Thursday, September 20, 2007

Miscellany

Voting: According to this, I should vote for Dennis Kucinich. (Found via Don't Trip Up, in a post on Ron Paul which is very worth reading.)

Lewisham '77: success or failure? Fascinating account and analysis from veteran anti-racist Jenny Bourne

Orwelliana: A new Source for E-books ... George Orwell and others (Shagya Blog)

Boycotts and Ethics: Keith Kahn-Harris on the ethics of the academic boycott.

The Talmud as Marxism: Discordian Communism Basic Dialectics (I think already linked to by the Popinjays)

If Bush really was a fascist: The Nation of Duncan: Things the stupid left does

Richard fights the good fight at the Zimbabwe embassy: Baggage Reclaim - Protesting

An anarchist on the 9/11 "Truth" Cult: Infoshop News - Britain's 9/11 "Truth Movement": Who's Responsible?

3 comments:

The New Centrist said...

Hi Bob,

I could be wrong but I don’t think the author is of the 9/11 Truther article is an anarchist. While this was posted at Infoshop News (an anarchist site) it originated at Counterpunch, a newsletter more associated with the authoritarian left. Also, if the comments at Infoshop are any indication, the regulars there don’t seem to think the author is anarchist either.

--TNC

bob said...

You're right. Re-reading the article, which is clearly flagged as coming from CounterPunch (and even has a link to the original at the end, which I'd missed), it is obviously not anarchist. Other texts by Alex Doherty, its author, can be read here.

I generally like to link to originals of texts, rather than versions put elsewhere, but I'd prefer not to give CounterPunch any link juice, as I find them so despicable.

Actually, it seems the original was at UKWatch ("exclusively" no less!)

The article was posted to Infoshop by an anarchist, under the name Makhno, so at least one anarchist deemed it important.

Of course, for lots of anarchists, it would make uncomfortable reading, as lots of anarchists flirt with conspiracy theories, in their obsession with the state.

Here's a good bit from the article:
The decline of orthodox marxism, while welcome in many ways, has unfortunately allowed the most extreme forms of irrationality to proliferate amongst the organised left. As with the rise the of the susperstitious grab bag of new age spiritualism following the decline of organized christianity, the gap left by orthodox marxism has to a large extent been filled by various paranoid creeds – in particular a primitivist form of lifestyle-anarchism (a trend in anarchist thought that would have been profoundly alien to the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists, say).

The New Centrist said...

Re: Counterpunch, agreed. The are a vile bunch.

Totally agree re: the popularity of conspiracy theories among many anarchists.

The excerpt you posted was the part of the article that got the anarchists at Infoshop upset.

Richard Hofstadter wrote an interesting article about irrationality in politics titled, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." It's a bit dated but definitely worth a read and easy to find on the net for free. Unlike Mr. Doherty, I do not find an increase in political irrationality linked in any sort of causal relationship with "the decline of orthodox marxism". I'd be interested in how he quantifies or even qualifies this increase in political irrationality over time.

I also strongly disagree with Doherty's claim that the distinction in the anarchist movement between those who emphasize workplace struggles and those who are more focussed on "lifestyle" is a recent development.

Doherty must be unaware of the history of the various anarchist colonies in the early twentieth century United States. These places attracted ideologically dedicated anarchists, absolutely, but they also attracted mystics, "healers" and a variety of other misfits and quacks. Paul Avrich writes about this in "Anarchist Voices" and I think Emma Goldman's autobiography, "Living My Life," also mentions something about health-food faddists and other "mystical" types associating themselves with the anarchist movement.