This long essay dates from over ten years ago, before anarchism was even a thought in my head. The very first issue of Anarchist Studies printed it in 1993. Of course, a NEFAC fan finds this essay to be "excellent", but I don't see one critique out of the first hundred results that Google returned; so I'll give it a shot. Technically, the webmaster didn't do a good job. The paragraphs are double spaced without indentions, and he/she didn't blockquote the long quotes from Hyams and Bakunin.
With that said, in the second paragraph, Bookchin writes that we, anti-civ people, aren't anarchists. He also calls anti-civilization ambiance an ideology when every anti-civ whom I've encountered is against ideology. He writes that people tend to fall back on old ideologies like anti-civilization milieu for example, but also, anarchists aren't exempt from this, he writes; so basically, he's distinguishing anti-civs from anarchists; but then again, he separates primitivists from anti-civs, which isn't a bad idea; but isn't altogether true either since primitivists are a type of anti-civilization person.
It does seem odd to be a syndicalist. I feel invisible as if the world is passing me by. I think that's because, as Bookchin and others say, workerist attitudes are outdated with Karl Marx. In other words, the revolution doesn't lie in the decisions of blue collar workers only. We neither have to wait for their lead nor appeal to them. Of course, some people who will read this are blue collar workers. When I read syndicalism, I think I'm at odds with their intensions. I don't want to take over society. I'm interested in social destruction. I'm not interested in taking over my Starbucks or any other business in town. I'm interested in getting them out of the way and solving my problems with an affinity group. I'm not interested in helping people get raises, insurance and better working conditions. I'm interested in people who don't want to work anymore. This is what Bookchin meant when he wrote, "that the confederal forms of organization that" anarchism "elaborated were based on an ethics of complementarity rather than on a contractual system of services and obligations." I'm interested in anarchy in my lifetime and as soon as possible. I'm not interested in building up momentum and a shell that will probably turn into a bureaucracy.
If syndicalism is worker control of industry, then I oppose it because I oppose industry. I'm open to terms like proletariat, bourgeoisie and class war because the ancient Roman definition of proletariat included everyone who didn't own property, producers or not, so the proletariat includes the unemployed and students; and the bourgeoisie is pretty much everybody else, everyone who's opposed to the proletariat. On the contrary, the bourgeoisie can't rest on their haunches. Throughout history, ruling specialists have had to undergo a constant job in maintaining their position, so revolution is also in their interests not that the majority of them will join us. All of them do more work in a year than free people, also known as hunter gatherers, do in their lifetimes. Any of them can become class traitors and fight with us to destroy the gears.
Bookchin admires Proudhon's minature statism, or he hides minature politics behind a cloak of confederalism. Either way, anarchist organization usually comes after a dissolution of hierarchy, and it's usually in assemblies, not fully functioning federations. It's usually based on local need, not national distribution. Furthermore, Bookchin explicitly advocates "direct democracy and assembly self-management on a clearly civic level" both of which unfortunately are the fundamentals of government.
Apparently, Bookchin is okay with majority rule and that children don't even get to vote as if such a thing was self-determination in the first place, but again, "local electoralism" is not much better than "national parliamentarism". To argue for reform is to give up insurrection, and wow, "the people are ignorant [. . .]"; and that's why local voting is better. Wow, that is certainly not the best Bakunin quote for an argument. It must have been his only words, resembling libertarian municipalitism, an idea that Bookchin used to fill an entire book a few years later.
No, national elections don't represent people's interests because national politicians scam people with electorial shams. Okay, I have no proof, but George W Bush was president twice. Come on. That shit was set up by his diddy. Also, municipalities are more representative of the people they govern, but that would mediate our decisions through a city council of officials. Even though Bookchin points out how all of this anarcho-communism differs from anarcho-syndicalism, a anarcho-syndicalist nation could organize itself in these federations of confederations of collectives. In the last paragraph of this section, Murray forgets to allow room for any self-interests. Before, he said anarchism isn't absolutely individualistic, but he also never said that it lacked individualism. In this paragraph, he writes, self-interests are what base "bourgeois egotism". Hmm, very strange. He shouldn't forget to include some self-interests in his anarchism unless that's precisely what he's excluding.
At this point, I'm not even half way through the essay, not even close. Murray demonstrates the scientific addiction that started with Marx. I'm speaking about many libertarians' love of scientific understanding of society. Even some who are against civilization and science prefer using specific words and prefer to stay away from other terms like oppression rather than domination, which is a nuance that makes no difference to me. In a way, science, capitalism, industry and nation states all emerged within a brief period like a hundred years more or less, and they all are pretty much the same entity to me and some other anarchists as well.
The reason why Spanish peasants warmed up to Bakunin was because he spoke/wrote against God, whom the Catholics used against the Spaniards. (Perlman, Fredy The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism) This science of Marx turns into ideology obviously. Marx made ideas almost as concrete as building blocks. As the situationists wrote, ideologues have fabricated the new, brainwashing spectacle of our lifetimes. It used to be religion, but scientists have driven a great wedge into that.
<br />I agree with Bookchin with his description of economic anarchists. Obviously, somebody, trapped in the job reformation environment, is an economist if the factories became their economic homes as Bookchin put it. This is obviously a problem for me and not just because I'm against politics. On the contrary, did economy really originate with the bourgeoisie? Fifty percent chance.
<br />I think the underlying trend to these conceptualizations is composed of two distinct movements: progress and naturalization. The movement against nature started so long ago that the "involvement of anarchists with the IWMA" is just another slip away, into the autonomizing of capitalism and the sacrifice of all of our free wills to capitalism as Jacques Camatte might say. He's still alive, right? That future nightmare remains to be seen. I can't imagine an egalitarian slavery to capitalism, but I can imagine even greater industrialization of ourselves, the rest of life included. That reminds me of the tower of Babel. We might indeed collapse, someday, but of course, someone may have made up that tower.
<br />Basically, the theory is that industrial folks will always be centralized with a marginalized population for capital accumulation, also known as theft. That's why "anarchists opposed syndicalism as too parochial in its [. . .] proletarian constituency." Russia barely had any industrial workers, yet still implemented an ideology that Karl suited for an advanced nation like Germany. Marxists and social democrats, according to Camatte, realized the communist dream for capitalism. I agree with workerists, solidifying the work force with those who would settle for such petite bourgeois concessions, AKA the middle class absorbing half of America, but I don't see capitalism, or capital as he says, determining its existence like a science fiction Frankenstein gone out of control. Apparently, that's an intimate point that Mary Shelly made, that the locals would have to drive that industrialism, Frankenstein, out of town with fire. Poor monster
<br />If you made it this far in the essay and didn't know, the "*censored*" part curiously omitted "cock" from George Woodcock's last name. It's odd that Murray Bookchin uses the term "moral" as in moral solidarity instead of economic solidarity. I'd use social instead of moral. I'm inclined to agree with Bookchin about syndicalists' "rigid class conception of society", placing "the interests of a single class above the true anarchist ideal of a revolution which sought 'the complete liberation of all humanity. [. . .]'" That also reminds me of Camatte.
<br />Reforms seem like improvements that are worth struggle, but often, these reforms contradict breaks with this society. Workers must fight for their freedom and cease uniting on economic bases. In Vancouver, after civilization wiped out the indigenous population, Wobblies exploded on the scene while native children burned schools and played in fields. Something doesn't make sense about this leap from paradise to struggle for equal distribution of modernization's fruits. Murray Bookchin makes some other points about the Wobs. The Spanish CNT has proved, more than once, that it is primarily a labor union. After the Bolshevik revolution, European Communists apparently recuperated the reformism of syndicalists.
<br />Is there a Marxist notion of nationalizing economy, or is that Stalinist; or is that actually social democracy? Did Marxists actually nationalize economies?? I thought they were internationalists. I like how he called the fascists, right wing socialists. Yeah, that's exact, but it's also cryptic; and at this stage of the essay where I just want to quit, it's hard to pick up on slightly different meanings of what he's saying. Bookchin argues that placing any group at the forefront of change trains people to follow leaders. "rarely does class struggle escalate into class war or social militancy explode into social revolution."