Open Access (free)
Anarchist theory and practice in a global age

This book attempts to convey the different sociological contexts for how contemporary anarchist theory and practice is to be understood. It concentrates on the issue of broadening the parameters of how anarchist theory and practice is conceptualized. The book compares the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period (what Dave Morland calls 'social anarchism') and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements which he regards as being poststructuralist in nature. It also documents the emergence of the now highly influential anti-technological and anti-civilisational strand in anarchist thought. This offers something of a challenge to anarchism as a political philosophy of the Enlightenment, as well as to other contemporary versions of ecological anarchism and, to some extent, anarcho-communism. The book further provides a snapshot of a number of debates and critical positions which inform contemporary anarchist practice. The specific areas covered offer unique perspectives on sexuality, education, addiction and mental health aspects of socialisation and how this can be challenged at a number of different levels. The fact that anarchism has largely premised its critique on a psychological dimension to power relations, not just a material one, has been an advantage in this respect. Ecological anarchism, which has been the driving force behind much contemporary anarchist theory and practice, has been committed to thinking about the relationships between people and 'nature' in new ways.

Dave Morland

1 Dave Morland Anti-capitalism and poststructuralist anarchism1 Introduction Social anarchism has a long reputation as a disparate and incoherent ideology. Commentators, sympathetic and objective alike, have frequently accused social anarchism of being too diverse to constitute a singular, recognisable ideology at all (Chomsky, 1970; Miller, 1984; Ball and Dagger, 1991). To a degree this is true: social anarchism is a loose and diverse ideology that may be too elusive for some commentators to categorise neatly and clearly. However, other commentators, myself

in Changing anarchism
Open Access (free)
James Bowen and Jonathan Purkis

Part 1 Thinking One of the principal reasons for the endurance of anarchism is the fact that regardless of context it asks challenging questions about the nature of power. This collection premises itself on the idea that anarchist concepts of power are changing to reflect the extensive and varied shifts that are taking place in political culture, and on increasingly larger stages. The anarchist critique, as will be argued in this first section of the book, has deepened in terms of its willingness to consider power as having multiple and interconnected

in Changing anarchism
Open Access (free)
Stirner, anarchy, subjectivity and the art of living
John Moore

3 John Moore Lived poetry: Stirner, anarchy, subjectivity and the art of living1 Introduction At the heart of the new anarchism(s) there lies a concern with developing a whole new way of being in and acting upon the world.2 Contemporary revolutionary anarchism is not merely interested in effecting changes in socioeconomic relations or dismantling the State, but in developing an entire art of living, which is simultaneously anti-authoritarian, anti-ideological and antipolitical. The development of a distinctively anarchist savoir-vivre is a profoundly

in Changing anarchism
Open Access (free)
James Bowen and Jonathan Purkis

Part III Being One of the ongoing attractions of anarchism is that it constantly raises questions about the nature of being in ways often sidelined or suppressed by other political perspectives. Why do people rebel against authority? Why do they also feel compelled to offer alternative solutions to collective problems through co-operation? How interrelated or separate are humans from nature, as well as from very different human cultures? To what extent are technological systems creating new forms of identity which are not necessarily liberatory? How can one

in Changing anarchism
Open Access (free)
How anarchism still matters
Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen

Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen Conclusion: how anarchism still matters Introduction As possibly the most idealistic, complicated and contradictory political philosophy to have emerged from the Enlightenment, anarchism occupies a unique and under-acknowledged place in the history of ideas. The chapters in this volume have engaged with and critiqued much of what is taken by mainstream academics and commentators to be anarchism. In the era that we have called that of ‘global anarchism’, the classical anarchist canon has come under attack from a variety of

in Changing anarchism
Jamie Heckert

this is because anarchism has traditionally focused on formal hierarchy, especially in the forms of the State and capital. Academically and politically, my primary interest is sexuality. By this I include sexual or erotic desires, behaviours and relationships. I often ask myself how I can justify putting my energy into sexuality. Climate change, nuclear weapons and other forms of environmental catastrophe could have disastrous effects for all forms of life on this planet. Capitalism, as a system of institutionalised competition, supports abuse of the individual

in Changing anarchism
Open Access (free)
Rethinking anarchist strategies
James Bowen

6 James Bowen Moving targets: rethinking anarchist strategies Introduction In the anarchist movement in Britain and across the world today, there are a number of reasonably prolific publishing projects and a few moderately successful groups and organisations. It is even true that the word anarchism has lost much of its popular perception as a source of terror and chaos, particularly in ‘anti-globalisation’ and environmental circles; but anarchism per se simply does not have an impact on the vast majority of the population. This is not to say that change is not

in Changing anarchism
Jonathan Purkis

nature of power itself. Some of these will be discussed in greater detail below, but it is first worth reflecting on where there are existing areas of sociology that might offer assistance in the development of an anarchist sociology. Early indicators On first viewing, the evidence is not good. To date, the role of anarchism in researching and analysing societies past and present has been rather marginal, and apparently ineffectual, outside of the anarchist milieu itself. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, an explanatory framework deriving from such

in Changing anarchism
Reflections on contemporary anarchism, anti-capitalism and the international scene
Karen Goaman

9 Karen Goaman The anarchist travelling circus: reflections on contemporary anarchism, anti-capitalism and the international scene Introduction The phrase ‘anarchist travelling circus’ was uttered in stern tones by Tony Blair, as, after the European Union summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2001, he condemned the protests that have converged on every significant such gathering over the last few years. The unintentional note of joyfulness, play and spontaneity captured by this phrase was quickly recuperated by the movement itself, appearing on a banner, and

in Changing anarchism