Role of anarchist theorists, academics or intellectuals in the anarchist movement

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Scallywag
Offline
Joined: 24-03-14
Aug 19 2017 18:51
Role of anarchist theorists, academics or intellectuals in the anarchist movement

This is something I've been thinking about since Noam Chomsky made comments opposed to Antifa. He got me into anarchism and he is usually respected by anarchists. When someone recognised as an anarchist and respected by them makes some comments against antifa then its only going to be used against us by the right. But academics, intellectuals or anarchist theorists aren't what we follow, the revolution needs to be built by working people, and its them who know what tactics work and when they need to defend themselves. What is the use of anarchist theorists in this though? What should we take from them?

zugzwang
Offline
Joined: 25-11-16
Aug 20 2017 10:41
Scallywag wrote:
This is something I've been thinking about since Noam Chomsky made comments opposed to Antifa. He got me into anarchism and he is usually respected by anarchists. When someone recognised as an anarchist and respected by them makes some comments against antifa then its only going to be used against us by the right. But academics, intellectuals or anarchist theorists aren't what we follow, the revolution needs to be built by working people, and its them who know what tactics work and when they need to defend themselves. What is the use of anarchist theorists in this though? What should we take from them?

I'll take a shot at answering. I think most anarchist theorists have actually stressed things like experimentation, the initiative of the masses, anti-intellectualism, etc., so they are worth listening to in those regards. To the extent that Kropotkin and co. wrote about what an anarchist society should look like, I think they are worth listening to there as well, but even Kropotkin was not immune from holding more questionable views; e.g. his support of the first world war was not shared by the likes of Berkman or Malatesta who favored internationalism; similarly Berkman's act of propaganda by the deed against Frick did not draw approval from everyone. So I'd say the uncritical acceptance of whatever single intellectuals say or do should be avoided, and that one should take as many other perspectives into consideration and weigh them against one another based on their merits.

ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Aug 20 2017 11:52

Wasn't the syndicalist George Sorel hijacked by the nascent fascists?

patient Insurgency's picture
patient Insurgency
Offline
Joined: 10-05-15
Aug 31 2017 19:28

The extent to which anarchist academics are useful is the extent to which the produce useful ideas. we should not revere "leading intellectuals" and so on, we should approach them critically like everything else. if they do become revered then they can actually be harmful to an anarchist cause, as they can be corrupted, taken as gospel (like Marx), or just generally portray the anarchism badly and be a bad face of such movement.

I would actually quite like to be an "anarchist academic" myself, or just an academic who happens to be an anarchist. I love the idea of getting to the truth of matters and so on, but i would never want to lead anything, not even when i was a fucking liberal did i want that. i just like analysing things in general, and why not combine interests, and make a living out of it?

Tbh getting into academia is just this weird fantasy of mine, i'm nowhere near actually doing it, but i am siting some maths A levels and seeing how far i can go with it, but it does not look likely i will get that far as it stands lol.

BTW i'm actually 27, and people normally do a levels in this country (UK) when they are 16-18.

So basically, they are useful, and possibly necessary, but one should always be critical of what is said by anyone, and ignore anything that is not up to a good standard.