Preconditions and Possibilities

Bookchin, Murray 1986. Post-Scarcity Anarchism. Montreal; Buffalo: Black Rose Books.

"Preconditions and Possibilities", pp. 55-76.
Despite their sweeping ideological claims, the particularistic revolutions replaced the rule of one class by another, one system of exploitation by another, one system of toil by another, and one system of psychological repression by another. (Bookchin 1986: 55)
There must be an end to the continual exchange of regimes. At one point the two, and three-fold sysstems should meld into one pluralistic. That is, a breakout from regimes altogether is in order. This may be an impossibility, but it should me worked towards. Otherwise the meaningless toil will not end.
What is unique about our era is that the particularistic revolutien has now been subsumed by the possibility of the generalized revolutien - completea nd totalistic. Bourgeois society, if it achieved nothing else, revolutionalized the means of production on a scale unprecedented in history. This technological revolution, culminating in cybernation, has created the objective, quantitative basis for a world without class rule, exploitation, toil or material want. The means now exist for the development of the rounded man, the total man, freed of guilt and the workings of authoritarian modes of traininga and given over to desire and the sensuous apprehension of the marvelous. It is now possible to conceive of man's future experience in terms of a cherent process in which the bifurcation of thought and activity, mind and sensuousness, discipline and spontaneity, individuality and community, man and nature, town and country, education and life, work and play are all resolved, harmonized, and organically wedded in a qualitatively new realm of freedom. Just as the particularized revolution produced a particularized, bifurcated society, so the generalized revolution can produce an organically unified, manysided community. The great wound opened by propertied society in the form of the "social question" can now be healed. (Bookchin 1986: 55-56)
Well isn't this uncharacteristically optimistic of Bookchin? I will put my money on cybernation, as I see the internet bringing the world together.
Along with its positive aspects, technological advance has a distinctly negative side, socially regressive side. If it is true that technological progress enlarges the historical potentiality for freedom, it is also true that the bourgeois control of technology reinforces the established organization of society and everyday life. (Bookchin 1986: 56)
I haven't thought of this, but it could very well be that the information revolution, for example, will have tremendous potentiality for andavnces in some areas but could very well stagnate other areas. The case of books, which are read less and less, is a point in case. When information is reduced from pages to tweets then of course there will be loss, much more than before becoming exformation.
Socially, bourgeois exploitation and manipulation have brought everyday life to the most excruciating point of vacuity and boredom. As society has been converted into a factory and a marketplace, the very rationale of life has been reduced to production for its own sake - and consumption for its own sake. (Bookchin 1986: 58-59)
Ain't that the truth. So many of us are reduced to staring the screen and conspicuous consumption of intoxicants.
The Marxian critique is rooted in the past, in the era of material want and resatively limited technological development. Even its humanistic theory of alienation turns primarily on the issue of work and man's alienation from the product of his labour. Today, however, capitalism is a parasite of his future, a vampire that survives on the technology ond resources of freedom. The industrial capitalism of Marx's hime organized its commodity relations around a prevailing system of material scarcity; the state capitalism of our own time organizes its commodity resations around a prevailing system of material abundance. A century ago, scarcity had been endured; today, it has to be enforced - hence the importance of the state in the present era. It is not that modern capitalism has resolved its contradictions and annulled the social dialectic, but rather that the social dialectic and the contradictions of capitalism have expanded from the economic to the hierarchical realms of society, from the abstract "historic" domain to the concrete minutae of everyday experience, from the arena of survival to the arena of life. (Bookchin 1986: 59-60)
Sounds like Foucault.
The liberation of the self involves, above all, a social process. In a society that has shriveled the self into a commodity - into an object manufactured for exchange - there can be no fulfilled self. There can only be the beginnings of selfhood, the emergence of a self that seeks fulfillment - a self that is largely defined by the obstacles it must overcome to achieve realization. In a society whose belly is distended to the bursting point with revolution, whose chronic state is a mounting emergency, only one thought and act is relevant - giving birth. Any environment, private or social, that does not make this fact the center of human experience is a sham and diminishes whatever self remains to us after we have absorbed our daily poison of everyday life in bourgeois society. (Bookchin 1986: 66)
#self and anarchism
It is plain that the goal of revolution today must be the liberation of daily life. Any revolution that fails to achieve this goal is counterrevolution. Above all, it is we who have to be liberated, our daily lives, with all their moments, hours and days, and not universals like "History" and "Society." The self must always be identifiable in the revolution, not overwhelmed by it. The self must always be perceivable in the revolutionary process, not submerged by it. There is no word that is more sinister in the "revolutionary" vocabulary than "masses." Revolutionary liberation must be a self-liberation that reaches social dimensions, not "mass liberation" or "class liberation" behind which lurks the rule of an elite, a hierarchy and a state. (Bookchin 1986: 66-67)
Revolution under the guise of liberating others is nothing but a fraud, one can only liberate oneself and set an example for others to follow.
For this reason alone, the revolutionary movement is profoundly concerned with lifestyle. It must try to live the revolution in all its totality, not only participate in it. It must be deeply concerned with te way the revolutionist lives, his relations with the surrounding environment, and his degree of self-emancipation. In seeking to change society, the revolutionist cannot avoid changes in himself that demand the reconquest of his own being. Like the movement in which he participates, the revolutionist must try to reflect the conditions of the society he is trying to achieve - at least to the degree that is possible today. (Bookchin 1986: 67)
It almost seems that he is begging for lifestyle anarchism and when it does emerge in the 90s he has a change of heart and dismisses it with harsh critique.
A the late Josef Weber emphasized, all organized groups "have a tendency to render themselves autonomous, i.e., to alienate themselves from their original aims and to become an end in themselves in the hands of those administering them." This phenomenon is as true of revolutionary organizations as it is of the state and semi-state institutions, official parties and trade unions. (Bookchin 1986: 69)
This is familiar. Someone claimed that large bureaucracies have a tendency to forget their original purpose and grow for the sake of growth.
The most powerful process going on in America today is the sweeping de-institutionalsization of the bourgeois social structure. A basic, far-reaching disrespect and a profound disloyalty are developing toward these values, the forms, the aspirations of the established order. On a scale unprecedented in American history, millions of people are shedding their commitment to the society in which they live. They no longer believe in its claims. They no longer respect its symbols. They no longer accept its goals, and, wost significantly, they refuse almost intuitively to live by its institutional and social codes. (Bookchin 1986: 70)
This is the key. These factors should be broken down to its components and corroborated with local tendencies and possibilities.


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