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Note: This piece appeared as Vol. 1, No. 6 of Comment: New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought, edited by Murray Bookchin. Anarchism: Past and Present Note: The following issue of COMMENT was presented as a lecture to the Critical Theory Seminar of the University of California at Los Angeles on May 29, 1980. My remarks are intended to emphasize the extreme importance today of viewing Anarchism in terms of the changing social contexts of our era - - not as an ossified doctrine that belongs to one or another set of European thinkers, valuable as their views may have been in their various times and places. Today, more than ever, the viability of Anarchism in America will depend upon its ability to speak directly -- in the language of the Ameri... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Foreword On May 26, 1958 at midnight, Chiu Tsai-kang, a steel worker of the Shanghai No. 3 Steel Works, was burned by molten steel. The affected area extended over 89 percent of his body, 20 percent being third degree burns with the muscles and bones involved. According to Western medical authorities, a patient with such severe burns would be likely to die. But due to the affectionate' concern of the Communist Party, to the great efforts made by the medical staff and to the widespread support of society at large, Chiu Tsai-kang is still alive. After being treated for more than five months his wounds are now completely healed and covered by grafted skin. On November 23 he was transferred to the Sino-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Peking for f... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Gaston Leval: Social Reconstruction in Spain (London 1938); quoted in Vernon Richards: Lessons of the Spanish Revolution (London 1983) The mechanism of the formation of the Aragonese collectives has been generally the same. After having overcome the local authorities when they were fascist, or having replaced them by Anti-fascist or Revolutionary committees when they were not, an assembly was summoned of all the inhabitants of the locality to decide on their line of action. One of the first steps was to gather in the crop not only in the fields of the small landowners who still remained, but, what was even more important, also on the estates of the large landowners all of whom were conservatives and rural `caciques' or chiefs. Groups were o... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)
Published by Freedom Press 27 Red Lion Street, London, W.C.1 July 1945 and printed by Express Printers, London. We are reproducing an abridged version of the first part of Gaston Leval's pamphlet "Social Reconstruction in Spain," which was published by Freedom Press in 1938, but which has since gone out of print. Many readers of "War Commentary" have expressed a desire for the reproduction in some form of the contents of this excellent pamphlet. COLLECTIVES IN SPAIN INDUSTRIAL socialization was the first undertaking of the Spanish Revolution, particularly in Barcelona. But obstacles were created from the beginning, which resulted in preventing these experiments from being developed to their logical end. The war was the principal handicap. B... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Source: The Communist, Vol. XVIII, No.12, December 1939 Publisher: Workers Library Publishers, New York, NY Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive . You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source. HUNGRY for huge war profits, the barons of Wall Street are speeding to involve the American people in the imperialist war raging in Europe. The blackout of civil liberties is part of Wall Street’s war drive. Capitalist reaction is intent upon depriving the Communists of their civil rights as the preparation for an attack on the economic standards and civil rights of the trad... (From : Marxists.org.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From: Telos, no. 50 (Winter 1981-82). Telos Discussions: FINDING THE SUBJECT: NOTES ON WHITEBOOK AND "HABERMAS LTD." by Murray Bookchin "For a whole series of reasons, the reputation of Karl Marx has been reborn in a new form, the form of Marx as a sociologist. I believe that this is error: that Marx neither was -- nor in a very important sense intended to be -- a sociologist..." Donald G. Macrae Whitebook has known for years that I reject the very use of the word "modernity." So his attempt to dissociate me from it is quite gratuitous. He also knows that I reject it for reasons that have nothing to do with a desire to return to "premodernity." I also reject "sociol... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Written: August 1874; Source: Bakunin on Anarchy, translated and edited by Sam Dolgoff, 1971. Bakunin was above all preoccupied with the theory and practice of revolution and wrote very little about how the everyday practical problems of social reconstruction would be handled immediately following a successful revolution. Nevertheless, these problems were intensively discussed in Bakunin’s circle and among the anti-authoritarian sections of the International. In “Ideas on Social Organization”, Guillaume discusses the transition from capitalism to anarchism – a synthesis of “Bakuninist” ideas on how this transition could be effected without the restoration of authoritarian institutions.” Its value li... (From : Marxists.org.)
The two sister arts of Agriculture and Industry were not always so estranged from one another as they are now. There was a time, and that time is not far off, when both were thoroughly combined: the villages were then the seats of a variety of industries, and the artisans in the cities did not abandon agriculture; many towns were nothing else but industrial villages. If the medieval city was the cradle of those industries which fringed art and were intended to supply the wants of the richer classes, still it was the rural manufacture which supplied the wants of the million; so it does until the present day in Russia. But then came the water-motors, steam, the development of machinery, and they broke the link which formerly connected the far... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
“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 centralized i... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
It is a common cant with many of those who are on the road to Socialism that in the renovated order which they contemplate, each worker shall enjoy the full fruits of his own labor. (Even our comrades of the Socialist League, while preaching on one page of the Commonweal pure Communist doctrine, have on others held out this promise to the proletariat). It is a promise that in reality is meaningless, and in the meaning commonly attached to it, delusive and impossible to be fulfilled. That the phrase should be used is intelligible enough. We charge against the prevailing social system that by it the workers are robbed of the wealth which they produce, by the exaction of rents for the opportunities of working. And it seems merely restating the... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
Errico Malatesta (Pensiero e Volontà, n. 9, May 10, 1924) MEDICINE... AND ANARCHISM. Under this title, in the editorial mail of our issue n. 5, we published a note by which we refused the invitation of some comrades to make propaganda in favor of certain methods of treatment conflicting with science and the commonly accepted medical practice. This fact upset comrade N. Cuneo from New York. Though acknowledging that Pensiero e Volontà is not the right place for medical discussions (in fact, he is not among those who urged us to that propaganda), in the April 15 issue of Libero Accordo he stands up for the natural treatment, i.e. a treatment without drugs, which is said to be making great progress, and to have... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
"They Shall Not Pass!" They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, Their vict'ry turns to dust and ashes still; What tho' the tyrants should our bodies slay, The spirit free lives on and 'scapes their will. It shall not be! Let them do what they may, They shall not pass! They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, When all have given their lives for liberty, Tyrants will know the price they have to pay T'enthralled a people fighting to be free. It shall not be! Let them do what they may, They shall not pass! They shall not pass! E'en should they win the day, When men as yet unborn shall read the story, They'll judge 'twixt those who st... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
But, though Anarchism, like all other revolutionary movements, was born among the people--in the struggles of real life, and not in the philosopher's studio,--it is none the less important to know what place it occupies among the various scientific and philosophic streams of thought now prevalent: what is its relation to them; upon which of them principally does it rest; what method it employs in its researches---in other words, to which school of philosophy of law it belongs, and to which of the now existing tendencies in science it has the greatest affinity. We have heard of late so much about economic metaphysics that this question naturally presents a certain interest; and I shall endeavor to answer it as plainly as possible, avoiding difficult phraseology wherever it can be avoided. The intellectual movement of our own times originated in the writings of the Scotch and the French philosophers of the middle and end of the...
A Factor of EvolutionMutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution Peter Kropotkin 1902 Chapter 1: MUTUAL AID AMONG ANIMALS Struggle for existence. -- Mutual Aid -- a law of Nature and chief factor of progressive evolution. -- Invertebrates. -- Ants and Bees -- Birds: Hunting and fishing associations. -- Sociability. -- Mutual protection among small birds. -- Cranes; parrots. The conception of struggle for existence as a factor of evolution, introduced into science by Darwin and Wallace, has permitted us to embrace an immensely wide range of phenomena in one single generalization, which soon became the very basis of our philosophical, biological, and sociological speculations. An immense variety of facts: -- adaptations of function and structure of organic beings to their surroundings; physiological and anatomical evolution; intellectual progress, and moral development itself, which we formerly used to explain by so many different causes, were embod...
Introduction In the year 1837, Adolphe Blanqui (brother of the revolutionary leader from whom the Blanquists took their name) wrote a book, The History of Political Economy. He showed in it the importance which economics had in the history of humanity for the determination of political forms and also for the building up of current ideas on Right, Morals and Philosophy. Sixty years ago, Liberals and Radicals concentrated their thoughts on politics, and were altogether unaware of the new industrial conditions which were in course of formation out of the ruins of the old regime. It was from Blanquis point of view quite legitimate that in order to draw attention upon economics and upon the Socialist movement which was then beginning, he s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
March is a historic month: in the struggle of mankind against the power of darkness and oppression it has frequently played a very significant role. But the most important March event of modern times is of comparatively recent date. It took place in Russia just ten years ago in 1921, and is known as the Kronstadt Rebellion. In many of its characteristics the Kronstadt Rebellion had great similarity with another great historic uprising, namely that of the proletariat of Paris in 1870, which is known as the Paris Commune. The month of March is the anniversary of the Paris Commune, as well the as the Kronstadt Rebellion, and it is fitting that the two great events be celebrated at the same time. I say " celebrated" advisedly. For though Kronst... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and is the introduction to The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism, 2nd ed. revised (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995). A Philosophical Naturalism by Murray Bookchin What is nature? What is humanity's place in nature? And what is the relationship of society to the natural world? In an era of ecological breakdown, answering these questions has become of momentous importance for our everyday lives and for the future that we and other life-forms face. They are not abstract philosophical questions that should be relegated to a remote, airy world of metaphysical speculation. Nor can we answer them in an offhand way, with poetic metaphors or unth... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Herbert Read, . The Philosophy of Anarchism. London: Freedom Press. The Philosophy of Anarchism. By Herbert Read FREEDOM PRESS First published September 1940 by Freedom Press. 27, Red Lion Street. London, W.C.1, Second Impression, June 1941 Third Impression, December 1941 Fourth Impression, July 1942 Fifth Impression, February 1943 Sixth Impression, December 1944. Seventh Impression, November 1947. All rights reserved. Printed in Great Britain by Express Printers, London. Ts'ui Chii said to Lao Tzu, "You say there must be no government. But it there is no government, how are men's hearts to be improved?" "The last thing you should do," said Lao Tzu, "is to tamper with men's hearts. The heart of man is like a spring; if you press it down, it... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Part 1 You must often have asked yourselves what is the cause of Anarchism, and why, since there are already so many Socialist schools, it is necessary to found an additional one -- that of Anarchism. In order to answer this question I will go back to the close of last century. You all know the characteristics which marked that epoch: there was all expansion of intelligence a prodigious development of the natural sciences, a pitiless examination of accepted prejudices, the formation of a theory of Nature based on a truly scientific foundation, observation and reasoning. In addition to these there was criticism of the political institutions bequeathed to Humanity by preceding ages, and a movement towards that ideal of Liberty, Equality, and ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
If the September number of the North American Review, which contained a rejoinder by the procurator of the Holy Synod to my article on "The Present Crisis in Russia," (North American Review, May, 1901) was allowed to enter Russia, my compatriots will surely feel most grateful to the editor for having obtained that rejoinder. For nearly twenty years, almost every paper and review in Russia, with the exception of the subsidized Moscow Gazette and The Russian Messenger, has been bitterly criticizing both the system of schools inaugurated by the procurator and the highly-colored reports about them which have been made every year to the Emperor. These papers have received "warnings" — three warnings meaning the suppression of the paper; bu... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Published Essays and Pamphlets Samuel Gompers by Emma Goldman [Published in The Road to Freedom (New York), Vol. 1, March 1925.] The numerous tributes paid to the late President of the American Federation of Labor, emphasized his great leadership. "Gompers was a leader of men," they said. One would have expected that the disaster brought upon the world by leadership would have proven that to be a leader of men is far from a virtue. Rather is it a vise for which those who are being led are usually made to pay very heavily. The last fifteen years are replete with examples of what the leaders of men have done to the peoples of the world. The Lenins, Clemenceaus, the Lloyd Georges and Wilson, have all posed as great leaders. Yet they have broug... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
When Kropotkin was invited by Jean Grave, editor of Les Temps Nouveaux, to take part in a series of lectures to be held in the Milles Colonnes Hall in Paris in March 1896, he chose two subjects: The State: Its Historic Role and Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Its Ideal. Bearing in mind that his greatest work, Mutual Aid, had been appearing as a series of articles in The Nineteenth Century from 1890-1896 his choice of subjects for these lectures is not surprising. Kropotkin explains in the French edition of his Memoirs "The research that I carried out in the course of familiarizing myself with the institutions of the barbarian period and those of the free cities of the Middle Ages, led me to carry out further interesting research on the role played by the State during the last three centuries, from the time of its last incarnation in Europe. In addition the study of institutions of mutual aid in th...
(A lecture presenting the negative side of the question, whose positive was argued under the heading "They who marry do well," by Dr. Henrietta P. Westbrook; both lectures delivered before the Radical Liberal League, Philadelphia, April 28, 1907.) LET ME make myself understood on two points, now, so that when discussion arises later, words may not be wasted in considering things not in question: First -How shall we measure doing well or doing ill; Second -What I mean by marriage. So much as I have been able to put together the pieces of the universe in my small head, there is no absolute right or wrong; there is only a relativity, depending on the consciously though very slowly altering condition of a social race in respect to the rest of t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Newsletter of the Green Program Project P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 No. 1 January 1986 THE GREENING OF POLITICS: Toward a New Kind of Political Practice by Murray Bookchin There are two ways to look at the word " politics." The first -- and most conventional -- is to describe politics as a fairly exclusive, generally professional ized system of power interactions in which specialists whom we call "politicians" formulate decisions that affect our lives and administer these decisions through governmental agencies and bureaucrats. These "politicians" and their "politics" are generally regarded with a certain meas... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Lewis Herber [Murray Bookchin] Note: This is the final part of a two-part article on the technological bases of freedom. The first part (Anarchos n. 2) examined the technological limitations of the previous century and their influence on revolutionary theory. An economy anchored technologically in scarcity, it was shown, circumscribed the range of social ideas and tended to subvert revolutionary concepts of freedom. These limitations were compared with the potentialities of technology today -- the substitution of invention by design, the open end in technological development, the emergence of cybernetic devices, the prospect of reducing toil to a near vanishing point. The article examined the possibility of making qualitative changes in the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
First published in War Commentary - For Anarchism mid-march 1944. In no characteristic is existing society in the West so sharply distinguished from the earlier societies, whether of Europe or the East, than in its conception of time. To the ancient Chinese or Greek, to the Arab herdsman or Mexican peon of today, time is represented in the cyclic processes of nature, the alternation of day and night, the passage from season to season. The nomads and farmers measured and still measure their day from sunrise to sunset, and their year in terms of the seedtime and harvest, of the falling leaf and the ice thawing on the lakes and rivers. The farmer worked according to the elements, the craftsman for so long as he felt it necessary to perfect his... (From : Spunk.org.)
from Bakunin . God and the State. ed. G. Aldred. Glasgow and London: Bakunin Press. THE WORKERS AND THE SPHINX. I.The Council of Action claims for each the full product of his labor: meaning by that his complete and equal right to enjoy, in common with his fellow-workers, the full amenities of life and happiness that the collective labor of the People creates. The Council declares that it is wrong for those who produce nothing at all to be able to maintain their insolent riches, since they do so only by the work of others. Like the Apostle Paul,the Council maintains that,if any would not work, neither should he eat." The Council of Action avers that the right to the noble name of labor belongs exclusively to productive labor. Some years ago... (From : Anarchy Archives.)