Constructing Anarchisms

Enter the Anarchist

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

Margins and Problems: Enter the Anarchist

The 1840s opened with a bang, with Proudhon’s declaration: je suis anarchiste. When we’re examining the conditions of possibility for various possible anarchisms, the emergence of anarchist as a role or identity, a means of self-identification, is undoubtedly a moment that will be hard to top.

Beyond Philosophical Anarchism

from Libertarian Labyrinth

Margins and Problems: Beyond Philosophical Anarchism

I understand that the project of synthesis cannot help but be, at this stage, an outrageously partisan enterprise—and embrace that aspect of the project—but generally try to steer clear of the most divisive sort of rhetoric.

Margins and Problems

I'd like to imagine Shawn finishes these texts in his mind during a nice walk in the park, gets home, types it out quickly in one sitting, and then spends twice as long getting these pictures juuuust right.

from Libertarian Labyrinth

Disquisitions and Demands

We’re now exploring the possibility of an anarchism-in-progress, a philosophical anarchism that aims for self-government according to reason alone—at least as an ideal—with an emphasis on the capacity of human beings to improve themselves and their conditions.

Margins and Problems: History and the Possibility of Anarchism

Ever notice how Shawn makes a new illustration for each article? Nice.

from Libertarian Labyrinth

Let’s be clear: The history that we will be exploring will not be The Story of Anarchism—or anything particularly close to that. It will be a story about anarchism—and specifically about some margins and problems related to anarchism—designed to support our joint project of “making anarchism our own” and “constructing our own anarchism.” That means that, while we orient our exploration according to some familiar ideas about the historical development of anarchism, we’ll be subjecting it to a variety of kinds of critical operations.

Margins and Problems: Anarchic Encounters with the Anarchist Past

Let’s say that, taking inspiration from Déjacque’s bilge-rat, we decide that our present experience of anarchism is too constraining—and decide to scuttle this particular vessel. What happens next? As the anarchist past floods in, how do we make sure we stay at least afloat enough that a bit of ideological constraint doesn’t become the least of our worries?

Margins and Problems: Reflections on “Constructing an Anarchism”

Reflections on “Constructing an Anarchism”

The first phase of “Constructing Anarchisms” was an experiment—and, I think, a relatively successful one. But it was also a fairly complex experiment, for which there were not perhaps many precedents, so, despite the fact that it often felt like the commentary on method was overwhelming the project itself, it is probably worth reviewing and reflecting a bit here, so we can begin again with a clearer shared sense of the project moving forward.

Anarchist History: Margins and Problems

from Libertarian Labyrinth

We opened our year-long experiment in making anarchism « our own » with a lengthy and not always straightforward example, as I both laid out some of the basic concepts that figure in my own synthetic approach to anarchist ideas and attempted to highlight a range of questions, concerns and difficulties that others could expect to encounter in their own attempts to put the material of the anarchist past to present use. It was, frankly, a bit meta at times—as perhaps it had to be.

Constructing an Anarchism: « My Anarchism »

But the butterfly motif...what does it mean? We need to know!

from Libertarian Labyrinth

It was sort of a wild idea: to propose a year-long course on anarchist ideas, on short notice, for an audience of whoever shows up, and to start off with the elaboration, largely on the fly, of an idiosyncratic anarchist synthesis, drawing on a wide variety of source material. But here we are, finishing up that first and probably most difficult phase of things.

Constructing an Anarchism: Encounter and Entente

from Libertarian Labyrinth

I’m going to tackle two concepts together this week—and start to set up the final summary for this portion of the workshop as well. As an experimental space assembled quickly and redecorated on the fly, “Constructing an Anarchism” has served me pretty well. But it was a space designed for more activity, more encounters with other participants, than it has actually seen—and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t felt just a bit cavernous when I give myself time to think about it. So I want to get the last two components of my anarchism on the table and then perhaps move fairly quickly into the summary.

Constructing an Anarchism: Contr’un

Contraaan like a...

From Libertarian Labyrinth

Perhaps there is more than we can safely and specifically call anarchistic in the realm of practice, but I’m inclined to limit this final discussion to a narrow range of interactions in which people, as I put it in the posts on guarantism, “get mixed up” with one another, but without, as we have said, pacts or contracts—or the creation of anything resembling the polity-form. The very specific thing that I have been attempting to pull from Proudhon’s social science is a way of characterizing those particular interactions in some general sense: an anarchic “social system,” with all of the attendant difficulties and necessary cautions about systems recognized.

Constructing an Anarchism: Guarantism (Application)

In resultant anarchy the basic social unit will be marriage with Proudhonian analysis.

from Libertarian Labyrinth

I had anticipated the need for one last serious theoretical intervention at this point, in order to set up the comparatively programmatic elements in the remaining posts. The emergence of some new details in the “social system” section of Proudhon’s Justice—as discussed in the last post—offers a different and more direct path forward. But let’s start by quickly examining the road we won’t be traveling.

Constructing an Anarchism: Guarantism (Theory)

from Libertarian Labyrinth

For Charles Fourier, Guarantism was one of the stages between Civilization, the undesirable present state of things, and Harmony, a state in which the harmonious expression of the passions would occur more or less naturally, thanks to lessons learned and tendencies developed along the way. Guarantism wasn’t perfect, but it was good enough that he resisted describing it too fully, lest we be tempted by its relative splendors.


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