“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 4 January 2010

Open those floodgates.

It's tempting to view politics in a linear manner, as an extreme left to extreme right progression of ideology. This is the usual way of discussing politics but it has serious shortcomings. The problem is that so many political ideas don't seem to fit into or are hard to locate in this left-right view of the world. Why are those of us who claim to be "anti-state" frequently among the most vociferous supporters of the NHS and state education? Does the authoritarian left actually belong on the right and does being a liberal place you in the middle of the spectrum - or nearer one of the extremes?
Sticking to the left/right model can make it difficult to explain anarchism and can also tempt us into a knee jerk reaction to events rather than working things through and arriving at conclusions that have no regard for left or right but simply feel "right".
I seem to remember that all this was explained, complete with a brilliant diagram, in Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer's The Floodgates of Anarchy. I lost my copy of this little gem from the 1970's years ago so was pleased to hear that it is soon to be reprinted.


Dave E said...

I've ordered a cheap secondhand one on that recommendation, can't wait till April for the reprint.

Anonymous said...

It has it's shortcomings, but the authoritarian/libertarian model of 'The Political Compass' does provide a better measure for anarchism than the distorted left/right approach...