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What are the strengths and weaknesses of whatever anarchist tendencies you may find affinity with?

+4 votes
asked Jun 30, 2010 by vino (2,410 points)
Elaborate on "anarchist tendencies". Are you describing the typical laundry list of general categories/sects or are you describing real, palpable political undertows and memes that pervade the anarchist milieu?
I wrote the question with the typical laundry list of sects in mind, but hoped people would take it upon themselves to answer how they feel best as I know the typical tendencies may not provide some with any affinities.

2 Answers

+6 votes
fine, i'll jump.
i find affinity with workerists to the extent that i crave definition, clear boundaries, and winnable battles. but those tendencies in myself are throwbacks to a simpler understanding of the world, and one that i now consider hopelessly out of touch, even with its own history.
i find affinity with insurrectionists to the extent that i appreciate rage and a willingness to acknowledge that we don't know what will bring about change, or if anything will. insurrectionists feel like the most in-the-moment tendency in anarchy, but i'm not positive if that's the insurrectionists i know/have read, or a consistent aspect of the thinking.
i find affinity with anti-civ and even more with primitivists, because the desire to start all the fuck over, to tear it *all* down, is totally compelling to me, but i argue with what seems to be its purism even while i am drawn to it.
i find affinity with anarcha-feminism and APOC, because i continue to think that there is *some*thing to identity, to the necessity of coming from a PLACE, even though the places people claim seem to be completely badly defined/misunderstood.
and nihilism works for me to the extent that i don't base my actions on a plan, that i don't expect that anything i do will have any lasting attractive impact, but i'm in the world anyway, and acting (broadly defined) is better than not acting.

ps: i also want a tendency that honors wilde: more hard ass than fifth estate, more colorful than nihilism.
answered Jul 13, 2010 by dot (50,630 points)
edited Aug 15, 2010 by dot
also - the question of strengths and weaknesses sidesteps the idea of strengths and weaknesses to do what? i'm not interested in building a movement, and i doubt the capacity of any of these tendencies to significantly impact the world (at least as a tendency), so i can only speak to what is attractive to me, right?
love your answer, dot. except for this:

"...and acting (broadly defined) is better than not acting."

i equate this with the commonly heard: "doing anything is better than doing nothing." which i find absurd as a blanket statement, though there may be contexts in which it is absolutely true.

well, i guess i also disagree strongly with the identity/place part, but ... great answer overall.
yea, "acting (bd) is better..." does sound like "doing is better than not doing". which is why i threw in that "broadly defined"...

so to clarify
what i consider "acting" changes over time, but it always includes having conversations and thinking about things that are important to me, which i think distinguishes my answer in practice if not in theory/language from activists.

we can have the conversation about identity if you like. it's something i have thought about a lot, and am ready for challenges. :)
+2 votes
I align most closely with the anti-civ tendency. The post-left responses to primitivism have brought up some weak points. Besides these I've noticed a few:

1) There is much more work to be done finding directions for anti-civ action. A lot of theoretical ground has been explored, but little more than rehashes of ecotage or rewilding have been specifically mentioned. These are alright, as far as they go, but these do not address the mental, cultural aspects of civilization on a wide scale.

2) "You can't go home again" Civilization has fucked up the world pretty bad. Foraging seems unlikely to be a workable subsistence strategy for a few centuries or millennia. We're disconnected from the natural world in ways we're just starting to comprehend. Human society won't ever be quite how it was before civilization.

3) Primitivism is far too dependent on anthropology, a project fraught with civilized biases and misunderstandings.

4) The anti-mediation and anti-technology thrusts of primitivism are pretty uninteresting to me, and seem unlikely to be compelling to a lot of people.
answered Sep 18, 2010 by enkidu (6,110 points)
you forgot to mention the strengths :)
interesting that you call out the critique of mediation as uninteresting. to me, civilized life is virtually defined by the ways in which humans are mediated from actual living experience. the most basic needs humans have - water and food - are met (by most in the "developed" world anyway) only by the mediated process of working for money to then purchase those needs from someone else that produces them. that is the ultimate in mediated life, and that very issue seems integral to an anarchist perspective. diy and all that, right?
enkidu, i agree strongly with your criticism of primitivism's reliance on anthropology; in fact, i facepalm at missing the opportunity to make that point myself.
here is my facepalm... D'OH!!!!
...