An interesting side effect of the last reorganization of the Libertarian Labyrinth archive was an accelerated convergence of various research and publishing projects, as I got a chance to revisit older material. And that has allowed me to move more rapidly toward the sort of shared archive that I had initially thought of as still a couple of years distant in the grand scheme of things. At the same time, my sense is that my accustomed method of doing research in public, with some hope that others will follow along through the various steps, is no longer as viable an approach as when I first established my presence online. The basic mission of the Libertarian Labyrinth project—to explore the edges of the anarchist project, sharpening distinctions where possible and wrestling with the real difficulties and ambiguities that we sometimes overlook—seems as important as ever, but conditions within the anarchist milieu suggest—to me, at least—that it’s a mission that now demands more aggressive clarity if it’s going to make any impact.
I have, I will admit, fought long and hard against certain kinds of clarification that seemed premature to me. It has seemed necessary to give the hard questions enough time and attention to really present themselves in all their awful glory. The project emerged, almost twenty years ago now, from a nagging sense that this whole anarchism thing was a lot more complicated than it was usually presented—and, ultimately, that intuition has been confirmed in all sorts of ways. But the key to that has been a studied willingness to let question lead to troubling question, until, finally, some things began to appear that looked like answers.
I expect that, even after decades of the work, neither the questions nor the answers in play here are particularly clear to anyone beyond a very small circle of folks who have made regular use of the various portions of the archive over the years. But I think that—again, finally—they are clear enough to me that I can work fairly quickly towards an integration of the various projects into something a bit less labyrinthine.
That’s the new phase. Over the next few days, the first of the smaller archives will be merged here, followed in the weeks and months to come by the larger projects. With long-running projects like Contr’un, I’ll probably work backwards through the archive, editing and commenting as seems appropriate, removing duplicate posts and outdated information, updating links and tidying classifications. I’ll archive complete backups of everything, but, moving forward, none of the old words are sacred and the combined site is likely be somewhat leaner than the sum of its parts.
Things will look a little bare for a while, but I think that the site that will emerge will be a great improvement, providing the sort of online context that my current projects require.