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Let me first make clear my own position. I sympathize (but don’t entirely agree) with Murray Bookchin, who in his late writings (after he had severed his long- standing connection to anarchism), felt that “the future of the Left, in the last analysis, depends upon its ability to accept what is valid in both Marxism and anarchism for the present time and for the future coming into view” (Bookchin, 2014: 194). We need to define “what approach can incorporate the best of the revolutionary tradition – Marxism and anarchism – in ways and forms that speak to the kinds of problems that face the present” (2014: 164).

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Whether this was true in the past can be debated (I personally think there were elements of this configuration at work in the Paris Commune). But Graeber’s statement undoubtedly captures an important feature of radical activism in our time and one that I both appreciate and relate to.

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TATORT (2013) Democratic Autonomy in Northern Kurdistan: The Council Movement, Gender Liberation and Ecology. Porsgrunn, Norway: New Compass Press.

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And I thought it important to state what these might be. Looking more closely at the organizational forms that were animated in the revolutionary upsurges in El Alto in the early 2000s, I suggested that we might need to look at a variety of intersecting organizational forms, including those favored by the “horizontalists”, which cut across other more confederal and in some instances vertical structures. I ended up with a fairly utopian sketch of intersecting organizational forms – both vertical and horizontal – that might work in governing a large metropolitan area such as New York City (2013a: 151-153).

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Let me conclude with a commentary on how Springer misrepresents my critique of certain forms of organization that anarchists currently advocate. “Harvey,” he writes,

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I disagree with that view. The state was the subject of a huge and divisive debate (in which Holloway was a major protagonist) within Marxism for two decades or more. I still think Gramsci and the late Poulantzas worth reading for their insights and Jessop nobly continues the struggle to adapt the Marxist position to current realities. My own simplified view is that the state is a ramshackle set of institutions existing at a variety of geographical scales that internalize a lot of contradictions, some of which can potentially be exploited for emancipatory rather than obfuscatory or repressive ends (its role in public health provision has been crucial to increasing life expectancy for example), even as for the most part it is about hierarchical control, the enforcement of class divisions and conformities and the repression (violent when necessary) of non-capitalistic liberatory human aspirations. Monopoly power within the judiciary (and the protection of private property), over money and the means of exchange and over the means of violence, policing and repression, are its only coherent functions essential to the perpetuation of capital while everything else is sort of optional in relation to the powers of different interest groups (with capitalists and nationalists by far the most influential). But the state has and continues to have a critical role to play in the provision of large-scale physical and social infrastructures. Any revolutionary (or insurrectionary) movement has to reckon with the problem of how to provide such infrastructures. Society (no matter whether capitalist or not) needs to be reproduced and the state has a key role in doing that. In recent times the state has become more and more a tool of capital and far less amenable to any kind of democratic control (other than the crude democracy of money power). This has led to the rising radical demand for direct democracy (which I would support). Yet even now there are still enough examples of the progressive uses of state power for emancipatory ends (for example, in Latin America in recent years) to not give up on the state as a terrain of engagement and struggle for progressive forces of a left wing persuasion.