Practising (for) utopia

by Ruth Kinna This essay[1] highlights the constructive, utopian possibilities that spring from a sense of political compromise and argues that this distinctive type of utopian practice lends itself particularly well to anarchism. To show the distinctiveness of the approach in anarchist thought, the paper examines two other models of utopianism: one called realist and the other experiential. The argument is that, while all these conceptions of anarchist utopianism are valuable, the experiments that stem from compromise not only have the potential to inspire activists but also challenge non-anarchists to consider the costs of their everyday, apparently mundane decisions. On … Continue reading Practising (for) utopia

Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

by Jeff Shantz  That anarchists should run afoul of the authorities is hardly surprising.  Indeed, anarchism has a long history of direct conflict with State institutions and their defenders.  Some of the most striking images from this history are the caricatures of black trenchcoat wearing “bomb throwers” who owe their fame to activities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Novels such as Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Frank Harris’ The Bomb have kept the character of the fanatic alive.  In the popular imagination the spectre of anarchy still conjures notions of terror, chaos, destruction and the collapse of civilization … Continue reading Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

by Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin The Capitalist bourgeoisie creates inequality as a way to divide and rule over the entire working class, but it is deeper than that. White skin privilege is a form of domination by Capital over White labor as well as oppressed nationality labor, not just providing material incentives to “buy off” White workers and set them against Black and other oppressed workers. This explains the obedience by White labor to Capitalism and the State. The White working class does not see their better off condition as part of the system of exploitation. After centuries of political and social … Continue reading Capitalism, anarchism and Black liberation

Anarchism, protest and utopianism

by Ruth Kinna The recent explosion of popular energy made manifest in the Occupy movement was described by Adbusters as a shift in global revolutionary tactics, for democracy and against corporatocracy, inspired by a desire to fuse ‘Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain’.[1]  Like the movements for social justice that preceded it, it brought defiant protest together with an openly utopian politics but it captured public attention in ways that the earlier, more conventional protests had not. As the former canon chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral (the site of the London camp), Giles Fraser was well positioned to monitor the … Continue reading Anarchism, protest and utopianism

An anarchy of everyday life

by Jeff Shantz Contemporary anarchism offers a mid-range movement organized somewhere between the levels of everyday life, to which it is closest, and insurrection. Rooted in the former they seek to move towards the latter.  Anarchists look to the aspects of people’s daily lives that both suggest life without rule by external authorities and which might provide a foundation for anarchist social relations more broadly.  This commitment forms a strong and persistent current within diverse anarchist theories.  This perspective expresses what might be called a constructive anarchy or an anarchy of everyday life, at once conserving and revolutionary. Colin Ward … Continue reading An anarchy of everyday life

Toward a new social ecology

by Brian Tokar As a rising awareness of the consequences of environmental problems comes to reshape the agendas of critical thinkers and activists around the world, it is more important than ever to fully appreciate the origins of eco-socialist thought. Perhaps foremost among those who brought a coherent left analysis to environmental issues, while first introducing ecology to many on the left, is Murray Bookchin, the founding theorist of social ecology. Bookchin was a pioneer of left ecological thought and action beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, and his voluminous and many-faceted work continues to influence theorists and activists to … Continue reading Toward a new social ecology

Re-thinking revolution: A social anarchist perspective

by Jeff Shantz Superseding archic society requires, in part, a refusal to participate in dominant social relations.  Anarchists call for a refusal to surrender people’s collective power to politicians or bosses.  Instead they seek to re-organize social institutions in such a way as to reclaim social and economic power and exercise it on their own behalves towards their own collective interests.They seek an alternative social infrastructure that is responsive to people’s needs because it is developed and controlled directly by them.This is a social framework in which decisions regarding social and economic relations are made by the people affected by … Continue reading Re-thinking revolution: A social anarchist perspective

Re-envisioning utopian thinking

by Stevphen Shukaitis 2012 preface: this essay was written in 2003 as a response to concerns coming out of the anti-globalization movement. Movement activists were confronted, much in the same way those involved in the Occupy movements are today, with a demand to move on from a protest against something to articulating alternative social arrangements. “Yes, I understand what you’re against, but what are you for? What’s your vision of how things should work?” Most often this demand was used in attempts to argue against the protest movements, either by claiming that they had no alternative vision or that this … Continue reading Re-envisioning utopian thinking