Editorial: postanarchism.

Author:Newman, Saul

Postanarchism is emerging as an important new current in anarchist thought, and it is the source of growing interest and debate amongst anarchist activists and scholars alike, as well as in broader academic circles. Given the number of internet sites, discussion groups, and new books and journal publications appearing on postanarchism, it is time that the challenges it poses to classical anarchist thought and practice are taken more seriously.

Postanarchism refers to a wide body of theory--encompassing political theory, philosophy, aesthetics, literature and film studies--which attempts to explore new directions in anarchist thought and politics. While it includes a number of different perspectives and trajectories, the central contention of postanarchism is that classical anarchist philosophy must take account of new theoretical directions and cultural phenomena, in particular, postmodernity and poststructuralism. While these theoretical categories have had a major impact on different areas of scholarship and thought, as well as politics, anarchism tends to have remained largely resistant to these developments and continues to work within an Enlightenment humanist epistemological framework (1) which many see as being in need of updating. At the same time, anarchism--as a form of political theory and practice--is becoming increasingly important to radical struggles and global social movements today, to a large extent supplanting Marxism. Postanarchism seeks to revitalise anarchist theory in light of these new struggles and forms of resistance. However, rather than dismissing the tradition of classical anarchism, postanarchism, on the contrary, seeks to explore its potential and radicalise its possibilities. It remains entirely consistent, I would suggest, with the libertarian and egalitarian horizon of anarchism; yet it seeks to broaden the terms of anti-authoritarian thought to include a critical analysis of language, discourse, culture and new modalities of power. In this sense, postanarchism does not understand post to mean being 'after' anarchism, but post in the sense of working at and extending the limits of anarchist thought by uncovering its heterogeneous and unpredictable possibilities.

This issue explores some of these new approaches to anarchist theory and practice. Benjamin Noys' essay is important in this respect because it seeks to highlight a series of problems and conceptual and practical limitations that these new anarchist approaches often encounter. His essay explores the proximity--as well as critical distance--of contemporary thinker, Alain Badiou to anarchism...

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