The transformative power of crisis

How destruction leads to the best of humanity

Any societal crisis - political, environmental, military, a pandemic – shakes our lazy assumption that our leaders are really in control. In that moment of both vulnerability and clarity, we have a rare opportunity to evaluate our political systems, to be truly human, and to decide how we want to live, writes Ruth Kinna.


The embrace of crisis usually conjures images of riot and ruin. Michael Bakunin, Marx’s rival and the purported model for Wagner’s Siegfried, sent shock waves across Europe when he described the ‘passion for destruction’ as ‘creative’. But an anarchist approach to crisis is an optimistic reaction to disorder.

‘Crisis’ evokes collapse, disorder and discomfort. Economic crisis, climate crisis, mid-life crisis, a crisis of conscience are familiar renditions. With them usually comes the hope that the crisis will pass and normality will be restored.

But if ‘crisis’ marks the peak in a disrupti

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