Listen, Anarchist!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

[Listen Anarchist!] is sure to become one of the most bitterly hated, fought over, and denounced tracts about Anarchism that has appeared in the last twenty years. The reason is that Bufe comes right out and says what he has to say, rather than couching it in a lot of dreary, boring, diffuse verbiage … Nobody can mistake his meaning; nobody can pontificate on what he "really meant" to say, and for this reason you should read this pamphlet.

Fred Woodworth, The Match!, Issue #80, Fall 1985

Listen, Anarchist! is an influential 1987 essay by Chaz Bufe on the internal dynamics of the American anarchist movement.[1]

In this essay, Bufe [2] launches heavy criticism against anarcho-primitivists, including Fredy Perlman and the Vancouver Five eco-terrorist group, as well as the publications Fifth Estate, Resistance, The Spark, and Open Road.[1] In a section entitled "What Can Be Done?", Bufe advocates minimal use of violence in revolutionary political struggle, condemning the vanguardist "urban guerillas" of insurrectionary anarchism. He criticizes these and other so-called "lifestyle" anarchists in the movement for deliberately alienating mainstream society, and falling to victim to dangerous irrationality and mysticism. [3]

In his account of "marginalised" anarchists, Bufe criticises the anti-work tendency in contemporary anarchism, accusing some of its advocates of being parasites of those who do work.[3] In response, Feral Faun wrote an article called "The Bourgeois Roots of Anarcho-Syndicalism" in which he claims that the endorsement of work showed that anarcho-syndicalists "embrace the values essential to capitalism", only objecting to who is in charge.[4] The Summer 2005 issue of Green Anarchy included an "update on workerist morality", in which they characterised "Listen, Anarchist!" as Sam Dolgoff's Relevance and Murray Bookchin's "Listen Marxist!" poorly rewritten by Bufe to "shake his fist at all the young rapscallions who were throwing rocks at his perfect, beautiful philosophy."[5]

In the introduction to the second edition, Janet Biehl proposes that many of the tendencies within anarchism that Bufe criticises stem from its individualist wing, inspired by the philosophy of Max Stirner, which she maintains is the source of "lifestyle anarchists" who are at odds with the ethical socialist tradition of anarchism.[6] Biehl criticises the perceived lack of concern for morality among post-left anarchists such as Bob Black.[6]

Allan Antliff described the work as "abusive", and said that its distribution by the Workers Solidarity Alliance belied the organisation's pretensions of anti-sectarianism.[1] Mutualist Kevin Carson recommended the pamphlet as suggested reading for "getting from here to there".[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Antliff, Allan (2004). Only a Beginning. Arsenal Pulp Press. p. 278. ISBN 1-55152-167-9. 
  2. ^ Williams, Leonard (September 2007). "Anarchism Revived". New Political Science 29 (3): p.297–312. doi:10.1080/07393140701510160. 
  3. ^ a b Bufe, Chaz. "Listen, Anarchist!". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  4. ^ Feral Faun. "The Bourgeois Roots of Anarcho-Syndicalism". Green Anarchy. 
  5. ^ Waldorf and Statler (Summer 2005). "News From the Balcony with Waldorf and Statler". Green Anarchy (20). Retrieved 2008-10-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b Biehl, Janet. "Introduction". Listen, Anarchist!. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  7. ^ Carson, Kevin. "Suggested Reading". Mutualism.org. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 

External links[edit]