Saturday, November 25, 2006

More of Peter on Peter:
As I promised I'll give more quotes of Peter Marshall on Peter Kropotkin.
Here's Peter Marshall on Kropotkin's view of two different systems of morality,
"Kropotkin never completed his work on ethics, and what exists is principally an account of the evolutionary origins of of the moral sense and a history of ethics from the Greeks to the end of the nineteenth century....He distinguished between our innate moral sense and the rigid moral codes imposed by authority. Where the former give rise to sympathy and solidarity. the latter find their origins in primitive superstitions taken over by priests and conquerors to support their rule".(1)
Molly aside- the way that "primitive superstitions" are "taken over" by "priests and conquerors" can be extrapolated to the anarchist movement today in North America where certain people attempt to advance their own agenda of control under the rubric of "primitivism" or "post leftism". The critical reader always has to ask in such cases the question of "sui bona". Who benefits ? Neither "civilization" nor "the left" will be abolished in the foreseeable future, but some people can make BOTH money and fame from promoting nonsense that is appealing at a superficial emotional level.

Marshall goes on to state that Kropotkin's view of social progress contrasted with that of Marx,
"Progress has resulted from the resolution of conflict, not, as in Marx's view, through a dialectical synthesis of opposing forces, but through the triumph of cooperation"(2)
Molly aside- Marx's view was, of course, heavily influenced by the Hegelianism that learned as an adolescent, and unfortunately he never grew out of his "teenage" view. Scientific socialism would have taken an entirely different cast if it had had any connection to reality.
Marshall goes on to describe Kropotkin's vision of the "free society" in the following words,
"Such a society would be composer of a network of voluntary associations of equal individuals who are consumers and producers. They would represent ' an interwoven network, comprised of an infinite variety of groups of all sizes and degrees, local regional, national and international-temporary or more or less permanent- for all possible purposes"(3).
Molly aside- the idea of "pluralism" here is important. It has escaped many serious anarchists today who see the future society as exclusively "anarcho-syndicalist" or "anarcho-communist". In a more important sense it has escaped the view of those who wish to promote "mindless activism" as both a tactic and a strategy. In some cases the origin of this foolishness is pretty obvious. You make your money by this bullshit. In other words -eat shit and die you fucks!! Sui Boni ? It ain't the foolish young people who get assaulted by the police and end up with criminal records. It is, however, the older people who promote this stuff while avoiding the actual violence of the police. The people who promote this sort of nonsense are generally well ensconced entrepreneurs who wish to promote their own view of anarchism that will lead to the greatest personal profit. It's a view that contrasts with the rest of us, who actually work for a living and give our anarchist efforts for free- like Kropotkin imagined. perhaps this is one more reason why I consider Kropotkin "incomplete". The view presented in 'Darwinian Anarchism' may be harsher than mine, but it describes some people within anarchism "very" accurately.
Molly Notes:
1)Demanding the Impossible: op cite p 321
2)Demanding the Impossible: op cite p 326
3)Demanding the Impossible: op cite p 327

1 comment:

Larry Gambone said...

I don't see any more of that "iot has to be syndicalist, it has to be anarchist-communist any more. The serious anarchist organizations promote unity, not its opposite. Also the "mindless activist types" seem in steep decline, along with the Primmies and anti-lefts. One might well sneer at any that remain, , "Mindless activism? Ooo, Sooo 'nineties! Been there. Done that.