This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and publisher. COMMENT P.O. BOX 158 BURLINGTON, VT 05402 --New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought-- EDITOR: Murray Bookchin Vol. 1, No. 5 Price: 80 cents The American Crisis II NOTE: The following issue of COMMENT No. 5 is a continuation of No. 4. Please note that the publication of COMMENT has been moved to Burlington, Vermont, where it will be published for at least the next year. Readers who have subscribed to COMMENT will continue to receive it. Those who have not done so -- or do not intend to do so in the near future -- will cease to receive future issues owing to our very considerable print and mailing costs. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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?"...
Anarchism versus Socialism By WM. C. Owen. London: Freedom Press, 1922. A FOREWORD "Anarchy versus Socialism," which FREEDOM now reissues, after it has run through its columns (1921-22), was published first some eighteen years ago. Emma Goldman was then one of the most popular lecturers in the United States, and, being questioned constantly as to the difference between the Anarchist and Socialist philosophies, felt the need of a treatise that would explain that difference. At her suggestion I undertook the task. The title showed my conviction that between these two philosophies of life no honest alliance is possible. I considered then that both sides suffered seriously from tile persistent efforts made to reconcile the incompatible, for tho... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism is a world view, a philosophy of society; indeed the philosophy of society, for whoever considers the world and human life in their profoundest senses and their complete development, and then decides on the societal form of greatest desirability, cannot but decide for anarchism. Every other form is a half-measure and a patchwork. Is anarchism desirable? Well, who does not seek freedom? What man, unless willing to declare himself in bondage, would care to call any control agreeable? Think about it! Is anarchism possible? The failure of attempts to attain freedom does not mean the cause is lost. The facts that the struggle for freedom is clearer and stronger than ever before, that today there are different preconditions to achieving... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. Ecology and Revolutionary Thought by Lewis Herber (pseudonym for Murray Bookchin) [Originally published in Bookchins newsletter Comment in 1964 and republished in the British monthly Anarchy in 1965.] In almost every period since the Renaissance, the development of revolutionary thought has been heavily influenced by a branch of science, often in conjunction with a school of philosophy. Astronomy in the time of Copernicus and Galileo helped to guide a sweeping movement of ideas from the medieval world, riddled by superstition, into one pervaded by a critical rationalism, openly naturalistic and humanistic in outlook. During the Enlightenmentthe era that culminated i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
To Business Men. To you, business men, I dedicate these new essays. You have always been the boldest, the most skillful revolutionaries. It was you who, from the third century of the Christian era, drew the winding-sheet over the Roman Empire in Gaul, by your municipal federations. Had it not been for the barbarians, whose coming suddenly changed the aspect of affairs, the republic which you established would have ruled the Middle Ages. Remember that the monarchy in our country is Frankish, not Gallic. It was you who later vanquished feudalism, arraying the town against the castle, the king against the vassals. Finally, it was you who, for eighty years past, have proclaimed, one after the other, all the revolutionary ideas—liberty of worship, liberty of the press, liberty of association, liberty of commerce and industry: it is you who, by your cleverly drawn constitutions, have curbed the altar and the throne, and established upon a perm...
These letters, addressed to Frederic Bastiat, an economist, originally appeared in a debate published in The Voice of the People, in 1849. Interest and Principal The Circulation of Capital, Not Capital Itself, Gives Birth to Progress Thus it is with interest on capital, legitimate when a loan was a service rendered by citizen to citizen, but which ceases to be so when society has acquired the power to organize credit gratuitously for everybody. This interest, I say, is contradictory in its nature, in that, on the one hand, the service rendered by the lender is entitled to remuneration, and that, on the other, all wages suppose either a production or a sacrifice, which is not the case with a loan. The revolution which is effected in the legi... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview by Murray Bookchin Perhaps the greatest single failing of movements for social reconstruction -- I refer particularly to the Left, to radical ecology groups, and to organizations that profess to speak for the oppressed -- is their lack of a politics that will carry people beyond the limits established by the status quo. Politics today means duels between top-down bureaucratic parties for electoral office, that offer vacuous programs for "social justice" to attract a nondescript "electorate." Once in office, their programs usually turn into a bouquet of "compromises " In this respect, many Green parties in Europe have been only marginally different from conventional parliamentary parties. Nor have social... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
From Post Scarcity Anarchism, 1971. Listen, Marxist! by Murray Bookchin All the old crap of the thirties is coming back again--the shit about the "class line," the "role of the working class," the "trained cadres," the "vanguard party," and the "proletarian dictatorship." It's all back again, and in a more vulgarized form than ever. The Progressive Labor Party is not the only example, it is merely the worst. One smells the same shit in various offshoots of SDS, and in the Marxist and Socialist clubs on campuses, not to speak of the Trotskyist groups, the International Socialist Clubs and the Youth Against War and Fascism. In the thirties, at least it was understandable. The United States was paralyzed by a chronic economic crisis, the deepe... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Comrade Samuel Pearson writes:--It seems to me that the late strikes have a greater tendency towards Anarchy than, considering the circumstances, might have been expected. The great dock strike was not initiated by any middle-class influence. It started without any previous Organization, a fine example of personal initiative, and, although it ended in a compromise, it taught the workers what determination, and courage can do. Strikes are now the order of the day, and in my opinion every, revolutionist should encourage them, for they teach the workers to trust to themselves and show up the politicians in their true colors. The Government has plainly shown that in the event of strikes becoming serious, to the extent of damaging trade or inter... (From : AnarchyArchives.)