Daniel Guérin : French Theorist of Anarcho-Communism, Anti-Fascism, and Anti-Colonialism

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(1904 - 1988)

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...as 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...

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From : Faatz Bio

Quotes

"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 Guérin

"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 Guérin

"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 Guérin

Biography


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About Daniel Guérin

 Daniel Guérin 1

Daniel Guérin 1

As a youth, Guerin was attracted to the radical movement, and was won over to revolutionary socialism as espoused by Leon Trotsky. As a member of the Trotskyist movement, he wrote Fascism and Big Business, one of the premier texts in the always-pugnacious battle over that term's definition. Like Victor Serge, as 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, which includes an introduction by Noam Chomsky. Extremely prolific in French, it's unfortunate that, outside of the books above and a few small pamphlets, most of this thinker's original and stimulating material is unavailable in English (a pamphlet, "Libertarian Marxism?", which includes two singular essays, is also available in English at this time).

(Bio by Chris Faatz)

From : Daniel Guérin Bio, by Chris Faatz, from Anarchy Archives

Works

This person has authored 39 documents, with 210,003 words or 1,393,223 characters.

Since the winter of 1986–1987, struggles have followed one after the other. They demand to be given a combative and innovative expression. The signatories of this appeal address all those women and men who think that under current social and political circumstances a new revolutionary alternative must be established. In our eyes, the creation of a revolutionary movement capable of building on and taking forward the newly revived struggles requires us to take two complementary paths: The formation of a new organization for a libertarian communism, which is what this appeal is proposing; The emergence of a vast and necessarily pluralist, anti-capitalist, self-management movement, to which organized libertarian... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
(Where the words "Anarchism" and "Libertarian" come from) From Chapter 1, part 1 of the book "Anarchism", by Daniel Guerin The word anarchy is as old as the world. It is derived from to ancient Greek words, "an", "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... (From : University of Utah.)
Introduction The main part of my contribution to this Cienfuegos Press pamphlet is a paper which I had occasion to give in New York in 1973, on “Anarchism and Marxism”. But I would like to preface it with a few hitherto unpublished reflections on Marx and Engels militant. For it is this aspect of their activities which attracts me most. I must confess that philosophical marxism, the marxism which criticizes bourgeois political economy, indeed even its historical writings (which are, for me, the most exemplary) nowadays leave me rather cold. On the other hand, I like to follow Marx and Engels in action, fitting into the movement of the laboring masses. I will not discuss here all the militant performances of the two revolu... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
From Daniel Guerin's _Anarchism_ (Monthly Review Press) (reprinted with permission): During the revolutionary days that brought Kerensky's bourgeois republic to an end, the anarchists were in the forefront of the military struggle, especially in the Dvinsk regiment commanded by old libertarians like Grachoff and Fedotoff. This force dislodged the counter-revolutionary "cadets." Aided by his detachment, the anarchist Gelezniakov disbanded the Constituent Assembly: the Bolsheviks only ratified the accomplished fact. Many partizan detachments were formed or led by anarchists... and fouch unremittingly against the white armies between 1918 and 1920. Scarcely a major city was without an anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist group, spreading a r... (From : Spunk.org.)
In Volume Two of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, subtitled The Emergence of the New Anarchism (1939–1977), I document the remarkable resurgence of anarchist ideas and action following the tragic defeat of the Spanish anarchists in the Spanish Revolution and Civil War, and the mass carnage of the Second World War. Below, I have collected additional writings from many of the people who were responsible for that resurgence. Herbert Read, Marie Louise Berneri, Paul Goodman, David Wieck, Daniel Guerin, Alex Comfort, George Woodcock and the Noir et Rouge group in France were among those who made anarchism relevant again, despite its critics’ attempts to consign it to the dustbin of history. Volume Two of ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Today, we are surrounded by nothing but ruins. The ideologies that were drummed into us, the political regimes that we were made to submit to or were held up as models are all falling to pieces. As Edgar Quinet said, we have lost all our baggage.[1] Fascism, the ultimate and barbarous form of man’s domination of man, collapsed a quarter century ago in a bloodbath. And the very people who clung to it like a life raft, who had called it to the rescue against the working class, even at the point of foreign bayonets, got skinned in the adventure and are forced, even though they still secretly prefer it, to offer their merchandise in a camouflaged form. The least that can be said is that bourgeois democracy was not reinvigora... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
It is time to outline a synthesis of all my work and attempt to sketch a program, at the risk of seeing myself accused of engaging in “metapolitics.” It would be futile to engage in a sort of replastering of an edifice of cracked and worm-eaten socialist doctrines, to struggle to patch together some of the surviving solid fragments of traditional Marxism and anarchism, to indulge in Marxist or Bakuninist scholarship, to seek to trace, merely on paper, tortuous connections. If in this book we have often turned to the past it was of course not, as the reader will have understood, to dwell on it self-indulgently. To learn from it, to draw from it, yes, for previous experience is rich in teachings, but with an eye to t... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
A Note This platform was discussed and adopted during a meeting held in Marseille on July 11, 1971. It had been called by the Mouvement Communiste Libertaire [MCL, Libertarian Communist Movement], founded by groups and individuals most of whom had come out of the former Federation Communiste Libertaire [FCL, Libertarian Communist Federation], the Jeunesse Anarchiste Communiste [JAC, Communist Anarchist Youth], and the Union des Groupes Anarchistes-Communistes [UGAC, Union of Communist-Anarchist Groups] in the wake of May 1968 and within the framework of the fusion of several local groups of the Organization révolutionnaire Anarchiste [ORA, Anarchist Revolutionary Organization]. I actively participated in the discussion concern... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
“Be realistic, do the impossible” A Libertarian Marx? Marx’s famous address “The Civil War in France”, written in the name of the General Council of the International Working Mens Association two days after the crushing of the Paris Commune, is an inspiring text for Libertarians. Writing in the name of the International in which Bakunin had extensive influence, in it Marx revises some passages of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. In the Manifesto Marx and Engels had developed the notion of a proletarian evolution by stages. The first stage would be the conquest of political power, thanks to which the instruments of production, means of transport and credit system, would ‘by degrees’, be centr... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
“Be realistic, do the impossible” A Libertarian Marx? Marx’s famous address “The Civil War in France”, written in the name of the General Council of the International Working Mens Association two days after the crushing of the Paris Commune, is an inspiring text for Libertarians. Writing in the name of the International in which Bakunin had extensive influence, in it Marx revises some passages of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. In the Manifesto Marx and Engels had developed the notion of a proletarian evolution by stages. The first stage would be the conquest of political power, thanks to which the instruments of production, means of transport and credit system, would ‘by degrees’, be cen... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
With the exception of that by Cohn-Bendit, what is striking about some of the countless books written a tad too hastily about May ’68 is the relative absence of references or insufficient references to the revolutionary past.[1] The books in which this omission can be found were written in general by young people. The young were the initiators of May and feel a legitimate pride in it. Through May, many discovered the Revolution, a Revolution that not all of them knew beforehand from books, or only knew it poorly due to the falsified versions that had been presented to them. From which a strange point of view develops which leads them to believe that in France everything began with May ’68, that May was an absolutely original cre... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
London, July 30, 1919 Dearest Fabbri,[1] (...) It seems to me that we are in perfect agreement on the matters with which you are currently so preoccupied, to wit, the “dictatorship of the proletariat.” By my reckoning, on this score the opinion of anarchists cannot be called into question, and in fact, well before the Bolshevik revolution, it never was queried by anyone. Anarchy means no government, and thus, all the more emphatically, no dictatorship, meaning an absolute government, uncontrolled and without constitutional restraints. But whenever the Bolshevik revolution broke out, it appears that our friends may have confused what constitutes a revolution against an existing government with what wa... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
The problem is one with a certain topicality. In effect, it revolves around the question already touched on by the social reformers of the nineteenth century and posed with even more perplexity by the men of today: who should manage the economy? Is it private capitalism? Is it the state? Is it the associated workers? In other words, three options existed and continue to exist: free enterprise, nationalization, and socialization, i.e., self-management. From 1848 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the ardent advocate of the third solution. In this he set himself apart from the socialists of his time, supporters of at least transitional state management. Their spokesman was Louis Blanc in his pamphlet on The Organization of Labor (1840).{1} It ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism has long been a victim of an undeserved discredit, of an injustice that has manifested itself in three ways. First, its defamers insist that anarchism is dead, that it has not resisted the great revolutionary tests of our time: the Russian Revolution and the Spanish Revolution. That it no longer has a place in the modern world, characterized as this is by centralization, large-scale political and economic units, and the totalitarian concept. All that is left to the anarchists, as Victor Serge said, is, “by the force of events to go over to revolutionary Marxism.”[1] Second, its detractors, in order to better discredit it, propose an absolutely tendentious vision of its doctrine. Anarchism is said to be es... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Foreword by Andrew Flood The Spanish anarchist organization ‘The Friends of Durruti’ was formed by members of the CNT in 1937 in opposition to the collaboration of the CNT leadership in the government of Republican Spain. The first heavily censored issue of their paper ‘Friend of the People’ appeared just after the Maydays in Barcelona, sections of it are reproduced for the first time in English in this pamphlet. The Mayday defense of the revolution in Barcelona was crushed at the cost of 500 lives, including the disappearance, torture and murder of key anarchist organizers by the Stalinists. The Friends of Durruti outlined an alternative path for Spanish anarchists, one intended to not only protect but to exp... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Self-management in revolutionary Spain is relatively little known. Even within the Republican camp it was more or less passed over in silence or disparaged. The horrible civil war submerged it, and still submerges it today in people’s memories. It is not mentioned at all in the film To Die in Madrid.[1] And yet, it was perhaps the most positive legacy of the Spanish Revolution: the attempt at an original form of socialist economy. In the wake of the revolution of July 19, 1936, the swift popular response to the Francoist coup d’état, many agricultural estates and factories had been abandoned by their owners. Agricultural day laborers were the first to decide to continue cultivating the land. Their social consciousn... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Voline, libertarian chronicler of the Russian revolution, after having been an actor in and an eye-witness to it, writes: “We have been bequeathed a fundamental problem by preceding revolutions: I am thinking of the one in 1789 and the one in 1917 especially: largely mounted against oppression, animated by a mighty breath of freedom and proclaiming freedom as their essential objective, how come these revolutions slid into a new dictatorship wielded by other ruling, privileged strata, into fresh slavery for the popular masses? What might the conditions be that would enable a revolution to avoid that dismal fate? Might that fate be due to ephemeral factors and even quite simply to mistakes and shortcomings which might from now on... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Of all the reading which I did, in 1930, on the boat which took me to Indochina and back, of books which ranged from Marx to Proudhon, to Georges Sorel, to Hubert Lagardelle, to Fernand Pelloutier, to Lenin and Trotsky, those of Marx had without any doubt the greatest impact. These (books) opened my eyes, uncovered the mysteries of capitalist surplus-value, taught me about historical materialism and the dialectic. Entering, from then on, into the revolutionary movement, throwing overboard my bourgeois gown, I was initially, instinctually anti-Stalinist; at that time I was a left socialist around Marceau Pivert and a revolutionary syndicalist under the influence of Pierre Monatte. Later, the writings of Bakunin, in the six-volume edition of ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Daniel Guérin (1904–1988), was a French libertarian-communist perhaps best known for his controversial 1960s attempt to synthesize Marxism and anarchism. Here, translated into English for the first time, is the text of his speech about anti-racist struggle in both the US and France. Introduction Daniel Guérin (1904–1988), the French libertarian-communist, is perhaps best known for his controversial 1960s attempt to synthesize Marxism and anarchism. His life-long militant anti-racism and championing of homosexuality against the ‘anti-sexual terrorism’ of the puritanical bourgeoisie, however, remain less remarked upon. Largely unfamiliar as a Leftist figure outside of France, Guérin&rsquo... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Two books that appeared simultaneously, those of Tito’s prisoner Milovan Djilas and Michel Collinet,[1] have led us to rethink the ideological foundations of Bolshevism. Even though produced by two men of different temperaments and origins and using quite divergent methods, they reach more or less the same conclusions and present more or less the same qualities, as well as the same defects. One of their merits is to demonstrate that the Blanquist concept of the party formulated by Lenin from 1901 contained at least in germ the totalitarian communism of the Stalinist era. Djilas and Collinet stress that the ideological monopoly of the leadership of the party, in this case Lenin himself, claiming to embody the objective aspiratio... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
My education was anti-Stalinist Marxist. But for a good long while I have been foolhardy enough to draw heavily on the treasure chest of libertarian thought, ever relevant and alive on condition that it is first stripped of a not insignificant number of childish, utopian, and romantic notions as little useful as they are out of date. Hence a misunderstanding that is all but inevitable but embittered by a certain bad faith on the part of my opponents: the Marxists have turned their backs on me as an anarchist, and the anarchists, because of my Marxism, have not always wanted to view me as one of them. A young, neophyte—and hence sectarian—Marxist even thought he saw in my writings the assuaging of a consciousness th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction In 1986, as in 1968, France saw a massive student movement. The mobilization by high-school and university students — in which the 22 year-old Malik Oussekine was killed by police — ultimately forced Jacques Chirac’s right-wing government to abandon its plans to introduce greater academic selection. Daniel Guérin (1904–1988) was a witness to that movement just like the ’68 revolt. His article on its success, first published in Lutter! on 18 January 1987, was republished on Mediapart upon the thirtieth anniversary of his death. Its message is timely, as university occupations today spread in opposition to Emmanuel Macron’s planned reforms: Avec les jeunes en 68 et 86! ... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

Chronology

May 19, 1904 :
Birth Day.

April 14, 1988 :
Death Day.

November 15, 2016 ; 5:21:31 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

April 21, 2019 ; 5:01:16 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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