1. — How would you most succinctly define anarchism? Is there a shared “anarchist project” — and, if so, how would you characterize it?
Autonomy, bolo’bolo, liberation from command relationships. Anarchy is living by desire, affinity and resonance (Freud’s id) and not by social rules, norms or conventions.
2. — What is the relationship between anarchism and the concept of anarchy?
From an-arche, without power-structure/hierarchy… the two literally mean the same, but anarchy is abused in bourgeois rhetoric to mean any situation they consider violent or out-of-control. In reality disorder does not exist, only more and less desirable orders (see: Bergson). I prefer anarchy without the -ism because anarchy is not an ideology imposed on everyone, it’s an ethos.
3. — What is the value of tradition within the anarchist milieus and what might be its uses?
Each generation of anarchists seems to develop its own worldview in isolation from the generation before. Often influenced by changes in the surrounding society rather than in anarchism itself. Hence left, autonomous/post-left, then idpol. Tradition is useful as a way of transmitting tactics and information. The current generation would really benefit from knowing what an autonomous space feels like.
4. — What, specifically, is the role to be played in the present by the anarchist literature — whether theoretical or artistic — of the past?
Important source of concepts alternative to the dominant common sense. Stirner is timeless.
5. — What are the most significant challenges facing anarchists — and anarchism, as you understand it — in the present?
Securitisation and the move towards a “social credit” state with heavy use of databases, biometrics, algorithms and blacklists (e.g. Sesame Credit). Loss of autonomous spaces due to repression. Growing confusion of anarchism with idpol, liberalism, quasi-Maoism. Indulgence of puritanical etiquette and behaviorist cybernetic control strategies as means to destroy supposed hierarchies within anarchism – bringing anarchism into conformity with the control-freakery of the wider society. Precarity as a threat to the available time and energy, and emotional states necessary for anarchy. Difficulty obtaining peak experiences. Difficulty surviving the coming collapse and/or recomposition of capitalism.
6. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist activity (outside the realm of theory and propaganda)?
Varies by country, but mostly weak. Autonomous zones have survived in continental Europe but are on the defensive. Anglophone anarchism has been infested with idpol to the point of near uselessness. Anarchism has still not spread massively in the global South, which is where its natural constituency is.
7. — How would you characterize the present state of anarchist theory and propaganda?
Fragmented. There’s good stuff coming out of the egoist and green milieus, and the European precarity movement. Anarchist theory hasn’t caught up with changes in capitalism and isn’t engaging enough with shifting academic knowledge. There’s an urgent need for anarchist critiques of the dominant models of psychology and self-help which have crept across from mainstream theory into anarchism. Propaganda is rather behind the times, we’ve literally been out-detourned by the alt-right. We need to find ways to use meme culture, regroup in the darknet and draw people in from the surface net, and communicate more clearly and persuasively to people outside our milieu.
8. — What are the most urgent changes to be made in anarchist practice moving forward?
We need to develop new game-changing technologies or techniques to neutralise the power of new control technologies. EMPs, realistic prosthetic faces (allowing undetectable masking), effective long-range meshnets, etc. We also need to find ways to seize and defend a land base, as we are increasingly unable to rely on legal rights and partially liberated zones within state-controlled spaces. With the growth in surveillance and repression and blacklisting, it’s important that our people have safe places to flee to. I’d also like to see more outreach to people in the poorest communities in the global South, including use of low-tech means such as audio tapes, and translation of key texts into local languages. This is basically how Marxism spread the way it did in the 60s. But for this we may need to create a more unified theory so it can be proselytised effectively (while still leaving space for local variation).
9. — What is the role of some kind of “anarchist unity” moving forward? What form could or should that unity take?
Anarchists work together best when there’s a big unifying event such as a summit protest or occupation movement. The activity itself provides the social glue. Outside of this context, people will tend to fragment.
10. — What are the greatest needs with regard to new anarchist theory, propaganda, literature and art?
Theory: We need a new anarchist psychology (combining people like Reich, Laing, SPK, Stirner, Guattari) to combat the current spread of behaviorism in anarchist circles. We also need to theorise the position of the excluded and how we get from exclusion to autonomy. We need to develop methods similar to Latin American critical pedagogy, which can rapidly take an apolitical community from sheep to autonomy – without watering down egoism and uniqueness. We also need to integrate findings in sociology such as labelling theory (which surprisingly few anarchists know about) and world-systems analysis. Propaganda: the biggest thing is to find ways to use meme culture in a Situationist way. Secondly, to create safe anarchist sites on the dark web as well as existing sites like @news. And thirdly, to proactively use social media and other dubious outlets to “recruit” and “channel” people into the safer/less censorable spaces. Literature and art: I’d like to see more fantasy and sci-fi, with glimmers of the spirit of autonomy at its best. Hope is dying, so we need anarchist utopian novels, ideally ones which also have a here-to-there path and tips on resistance methods. Novels or games or movies with primmies running electronics-free zones using massive EMP generators, where the state has to resort to non-electronic WW1-era tanks and planes to get close. Anarchists operating out of bases on other planets, or depleted zones like in Desert. Anarchist sci-fi on the Star Wars model with evil pig-faced aliens and heroic rebel rioters, and appealing to a mass audience, would be brilliant if we could do it.
11. — Do you currently identify with any particular anarchist current or tendency — and, if so, how do you characterize your position?
Egoist, or politics of desire.
12. — What additional questions would it be useful to pose to a broad anarchist audience?
Would Legend of Zelda be better if they made Zelda a woman?
13. — Would you be interested in participating in future surveys, perhaps addressing more specific elements of anarchist theory, practice and culture?