Sunday, September 15, 2013

Keep your Friends Closer.

In the latest issue of the Peak—an excellent publication courtesy of an even more excellent group of humyn persyns—there is a rather boring, yet seemingly ironic text by Alex Balch titled: ‘With friends like these: Anarchism and the left.’ I say ironic because I often wonder about the distinction (is it real?) between various syndicalisms and the very idea of the authoritarian left. Platformist positions, whatever one’s “striving”, are ruled by ideology, a consensus based determining but a determining no less that shows forth indifferently to differences. Perhaps the trouble is caught up in their Marx-fetish; perhaps all of this has everything to do with the rather bizarre notion of History, as if revolution were not a process but a final state, as if one already knows what this must be like because.... How I be(come) is mine to make.

I have one point of critique that I want to argue; a reading about the point of the article; and my final point will be to stress the latter. First is the dismissive ‘leaving alone’ of the term post-left by way of a rhetorical strategy (18). The term ‘post-left’ is a hybrid between left (which yields content) and a prefix ‘post’ which signifies ‘after’ or ‘subsequent to’. So then when does it mean to be "after the left"? This is the question of post-left; and with this correction it would seem that we post-leftists are beyond the left; it no longer matters perhaps. Only a moron would suppose that this makes us rightwing; for the content (left) indicates what is being modified. So modified how? I want to say that it isn't clear; that all that is clear is that we are after/subsequent/beyond the left, not after the left, as in looking for it, trying to find the corpse to yield "life" again, like Dr. Frankenstein. The term (left) is caught up, it is prefixed; so it is not compatible with the right; so it is not a pure negation. Its negative is also modified by it. Perhaps we want to gesture at the in infinitum as opposed-to the pure ad infinitum here. In the least, to reduce this important resonating difference, which is not fixed, that is, which functions as negation in/ad infinitum, to a “semantic quibble” is to fail to grasp its import (which is ongoing). In other words it is already (also) a critique of Balch’s (striving) platformism. The rhetorical move: ‘merely semantics’ conflates the negative modifier for its closest approximation to the left. The irony is here, caught up in this revelation of position: Balch says post-left has to do with “a critique of classical anarchism and its historical relationship to other leftists groups.” Hence, it would seem that what Balch is doing is post-left work, given that he means to prescind “the left” from classical anarchism.

This brings me to my other point. Balch is not beyond the left. He refers to the other leftists that have and so will likely throw anarchists under the bus as “at best, fair-weather friends” (21). Here, he would seem to suggest that sometimes it is OK to work with Maoists (the other leftists, still within the leftist milieu along with anarcho-syndicalists), but that these friends are really enemies. With friends like these who needs enemies? One rejoinder is that we already have so many enemies, including Maoists, why not make real friends. And with this thinking, one is going to have to experiment with what one can accept. It is telling that a platformist would be OK with a Maoist but finds a green anarchist problematic; for it is presumed that anarchy and culture go hand in hand, despite the obvious blunder in this reformist thinking. But green anarchists are also addicted to insurrection. And so: long live green anarchy (and fuck the left!)!