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+4 votes
Im specifically looking for a critique of the specific current of thought "insurrectionary anarchism", not the catch-all used these days.
by (2.3k points)
i guess maybe we take ourselves a little to seriously to answer? maybe this is a one critique of insurrectionary @?

2 Answers

–5 votes
Insurrectionists usually reject all anarchosyndicalism and some say they are "againts organization". On the other hand post-left anarchist and individualist anarchist Hakim Bey is a member of the IWW. He said that:

"Class-warfare may not suffice for us as an explanation of all reality, but obviously it is real — we know where our sympathies lie. We oppose the idea of the social construct “Work” — but we are far from opposing “the workers”. The alienation of labor, we feel, cannot be explained entirely by wage-system economics; it also has a psychological origin. This double critique throws the very concept & deep structure of “industrial work” into the crucible of radical deconstruction. Meanwhile however industrial work is real, & workers’ control must be considered a fully valid tactic toward realizing both the economic & the psychological aspects of any hypothetical “new society within the shell of the old.”...A “individualists” moreover we have good reason to appreciate the IWW concept of the union. Stirner — contrary to the belief of those who have not actually read his book — spoke approvingly of a “Union of Unique Ones” (we prefer this translation to “Union of Egoists”), in which all members would reach for individual goals through common interests. He suggested that the workers had the most to gain by embracing this notion, & that if the productive class were to organize on such a basis it would prove irresistible. (The prejudice against Stirner, by the way, can be traced to Marx & Engels, who considered him potentially even more dangerous than Bakunin, & wrote their biggest book to destroy his influence.)...The Mackay Society, incidentally, represents a little-known current of individualist thought which never cut its ties with revolutionary labor. Dyer Lum, Ezra & Angela Haywood represent this school of thought; Jo Labadie, who wrote for Tucker’s Liberty, made himself a link between the american “plumb-line” anarchists, the “philosophical” individualists, & the syndicalist or communist branch of the movement; his influence reached the Mackay Society through his son, Laurance. Like the Italian Stirnerites (who influenced us through our late friend E. Arrigoni) we support all anti-authoritarian currents, despite their apparent contradictions. Why? Because we feel that some realization of personal liberty is possible even in the very act of struggling for it. From our point of view, radical organizing (up to the point of insurrection) is not a sacrifice one makes to the future; it is rather a mode of self-liberation with its own immediate reward — even if that reward consists only of fragments & moments of realization. Wobblies, with their contempt for “pie in the sky someday” (or as Lewis Carroll put it, “Jam tomorrow or jam yesterday, but never jam today”), must feel the same distrust of any leftist utopianism which demands our martyrdom on behalf of a materialist “someday” which we ourselves will not live to see.""

Hakim Bey. "An esoteric interpretation of the I.W.W. preamble"
by (3.3k points)
edited by
Bey attempting to claim the stirner would be in favor of the IWW (like we need Stirner's approval anyway) is pretty ridiculous
the spanish stirnerist individualist anarchist Miguel Gimenez Igualada ( was a member of the CNT anarcho-syndicalist trade union. The writers of An anarchist FAQ also report the following: "For example, many in the anarchist movement in Glasgow, Scotland, took Stirner's "Union of Egoists" literally as the basis for their anarcho-syndicalist organising in the 1940s and beyond."

But you are free to do whatever you want. Neither i nor Hakim Bey claimed you have to obey anyone although you can try disproving Hakim Bey on the actual views of Stirner by researching inside the book "The Ego and its Own".
these examples may be accurate, but there are many anarchists who are students of Marx, and some even write books about how Social Security is an anarchist project, and call themselves anarchists.  This doesnt make it any less ridiculous.
This is a good zine, critiquing certain strands of 'insurrectionary' anarchism (mostly of the nihilist variety), from a non leftist, social insurrectionary perspective.
+2 votes

My answer is going to be brief, and we can flesh it out in comments if necessary. I am both someone who identifies with post-left strains of anarchy and who feels (sometimes shifting) affinities with the insurrecto- and nihilist tendencies of recent years.

I think for me where I come to be critical of I@ is where it becomes almost like an activist project. When we (and I will include myself in this), come to look at skirmishes and street battles as the most important thing, and that important thing becomes the only thing we value.

Luckily, I know a lot of folks who dip their toe in the insurrectionist pool who are also wary of this, and that is where I tend to find people I agree with.

You might also be interested in checking out the 2014 BASTARD Chronicles. that year the theme of the BASTARD Conference was "Social War," and while most of the presentations came from a somewhat pro-social war perspective, there are some critiques (in particular Aragorn!'s thesis in the debate with William Gillis.

by (22.1k points)