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+4 votes
Hate to possibly beat a dead horse, but I feel as if I've lost the plot on this one. Can someone enlighten me? I've had my own answers for this question in the past obviously but, as I said, I feel like I've lost the plot.

I feel like going back to Killing King Abacus, at this point, is futile. These days, every time I encounter "insurrectionary anarchism" it just sort of seems like plain anarchism to me. Nothing sticks out about it that would deem this taxonomy appropriate. Maybe its effects have really become that ubiquitous?

edited to fix tags
by (2.8k points)
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2 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Insurrectionary anarchism is distinguished from "plain anarchism" on questions of approach more so than on what one is for and against.

IA is thus associated with the critique of formal organization, practices of informal organization, attack, permanent conflict, illegalism, and other matters that are primarily practical rather than ideological.

But beneath this thrust are two clear ideas--one dealing with time and another with relationships--that are both refusals of mediation. Firstly, IA is characterized by the rejection of a future revolution (waiting for it or making progress toward it); instead, insurrection is seen as something to be immediately practiced. Secondly, IA rejects the bodies that mediate the spaces between individuals and organizes them in mass revolutionary activity.

The distinction was first expressed by Stirner, whose ideas have been enormously influential to all of the well-known insurrectionary anarchists:

"Revolution and insurrection must not be looked upon as synonymous. The former consists in an overturning of conditions, of the established condition or status, the State or society, and is accordingly a political or social act; the latter has indeed for its unavoidable consequence a transformation of circumstances, yet does not start from it but from men's discontent with themselves, is not an armed rising, but a rising of individuals, a getting up, without regard to the arrangements that spring from it. The Revolution aimed at new arrangements; insurrection leads us no longer to let ourselves be arranged, but to arrange ourselves, and sets no glittering hopes on "institutions." It is not a fight against the established, since, if it prospers, the established collapses of itself; it is only a working forth of me out of the established. If I leave the established, it is dead and passes into decay. Now, as my object is not the overthrow of an established order but my elevation above it, my purpose and deed are not a political or social but (as directed toward myself and my ownness alone) an egoistic purpose and deed."
by (20.5k points)
We believe the revolutionary struggle is without doubt a mass struggle. We therefore see the need to build structures capable of organising as many groups of exploited as possible. -o.v. from insurrection
+1 vote
on anews there is actually a pretty good thread about this question, from 1/2011.

it starts out with a long statement about what insurrectionary anarchy is against (capitalism, government, cultural standards like the nuclear family, <and all their representations> which is where the interpretation comes in, of course), and how the poster(s) cannot say what they are for unless you are working with them (this seems fairly representative, the point being that what one is <for> cannot be spoken of without being co-opted/misunderstood)...

here are some of the better bits from the responses:

"Like has been said a number of times previously in other comments, IA mostly responds to the context of an organized left in power and armed struggle in Italy in the late 70s and 80s. As it is a theoretical and strategic response to this context, the FAI or other tendencies and anarchists before this could not be considered "insurrectionary anarchist." "
(so, this draws a distinction between insurrectionary tactics, which are old, and "insurrectionary anarchist" which starts at a specific time & place).

this thread also makes clear that i@ has more in common with illegalism than with other kinds of anarchist thought, and that there is a conflict between it and anarcho-syndicalism.  to me this is where current rhetoric muddies the waters, since groups like modesto anarcho claim both labels.
by (53.1k points)
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