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What is the ethic framework behind anarchism?

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As far as I understand, the ethics of anarchism rest upon self-ownership, possession and an opposition to hierarchy, is this correct?

Also, what is the definition of hierarchy in this context and what precisely is the difference between possession and private property?
asked Oct 15, 2014 by weenie (150 points)
i don't know what an ethical framework is, but not one of the things that you listed would be included in the tenets of anarchist thought, as i understand them.
as others here have said, i do not OWN myself. i AM myself. ownership language is inherently alienating.
you drop the word possession in there with no modifiers, and i have no idea what it refers to. but anarchists are generally not that engaged in talking about possessions. and hierarchy is a word that some people take a stand on (as is authority), but that others see as contextual. it is frozen hierarchy or authority that is the issue, more than either one in the abstract.

(possession is what a person actually uses, i guess? vs private property, which is something that people can prevent others from using even in absentia? or maybe i'm getting that backwards. lol)

if you're asking what the tenets of anarchist thought are: it's things like mutual aid, direct action, etc. there are more, but it starts getting into different tendencies, and i'm not sure that's what you're asking about.
From wikipedia...."Ethics, sometimes known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct...Ethics seeks to resolve questions dealing with human morality—concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime"

It seems to me that anarchy is the absence of ethics by this definition. The question itself appears to be posed from a hierarchical, authoritarian perspective, which assumes there must be a moral justification for anarchy rather than a desire for freedom.
It was a far more fateful moment than commonly acknowledged when Cicero translated Aristotle's 'ethics' as 'moralis.' We've confused the two ever since, with Christianity adding the final touch.

*Grammar edit
AF, what distinction would you make between ethics and morality?
How do I make this shortish, w/o lantzing everyone who reads it?

I'm making a somewhat simplistic point and one not entirely accurate on a linear timeline, but one which I think is hugely important on many levels. Perhaps, 'indication' is a better word than 'point,' here. It has to do with the etymologies of both words; the cultural outlooks and values which bore them and saw them change within them; the translation of one term into another; the confusion of them and the maintenance of that confusion through Christianity up to now.

Getting to basics, though, the term 'ethics' originates from an ancient Greek *place based* term, 'ethos,' which originally meant 'an accustomed place' 'haunt or abode of animals or men.' This is contextualization, conditioned, a somewhere.

'Moral(ity),' a Latin (Roman) word, on the other hand, seems to have been grounded from the get-go in a notion of 'rule,' 'law,' 'custom' ('mos'). This is more 'subjective,' and less conditioned by the place one is than upon one's own values. It loses much of its perspectival quality.

By the time Aristotle was using the term 'ethikos' it had already pretty much left the realm of the living (though, to be fair, not quite so) and entered the foggy Tartarus of metaphysics, further fragmenting our existence into man *and* nature by removal of 'place, abode.' The comparatively greater Roman fondness (read, higher valuation) for authority, hierarchy, and domination certainly plays into the history of con-fusion of moral/ethos.

Christianity sealed the fate of this con-fusion further with its moral god, it supreme being (existence) as ruler and lawgiver, and subsequently, as the progenitor of all things. As I said in my very first post on @101, "In the Beginning was the Word," but deeper still "In the Beginning was the Valuation...then a place was created to justify it." Totally ass-backward.

To this day many people remain stuck in this Law-uber-alles approach to our interactions with each other. It runs deep because it has run so long. I'd like to see us a move a little bit closer to the origins of our 'ethos.'

Edit for clarity.
AF, I really like how you created a new verb. Well done!
I would turn around the question to this:
"what is an ethical framework following from anarchism?"
I also don't see an ethical imperative underlying anarchist theory and practice. Rather I see that there are anarchist practices that follow from anarchist theory.
Ignoring the majority of this post and its comments, and the use of my name, because I have like 5 minutes, I will just say a couple things.

1. The Greek root 'ethos' means character. Meaning, coming from within.

2. Moral codes, the reliance on the supernatural for authority and the separation of man from nature predate Christianity and monotheism by almost 2 thousand years (and probably much longer, though it can't yet be proven). Google the Stele of Hammurabi. As I've said before, while it's current culturally fashionable to blame Christianity for everything, that's a very short-sighted approach.

3. Philosophers didn't "invent" ethics or morals, as they so often seem to suggest, they just slapped their own definitions on pre-existing concepts.
Dear lantz: Does your foot ever lose its mouth-watering flavor? Guess not, since you voluntarily replace it in your yap every time you post.

1. I stated clearly the term 'ethic' was grounded in the word 'ethos' the beginnings (the *origins*) of which meant 'an accustomed place' and 'a haunt or abode of animals.' It was place-based. Yours is a later use reflecting changes within Greek culture/language.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=h%29%3Dqos&la=greek&can=h%29%3Dqos0#lexicon  (click the 'LSJ' link)

2. So what? Who said different? Blaming Christianity? Where do you get this stuff? Do you actually read before posting responses? Rubbish.

3. OMG! I think I just filled my Depends! That is utterly astounding news!

Edited to aid link.
AF, thanks for your interpretations. Suffice it to say that the meanings of words are constantly changing, and the rapidity with which they change seems to be increasing - and there are often multiple meanings (especially in English) of any given word, as well as each person's interpretation and intended use of it.

I'd be interested to hear weenie's definition and meaning of "ethical framework behind...", otherwise (as dot noted), it's difficult to attempt to answer the question.  As I mentioned before, it seemed she/he was talking about an underlying morality, but it could be something else.

Lawrence, I like your re-worded question and the notion that anarchist practices are the result of the idea, which to me is the desire to express and apply creativity in all aspects of life without authoritarian relationships. It ain't always easy in this world, but there's nothing I'd rather do.

edited-grammar
Lantz, if you only have five minutes, then why bother responding at all right now? Isn't the subject important enough to put aside, say, ten minutes? And then, why bother announcing that the reason for your curt(ailed) opinions is that you have no time? Did the dog eat your homework, too?
BAA, that language/meaning changes is only part of what I was getting at. This seems obvious, particularly if one engages in etymologies with an eye to the cultural changes which took place historically. Lawrence actually touched upon where I was going. Any future anarchic 'ethos'  will return to its roots *and* express the later meanings (character, manners, etc) when and if it's autochthonous rather than a set of rules reflecting what's come before: hierarchy, civilization, etc. I realize this is a fluid process, qualified in degrees, and pluralistic, though some commonalities will arise.
AF, yeah, I think I got that. What I was after (other than a historical distinction) is how you were defining ethics now (how you understood the question posed here), and what the OP's intent was in using it. I'm still not quite sure.
BAA, I thought it was pretty clear. The way the OQ is asked comes across (to me, anyway) as putting the rules before the conditions/possibilities of anarchy. Again, I think Lawrence comes closer to the problem, though I'd probably re-word his question as, "what is an ethical framework (anarchism) following from anarch-y?"
AF, it might have been clear to you, but I appreciate you bearing with me.

I'm not trying to be difficult. I perceive value in understanding what you're saying...but something is not quite clicking. It still feels somewhat abstract

So, in your re-worded question, "an ethical framework" means "how is it lived"?

I am clear now, however, on how you interpreted the OQ. Thanks.

edited: for structure/clarity
I don't find you difficult and maybe my words come across as too curt given my interaction with lantz. I don't find you two all that similar...just so you know. You are far more engaged with the content before you than lantz who seemingly desires @101 to be an echo-chamber.

I'm not one for too many binaries, but yes, something is living or it's not. The hunt for 'ethical frameworks' of possible futures is a hunt for certainty in uncertain (not-yet-existent) circumstances. It seems to be demanding experience(s) not-yet-lived and to formalize it (them) a priori.

Years ago, when I was reading Hannah Arendt, I was struck by something she said. Namely that 'freedom' is not something which arises out of, or is connected primarily to, private thought or contemplation, but that the latter is derivative of living experience within a tangible world which most definitely includes our interaction with others. The conditions of anarchy, or lack thereof, is similar, if not the same.

Within my own life thus far, I've experienced a lessening of possibilities, a tighter grip, by authority, technology, civilization. I'm not saying the '70s, 80s and 90s were 'the good ol' days' but, the narrowing of discourse, possible action, and movement have palpably tightened.
You keep claiming I'm putting my foot in my mouth, but you haven't yet given a convincing reason why. And frankly, I'm not that invested in this conversation because I don't believe that kind of post-leftist over-analysis of essentially meaningless philosophical constructs is productive. You're just talking for the sake of talking at this point, because none of this has any real relevance to the way people live their lives, and none of it will ever be a viable foundation for any kind of anarchist theory. As I've said before, this stuff is only relevant on a personal lifestyle level, and even then, only to the limited extent that you can pretend to yourself that you are different from everybody else just because you make-believe that rejecting a superficial concept but keeping the underlying behavior and thought patterns that concept represented somehow makes you different from anyone else who just keeps the original concept.
Thanks for the thoughtful response, AF. I'm pretty sure I've got your meaning now.

Just a couple of weeks ago I  happened to watch a movie about Hannah Arendt...interesting you mentioned her. And that statement about freedom rings true for me. As a kid, all I knew was that I didn't like being in school. I wanted to bust out. It wasn't a matter of me as a child sitting around and thinking I should be free (and finding justification for that), it simply felt confining and undesirable to be there. Now that I'm (much) older, I'm able to find words and thoughts that express those feelings better.

I've also experienced that "tighter grip" you mentioned. It's my guess that the grip becomes tighter in direct relationship to how much that grip is losing its potency. I related in another post that in my interactions with younger people these days, it seems they are rejecting authority less than I did, despite the fact that I "benefitted" much more than they are from an economic standpoint. It seems that's a contradiction, but I believe there's an underlying unhappiness not being expressed and most of us know that. I also think there's a breaking point ahead of us where more people are willing to express it, but I'm not holding my breath. I've got living to do in the meantime. :)

And thanks for the personal thoughts. I wasn't particularly concerned about being compared to someone else. I just wanted you to know I was sincerely wanting to understand your meaning. Be well.
lantz: "You keep claiming I'm putting my foot in my mouth, but you haven't yet given a convincing reason why."

It might have something to do with rarely, if ever, engaging what's in front of you.

First, you stumble on here giving us a strict, ham-fisted, narrow definition of a term when I was explicitly exploring the terms breadth of meaning(s) and possibilities. Not good enough for ol' lantz who wants to confine meaning to his personal taste, more likely to suit the system-building engaged in elsewhere.

Secondly, you quite frankly made stupid, irrelevant remarks of my 'blaming Christianity' when it's clear for all to see that I said Christianity sealed the fate of what had come before it! No context is too plain for lantz to miss or ignore.

Oh yeah. And you still haven't answered the 'post-left' question, so all I can do is think your 'critique' here is simply one of your personal lifestyle level tastes.
That's exactly what I was talking about. Christianity is merely a continuity of an ancient mindset. It didn't seal the fate of anything.

Second, there is no post-left "question". That's my point, in order to ask a question you have to have some theoretical basis on which to base that question and on which to answer that question. Post-leftists don't have that. The closest thing to a foundation they really have is their rejection of the foundation of the left, which itself doesn't have any real foundation, save for idle philosophical jabber.
Maybe this conversation is a continuity of an ancient mindset. It's difficult to tell a new story, even tougher to live it. The thing is, no one knows for sure where we're headed or where we've been...and most of the time (okay, at least some of the time) I'm comfortable with that. Maybe "ahead" and "behind" aren't always useful concepts anyway.

edited to add...

Where's weenie?
lantz: "It didn't seal the fate of anything."

For crying out loud, lantz. It sealed the fate as we use the terms 'ethics' and 'morality' *today*: as interchangeable, as a rule (law)-based system, as a system of metaphysics (ex: Kant's categorical imperative, relevant today as the UN Declaration of Human Rights and most rights-based language).

Christianity was, and *is* not simply a 'continuity of an ancient mindset.' For instance, it was fundamentally, that is, *radically* different in terms of it being historical and eschatological, as opposed to a view of cyclic recurrence, for one thing. The myth of Progress (moral, and otherwise) is built on it. This isn't to say that all non-/pre-Christians have been ill-disposed a priori to that mindset, but that most have, particularly as an ideology.

Edit for typo and: As to the post-left question, you simply wave it around as an accusation, particularly since you have been adequately challenged regarding your own misguided stab at deontology, and haven't answered those challenges adequately.
BAA: "Maybe this conversation is a continuity of an ancient mindset. It's difficult to tell a new story, even tougher to live it."

Great point! And basically where I've been going. We've got to live before we can tell, share, stories about our experiences. The problem with 'ethics' today is that it wishes to tell the story of how we *should* live before our feet even hit the ground. Anarchy is uncertain, that's why most people are uncomfortable with the notion...and seemingly many anarchists are included.

The willingness to endure uncertainty is, IMO, a signal to how deep anarchy is embraced...and even more so if that uncertainty is actively *loved* unhesitatingly.
Thanks, AF. For me, it's been a matter of becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Just another day in paradox. :)

I really didn't realize for a while that was where you were going. Your vocabulary and historical references are sometimes beyond my knowledge, but I've got your drift now. I'm certainly not interested in how I (and especially, "we") *should* live. I can barely keep up with observing and responding to the actions I'm taking as it is!
BAA, here's a little offering for you and something I return to often, like a good friend:

"My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be other than it is, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity. Not merely to endure that which happens of necessity, still less to dissemble it - all idealism is mendaciousness in the face of necessity - but to *love* it."
I like it, AmorFati. And I only had to look up one word.
Shit. Sorry. I try to tone it down, truly I do. ;-)
No worries...I like learning new words....it's just those damn meanings!
Constellations, I envision the use of language as constellations of context, the words as stars with relationships with other stars, within and without the constellation we find ourselves discoursing within. The greater the number of stars, constellations, the greater chance we have to connect stars into other patterns/constellations...the larger our universe becomes and the more possibilities unfold.
i think i disagree about needing to live before we can tell new stories.
assuming i read that right.
new stories and new lives have a reciprocal relationship, i think, as close as chicken and egg...
dot:"assuming i read that right."

Perhaps 'story' wasn't the best word to use. I agree that our stories and lives can/may reciprocate, and those may be the best stories to tell. But, when we set some standard of 'ought' today and place it upon an uncertain, non-existent tomorrow,  then that story, the story most moralist tell, is dead. There's nothing reciprocal about it.

A story painting the colors of our desires is, I feel, far different than drumming for a general consent of what we believe 'ought' to be.
yea, obv i agree with your point... i guess i'm being a stickler for maintaining the word "stories" in a positive light. i like stories. :P
Haha. So Christianity caused us to think slightly differently about arbitrary philosophical concepts, therefore it sealed our fate in history? Yeah right. You ignore the fact that there were countless religions like Christianity before Christianity came into existence, like Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and countless "cult" religions. Christianity was adopted by the roman empire, an empire ALREADY built on ideals of progress (like every empire before it) and ideas of state enforced morality as equivalent to ethics, simply because it allowed that crumbling empire to consolidate its power under a new flag. For all intents and purposes, all your philosophical speculation means absolutely nothing, because the adoption of Christianity was simply a practical matter facilitated by long preexisting cultural conditions.

As for the post-leftist argument, the vast majority of the oh-so-persuasive arguments I've heard have boiled down to "post-leftism is valid because post-leftism says post-leftism is valid. You can't disagree because validity doesn't exist. Validity doesn't exist because post-leftism validly says it doesn't. If you disagree at all with our foolish, narrow minded approach, you must be a narrow minded fool."
lantz, that ending was the weakest in a string of weak arguments. i'm embarrassed for you. :(
if you want to cap on post-leftism, what on earth is the problem with doing it in an organized way, on the thread that could have been created for you to do so?
lantz: "So Christianity caused us to think slightly differently about arbitrary philosophical concepts, therefore it sealed our fate in history?"

Reading comprehension isn't in your toolbox of mad skillz, lantz. No one said anything about 'causes.' Beside this goof, you've just put your own rights-based idiocy down as arbitrary since you most definitely made a feeble attempt toward a deontological morality. And arbitrary it was and, as I said, Christianity sealed the fate of how we think and speak of morality/ethics today.

Edit: In addition you've just concurred with that arrogant BS'er Nietzsche who definitely pointed out that Christianity is Platonism for the masses...and he backed up why. Again, you just don't know when to quit.

lantz: Christianity was adopted by the roman empire, an empire ALREADY built on ideals of progress "

But, not a myth of universal progress, particularly a progress with a built in purification and end-point.

lantz: "because the adoption of Christianity was simply a practical matter facilitated by long preexisting cultural conditions."

The conversion of slaves and those in the lower echelons of Roman society adopted Christianity because it gave them a sense of hope which no other cult gave them. The State lagged far behind and picked it up after a good portion of the populace had already converted.

lantz: "Validity doesn't exist because post-leftism validly says it doesn't."

Hmm. Who said that? I recall saying logical validity is *pre-defined* within its axioms. What does 'exist' mean anyway? If you mean by 'exist' that validity, Truth, God, The Good, exist as some entity, then no, can't say it is something which exists. If you mean by 'validity exists' that its simply a measure which makes living more calculable for us within specific contexts, then I may sort of agree...and sort of not.

But, if the faith in universal Progress and Truth give you hope, then knock yourself out.
He seems completely unwilling to engage the thread where criticisms of PLA are being discussed now. Yosemite gave a coherent answer, and lantz said he would answer. I think lantz just bit off more than he can chew.
Lantz, I'm pretty sure that "the post-left question" referred to was this:
http://anarchy101.org/8409/what-are-some-criticisms-of-post-leftism
where you said " I definitely plan on answering this question as soon as I have the time."
— 2 weeks ago by Lantz
You haven't made any specific criticisms except your caricature of some bizarre tautology that I, for one, have never encountered. As one of the several writers who initiated the entire post-left discourse, I can assure you that I have no idea what you're talking about.

You allege that post-left @s insist that "validity doesn't exist"; can you cite something that points you to this conclusion? You allege that what you characterize as post-left @ is "foolish" and narrow-minded. Can you please provide at least one or two examples of self-identified post-left @s who have written something you consider foolish and/or narrow-minded? Your characterizations are empty (dare I say foolish?) since you have not cited anything. Similarly, your lack of citation coupled with empty dismissals make me think that you have no idea what a post-left @ argument on any given topic might be.

Let me help you out a little. I'll list a few topics that I, as a (however reluctant) post-left @, think a post-left @ discourse points to. Then you can identify where you think I'm foolish and/or narrow-minded.

Things most post-left @s oppose:
sacrifice
representational politics
electoralism
action for the sake of action
trade unionism/syndicalism
ideological conformity
solutions to problems based on failed history
coalitions with leftists
nationalism
capitalism
the state

Things most post-left @s promote:
direct action
mutual aid
voluntary cooperation
unmediated and uncentralized non-hierarchical decision making
critical (self-)theory
critical thinking
working with people who share those principles (many of whom are not anarchists)
Oh yeah, that PLA question. I do plan on answering it. But that's a big topic, and as a college student, I have about 30 minutes of free time a week.

Overall, my point is that post-leftism is a self-referential philosophy. It has no basis but itself and its opposition to leftism.

Dot: the only real argument I made in that last post was my faux-argument for the post-leftists, which I'll agree is weak.

Amor: When the Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity was issued, it has been estimated that roughly 10% of Romans were Christian, still very much the minority. Before that, Christians had been persecuted by the Roman empire, limiting the spread of the religion.

After the Edict of Milan, Constantine, though never officially converting, used his power to endorse the spread of Christianity while oppressing traditional pagan religions. Constantine and his government was very much behind the spread of Christianity. It may have started as a lower class religion, but there was nothing special about Christianity as a belief system that caused it to become so widely popular, that was the work of the government. Constantine wanted a way to reunite a crumbling empire, and he did that with Christianity. The one aspect of Christianity that did really help its rise was the ease in which it could be used to justify the authority of the government, though polytheistic gods were used to do the same thing. Christianity as a philosophy crumbled soon after that, when it became a mandatory religion that people were forced to observe but not to understand (in fact, understanding it without the interpretation of government-endorsed clerics was strongly discouraged).

Also, universal progressivism is not an inherently Christian ideal. Back in the days before the enlightenment many Christian thinkers were degenerists, believing that the human race had deteriorated since the Creation. The idea of Universal Progress as you talk about it is actually a product of the religious cynicism of the Enlightenment Period. It was only once people started to reject the Bible as absolute truth that they could believe that humanity had been improving rather than deteriorating from a holy point of perfection, and it was only then that the idea of progressivism as opposed to degenerationism really took hold. Interestingly enough, progressivism was an important basis in the later theories of cultural and biological evolution (stage model evolution in terms of progress from "inferior" to "superior" stages has since been shown to be false).


We've already talked about the idea of progress, and I've already said that I don't believe that any culture can be superior to another, that's a baseless idea. However, I do believe that humans can work to improve their conditions as individuals and as societies. I imagine most people do, otherwise there wouldn't be much point in doing anything.

Finally, Lawrence, out of those lists of things that post-leftists promote/oppose, critical self-theory on the promote list and coalitions with leftists and solutions to problems based on failed history on the oppose list are the only concepts that are in any way unique to post-leftism, none of those ideas are very productive, and they only have a foundation (and a weak one at that) when examined in contrast to leftist ideas.

 It's a rather obvious statement but one worth saying anyway: without the left, there would be no post-left.

 The rest of the concepts are either misrepresentations or they are agreed upon by many leftists as well ("leftist" is a ridiculously broad term, encompassing a much larger group of ideas and people than "post-leftist" does, because post-leftism is a specific ideology while leftism is a huge collection of every other ideology except for post-leftism). For example, "ideological conformity" is a loaded term; most leftists encourage free thinking and critical comparison  and combination of many ideologies, including post-leftism, which is an ideology.
I'm betting weenie got more (and less) than they asked for on this one...
@Lantz

...A ton of leftists implicitly or explicitly promote the things on that list of concepts opposed by post-leftists.

sacrifice:
Imploring that the [Party / revolutionary movement / greater good] is more important than any individual convictions (and often using this as a pretense for ignoring or suppressing the desires of individuals or minorities). Glorifying martyrs, victims of oppression, people who give up everything for the sake of their ideology.

representational politics:
Anyone who has ever endorsed a Party; anyone who believes in speaking for others, including "giving a voice to the voiceless"; possible implications within democratic decision-making processes.

electoralism:
Anyone who has ever sincerely endorsed parliamentary democracy as a worthwhile endevor.

action for the sake of action:
Marching in the street, staging a vigil, running around and making loud noises and waving signs and throwing things and claiming a "victory" at the end of it. Protest theater.

trade unionism/syndicalism:
Speaks for itself. Endorsed by everyone from liberal progressives to IWW members.

solutions to problems based on failed history:
Anyone who fetishizes the Bolsheviks, the Spanish Civil War, democratic socialism...

coalitions with leftists:
Anarchists who love to join liberal marches, form broad anti-capitalist coalitions with Marxist-Leninists, participate in socialist organizations...

nationalism:
Left-wing nationalism is still a huge deal in some contexts. Palestine is the biggest example that comes to mind, but also Ireland, Ukraine, Egypt, Hong Kong... Plenty of uncritical leftists willing to throw their support behind any mass of people attacking an "oppressive regime", no matter what the end goal is.
Rice Boy, I know what these things are. That's why I wrote what I did. As I said, apart from a few very crude "philosophical" tenets specific to post-leftism, none of those concepts are universally supported or agreed upon by leftists. Anarcho-communists for example are not syndicalists. A lot of these asaumptions require broad generalizations about the left, which as I said, is a much larger, more diverse group of people than the post-left.

For example, your bit about nationalism. Many, many leftists, most likely the vast majority, are against nationalism. What you are essentially saying is that since a few splinter groups have marched in nationalist parades, therefore all leftists are nationalist. However, anyone with any knowledge of the actual theoretical foundations of leftist anarchism would know that nationalism is not supported. It's also a broad assumption to make that demonstrating for the cause of national independence is the same as nationalism.

Just because post-leftism ignores history, politics, and just about every other external factor in its blind tantrum against a false straw man construction of the "leftist" group, does not mean those things are not important.
Lantz, there is a huge part of what gets called post-left @ that you're consistently missing. You think you've discovered some flaw in it when you say that on the list I wrote out that there's only a couple of things "that are in any way unique to post-leftism." But it's only a discovery if you haven't read post-left writers, because post-left @s do not claim much in the way of originality; in fact, many of us say that we are primarily reclaiming some neglected aspects of anarchist theory and practice. Post-left @ discourse is a critique (not an ideology, thank you; do you even know what "ideology" means in a post-situationist context?) of anarchism internal to anarchism, so naturally almost all of the foundational ideas among post-left @s will be -- or rather, should be -- familiar and uncontroversial to most (intelligent and critical) anarchists.

What does it mean when you say "none of those ideas are very productive"? What are ideas meant to produce? I'm not trying to be clever when I say that using such a term means you've accepted a capitalist understanding of value. According to classical capitalist logic, if an idea or an activity is "productive," then it has inherent value -- a value that can be quantified and therefore sold, preferably at a profit to the person who came up with the idea... To say that an idea is not productive is an argument against productivism, not the idea.

You're not being that clever when you say that without the left there'd be no post-left. Who says anything different? The premise of most post-left @ discourse is that it's time anarchists get back to the anti-bureaucratic, anti-hierarchical, and anti-exploitative ideas and practices that made anarchism more relevant and feared by politicians, priests, and cops -- by rejecting those things on the list I provided, and which you failed to find worthy of actual comment. Unlike Rice Boy, who gets it.

Leftists may encourage some critical and independent thinking, but when it comes to action (especially in an organizational framework), it's time to toe the line comrade. Anyway, most of the things I listed are practices rather than thoughts.

tl;dr: most anarchists are as ideologically rigid as regular people, suffering from the same authoritarian prejudices that have been pounded into our heads from before the time we could speak. Read some relevant history and see how many times anarchists are betrayed by their erstwhile leftist comrades.
lantz: "...roughly 10% of Romans were Christian,"

Your half-baked history lesson missed that this was the case for those considered both *citizen* and *influential.* Christianity was one of many crisis cults in a time of plague, unrest within/without, etc. But, it was posing more instability from the bottom, those not seen as fit for counting. Constantine used this, and Theodosius I sealed it.

lantz: "Also, universal progressivism is not an inherently Christian ideal."

Universal progression is inherent *as* christianity. It's called eschatology. The Enlightenment didn't pop out of a rock one day, nor was it manna from an atheistic heaven. It arose within a context we call Christendom. Every thinker of the Enlightenment either maintained a form of christian belief or held salient features of its worldview. Every one.

In all this striving to look smarter than everyone else, you still haven't touched the point made earlier regarding the changes with the meaning of 'ethics,' its roots, its con-fusion with 'morality,' and the narrowed, rule-based scope we speak of today...including most of what you defend as 'leftism' and all who desire to see their subjective values held up as universal norms.
lantz: "For example, your bit about nationalism. Many, many leftists, most likely the vast majority, are against nationalism."

I'm going to be blunt: Bullshit.

Self-proclaimed progressives/liberals consider themselves 'the left' regardless of whether they've been sanctified by your holy nod as being 'radical' enough. Every single self-proclaimed progressive is a nationalist: they believe in 'fixing' the system, voting the buggers they don't like out, support the troops, pledge allegiance, support the school system, constantly cry out for more regulations on private and public life, desire more infrastructure, and so on.

Where I live, it is difficult, if not impossible, to hold discussion with them on serious issues precisely because of their nationalism. Here the progressives and the slightly more radical leftists are totally enmeshed in coalitions, mostly within the environmental movement. Even the 'radicals' really aren't questioning the State at this point.

Edit for typo.
Okay Lantz, let me throw this challenge at you:
What benefit(s) are there to anarchists remaining wedded to the left? What are the characteristics (or a definition or two) of leftism that most anarchists would feel comfortable with embracing? Why are you interested in being a leftist? Which non-anarchist leftists do you consider your comrades in The Struggle?
af, your "hard-on" for lantz has provided me many good laughs (in this thread and others). thanks!  you even make some good points along the way. ;-)
re: FA's post -- as i said to the activist who visited my reading group last week, i appreciate someone who has an anomalous-to-the-context position who's willing to stick around and argue out points. it's nice to have a determined leftist here to let us question them, for both whatever good *and* bad arguments they make, as well as the places where we're just on different planes...
and AF has also been great (if occasionally unintelligible to me) for being the most determined poster exploring the lantz questions.
Funky, I think you got me all wrong. I'm not lantz-normative at all. It's more general.  From an early age I've found I just start throbbing whenever I encounter foot-in-mouth syndrome...particularly when dressed up in condescension. mmm, mmm, mmmmmmm!
dot: "(if occasionally unintelligible to me)"

I do understand that my way of writing can come off as a bit esoteric and it may seem at first glance that I do so in order to obfuscate rather than to clarify. But, this isn't the case at all. I seek to use the language we speak to the fullest extent that I'm able, rather than being confined by it; rather than it using me.

By all means, if something I say seems obscure I will do my utmost to answer any questions you, or anyone, may have, particularly when posed sincerely. I'll do the same.
i appreciate that. it's actually a combination of not being interested in following the rabbit hole (gawd what a terrible mixed metaphor--yay!) of the philosophy and history of logic (et al) that you and lantz are having fun with (presumably) *and* not having a background on either of those things. it just makes the conversation between the two of you a specialized tangent--which is awesome, just not for me.

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