Monday, January 09, 2006

AJODA's Cogent and Scathing Review of NEFAC's Mouthpiece

Review of NEA # 10
By Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed

The Northeastern Anarchist; A Magazine of Class Struggle Theory and Practice #10

PO Box 230685 Boston MA 02123 $4 per issue; $15/four issues

NEA, the main mouthpiece of the neo- Platformist Northeastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC) recently added glossy covers and a higher price in a clear acknowledgement that Anarchy has always been more attractive. Unfortunately, these changes to the cover haven’t affected the quality of the writing on the inside, which has always been less than stellar; in fact among other criticisms, I would call it self-referential (in terms of the obvious target audience being limited to other current and potential members of NEFAC and its various knock-offs) and even a little delusional (the continual incoherent calls to organize radical workers within existing business unions). An obvious example of this self-referential quality is the review of The Voltairine de Cleyre Reader (reviewed in this issue). MJ from NEFAC-Boston dismisses de Cleyre’s writing by saying that

Reading Voltairine de Cleyre in 2005 is an ambivalent task… Reading a set of “anarchist” essays that don’t really offer much strategic advice about fighting capitalism seems a bit indulgent.

Leaving aside the creepy ironic quotation marks (why does MJ think that de Cleyre’s essays aren’t really anarchist?), faulting a writer who either doesn’t share or doesn’t mention your ideas of specific strategies on how to struggle is a cheap rhetorical trick better suited to unapologetic authoritarians and manipulators. If de Cleyre wasn’t particularly interested in developing such strategies, why not just read her essays (we can agree to skip the poetry) on their own terms, instead of using a current agenda to travel back a hundred years and then judge their worthiness? I have to wonder if MJ ever reads anything that doesn’t include strategic formulas, the haughty moralism behind the term “indulgent” makes me think not.


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