Libertarian Communism Panel

CFP: Anarchist Studies Network conference, Sep 2008

Call for Papers for Panel on "Libertarian Communism"
1st Anarchist Studies Network Conference
4th-6th September, 2008
Department of Politics, International Relations, & European Studies, Loughborough University, UK

Anarchism and Marxism are routinely depicted as being irreconcilable and hostile worldviews in introductory texts, histories of socialism, and in much of the dominant literature. While anarchists and Marxists share the end goal of a post-capitalist society defined in part by the common ownership of the means of production, the abolition of the wage system and the destruction of the state, differing perspectives on the role and nature of the state and the agents and the organizational forms required to carry out a radical social transformation are often cited as key areas dividing anarchists from Marxists both in theory and practice. A turbulent history between the two from the schism in the First International to the proletarian revolutions at the beginning of the 20th century, notably in Russia and Spain, would seem to further bolster the assertion that anarchism and Marxism are incompatible.

However, a cursory glance at radical social movements through the last century reveals a number of individuals and organizations that defy strict classification into either camp. Joseph Dietzgen, William Morris, Anton Pannekoek, Guy Aldred, Daniel Guerin, Maximilien Rubel, and Noam Chomsky, among others, have to varying degrees combined an anarchist critique of hierarchy and authoritarian social and political relations with a Marxist critique of the capitalist mode of production and alienated labour. Similarly, the anarchist/Marxist distinction has been blurred by organizations and radical social movements ranging from the Industrial Workers of the World and the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation to post-68 European autonomist social struggles and the Zapatistas. Recently, John Holloway, author of "Change the World Without Taking Power", has stated that in the post-Soviet era "the old divisions between anarchism and Marxism are being eroded."

The tendency for various anarchisms and marxisms to converge has been largely overlooked in the academic community. To these ends, the libertarian communist panel aims to investigate the intersections between historical and contemporary anarchist and Marxist currents including, but not limited to, anarcho-communism, revolutionary syndicalism, autonomist and libertarian Marxism, council communism, social ecology/communalism, and Situationism. Possible topics might include:

  • anarchist and Marxist perspectives on revolutionary organization
  • the work of Martin Glaberman, Cornelius Castoriadis, Maurice Brinton, and/or other heterodox Marxists emerging from post-WWII Trotskyism
  • anarchism, autonomism, and class struggle organizing outside of the "point of production"
  • the dialectic of spontaneity and organization in emergent social forms - councils, syndicates, communes, assemblies, informal workplace organization
  • the history of the German autonomen
  • anarchist and Marxist theories of the state and capital
  • the work of Murray Bookchin
  • theories of workers' self-management and non-market socialism

For further information about this panel, please contact Saku Pinta ([mailto][/mailto]) or Dave Berry ([mailto][/mailto])

For further information about the conference, see [url][/url]