After Post-Anarchism.

Author:Gordon, Uri
Position:Book review

Duane Rousselle, After Post-Anarchism

Berkeley, CA: Repartee/LBC, 2012. ISBN: 978-1620490051.

This is the first title in an imprint of the US post-leftist distributor Little Black Cart for 'more academic, theory-heavy titles'. After Post-Anarchism is certainly the latter (though it deserves more than an academic readership), and if future titles measure up to its quality then there is much to expect from Repartee. This is without doubt some of the best current work in original anarchist theory. This book is small in measurements and not long in word count, but it is very dense and on a high level of abstraction, going well beyond substantive political theory to discuss meta-ethics, post-metaphysics and, well, philosophy.

The 'after' moment in the book's title is not only a clever provocation, but refers to the further development of the post-anarchist discussion. Early post-anarchists may have relied on post-structuralist critiques of ontological essentialism to situate their discourse in relation to a 'traditional' anarchist discourse. Since then, however, much of the anarchist 'canon' has been re-read as not necessarily essentialist and at times prefiguring post-structuralism. Now, Rousselle seeks to bring this process to fruition by recovering the anarchic negativity which has explicitly or implicitly driven anarchist discussions of ethics, universalism and the subject.

This negativity is probed in the final part of the book through a dialogue between Rousselle's 'nihilist anarchism' (p. 215) and the philosophy of Georges Bataille. To take this negativity to its limit--as with the academic meta-ethical nihilism that Rousselle reviews--is indeed to reject not only epistemological foun dationalism and thus universalism (the 'process' of ethics), but also the subject as its ontological 'place'--and thus meta-ethical models reliant on its more or less stable constitution. Rousselle makes a fairly well-argued case that this negative moment can be found latent even in...

To continue reading