Post-anarchism: Wikis


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Post-anarchism or postanarchism is the term used to represent anarchist philosophies developed since the 1980s using post-structuralist and postmodernist approaches. Some prefer to use the term post-structuralist anarchism, so as not to suggest having moved "past" anarchism. It is not a single coherent theory, but rather is different for each thinker, who utilize the differently combined works of any number of post-structuralists (Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard), postmodern feminists (Judith Butler), and post-Marxists (Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe) with those of classical anarchists, with particular concentration on Emma Goldman and Max Stirner (and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche), thus varying rather widely in both approach and outcome.



The prefix "post-" does not mean 'after anarchism', but refers to the challenging and disruption of typically accepted assumptions within frameworks that emerged during the Enlightenment era. This means a basic rejection of the epistemological foundations of classical anarchist theories, due to their tendency towards essentialist or reductionist notions – although post-anarchists are generally quick to point out the many outstanding exceptions, such as those noted above. Such an approach is considered to be important insofar as it widens the conception of what it means to have or to be produced rather than only repressed by power, thus encouraging those who act against power in the form of domination to become aware of how their resistance often becomes overdetermined by power-effects as well. It argues against earlier approaches that capitalism and the state are not the only sources of domination in the moment in which we live, and that new approaches need to be developed to combat the network-centric structures of domination that characterize late modernity. Although thinkers such as Foucault, Deleuze, Derrida, Butler, Lacan, and Lyotard are not explicitly self-described anarchists, their ideas nevertheless serve of great importance, given the anti-authoritarian nature of their thought and since some of them - to varying degrees - showed interest in the events of May 1968 in France.

Common concepts within post-anarchism include:


preceded by Modernism

Postmodern architecture
Postmodern art
Postmodern Christianity
Postmodern dance
Postmodern feminism
Postmodern fusion
Postmodern literature
Postmodern music
Postmodern picture book
Postmodern philosophy
Postmodern social construction of nature
Postmodern theater
Postmodernism in political science
Postmodernist anthropology
Postmodernist film
Postmodernist school

The term "post-anarchism" was coined by philosopher of post-left anarchy Hakim Bey his 1987 essay "Post-Anarchism Anarchy".[1][2] Bey argued that anarchism had become insular and sectarian, confusing the various anarchist schools of thought for the real experience of lived anarchy.[2] In 1994, academic philosopher Todd May initiated what he called "poststructuralist anarchism",[3] arguing for a theory grounded in the poststructuralist understanding of power, particularly through the work of Michel Foucault and Emma Goldman as a corrective to more circumscribed notions, while taking the anarchist approach to ethics as a mode through which to recast the poststructuralist lack of elucidation in this domain.

The "Lacanian anarchism" proposed by Saul Newman utilizes the works of Jacques Lacan and Max Stirner more prominently. Newman criticizes classical anarchists, such as Michael Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin, for assuming an objective "human nature" and a natural order; he argues that from this approach, humans progress and are well-off by nature, with only the Establishment as a limitation that forces behavior otherwise. For Newman, this is a Manichaen worldview, which depicts only the reversal of Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, in which the "good" state is subjugated by the "evil" people.

Lewis Call has attempted to develop post-anarchist theory through the work of Friedrich Nietzsche, rejecting the Cartesian concept of the "subject". From here a radical form of anarchism is made possible; the anarchism of becoming. This anarchism does not have an eventual goal, nor flow into "being", it is not a final state of development, nor a static form of society, but rather becomes permanent, as a means without end. Italian autonomist Giorgio Agamben has also written about this idea. In this respect it is similar to the "complex systems" view of emerging society known as Panarchy. Call critiques liberal notions of language, consciousness, and rationality from an anarchist perspective, arguing that they are inherent in economic and political power within the capitalist state organization.[4]

Recently the french hedonist philosopher Michel Onfray has embraced the term postanarchism to describe his approach to politics and ethics[5]. He advocates for an anarchism in line with such intelectuals as "Orwell, la philosophe Simone Weil, Jean Grenier, la French Theory avec Foucault, Deleuze, Bourdieu, Guattari, Lyotard, le Derrida de Politiques de l'amitié et du Droit à la philosophie, mais aussi Mai 68" which for him was "a nietzschetian revolt in order to put an end to the "One" truth, revealed, an to put in evidence the diversity of truths, in order to make disappear ascetic christian ideas and to help arise new possibilities of existence" [6]

Another anarchist french intellectual with a dedication to post-structuralism is Daniel Colson. He published Petit lexique philosophique de l'anarchisme de Proudhon à Deleuze 2001.


  1. ^ Bey, Hakim (March 1987). "Post-Anarchism Anarchy". Retrieved December 30, 2008.  
  2. ^ a b Adams, Jason. "Postanarchism in a Bombshell". Aporia (3).  
  3. ^ Antliff, Allan (2007). "Anarchy, Power, and Poststructuralism". SubStance 36 (2): 56–66.  
  4. ^ Martin, Edward J. (June 2003). "Call, Lewis Postmodern Anarchism". Perspectives on Political Science.  
  5. ^ Michel Onfray : le post anarchisme expliqué à ma grand-mère
  6. ^ "qu'il considère comme une révolte nietzschéenne pour avoir mis fin à la Vérité "Une", révélée, en mettant en évidence la diversité de vérités, pour avoir fait disparaître les idéaux ascétiques chrétiens et fait surgir de nouvelles possibilités d'existence."Michel Onfray : le post anarchisme expliqué à ma grand-mère

Further reading

  • Call, Lewis (2002). Postmodern Anarchism. Lexington: Lexington Books. ISBN 0739105221.  
  • Day, Richard J. F. (2005). Gramsci Is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements. Sydney: Pluto Press. ISBN 0745321127.  
  • Ferguson, Kathy (1984). The Feminist Case against Bureaucracy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. ISBN 0877224005.  
  • Franks, Benjamin (June 2007). "Postanarchism: A critical assessment". Journal of Political Ideologies (Routledge) 12 (2). ISSN 1356-9317.  
  • May, Todd (1994). The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0271010460.  
  • Mümken, Jürgen (2003). Freiheit, Individualität und Subjektivität. Staat und Subjekt in der Postmoderne aus anarchistischer Perspektive. Frankfurt am Main: Edition AV. ISBN 3936049122.  
  • Mümken (editor), Jürgen (2005). Anarchismus in der Postmoderne. Beiträge zur anarchistischen Theorie und Praxis. Frankfurt am Main: Edition AV, Verlag. ISBN 3936049378.  
  • Newman, Saul (2001). From Bakunin to Lacan. Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power. Lexington: Lexington Books. ISBN 0739102400.  
  • Moore, John (2004). I Am Not a Man, I Am Dynamite!: Friedrich Nietzsche and the Anarchist Tradition. Autonomedia. ISBN 1570271216.  
The Post-Anarchism Reader

"Post-Anarchism: A Reader" (Pluto Press, 2010)[1] is, in the words of co-editor Duane Rousselle, an "attempt to take what are now scattered, yet important, articles and combine them into an accessible anthology, it will be just one shameless attempt at sustainable community."[2] The anthology aims to be a comprehensive collection of some of the most pivotal texts, including original and reprinted material from Todd May, Saul Newman, and Lewis Call.


  1. ^ Rousselle, Duane (December 21, 2009). "The Journal of Post-anarchism Anarchy". Post-Anarchism Anarchy. Blogspot. Retrieved December 21, 2009.  
  2. ^ Rousselle, Duane (September 5, 2007). "Infoshop News - The Postanarchist Reader – Call for Papers". Infoshop News. Alternative Media Project. Retrieved March 11, 2008.  

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