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November 07 , 2009

Anarchy After Leftism


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Faceless Volume 35

She will not let me see her face. She will not let anyone see her face. She must protect and conceal her identity because there are people who would defame her for being proud of the body she has, defame her for sharing this vision with us. We admire her and delight in her self confidence. She is beautiful and knows it. Now we know it as well. It…

Bob’s defense of anarchy in Anarchy after Leftism isn’t meant to express solidarity with those targeted in the latest attacks framed by Bookchin’s pidgin dialectics. Nor is Bob really interested in rescuing anarchist ideology from itself. He just wants to set the record straight by clearing away worse than useless polemics. Defending the potential for anarchy is merely an unpleasant task of menial anti-ideological labor that Bob has performed because no one else volunteered to wash these particular dirty dishes, [1]while he wants to get on with cooking another meal.

But that’s by no means all that’s going on here. Disposing of Murray Bookchin’s ideological and rhetorical rubbish gives Bob the chance to develop the grounds for a more general attack on the remaining vestiges of leftism while he’s at it. Cleaning house of leftism is a much bigger task than dealing with one man’s leftist career. So in one sense, by drawing attention to his ineffectual polemic, Bookchin has made himself an excuse for the beginning of a much larger process of critique, a process that will undoubtedly continue to unfold with increasing militance into the coming century. It will require awareness and effort from all of us to finish this task, but it will be done.

Bob’s double critique in Anarchy after Leftism only gains incisiveness from the attitude of lumpen noblesse oblige he has adopted for his task. Rather than letting his own sordid past (and present) get in the way, the lack of any revenge motive (seemingly Bob’s favorite muse) allows him to unleash his pen with just as much wit, but with fewer red herrings, obscure put-downs and tortured self-justifications than ever. The result is a modest feast made up of consistently entertaining prose, an immanent critique of a would-be eminent social critic, and one more nail in the coffin of obsolete leftism, anarchist-style.

You might not want to invite Bob into your house. I certainly wouldn’t. But at least thank him for doing the dishes. And let’s get on with the next feast!

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