Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Anarchism Meets Autonomism.

 Anarchism Meets Autonomism.

It is important that Anarchism understands the phases and development of Capitalism and how the current Capitalism differs from previous incarnations. At it's worst, some but by no means all anarchist analysis has failed in this task. Anarchism needs to take on board insights from Situationism and Autonomism(Autonomist Marxism)

Anarchism finds itself in a post-Fordist society in Industrialised Europe. By this we mean that we now have low paid precarious workers in a society heavily built on debt where the capitalist system makes extensive use of sweatshops and outsourcing in the so called 'third world' while domestically shifting the focus of work increasingly into the service sector where workers are demanded to perform 'affective labour'. Within the labour market, we see increasing use of temporary contracts ,zero hour contracts, internships etc by the boss class. The unemployed are increasingly subject to workfare or work placements which is used against them to divide them against the workforce and fragment the workforce even more thoroughly.

Whereas in past phases of Capitalism, the workers and oppressed were mostly disciplined physically by capitalism in having to perform manual labour now Capitalism has altered in a Foucauldian fashion so that the discipline of Capitalism is internalized and workers/the oppressed now labour on the level of cognition and emotion. Customer service now becomes the key word.

This change to the way work is organised changes the way workers and the whole oppressed must resist and oppose work and capitalism itself. Our tactics of resistance must now evolve and be implemented in a different way.

Politically, we have the rhetoric of neo-liberalism and austerity. Political parties claim to be 'post-ideological' and scramble for the centre under the veil of 'reasonableness' and 'moderateness' .

Psychologically we live in the Age of Anxiety. Stress is near constant. Consumerism has drove itself deeper into mass consciousness than the Situationists of the 60s and beyond could ever have imagined. Work and the work ethic is an ever present reality despite high levels of unemployment.

Technology far from reducing our need to work operates in two ways. It either means we cannot distance ourselves from our work e.g. we are permanently on call or it encourages us into escapism(along with as always, the media ) which acts as an opiate to dull our sense of outrage and focus our attention onto scapegoats such as immigrants, the mentally ill, striking workers, muslims etc.

Across Europe( and to some extent across the world) there is a resurgence of nationalism, Fascism and Religious Fundamentalism.

In some senses we are seeing a re-run of the 1980s but with the working class and the rest of the oppressed in a far worse position to fight from, since the changes to capitalism and systems of oppression now make the fight more difficult and resistance by the oppressed has been weakened throughout the 80s, 90s and 00s.

Possibilities for reform are now practically impossible since the Keynesianism of the Post-war consensus in the UK is practically impossible. There is almost no chance of going back to those imperfect days. The political opposition does not exist neither does the economic conditions which forced such changes. The way back is barred probably permanently.


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