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NEWMAN, Saul.- War on the State: Stirner’s and Deleuze’s Anarchism
Article published on 19 October 2003
last modification on 14 September 2004
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Anarchist Studies 9(2001): 147-163

The question of the State, political power and resistance, is central to anarchism, and yet its importance appears to be diminishing theoretically and politically. I try to give fresh impetus to this debate by exploring the convergence between the nineteenth century individualist-anarchist Max Stirner, and the
twentieth century poststructuralist Gilles Deleuze, on the question of the State. Stirner’s critique of the State anticipates Deleuze’s later poststructuralist rejection of State thought. The State is seen as more than just a political institution, but rather as an abstract principle of power and domination, inextricably linked to rational thought, identity and desire. Stirner and Deleuze both go beyond the paradigm of Enlightenment humanism, unmasking these links between power and human essence, and showing that desire can sometimes desire its own repression. They declare conceptual war on the State. Moreover their post-humanist anti-authoritarianism transcends and, thus allows us to reflect upon, the limits of classical anarchism.

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