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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.

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that stretch the imagination. His formulation of the ‘anarchopsychological critique’, as an alternative to the principal narrative of modernity, which is driven by authority, scientific progress and mediated experience, is an important approach to thinking about anarchism and ontology. Alternative perspectives on modernity are also provided in the chapters by Steve Millett and Jonathan Purkis, albeit from considerably different standpoints. Millett’s comprehensive study of the Fifth Estate publishing project documents the emergence of the now highly influential anti-technological

in Changing anarchism
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examining the ‘deep past’ and the roots of humanity. In this respect, 160 Part III Being Goaman’s contribution here complements arguments made by Steve Millett earlier (chapter 4) in his treatment of the anti-technological critique offered by the Fifth Estate collective. Goaman’s focus in chapter 9 is a practical application of many of those ideas, examining contemporary protests against globalisation and suggesting that we can learn more than just lessons in solidarity from the ongoing alliances with the rural and land movements of the global South. We can, she

in Changing anarchism

should, wherever possible, be uprooted and eliminated. In particular, social anarchists have 24 Part I Thinking attacked power where it is most concentrated, in the hands of the State. Indeed, power is integral to social anarchistscritique of Marxism and its insistence on the dictatorship of the proletariat as pivotal to the success of revolutionary strategy. Similarly, anarchists are occasionally defined by dint of their opposition to the State. This accounts for social anarchism’s reputation as an anti-State ideology. For most, if not all, anarchists, social

in Changing anarchism
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Why anarchism still matters

existence of an authoritarian (as opposed to democratic) ‘technics’ that organised all human relationships in the period of the early civilisations. It has been through such systems that societies have internalised and reproduced alienated power relationships. Why anarchism still matters 13 Whilst clearly enjoying considerable appeal during an age of globalisation and American supremacy, these ideas can be seen to form the backbone of the contemporary anti-civilisational and anti-technological anarchist critique. In particular, they raise questions about human

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

Estate such as David Watson (1996, 1999). This 164 Part III Being strand is growing in importance in the anarchist movement, and looks to the lives of people living in small-scale societies, including primitive and rural village/ peasant societies, to learn how to reclaim autonomous ways of life with a low impact on the earth. A crucial aspect of this anti-technological and anti-civilisational critique is the need to reclaim a relationship with the land and local economies, not only in the global South as a means of alleviating poverty, but also in the global North

in Changing anarchism
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Rethinking anarchist strategies

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
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How anarchism still matters

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

market-driven and frequently anti-intellectual agendas have destroyed genuine research cultures and the search for knowledge as an exercise in itself. The argument that follows takes a somewhat different and perhaps less nostalgic view of these matters. From an anarchist view, none of these things are particularly surprising, mainly because the parameters of what is being debated are limited by their assumptions about the organisation of society itself. So, regardless of whether the academy is being organised around market-driven, or Stateorchestrated philanthropy, the

in Changing anarchism
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Fifth Estate’s critique of the megamachine

technological structure, they channel a limited form of information which is amenable to, and representative of, capital. Obviously, the above characteristics describe a technology which is radically different from that commonly held to be a neutral and potentially beneficial set of tools. This is a view held by many libertarian socialists and anarchists who still see the primary focus of their political critique as being the State and capitalism. This is, of course, rejected by the FE, for whom, ‘opposing the state while at the same time defending technology or remaining

in Changing anarchism