Anarquismo sin adjetivos

As I explained in a recent blog post, I am a strong supporter of the idea of an anarchism without adjectives, from the Spanish anarquismo sin adjetivos.

Indeed, I’m coming to think that the very use of a prefix or suffix to anarchism is a real danger sign of something amiss.

I should say first of all that I have in the past been happy to be described as an “eco-anarchist”, on the simple basis that there is strong ecological element to my personal take on anarchism.

But it increasingly seems to me that to use that term is self-defeating and I don’t think I will continue using it. It’s as if I am myself suggesting that environmental issues have no intrinsic place in the anarchist worldview and are just elements that some of us have randomly decided to tack on.

The same could be said of anarchist-communism. The use of the term implies that anarchism and communism are completely different things that have been fused together in this particular ideology.

That impression is even stranger in that context. When I’ve used the term “eco-anarchist”, it’s partly because I am aware that not all other anarchists share all my environmental views – and neither would I suggest that they should do. There are lots of varying anarchist viewpoints –and this, as I have said before, is anarchism’s greatest strength.

However, some anarchist-communists claim that their kind of anarchism is in fact the only valid kind and adopt a negative attitude towards other strands of anarchist thought.

This is, in my view, a dangerous and destructive approach not worthy of the anarchist tradition. Class struggle is part of anarchism, but not the whole of it.

In this respect, I am in complete agreement with Voline and the other Russian anarchists who replied to the original Platformists in 1927 with a statement that insisted: “To maintain that anarchism is only a theory of classes is to limit it to a single viewpoint. Anarchism is more complex and pluralistic, like life itself. Its class element is above all its means of fighting for liberation; its humanitarian character is its ethical aspect, the foundation of society; its individualism is the goal of mankind.”

Volin

It seems especially odd, if you believe that anarchism is necessarily communist, to continue to couple the two terms together in hyphenated form – unless, that is, you primarily see yourself as a communist who’s refining that definition with the use of “anarchist” as a merely secondary label. In that case, who are you to tell other people what anarchism is or isn’t?

There are other problems of a very different kind involved with adjectives affixed to anarchism.

For instance, the very mention of the term “anarcho-capitalism” makes my blood boil. It just doesn’t exist, whatever its handful of proponents say. Anarchism is all about the destruction of wealth, property, privilege and the state which is always necessary to protect and impose them by force. Capitalism is the opposite of that. End of story. We really don’t need to discuss this.

The same applies to so-called “national-anarchism”. This is so obvious, I wouldn’t have even bothered pointing it out, if it hadn’t been for the fact that some of my stuff has been reposted on one of their sites, along with other anarchist material.

Anarchism is internationalist, universal, anti-racist. It specifically calls for the liberation of human beings from labels imposed on them from above, for the abolition of all nation-states, all borders. You just can’t take all that away and still call it anarchism.

It is pretty clear from a brief look at the “national-anarchist” material, with its promotion of racial separatism, that this is a rather transparent extreme-right attempt to pass for something else.

Of course, the proponents of this non-existent ideology try to counter objections by denying that it is an oxymoron of the most obvious kind and claiming that their idea of “nation” is different from the one generally referred to, that their idea of preserving races is just about bottom-up cultural diversity and so on.

If you accepted this at face value (which I don’t recommend!), it still leaves us with a question. Why, if “national-anarchists” really think they belong in the historic anarchist tradition, do they insist in distancing themselves from it by using the adjective “national” which, unlike “communist” or “eco”, doesn’t belong within the fold of anarchist thinking, or even just outside of it, but right over the horizon in a dark place no real anarchist would go anywhere near?

Why don’t they just ditch the absurd label, get involved in the anarchist movement and express their views (which are supposedly compatible with anarchism) in the usual ways?

The answer is easy, of course: it’s because they, like the capitalists, aren’t really anarchists at all.

As far as genuine comrades are concerned, maybe a good way of setting ourselves apart from imposters is to ditch all the obfuscating qualifications and say plainly that we are proud to be nothing but anarchists. Sin adjetivos.

The Anarchy Threshold

There’s no excuse for any disunity or internal conflict between anarchists.

Some regard it as a sad inevitability that factions will always develop and squabble with each other, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

We are not in the same position as the Marxist left, where different groups are (theoretically at least!) vying to form the leadership of post-revolutionary government.

Our aim is simply to reach a certain point where anarchy has been achieved and then allow freedom to take its course.

We could term this point, or line, the Anarchy Threshold. All of our efforts go into taking humanity across this finishing tape. After that, it will be the actions and ideas of the people who find themselves in that happy situation that will take things forward from there.

We have no idea when we will reach the Anarchy Threshold and whether we as individuals will be around when that time comes.

If we are there, we will have our say as to how the new society is shaped – as individuals like everyone else. If we aren’t, we won’t.

We really don’t have to worry about that. All we need to worry about is getting there in the first place.

Of course, there are many different ideas about how we can best reach the A-Threshold – almost as many as there are different anarchists. It’s understandable to want to try and persuade other anarchists to see it your way – but only up to a point.

Ultimately, none of us know which will prove to be the most worthwhile approaches and certainly a diversity of tactics is the most likely strategy to succeed.

As far as the post-Threshold world is concerned, none of us will have any control over how that looks, and neither, as anarchists, could we desire to have any.

The views of other anarchists as to what that world might look like do not represent any threat to us, as they cannot – by anarcho-definition – be forced upon us or upon anyone else.

Your idea of utopia may not be the post-industrial eco-anarchist vision, but that vision (as a vision held by anarchists) is not going to be imposed on you or on society.

Neither will industrially-minded anarcho-communists be in a position to force anyone to work in a collective factory or down a collective coal mine. That’s not what anarchy means.

In the meantime, we will continue to express our diverse daydreams about the world we would like to live in, but the differences between them and other anarchists’ dreams should not be the focus of our anarchist identity.

It’s not a prevalent belief in today’s world that all government and authority is more harmful than helpful, and that the whole set-up should be scrapped. Put that together with our common condemnation of all forms of inequality, injustice and intolerance, and there’s plenty there for anarchists to unite around.

So what’s stopping us? Ego perhaps? A sense of personal “identity” derived from belonging to certain sub-sect? All that needs to burned off and left behind.

We need a strong and clear anarchist movement made up of strong and clear individuals whose political focus is purely on helping humankind reaching the Anarchy Threshold and who have unwavering faith in the freedom that lies beyond.