”Are we who live in the present doomed never to experience autonomy, never to stand for one moment on a bit of land ruled only by freedom? Are we reduced either to nostalgia for the past or nostalgia for the future? Must we wait until the entire world is freed of political control before even one of us can claim to know freedom? Logic and emotion unite to condemn such a supposition. Reason demands that one cannot struggle for what one does not know; and the heart revolts at a universe so cruel as to visit such injustices on our generation alone of humankind. To say that “I will not be free till all humans (or all sentient creatures) are free” is simply to cave in to a kind of nirvana-stupor, to abdicate our humanity, to define ourselves as losers.”
The aesthetics of anarchism.Anarchists for anarchism’ s sake. Allan Antliff argues that anarchist history presents us with a ”contested discursive field” rather than a simple political identity; within this field, we can observe a constant stream of argumentative theorizing in the anarchist press in which modernist defenders of ”art for arts sake” clash with advocates of social art.Thus, the anarchist engagement with modernism is quite complex, particularly with the notion of decadence; whether decadence, nihilism, chaos and dissolution form an aesthetic or is it simply an unharnessed manifestation of an aesthetic individual: a style….
It was the Anarchist International Congress of 1881 that approved ”the propaganda of the deed” . the notion of the deed of violence for propaganda purposes is essentially a theatrical one, and much of what follows has an air of black farce. French anarchist journals of the 1880′s published articles on ”scientific studies” , a metaphor for bomb manufacture, and encouraged chemistry in the home. Tombolas were held with guns, revolvers and daggers as prizes. Crop burning was advocated, so that peasantry, exasperated by hunger, might rise in revolt, and cooks were advised to poison their masters. Rats and mice were to be soaked in gasoline, set alight and sent into selected buildings. One inflammatory anarchist journal was financed by the Paris police , who found the subscription list interesting, while the first ”anarchist” outrage in France, an attempt to blow up a statue of the statesman Thiers at the Saint-Germain, may well have been planned by the prefect himself.
The history of anarchism, and the confrontations at the G8 and G20 summits, the financial meltdown of 2008, lends credence to the aphorism that public opinion is fickle and capricious, and Proudhon’s assertion that revolution will most likely arise as a middle class phenomenon is; one hundred and fifty years after his death, is still not to be taken lightly.He was the first to really see power and revolutionary potential of the middle class mixed in with his vitriolic repudiation of capitalism and socialism. However, his antidotes and those we search for today may do more damage than the poison we seek to contain and then drain.
Anarchist guru Murray Bookchin asserts the present moment in culture is a time of ”cultural decadence” whose sign include disillusionment, fragmentation, anomie and loss of belief in progress culminating in a ”post-modern nihilism” . Bookchin inveighs against ”the self indulgent aesthetic vagaries” of countercultural lifestyle anarchism. which seeks emancipation outside of history, in the realm of the subjective. Perhaps, Naomi Klein, of ”No Logo” fame posits this position as a marketing of soft anarchism within a lightweight highly commercial and lucrative business model; in which she herself faces the contradiction and incompatibility of being her own brand and, by consequence trademarking the mainstream extreme left with her own form of patent protection. Imagine Rosa Luxembourg on the cover of Rolling Stone. Perhaps a Klein-Elvis Costello duet and so on. Freedom is now an ”ecology” and a uniquely ”green” product.
The limitations of the liberal democratic model, the welfare-state, may be exceeding its expiry date. In the absence of anything new and revelatory, there is a spirit of anarchy and authority in juxtaposition to each other, each unaware of the others presence.The search for intellectual paternity of some of these emergent, alternative movements can sometimes lead to some strange and disconcerting discoveries. German fascism was the first to implement what was categorized as Proudhon anarchism, into a revolutionary movement of the middle class directed against banks and big business as well as the demands of the working class and poor. The destruction of shop windows and property at these summits does bear a faint, though audible echo to ”Kristallnacht”
Almost eerily, Regina Cochrane, has also perceived modern anarchism to be focused on emotion, aesthetics, non-ordinary consciousness, and even aristocratic sensibilities. It rejects the struggle for democracy, picket line demonstrations and revolutions. Instead it favors self-liberation, the right to party and temporary but frequent ”festive uprisings” . Life is TAZ, temporary autonomous zones; microcosms of the anarchist dream of a free culture, a culture that exists not only beyond control, but also beyond definition. TAZ is a continual rising up that carries individuals from one protest to the next in search of peak experiences.
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