Colin Ward : British Anarchist Writer and Social Historian

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(1924 - 2010)


...lived with the title of Britain's most famous anarchist for nearly half a ­century, bemused by this ambivalent sobriquet. In Anarchy in Action (1973), he set out his belief that an anarchist society was not an end goal.

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From : Guardian Obituary


"...the bombs you are worried about are not the bombs which cartoonists attribute to the anarchists, but the bombs which governments have perfected, at your expense."

From : "Anarchism as a Theory of Organization," by Colin Ward, 1966

"It is, after all, the principle of authority which ensures that people will work for someone else for the greater part of their lives, not because they enjoy it or have any control over their work, but because they see it as their only means of livelihood."

From : "Anarchism as a Theory of Organization," by Colin Ward, 1966

"The anarchists, who have always distinguished between the state and society, adhere to the social principle, which can be seen where-ever men link themselves in an association based on a common need or a common interest."

From : "Anarchism as a Theory of Organization," by Colin Ward, 1966


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About Colin Ward

 Colin Ward 1

Colin Ward 1

Colin Ward was one of the editors of Freedom from 1947-1960 and edited the monthly Anarchy from 1961 to 1970.

Personal Information: Family: son of Arnold (a teacher) and Ruby (West) Ward; married Harriet Barry (a teacher), September 9, 1966; children: Ben; stepsons: Barney Unwin, Tom Unwin. Education: Attended Garnett Teachers College, 1964-65. Addresses: Home: 19 Schubert Rd., London S.W.15, England. Agent: David Higham Associates, 5/8 Lower John St., London W.1, England.

Career: Shepheard & Epstein (architects and planners), London, England, senior assistant, 1952-61; Chamberlin, Powell & Bon, London, director of research, 1962-64; Wandsworth Technical College, London, England, lecturer in charge of liberal studies, 1966-71; Town & Country Planning Association (a voluntary organization), London, education officer, 1971--.

From : Anarchy Archives


This person has authored 29 documents, with 135,917 words or 891,211 characters.

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2004 ~ (28,085 Words / 195,030 Characters)
Foreword Chapter 1. Definitions and ancestors Chapter 2. Revolutionary moments Chapter 3. States, societies, and the collapse of socialism Chapter 4. Deflating nationalism and fundamentalism Chapter 5. Containing deviancy and liberating work Chapter 6. Freedom in education Chapter 7. The individualist response Chapter 8. Quiet revolutions Chapter 9. The federalist agenda Chapter 10. Green aspirations and anarchist futures References Chapter 1 &n... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1966 ~ (4,131 Words / 26,275 Characters)
You may think in describing anarchism as a theory of organization I am propounding a deliberate paradox: “anarchy” you may consider to be, by definition, the opposite of organization. In fact, however, “anarchy” means the absence of government, the absence of authority. Can there be social organization without authority, without government? The anarchists claim that there can be, and they also claim that it is desirable that there should be. They claim that, at the basis of our social problems is the principle of government. It is, after all, governments which prepare for war and wage war, even though you are obliged to fight in them and pay for them; the bombs you are worried about are not the bombs which cartoonists attribute to the anarchists, but the bombs which governments have perfected, at your expense. It is, after all, governments which make and enforce the laws which enable the ‘haves’ to retain control over... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1992 ~ (4,093 Words / 26,800 Characters)
The background Proudhon Bakunin Kropotkin Today Bibliography The background That minority of children in any European country who were given the opportunity of studying the history of Europe as well as that of their own nations, learned that there were two great events in the last century: the unification of Germany, achieved by Bismarck and Emperor Wilhelm I, and the unification of Italy, achieved by Cavour, Mazzini, Garibaldi and Vittorio Emanuale II. The whole world, which in those days meant the European world, welcomed these triumphs. Germany and Italy had left behind all those little principalities, republics and city states and papal provinces, to become nation states... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1996 Introduction to the Second Edition The anarchist movement grows in times of popular self-activity, feeds it and feeds off it, and declines when that self-activity declines... The anarchists in England have paid for the gap between their day-to-day activities and their utopian aspirations. This gap consists basically of a lack of strategy, a lack of ability to assess the general situation and initiate a general project which is consistent with the anarchists utopia, and which is not only consistent with anarchist tactics but inspires them. John Quail, The Slow Burning Fuze: The Lost History of the British Anarchists (Paladin 1978) Anarchism as a political and social ideology has two separate origins. It can be seen as an ultimate derivative of liberalism or as a final end for socialism. In either case, the problems that face the anarchist propagandist...

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (6,203 Words / 39,374 Characters)
Everyone has their own definition of anarchism. One I find generally useful is the first three paragraphs of the article Peter Kropotkin was asked to write for the 11 th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1905. This is the collection of volumes which (however repugnant we now find its sales techniques) is the place we look for a working definition of most things. Kropotkin’s first paragraph said that: ANARCHISM (from the Greek, contrary to authority), is the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1987 ~ (2,085 Words / 13,134 Characters)
No politician of any color likes a nonvoter. Last week Labor MP Tony Banks introduced a bill in an almost empty House of Commons seeking to make voting compulsory .His fellow members had voted with their feet out of the chamber, but he wanted to fine those of us who fail to vote, unless, like absentees from school, we could produce ‘a legitimate reason’. Yet the nonvoters are among the largest of the political groups. Tony Banks reckons that they form 24 per cent of the electorate and he claims that ‘those ten million or so who failed to vote in 1983 have a great deal to answer for to those who did’. His assumption is that all those nonvoters would have made their cross for candidates of whom he approves. But the abstainers, like the other parties, are a broad church, embracing the sick, the indifferent and the idle, those who have something more pressing to do on a Thursday, as well as the hilarious prohibited categori... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1978 ~ (10,620 Words / 62,563 Characters)
Foreword This book is an attempt to explore the relationship between children and their urban environment. It asks whether it is true, as very many believe it to be true, that something has been lost in this relationship, and it speculates about the ways in which the link between city and child can be made more fruitful and enjoyable for both the child and the city. But the title, and perhaps the very concept, are open to criticism because they imply that it is possible to speak in general terms about either children or cities. We need to be reminded, as Margaret Mead never fails to remind us, that “It’s a good thing to think about the child as long as you remember that the child doesn’t exist. Only children exist. Every time we lump them together we lose something”. It is not just a matter of the enormous differences between individuals. Every child is in a different state of being or becoming. The legal definition of... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1988 ~ (6,892 Words / 44,083 Characters)
Introduction and Acknowledgments Ten years ago I wrote a book, The Child in the City, about the relationship between urban children and their environment. The book was, to my mind, more a celebration of resourcefulness than a catalog of deprivations, but when it was discussed at meetings and conferences of teachers and social workers there was always somebody who would comment that, while we had a whole library of studies of the city child, rural childhood was examined only as a historical phenomenon or through rosy nostalgia. Assumptions of the city deprivation were based on an unstated comparison, it was claimed, with some ideal country environment, yet there were many country children who grew up in conditions of disadvantage and deprivation, unnoticed just because of our automatic assumptions about rural life. I took these observations seriously but would never have been able to pursue this theme but for the award of the Susan Isa... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2004 ~ (3,901 Words / 25,487 Characters)
Executive summary Up to 1945 ‘plotlanders’ were able to make use of small patches of land not needed for agriculture, gradually building up weekend shacks into permanent residences, by using their own time and labor rather than large sums of money. Immediately after the Second World War, homeless people in their thousands squatted in recently-vacated military camps, organizing their own communal services. Then, in the 1960s and 1970s, a similar movement erupted across vacant local-authority properties, evolving into long-term housing cooperatives. Today various kinds of travelers are attempting to settle on their own land, living outside the formal economy and experimenting with a wide range of unconventional dwelling types. This sort of self-help housing provision is flexible, cheap and creative. It tends to use human capital rather than financial capital... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (6,078 Words / 37,583 Characters)
The split between life and work is probably the greatest contemporary social problem. You cannot expect men to take a responsible attitude and to display initiative in daily life when their whole working experience deprives them of the chance of initiative and responsibility. The personality cannot be successfully divided into watertight compartments, and even the attempt to do so is dangerous: if a man is taught to rely upon a paternalistic authority within the factory, he will be ready to rely upon one outside. If he is rendered irresponsible at work by lack of opportunity for responsibility, he will be irresponsible when away from work too. The contemporary social trend towards a centralized, paternalistic, authoritarian society only reflects conditions which already exist within the factory. Gordon Rattray Taylor, Are Workers Human? The novelist, Nigel Balchin, was once invited to address a conference on 'incentives' in i... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,091 Words / 6,794 Characters)
I’ve a big agenda of books I would like to read or write and for ordinary reasons, like a low income, I stay at home but get lured abroad when somebody else pays the fares. This explains why anarchists from several countries, like France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, have asked me for my opinion on the views of Hakim Bey. It is always an embarrassment since for a long time I had no idea about who this person and his opinions were or are. Plenty of us, including myself, are hesitant about revealing the vast scope of our own ignorance. Two sources have explained to me what these questioners were talking about. One, of course, is Freedom’s invaluable feature ‘Food for Thought ... and Action!’ and the other is Murray Bookchin’s recent book Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm . Bookchin and I have opposite ways of coping with people whose ideas ha... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,664 Words / 10,801 Characters)
Explaining the British political climate to Lewis Mumford in the summer of 1945, Frederic Osborn wrote that “In the last few weeks there has been organized squatting in empty mansions, with enough public approval to force the government and the authorities into more active requisitioning — a score for the anarchists”. Nearly a quarter of a century later, squatting was revived in the London boroughs because of the scandal of publicly-owned housing left empty for years awaiting future redevelopment that frequently failed to happen. It was met with ruthless mayhem by ‘bailiffs’ employed by councils and the deliberate wrecking by council employes of habitable houses. Then some local authorities aimed at a more constructive policy. It is significant that Ron Bailey, one of the initiators of the 1968 squats, dedicates his recent book Homelessness: What Can Be Done? to a Conservative local politician “in admiration of t... (From :

Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1974 ~ (1,730 Words / 10,480 Characters)
The revival of interest in anarchism at the time of the Spanish Revolution in 1936 led to the publication of Spain and the World, a fortnightly Freedom Press journal which changed to Revolt! in the months between the end of the war in Spain and the beginning of the Second World War. Then War Commentary was started, its name reverting to the traditional Freedom in August 1945. As one of the very few journals which were totally opposed to the war aims of both sides, War Commentary was an obvious candidate for the attentions of the Special Branch, but it was not until the last year of the war that serious persecution began. In November 1944 John Olday, the paper’s cartoonist, was arrested and after a protracted trial was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for ‘stealing by finding an identity card’. Two months earlier T. W. Brown of Kingston had been jailed for 15 months for distributing ‘seditious’ leaflets. T... (From :


August 14, 1924 :
Birth Day.

February 11, 2010 :
Death Day.

November 16, 2016 ; 4:58:02 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to

April 21, 2019 ; 5:07:27 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on


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