outline for anarchocommunist revolutionary model

3 notions of revolution:

1. insurrectionary structuralist

2. statist transitional

3. prefiguratory anarchocommunist 

Been meaning to get this out of my head. it actually connects to complex adaptive systems theory, and post-structuralist ideas about power and human nature, but that for another time.


In the 1st the locus of hierarchy is considered to be institutions of the state and capital. The drestruction of institutions of hierarchy would allow for the innate goodness of human nature to flourish and anarchism to reign. The problem of revolution is conceived either as that of force (objectivist, building insurrectionary forces), convincing enough people to rise up (subjectivist), or other syntheses (some forms of syndicalism and hazy anarchism). The second is the Marxist line of arguing for the need of revolution, yet one cannot abolish hierarchy outright through insurrections. I don’t want to spend time going into the intricacies of this argument now. This line argues for smashing state infrastructure, and seizing power to crush the class structures that will reform after the revolution. The third is a wholly distinct approach that I think has remained latent in contemporary discussions. Draw on late malatesta, chomsky in the intro to Guerin’s book, holloway, etc. The argument begins with the principle that anarchism cannot be imposed or made by force. It is inconceivable then that anarchists in a revolutionary situation seize control and move society towards anarchist ends. Part of this is what I call the prefiguratory principle, the principle that anarchists must use means that prefigure the revolutionary ends they seek. It also argues that it will only be a minority of people under class society who will become anarchists. The objective and subjective conditions are such that revolutionary ideology and practise will be sufficiently restrained to prevent mass transformation within capital (weakpoint?). Thus only by revolution can anarchist praxis become mass based. But this seems an impossibility since revolution as is said above must already be anarchist. Instead this line argues that anarchist revolution must be piece by piece across history. There are two ways people could misread this: Reformist- this line is distinguished from reformism in that it argues that the means of struggle and role of anarchists must be prefigurative. That is, the work and struggles won’t accept the logic of the state and capital but instead seek to impliment anarchist revolutionary practise. Marxism- this line is distinct from the Marxist theory of revolution of transitions in that it never argues for seizing power. Instead the struggle is protracted and across time, but remaining in the antihierarchical framework as a mass movement. This stuff has implications both for contemporary work and for understanding previous revolutions and struggles. I think it would constitute actually a refutation of the friends of durruti. God this stuff oozes out of my head when i’m forced to do more boring stuff, and am struggling with poverty. i gots to run, that’s just a kernel.


2 thoughts on “outline for anarchocommunist revolutionary model

  1. I like this. Two thoughts – I don’t see what function the “only some people will become anarchists” has. Can’t just say “most people aren’t anarchists” and leave it at that? The “most people won’t” could easily turns over into “most people can’t” become anarchists, which would either/both work to limit political discussion/education (what’s the point of talking about that stuff if most people won’t/can’t?), and to install a potential hierarchy/soft-vanguard position of the enlightened few. Second, I think force is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for bringing about the world we want. If we build enough of it then it will start to be attacked (we see this in campaigns for reforms that are totally compatible with this world, let alone for more than that). Defending those and expanding them will require some kind of force. Not military force necessarily (I don’t think so), but definitely at least in some cases economic power.
    take it easy,

  2. good points Nate. I guess the reason I used the wack pseudo-leninist language I did is to try and capture the idea that the conditions necessary for anarchist-communism go beyond relations internal to capital.

    So maybe I could reframe that by saying most people aren’t anarchists and that there are serious impediments objective and subjective to mass transformation of social relations (ooh i like that). And as you say there is a necessity of force and insurrection there, but that that alone (Smashing institutions) isn’t sufficient. The revolution must continue after the revolution.

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