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Where can find out more about the discourse of "ideology" as discussed by anarchists?

+5 votes
asked Mar 30, 2010 by enkidu (6,110 points)
edited Apr 7, 2010 by dot

1 Answer

+4 votes
I would begin here: http://www.primitivism.com/ideology.htm (for the McQuinn/Filiss "discussion" as well as some notes on Primitivism and ideology). I also agree with dot, the most important starting point (if not the Marxist starting point: Althusser, who, unfortunately for us, has some important thoughts -- that may not be the best, but they are historically important) is Max Stirner. We need to be careful, though, when we call Stirner's thought anti-ideological. Stirner is perfectly happy to become ideological if it suits his own purpose -- Stirner is not outside the domain of ideology, no egoist is. The egoist question therefore must be: how does ideology rob me of my ownness? When are my desires not my own?

If you have access, or want to write the author, Saul Newman wrote a great piece called "Spectres of Stirner: A Contemporary critique of ideology" that you may find has some answers (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713682963&db=all). Quite in line with what I am arguing about Stirner's supposed "anti-ideological" position, Newman argues that Stirner's position is "Extra-ideological".
answered Mar 31, 2010 by Saint_Schmidt (2,230 points)
I would also like to add that Newman comes to his "post-anarchist" position from within anarchism. In other words, he is an anarchist surveying poststructuralist thought for elements that can be absorbed by the anarchist tradition. This is in contradistinction to the more widely known and, you can laugh about this if you want: he is on the board of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, Todd May. May comes to the anarchist tradition from post-structuralism, using anarchist ideas to compliment his post-structuralism. Cf., Sureyyya Evren's comments on this. Therefore, and this is contributes to another discussion that is happening on this website, Todd May is truly speaking the discourse of the university and post-left anarchists have ever right to be suspicious of his "post-anarchism" and his intentions. I don't think we can say the same thing about Newman, although, admittedly, at times his work does seem to waver between two discourses. Compare, for example, his book ON poststructuralism to his book on anarchism: there are two entirely incompatible political positions being portrayed here. One speaks to a radical audience and adopts a radical line of argument. The other speaks to a university audience and adopts a 'democratic' politics of inclusion sort of argument. Pragmatic? Career oriented? Maybe. But I try not to judge a book by its author.
A revised version of the Newman essay is in his Power and Politics book and is free here:

I agree on the usefulness of Althusser on ideology for anarchism though don't know anyone who has discussed it (if there is I'd like to know). A solid step-by-step account of the Althusser is in Warren Montag's essay "Soul is the Prison of the Body" (also on Foucault). Available with other Montag essays here:

a lot of anarchist articles on "ideology"