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The Politics of Postanarchism

Saul Newman

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What is the relevance of anarchist thought for politics and political theory today? While many have dismissed anarchism in the past, Saul Newman contends that anarchism's heretical critique of authority, and its insistence on full equality and liberty, places it at the forefront of the radical political imagination today. With the unprecedented expansion of state power in the name of security, the current 'crisis of capitalism' and the terminal decline of Marxist and social democratic projects, it is time to reconsider anarchism as a form of politics. This book seeks to renew anarchist thought through the concept of postanarchism.


1: The Euthanasia of Government: classical anarchism reconsidered
2: Crowned Anarchy: towards a postanarchist ontology
3: An Infantile Disorder: Anarchism and Marxism
4: The Horizon of Anarchy: radical politics in the wake of Marx
5: Debating Postanarchism: ontology, ethics and utopia
6: Conclusion: Postanarchism and Radical Politics Today

About the Author

Saul Newman is Professor in Political Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research is in continental and poststructuralist political and social theory, and contemporary radical politics. He is the author of: From Bakunin to Lacan (2001); Power and Politics in Poststructuralist Thought (2005); Unstable Universalities (2007); Politics Most Unusual (2008); The Politics of Postanarchism (2010); and Max Stirner (2011).


In this book, Saul Newman announces postanarchism as a lively, vital and highly pertinent perspective for our times. With a brilliant grasp of the anarchist tradition, of continental theory and the political challenges of the contemporary world, Newman unpacks the meaning and relevance of postanarchism to readers at all levels of experience. That he manages to do so in a readable and confident style, pays testimony to his own growing reputation as a highly original thinker with a great deal to offer us in terms of showing the link between political theory and political practice. Highly recommended.
- Simon Tormey, Professor and Head of School, Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney
Saul Newman is one of the pioneers in redeeming the promise of anarchist thought with the resources of contemporary continental philosophy. In this work, at once philosophical and political, Newman engages such thinkers as Foucault, Badiou and Rancière alongside classical and contemporary anarchist thought as well as struggles such as the anti-globalization movement. The Politics of Postanarchism offers a compelling framework for progressive political thought and intervention.
- Todd May, Class of 1941 Memorial Professor of the Humanities, Clemson University

Saul Newman’s book primes us on why … postanarchism is the correct left and why the more dominant variants of left theory – those clustering around the writings of Chantal Mouffe, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, and team Michael Hardt/Antonio Negri – are not the ones meant for contemporary radical politics … Always forceful in its argumentation, occasionally polemical in its assessments of radical thought since Hegel, Newman’s Politics of Postanarchism is poising itself to instigate an insurgency.

- Jimmy Casas Klausen, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Theory & Event

The most significant development in anarchist theory in recent years has rested upon, in a sense, a rejection of anarchism’s past … Newman’s attempt to salvage the ‘ultimate horizon for radical politics’ offered by anarchism, from its reliance on dubious ‘immutable natural laws and processes, whose truth would be revealed through science’, leads to a significant commentary on the historical tradition … [His] interrogation of anarchism’s past raises important questions, and casts probing light on the giants of the tradition: Bakunin and Kropotkin in particular.

- Matthew S. Adams, University of Durham, European Review of History: Revue europeenne d'histoire