Anarchy of Objects

by Arran James

Levi Bryant has a post up linking to a review of his Democracy of Objects in the latest edition of Continent that places that book, and Bryant’s wider project, within the tradition of anarchism. Bryant has himself recently suggested that Democracy of Objects should have been called the Anarchism of Objects.

In this connection I wrote a couple of articles back in 2010 on my old blog, under my old psuedonym ‘dronemodule’, that pre-date even Timothy Morton‘s identification of anarchism and object-oriented philosophy.

The articles:

Object-oriented anarchism?

Proudhou: ‘ideo-realism’

My relationship to OOO and to anarchism are ambivalent. I swerve into and away from both on an elliptical orbit. The essence of my work, such as it is, on this blog is an explication of a kind of pessimism that seems to undo the optimism of both of these positions. Yet, OOO is an ontology; anarchism a politics; pessimism a temperament and an ethics. Perhaps they don’t necessarily collide with each other. Or perhaps the point is to be able to bear the way that any intellectual engagement with the condition of things- especially one as half-cocked as mine- just doesn’t make sense…even resists sense. Of the three anarchism is that position which I find most unshakeable, the one tradition that I seem to be unable to free myself from despite finding myself as an employee of the state as a psychiatric nurse.

The review of Bryant’s book makes direct reference to Hakim Bey’s beautifully poetic book Temporary Autonomous Zones and other essays . This text has long had a disavowed influence on anarchism, one that in at least one respect (the fetishisation of the temporary autonomous zone as action- ie. social centres, squats, the #Occupy Movement becoming dead-ends-in-themselves) needs to be eliminated from anarchist practice. The reviewer puts forth that ‘Levi Bryant gives us a reason to believe that we can achieve the promise of Bey’s ontological anarchism without sacrificing the scholarly standard of rigour’. I think Bryant’s anarchist credential can be seen further back and throughout anarchist thought. But I leave the last word to Prodhoun, that anarchist that a Marxian like Bryant might have the least sympathy for:

A partisan of immanence is a true anarchist