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Anarchy After Leftism by Bob Black

By Bob Black

A respond to, and an attack on, Murray Bookchin's 'Social Anarchism Or way of life Anarchism,' Bookchin himself, Bookchinism, and so referred to as 'anarcho-leftism.'

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It is leftism which is in retreat. That this growth of anarchism has coincided with the eclipse of orthodox anarcho-leftism by more interesting varieties of anarchy doesn’t conclusively prove that the heterodox anarchies are the growth sector, but it sure looks that way. For instance, the North American anarchist publication with the highest circulation, Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, is on Bookchin’s enemies list (39, 50). As for the supposition that “Yuppie and New Age personalism” are “all-pervasive” in our “decadent, bourgeoisified era,” this says more about Dean Bookchin and the company he keeps than it does about contemporary society.

Susan Brown (please! — no, just kidding), who’s attempted, says the Dean, “to articulate and elaborate a basically individualist anarchism, yet retain some filiations with anarcho-communism” (13), In a footnote he’s more candid: “Brown’s hazy commitment to anarcho-communism seems to derive more from her own preference than from her analysis” (62). In other words, maybe she means well but she’s just a ditzy dame, like Emma Goldman. Just believing in anarcho-communism isn’t good enough to acquit you of the charge of individualism.

Nobody chooses his ancestors. Rationally, no one should be ashamed of them. Visiting the sins of the fathers on the children, even unto the fourth generation (Exodus 34:7) — as the Dean is doing, pretty much on schedule — hardly comports with the Enlightenment rationalism he claims as his ancestry (21, 56). The Left That Was which provided Bookchin’s original politics, Marxism-Leninism, also supplied him with a muscular polemical praxis and a versatile vocabulary of abuse. I’ve already drawn attention to one of these gambits, denigration-by-quotation-marks.

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