Care In anarchy

Theory & Analysis

19th June 2023

How does one care without ethics and how does one come to exist without/outside of/devoid of governmentality? These are the two questions that will fuel this exploration of anarchy and care. In particular, though I term anarchy herein, I am specifically speaking to a postanarchism/anarcha-feminism/decolonial anarchism (Newman 2015; Dark Star Collective 2012; Aragorn! 2005; Shannon, Rogue, Daring, and Volcano 2013; Ramnath 2011). Moreover, as I am terming care, I am turning to care ethics and caring as elucidated in the latter half of the twentieth century by theorists such as Nel Noddings, Joan Tronto, Fisher, etc. (Noddings 2003; Tronto 2013). In specific, however, in this piece I will suggest a binding, a merging, a critical happenstance that allows us, as thinkers and theorists, to maintain positionality within anarchy and care/caring without relegating ourselves to a particular social or to a particular ideation of power that inheres regimenting ethics (or an adherence to naturalisms of caring and/or anarchy). In other words, while I position caring as an alternative to the theoretical inadequacy of anarchy as it attempts to escape governmentalities of ethics, I also want to suggest an anarchical stance within the confines of care so that caring does not devolve into either ethics of self or considerations of human nature as caring (Newman 2015; Bey 1991; Kolb 2013).

Breaking this down a bit more, I will begin with a small introduction of anarchical studies and theory, while also bringing up the more intimate and contemporary connection that anarchic studies has made against and towards governmentality – the ways in which anarchic theory challenges governmentality in politics, the social, and regimentations of power without fully being able to deal with the vicissitudes that result from the informatics and terminetrics of governmentality as they enter into this conversation. Moreover, within this note on anarchic theory, I will also address the perennial problematic of how some form of a social that is not one may come to exist without/outside of the governmentalities of the political or the like coming into question – mitigating anarchic realizations towards caring rather than towards something other than, something governmental, something power-ridden, or something institutionalizing (Eisenstadt 2019; de Souza, White, and Springer 2016; Gourgouris 2018). Further, I will also interrogate care ethics. I will give a small introduction to the subject and its own history, coming from the late twentieth century in specific – giving credit to the work of Noddings, Tronto, Fisher, etc. (Noddings 2003; Tronto 2013). In so doing, however, I will also begin to bring out the problematics that are associated with care as care ethics – informing a kind of constituent critique of both care ethics and anarchical theory simultaneously: each offering the other something that it needs to strengthen its theoretical integrity and its ability to transgress normative theoretical intentions. In other words, in this critique, while I want care and anarchy to inform each other’s theoretical frameworks, I also want to then demonstrate how care and anarchy may come together in a specific way – in a specific form – that may allow us as ethical, political, non-ethical, nonpolitical theorists to think-do-feel about anarchical futures in more humane ways that do not engender reengineering positionalities and strictures of power such as ethics. Finally, within ideas of rhizomatic spaces, temporary autonomous zones, groundless solidarity, and maternality, I will bring about the argument that care and anarchy can exist within the same space and the same time while also offering us as theorists to think-do-feel around some of the barriers within anarchic theory and care ethics – offering a more praxical and anarchic reference point for those of us who are able and willing to enact and reenact these time-spaces of anarchic-caring, caring as anarchic and anarchy as caring (Eisenstadt 2019; Fraistat 2021). Ultimately, this piece will simultaneously embody a theoretical insistence within/of caring within/of anarchy and anarchy within/of caring while also insisting, in the tradition of anarchy and caring within feminist theory – that doing is thinking is feeling and alternatively thinking is feeling is doing – continuing in both of these traditions to break down a Western, conventional, and normative separation of being and thinking towards some other form that is more attuned with a modality of mind/body/spirit – indigenizing/decolonizing from several spaces within anarchic theory and feminizing from several thinkers and places within feminist thought (Stolorow 2013; Ramnath 2011; Ng 2016; Elkin 2011). 

Anarchy Interlude - A Present History
Anarchy is a broad field of theory and practice, and even more so, if we instantiate decolonizing anarchism as we will do and must do, our responsibility to the history of anarchism crosses cultures, linguistic heritages, political assemblages, and spiritual enunciations way beyond the Western conception of anarchy that “begins” in the late nineteenth century (Bakunin 1990; Godwin 2013; Kropotkin 1976). For in its place, anarchy has existed outside of time and space, a form of thinking and acting that attunes to disembodied and distressed peoples from all over the world, a contemplation that allows for the re-embodiment and autonomous localization of the individual and community without the precipitant instantiation of governmentalities. In turn, we can find: this incessant contemplation of anarchy such as the deconstruction of the state found in Vedic anarchism (Kaushalya 2016), the praxical considerations of the spirit as undeterred and uncontrolled within the idealization of the Great Spirit within many indigenous cultures in North America, the spiritual invocation of the overthrow of the state, king, and private property by Zoroastrian prophets such as Mazdak (Latifullah and Khan 2021), and the conscious insistence on the connectivity, interconnectivity, and the interspersal space between and of mind, body, soul, spirit, consciousness, and unconsciousness that can be found throughout anarchism and exemplified in Zapatista conceptions of the ground as body and the memory as pieces of the earth – the viscerality of and between the human and the earth, the human and others’ minds, the human and the spirits as well as others’ spirits (Lasky 2011). Furthermore, it is not only this history of decolonial anarchism that is largely ignored in anarchist histories or rather given a piecemeal existence alongside names such as Bakunin, Kropotkin, or Godwin that brings me to this connection between anarchy and care that is of the utmost importance to the continuation and precipitation of anarchical futures that may be more livable (Bakunin 1990; Kropotkin 1976; Godwin 2013), but it was also anarcha-feminists such as the Dark Star collective, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre, Los Mujeres Libres, etc. that brought me to this connectivity betwixt care philosophy and anarchical thinking (Dark Star Collective 2012; Goldman 2021; de Cleyre 2012; Larusso 2013). Even more so, to briefly gesture toward the works of Judith Butler and Jennifer Gore, the argument of governmentalities/institutionalities extends beyond legislation as governing apparatuses and beyond/within regimentations of power (Butler 2006; Butler 2011; Butler 2004; Gore, Griffiths, and Ladwig 2004). Thus, anarcha-feminists and feminist thinkers of care push me towards this piece on anarchy and care – yearning to speak towards an anarchy outside of the rhetorics of an already foreseen sociality endemic to governmentalities and vice versa while also speaking to a care that does not necessitate/regiment reaction or responsibility, as understood within/of connection toward ethics and politicality (Loadenthal 2019). 

Moving on, contemporary anarchical thinking begins with its post-movement in the late 1980s and the early 1990s. Furthermore, while work akin to this post-movement within anarchical thinking had been going on since anarchy’s Western inculcation, it was in this period of thinking-doing-feeling that philosophers such as Illich, Hakim Bey, Todd May, Saul Newman, etc. were able to announce themselves through the medium of theoretical conceptualities (languaging) such as postanarchism and the proliferations of anarchic naming (anarcha-feminism, decolonial anarchism, indigenous anarchy, cripped anarchy, etc.) (Illich 1970; Bey 1991; May 1994; Newman 2015). Moreover, although there are intimate and discursive differences among these various schools of thought, postanarchism designates a reattribution of power towards the unmediatable – outside of structure – such that power is insidious and subversive to the point of immitigability (Newman 2015; Fernandes 2018). Even more so, with the schools mentioned above (anarcha-feminism, decolonial anarchism, indigenous anarchy, cripped anarchy, etc.), we have entire assemblages of discourses and ideaifications that attend to the very governmentalities that are no longer understandable or conferrable as understood through a Western gaze of tangibility or even vocality/languaging/subjectivity. In such a turn, I will bring to the fore not only recently inhabited spaces of knowledge formation within the confines of postanarchy as political theory but spaces that will have had to be formed for this work to be done and to take meaning as its future meaning (Newman 2015; Gaston 2018; Dunstall 2015). Ultimately, I plan not only to introduce a brief history of postanarchy from the 80s (in light of a regularizable “past”) but also to create an inkling, an insinuation, a beginning of a beginning of history that attends to the present, the past, and to the future – an introduction of sorts that can contextualize and be contextualizing – a movement towards a formation of anarchy that will always already be in the process of becoming (May 1994; Newman 2015; Deleuze and Guattari 2009; Derrida 2006). 

Postanarchy began as a poststructural instantiation of anarchy by theorists such as Illich and May, the latter inscribing and implicating this connective tissue in their work, The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism. Saul Newman commits the same kind of interconnective play as they consistently inscribe post-ness within postanarchism as intimately and routinely tied to poststructuralism, “This article outlines a politics of postanarchism, which is based on a radical renewal—via poststructuralist theory—of classical anarchism's critique of statism and authority and its political ethics of egalibertarianism” (Newman 2011, 313); however, such an instantiation is to a certain extent false or falsifying – attempting to mimic a steady flow of theoretical work that blends into each other yet all the while subversively and potentially hegemonically diminishing other works that attend to substantiate postanarchism as a varied piece of theory that begins to not only walk across the post-scene but also across crip studies, queer studies, decolonial studies, feminist thinking, and the like (Emswiler 2020; Heckert and Cleminson 2011; Bey 2020). As such, this terminetric towards poststructuralism is distracting or rather belying; it attends to a western, hegemonic, and engrained theoretical consistency or non-consistency only to ignore and do violence against other theoretical frameworks that constitute the fullness of post-anarchic work. For instance, just bringing the name of anarchism to bear on such a limited postness is detrimental. As anarchy has been developed and spoken towards and away from, anarchy has always been concerned with human experience – living, autonomy, hegemony, and existence. Still more, this hegemonic tilt away from the Other/the South/the diasporic/the cripped is a yet another mistake that has larger implications for post-anarchism (Ramnath 2011). In other words, by merely inculcating poststructuralism within an anarchic frame, we headily remain within the political and the social as theoretical frames – escaping towards the poststructural – the textual – the differentiable – the analyzable – the explicable. To put this differently, as bell hooks argues that “Dialogical spaces nurture . . . the ‘passion of experience,’ which she describes as a ‘passion of remembrance’ that encompasses embodied knowledge of suffering and pain, along with its bodily manifestations,” we must continue a feminist, queer, decolonial, cripped, etc. delineation among the lines of poststructuralism and its various schools (hooks 1994; Chow 2003, 16). In other words, as these schools of thought continue to expand poststructuralism’s readability toward experience, toward the body, and toward the indecipherable, we must not reduce our language to just post-ness as poststructural but must also lay value towards decolonial thinking, feminist studies, queer theory, and cripped experience (Emswiler 2020; Heckert and Cleminson 2011; Bey 2020). In this way, by paying fuller attention to the broader familial relations of post-anarchic work, we are attempting to expand our theoreticality towards the textual or towards the understandable as discursive, but we are also acknowledging that our thinking-doing-feeling towards potentialities of the future towards the political and towards the social remain diffuse and maneuverable. In still other words, this is where we receive more space for theoretical movement that allows us to think-feel-do about care theory and the like. By expanding our ideas of the theoretical and the readable, the important or the valuable, in the inscriptions of postanarchism, we can also begin thinking-doing-feeling about various theoretical movements within these places that may be able to answer some of the perennial issues of anarchy such as governmentalities pertaining to ethics/morality – how we may enter and be within other spaces that do not necessitate/instantiate the/a governmentalities of subjectivity or the sociality of experience – that escapes the radically confined critiques and areas of critique within poststructuralism proper towards other branches of thinking-doing-feeling that are potentially more illuminating or fertile for such thinking-doing-feeling (Lorde 2007; Newman 2015; Bey 2020; Schaefer 2019). Ultimately, this time-space of postanarchism, as I have delineated it, is important to this conversation of care and anarchy because it begins to open the theoretical space of anarchy back towards the indeterminate, the experiential, the body, etc.; thus, not only do we need to reunderstand anarchy as a political and theoretical space towards what we have outlined above but we should also understand anarchy as a space rooted within/of oppressive experiences, oppressed bodies, and oppressed memories (Brinkema 2014; Ioakimidis and Trimikliniotis 2020). 

Care Interlude - A Case against Sociality
Following this brief and theoretically driven introduction of anarchy and its issuance of governmentalities as necessarily oppressive/limiting, I would then like to turn our attentions to care ethics and its feminist emplacement. Particularly, what I would like to do in this section is to begin a process of unravelling caring intentionalities from ethics itself. For instance, Joan Tronto and Fisher, two of the foremost theorists of care ethics, fundamentalize the ways in which care, instantiating care within forms of governmentalities and definitions of citizenship (Fisher and Tronto 1990). For instance, Tronto argues, “Citizenship, like caring, is both an expression of support (as when the government provides support for those who need care) and a burden - the burden of helping to maintain and preserve the political institutions and the community” (Tronto 2013, x). Continuing, they also argue that “Government is something we care about, and something that reciprocates by providing ‘care’ for us as well” (Tronto 2013, xi). Briefly, these positions are indicative of the problem that care and anarchy bring to the surface when juxtaposed – the intimate and insidious ways in which care ethics necessitate a communal control over values, ideas, and knowledges. To put this another way, this is a fundamental piece of care ethics that must be challenged by anarchical thinking if we are to think-do-feel of caring as a way in which we can understand or imagine anarchical futures without having to be reunderstood through various regimes of power or coercions (Newman 2015; Bey 2020; Tronto 1993). In still other words, I will organize this brief interlude by bring analyzing the ways in which care and caring are normatively signified as “moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity,” thereby anarchically arguing that such intentions of care ethics idealize care as ethical, governmental, and institutional (Merriam-Webster 2021; Newman 2015; Bakunin 1990; Zanotti 2013). Furthermore, in such a way, I would like to juxtapose Joan Tronto’s definitionalization of a/the democracy of care against Nel Noddings’s conception of caring as intimately related within/of the maternal (Noddings 2003). In particular, the problem that I would like to excavate within the grounds of care philosophy is the fundamental contradiction between care ethics as an ethics and caring as inter-relational and maternal.

To begin, Joan Tronto’s book Caring Democracy Markets, Equality, and Justice not only re-inculcates democratic values – however illusory – within/of the philosophy of care but the book also understands governmentality as something that always already exists, thereby arguing that democracy would be the ideal government that would allow caring to flourish as an ethics. For instance, 

Caring Democracy argues that we need to rethink American democracy, as well as our fundamental values and commitments, from a caring perspective. What it means to be a citizen is to be someone who takes up the challenge: how should we best allocate care responsibilities in society (Tronto 2013, xiv)?

For Tronto, the issue is not that caring does not take place within the conditionalities of the social but rather that the government’s concern needs to move toward caring – understanding care as the fundamental concern within/of democratic life. However, within a differentiating frame, Nel Noddings’s Caring offers a skepticism regarding governmentalities and caring; within Noddings’s work, moreover, there is a critique of the hetero-patriarchal conception of democracy and government as a way of regulating/mandating care. In Noddings’s work, they argue, “As more groups not associated with formal government institutions interact across national and cultural lines, it will become harder for government to concoct believable propaganda and employ strategic deceit” (Noddings 2003, 208). Thus, in contrast with Joan Tronto’s conceptualization of caring, Noddings understands governmentalities regarding caring radically differently. While Noddings questions the fundamental intonation of government through a particular lens that intends to realize or make known the insinuations of hetero-patriarchy as inundated within the social, the ethical, and the government itself, Joan Tronto, moves in the opposite direction, questioning how we may be able to redefine democratic political life in ways that are fundamentally concerned with care and caring (Tronto 2013; Noddings 2003; Tronto 1993; Noddings 2005).

Thus, this is the differentiation that is valuable to our exploration of care and anarchy herein. For instance, the ethical makes a necessary determination of governing, “moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity,” thereby opening a space for anarchy to enter this space of critique (Merriam-Webster, 2021; Tronto 2013). In other words, as mentioned in the introduction, the critique that I am building and expanding upon throughout this piece is to create space in which care may be able to speak to anarchy and where anarchy may be able to speak to care, and in this way, we must re-understand how anarchy comes to question the governmental and ethical considerations of care – how we may think-feel-do care/caring outside of ethics towards a temporary Noddings conception of caring that necessitates a questioning of governmentalities as constitutive of the social (Noddings 2003; Noddings 2005; Zanotti 2013; Goldman 2013; Guillén 2019). Ultimately, we must question care/caring as an ethics to then move toward inter-relational caring without bringing to bare the contradictions of governmentalities withing/of caring – the ways in which a hetero-patriarchal conception of government and governmentalities necessarily challenge the underlying notions of caring as “filled out in the other” (Noddings 2003, 140). Furthermore, even as I made use of Nel Noddings’s Caring as an exemplification or as a contrast against Joan Tronto’s Caring Democracy Markets, Equality, and Justice, I also want to recognize that Nel Noddings does not escape governmentalities completely in their work such that they still revert to questionings of ethics and moralities even as they elide Tronto’s more blatant discoursal attachments to governmentalities (Noddings 2003; Noddings 2005; Zanotti 2013; Goldman 2013; Guillén 2019).

Anarchy in Care 
At this point in the piece, I want to more-fully construct a critique that is built on and within anarchy and care. In other words, I will begin this section of the piece with a simultaneous critique of care and anarchy that would aid both caring and anarchy in theoretical and praxical considerations of the other. In laying this out, I would like to preliminarily bring anarchy into the conversation with care to breathe new life or critical-energy into the realizations of care as caring (Friastat 2021). In still other words, in light of Tronto’s and Noddings’s work, I want to position anarchy as a necessary piece of conceptualizing the uninhibited nature of care/caring as something that is outside of or exempt from normative forms of governmentalities (Noddings 2003; Tronto 2013; Tronto 1993). Moreover, I will use the specific language of the gift in relation to care/caring purposely herein. In contrast with Derridean thought on the unconditional gift (such that they make-impossible such idealizations), I want to reframe caring/care thinking-doing-feeling as an unconditionalizing gift on groundless solidarity rather than as an ethic or morality. In other words, I will argue that care is given beyond the attempt for some return of care or demanded/forced inter-relationality (Derrida 1994; Oye 1986).

To bring back to the surface the issuance within Tronto and Noddings as I explicated above in care/caring philosophy, there seems to be an intimation with ethics or morality. For instance, even as Noddings attempts a particular form of escape from the governmental,

I am suggesting, rather, that rules cannot guide us infallibly in situations of conflict, and I am suggesting strongly that we have no ethical responsibility to cooperate with law or government when it attempts to involve us in unethical procedures. Spying, infiltrating, entrapment, betrayal are all anathema to one-caring, and she cannot justify them on the basis of principle (Noddings 2003, 55),

they still return to the language of ethics and morality as an explication of care/caring: “Further, I have claimed that, when natural caring fails, the motive energy in behalf of the other can be summoned out of caring for the ethical self” (Noddings 2003, 94). In particular, though Noddings begins to question the direct implication that Tronto makes to democracy and governmentalities – ethics as a way to “govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity” – Noddings still bleeds their conceptualizations of care/caring into the governmental, the ethical, and the natural/transcendental (Tronto 2013; Noddings 2003). For instance, Noddings argues, “I want to build an ethic of on caring, and I shall claim that there is a form of caring natural and accessible to all human beings” (Noddings 2003, 27-28). In such a way, both authors, whether inundated by the language of government, the governmentality of ethics, or both, neglect to theorize a sense of caring that lies completely in free association – as something extant outside of the control of others and the regimentations of power as either governmental or natural/transcendental. Furthermore, within such theoretical works, caring becomes a value – something to attain and retain. Caring becomes a socializing means of realization that is “valuable” within a communal-organization, and as such, caring then becomes inundated by regimentations and conceptions of social/discoursal power (Tronto 2013; Butler 2004; Noddings 2003). 

However, bringing anarchy into this questioning, helps us to realize and re-understand this conundrum that care/caring has with governmentality and ethics. In other words, as Palante (2019) argues, “Morality is the great enemy of individuality. It tries either by imperious directives or by persuasion, to make the individual deny [themselves] . . . [and] if we look more closely, we quickly realize that the personality glorified by moralists is always, at bottom, ‘the ideal essence of humanity’” (127). In other words, Palante argues that ethics, moralities, and governmentalities within care/caring frames create an ideal of humanity that is then forceful, oppressive, and repressive. On the other hand, Emma Goldman argues that caring/care must take on the attitude of “free love” or mutual aid (a mutual, however, that is not coercive). Free love, love given and received as a gift (again in a counter-Derridean sense), is an appropriate grounding for intimate relationships that are non-coercive and yet communalizing (Derrida 1994; Palante 2019; Goldman 2021).

To put this yet another way, I am attempting to argue that as anarchy speaks to care/caring, we may be able to realize/conceptualize a space of (non)socialities without regularizing coercive/regimental communal existence. Rather, within an anarchical interpretation of care/caring, I am hoping to engender free relations outside of necessitated responses – a rhizomatic or rebellious space of interrelations that are undetermined by pre-extant discoursal attachments (Deleuze 2009; Ng 2016). In this way, I am presenting a counter-Derridean conceptualization of caring/care as a giving that must necessarily drop its referent that Heidegger, Lyotard and Derrida note as the self-other matrix, 

From the moment the gift would appear as gift, as such, as what it is, in its phenomenon, its sense and its essence, it would be engaged in a symbolic, sacrificial, or economic structure that would annul the gift in the ritual circle of the debt. The simple intention to give, insofar as it carries the intentional meaning of the gift, suffices to make a return payment to oneself. The simple consciousness of the gift right away sends itself back the gratifying image of goodness or generosity, of the giving being who, knowing itself to be such, recognizes itself in a circular, spectacular fashion, in a sort of auto-recognition, self-approval, and narcissistic gratitude (Derrida 1994, 23). 

Ultimately, I would suggest that anarchy challenges the unconditionalizing gift within care theory into possible non-coercion. Rather than conditioning the imagination of the gift as always already impossible given Derrida’s work in Given Time I, I want to imagine time-spaces within/of caring/care and anarchy where giving – the gift – is given freely as Goldman is able to intimate with “free love” and mutual aid (Derrida 1994; Goldman 2021). Thus, as this work continues, we will extend our imaginations and prepare care/caring as a gift, something that is given without referent to the self – giving for the sake of nothingness, giving beyond the coordinations of being/non-being. Caring must be re-imagined in this process of bringing anarchial thought to bear; we must think-do-feel rather than merely perpetuate stale attenuations of theoretical work. We must continue in this vein of thought while leaving the stale intersections of ethics and morality and thereby enter a much more fluid space-time; we must enter into an imaginative time-space of anarchy that does not naturalize, design ethics, nor construct governmentalities (Deleuze 2009; Derrida 1994; Goldman 2021; Levy and Newman 2019). 

Care in Anarchy
Following our discussion of how anarchy can challenge care/caring, we can now begin to imagine how caring/care can come to reciprocally provoke anarchical possibilities. In brief, anarchical theory/praxis has had a perennial issue of answering questions of communal existence. For instance, throughout the histories of anarchical thought/thinking, there have been constant and consistent attempts to answer the all-menacing question of attenuating communal existence while maintaining anarchical-being (Gourgouris 2018). For instance, Max Stirner posits Unions of Egoists, which merely falls into the issuance of a social without a social – mutual aid that continuously ruptures and is recreated in different spaces that invalidate a social as a commonplace of existence (Stirner 2005). Unions of Egoists are small temporary communities that are based on selfish notions of human nature; they bring to the fore issues of not only governmentality within the formulations of the Unions it imposes but also questions whether such a social is necessarily oppressive and power-ridden given its own connections to naturalizations of the human qua selfishness. Further, Bakunin argues for a conceptualization of syndicalist and collectivist anarchical constructions that attempt to reimagine the social as constitutive of mutual aid, yet Bakunin’s syndicalism is still necessarily reliant on their conceptions of human nature as fundamentally “good” (Bakunin 1990; Kropotkin 1976; Goodman 2021). Moreover, even within/of Bey’s conceptions of temporary autonomous zones, there are continual questions/problems of violence, oppression, governmental attenuation, and temporality that put into precarity their conceptualization of a social without governmentalities (Bey 1991; Gourgouris 2018). Finally, anarchical thinking/theory also has formations of religious anarchism, anarcho-socialism, green anarchism, platformism, etc. (Ehrlich 1996); however, with each consecutive instantiation of a new or differentiable appreciation or realization of anarchical-being, we also come to term/conceptualize new forms of governmentalities or a complete reckoning of the social as some form of solving the ways in which anarchists come to define power as always already oppressive. In other words, while we may go towards the absolute ends of individualist anarchism in the attempts to remove governmentalities/regimentations from the social, in so doing, we irrevocably destroy the social as a place of inter-relationality and/or communal existence (Goldman 2021; McCourt 2016).

As a result, the issue that I want to put forth as we come to envision care thinking within anarchic theoretical and imaginative spaces is how we may be able to conceptualize a social or socials (communal existence) without framings such existence in reference to governmentalities as organizing principles or ruling apparatuses (McCourt 2016; Levy and Newman 2019; Gourgouris 2018). Moreover, this is why we must bring caring/care into this conversation outside of framings of ethics and towards framings of giving and free love (Derrida 1994; Goldman 2021; Givón and Malle 2002). In particular, this is also the challenge that we must make to Derrida’s work in Given Time I. In contrast to Derrida’s impossibilization of free-giving, we must in an anarchical fashion imagine places for ourselves to exist in more un-determined/un-determining space-times (Derrida 1994; Levy and Newman 2019; Fraistat 2021). To put this challenge differently, as we come to imagine care/caring within frames of anarchical thinking-feeling-doing, we cannot hold onto merely poststructural ways and means of thinking, but must, as noted in the introduction of this piece, grasp at the totality of the thinking-doing-imagining-feeling work of postanarchy (including decolonial thinking, queering, cripping, feminist thought, etc.). We must drop the attempt to describe a particular “reality” that is always already fleeting and illusory and continuously begin-again from a differentiable space-time that may allow us to think-do-feel in newer ways – spaces that may allow us to form/continue othered ways of being and knowing that have already existed, will exist, and those time signatures that contradict the very formations of the present that Derrida attempts to challenge yet inevitably falls prey to (Derrida 1994; Fraistat 2021; Lasky 2016; Aragorn! 2005). 

In such a way, I want to propose, imagine, and think about a social within and of caring/care that delimits an anarchical/communal existence (Fraistat 2021; Goldman 2021; Aragorn! 2005). Even more so, within this critical moment, I would like to begin a process of thinking-doing-feeling the maternal, as Noddings uses it within their explications of Caring, expanding such significations toward the giving and free love: re-understanding maternality within/of a broader scope of human relations that does not depend upon being born or existing but is built and unbuilt upon free association and “free love” (Goldman 2021; Jones 1984). In other words, in thinking-feeling-doing this turn, I will argue that caring/care anarchically intimates an immanent maternality (Jones 1984; Kristeva 1984; Goldman 2021). In still other words, this argument is without and outside of words/worlds and remains within the/a prelanguaged thinking-feeling-imagining-doing of anarchy/care/caring that does not attempt to control individuality but also makes-possible social existence as constituted by and constitutive of free association, mutual aid, and free love (Bakunin 1990 Newman 2015; Goldman 2021). Thus, with this movement, I must ask for the reader’s imagination, their theoretical patience, and their suspension of normative/Western modalities of thinking/theory. In the fullness of my argument herein, I am simultaneously upsetting the ethical, moralistic, and linguistic notation of caring within care ethics as imagined by Tronto, Fisher, Noddings, and the like, while also reconsidering anarchical existence beyond any form of governmentality, while also retaining the feeling, the emotive, the actionability of the gift and of caring/care (outside of the Derridian insistence of the gift’s impossibility) (Tronto 2013; Noddings 2003; Derrida 1994; Brizzi 2013).

Ultimately, this mélange of meaning-making, unmeaning, and meaning-destruction coalesce in a moment of imagined reality/unreality, and within this moment/movement, I want to position such free love, caring/care, and anarchical-being as/of maternality (Ramnath 2011; Givón and Malle 2002; Goldman 2021; Levy and Newman 2019). I want us to think-feel-do this space-time of imagining-doing-thinking-feeling as a coalescence of anarchical-being and care/caring. In particular, I want to imagine-think-do-feel a temporaneous/fleeting means of existing/non-existing as anarchical, caring, and maternal – intimating a conception/possibility of reality (realities) that exists within moments of the maternal that necessarily elide variegating governmentalities and make possible communality (Givón and Malle 2002; Levy and Newman 2019; Goldman 2021; Gourgouris 2018). By caring from a “maternal” instantiation of feeling that pulls towards the pre-linguistic and intimates free love and giving, I would argue that we come closer to a potential conception of anarchical-being that continues to challenge oppressive/limiting regimentations of power enacted on behalf of ethics, morality, and government (Gourgouris 2018; Goldman 2021; Givón and Malle 2002; Oye 1986; Tronto 1993; Kristeva 1984).

Throughout this piece, I have set up a normative critique of care/caring and anarchy – as coming towards spaces where each theoretical frame may be able to speak to the other – and a thinking-doing-feeling intonation toward a possible maternality – a caring/care anarchical-being (Givón and Malle 2002; Gourgouris 2018; Goldman 2021; Ramadan and Shantz 2016). In other words, I have embodied an anarchical and caring work that attempts a transgression betwixt these theoretical/imaginative planes of existence. To put it differently, past the normative forms of critique that I bring to light in this piece of anarchy and care, I also move away from the normative instigation of caringas ethics and anarchy as singularly a political praxis (Tronto 2013; Noddings 2003; Givón and Malle 2002; Goldman 2021). In regards to care/caring, I theorize-feel-do anarchical work to move our conceptions of caring/care away from the political, the ethical, and the organized such that care/caring moves towards the pre-linguistic impetus towards the maternal relationship, expanding this semi-closed system of signification passed the one-to-one relationship of mother and child towards a broader understanding of human inter-relationality based on mutual existence and the ever-presence of nonexistence. In this vein, caring/care, as maternal and unfixed, becomes detached from language as a significatory regimentation of ethics and closer to a thinking-feeling-doing framework of anarchical-being founded within/on nothingness and everythingness: a conception of free love and free association, acknowledging a connection between/amongst humans as extants but also treading carefully so as to not confound such intimations of caring/care as ethical, natural, or governmental and so as not to conflate anarchical-being as necessarily violent, coercive, or wholly individualistic (Goldman 2021; Givón and Malle 2002; Mercer 2009). Such that caring philosophy becomes caring/care in the eschewal of governmentalities and the logics of the political/ethical; caring/care is no longer a responsibilization of the social upon/with the individual or vice versa, but instead, care/caring is a thinking-doing-feeling that is completely dependent upon free association of individuals and communities with each other – caring/care as noted above as a potentializing alternative to the perennial issuance of communal anarchical-being outside of organization (Mercer 2009; Goldman 2021; Stirner 2005).

Ultimately, though ideas of mutual aid and free love have been ever-present within the ideas of anarchy, noting Kropotkin’s idealizations of anarchy in the West and Goldman’s work as well, caring/care offers us a way to think-do-feel about relationality, communality, and mutual aid without necessitating ethics or governmentalities, speaking to the multiplicity of relations that come to exist without governing what forms of relations can come into existence. In other words, I have suggested a variegating maternality (that always already seems to be coming into existence) that forms and deforms between and amongst individuals and communities and that is not based on traditional, anarchical logics of self-preservation, human naturalisms, or insinuations of governmentalities. Maternality, a caring anarchical-being, eschews necessitation and regimentation; it makes-possible connections of existence to connections of nonexistence and further beyond (Goldman 2021; Mercer 2009; Gómez 2018). In this infinite permutation of thinking-doing-feeling time-spaces of radical multiplicities of caring/care (intimating a connection to groundless solidarity from Diane Elam) that eschew normative definitionalizations and governmentalizations, we may begin to come closer to a (non)(un)(a)social existence that enables anarchical liberation and caring/care existence/nonexistence without necessitating/re-invoking regimentations of being and/or various means of oppressing/limiting human/nonhuman potentialities (Givón and Malle 2002; Nelson 2013; Noddings 2003; Goldman 2021; Morrison 2009; Hanne and Kaal 2018). ■

Brad Bierdz
Audio Reading by Nufi.

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