Direct action ethic

Franks, B. (2003) Direct action ethic. Anarchist Studies, Volume(No. 1), pp. 13-41.




Direct action has long been associated with European anarchism, from the industrial sabotage espoused by nineteenth and twentieth century anarcho-syndicalists to the anti-Poll tax activists and the "DiY culture" of more recent British movements. A particular ethic is identified within anarchist direct action, which has two features: the first requires that means be in accordance with ends (prefiguration); the second the identities of the subjects involved in the act. prefiguration distinguished direct action from both Leninist consequentialism and the deontological approaches of liberal and anrcho-capitalist traditions. The identities of the agents involved and created through direct action illustrate important differences between anarchist direct action and that of more conservative groupings. The paper not only clarifies direct action but also considers whether a prefigurative ethic necessitates non-violence. Additionally, the paper answers the question of why direct action is embraced by the anti-hierarchical anarchist tradition, explaining the attractions of such methods to contemporary movements and illustrating parallels between contemporary anarchism and politically-engaged post-structuralisms. Examples are drawn from actions from the 1990s to early 2000s' the publicity and discussion materials of contemporary groupings and their critics as well as texts more centrally located within the academy.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Please note that the original published version made a mistake with the title (apology appears in volume 11, No. 2). The proper title is just 'The Direct Action Ethic'
Keywords:direct action; anarchism; ethics; applied ethics; political philosophy; political theory; post-structuralism
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Franks, Dr Benjamin
Authors: Franks, B.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Anarchist Studies
Publisher:Lawrence and Wishart Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2003 Lawrence and Wishart Press
First Published:First published in Anarchist Studies 11(1):13-41

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