Shawn P. Wilbur

Legal Order

Legal Order

From Libertarian Labyrinth by Shawn P. Wilbur

There is a kind of slogan or maxim that circulates in anarchist spaces: Anarchy means “no rulers,” but not “no rules.” It is most often presented as a kind of common-sense answer to portrayals of anarchy as some kind of “Mad Max” scenario, where all parties engage in a constant struggle to ward off the depredations of lawless others. It is generally, I think, presented in good faith — as are similar attempts to distinguish between government and governance, the various appeals to “legitimate authority” and “justified hierarchy,” etc. — but it forces us to distinguish between at least two very different currents in modern anarchistic thought.

Constructing Anarchisms: Anarchy as Criterion

from Libertarian Labyrinth

The position that I’m inclined to champion is that anarchy, understood in that form of an-arche, is, in fact, clear enough in its meaning to function as a criterion. That basic sense—a rejection of existing foundations or fundamentals—is simple enough, even if understanding all that it entails in various specific contexts is not. That standard of formal adequacy seems broadly applicable. As we contemplate anarchistic practices or elaborate anarchistic theory, are we really saying “no”—and saying no to something fundamental to the existing systems of social relations that we oppose?

Notes on the Development of Proudhon’s Thought

i am not a prude hon hon hon

from Libertarian Labyrinth

These notes will obviously be of most use to those who have followed previous discussions of the individual texts, but it represents what seems to be a fairly promising attempt to deal with the shifting terms of Proudhon’s analysis from 1839 until his death and, as such, may be useful to others, if only as a bit more concrete suggestion that such a resolution is possible.

Definitions, Pluralism, Anarchy

CON [...] SMS

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: A Philosophical Anarchism

I'm digging Shawn P. Wilbur's scrapbooking aesthetic

from Libertarian Labyrinth

We’re concerned, in these early phases of the survey, with the means by which we might recognize an anarchism emerging in contexts where that term did not yet have any of its familiar associations. What are the conditions for an emerging body of thought to inspire in us the same responses we have to the sorts of anarchism we presently espouse?


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