Melbourne Anarchist Archives Index

Notes on Anarchism (1971)

Anarchism is the theory and practice of total opposition to God and the State: i.e. total opposition to the historically dominant forms of the Spirit of Authority. The State is not a set of physical power relations for no social relation can be purely physical. The State is a network of relations with both social-co-operative and physical-dominative aspects which have become conceptualised as "authority" relations and further reified into a thing: the State as pure authority. The Stalino-Liberal-Christian-Judaic God is essentially the State projected into the skies just as in earlier times the State was God's earthly form, his true son.

Wherever one man submits to another the State is present in embryo. There are only two reasons for bowing to another which are currently permissible: because of the other's knowledge or because of the other's physical power. To do so for any other reason is to reconstitute authority in its most pernicious forms. However because in historical societies the clarity of relationships between men has disappeared and has been replaced by the mystification of relations between men and things outside men (Society, Knowledge, Authority, etc.) the tendency is for both knowledge and power to be assimilated into the one benevolent despotism; the Authority or the State. Thus the revolutionary project is the international power of the Workers' Councils, i.e. that unmediated proletarian power which strips all social relationships of their mysterious mediated quality. Direct workers' democracy is the realisation of the revolutionary project of man's dealienation.

The modern proletariat, the world revolutionary class, consists of those who lack power over their everyday lives and know it. Their project, the seizure of that power, is thus also the destruction of all power separately conceived.

The development of revolutionary theory, the transcendence of the spectacular oppositions of the 1st International, proceeds with the development of revolutionary action. All theory is judged by its consistency with the revolutionary democracy of the Workers' Councils. The test of a revolutionary is adherence to the essential theses of the great proletarian revolutions of Paris 1871, Russia 1905 & 1917, Kronstadt 1921, Asturias 1934, Barcelona 1936, and the East European revolution of 1953 to today. Revolutionary movement is proletarian self-activity; any movement which neglects this truth is revealed as, at most, a movement of social reform however "revolutionary" its ideology.

An anarchist examines the theory not the ideology. Ideology as the affirmation of the spectacle is the enemy of all revolutionary theory. Theory is logical, ideology sociological. Radical logic, which negates ideology, bridges the gap between the practice of criticism and the criticism of practice. Since "what you steal becomes your own", revolutionary plagiarism is a necessary moment of theoretical advance.

Theorising is also a practical activity. Praxis - the revolutionary transformation of reality - is thus also a transformation of theory. To oppose theory and practice, to not see them as a dialectical unity, is to surrender to positivism. Theory is not mere thought, nor practice mere action.

To conceive practice as spectacular action is the mark of the alienated lumpen-intelligentsia. The worker at least perceives practice to be part of everyday life even if he does not also conceive it as its transcendence. Thus the intellectual tends towards adventurism and the worker towards economism with the important difference that the worker is subject to the check of everyday reality which eventually must demand its transcendence.

Since the individual is defined b his situation and reproduces himself in his everyday life, he demands the power to create situations worthy of his desire by the control of his everyday life. Every individual act of insurrection thus foreshadows total proletarian revolution.

Revolutionary action is conscious exemplary insurrection. Revolutionary theory aims at the clarification of that consciousness through the medium of critical theory. The ultimate aim of revolutionary theory is its self-liquidation as separate theory when that consciousness becomes conscious of itself as the action-theory of the revolutionary proletariat. Revolutionary organisation as the carrier of revolutionary theory and the agent of exemplary insurrection likewise dissolves in the general movement.

Situationist Faction
La Trobe Anarchists

[ Top of Page ] [ Melbourne Anarchist Archives Index ] [ Radical Tradition Contents ]