Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beer and Revolution is back this Sunday! Featuring Lawrence Jarach on Anarchism with(out) the Left

Beer and Revolution returns for the eighth installment this Sunday after taking a lengthy hiatus since we hosted our Greek comrades from the VOID Network back in March. We're pleased to have Lawrence Jarach, a long-time anarchist and a regular contributor to and co-editor of the magazine Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed. He'll be giving a talk on one of the more influential anarchist critiques of the left-wing, something Lawrence has described as along the lines of "What's this Post-Left Anarchy Thing I Keep Hearing About?"

Lawrence has written pretty extensively on the historical roots at the base of the modern conflict between authoritarian socialists and libertarian socialists, beginning with the split in the First International over the question of the state. This conflict is summarized in his essay Anarchists, Don't let the Left(overs) Ruin your Appetite:
The initial place where the rivalry between leftists and anarchists occurred was the First International (1864-76). Besides the well-known personal animosity between Marx and Bakunin, conflicts arose between the libertarian socialists and the authoritarian socialists over the ostensible goal of the International: how best to work for the emancipation of the working class. Using parliamentary procedures (voting for representatives) within a framework that accepted the existence of the state was the main tactic supported by the authoritarians. In the non-electoral arena, but remaining firmly within a statist agenda, was the demand of the right of workers to form legal trade unions. In contrast, direct action (any activity that takes place without the permission, aid, or support of politicians or other elected officials) was promoted by the libertarians. Strikes and workplace occupations are the best examples of this method. The leftists preferred persuasion and the petitioning of the ruling class while the anarchists, recognizing the futility of this approach, preferred to take matters into their own hands: peacefully if possible, more insistently if necessary.
The question of the state was just the beginning of a long and contentious relationship between anarchists and the Left, as there have been notable disagreements over other potential "deal breakers" for any anarchist-left unity, specifically over questions on nationalism, self-organization, or political representation. We've seen our ideological differences play out in the battlefields and barricades of a number of revolutions and civil wars in Russia, Spain, Mexico, and Cuba to name a few, as anarchists were attacked, betrayed, and murdered by our "comrades" on the left.

For valley anarchists, we've seen the Left groups dissolve and absorb the popular responses that broke out to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more recently with the immigrant movement, into the electoral process. My buddy Phoenix Insurgent took note of this on his old blog on a few occasions, and regular readers of this blog have probably come across our criticisms of the leadership of the immigrant movement, specifically their ongoing working relationship with the Phoenix PD, who, it should come as no surprise is no friend to immigrants. As throughout history, we have seen in our own struggles and movement those anarchists who continue to defend, and even justify the actions of left-wing groups whose ideas and actions run counter productive to an anarchist or anti-authoritarian vision. So, needless to say I have great interest to see what Lawrence will have to say when it comes to the possibility of an anarchist movement sans the Left.

Come and join us this Sunday for some beer (if beer's not your thing, perhaps some iced tea or water) and politics. I believe this latest installment of B&R promises to be another challenging and engaging discussion for freedom minded people!

Beer and Revolution will be held at Boulders on Broadway, a restaurant and bar located on the NE corner of Roosevelt and Broadway in Tempe. We have the upstairs section reserved, and this is an all ages event. We'll be there at 8:30 and things will kick off soon afterward, hope to see you there!

I also want to give a shout out to our friends up north at the Taala Hooghan Infoshop in Flagstaff, the inaugural Root Beer & Revolution is happening this month, a sober take on our own night of suds and politics. Their first installment will see folks from Black Mesa Indigenous Support speaking, it all goes down at 6 pm on Tuesday, October 26. $3 gets you in the door, along with a glass of root beer, as I hear it additional root beer and root beer floats will be for sale as well.

I've always been a Groucho Marxist anyway...


Lucid Glow said...

Many traditional leftists have, sadly become what they once despised.

Romius T. said...

I might be a real life Marxist, but I can't wait to be there!