Individualist anarchism

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augustynww
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Aug 28 2014 05:50
Firebrand wrote:
greenjuice wrote:
It's like you didn't even read my message.

I very much did read your message; in fact, I thought I was responding to it point-by-point. The issue is that you and I are using different definitions of "anarchism". You are using the classic definition, which centers on an antistatism, derived from a general antiauthoritarianism on individualist grounds.

Definition Greenjuice uses is not "classical" at all. If we take anarchism in First International as "classic anarchism" then individualism you speak of is revisionism or misconception. Classical definition of anarchism centers on "real socialism" (and antistatism was derived from this belief i.e if state would be still in place this means new ruling class emerge and this wouldn't be real socialism, which of course happened later in Russia and other countries)

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Aug 28 2014 14:34
Firebrand wrote:
The issue is that you and I are using different definitions of "anarchism". ... I ... am replacing it

Then call it neo-anarchism, post-anarchism, pseudo-anarchism, or Firebrandism. Or just call yourself a left-communism or a libertarian communist and don't lie to yourself and/ or others that you're an anarchist. There's nothing wrong in being a left-com.

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the mainstream of anarchism has always focused on the class struggle and been involved with the labor movement, whereas the so-called "individualist anarchists" are, and have always been, marginal at best.

Which is besides the point, becauso no seminal anarchist thinker like Bakunin, Guillaume, Berkman, Kropotkin, etc, were against anarcho-individualism in the manner left-communists are, anarchist communists insist that communism must be voluntary, otherwise it's not anarchistic.

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Given your definition, it is understandable that you see anarchism as primarily individualistic.

*Given it's original definition as accepted by all seminal anarchist thinkers.

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Communist anarchists like Kropotkin or Malatesta are closer to say, Rosa Luxemburg, than to someone like Max Stirner.

Superficially maybe, the organization of economy that they prefer is almost the same, but looking at the essential traits of systems they advocate, there's a huge difference. Kropotkin, Malatesta and other anarcho-communists insisted on the necessity of not forcing people into communism, on the necessity of freedom of people to function any way they want to as long as they don't oppress or exploit anyone, and that means non-opposition to any form of anarcho-collectivism, mutualism or anarcho-individualism (being that they are all opposed to state/ imposition, domination/ hierarchy, and to property/ exploitation). On the other hand, left-communists want to abolish money, trade and non-communal production, calling them "petty capitalist" based on nonsensical marxist economic notions.

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I don't know where you get the idea that left-Marxists are all about forcing communism on people - it's a very different type of Marxism from the Leninism that you're likely thinking of.

Leninism wants to force people into state-capitalism, left-communists wants to force people into communism. It is a very big difference, yes, but both still want to force people into their systems- as I said- in left-communism you would not be allowed freedom to dissent, produce individually and trade with similar individuals, you would be fought against as a "petty capitalist" even though there are no capitalist relations involved. Not so in anarcho-communism.

augustynww wrote:
If we take anarchism in First International as "classic anarchism" then individualism you speak of is revisionism or misconception.

For example, Lysander Spooner, who was on the outer fringes of anarcho-individualism (he was controversial for using non-anarchist ideas in his writting) was a member of the First International, and no anarchist had anything against it, because he was an anarchist.

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Aug 28 2014 15:36
greenjuice wrote:
On the other hand, left-communists want to abolish money, trade and non-communal production, calling them "petty capitalist" based on nonsensical marxist economic notions.

Lol @ any self-professed commie who doesn't want to do that. Abolition of money is communism 101.

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Aug 28 2014 15:51

Also who in their right senses would choose system with money and trade if they had full communism? Only the most adamant libertarian neckbeards who hopefully would be shot long ago by then grin

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Aug 28 2014 16:38

Exactly what I'm talking about. Imposing communism on people, at gunpoint. Very libertarian.

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Aug 28 2014 17:03
greenjuice wrote:
Exactly what I'm talking about. Imposing communism on people, at gunpoint. Very libertarian.

Having no sense of humor is counter-revolutionary.

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Aug 28 2014 17:27

So you were not serious? Even so, afaik, a lot of left-communist do seriously hold such a view. I see left-coms as close allies of anarcho-communists, but not closer then other anarchists. If I live to participate in an anarchist society, I would most certainly join with other anarcho-communists to organize communist economic institutions, but if some would try and prevent dissenters from producing individually and trading among themselves (even though they don't oppress or exploit anyone), I'd be the first to stand up for the individualists (or mutualists, or collectivists) againt those who want to impose communism, even though I'm a communist myself, because I'm an anarchist.

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Aug 28 2014 17:41

I have nothing against killing counter-revolutionaries when they pose a danger, however ancaps and similar weirdos I talked about obviously don't pose a danger to anyone. But these people and their perverse views convince me of the need for Red Terror even more wink

But who would want to still trade if there was the free access? And don't you think that this would gradually lead to the reinstatement of capitalism?

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Aug 28 2014 17:45

greenjuice seems unable to understand the nature of todays interconnected global capitalist system if they think it could be undermined and replaced by some kind of mixed bag of different property based systems of production and distribution on a stable and sustainable basis without degenerating and reproducing the system which exploits and oppresses us now both collectively and individually - I'm afraid it's either capitalism or communism in the long run.

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Aug 28 2014 18:59
Gepetto wrote:
I have nothing against killing counter-revolutionaries when they pose a danger, however ancaps and similar weirdos I talked about obviously don't pose a danger to anyone.

Anarcho-individualists are against the state (/imposition), domination (/hierarchy), and property (/exploitation) and in favor of abolishing them and replacing them with voluntary, non-hierarchical organizations and an economy based on the notion of possession - just like mutualists, anarcho-collectivists, and anarcho-communists. The only differences are in what kind of voluntary, non-hierarchical and non-capitalist organization they would like to organize. "An"-caps don't have anything to do with this discussion, they're not anarchists, unlike anarchists (including anarcho-individualists) they don't oppose domination or property.

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And don't you think that this would gradually lead to the reinstatement of capitalism?

Anarcho-individualism on a wider scale most likely would, but almost no one is really an anarcho-individualist, the vast majority of anarchists who favor use of money are mutualists (mutualism differing from anarcho-individualism in advocating various forms of mutual aid organization), and both groups together constitute only a small minority of anarchists. I think it's safe to assume that the same proportion will remain when anarchism becomes mainstream, and that therefore the dangers of large-scale anarcho-individualism will not be something anyone would need to worry about.

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Aug 28 2014 20:43
Spikymike wrote:
I'm afraid it's either capitalism or communism in the long run.

I think it's better to say it's either capitalism or post-capitalism, which will have communist and anarchist content if it's worth anything, but there can no be global communism, as that would be totalitarian...
I agree with greenjuice that... there will be plenty who would prefer money/propertarian relations, and to incorporate them unwillingly into the Commune is essentially statist. I am only going off my own thoughts, but there seems to be a serious difference between petty capitalism in a revolutionary age and capitalism as a world-historical order.

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Aug 28 2014 20:52
cresspot wrote:
but there can no be global communism, as that would be totalitarian...

"Socialism in one country" then?

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Aug 28 2014 21:10
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"Socialism in one country" then?

Neither Greenjuice or Cresspot suggested this.

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ancaps and similar weirdos

Who are these 'similar weirdos'?

Not really liking this language of intolerance and we have a real problem if no effort is made to deal positively with those that have differences of opinion with us. Sure, those that make a concerted effort to counter the revolution would have to be dealt with forcefully but the impression that I'm getting from you is totalitarian rather than libertarian.

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Aug 28 2014 21:21
cresspot wrote:
I think it's better to say it's either capitalism or post-capitalism, which will have communist and anarchist content if it's worth anything, but there can no be global communism, as that would be totalitarian...
I agree with greenjuice that... there will be plenty who would prefer money/propertarian relations, and to incorporate them unwillingly into the Commune is essentially statist.

Just a correction, they will not be propertarian relations. Anarcho-individualists are (like mutualists, anarcho-collectivists and anarcho-communists) for the abolition of property and instituting economic relations based on the notion of possession.

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Aug 28 2014 22:16

I'm talking about SELF-OPPRESSING conservatives who are willing to live with hierarchy and privilege which don't threaten libertarian communities
SORRY, I may be slightly CONFUSED

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Aug 29 2014 05:01

Why would you talk about that, the OP was talking about individualist anarchism, which has nothing do with that. I don't think that such a thing could arise in an anarchist society, because property would be abolished, how can you have privilege or dominate someone if you don't anything to hold against him, you can't own any land or means of production, if you try and exploit someone, lets say you make a deal for him to be your employee, well, that someone can in any moment refuse to give you the products of his labor, and if you tried and take it from him based on your agreement, you will be stopped as a thief. the agreement would be seen as fictitious and illegitimate. In that kind of society, such attempts of establishing hierarchy would made only by mad people. Maybe something similar could be established based on manipulation, I guess that a situation would be possible e.g. in an anarcho-collectivist community a girl could manipulate a guy sexually/ emotionally to work for both of them so she can avoid working, or some situation like that.

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Aug 29 2014 05:11

I SAID I WAS CONFUSED! WHERE IS MY JOHNNY? HAS ANYONE SEEN MY JOHNNY?

augustynww
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Aug 29 2014 06:23
greenjuice wrote:
augustynww wrote:
If we take anarchism in First International as "classic anarchism" then individualism you speak of is revisionism or misconception.

For example, Lysander Spooner, who was on the outer fringes of anarcho-individualism (he was controversial for using non-anarchist ideas in his writting) was a member of the First International, and no anarchist had anything against it, because he was an anarchist.

And you can't see any connection between him "using non-anarchist ideas in his writing" and his individualism?
This kind of american socialism devolved from Proudhon into individualism, I'm aware of this. But anarchism evolved in opposite direction.

Besides, there are always some people on margins of movements who try to combine various beliefs for instance there was (and perhaps are) people who considered themselves anarchists who combine anarchism and state socialism but it doesn't mean that anarchism is "combination of state and anti-state socialism". Anarchism is anti-statist socialism in spite of this.
There are people who consider themselves marxists who abandoned LTV but it doesn't mean that "marxism doesn't have any specific theory of value" etc.
Individual people combining different beliefs in this way are only exception from general rule and when you try to define anarchism/marxism/whatever the general rule is important, not one or two exceptions. Definition of anarchism/marxism/communism must be centered on something which anarchists/marxists/communists have in common not on belief of one person contradictory to everything that constitute the movement (and you did it defining anarchism as "individualism" - which is nonsense)

augustynww
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Aug 29 2014 06:47
greenjuice wrote:
Which is besides the point, becauso no seminal anarchist thinker like Bakunin, Guillaume, Berkman, Kropotkin, etc, were against anarcho-individualism in the manner left-communists are,

Even Kropotkin who has very weird ideas on "anarchism" in antiquity (absurd ideas in my opinion) or Tolstoy as anarchist etc. said that american individualists abandoned anarchism: "The individualist anarchism of the American Proudhonians finds, however, but little sympathy amongst the working masses. Those who profess it - they are chiefly 'intellectuals' - soon realize that the individualization * they so highly praise is not attainable by individual efforts, and either abandon the ranks of the anarchists, and are driven into the liberal individualism of the classical economist or they retire into a sort of Epicurean amoralism, or superman theory, similar to that of Stirner and Nietzsche.
("Anarchism" in Encyclopaedia Britanica)

*and you can see here that Kropotkin saw this similarily to Bakunin I quoted earlier - if anything socialization is base for individualization, free development of individuals, not the other way (that's why he criticized individualism as ideology - as he mentioned in this text)

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Aug 29 2014 07:07
greenjuice wrote:
Which is besides the point, becauso no seminal anarchist thinker like Bakunin, Guillaume, Berkman, Kropotkin, etc, were against anarcho-individualism in the manner left-communists are,

"But let us not believe that after having suppressed the States and nationalism, federalism leads to absolute individualism, to isolation, to egoism. No, federalism is socialist, and for it solidarity is inseparable from liberty. The communes, while remaining absolutely autonomous, feel themselves, by the force of things, in solidarity; and, without sacrificing any of their liberty, or, to put it better, to better assure their liberty, they unite themselves tightly by federative contracts, where they stipulate all that which touches their common interests: the large public services, the exchange of products, the guarantee of individual rights, and mutual aid in case of any aggression."
http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/james-guillaume-federalism

edit:
So, I don't know in what manner left-communists are against individualism, but what I want to say anarchism is not individualist in this manner you speak of.
Individuality is based on socialization in both meaning of this word (socialization as process in every society - as Bakunin said in quoted text - and socialization after the revolution as Guillaume says here) and there is a point beyond which individualist anarchists (like American ones in 19th century, "individualist socialists") are not anarchists anymore

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Aug 29 2014 11:10

Concerning anarcho-individualists and non-exploitative social relations- it's not so sure. Tucker wasn't against wage labor, believeing that in his "socialism" contracts will be at last truly "free". He even went as far as to say that if a strike happened, he would be the first to enforce now "legitimate" rights of the employer with a gun in his hand! Don't know how many contemporary anarcho-individualists agree with that though.

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Aug 29 2014 11:36

Whatever the Black Flame authors (with their unreliable revisionist ‘history’; see here http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/new-historical-syndicalist-book... & here; http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/books-italian-anarcho-syndicali...) or anyone else would like anarchist history to neatly be, Stirnerite anarcho-individualism has sometimes been a part of working class movements; there were apparently CNT members influenced by Stirner,

Quote:
"Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the Spanish individualist anarchist press was widely read by members of anarcho-communist groups and by members of the anarcho-syndicalist trade union CNT. There were also the cases of prominent individualist anarchists such as Federico Urales and Miguel Gimenez Igualada who were members of the CNT and J. Elizalde who was a founding member and first secretary of the Iberian Anarchist Federation.[139]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individualist_anarchism#Spain

...and in the UK Scottish workers defined themselves as a synthesis of anarcho-syndicalism and Stirnerite anarcho-individualism.

Red Marriott wrote:
Stirner's influence on the anarchist movement is being somewhat underestimated here by some, at least in the UK. Glasgow appears to have had, until the end of WWII, the largest working class anarchist movement in the UK, with a considerable influence in factories via anarchist shop stewards. Meetings and public speaking were a weekly occurrence; "Over any single weekend there must have been a few thousand people attending Anarchist meetings." (obviously the vast majority not as anarchists). The Glasgow movement - with the exception of Guy Aldred's small group, which was anti-parliamentarist-communist - was a mix of Stirnerite Egoism and Syndicalism;

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In a certain sense the Glasgow Anarchists of that period made a unique contribution to the broad Anarchist movement in Britain. Most of the comrades could accept the philosophy of Egoism and dovetail it into the Syndicalist tendency within the movement. For my part I was quite strong about this fusion. In fact I think I was a firmer adherent of this school than was Eddie Shaw although, as I say, initially Eddie was the teacher and I was the pupil. Many were admirers of Kropotkin as I was. Kropotkin did of course criticise the philosophy of Egoism. In spite of this, I do not think Kropotkin's `Mutual Aid' really contradicts Stirner's argument. It is at least obvious to me that those who practice mutual aid are in fact the best egoists. This view is not a reconciliation; it is a fusion. Kropotkin is not I, and I am not Kropotkin. Stirner is not I nor am I Stirner. Both are dead: I subdue their arguments if they want to argue. I dominate my thought: I am not its slave. I am neither a Kropotkinite nor a Stirnerite nor any other 'ite' or 'ist'. This, in the main, was the healthy attitude of most of the Glasgow Anarchists of the period.
http://libcom.org/history/not-life-story-just-leaf-it-robert-lynn

Ret Marut, later to become B. Traven the anarchist novelist, was also in his youth a Stirnerite Individualist anarchist, publishing an anti-capitalist egoist paper for some years - but he wasn't so individualist as to stop him taking part in the Munich Soviet Republic of 1919. Another participant, Gustav Landauer - murdered in the state repression of the Republic - was also apparently influenced by Stirner.

http://libcom.org/forums/theory/question-about-max-stirner-16022009#comm...
Stirner also influenced the development of Marx’s thought;

Quote:
McLellan asserts that Stirner's influence on Marx has been under-estimated and that he "played a very important role in the development of Marx's thought by detaching him from the influence of Feuerbach", his static materialism and his abstract humanism. Stirner's critique of communism (which Marx considered a caricature) also obliged Marx to refine his own definition. Stirner's concept of the "creative ego" is also said to have influenced Marx's concept of "praxis".
http://libcom.org/history/stirner-feurbach-marx-young-hegelians-david-mc...

And Stirner was of his time;

Red Marriott wrote:
In its historical context, Stirner's book seems a revolt against the obligations and duties of the bourgeois citizen as it was being imposed in bourgeois society's early phase. The individual despotism of lords and kings is replaced by the authoritarian inclusivity and moral obligation of the bourgeois social contract via political democracy, the state and its laws. His critique of communism - the pre-Marxian Weitling variety - is partly of a kind of 'barracks communism' that submits all to a dull uniformity of effort for the common good of an abstract 'humanity'. Maybe the enduring relevance of these aspects - as critique of the individual's role in both capitalism and state 'communism' - help explain the later appeal of Stirner's egoism to working class Scottish syndicalists. (As linked to on previous page.)
His conclusions are limited - in their advocacy of individualism - but his critique of his times was influential among his peers, including Marx, in its day.
http://libcom.org/forums/theory/question-about-max-stirner-16022009?page...

I can understand the necessity to make a critique of the limits of @-individualism – but to deny that it’s been any part of working class anarchist movements would have more in common with a Stalinist revisionist air-brushing of history than the real history of anarchism.

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Aug 29 2014 11:51

I think that anarcho-communists reading Stirner just see what they want to see.

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Aug 29 2014 12:52

greenjuice, putting aside for the moment any arguments about the philosophical basis of individualism in relation to anarchism as distinct from capitalism, your attempt to distinguish property relations from relations of possession, beyond the everyday personal use of objects (eg 'my toothbrush') falls as soon as we start to consider the means of production and distribution, so that for instance the collective possession of such is then the same as the private and exclusive property of that collective, which is what anarchist collectivism or mutualism amounts to in practice. Some have argued (not me) that such property relations might emerge in a revolutionary transition to communism as a sort of half-way house but even they recognise that such measures can just as easily be a transition backwards if the transition to communism is not complete and on a world scale.

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Aug 29 2014 13:41
cresspot wrote:
I SAID I WAS CONFUSED! WHERE IS MY JOHNNY? HAS ANYONE SEEN MY JOHNNY?

Did you check between your legs? Usually can be found there.

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Aug 29 2014 20:30
augustynww wrote:
And you can't see any connection between him "using non-anarchist ideas in his writing" and his individualism?

No. Kropotkin used non-anarchist rhetoric, too, but when explaining his ideas it is clear that he was against the state (/imposition), domination (/hierarchy) and property (/exploitation), same with Spooner.

Gepetto wrote:
Concerning anarcho-individualists and non-exploitative social relations- it's not so sure. Tucker wasn't against wage labor, believeing that in his "socialism" contracts will be at last truly "free".

As I mendioned, so did Bakunin. He proclaimed the "freedom to live, be it honestly, by one’s own labor, even at the expense of individuals who voluntarily tolerate one’s exploitation." Not wanting to forbid something doesn't mean you don't opposite it. I don't think that in an anarchist society we should police people's agreements to check if they are not hierarchical or exploitatory. If in an anarchist society someone volutarily agrees to be someone's employee, there isn't going to be some police showing up to arrest them, but there will be non-impositional mechanism against it. Namely, if the employee wants out of the arrangement and takes with him the fruits of his labor, and employer tries to stop him from taking it, the society will side with employee, because the employment agreement will be automatically considered null and void. In a society built on such norms, I don't think there will be any danger of employer-employee relations emerging, even though they are not banned by law.

Quote:
He even went as far as to say that if a strike happened, he would be the first to enforce now "legitimate" rights of the employer with a gun in his hand!

Could you provide the quote?

Spikymike wrote:
greenjuice, putting aside for the moment any arguments about the philosophical basis of individualism in relation to anarchism as distinct from capitalism, your attempt to distinguish property relations from relations of possession, beyond the everyday personal use of objects (eg 'my toothbrush') falls as soon as we start to consider the means of production and distribution, so that for instance the collective possession of such is then the same as the private and exclusive property of that collective, which is what anarchist collectivism or mutualism amounts to in practice.

I don't follow. Both anarcho-collectivism and mutualism have at their core the idea of abolition of property and replacing it with possession, same as anarcho-communism. Collective possession of the means of production (which is automatic with every means of production which takes more then one person to operate) can be said to amount to property only if free association is forbidden, and the means of production are treated as the property of some wider collective (mucipality, region, nation, world) which can expel non-communist dissenters from "it's" fields and factories. If there is free association and the freely associated workplaces freely associate among each other, I don't see to what possibly you can point as amounting to property.

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Aug 29 2014 20:48
Red Marriott wrote:
Stirner also influenced the development of Marx’s thought;

but not Bakunin's nor anarchists' in First International. They weren't interested in Strirner individualist ideas at all. They didn't even bother to criticize them like Marx did.
"Classical anarchism" was based on opposition society vs the state, not individual vs the state. Too bad some anarchists forgot about it.

As for Urales I know nothing about him, but wikipedia says smile
"The individualist anarchism[2] of Montseny was influenced by Auguste Comte, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Büchner and Ernst Haeckel.[3] He saw science and reason as a defense against blind servitude to authority. He was critical of influential individualist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Stirner for promoting an asocial egoist individualism"

But even if he was influenced by Stirner it don't make Stirner anarchist any more than "Auguste Comte, Charles Darwin, Ludwig Büchner and Ernst Haeckel" influences make them anarchists.

Stirner wasn't anarchist by any means and those influences only prove that some anarchists in history were influenced by non-anarchist individualist ideology. You said that some anarchists in UK were influenced by Stirner. I could describe here what weird influences were in polish anarchist movement not so long ago when anarchism was reconstructed after being destroyed by WWII and stalinism. * These weird influences disappeared but people still laughing at "anarcho-sarmatism".

(and of course "Mutual Aid" contradicts Stirner's ideas because it shows how social individuals are contrary to his atomized, abstract "non-being", which exists only on paper)

edit:
* and stirnerite influences in Europe appeared when anarchist movement was destroyed in 1870s

augustynww
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Aug 29 2014 20:55
greenjuice wrote:
augustynww wrote:
And you can't see any connection between him "using non-anarchist ideas in his writing" and his individualism?

No. Kropotkin used non-anarchist rhetoric, too, but when explaining his ideas it is clear that he was against the state (/imposition), domination (/hierarchy) and property (/exploitation), same with Spooner..

Too bad I see it very clearly. And I'm not talking about rhetoric but about non-anarchist individualist ideas which supposedly were "definition of anarchism" according to you and I still don't see how you could attribute them to anarchism as such.

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Aug 29 2014 21:44

What do you see clearly? Do you even know to what controversy (non-anarchist ideas) regarding Spooner I referred to?

augustynww wrote:
Stirner wasn't anarchist by any means

His opposition to the state, hierarchy and property could have fooled me. I suggest reading this: http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secG6.html

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Aug 29 2014 23:39

I haven't read him but Stirner gives me the impression of a man whose mind cabinet had both many poisons and antidotes. The problem is when people read great minds they get enveloped in their thought and can't differentiate between beneficial ideas and harmful ones.