Constructing Anarchisms

Definitions, Pluralism, Anarchy

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from Libertarian Labyrinth

Constructing Anarchisms: Definitions, Pluralism, Anarchy

One of the ideas driving Constructing Anarchisms has been the notion that “anarchy” and “anarchism” mark problems that it is necessary to return to again and again, that “becoming an anarchist” is an ongoing and arguably interminable project. And, while that idea may not be exactly popular in anarchist circles, it is undoubtedly connected to the widely-shared intuition that we must allow anarchist theory and practice to retain some significant degree of pluralism.

Notes for a Preface


from Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

Constructing Anarchisms: Notes for a Preface

If asked, I generally say that I have been an anarchist for close to thirty years. And because of all the other things that I have been for much longer—a big nerd, basically—that has translated into nearly three decades of sometimes obsessive research into anarchist history and theory, art and literature, etc. At this point, it’s hard to imagine thinking of myself as anything other than an anarchist.

Anarchism: The Formula Explored


from Libertarian Labyrinth

Having established a formula for anarchism-in-general, we certainly haven’t established that all anarchisms are created equal. We have simply provided a means by which those anarchisms that take the form suggested by the formula can be rendered comparable. While the proposed formula leaves considerable space for variation among the anarchisms that it will recognize, it also sets a relatively high bar for consideration.

Anarchism: A General Formula

Anarchism: A General Formula

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

The interval between the interruption of the “Margins and Problems” survey and the appearance of this first draft-section from the Constructing Anarchisms manuscript has been considerably shorter than expected—a pleasant surprise after the slow going of the last month or so. I’ll talk more about the structure and aims of the book as the pieces come together, but for those who have been following the workshop, these initial sections should be recognizable as new approaches to familiar problems.

Some Premature Conclusions

from Libertarian Labyrinth

Margins and Problems: Some Premature Conclusions

There are plenty of useful histories of anarchism, including some general histories that draw from the anarchist past the material by which various conceptions of anarchism might be bolstered and enriched. And the more we know about the complexities of the anarchist past, the less, I think, we can begrudge ourselves or our fellow anarchists these ideological and organizational supports.

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.


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