Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nihilistic Communism, say what?!

A lot of criticism against (what I will call) social liberation anarchy has been emanating from the post-Left anarchy camps. Nothing new.
It was recently brought to my attention that a popular or important concept with the 'posties' is Nihilistic Communism/Anarchism. As I often feel like the critiques from posties are confusingly illogical, I was very intrigued by Nihilistic Communism/Anarchism.

Here is a description of the ideology as written by some of its proponents:
"Nihilist anarchy is an anarchist perspective that does not posit a positive program for social change. It does not subscribe to any singular, or multiform, revolutionary program for social change. Unlike most anarchists a nihilist anarchist does not subscribe to models of progress, evolution, the general strike, the insurrection to end all insurrections, or the supremacy of theory over action. Instead, the nihilist anarchist begins with the simplest of premises.
The nihilist anarchist may or may not subscribe to notions of the efficacy of individual (or social) action in the face of an enormous system of social control. The nihilist anarchist may or may not be a social creature themselves. A nihilist anarchist questions it all, not as a pointless exercise in self-righteous navel gazing but as an understanding that the connections that this society makes between us and them, you and I, the individual and the social are not as they appear. They are not simple. More, that the relationships that are assumed are the most dangerous of all. "

Awesome. Completely pointless. Let's announce that we plan to do nothing and give it a name!
As a friend stated, " It tries to deflect the obvious criticism that this is self-righteous navel gazing, by saying that it is not self-righteous navel gazing, then going on to describe what is essentially self-righteous navel gazing"

The do-nothing posties do love the internet and stirring shit up amongst fellow anarchists online (just like agent provocateurs), so I wouldn't be surprised to read some comments posted. Honestly, I welcome any Nihilistic Communist/Anarchist to explain how this is any different from choosing to turn a blind eye to oppression and privilege. Doing nothing is doing nothing. There is no god to judge what is in your hearts and minds.

To quote the great film The Big Lebowski:
"Say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think the blurb about nihilist anarchism is vague, and intentionally so. The nihilist anarchist position is being created currently for better or for worse. I would differentiate it from nihilist comunism which as far as I know isn't a political tendency at all but rather the title of the book by monsieur dupont. Its much more coherent and understandable than the posted blurb.

I'd like to hear some more thoughts on your own position. What do you think anarchists should be doing? Why? How possible is fundamental change in society due to anarchist influence? What influences do you think we should be looking at?

Bangkok is hot, but the food is good.

matt lucas

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'd much rather have this discussion in person, but i have no idea when i'll see you again or if i'll remember to talk about it. i probably won't get around to reading any responses/further comments, but i am genuinely interested in your ideas regarding this. to be clear: i dont think that nihilist anarchy is that integral to a post-left perspective, and only recently even heard of pistols drawn.

what do you refer to when you say 'social liberation anarchy'? many 'posties', as you call them, speak of the social war; is that different altogether than what you mean?

maybe you just used the term for lack of a better one, but i dont see nihilist anarchy as an ideology. it's a perspective through which one can articulate certain feelings without having to subscribe to all related ideas. i would NOT call myself a nihilist anarchist, but i often relate to the feeling that i DON'T know what the world will be like after the end of this social order, or even the realm of possibilities (though i have some ideas of what i'd like to see). and this, i feel, is the crux of nihilist anarchy. i don't have all the answers, but what i know more than anything is that i cannot go on in this kind of existence. it's not a new idea. russian nihilists were naming themselves so a century and more ago, assassinating cops and politicians without providing a coherent vision of how they wanted the world to look.

and to be fair, i dont think anyone said anything about doing nothing. they're recognizing that maybe the things we normally do to affect change are totally ineffectual, that society is an extremely complex web of relationships, and that we need to examine our motivations for action. clearly action is required, and maybe it could be important to recognize that action based solely out of a desire for the direct result is more fulfilling than looking for an effect on 'The System'. i just can no longer agree that posting a 10-point party platform and program for social change is going to be the least bit effective. do we all need to agree on how exactly society needs to change? can't we agree that we just want to destroy this society? or maybe some of us don't.


12:50 AM  
Anonymous Samson said...

Perhaps I'm just confused and my theory is underdeveloped, but I consider myself to be a nihilist and a communist. I can't subscribe to the blurb above, however.

If I can explain my stance (I welcome all feedback);

There's no God. Humans are merely a product of a billion years evolution from the single cell organism. Even if we had an inherent morality, that itself must be in flux with evolution.

Yet, I find myself on demonstrations regarding events which don't directly concern me, such as those condemning Israel's action in the Palestinian Authorities.

I've always justified my stance (to myself, as much as to anyone else) by postulating that a communist/anarchist society would be in my interests. A healthy community makes for a healthy individual. That includes the global community in which the Palestinians are included. Their ongoing oppression breeds conflict, terrorism, etc. which will brutalise the global community, and by effect, me and my descendants.

I want a world free from crime (or at least with minimal crime), wars, oppression. So for selfish reasons, I can still justify a communist stance to myself.

It's also worth mentioning that other communists (not necessarily to my personal tastes) such as Lenin or Stalin seemed to have no concept of morality when something stood in their way. Lenin wanted a anarchist/communist society eventually, but had no problem having a capitalist shot in the head if he or she was sabotaging the means of production.

Or who knows - perhaps there's just a simple biological reason such as shared genes with the rest of the human race, but I'd like to think it's not something so dull.

I'd really like to hear from anyone who either supports or disputes my explanation, as I'd like to further develop it. You can email me on:


3:55 PM  

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