Anarchism: From Theory To Practice

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(1904 - 1988) ~ French Theorist of Anarcho-Communism, Anti-Fascism, and Anti-Colonialism : Guerin grew older, his politics moved increasingly leftward, leading him later in life to espouse a hybrid of anarchism and marxism. Arguably, his most important book from this period of his life is Anarchism: From Theory to Practice... (From : Faatz Bio.)
• "In general, the bureaucracy of the totalitarian State is unsympathetic to the claims of self-management to autonomy." (From : "Anarchism: From Theory to Practice," by Daniel Gu....)
• "Because anarchism is constructive, anarchist theory emphatically rejects the charge of utopianism. It uses the historical method in an attempt to prove that the society of the future is not an anarchist invention, but the actual product of the hidden effects of past events." (From : "Anarchism: From Theory to Practice," by Daniel Gu....)
• "The anarchist regards the State as the most deadly of the preconceptions which have blinded men through the ages." (From : "Anarchism: From Theory to Practice," by Daniel Gu....)


This document contains 10 sections, with 55,379 words or 357,869 characters.

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Introduction by Noam Chomsky "Notes on Anarchism" in For Reasons of State Noam Chomsky, 1970 Transcribed by (Bill Lear) A French writer, sympathetic to anarchism, wrote in the 1890s that "anarchism has a broad back, like paper it endures anything"---including, he noted those whose acts are such that "a mortal enemy of anarchism could not have done better." There have been many styles of thought and action that have been referred to as "anarchist." It would be hopeless to try to encompass all of these conflicting tendencies in some general theory or ideology. And even if we proceed to extract from the history of libertarian thought a living, evolving tradition, as Daniel Guérin does in Anarchism, it remains difficult to formulate its doctrines as a specific and determinate theory of society and social change. The anarchist historian Rudolph Rocker, who presents a systematic conception of the development of anarchist t... (From :

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Preface Preface There has recently been a renewal of interest in anarchism. Books, pamphlets, and anthologies are being devoted to it. It is doubtful whether this literary effort is really very effective. It is difficult to trace the outlines of anarchism. Its master thinkers rarely condensed their ideas into systematic works. If, on occasion, they tried to do so, it was only in thin pamphlets designed for propaganda and popularization in which only fragments of their ideas can be observed. Moreover, there are several kinds of anarchism and many variations within the thought of each of the great libertarians. Rejection of authority and stress on the priority of individual judgment make it natural for libertarians to "profess the faith of anti dogmatism." "Let us not become the leaders of a new religion," Proudhon wrote to Marx, "even were it to be the religion of logic and reason." It follows that the views of the libertarians are more varied, mor... (From :

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1. The Basic Ideas of Anarchism 1 The Basic Ideas of Anarchism A MATTER OF WORDS The word anarchy is as old as the world. It is derived from two ancient Greek words, av (an), apxn (arkhe), and means something like the absence of authority or government. However, for millennia the presumption has been accepted that man cannot dispense with one or the other, and anarchy has been understood in a pejorative sense, as a synonym for disorder, chaos, and disorganization. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was famous for his quips (such as "property is theft") and took to himself the word anarchy. As if his purpose were to shock as much as possible, in 1840 he engaged in the following dialogue with the "Philistine." "You are a republican." "Republican, yes; but that means nothing. Res publica is 'the State.' Kings, too, are republicans." "Ah well! You are a democrat?" "No." "What! Perhaps you are a monarchist? (From :

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2. In Search of a New Society 2 In Search of a New Society ANARCHISM IS NOT UTOPIAN Because anarchism is constructive, anarchist theory emphatically rejects the charge of utopianism. It uses the historical method in an attempt to prove that the society of the future is not an anarchist invention, but the actual product of the hidden effects of past events. Proudhon affirmed that for 6,000 years humanity had been crushed by an inexorable system of authority but had been sustained by a "secret virtue": "Beneath the apparatus of government, under the shadow of its political institutions, society was slowly and silently producing its own organization, making for itself a new order which expressed its vitality and autonomy." However harmful government may have been, it contained its own negation. It was always "a phenomenon of collective life, the public exercise of the powers of our law, an expression of social spontaneity, all serving to prep... (From :

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3. Anarchism in Revolutionary Practice 1880-1914 3 Anarchism in Revolutionary Practice 1880-1914 ANARCHISM BECOMES ISOLATED FROM THE WORKING-CLASS MOVEMENT It is now time to examine anarchism in action. Which brings us to the eve of the twentieth century. Libertarian ideas certainly played some part in the revolutions of the nineteenth century but not an independent one. Proudhon had taken a negative attitude to the 1848 Revolution even before its outbreak. He attacked it as a political revolution, a bourgeois booby trap, and, indeed, much of this was true. Moreover, according to Proudhon, it was inopportune and its use of barricades and street battles was outdated, for he himself dreamed of a quite different road to victory for his panacea: mutuelliste collectivism. As for the Paris Commune, while it is true that it spontaneously broke away from "traditional statist centralization," it was the product of a "compromise," as Henri Lefebvre ha... (From :

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3. a) Anarchism in the Russian Revolution Anarchism in the Russian Revolution Anarchism had found its second wind in revolutionary syndicalism; the Russian Revolution gave it its third. This statement may at first surprise the reader, accustomed to think of the great revolutionary movement of October 1917 as the work and domain of the Bolsheviks alone. The Russian Revolution was, in fact, a great mass movement, a wave rising from the people which passed over and submerged ideological formations. It belonged to no one, unless to the people. In so far as it was an authentic revolution, taking its impulse from the bottom upward and spontaneously producing the organs of direct democracy, it presented all the characteristics of a social revolution with libertarian tendencies. However, the relative weakness of the Russian anarchists prevented them from exploiting situations which were exceptionally favorable to the triumph of their ideas. The Revolution... (From :

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3. b) Anarchism in the Italian Factory Councils Anarchism in the Italian Factory Councils The Italian anarchists followed the example of events in Russia, and went along with the partizans of soviet power in the period immediately after the Great War. The Russian Revolution had been received with deep sympathy by the Italian workers, especially by their vanguard, the metal workers of the northern part of the country. On February 20, 1919, the Italian Federation of Metal Workers (FIOM) won a contract providing for the election of "internal commissions" in the factories. They subsequently tried to transform these organs of workers' representation into factory councils with a managerial function, by conducting a series of strikes and occupations of the factories. The last of these, at the end of August 1920, originated in a lockout by employers. 1 ll~ metal workers as a whole decided to continue production on their own. They tried persuasion and constr... (From :

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3. c) Anarchism in the Spanish Revolution Anarchism in the Spanish Revolution THE SOVIET MIRAGE The time lag between subjective awareness and objective reality is a constant in history. The Russian anarchists and those who witnessed the Russian drama drew a lesson as early as 1920 which only became known, admitted, and shared years later. The first proletarian revolution in triumph over a sixth of the globe had such prestige and glitter that the working-class movement long remained hypnotized by so imposing an example. "Councils" in the image of the Russian soviets sprang up all over the place, not only in Italy, as we have seen, but in Germany, Austria, and Hungary. In Germany the system of councils was the essential item in the program of the Spartacus League of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. In 1919 the president of the Bavarian Republic, Kurt Eisner, was assassinated in Munich. A Soviet Republic was then proclaimed under the leaders... (From :

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Footnotes Footnotes 1. Authoritarian was an epithet used by the libertarian anarchists and denoted those socialists whom they considered less libertarian than themselves and who they therefore presumed were in favor of authority. 2. Jules Guesde (1845-1922) in 1879 introduced Marxist ideas to the French workers' movement. (Translator's note.) 3. The term societaire is used to define a form of anarchism which repudiates individualism and aims at integration into society. (Translator's note. ) 4. "Voline" was the pseudonym of V. M. Eichenbaum, author of La Revolution Inconnue 1917-1921, the third volume of which is in English as The Unknown Revolution . Another partial translation is Nineteen-seventeen: The Russian Revolution Betrayed . (Translator's note. ) 4a. Alias of the French terrorist Francois-Claudius Koenigstein (1859-1892) who committed many acts of violent terrorism and was eventually executed. (Translat... (From :


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