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+3 votes
I thought of this question in the shower, somehow I got to thinking about the violence/non-violence debate. I think there are important, even crucial questions there, but the conversation around it has felt tired to me for a long time.

It got me wondering about the shifts in discourse that happen over time, at small and large scales. The way that in certain times and places a conversation will have a vitality that later it loses, or that it still keeps but is hard to find under the layers of cruft.

Which conversations in anarchy or anarchy-adjacent spaces feel tired lately? Which feel like they are charged with life and possibility? How has this changed over time in recent years or in your life?

Bonus question: What do you do when a conversation feels tired? Do you move to another topic? Try to dig for where it's still alive? Something else?
by (20.5k points)

3 Answers

0 votes
these will probably be more subjective answers even than usual.

topics that are still fascinating but that now i have to be convinced to participate in (by the specific context): sexwork, violence, individual vs group, identity, power

i mix things up (when i can), by having the conversations with people who i trust will allow me some shortcuts (in jargon, for example)--so that we don't have to re-walk all the well-worn paths--and/or by re-framing the conversation, partly so that it avoids trigger words that tend to shortcircuit people's brains. although sometimes it's the use of those words that makes people interested enough in the conversation to even have it... ("why do you want to talk to me about philosophical definitions of 'power' when we could be talking about fascism..." etc).
by (53.1k points)
+2 votes

i like the question.

i'll start by saying that who i am engaging with in a given discussion will usually be more of a factor in how the conversation feels (tired vs vital, etc) than the actual topic, although of course the topic will generally determine how interested i am.

discussions about leftism, cancel culture/idpol, and any ism around choices people make (identity, food, mind-alteration, etc) get boring for me rather quickly. as do many (though not all, and not all the time) conversations about completely abstract concepts. needless to say, discussions with dogmatists get tired very quickly.

some things i can get very into talking about:

  • the false dichotomy of individual vs collective
  • mass society and its impacts (esp on anarchistic tendencies)
  • life without economic systems and transactional relations
  • modes of conflict and resolution
  • practical approaches to creating one's desired life

i suspect i will edit this later, but i liked the question enough to want to post a quick answer.

by (13.4k points)
0 votes
Ive recently been going through a lot of Aragorn!'s old convos, listening to listening to first 100 Anews podcasts and a few episodes of The Brilliant. And a recurring idea seems to be the idea of a shift from "2nd wave" anarchism to "3rd wave". Aragorn! Never outlines any real specific trends he sees in this shift that I know of, besides a few mentions of Foucault and Butler but this idea of a sort of new critique of anarchism is extremely interesting to me as someone who quickly grew disillusioned with left anarchism and then post-left anarchism. So I would say this overall conversation, of how anarchism can move beyond anarchism I think is sort of "the" conversation, but I think it's made up of many subtopics.

1. Critiques of individual justice

A! Comments several times on the trend with "antifa anarchism" of a sort of might makes right idea of justice and I think this also applies to many who describe themselves as egoists. A rejection of traditionally institutionalized justice where justice is imposed from without (from the state or society) to a justice that flows from within, an ideologically ingrained notion, to connect to Foucault a more disciplinary measure where we police each other without the over arching institution. And so the question is in a way, how can we exist in spaces with not just eachother but also non-anarchists, without relying either on some organizers of a space, but also not relying on just beating up whoever we disagree with.

2. Critiques of non-violence

A! Has also mentioned several times the role of ITS and Atassa as a critique of American anarchism and I think can be seen as a critique of anarchism is general. I dont think it's fair to describe ITS as exactly this "third wave" but I think particularly their anti-humanism represents a strong push against both many left-anarchist but even critiquing many post-left assumptions. For example I think the idea of Indiscriminate attack goes much farther then the basic Insurrectionary position.

3. A revival/expansion of queer theory and the sexual revolution

Perhaps this is based more on my own influences but the split between anti-humanist and trans humanist discourse and ots connection to queer theory seem relevant in many ways. Not only is there the connection to ITS and EE as mentioned above but political negativity, rejections of the future and against reproduction, such as the arguments laid out in Baedan, i think are another way where post left ideas are being taken to their limit, and hopefully beyond. In addition to this I think a new wave of prominent philiacs, perverts and degenerates and the conversations the very existence of these people sparks has re-emerged many of the old conversations of the sexual revolution and I think there are many directions where these ideas that were being explored could be taken much further.

4. Living anarchy

Perhaps this is just of interest to me since I see it as my own sort of project though i think A! Does mention something akin to this in his possible imagining of a third wave. But it seems a project of 2nd wave anarchism was an attempt to create a lived anarchy, a complete synthesis of theory and action. From my experience this seems to have utterly failed in most senses especially in a complete focus on attack of Insurrectionary anarchists, the failure of back to the land projects, and the paralysis of passive nihlism. But trying to continue to push push project/idea is something i am very interested in and have written about. (In the text Anarcho-Lifestylism which is posteda forum on Anews for those interested).

I don't feel like any conversations are tired. Perhaps this is because I'm what most people would consider a young person. I feel there's almost always something one can take away from revisiting a topic, a new way of aproaching it, and even if there isn't for ourselves, these conversations can be vectors to help show others another ways to look at it. I think I'm especially fond of "tired" ideas since it wasnt too long ago for me that I held a bunch of positions that I've since moved away from and discourse has been a huge aspect of exploring more and more ideas. Obviously if you feel you get nothing out of a conversation there's no use in focusing on it, but I think especially in online spaces, where discourse tends to be very cyclical the general topics I think it can give us an excuse to talk about things in a way they typically aren't and to people who are interested in hearing a new perspective on it.
by (130 points)