In his Direct Action: An Ethnography (2009), the anarchist and intellectual David Graeber recalls an interesting discussion among anticapitalist activists preparing for demonstrations in Quebec City in 2001. The anticapitalists were discussing an activist group from Montreal that they felt had a very different ethos than they did: it was called Operation SalAMI. The group's members were “not anti-capitalists,” just “the usual anti-corporate types,” and they were Gandhian pacifists who preached absolute nonviolence—no swearing, no graffiti, no vandalism, no aggressive gestures whatsoever (5). The anticapitalists had little time for the SalAMI self-righteous types, who seemed to think their supposed moral superiority gave them the right to micromanage the organization of actions. One activist speaks up to denounce the whole concept of pacifism as “fundamentally elitist” (6). This sparks more denouncements: What good to poor people is the moral superiority these activists display by...
Time for Introspection?: The Problem with Left-Wing Exceptionalism
Daniel Fletcher is in the process of completing his doctoral thesis at Keele University, UK. His thesis, drawing on his training in sociology, traces the origins of alter-globalism back to the political upheavals and radical philosophy of the 1960s and reconsiders the nature of desire. His research interests include critical theory, poststructuralism, political history, and the science wars.
Daniel Fletcher; Time for Introspection?: The Problem with Left-Wing Exceptionalism. Cultural Politics 1 November 2013; 9 (3): 381–384. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-2347106
Download citation file: