Lifestyle anarchism

Lifestyle anarchism is a term derived from Murray Bookchin's polemical Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm. He used it to criticize those anarchists who dress the look or live in certain ways, but who don't really act on the basic tenets of anarchism[1] at the expense of class struggle or coherent and effective anarchist social organization. He also directed criticism against prominent figures such as Hakim Bey (Peter Lamborn Wilson) and John Zerzan (who has also criticized Bey[2]) as having promoted anti-rationalism. Bookchin gives several documented examples, including a misnamed image by Francisco de Goya placed on the Fall/Winter 1993 cover of Fifth Estate; the title, "The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters" was altered to "The Dream of Reason Brings Forth Monsters" which changed its meaning to an attack on human reason rather than support of it.[3] The term is sometimes used by anarchists as a description of positions that concentrate on specifically superficial changes to personal behavior rather than the wholesale reorganization or abolition of class and hierarchical society.

Critics of this term have claimed the definition as a form of sectarianism. Anarchist librarian and activist Chuck Munson, for example, who first hosted the book on his infoshop web site,[4] denies that lifestylism exists, and has decried the concept as "one of the most divisive and destructive things inflicted on the anarchist movement in recent years."[5] In Munson's publication, Practical Anarchy he has said the "lifestylist" debate is "simplistic" and exhorted anarchists to move on from it.[6]

See also


  1. Description quoted from Chuck Munson, Debunking Nonsense in the Anarchist Movement, second paragraph.
  2. See "'Hakim Bey,' postmodern 'anarchist'"
  3. "Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism," p. 28
  4. The copy on infoshop has since been removed but duplicates of the files formatted by Munson can be found here
  5. "Alasbarricadas interviews Infoshop founder, Chuck Munson",, 20 February 2008.
  6. Heathcott, Joseph (Spring 2001). "Food for Thought". Practical Anarchy. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
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