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"Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - Matt - Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:24:07 +0000

In this thread here, Alexander suggested that someone should start a thread about the ideas of Max Stirner. But, rather than simply try to convince people why they should become "Stirnerites," I'd prefer talk about the problems that inevitably arise when trying to discuss Stirner over the internet. Let's face it, the vast majority of the anarchist milieu has a certain prejudice against the name "Max Stirner," and any mention of it in anything other than a condemnatory light will automatically send them into a defensive posture. I know this because I used be one of those people. It has been my experience that Stirner's most vocal critics have either never read The Ego and Its Own or skimmed it just enough to make themselves feel as though they're in a position to speak on the subject with a modicum of credibility. 

So, when Alexander speaks of "Stirner's normative writing," I'm not really sure what he's referring to. Opposition to Stirner is the normative position within the anarchist milieu. Stirner has always been the proverbial fly in Anarchism's ointment. He is the anarchist that most anarchists love to hate, and an entire subcultural taboo has been built around anyone who professes to sympathize with Stirner's ideas. Don't get me wrong, I don't see myself as some sort of "oppressed minority," and it really makes no difference to me whether Stirner's opponents want to exclude me from their Cool Kids' Club. But let's at least be honest about the fact that a large segment of the anarchist subculture has a wide streak of puritanical morality that informs their attitude toward Stirner. This was the case long before the existence of the internet. But now, with internet culture in full swing, the various anarchist sects are all gravitating toward their respective echo chambers and conditions are ripe for this prejudice to become even more entrenched.

It's also worth pointing that the concept of "The Troll" simply had no meaning prior to the advent of the internet. Strictly speaking, everyone commenting on the internet is somebody else's "troll," and the only basis on which to assign that identity to someone else is that of one's own sensibilities. Is this to say that there aren't obnoxious jerks on the internet who deliberately post inflammatory comments for no other reason than to get a rise out of people? Clearly not. We've all done it at one time or another. But recognizing that some people act like jerks on the internet is a whole different thing than creating a new social identity on the basis of that realization. The fact is, most anarchists just don't want to discuss Stirner; but, when they find themselves in the position of having to discuss him, they'd prefer to do it in the company of people who already agree with them. I'd love to have a productive online discussion about Stirner's ideas but, frankly, I'm skeptical of the possibilities. If people want to try and prove me wrong, then I'm open to exploring it.


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - alexander - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:24:33 +0000

(Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:24:07 +0000, 10:24 PM)Matt Wrote: So, when Alexander speaks of "Stirner's normative writing," I'm not really sure what he's referring to. Opposition to Stirner is the normative position within the anarchist milieu.
I don't understand what you mean to say here. (Which I guess is fitting, since you don't understand what I am referring to.)

When I say "normative", I speak plainly. The descriptive deals with "what is", the normative with "what should be". I find Stirner lucid in the former case, uninteresting in the latter. (Which is also my position on Hume and anyone else who purports a position akin to scepticism, but then, after breaking the system, feels the neurotic need to somehow systematise things again.)


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - Matt - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 19:01:33 +0000

(Sat, 25 Nov 2017 13:24:33 +0000, 01:24 PM)alexander Wrote: When I say "normative", I speak plainly. The descriptive deals with "what is", the normative with "what should be". I find Stirner lucid in the former case, uninteresting in the latter. (Which is also my position on Hume and anyone else who purports a position akin to scepticism, but then, after breaking the system, feels the neurotic need to somehow systematise things again.)

Then I guess your understanding of the word "normative" is different than mine. The concept of "normativity" as I understand it deals with social norms and conventions within a given sphere. As such, it has little if anything to do with Hume and the "Is/Ought" problem. For instance, in the American Deep South in the '50s and '60s, the view that "blacks belong at the back of the bus" would have been a normative position. Thus, normativity deals with what the predominant social conventions within a given milieu dictate is acceptable or unacceptable. That being the case, it has little to do with what is or isn't factually correct. Within the anarchist subculture, a social convention that "Stirner is bad" has become so entrenched over time that it's almost impossible to speak of him in a positive light without being branded a social pariah in most anarchist circles.


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - alexander - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:09:30 +0000

My use of the word is the entirely standard use in philosophy, summed up by the first sentence of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normative — «Normative generally means relating to an evaluative standard.» I had thought that was clear by my contrasting it with "descriptive". Obviously it was not. I am not at all talking about what you are talking about—i.e. norms (which is another standard use of the term). And so I was not referencing Hume with regards to is-ought (which by the way was articulated as part of Hume's descriptive treatment of ethics, where he showed how deriving 'ought' from 'is' (or, the normative from the descriptive) will always be logically invalid) or anything to do with norms, but because in Stirner's descriptive work, Hume's epistemological scepticism is applied to ideology and politics.

I don't know how anarchists view Stirner, except that there's lots of Stirner anarcho-memes that mostly annoy or confuse people (so I'm sure Stirner would approve!). If it is your observation that anarchists generally oppose Stirner, that's probably correct. I don't really care about what anarchists as a group think about philosophers though.


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - KyXen - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:20:56 +0000

(Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:35:28 +0000, 12:35 AM)Zhachev Wrote: Marxist militancy

Is that the same as working class militancy?

"My dreams of long ago still give me hopes and faith in my class." George Malone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZehRAycl3g


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - Matt - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:43:36 +0000

(Sat, 25 Nov 2017 20:09:30 +0000, 08:09 PM)alexander Wrote: I don't know how anarchists view Stirner, except that there's lots of Stirner anarcho-memes that mostly annoy or confuse people (so I'm sure Stirner would approve!).

I don't know which "memes" you're referring to, so I can't comment on them. I do know, however, that the people who get annoyed by the mere mention of Stirner's name probably have it coming.

alexander Wrote:If it is your observation that anarchists generally oppose Stirner, that's probably correct. I don't really care about what anarchists as a group think about philosophers though.

I don't "care" what anarchists as a group think of Stirner either, in the sense that I don't care whether they're offended by anyone who might speak of his ideas in a favourable light. However, the sheer level of rancor that Stirner provokes among such a large segment of anarchists is worth more than just a passing glance insofar as it speaks to the insularity of the anarchist subculture.


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - Matt - Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:52:51 +0000

(Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:11:31 +0000, 10:11 PM)Zhachev Wrote: What's the link between "anarcho-nihilism", or anarchist nihilism, and egoism/Stirner?

It depends on who you ask. Personally, I'm of the opinion that "anarcho-nihilism" isn't even a real thing, despite some anarchists adopting this label to describe themselves. While I'm sympathetic to the motivations that might lead someone to adopt this label, I tend to think it's logically incoherent to even speak of "nihilism" as a cohesive doctrine. After all, a truly consistent nihilism would have to deny the existence even of itself. I'm more in line with Nietzsche, who saw nihilism not as a doctrine to be either accepted or rejected, but as a symptom of the times that one must "overcome." This isn't to say that certain insights can't be gleaned from a nihilistic perspective, since a radical skepticism toward moral absolutes and the idea of objective "Truth" can be a useful tool in critiquing the present social order. However, transforming this radical skepticism into an ideological identity called "nihilism" just doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. It also tends to feshize "negation" for its own sake, all too often leading to the sort of ascetic self-sacrifice found in Nechayev's "Catechism of a Revolutionary."


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - writerror - Sun, 26 Nov 2017 02:30:11 +0000

(Sat, 25 Nov 2017 22:52:51 +0000, 10:52 PM)Matt Wrote: Personally, I'm of the opinion that "anarcho-nihilism" …

i'm of the opinion that your opinion on anarcho-nihilism—while surely formulated from extensive, current research and experience, and developed then delivered here in good faith much like you'd hope those "anarchists" raging against stirner would do—matters little to anarchist-nihilists and is also extremely dated. no matter your preference of nietzsche's position on passive/active nihilism through his lens… there's a growing body of thought (and living and action!) that (actually real) anarchist-nihilists have contributed to within the 100+ years since nietzsche's or nechayev's deaths. hell, even novatore's "i am also a nihilist" is more current (and excellent i might add).

here's some more current reading for your opinion making:

http://actforfree.nostate.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Conversation-book.pdf

https://325.nostate.net/2014/12/01/interview-by-ccf-imprisoned-members-cell-with-alfredo-cospito-greece-italy/

even "blessed is the flame, an introduction to concetration camp resistance and anarcho-nihilism" by serafinski pub by LBC will give you a great introduction as to how the tendency has developed.

here's the closing to "blessed is the flame" and i think it serves as a good illustration of its development:

"Despite what anyone tells us, there is no guarantee that the workers of the world are going to rise up, nor any assurances that such a thing would even lead to a desirable situation. Though we have inherited a great many ideas about how to confront domination, we know that nothing is set in stone. From the shattered tools and bones of our predecessors, we craft our own weapons. Nothing is guaranteed to work, yet we attack regardless. We do so naked, having shed the rags of morality, ideology, and politics that had accumulated over time. We confront this world raw, in all its horrifying glory. We negate every truth and rule and we proceed with a spirit of incendiary experimentation. We dream big, expect little, and celebrate every moment of rupture. We take every opportunity to ensure that those in power lose sleep and that their functionaries have miserable jobs. We set our lives to lipping up the geraniums that line the extermination camp paths, pissing in the gears of society's machinery, and when all else fails, we will follow in the footsteps of those who spent their final minutes in the gas chambers singing and fucking. May jouissance be the blessed flame that guides us into the void."


and a quote i very much appreciate from ccf that should give you a clearer understanding:

"Nihilism accelerates the conflict with Power in its totality & places this conflict directly in daily life. It is a way to put all the dominant values of civilization & society in question, in a conceptual & practical way. It is a method that makes Anarchism possible now, regardless of vague hopes & ‘ripe conditions’. It is a firm step that extends our rebellion beyond the narrow limits of the struggle against the State; for the material destruction of the State is only a part of the liberation of our lives. Moreover, through nihilism, we also want to destroy the authoritarian perceptions that are inside us & are poisoning our values and relations."



let's be best friends.


It is the hour of the social tragedy!
We will destroy, laughing.
We will burn, laughing.
We will kill, laughing.
We will expropriate, laughing.
And society will fall.
The fatherland will fall.
The family will fall.
Everything will fall, since the free man has been born.
The time to drown the enemy in blood has arrived…



RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - Matt - Sun, 26 Nov 2017 03:14:30 +0000

(Sun, 26 Nov 2017 02:30:11 +0000, 02:30 AM)writerror Wrote: i'm of the opinion that your opinion on anarcho-nihilism—while surely formulated from extensive, current research and experience, and developed then delivered here in good faith much like you'd hope those "anarchists" raging against stirner would do—matters little to anarchist-nihilists and is also extremely dated.

Thank you for sharing your opinion of my opinion. Now allow me to share my opinion of your opinion of my opinion by pointing out that nothing I said was intended as a wholesale rejection of the particular concepts that some folks have felt necessary to group under the heading of "anarcho-nihilism." Like I said, I think there's a lot that's useful about a "nihilistic" view of the world, and I'm not out to convince you that you shouldn't adopt the label to describe yourself. All I was doing was giving my own reasons for not personally adopting the label, despite seeing much I find useful in the body of ideas that it's supposed to signify. With that said, I still maintain that simply placing a label on it does not make "anarcho-nihilism" a cohesive ideological doctrine. Whether or not that "matters" to you is entirely your choice but, regardless, it is the position that I am taking.

Here are a couple of quotes that have influenced my own position on nihilism that will hopefully give you a better idea of where I'm coming from:

"Nihilism is a self-destruct mechanism: today a flame, tomorrow ashes. The old values in ruins today feed the intensive production of consumable and 'futurized' values sold under the old label of 'the modern'; but they also thrust us inevitably towards a future yet to be constructed, towards the transcendence of nihilism. In the consciousness of the new generation a slow reconciliation is occurring between history's destructive and constructive tendencies." [Emphasis added]

- Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life


And one more:

"Deleuze is right: 'Stirner is too much of a dialectician to think in any other terms but those of property, alienation, and reappropriation - but too exacting not to see where this thought leads: to the ego which is nothing, to nihilism.' But (and this is the crucial question): which nihilism? Whose? The problem Deleuze set himself was to enlist Nietzsche in an escape from dialectical reasoning, with all of its sloppy logic and its priestly morality. For my part, I want to meet today’s confessed egoists and nihilists. [...] Perhaps there is no Nihilism, just these curious nihilists." [Bolding added]

- Alejandro de Acosta, "How The Stirner Eats Gods"


In short, I don't "reject" nihilism, I see it as a tool to be picked up and used when needed but then discarded when it's no longer useful.

writerror Wrote:let's be best friends

How about we settle for not being adversaries?


RE: "Stirnerites" and The Politics of Internet Troll Culture - writerror - Sun, 26 Nov 2017 19:50:32 +0000

my initial reply/tone/point was that even though its thingness may not resonate with you as having the qualities of thingness that you require for 'realness' (within anarchism or nihilism), there is, es gibt, anarchist-nihilism, and no amount of rigedness of thought (the way of our authoritarian enemies) will make this realness unreal.

(Sun, 26 Nov 2017 03:14:30 +0000, 03:14 AM)Matt Wrote: In short, I don't "reject" nihilism, I see it as a tool to be picked up and used when needed but then discarded when it's no longer useful.

your clarification i can appreciate. although instead of just a tool, i think it can be seen as much more. hopefully i'll finish one of my writing projects on exactly what i mean and get it all compiled together in a more understandable form.

perhaps the word, "nihilism," itself is too weighty and carries too much irrelevant baggage. it's likely why many comrades prefer "black anarchy" or "black anarchism." i tend to prefer this myself.

(Sun, 26 Nov 2017 03:14:30 +0000, 03:14 AM)Matt Wrote: How about we settle for not being adversaries?

of course!

One of the points about which Malatesta and Galleani clashed regularly was precisely the question of whether it was necessary to plan what would be created after the revolution or not. Malatesta argued that anarchists must begin immediately to develop ideas of how to organize social life because it doesn’t allow for interruption; Galleani, on the other hand, argued that the task of anarchists was the destruction of this society, and that future generations that are immune to the logic of domination will figure out how to rebuild. —Penelope Nin. "The Persistent Refusal of Paradise"