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What is meant by anti-political tendency or thought?

+2 votes

Every now and then I hear or read some anarchist talking about anarchist are anti-political, like I've seen it mentioned on anews and some podcasts. There was a question on here about "anti-political thought" too. On this surface, it seems straight forward, but when I think about it for a second, it doesn't make any sense to me. Mainly because wouldn't the act of writing about anti-political thought and/or advocating about an anti-political tendency be a political act in of itself? Very confusing.

Also, is there a difference between apolitical and anti-political in anarchist jargon? What is the term anti-political by itself suppose to mean? I'm dun confused

asked Aug 13 by Zubaz (4,120 points)
retagged Aug 13 by Zubaz

1 Answer

+1 vote
makes sense that it's confusing, because political means different things, sometimes even in the same conversation.

when used in the phrase "anti-political" i think political means willing to negotiate with and participate in systems of power, accepting their parameters and definitions. an anarchist running for office in order to change the system from within is being political in this way (or just voting for a candidate).

political also has a more general meaning, relating to things that are categorically political (vs spiritual, economic, personal, etc -- although in some moods i would argue that these categories are arbitrary and abstract, not how we actually live, since our actual experiences are all mixed up together).

maybe that clarifies? i look forward to other people's input.
answered Aug 13 by dot (52,800 points)

it's only confusing in the broader way of using the word "politics", because an outwardly expressed "anti-political" position is in a sense a political action.

Anarchists would probably scoff when people say "humans are a political animal" because it's this kind of thinking that justifies electoral systems and laws, but everything that people say has some sort of effect on the way other people think. Hence, an anti-political position is also a political position, which makes perfect sense to me, but contradictions and inconsistencies can be disturbing to some.

Merci bien. I guess it's cause my view of "political" meaning is too broad, which leads to the confusion. I view it as meaning a way influence or power is achieved within a group or with another person. So like one's behavior or what the say/write has an influence on others, regardless of how small. Like what Nihilist wrote basically.

So, what you're saying is political can have a more specific meaning within anarchist lingo as meaning relating to hierarchical organization type stuff? Merci!
"humans are a political animal," akin to this from feminists (and others on the left):

"the personal IS the political."

seems like it is all a matter of perspective. those with a political perspective see everything through a political lens. those with a scientific perspective see everything through a scientific lens. ditto religion, academia, rationality, music, philosophy, etc. some may have more than one lens. i personally wish i had no lenses; or at least none that i couldn't put down at will.

when all you have is a hammer...

all that said, i do tend towards an "anti-political" perspective. for me that implies being against all forms of political power; and the ways of thinking that underlie them. most activists just want to gain political power for the group they represent. i want to do away with political power (and the perceived need for it), period.

some here will remember anti-politics.net. virtually every time i visit anarchistnews.org, i pine for it.
what was that like, anti-politics.net?

"humans are a political animal," akin to this from feminists (and others on the left):

"the personal IS the political."
 

seems like it is all a matter of perspective. those with a political perspective see everything through a political lens. those with a scientific perspective see everything through a scientific lens. ditto religion, academia, rationality, music, philosophy, etc. some may have more than one lens. i personally wish i had no lenses; or at least none that i couldn't put down at will."

yeah the "personal is the political" is a confusing statement, i think the feminists started saying that because there used to be more of a trend in american culture, like as i remember people thinking this way when i was a kid (like in the 90's and early 2000s), that politics is a separate subject matter that shouldn't be discussed because it causes arguments. I agree with the feminists in the sense that political ideology is not separate from the way that people live their lives, but i also strongly oppose the leftist/id-pol way of thinking that we need to make our lives more political, i honestly want all the power games and drawing of boundaries to disappear from people's lives to the greatest extent possible.

What you talk about, "living without lenses", i think is the goal of zen buddhists, which is something i've experienced with a lot and has given me some positive experiences.. "The way of zen" is a good book by alan watts if you want to play with those ideas. Buddhism is often just another religion though which i benefit from doing without.
the personal is political was saying that politics plays out in people's lives. that isolation, alienation, expectations, etc are both a result of, and influence, politics in the general sense, not in the "using power" sense.
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