Jeff Riggenbach Reads: The Anarchism of Despair on Feed 44

C4SS Feed 44 presents David S. D’Amato‘s “The Anarchism of Despair” read by Jeff Riggenbach and edited by Nick Ford.

“There is a deep despondency hidden even within the most sanguine of anarchisms, for imagining and expecting a freer, fairer world tends unavoidably to throw into sharp relief the long and arduous journey ahead. The anarcho-pessimism typified by Laurance Labadie, however, carries no such promise for the future, expects no paradise, has no faith in the ability or the inclination of human beings to live together and relate to each other in non-authoritarian ways. As Chord observes in the introduction, “the possibility of a happy ending for the human race was simply out of the question to him.” Labadie derided utopians for their utopias, for erecting their systems and prescribing the terms on which human beings must interact.

Putting Labadie at odds with the main current of the anarchist movement, his anarchism, successor to that of Benjamin Tucker and his Liberty circle, reviled communism as another castle in the air that “will ever be opposed by thinking people.” Still, he made no common cause with the counterfeit libertarianism of “American ‘free enterprisers’” and saw the confrontation of communism with this conservatism as a no-win situation for “individual liberty.” Indeed, his hatred of the mephitic social environment created by the corporate state led him to an affection — at least to an extent — for the thought of the decentralist, self-sufficiency champion Ralph Borsodi, with whom Labadie had a long and rewarding friendship. Like Borsodi, Labadie saw himself as the defender of a forgotten “third way.””

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