Al Jazeera on anarchism

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Mark.
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Mar 18 2014 10:38
Al Jazeera on anarchism

Also http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201403172248-0023558

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Steven.
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Mar 18 2014 11:48

Before I click on it, can anyone say if it is any good?

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Mr. Jolly
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Mar 18 2014 12:07

No. Gets slightly better in the second half. Actually it doesn't.

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cresspot
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Mar 18 2014 20:10

Gddam aljazeeris dont even work in my FREE country

Mark.
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Mar 18 2014 23:57

The Anarchist Party of Pakistan is a new one to me.

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A Wotsit
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Mar 19 2014 00:06

I was actually tweeted at by an AJ journo asking me something along lines of 'pros and cons of anarchism v democracy' (at the time I didn't realise it was a big thing and just told them something like 'too complicated to tweet about- read libcom.org introductory guides'). (I was on AJ radar after I replied to a retweet which said something about anarchists hating 'structures necessary for social cohesion' or some awful shit like that- think I said summat like 'you don't understand anarchism- something something hierarchy, oppression, we obsessed with organisation & structure. Read libcom')

I could not be arsed and soon forgot all about it. Soz for not alerting people here to it while we had the chance to have our say.

In any case, I never had any hope for capitalist media being a good place to discuss anarchism. I don't think I'll watch but if anyone does would be keen to see highlights and low points.

Petropavlovsk Rebels
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Mar 19 2014 04:00

As far as capitalist media goes, AJ International is as inoffensive as you get. More than that, it's often informative and usually 'fair and balanced' (at least in comparison to the usual suspects). Plus, they're open to new ideas, so it would've been quite a good place to explain anarchism. Too bad you dropped the ball. smile

Haven't watched the segment yet - dreading it b/c I figured they wind up with some semi-informed earnest types doing little justice to anarchism.

redsdisease
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Mar 19 2014 07:16

I got a couple minutes in when their "expert" anarchist turned out to be an individualist anarchist professor from a school that I've never heard of. I didn't even know they were still making individualist anarchists. It seems the least they could've done was find somebody who isn't a complete philosophical relic. Couldn't bear to watch anymore.

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A Wotsit
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Mar 19 2014 09:36

Just to absolve myself a little- I was in the middle of trying to find somewhere to live at the time and applying for jobs so had a lot on my mind- I retweeted the thing and saw quite a few anarchists I follow were aware it was happening (including the libcom twitter account), but yeah do regret not posting here to alert people. Ah well, sounds like it was a bit rubbish anyway

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Agent of the In...
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Mar 21 2014 16:11

@cresspot

Yeah, its actually bad. Its mix of what people think anarchism is, entirely derived out of thin air. There's no discussion of the history of anarchism, which would have been a better way to approach it.

Instead of spending 38 minutes watching it, you should rather spend 38 minutes skimming through Black Flame, and end up learning a thousand times more about anarchism than on AJ.

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Mar 22 2014 10:46

This is very much emblematic of 'academic' anarchism. Lots of niche theorists scraping a living theorising the activist scene. This seam of thought within academia seems wholly disconnected from reality, no reference outside university/activist cliques. One would go as far as to say it as a form of inquiry takes class out of the equation and replaces it with bohemian lifestyle choices as a site of struggle. Why does it have so much traction?

Mark.
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Mar 22 2014 12:16

I'd say in part because actual anarchism as a social movement is so small and marginal that academics can theorise about it without anyone, including themselves, really noticing the disconnect between the theories and the reality. I think it would be harder to do this with a social or ideological movement that is more visible, Islamism say, or the far right.

omen
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Mar 22 2014 13:52

For the people who couldn't be bothered to watch this ground breaking and important moment in anarchist televisual history, I edited the whole thing down to just under a minute. You can more or less get the gist of the full length version from this, I think.

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Tyrion
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Mar 23 2014 03:35
Mr. Jolly wrote:
This is very much emblematic of 'academic' anarchism. Lots of niche theorists scraping a living theorising the activist scene. This seam of thought within academia seems wholly disconnected from reality, no reference outside university/activist cliques. One would go as far as to say it as a form of inquiry takes class out of the equation and replaces it with bohemian lifestyle choices as a site of struggle. Why does it have so much traction?

Writing from the US, I've known a fair few people who are big on this sort of hippie "anarchism." I think it reflects the weakness of the working class in general. If one has no idea how to engage in any sort of workplace organization--I know that I'd be at a total loss if I were a person who had just learned a bit here and there about anarchism and was eager to "do something"--adopting a certain "anarchist" lifestyle can provide that sense of doing something much more easily. And since this is such a visible brand of "anarchism", it gives new people taking an interest in the subject the impression of being an anarchist having something to do with that bohemianism.

An Affirming Flame
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Mar 23 2014 19:17
Quote:
Writing from the US, I've known a fair few people who are big on this sort of hippie "anarchism." I think it reflects the weakness of the working class in general. If one has no idea how to engage in any sort of workplace organization--I know that I'd be at a total loss if I were a person who had just learned a bit here and there about anarchism and was eager to "do something"--adopting a certain "anarchist" lifestyle can provide that sense of doing something much more easily. And since this is such a visible brand of "anarchism", it gives new people taking an interest in the subject the impression of being an anarchist having something to do with that bohemianism.

Yeah, also writing from the US I'll have to reinforce this. It wasn't until I was about 27 and first met some Wobblies that I ever heard a self-described anarchist talk about class struggle in a concrete, coherent manner. Up to that point everyone else I met was either an ancap or that vaguely leftist, bohemian lifestylist type of anarchist. The latter were mostly focused on "raising awareness" and "showing solidarity" in completely abstract ways with struggles in the developing world (i.e. Palestine, MST, Zapatistas, Fair Trade, Hugo Chavez, etc.). So basically activists.

I'd even go so far as to say that there is an implicit bias against struggle and organizing in your workplace among a lot of these types, as it is seen as a mark of privilege and materialism to do so if you live in the West. You should either drop out completely, form a collective with your friends, work for a pittance with a smile on your face at a radical non-profit or go into academia to further the good work of developing critical theory. To borrow an unfortunate phrase from our recently banned misanthrope, to struggle for better wages and working conditions, even with the ultimate goal of overthrowing capitalism, is to be a "capitalist desiring subject." You're a brainwashed automaton secretly striving for the American Dream beneath your anti-capitalist rhetoric.

Or rather, it is only acceptable if you're at the very bottom of the working class. I've seen them (again, abstractly) support undocumented immigrants' struggles on the job and then turn around and dismiss Starbucks baristas trying to organize with the IWW as privileged workers who can't appreciate how good they have it!

So yeah, kind of a natural outgrowth of abysmally low levels of class struggle/consciousness. I could certainly see that if a journalist was putting out feelers on anarchism they'd probably hear from dozens of that type for every one that knew anything about the history of anarchism and gave a crap about class struggle.

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Mar 23 2014 19:50

To be fair on Al Jazeera (one of the networks more open to alternative views and less nauseous and headbanging of the ruling class mouthpieces), they had to work with what they got. So if they talk to some unaccountable, clueless dip with a PhD, then we get the words of an unaccountable, clueless dip with a PH fucking D. Mind you, the sods at Al Jazeera could have at least made an effort to contact someone a bit more authentic like the IWA or the IAF. Twats. Sloppy fucking journalism, no excuses.

omen
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Mar 23 2014 20:04
An Affirming Flame wrote:
To borrow an unfortunate phrase from our recently banned misanthrope,

wink

Mark.
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Jan 1 2016 12:43

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