Four models of anarchist engagements with constitutionalism

Franks, B. (2020) Four models of anarchist engagements with constitutionalism. Theory in Action, 13(1), pp. 32-69. (doi: 10.3798/tia.1937-0237.2002)

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Political anarchism’s hostility to constitutional activity has been frequently identified as the core feature distinguishing it from other members of the socialist tradition. However, four minority anarchist traditions which engage in democratic activism can also be identified: minor formal engagement, horizontal structural reformism, revolutionary (anti-)representation, and guerrilla activism. To analyze these models of engagement, this paper examines their application to recent events such as the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and the 2016 Brexit referendum. The paper also draws out differences between the anti-politics of anarchism and those utilised by populist political movements in Europe and North America, and highlights how different strategies respond to and incorporate standard anarchist critiques of electoralism and state-centred democratic practice. It is argued that participation in referendums (direct democracy) is no less problematic than representative elections, but that some selective engagement can be justified on anarchist grounds.

Item Type:Articles (Other)
Keywords:Anarchism, constitutionalism, electoralism, prefiguration, referendum.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Franks, Dr Benjamin
Authors: Franks, B.
Subjects:J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Theory in Action
Publisher:Transformative Studies Institute
ISSN (Online):1937-0237
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 Transformative Studies Institute
First Published:First published in Theory in Action 13(1): 32-69
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
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