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“A word in the ear of the psychologists, assuming they are inclined to study ressentiment close up for once: this plant thrives best among anarchists....”[1] Of all the nineteenth century political movements that Nietzsche decries — from socialism to liberalism — he reserves his most venomous words for the anarchists. He calls them the “anarchist dogs” that are roaming the streets of European culture, the epitome of the “herd-animal morality” that characterizes modern democratic politics.[2] Nietzsche sees anarchism as poisoned at the root by the pestiferous weed of ressentiment — the spiteful politics of the weak and pitiful, the morality of the slave. Is Nietzsche here merely venting... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
1. Introduction It would seem that today, in the conditions of late capitalism and globalization, the modern state is becoming more dominant in political, social and economic life, rather than less so. This can be seen particularly in the current preoccupation with security and terrorism. The ‘war on terror’ serves as the latest ideological justification for the massive centralization and expansion of state power. This new paradigm of state power opens the way for new political and social conflicts, radically different from those that have arisen in the past. This suggests that the problem of state power can no longer be explained in economic terms alone, but rather constitutes its own specific theoretical and political condi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Abstract: This article explores the political aspect of Derrida’s work, in particular his critique of authority. Derrida employs a series of strategies to expose the antagonisms within Western philosophy, whose structures of presence provide a rational and essentialist foundation for political institutions. Therefore, Derrida’s interrogation of the universalist claims of philosophy may be applied to the pretensions of political authority. Moreover, I argue that Derrida’s deconstruction of the two paths of ‘reading’ — inversion and subversion — may be applied to the question of revolutionary politics, to show that revolution often culminates in the reaffirmation of authority. Derrida navigates a path... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
The aim of the paper is to explore the logic of empiricist pluralism in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Max Stirner. Stirner and Deleuze are two thinkers rarely mentioned together. Stirner’s thinking emerged, along with that of Marx, from among the shadows of Hegeliansm. However, while Marx attempted an inversion of Hegel on socialist and collectivist lines, Stirner developed a critique of German Idealism that was supremely individualistic and opposed to conceptual unities. His philosophy of egoism was a defense of individual difference against the onslaught of essentialist ideas and abstractions - like socialism and humanism - the ‘specters’ of idealism that have subsumed the individual under one form of generality or anot... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchy Unbound: A Tribute to John Moore, by Jonathan Purkis The essays in this collection each offer a unique contribution to an emerging area of political philosophy and in a sense serve as their own introduction to it. Why they were assembled and how one situates them within contemporary libertarian thought is another matter altogether, and one which requires a tribute to its contributing editor John Moore, who died suddenly in October 2002, aged 45. John’s writings occupy a special place within anarchism. He once described his work as ‘anarchist speculations’ about power, epistemology and ontology, for people to consider, refine, revise and act upon, rather than as absolute truths that should be adhered to.[1] His ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Interrogating the Master: Lacan and Radical Politics One of the central questions for the social application of psychoanalytic theory is whether it can promote significant social and political change, and to what extent it can provide a theoretical foundation for a radical critique of existing political practices, discourses and institutions. The aim of this paper is to explore the contribution of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to radical politics - in particular, anarchism. This may seem an improbable exercise at the outset. After all, Jacques Lacan was a psychoanalyst, not a political theorist - still less a political activist. Moreover, he was deeply suspicious of the radical politics of the Left, pointing to the ambiguous relationshi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
In recent years radical politics has been faced with a number of new challenges, not least of which has been the reemergence of the aggressive, authoritarian state in its new paradigm of security and bio-politics. The ‘war on terror’serves as the latest guise for the aggressive reassertion of the principle state sovereignty, beyond the traditional limits imposed on it by legal institutions or democratic polities. Coupled with this has been the hegemony of neo-liberal projects of capitalist globalization, as well as the ideological obscurantism of the so-called Third Way. The profound disillusionment in the wake of the collapse of Communist systems nearly two decades ago has resulted in a political and theoretical vacuum for the ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
One of the central problems in contemporary political theory is the question of whether or not liberalism is, or should remain, neutral with regard to normative conceptions of the good life. For liberal philosophers like Rawls, the principle of ‘justice as fairness’ refers not to any overarching moral assumption or universal conception of the good, but merely to a neutral framework that allows for competing conceptions of the good life. Neutral liberalism seeks to achieve a consensus about the conditions for a ‘well-ordered society’ while at the same time allowing for the plurality of identities and religious, philosophical and moral perspectives found in contemporary societies (see Rawls 1996: 35-40). For Rawls, in ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
In a recent series of exchanges between Slavoj Žižek and Simon Critchley, the specter of anarchism has once again emerged. In querying Critchley’s proposal in his recent book Infinitely Demanding (2007) for a radical politics that works outside the state – that take its distance from it – Žižek (2007a) says: The ambiguity of Critchley’s position resides in a strange non sequitur: if the state is here to stay, if it is impossible to abolish it (or capitalism), why retreat from it? Why not act with(in) the state? […] Why limit oneself to a politics which, as Critchley puts it, ‘calls the state into question and calls the established order to account, not in order to do away with th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Abstract In this paper, I call for a re-consideration of anarchism and its alternative ways of conceptualizing spaces for radical politics. Here I apply a Lacanian analysis of the social imaginary to explore the utopian fantasies and desires that underpin social spaces, discourses and practices – including planning, and revolutionary politics. I will go on to develop – via Castoriadis and others – a distinctly post-anarchist conception of political space based around the project of autonomy and the re-situation of the political space outside the state. This will have direct consequences for an alternative conception of planning practice and theory. Keywords planning theory, (post)anarchism, Lacan, revolutionary politics,... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Abstract This article outlines a politics of postanarchism, which is based on a radical renewal—via poststructuralist theory—of classical anarchism’s critique of statism and authority and its political ethics of egalibertarianism. I contend that while many of the theoretical categories of classical anarchism continue to be relevant today—and indeed are becoming more relevant with the collapse of competing radical projects and what might be seen as a paradigm shift from the representative politics of the party and vanguard to that of movements and decentralized networks—its humanist and rationalist epistemological framework needs to be rethought in the light of poststructuralist and postmodern theories. Here ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
I am grateful to Caleb Smith for his response to my essay "Stirner and Foucault: Towards a Post-Kantian Freedom," and I particularly like the way he links my discussion of a post-Kantian freedom to strategies of resistance against contemporary forms of incarceration. Already, back in the early 1970s, in response to a series of prison revolts in France, Michel Foucault was talking about the emergence of a "carceral archipelago"--a network of punitive institutions, discourses, and practices that had been progressively spreading throughout the social fabric since the late eighteenth century (297). It was as if the prison had become a metaphor for society as a whole--with the same techniques of surveillance and coercion appearing in schools, ho... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Jacques Derrida’s Specters of Marx explored the logic of spectrality that haunted Marx. Marx was shown to be engaged in a ‘ghost hunt’ for the specter of idealism. Max Stirner was the crucial target for Marx, as Stirner had exposed the remnants of idealism still haunting Marx’s work. This paper will explore the question of spectrality in Stirner. I will argue that the logic of spectrality is crucial for his critique of ideology, allowing him to go beyond both essentialist and structuralist understandings of ideological mechanisms. The essentialist account of ideology, where ideology is seen to be an irrational distortion of the subject’s essential interests, and the structuralist account, where the subject is s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction Max Stirner and Michel Foucault are two thinkers not often examined together. However, it has been suggested that the long-ignored Stirner may be seen as a precursor to contemporary poststructuralist thought. [1] Indeed, there are many extraordinary parallels between Stirner's critique of Enlightenment humanism, universal rationality, and essential identities, and similar critiques developed by thinkers such as Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and others. However, the purpose of this paper is not merely to situate Stirner in the "poststructuralist" tradition, but rather to examine his thinking on the question of freedom, and to explore the connections here with Foucault's own development of the concept in the conte... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Abstract In this paper I investigate the problem of voluntary servitude — first elaborated by Etienne de la Boëtie — and explore its implications for radical political theory today. The desire for one’s own domination has proved a major hindrance to projects of human liberation such as revolutionary Marxism and anarchism, necessitating new understandings of subjectivity and revolutionary desire. Central here, as I show, are micro-political and ethical projects of interrogating one’s own subjective attachment to power and authority — projects elaborated, in different ways, by thinkers as diverse as Max Stirner, Gustav Landauer and Michel Foucault. I argue that the question of voluntary servitude must be ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Max Stirner’s impact on contemporary political theory is often neglected. However in Stirner’s political thinking there can be found a surprising convergence with poststructuralist theory, particularly with regard to the function of power. Andrew Koch, for instance, sees Stirner as a thinker who transcends the Hegelian tradition he is usually placed in, arguing that his work is a precursor poststructuralist ideas about the foundations of knowledge and truth (Koch 1997). Koch argues that Stirner’s individualistic challenge to the philosophical bases of the State goes beyond the limits of traditional Western philosophy, presenting a challenge to its transcendentalist epistemology. In light of this connection established by K... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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