Anarchy Light

Nov 18 2012 @ 12:23pm

Malcolm Harris reviews James C. Scott's Two Cheers for AnarchismHarris explains the problem with turning "insurrectionary politics" into "a self-help strategy, a personal faith that promises a freer and more productive life":

It’s a long-standing premise of American politics that the only thing worse than having a government is not having a government. But if the abolition of the state isn't even theoretically an option for Scott, then Two Cheers isn't about anarchy or even anarchism so much as an anarchist-type attitude: it's not anarchist but anarchish. This is anarchism, in other words, in the mold of reform Judaism: show up for some holidays (marches) and try to live a good anarchist life, and you can feel comfortable with the expectation that if the messiah does ever happen to arrive, you'd find yourself on the right side of divine judgment. If you're unable to tell the difference between your behavior and that of your more genteel gentile neighbors, name them honorary anarchists. But don't hold your breath, or rearrange your life, waiting for a prophet you don't really expect to show.