Published on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by Waging Nonviolence
The Government Shutdown — An Anarchist Dream?
by Nathan Schneider
I am reading Schneider’s book on OWS, with interest, but some skepticism. I followed the OWS closely for a whole year here, but never realized that its core was this ‘anarchist’ perspective. Once realized, I pulled away immediately. However, I think it is significant that the OWS happened at all, and its relation to the anarchist strategy is important to dwell on. They may be the only group able to get a response out of a potential left paranoid at the prospect of marxist activism. But, as this article suggests, the anarchists are on the defensive, as here, to distinguish themselves from a conservative brand. And the minute Schneider mentions Edmund Burke he has lost me, for good.
Nonetheless, the deadbeat marxist left ought to consider how they were outflanked here. People just don’t respond anymore to the old left’s cliches. So a careful study of what happened here is important, despite my own feeling that in the end a straight political movement on the left is needed, if that could ever free itself from marxist dogmas even as it reinvents the net equivalent of, well, marxist non-dogma. That is my take on a ‘new communism’: the whole platform of communism was, I will say it, hijacked by Marx/Engels. It was good that they tried to appropriate that movement, to upgrade and foundationalize it, but at this point, all people see is the legacy of Stalinism.
Communism remains the main option here because it is clear, where the anarchist position is vague and flaky: capitalism is the problem, and it must be dealt with directly. In any case, the way forward may well be through the anarchist truckstop…keep on trucking.
A global movement against capitalism is going to need something more than Gandhian anarchism. On the other hand, a dialectics of anarchism will be necessary for that if a post-totalitarian communism is to be possible. A double strategy of macro-activism based on communism, global integration, must be balanced by a parallel strategy of micro-anarchism balancing the achievement of a global action with a local one.