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What is anarchist news?

At best, anarchists are heterodox. They share a few simple ideas with each other and run with them in a thousand different directions. Those anarchists who strive for a pedagogical unity–in the name of a revolutionary program or idealized revolutionary subject–are missing a serious point. It is the vibrancy of anarchism that continues to draw people to it (and to the effort of attaching it to more and more attitudes and projects). A hundred years ago, who would have imagined healthy explicit anarchist attempts towards collaboration with Christianity, the Academy, or political theater?

Clearly there are arguments that this diffusion of traditional revolutionary anarchism is not a Good Thing; and many of those arguments are fair. The question here, as with many other elements of our revolutionary tradition, is: should we act as canaries in a coal mine or as travelers into an unknown future? Do we react to the world we live in, chirping at every indignity and offense, or are we creating our own world, stumbling and fitful?

In this way anarchism is changing, not just from the time of the first International, or the labor struggles of the early twentieth century, or the counter-cultural anarchism of the sixties and punk, but from the Globalization Movement (which many of us use as the modern marker of where we are). Where we are has changed. Not entirely, nor even cruelly, but enough that the assumptions of the past no longer hold. It is as likely that we will find inspiration in the act of one courageous young person as in a community’s response to bad news.

Anarchism, to remain vibrant and relevant, needs to be in self-critical dialogue about its role, as an explicit political tendency, and as an “outside agitator” of pivotal events. It cannot stand alone as a singular answer to every problem and willnever be the flag beneath which the bulk of humanity rallies. Until we can answer, in compelling ways, the slander of anarchism = chaos and the limitations of those who believe anarchism = total freedom to act like a jerk we will continue to be what we are now, a historical tradition that continues to be modern and vibrant but ultimately marginal.

What is anarchist news then? It is everything that speaks to this set of histories, actions, and possibilities. It oftentimes is the hostile reporting on us by our explicit enemies (but more typically by our de facto enemies in the press& academia). It is a variety of counter-cultural stories that relate to anarchist practice. It is the stories of labor and conflicts with the other remnants of the First Internationale. It is mostly explicit but sometimes implicit information about and of concern to anarchists that, on occasion, requires context and a pause to correlate to the general project of anarchy.


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