them to the same writer, and then with all probity explore the psychology of this interesting homme de lettres The label is self-verifying.
The decline of the New Left and the transformation of the sixties counter-culture into more institutionalized cultural forms compatible with the status quo created among many committed anarchists a longing for the ideological security and pedigree that also afflicts the dwindling Marxist sects of our day There cannot be a name goes the argument unless there is something real which that name designates. The reflective reader will probably spot at least some of the flaws in this line of argument which almost all philosophers have long since recognized.
Maybe Burlington is awash in Bookchinists — a veritable Yankee Barcelona — but this conjecture is as yet unconfirmed. Most of this gibberish is pejorative and content-free. If the dizzy Dean is saying anything substantive, he is claiming that those he has lumped lumpened?
The question of organization is so large as to require a chapter in itself Chapter 5. As to this the Dean is nothing less than grotesque. When is a theorist not a theorist? When his theory is not the theory of Dean Bookchin. Bookchinism is not just the only true theory, it is the only theory.
Marxism, of course, is not theory, it is bourgeois ideology [Bookchin ]. Like Hegel and Marx before him, Bookchin likes to think that he is not only the finest but the final theorist. As they were wrong, so is he. This is, if anything, even zanier. How can a political philosophy like anarchism — any variety of anarchism — be apolitical? There is, to be sure, a difference between Bookchinism and all anarchisms.
Anarchism is anti-political by definition. Bookchinism is political specifically, it is city-statist, as shall shortly be shown. As such, it stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in a much more radical way than liberalism ever did. Godwin, for instance, argued that anarchism was the logical implication of utilitarianism.
His adoption of the utilitarian maxim was neither ironic nor critical. Hedonism in some sense of the word has always been common ground for almost all anarchists. Rudolph Rocker attributed anarchist ideas to the Hedonists and Cynics of antiquity 5. We think love and respect could be forces as powerful as they are wonderful. The problem is not that Yuppies, or unionized factory workers, or small businessmen, or retirees, or whomever, are selfish. The problem is the prevailing social organization of selfishness as a divisive force which actually diminishes the self.
As society is now set up, individual selfishness is collectively, and literally, self -defeating. No theory will ever accomplish that a priori , although theory might inform its resolution in practice. We need, not for people to be less selfish, but for us to be better at being selfish in the most effective way, together.
For that, they need to understand themselves and society better — to desire better, to enlarge their perceptions of the genuinely possible, and to appreciate the real institutional and ideological impediments to realizing their real desires. In typical retro-Marxist fashion, the Dean purports to resort, on this point as on others, to the ultimate argument from authority, the argument from History:. As a preliminary quibble — I can sometimes be as petty as lit. Bookchin was 13 in and 15 in He has no more personal knowledge of either of these revolts than my six year old niece does.
Another old man, Ronald Reagan, remembered the moving experience of liberating German concentration camps, although he spent World War II making propaganda films in Hollywood. What the uprising of the Austrian workers state socialists, incidentally, not anarchists , savagely suppressed in only three days, has to do with present-day revolutionary anarchist prospects, I have no more idea than Bookchin seems to.
Spain, where anarchists played so prominent a role in the revolution, especially in its first year, is a more complicated story. Of course it was a bitter struggle. It was a war, after all, and war is hell. He would have been draft-age military material, at age 21, in when they were drafting almost everybody, even my spindly, nearsighted 30 year old father.
Waving the bloody shirt at lifestyle anarchists might be more impressive if Bookchin had ever worn it. This is the sort of metaphysical dualism which vitiates almost everything the Dean has to say Jarach There was a great deal festivity and celebration even in the Spanish Revolution, despite the unfavorable conditions. In Barcelona, young anarchists commandeered cars — motoring was a thrill hitherto beyond their means — and careened through the streets on errands of dubious revolutionary import Seidman 1, ; Borkenau 70 : mostly they were just joyriding.
May they not be the last! Consider the Paris Commune of , which the Situationists referred to as the greatest rave-up of the nineteenth century:. The Communards of the Belleville district in Paris, who fought the battles of the barricades and died by the tens of thousands under the guns of the Versaillais, refused to confine their insurrection to the private world described by symbolist poems or the public world described by Marxist economics.
They demanded the eating and the moral, the filled belly and the heightened sensibility. The Commune floated on a sea of alcohol — for weeks everyone in the Belleville district was magnificently drunk. Lacking the middle-class proprieties of their instructors, the Belleville Communards turned their insurrection into a festival of public joy, play and solidarity Bookchin It is something North American anarchists have always shied away from, even in the heyday of the Left That Was.
The Dean, as previously noted, has spent his entire anarchist life going out of his way not to involve himself with any such organization — not from principle, apparently, but because he was preoccupied, personalistically, with his own career. Jacques Camatte 19—38 and, before him, the disillusioned socialist Robert Michels with whom the Dean is not entirely unfamiliar , provided some theoretical reasons for us to think so. Dean Bookchin himself , recounts the bureaucratic degeneration of what he considers the greatest anarcho-syndicalist organization of them all, the Spanish CNT-FAI.
With organizations, especially large-scale ones, the means tend to displace the ends; the division of labor engenders inequality of power, officially or otherwise; and representatives, by virtue of greater interest, experience, and access to expertise, effectively supplant those they represent. Thus in Spain the 30, faistas quickly came to control one million cenetistas , whom they led into policies — such as entering the government — to which the FAI militants should have been even more fiercely opposed than the rank-and-file CNT unionists.
This has happened too often to be an accident. We do not reject organization because we are ignorant of the history of anarchist organizations. We reject it, among other reasons, because we know that history only too well, and Bookchin is one of those who has taught it to us. Nobody is surprised that business corporations, government bureaucracies, hieratic churches and authoritarian political parties are in practice, as in theory, inimical to liberty, equality and fraternity.
Robert Michels himself a socialist studied the German Social Democratic Party — a Marxist party programmatically committed to social equality — a few years before the First World War, and found it to be thoroughly hierarchic and bureaucratic. Vindicating Michels, the vast majority of German socialists, contrary to their official antiwar position, promptly followed their leaders in supporting the war. Michels, writing at a time when syndicalism seemed to be an important social movement, noted:. Here we find a political school, whose adherents are numerous, able, well-educated, and generous-minded, persuaded that in syndicalism it has discovered the antidote to oligarchy.
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But we have to ask whether the antidote to the oligarchical tendencies of organization can possibly be found in a method which is itself rooted in the principle of representation Syndicalism is Even if these organizations are only minimally bureaucratic — a precious, and precarious, accomplishment — they are nonetheless inherently hierarchic. The CNT pyramid had at least six levels and some outbuildings :. When their turn came, in Spain, the organizational anarchists blew it too. The leaders placed the war ahead of the revolution and managed, at the cost of a million lives, to lose both Richards The Spanish experience was not unique.
The Italian syndicalists mostly went over to Fascism Roberts The sham industrial democracy of syndicalist corporatism only needed a little fine-tuning and a touch of cosmetics to be finessed into the sham syndicalism of Fascist corporatism. For North Americans, no example — not even the Spanish example — is more important than the Mexican Revolution.
Had it turned out differently, it would have recoiled upon the United States with incalculable force. During the Mexican Revolution, the organized anarcho- syndicalists supported the liberals — the Constitutionalists — against the Zapatista and Villista social revolutionaries Hart ch.
As urban rationalist progressives like Bookchin , they despised peasant revolutionaries still clinging to Catholicism. On behalf of the Constitutionalist regime — the one President Wilson sent the U. By the government had the Mexican working class under control ibid. If revolution resumes it will be the Neo- Zapatistas, the Mayan peasants of Chiapas, who set it off Zapatistas Most of the extant authors from classical antiquity, who knew the working system better than we ever will, were anti-democratic Finley 8—11 , as Bookchin elsewhere admits Bailyn — The Athenian polis , the most advanced form of direct democracy ever practiced for any extended period, was oligarchic.
It could not have been otherwise:. These large disenfranchised populations provided the material means for many Athenian male citizens to convene in popular assemblies, function as mass juries in trials, and collectively administer the affairs of the community Bookchin The first is that the vast majority of the Athenian citizen minority abstained from participation in direct democracy, just as the majority of American citizens abstain from our representative democracy. Up to 40, Athenian men enjoyed the privilege of citizenship, less than half of whom resided in the city itself Walzer Attendance probably never exceeded 6,, and was usually below 3, The only known tally of the total vote on a measure is 3, Zimmern And this despite the fact that many citizens were slaveowners who were thereby relieved, in whole or in part, of the need to work Bookchin 8.
Even most Athenians with the time to spare for public affairs avoided political involvement. In this respect they resembled the remnants of direct democracy in America, the New England town meetings. These originated in the Massachusetts Bay colony when the dispersal of settlements made a unitary central government impractical.
At first informally, but soon formally, towns exercised substantial powers of self-government. The original form of self-government was the town meeting of all freemen, which took place anywhere from weekly to monthly. In Vermont the town meeting takes place only one day a year special meetings are possible, but rare.
The Dean has thrown a lot of fairy-dust on present-day Vermont town meetings —; without ever claiming that they play any real role in governance. In modern Vermont as in ancient Athens, most people think they have better things to do than attend political meetings, because most people are not political militants like the Dean. Several sorts of, so to speak, special people flock to these get-togethers. Face-to-face democracy is in-your-face democracy. To the extent that the tireless typicals turn up, they discourage those not so afflicted from participating actively or returning the next time.
Some people like to watch autopsies too. Normal non-obsessive people will often rather appease the obsessives or even kick them upstairs than prolong an unpleasant interaction with them. If face-to-face democracy means having to face democrats like Bookchin, most people would rather execute an about-face.
And so the minority of political obsessives, given an institutional opportunity, tend to have their way. Bookchin has endorsed this vision , Sounds good, but a muscular municipal socialist has further demands on his time:. Before hunting in the morning, this unalienated man of the future is likely to attend a meeting of the Council on Animal Life, where he will be required to vote on important matters relating to the stocking of the forests.
The meeting will probably not end much before noon, for among the many-sided citizens there will always be a lively interest even in highly technical problems. Indeed he will probably love argument far better than hunting, fishing, or rearing cattle. The debates will go on so long that the citizens will have to rush through dinner in order to assume their role as critics. Then off they will go to meetings of study groups, clubs, editorial boards, and political parties where criticism will be carried on long into the night ibid.
Walzer is far from being my favorite thinker Black , but what he sketched here is as much paradigm as parody. No part of his Marxist heritage is more vital to Bookchin than its notion of humanity passing from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom by way of the rational, socially responsible application of the advanced technology created by capitalism. Technology would thus do for the upright and uptight republican Bookchinist citizenry what slavery and imperialism did for the Athenian citizenry — but no more.
Which is to say, not nearly enough. For even if technology reduced the hours of work, it would not reduce the hours in a day. There would still be 24 of them. Dahl 32—36, That was the first practical objection. The second is that there is no reason to believe that there has ever been an urban, purely direct democracy or even a reasonable approximation of one. In Athens, for instance, a Council of , chosen monthly by lot, set the agenda for the meetings of the ekklesia there was no provision for new business to be brought up from the floor [Bookchin ; Zimmern n.
Sir Alfred Zimmern, whose sympathetic but dated account of Athenian democracy the Dean has referred to approvingly , n. Generals, for instance — very important officials in an imperialist state frequently at war — were elected annually Dahl 30; cf. These were remarkably radical democratic institutions for their day, and even for ours, but they are also substantial departures from Bookchinist direct democracy. Just ask Socrates. Hemlock, straight up. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss! Alexis de Tocqueville, as astute a student of democracy as ever was, wrote in It is not sufficiently realized that, even in those Swiss cantons where the people have most preserved the exercise of their power, there does exist a representative body entrusted with some of the cares of government.
Now, it is easy to see, when studying recent Swiss history, that gradually those matters with which the people concern themselves are becoming fewer, whereas those with which their representatives deal are daily becoming more numerous and more important. Thus the principle of pure democracy is losing ground gained by the opposing principle. The former is insensibly becoming the exception and the latter the rule b: Even in the Swiss cantons there were representative bodies legislatures to which the executive and the judiciary were strictly subordinate ibid.
Civil liberties were virtually unknown and civil rights entirely so, a much worse situation than in most European monarchies at the time ibid. Earlier, John Adams had also made the point that the Swiss cantons were aristocratic republics as well as observing that their historical tendency was for hereditary elites to entrench themselves in office Coulborn — Is there possibly a connection?
A Swiss parliamentarian once referred to his country as a nation of receivers of stolen goods. Those of us who are somewhat older than most North American anarchists, although much younger than the Dean, also recall the history of efforts to form an all-inclusive anarchist organization here. Never did they come close to success. To anticipate an objection — the Industrial Workers of the World is not now, and never has been, an avowedly anarchist organization.
It is syndicalist, not anarchist [and not Bookchinist]. Not until about , when most of the membership had fallen away, joined the Communist Party, or in some cases gone to prison, was the little that was left of the One Big Union essentially, if unofficially, an anarchist organization.
At this time there seems to be no interest in a continental anarchist federation. While the anarchist ranks have greatly grown during the decades of decadence, we are far from numerous and united enough to assemble in a fighting organization. But no cult is ever too small for its own little Inquisition. It is not as if these organizing efforts are indispensable to accomplish even what little we are already accomplishing. Mostly what we are accomplishing is publishing.
After the ACF fell apart, the collective which had been responsible for producing its newspaper Strike! An organization may need a newspaper, but a newspaper may not need an organization Black These are, for anarchists, usually ideological killing-fields.
Ironically, the allegedly anti-organizational collectives, such as Autonomedia and the Fifth Estate, have outlasted most of the organizational ones. Could it be that the organizer-types are too individualistic to get along with each other? There is no putting off the inevitable any longer.
It has to be said: Dean Bookchin is not an anarchist. By this I do not mean that he is not my kind of anarchist, although that too is true. I mean he is not any kind of anarchist. The word means something, after all, and what it means is denial of the necessity and desirability of government. An anarchist as such is opposed to government — full stop. Dean Bookchin is not opposed to government.
Consequently, he is not an anarchist. You heard me. And not because he flunks some abstruse ideological test of my own concoction. An anarchist can believe in many things, and all too often does, but government is not one of them. Some of my best friends are not anarchists. They do not, however, claim to be anarchists, as the Dean does. I could take some cheap shots at the Dean — come to think of it, I think I will!
How many of his Red-and-Green disciples know that he was formerly in favor of a modest measure of nuclear power? And it would be scurrilous of me to report that this same Bookchin book Herber ix includes — this must be an anarchist first — a plug from a Cabinet member, then-Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. We cannot minimize the investments necessary to pollution control, but as Mr. Herber [Bookchin] documents, the penalties for not doing so have become unthinkable. As embarrassing to the Dean as these reminders must be, they are not conclusive against him. It is his own explicit endorsements of the state which are decisive.
Not, to be sure, the nation-state of modern European provenance. It allows for too much individual autonomy. In this he is reminiscent of Kropotkin, who propounded the absurd opinion that the state did not exist in western Europe prior to the sixteenth century cf. Bookchin 33— That would have surprised and amused William the Conqueror and his successors, not to mention the French and Spanish monarchs and the Italian city-states familiar to Machiavelli — whose Il Principe was clearly not directed to a mandated and revocable delegate responsible to the base, but rather to a man on horseback, somebody like Caesare Borgia.
He may have felt great pains at getting caught, but he took very few. Finley — like the Dean, an ex-Communist [Novick ] — is a Bookchin-approved historian [ ]. Some of what Zerzan writes about paleolithic society may be conjectural and criticizable, but what he writes about Bookchin is pure reportage. Bookchin is a statist: a city-statist. A city-state is not an anti-state. Contemporary Singapore, for instance, is a highly authoritarian city-state.
The earliest states, in Sumer, were city-states. The city is where the state originated. The ancient Greek cities were all states, most of them not even democratic states in even the limited Athenian sense of the word.
Rome went from being a city-state to an empire without ever being a nation-state. The city-states of Renaissance Italy were states, and only a few of them, and not for long, were in any sense democracies. Indeed republican Venice, whose independence lasted the longest, startlingly anticipated the modern police-state Andrieux 45— Taking a worldwide comparative-historical perspective, the pre-industrial city, unless it was the capital of an empire or a nation-state in which case it was directly subject to a resident monarch was always subject to an oligarchy.
There has never been a city which was not, or which was not part of, a state. We reiterate: the feudal, or preindustrial civilized, order is dominated by a small, privileged upper stratum. The latter commands the key institutions of the society. Its higher echelons are most often located in the capital, the lower ranks residing in the smaller cities, usually the provincial capitals Sjoberg Then and there, as always in cities everywhere, politics was an elite prerogative.
Even if local politics is a kinder, gentler version of national politics, it is still politics, which has been well if cynically defined as who gets what, when, where, how Lasswell Even democratic decision-making is jettisoned as authoritarian. Susan] Brown warns Accordingly, Communalism seeks freedom rather than autonomy in the sense that I have counterpoised them 17, You can have one without the other. The Athenian democracy that the Dean venerates, for instance, democratically silenced the dissenter Socrates by putting him to death.
Ironically, it is the anarchists Bookchin disparages as individualists — like Proudhon and Goodman — who best represent this anarchist theme. It is by no means obvious, and the Dean nowhere demonstrates, that local is kinder and gentler — not where local refers to local government. My present purpose is not to take the full measure of Bookchinism, only to characterize it as what it manifestly is, as an ideology of government — democracy — not a theory of anarchy. It also happens to be deliriously incoherent. The Dean is relegating higher-stage anarchy the real thing to some remote future time, just as the Marxists relegate what they call higher-stage communism to some hazy distant future which seems, like a mirage, forever to recede.
Amazingly, the Dean considers a city like New York! A further Bookchinist fiddle — this one a blatant regression to Marxism indeed, to St. Policy is made, he says, by the occasional face-to-face assembly which pushy intellectuals like Bookchin are so good at manipulating. Policy without administration is nothing. Administration with or without policy is everything. Stalin the General Secretary, the administrator, understood that, which is why he triumphed over Trotsky, Bukharin and all the other policy-preoccupied politicians who perhaps possibly believed in something.
Just what political practice does the eximious elder prescribe to anarchists? We know how higher-stage confederal municipalism looks — muscular mentating men massed in meetings — but what is to be done in the here and now? The Dean despises existing anarchist efforts:. So we are not to publish zines and pamphlets as Bookchin used to do, nor are we to burn garbage cans. Nor are we to experience freedom in the temporary collective fraternizations Hakim Bey calls Temporary Autonomous Zones 20— What then? On this point the Dean, usually so verbose, is allusive and elusive.
What I think he is hinting at, with nods and winks, is participation in local electoral politics:. The municipality is a potential time bomb. To create local networks and try to transform local institutions that replicate the State [emphasis added] is to pick up a historic challenge — a truly political one — that has existed for centuries For in these municipal institutions and the changes that we can make in their structure — turning them more and more into a new public sphere — lies the abiding institutional basis for a grassroots dual power, a grassroots concept of citizenship, and municipalized economic systems that can be counterpoised to the growing power of the centralized Nation-State and centralized economic corporations Bookchin You can call this anything you want to — except anarchist.
Now he joins the neo-conservative chorus:. The sixties counterculture opened a rupture not I only with the past, but with all knowledge of the past, including its history, literature, art, and music. Essentially identical elegiac wails well up regularly from the conservative demi-intelligentsia, from Hilton Kramer, Norman Podhoretz, Midge Dechter, James Q. Wilson, Irving Kristol, William F. The lifestyle anarchists are afflicted, charges the Dean, with mysticism and irrationalism.
There is nothing innately rational or irrational about mysticism. All I can say for myself is that, for better or for worse, I have never had a mystical experience and, furthermore, that I do not consider the notion of ultimate or absolute reality meaningful. Mysticism is arational, not necessarily ir rational. Scientists have been disabusing themselves of such simplism for about a century. The hard sciences — starting with physics, the hardest of them all — were the first to abandon a metaphysical positivism which no longer corresponded to what scientists were really thinking and doing.
The Dean was at one time vaguely I aware of this The not-quite-so-scientific soft sciences with lower self-esteem were slower to renounce scientism, but by now, they have, too — they have too, because they have to. The rejection of positivism in social thought is no post-modernist fashion. This too began a century ago Hughes ch. Settling for intersubjective verifiability within a community of practicing scientists is actually the most conservative post-objectivist position currently within the range of scientific respectability e.
History, the maybe-science which has always had the most ambiguous and dubious claim to objectivity, held out the longest, but no longer Novick ch. Objectivity in any absolute sense is illusory, a cult fetish, a childish craving for an unattainable certitude. Intellectuals, neurotics — i. Nor does the scientist.
Nor does the mature adult. Bradford — Bookchin is not the first left-wing rationalist to be outraged by this idealist, subjectivist etc. There is no indication that Bookchin has any real grounding in science, although thirty years ago he did an adequate job of popularizing information about pollution Herber , The true believers in objectivist, matter-in-motion rationalism are usually, like Lenin and Bookchin, wordmongers — lawyers, journalists Ruby , or ideologues Black a — not scientists.
They believe the more fervently because they do not understand. To regard atoms, molecules, electrons, etc. Either these impenetrable particles are bouncing around off each other down there like billiard balls on a pool table what a curious model of objective reality [Black a] or they are fantasy beings like unicorns, leprechauns and lifestyle anarchists. Ecology is a science, but Social Ecology is to ecology what Christian Science is to science. I decided to find out. I appreciate that this is a crude and incomplete measure of his reception — it fails to pick up, for instance, two notices in the academically marginal journal Environmental Ethics Watson ; Eckersley — but it canvasses every important journal and most of the less important ones.
The reviewer could hardly have misunderstood Bookchin more profoundly. Smith — whoever he is — clearly had no clue that he was reviewing a giant work of political theory. The seven-paragraph review in the American Anthropologist was surprisingly favorable. Reviewer Karen L. Field wrote:. The Ecology of Freedom unites materials from many disciplines, and no doubt specialists from each one will take Bookchin to task for occasional lapses of rigor. But despite its shortcomings, the work remains the kind of wide-ranging and impassioned synthesis that is all too rare in this age of scholarly specialization In other words, the best thing about the book — and I agree — is that it thinks big.
Kung and Tasaday, but not Yanomamo and Kwakiutl. That the Dean is taken to task for romanticizing the primitives by an anthropologist is truly matter for mirth. I tend to think so too.
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There was exactly one notice of The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship a in an social science journal, and everything about it is odd. The reviewer takes Bookchin to be arguing that the tendency of urbanism is to diminish human freedom, although here and there communities have managed to buck the trend for awhile.
But what Bookchin really contends is the opposite: that the tendency of urbanism is liberatory, although here and there the elites have managed to buck the trend for awhile. The reviewer is right about urbanization but wrong about Bookchin. He did the Dean the favor of misrepresenting him. The late Karl Popper, at one time the most prominent philosopher of science of this century, denounced dialectical reasoning, not only as mystical gibberish, but as politically totalitarian in tendency I myself veto no mode of reasoning or expression, although I think some are more effective than others, especially in specific contexts.
Bookchin was formerly aware of this — We are one with nature — provided we follow his package directions — and at the same time we are more natural than nature has hitherto been. Out of the evolution of consciousness emerged the consciousness of evolution and now, rational self-direction. The Deanly dialectic represents the most advanced thought of, say, the fourth century B. But in essence, second nature is a moment in the development of.
Nature, due to human rational intervention, will thence acquire the intentionality, power of developing more complex life-forms, and capacity to differentiate itself Bookchin — Query: Why is it a moral imperative to make the world more complicated than it already is? Nature finds freedom at long last in submission to its highest manifestation: us.
Just as we not-quite-humans find freedom in submission to rational direction from the first fully human being: Murray Bookchin. To paraphrase Nietzsche, not-quite-man is something to be surpassed: a rope stretched over the abyss between all the rest of us and Murray Bookchin. Is everybody with me? We are no longer to let Nature take its course. Perhaps a political analogy will help. I am using these words throughout exactly as Bookchin does [b: 27J. God, taught Feuerbach, is merely the essence of Man, his own supreme being, mystified.
But abstract Man, countered Max Stirner, is also a mystification:. The difference is only terminological. Whenever he refers to the unique one or to the ego he refers, not to an abstract individual, but to each and every individual, to himself, certainly, but also to every Tom, Dick and Murray. This is why accusing Stirner of elitism 7 is bogus. Bookchin thinks that real Humanity is still less than actually human But can you define yourself?
Are you a concept? Positing a human essence is unnecessary for the practice of any art or science. The indwelling essence is not discoverable by observation, experimentation, or any rational mode of inquiry. To be sure, there are those who claim to have apprehended essence directly, by non-ordinary consciousness. More likely he envies the qualitative superiority of their visions. Municipal socialism has got to be as mundane as mysticism gets.
A democratic dream? But he may be right that Bey has underestimated how far the colonization of the unconscious may have proceeded in the case of a lifelong, elderly political militant. Do androids dream of electric sheep? His latest polemic is so foolish that it invites reexamination of his previous books which mostly escaped critical attention from radicals. Bookchin , , a, , Once again his embarrassment is that his readers took him at his word — an error that this reader, for one, will not repeat.
These innocents never suspected that they were not supposed to learn anything about primitive societies or pre-industrial communities except what cleared Bookchinist censorship. He never says so. As the author of a book from the same publisher, Autonomedia, in the same series, I know how sloppy the production values of this amateur, all-volunteer nonprofit collective can be.
The Dean refers to part 2, ch. And that should be Alfred Zimmern, not Edward Zimmerman ibid. Zimmern Bookchin was perhaps thinking of a singer-songwriter who has interested him for decades, Bob Dylan 9 , the Artist Formerly Known as Zimmerman. City-statism and primitive society are mutually exclusive. There has never been an anarchist city, not for more than a few months at the most, but there have been many longlasting anarchist primitive societies.
That would have come as quite a surprise to the Makhnovist peasant guerrillas in the Ukraine or the insurrectionary anarchist villagers in the pueblos of Andalusia Bookchin ch. I fail to understand why anarchists should attend only to their failures and ignore their only successes.
But it is my purpose to show that in the way he denounces the primitivists, the Dean is, as usual, unscrupulous and malicious. In rebutting a right-wing libertarian critic, I made clear two of the aspects of primitive societies there are others which ought to interest anarchists:. Hunter-gatherers inform our understanding and embarrass libertarians [and Bookchinists] in at least two ways. They operate the only known viable stateless societies.
After all, Cultural Man is at least two million years old. He was originally a hunter-gather. He was an anatomically modern human at least 50, years before he adopted any other mode of subsistence. And he was still an anarchist. Now it may well be that the life-ways of hunter-gatherers also known as foragers are not, as a practical matter, available for immediate adoption by disgruntled urbanites, as the Dean declaims Some primitivists have said as much; John Moore, for one, is exasperated to have to keep saying so Others, in my opinion, have equivocated. Hardly any anarcho-primitivists propose to do so to my knowledge, only one.
But the point is to learn from the primitives, not necessarily to ape them. As that is impossible, he changes the subject. Repeatedly, the Dean throws what he apparently considers roundhouse punches at primitivist myths, but he never connects, either because they are not tenets of primitivism or else because they are not myths. For instance, the Dean argues at length that hunter- gatherers have been known to modify, and not merely adapt to, their habitats, notably by the use of fire 42— Anthropologists, and not only the ones the Dean cites, have known that for a long time.
The Australian aborigines, the quintessential foragers, set fires for various purposes which transformed their landscape, usually to their advantage Blainey ch. Shifting cultivators, such as most of the Indians of eastern North America, also fired the brush with important ecological consequences, as even historians know Morgan ch. If any primitivist ever claimed otherwise, he is wrong, but the Dean does not cite when and where he did. To take an ecological perspective means to hypothesize general interaction among all species and between each and all species and the inanimate environment.
Not even amoebas are that passive and quiescent Bookchin Amazingly, Bookchin explicitly embraces the Hobbesian myth that the lives of primitive, pre-political people were nasty, brutish and short For him as for Hobbes Black 24 , the purpose of the myth is to further a statist agenda.
How disgusting! They ate animals which were already dead! Just as we do when we shop the meat section of a supermarket. Perhaps there are no meat sections in Burlington supermarkets. Perhaps there are no supermarkets there, just food co-ops. Why do I find it hard to summon up an image of Bookchin putting in his four hours a month bagging groceries? Bookchin probably picked up this tidbit from Zerzan Regardless, our still-prehistoric, still-anarchic ancestors must have formed other tastes in food in becoming big game hunters And these our animalistic ancestors were unhealthy too, claims the Dean.
The Neanderthals suffered high rates of degenerative bone disease and serious injury There is considerable controversy whether the Neanderthals were among our ancestors. If your ancestors are from Europe or the Levant, possibly; otherwise, almost certainly not. Admittedly, our early ancestors were more likely to be eaten by leopards and hyenas than we are 46 , but for contemporary foragers, predation is a minor cause of death Dunn — On the other hand, our leading killers, cancer and heart disease, appear infrequently among them ibid.
Hunter-gatherers have never been afflicted by asbestosis, black lung disease, Gulf War syndrome as I write these words, the Pentagon is finally admitting there might be such a thing or carpal tunnel syndrome. Paleolithic foragers might suffer serious or fatal injuries, but one million of them were not killed by motor vehicles in just a hundred years.
Even taking these claims to be true, the aggregate figures, their vagueness aside, are highly misleading.
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Foraging peoples usually have a lot greater sensitivity to the carrying capacities of their habitats than techno-urbanites do. The ones who did, and do, adjust their populations by the means at their disposal. Delayed marriage, abortion, prolonged lactation, sexual tabus, even genital surgery are among the cultural practices by which foragers hold down their birthrates Yengoyan Low-tech does have its limitations. The condom, the diaphragm, the IUD and the Pill have not been available to hunter-gatherers.
Foragers have often resorted to post-partum population control as well: in other words, to infanticide and senilicide Dunn Especially infanticide although I suspect the Dean feels a lot more threatened by senilicide. At this point somebody might rise up in righteous indignation — from the right, from the left, a trifling distinction — to denounce my equation of contraception, abortion and infanticide. I equate them only with respect to the issue, the demographic issue, at hand.
Gimmickry aside, the evidence suggests that foragers live relatively long lives. This high proportion 8. The Dobe area [of Botswana], by contrast, had dozens of active older persons in the population Lee This is how two other anthropologists summarize the! Kung situation:. It is true that foragers have always lacked the technology to perpetuate the agony of their incapacitated elders as our insurance-driven system arranges for some of ours.
When I visit my father in the nursing home — a stroke victim, a mentally confused cripple usually complaining of pain, 85 years old — I find it hard to consider longevity an absolute value. According to the Iliad, neither did Achilles:. For my mother Thetis, the goddess of the silver feet tells me I carry two sorts of destiny towards the day of my death.
Either if I stay here and fight beside the city of the Trojans my return home is gone, but my glory shall be everlasting; or if I return to the beloved land of my fathers, the excellence of my glory is gone, but there will be a long life quoted in Feyerabend For an urbanist if less than urbane crusader like the Dean, the relevant comparisons should be different. And also a related decline in health. For one thing, work — and when we arrive at agriculture we arrive, unambiguously, at work — is hazardous to your health.
The fact that these are the findings of archeological studies of prehistoric societies renders irrelevant, for present purposes, the recent argument that the much-studied San are really just an impoverished underclass within capitalism Wilmsen This is a controversial claim Peters — vigorously rebutted by Richard B.
But by definition, pre historic peoples cannot have been marginal to, or relics of, or devolved from historical societies. What did they devolve from? Does Bookchin think that the sleeping-around of monsters begets reasonables? And when we progress from mere agriculture to urbanism — one thing leads to another — health deteriorates even more dramatically.
Industrial cities have only imperfectly coped with these unhealthy influences. They are more overcrowded than ever, with, the Dean has shown, adverse health consequences Herber Nothing more visibly reveals the overall decay of the modern city than the ubiquitous filth and garbage that gathers in its streets, the noise and massive congestion that fills its thoroughfares, the apathy of its population toward civic issues, and the ghastly indifference of the individual toward the physical violence that is publicly inflicted on other members of the community Bookchin , Even the most conspicuous health accomplishment of industrialism, the control of disease by antibiotics, is being rolled back, as resistant strains of disease vectors evolve.
Even the food situation is unsatisfactory, if not for precisely the traditional reasons. Most American urbanites have unhealthy diets, and more than a few are malnourished. The Dean mostly obsesses about details — why not oblige him? Albert Schweitzer. The Dean cites with some satisfaction a fairly recent article by William M. Second, the Dean misquotes the name of the journal. Indian hunting, horticulture, and especially the use of fire had wrought important transformations in many stretches of the landscape.
Many North American grasslands, for instance, were produced by human action, and to a lesser extent, so were the park-like woodlands of eastern North America Morgan ch. Denevan plausibly argues for this conclusion but does not, as the Dean does, consider it cause for celebration. But what does this have to do with anything? A humanized landscape is not necessarily a ravaged, depleted, denaturalized landscape because there was a time when humans were natural.
The Dean, Professor of Social Ecology, also supposes he is saying something important when he avers that primitives may have contributed to the extinction of some species of the animals they hunted and that they may have sometimes degraded their environments 42— As the allegations are independent, let us address each count of the indictment separately. Rapid climatic change was indisputably part of the cause, and possibly a sufficient cause, for the extinction of overspecialized species like the mastodon.
But supposing that prehistoric hunters were responsible for some extinctions — so what? Extinction has so far been the fate of almost every species to appear on this planet, and may in time be the fate of all of them. The continuation of natural life does not depend upon the continuation of any particular species, including ours. What difference does it make? Anyway, to say that some prehistoric primitives could and did kill game animals on a large scale 42, 62—63 n. Well into historic times, the Plains Indians killed many buffalo and the Northwest Coast Indians netted many salmon without coming close to extinguishing either species.
The yield, though enormous, was sustainable. It required the intrusion of industrial society to pose a real risk of extinction with its high-tech, mass-production life destruction. Granting that — a point of no present importance — the article tells a more interesting story. The authors, archaeologists, are reporting on a site they excavated in Syria. It was first occupied by hunter-gatherers in approximately B. The authors emphasize that this was a year-round community, not a seasonal campsite. For about a thousand years after the villagers domesticated plants, hunting — mainly gazelle hunting — continued to supply them with animal protein.
By then, the authors believe, the farmers had hunted the gazelles into extinction, and only then did they take up animal husbandry to replace the meat formerly supplied by wild game. There are two points of interest here, and each is adverse to the Dean. Hunter-gatherers were not responsible for the extinction of the gazelles: their agricultural descendants were.
These villagers had long since ceased to be foragers by the time they finished off the gazelles locally, that is: the animals survived elsewhere. Murdock 13— It refers to two kinds of society, not one: nonsedentary and sedentary. They do not domesticate either plants or animals in a few such societies, dogs are domesticated, but not as a food source. What separates them is whether they occupy locations on a long-term or short-term basis.
But they more closely resembled such Northwest Coast Indians as the Kwakiutl in that they were the permanent, year-round occupants of favored, restricted locations which afforded them sustenance. Sedentary hunter-gatherers are socially much more like sedentary agriculturalists and urbanites than they are like foragers who are routinely on the move. Their societies exhibit class stratification, hereditary chiefs, sometimes even slavery Kelly ; Renouf 90—91, 98, n. Renouf for a prehistoric European example. It is from these societies that the city and the state emerged — together.
But Devevan was not generalizing about primitives, he was generalizing about Indians. A small-scale society which fouled its own nest would probably not survive, but the environmental damage it did would be localized. A small-scale society which by some combination of insight and accident settled into a sustainable relationship with its ecosystem would be much more likely to persist. One only has to refer to his own footnote to identify his references 64 n.
Civilizations have a long history of occasioning environmental destruction whether the civilized be red, white, black or yellow: they have belonged to all of these races. Is this news to Professor Social Ecology? To digress for just a bit, consider how idiotic this assertion is.
The Dean says that any significant rollback of technology would reduce us to, at best, the Neolithic, the New Stone Age. Early medieval Europe, an almost entirely rural society, quickly developed new technology such as the mould-board plough beyond anything that urban-oriented Greco-Roman civilization ever did. The Mayans devolved from civilization