re-Anarchism

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Mon Jun 24 21:21:21 MDT 1996


As comrades on the list would  be aware I work in fairly closely with an
anarchist collective here in Brisbane around the production of a local
monthly.  My anarchist comrades are followers of Murray Bookchin, and I was
interested to see Louis P. refer to him recently.

I have not read much Bookchin.  Honestly I find anarchist thought and
anarchists generally to be generally inflexible and authoritarian.   Theirs
is the simplest of politics.  Everything resolves itself to a question of
hierarchy and domination.  This is the one key that fits everything.  But I
have recently been challenged by a young anarchist to read Bookchin's
"Listen marxist" from his book Post-Scarcity Anarchism.

I  do not have the book but it appears to have been written in the 60s.
Certainly  I doubt if anyone would tout the notion of "post-scarcity" today.
the article  is an attack on the re-emergence as Bookchin sees it of Marxism
around notions of the "class-line " and the "vanguard party".  I have some
sympathy for his characterization of left groups here.  Certainly DSP and
ISO did me over in their differing ways. But it is of course the class
question that is the  crucial divide between anarchists and us.

Consider the following

The most promising development in the factories today is the emergence of
young workers who smoke pot, fuck off on their jobs, drift into and out  of
factories, grow long or longish hair, demand more leisure time  rather than
more  pay, steal, harass all authority figures, go on wildcats, and *turn on
their fellow workers*". (sic & emphasis added).  (:214-215)


What can one say about this?  Wildcat strikes I approve off generally, but
how is this related to turning on ones fellow workers?  Well the answer is
simple really "individualism = good.  Collectivism =  bad.  Even when
collectivism is about solidarity against the boss,it would seem.


I am sure that Bookchin's other and later work is much more impressive  than
this, but I am not encouraged to keep going.

regards

Gary



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