This Spring, The Platypus Affiliated Society hosted a series panels on “Radical ideologies today: Marxism and anarchism” in New York, Frankfurt, Halifax, Thessaloniki, and Chicago. The panel description reads: “It seems that there are still only two radical ideologies: Marxism and anarchism. They emerged out of the same crucible—the Industrial Revolution, the unsuccessful revolutions of 1848 and 1871, a weak liberalism, the centralization of state power, the rise of the workers movement, and the promise of socialism. They are the revolutionary heritage, and all significant radical upsurges of the last 150 years have returned to mine their meaning for the current situation. In this respect, our moment seems no different.
Herb Gamberg’s article “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment” opens by claiming that anarchist theory has had little to no historical development since the 19th century, and that, apparently, “anarchism possesses no really developed theory in the first place”. ((Herb Gamberg, “Anarchism through Bakunin: A Marxist Assessment,” Platypus Review 64 (March 2014). So what is anarchism, then?