Survey: Response by Stefan Cuevas

1. — How would you most succinctly define anarchism? Is there a shared “anarchist project” — and, if so, how would you characterize it?

Anarchism is a collection of political tendencies which emphasize the deconstruction of social hierarchies, the elimination of rulers and rules, and the rejection of governmentalism. I don’t think there is yet a shared “anarchist project” currently. I do think that with enough effort such a thing is possible.

2. — What is the relationship between anarchism and the concept of anarchy?

Anarchism is word that describes the political tendencies which favor anarchy, as defined in #1. Sometimes “anarchy” is used to describe the results of unplanned organization, but this distinction is clear when understanding the context of its usage.

3. — What is the value of tradition within the anarchist milieus and what might be its uses?

I think tradition is important to understand where the anarchist movement(s) have been and what experiments have existed thus far. This informs us about where we might go from here.

4. — What, specifically, is the role to be played in the present by the anarchist literature — whether theoretical or artistic — of the past?

I think apolitical or mildly political people are quite interested in the history of anarchism because of how radical the ideas can be, and the role anarchists have played on the side-lines of more mainstream history in the United States and Europe. One of the best ways to feed this interest is to provide access to speeches, essays, and books that anarchists have written. I also think historical anarchist literature helps present anarchist to position our own thoughts.

5. — What are the most significant challenges facing anarchists — and anarchism, as you understand it — in the present?

Deconstructing propaganda against and prejudiced notions about what anarchism is — is probably the biggest roadblock to its ideas spreading. This is different from more historical periods when anarchists faced direct state violence in the form of imprisonment and deportation.

6. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist activity (outside the realm of theory and propaganda)?

There is a lot of uncreativity in developed countries about what is possible. This is due to a degree of predictability about where the world has been and where it was going since the Second World War. I suspect that due to radical disruptions in political-economy, uncertainty about the future, and other trends anarchist activity might be more present in the future, but for now there isn’t much activity.

7. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist theory and propaganda?

I think anarchist theory and propaganda is still very much in an undeveloped stage, despite the developments that have existed over the last two centuries. There is a lot of work that should be done.

8. — What are the most urgent changes to be made in anarchist practice moving forward?

I’m not sure I can provide a good answer for this question.

9. — What is the role of some kind of “anarchist unity” moving forward? What form could or should that unity take?

I think that unity should be a byproduct of reconciling the different goals and critiques of various anarchist tendencies into a workable accommodating theory. Forcing unity without doing this seems to undermine the goals of such an effort, and it might be better to have a well-defined disunity than a poorly defined unity.

10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?

I think literature should emphasize that anarchism takes a more general approach than mere anti-statism. This distinction is not so clear in the modern discourse.

11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?

I started from a position of Tuckerite individualist anarchism (from a vulgar right-libertarianism), but have been slowly moving toward a more balanced position which recognizes the significant overlap of individuals in the modern world. Proudhon, Stirner, Goldman, etc are strong influences on my current views on theory, propaganda, and practice.

12. — What additional questions would it be useful to pose to a broad anarchist audience?

13. — Would you be interested in participating in future surveys, perhaps addressing more specific elements of anarchist theory, practice and culture?