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(en) SOCIAL ANARCHISM OR ANARCHISM AS A "WAY OF LIFE" - Capi Vidal By A.N.A. (ca, de, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Thu, 18 Nov 2021 07:57:23 +0200


Social anarchism or personal anarchism. An insurmountable abyss is a book by Virus , which recovers a text by Murray Bookchin from 1995. The essay was written at a time, as the author considers, in which anarchism was at a turning point within its long and eventful history. Although we disagree with some of the things that Bookchin argues, we will essentially agree that anarchist ideas are, and must be, eminently social. ---- Thus, we witness in amazement the tendencies that appear, supposedly within anarchism, in the last decades: «a decadent individualism in the name of its personal 'autonomy', an uncomfortable mysticism in the name of 'intuitionism', and an illusory vision of history in the name of 'primitivism' ". Bookchin also denounces the confusion of the capitalist system with a supposedly abstract industrial society, as well as the imputation of all oppression to the impact of technology rather than to the underlying social relations between capital and labor. The critical focus should be placed, instead of on civilization as a whole, on economic power (capital), political power (hierarchy), on the general commodification of life and, in general, on the paradigms of life. unlimited exploitation and ambition. That "personal" anarchism of the title, which in reality should be better translated as anarchism "as a way of life" leaves aside social commitment and intellectual coherence; focuses its objectives on feeding the ego, more than anything else, as one more part of the cultural decadence of bourgeois society.

Bookchin's lament is that so many so-called libertarians have put aside the fight for a social revolution, and this without denying at any time that anarchism has always picked up every attempt at personal liberation. In fact, anarchism must always be analyzed as a development between two elementary tendencies: a personal commitment to personal autonomy and a collective commitment to social freedom. Bookchin considers that these two tendencies never harmonized within the anarchist movement and simply coexisted within it. This led to the different anarchist schools, situated between these two extremes, with their own proposals for social organization, they would position anarchism according to Bookchin as a pluralist movement that worked more for a negative conception of freedom ("freedom to do") than for a positive one ("freedom to do"); For the American, the conception of positive freedom is a challenge for the future in the anarchist movement. The acceptance of these two tendencies in the history of anarchism, the individualist (which we might cautiously call "liberal) and the socialist, is admissible; the very development of anarchism in the twentieth century will lead to "energetic revolutionary forms of organization with coherent and attractive programs", as defined by Bookchin, and which is lacking today. To rebuild that movement, It would be necessary to put aside the desire for the immediate (so typical of bourgeois society) and bet on nuanced reflection, on rationality as a whole, on a solid historical analysis and on the most commendable aspects of civilization (and not the general and childish criticism, typical of primitivism and other tendencies that abound in an alleged "fall of authenticity"). Bookchin claims the socialist and democratic tradition within anarchism, as well as a link with the origins of the First International, subsequently maintained by anarconsindicalists and libertarian communists, which translates into the following demand: «No more duties without rights, no rights without duties.». by a solid historical analysis and by the most commendable aspects of civilization (and not the general and childish criticism, typical of primitivism and other tendencies that abound in an alleged "fall of authenticity"). Bookchin claims the socialist and democratic tradition within anarchism, as well as a link with the origins of the First International, subsequently maintained by anarconsindicalists and libertarian communists, which translates into the following demand: «No more duties without rights, no rights without duties.». by a solid historical analysis and by the most commendable aspects of civilization (and not the general and childish criticism, typical of primitivism and other tendencies that abound in an alleged "fall of authenticity"). Bookchin claims the socialist and democratic tradition within anarchism, as well as a link with the origins of the First International, subsequently maintained by anarconsindicalists and libertarian communists, which translates into the following demand: «No more duties without rights, no rights without duties.».

This socialist and revolutionary program in anarchism does not deny, and never has, the importance of personal fulfillment and the satisfaction of desire; Bookchin is not the least bit shy in his critical words towards those who abound in solipsism, aestheticism, mysticism and ecstasy, and they do so much to the outrage on behalf of a supposed anarchism. To the three aforementioned tendencies, solipsistic individualism, new age mysticism and naive and mystifying primitivism, we must add some other outgrowths that periodically grow a libertarian movement stubborn at times in putting up too many elements on its back. Anarchism, to which Bookchin considers that the appellation "social" must already be added, is obviously an heir to the Enlightenment, even accepting its limits and imperfections; defends the rational capacity of the human being without denying in any way passion, imagination, art or pleasure, elements that in fact it has always tried to integrate into everyday life. The fierce criticism that can be made of the megamachine, a concept by Lewis Munford that alludes to the exploitation and bureaucratization of work, does not lead in anarchism to not bet on technology as a liberating element (by the way, Munford was never against technology On the contrary, he was betting on its most positive and democratic aspects); The existence of a process of social institutionalization does not mean that it is against the class system and the hierarchy, so it can be very libertarian, while a federal political program of direct democracy may well suppose at the same time the opposition to parliamentarism and to the State. This is the wish of Bookchin, with which of course he can disagree on some conceptions, but which in the opinion of the undersigned is within an anarchist tradition that cannot lose sight of its socially emancipatory horizon. Personal autonomy is a chimera, or at best something typical of an elite made up of isolated individuals, if social freedom is renounced; the individual can only develop fully within a fully developed society. It is therefore necessary that we anarchists always investigate social problems, within the time that we have lived and always updating libertarian proposals, providing solutions and without falling into mysticism or false idealizations. Trying to be consistent in our daily life and seek maximum personal development does not imply giving up the social revolution; quite the contrary, both things complement each other.

Capi Vidal By A.N.A.
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