Duane Rousselle has sketched out a very interesting vision of the evolution of anarchism from its naïve ontology and dogmatic past through post-anarchism with its own naïveté of a dogmatic post-ontological stance towards what I would call, with François Laruelle in mind (cf.  his non-philosophy and non-standard philosophy), non-standard anarchism:

“An observation. Classical Anarchism had a naive ontology (best described by Todd May) with its representative in the “Seed Beneath the Snow” (Colin Ward, rip) analogy. Post-Anarchism attempted to move beyond this naive ontology by naively rejecting all ontological positions. Stage 2 of Post-anarchism sought to re-read classical anarchists as post-anarchism. Stage 3 of post-anarchism seems to foster a strong rejection of Hegel through the Schelling+Bakunin connection, and a turn to ontologies of immanence. I’m eagerly anticipating the fourth stage – the one where we return to Revolution”.

I see no reason for anarchism to abandon Hegel, as both Malabou and Zizek give us at least the beginnings of a non-standard reading of Hegel.

Ben Brucato cites Feyerabend for his notion of experimentation, and so implicitly for his epistemological critique and expansion of anarchism. I think that Feyerabend’s ontology, which has largely been left unexplored, could be of use in clearing the ground for such a “non-standard” (or “post-“) anarchism.

There is an evolution in Feyerabend’s positions from “epistemological anarchism”, which is already a non-standard anarchism in its rejection of scientism and of dogmatic monist ontologies and in its valorisation of experimentation (see AGAINST METHOD, the initial essay version), to a form of “Dadaism”, which explicitly affirms both the theoretical and the pragmatic value of the encounter with chaos, and which enlarges and enriches the scale of intensities implicated in experimentation (cf. AGAINST METHOD, the book, and THESES ON ANARCHISM).

Feyerabend’s “democratic relativism” puts the emphasis on the social nature of these experimentations (cf. SCIENCE IN A FREE SOCIETY), but Feyerabend saw that this notion of relativism was ambiguous between a consensual position (post-ontological passivity) and a more dynamic movement based on a new “diachronic” or historical ontology, that he preferred to call (pluralist) realism.

(cf. Feyerabend’s posthumously published CONQUEST OF ABUNDANCE, in particular Part Two, chapter 1: “Realism and the Historicity of Knowledge”).

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  1. Patrick jennings says:

    Have to say that I find reading here hard work—but work of a joyous sort— your posts are an endless source of information, inspiration and, best of all, real knowledge for the taking….


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