Springer, judging from his piece, would want no part in such a project. He seems mainly bent on polarizing the relation between anarchism and Marxism as if they are mutually exclusive if not hostile. There is, in my view, no point in that. From my Marxist perspective, the autonomist and anarchist tactics and sentiments that have animated a great deal of political activism over the last few years (in movements like “Occupy”) have to be appreciated, analyzed and supported when appropriate. If I think that “Occupy” or what happened in Gezi Park and on the streets of Brazilian cities were progressive movements, and if they were animated in whole or in part by anarchist and autonomista thought and action, then why on earth would I not engage positively with them? To the degree that anarchists of one sort or another have raised important issues that are all too frequently ignored or dismissed as irrelevant in mainstream Marxism, so too I think dialogue – let us call it mutual aid – rather than confrontation between the two traditions is a far more fruitful way to go. Conversely, Marxism, for all its past faults, has a great deal that is crucial to offer to the anti-capitalist struggle in which many anarchists are also engaged.
"Utopia" is derived from the Greek for "nowhere."This line of descent of Science Fiction begins with Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" (1516 in Latin, translated into English in 1551), which makes him not only a Christian saint, but an SF one as well.
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Capitalist anarchism is a real problem. It has its coherent central theory as set out by Nozick, Hayek and others, and a doctrine of market freedoms. It has turned out not only to be the most successful form of decentralized decision making ever invented – as Marx so elegantly demonstrated in Capital – but also a force for an immense centralization of wealth and power in the hands of an increasingly powerful oligarchy. This dialectic between decentralization and centralization is one of the most important contradictions within capital (see my Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism) and I wish all those, like Springer, who advocate decentralization as if it is an unalloyed good would look more closely at its consequences and contradictions. As I argued in Rebel Cities (2013a), decentralization and autonomy are primary vehicles for producing greater inequality and centralization of power. Once again, Bookchin sort of agrees: “at the risk of seeming contrary, I feel obliged to emphasize that decentralization, localism, self-sufficiency, and even confederation, each taken singly, do not constitute a guarantee that we will achieve a rational ecological society. In fact all of them have at one time or another supported parochial communities, oligarchies, and even despotic regimes” (2014: 73-74). This was, by the way, my main problem with the stance taken by Gibson-Graham in their pursuit of totally decentralized anti- capitalist alternatives.
by nature man is a political animal
Social anarchists have typically been much more interested in and sensitive to questions of space, place and environment (core concepts that I think most geographers would accept as central to their discipline). The Marxist tradition, on the whole, has been lamentably short on interest in such topics. It has also largely ignored urbanization and urban social movements, the production of space and uneven geographical developments (with some obvious exceptions such as Lefebvre and the Anglo-French International Journal of Urban and Regional Research that began in 1977, and in which Marxist sociologists played a prominent founding role). Only relatively recently (e.g. since the 1970s) has mainstream Marxism recognized environmental issues or urbanization and urban social movements as having fundamental significance within the contradictions of capital. Back in the 1960s, most orthodox Marxists regarded environmental issues as preoccupations of petite bourgeois romanticists (this was what infuriated Murray Bookchin who gave vent to his feelings in his widely circulated essay, “Listen, Marxist!”, from 1971’s Post- Scarcity Anarchism).
“Listen, Anarchist!” by David Harvey
Folke, however, was writing in the context of a highly politicized Danish student movement and, rightly or wrongly, none of us in the Anglo-Saxon world took that much notice of his essay at the time. So it seems mighty odd that Springer has elected to write a rebuttal to this not very influential piece some forty two years after its publication and without, moreover, paying any mind to its historical and geographical context. We, rightly or wrongly, were too wrapped up in providing the mutual aid (spiced with great parties and fierce arguments) across multiple traditions (including anarchist) that might allow us both to intervene in the trajectory of mainstream geography and to survive within the discipline while producing a more openly political geography.