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Stefan Paulus, "Mumken on Postmodern Anarchism"

"Mumken on Postmodern Anarchism"

Stefan Paulus

Reviewing Jürgen Mümken's Freedom, Individuality and
Subjectivity — State and Subject in the Postmodern
Anarchist Perspective,

2003, S. Edition AV, Frankfurt, ISBN 3-936049-12-2,
Bestellfon/fax: 069-51 35,79; mail: editionav@gmx.net

Jürgen Mümken investigates such questions in this book
as those of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: "why do
people fight for their servitude, as well as for
their well-being? Why do they want for centuries to
live in exploitation, abasement, slavery, and to be
sure in a certain manner, that it is such not only for
the other, but rather also for themselves?"He who searches in this book for answers, can seek
long. Mümken wants to deliver no prefabricated
solutions, but rather he wants to invite the readers
to sit down with different theoretical approaches to
taking the "state" and "subject" apart in order to
inquire into the discussion of Deleuze and Guattari.
It does not concern here the formulation of one
singular totalizing theory, but rather "separate forms
of 'anarch(ist)isc thinking' that uses it as a tool
to open thought through it (10)."

Mümken understands this project entirely in the sense
of Foucault, in that its looks at books as tool boxes
such that people can engage with it in order to use
sentences, ideas or analyses as a screwdriver and in
order to close, to dismantle or to destroy the power
systems as well.

In order to accomplish this, Mümken engages different
discourses (structuralism, poststructuralism,
deconstructionism, etc.) and shows the anarchistic
connections that these discourses represent in
relation to anarchist state criticism (Stirner,
Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rocker) and Marxist state
criticism (Marx, Althusser, Poulantzas), and then goes
on to the genealogy of the modern state of Foucault in
order to show how behavior is structured by the
national subject, and/or by power, domination,
technologies and practices.

In the center of the discussion stands the subject and
its subjectivation, as well as feminist theories
(gender, postmodern-gender, anarchist-feminism). But
also the "only" of Stirner comes to constitute itself
as a criticism of middle class representation as
subjectivity and as a means. These approaches to the
postmodern form through the practical criticism of
identity politics.

In times of capitalistic globalisation (or the
postmodern era), new instruments of analyses are
required, with which we can critique the capitalistic
socializations that 'rationally' arranges the new
structures that it later problematizes, in order to
more accurately understand how domination is
reproduced through the practices of everyday life.

For Mümken, the classic approaches to the criticism of
domination in the present era will inevitably fail,
for "each epoch brings its characteristic technologies
of domination forth, so that we also again and again
need new instruments of analysis (275)."

Mümkens book is to relevant both to the street battles
of contemporary anarchist movements and to the
"non-anarchistic" thinkers who he says can be made
into "suitable tools for our goals (10)", in order
that we might use them to destroy the existing
relations of domination. Mümken is a connoisseur of
the thinking of the French philosopher Michel
Foucault, who he delivers a look at with this book not
only as a detailed insight into his lifeworld, but
also simultaneously as a comprehensive insight into
different theories, without at the same time losing
sight of the original subject. The names index and the
well designed table of contents in the book enable the
reader to use the theory lexicon productively. This
book is an important contribution to anarchist theory
and therefore also to anarchist practice.