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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. Image::... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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 thought towards anarchosyndicalism, along lines that bear comparison to Guérins work, puts the matter well when he writes that anarchism is not a fixed, self-enc...
ANARCHISM: Its Philosophy and ldeal. Translated from the German by Harry Lyman Koopman. Ever reviled, accursed,-n'er understood, Thou art the grisly terror of our age. "Wreck of all order," cry the multitude, "Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage." O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven, The truth that lies behind a word to find, To them the word's right meaning was not given. They shall continue blind among the blind. But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure, That sayest all which I for goal have taken. I give thee to the future! -Thine secure When each at last unto himself shall waken. Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill? I cannot tell......but it the earth shall see! I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will No... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Introduction "Nature has the habit of now and then producing a type of human being far in advance of the times; an ideal for us to emulate; a being devoid of sham, uncompromising, and to whom the truth is sacred; a being whose selfishness is so large that it takes the whole human race and treats self only as one of the great mass; a being keen to sense all forms of wrong, and powerful in denunciation of it; one who can reach in the future and draw it nearer. Such a being was Voltairine de Cleyre." What could be added to this splendid tribute by Jay Fox to the memory of Voltairine de Cleyre? The real biography of Voltairine de Cleyre is to be found in the letters she wrote to her comrades, friends and admires, for like many other women in pu... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
From the Encyclopedia Britannica
ANARCHISM (from the Gr. ἄν, and αρχος, contrary to authority), 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 being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Theory and Practice[Originally published in 1938 by Martin Secker and Warburg Ltd] Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes; The Proletariat and the Beginning of the Modern Labor Movement; The Forerunners of Syndicalism; The Objectives of Anarcho-Syndicalism; The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism; The Evolution of Anarcho-Syndicalism. 1. Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes Anarchism versus economic monopoly and state power; Forerunners of modern Anarchism; William Godwin and his work on Political Justice; P.J. Proudhon and his ideas of political and economic decentralization; Max Stirner's work, The Ego and Its Own; M. Bakunin the Collectivist and founder of the Anarchist movement; P. Kropotkin the exponent of Anarchist Communism and the philosophy of Mutual Aid; Anarchism and revolution; Anarchism a synthesis of Socialism and Liberalism; Anarchism versus economic materialism and Dictatorship; Anarchism and the state; Anarchism a tendency of h...
We propose banning private cars from Manhattan Island. Permitted motor vehicles would be busses, small taxis, vehicles for essential services (doctor, police, sanitation, vans, etc.), and the trucking used in light industry. Present congestion and parking are unworkable, and other proposed solutions are uneconomic, disruptive, unhealthy, nonurban, or impractical. It is hardly necessary to prove that the actual situation is intolerable. Motor trucks average less than six miles per hour in traffic, as against eleven miles per hour for horse drawn vehicles in 1911. During the ban on nonessential vehicles during the heavy snowstorm of February 1961, air pollution dropped 66 percent. (New York Times, March 13, 1961.) The ... (From : bopsecrets.org.)
A CONTRIBUTION TO AN ANARCHIST BIBLIOGRAPHY OF LATIN AMERICA EDITORIAL LA PROTESTA BUENOS AIRES 1926 MAX NETTLAU - A BIOGRAPHY Max Nettlau was born in Neuwaldweg, near Vienna on 30 April 1865 and died on 23 July 1944. His father was descended form old Prussian stock, and had never renounced his nationality, although he lived in Austria. He saw to it that young Max received a very liberal education: after secondary schooling in Vienna, Max read philosophy in a variety of German towns. He secured his doctorate at the age of 23, with a thesis on Celtic languages. Enthused from an early age by the struggles of the Russian revolutionaries, Max joined the socialist movement and his anarchist beliefs took shape: but for them, he might have gone ov... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
It is impossible to imagine a more dramatic and horrifying combination of scientific triumph with political and moral failure than has been shown to the world in the destruction of Hiroshima. From the scientific point of view, the atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination of genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind. Atoms are so minute that it might have seemed impossible to know as much as we do about them. A million million bundles, each containing a million million hydrogen atoms, would weigh about a gram and a half. Each hydrogen atom consists of a nucleus, and an electron going round the nucleus, as the earth goes round the sun. The distance from the nucleus to the electron is usually about a hundred-m... (From : mcmaster.ca.)
WHEN I WENT BACK to work in a dress factory early in 1942 I set out to write a book on my years afield as a labor organizer. During that period I had accumulated a great mass of memoranda÷letters, articles written for the labor press, leaflets, pamphlets, copies of special publications used in organization drives, statistical reports, diaries. I had the material and the urge, but soon realized that I was not equal to the task before me. Fortunately, at that stage, my friend John Nicholas Beffel came to my aid. Though he has kept modestly in the background, claiming credit only as editor on the title page, it was largely his collaboration that made this book possible. Mere words cannot express my deep appreciation for his energy and endurance, his ability to get at firstÄhand sources of data, and his painstaking accuracy with regard to names, dates, and historical facts. In developing my narrative we had occasion to seek critica...
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.)
I: The Ideal II: The Men and the Struggles III: Material for a Revolution IV: A Revolutionary Situation CHAPTER 1 THE IDEAL "Now I can die, I have seen my ideal realized." This was said to me in one of the Levante collectives, if my memory servers me well, by one of the men who had struggled throughout their lives for the triumph of social justice, human liberty and brotherhood. His idea was libertarian communism, or anarchy. But the use of this work carried with it the risk in all languages of distorting in people's minds what the great savant and humanist, Elise» Reclus, defined as the "noblest conception of order." More especially because very often, and it was the case in France, the anarchists seems to have done their utmost to agree with their enemies, and to justify to negative and nihilistic interpretation which one already finds in such...
I. THE PLACE OF THE COMMUNE IN SOCIALIST EVOLUTION On March 18, 1871, the people of Paris rose against a despised and detested government, and proclaimed the city independent free, belonging to itself. This overthrow of the central power took place without the usual stage effects of revolution, without the firing of guns, without the shedding of blood upon barricades. When the armed people came out into the streets, the rulers fled away, the troops evacuated the town, the civil functionaries hurriedly retreated to Versailles carrying everything they could with them. The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a spring breeze, and on the nineteenth the great city of Paris found herself free from the impurity which had defiled ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
"Community Control or Status Politics: A Reply to David Lewis," GREEN MULTILOGUE [Toronto] (May 13, 1991) Community Control or Statist Politics: A Reply to David Lewis by Murray Bookchin In his Green Multilogue hatchet job "The Thought of Director Bookchin" (May 13), David Lewis apparently sets out to undo any obstacle that my antihierarchical views -- libertarian municipalism and social ecology -- might present to his efforts to build a Green party. This does not exclude using blatant lies and gross distortions of my ideas. At his crudest (and he can be very crude indeed), he describes people who agree with my work as my "followers" and in the same vein demagogically makes an analogy between me and Chairman Mao ("Director Bookchin"). He as... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The greatest excitement has prevailed in Russia for the last few weeks since it became known that representatives of the Zemstvos of thirty-four provinces of the Empire were going to meet at St. Petersburg in order to discuss the necessary reforms in the general political organization of the country. The very fact that such an authorization had been granted was equivalent to an invitation to discuss a scheme of a Constitution; and so it was understood everywhere. When the Zemstvo delegates were leaving their respective provincial towns they were sent off by groups of enthusiastic friends, whose parting words were: 'Return with a Constitution!' Their original intention was to make of their conference a solemn official gathering which would s... (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.)
[We have received the following from a non-Anarchist correspondent. "We insert it in the belief that the measured and quiet words in which our contributor describes how the ancient customs and sense of mutual responsibility of the English people have been turned in the hands of evil men and ruling classes into an instrument of cruelty and oppression, may stir some of our readers to think for themselves what is the true meaning of that blind subservience to the law, to which they are daily exhorted by their pastors and masters.--ED.] Not by argument, but by mere dogged pressure of a class-majority, fighting in its old dull method the fight for its proprietary monopolies, the Jubilee Coercion Bill is being forced through Parliament. But outsi... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
The Biography of an Anarchist
A Condensed Sketch of Malatesta from the book written by by Max Nettlau Published by the Jewish Anarchist Federation New York City. 1924 Introduction The short sketch of Malatesta's life is based on the exhaustive study of Max Nettlau, published in Italian translation by "Il Martello" in New York under the title Vita e Pensieri di Errico Malatesta, and in German translation issued at Berlin by the publishers of the "Syndicalist." Max Nettlau, the profound scholar of the Anarchist movement, biographer of Michael Bakunin and author of Bibliographie de l'Anarchie, lives in Vienna, and like so many intellectuals in Europe, in distressing economic condition. May I express here the hope that he will find sufficient encouragement to continue his v... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
[An American correspondent sends us the following interesting picture of life in the agricultural districts of Alabama]: DURING the fifteen years of my residence here settlers have multiplied twenty to one, chiefly from the adjacent State of Georgia, and of late Northern companies have bought up on speculation all land that was for sale. The process is to offer the farmer a few dollars for the option of buying his place within a specified time. When a large enough tract has been thus hypothecated, the agent advertises it for sale in the North. The booming is done with, by, and for Northern capitalists. The fertility of the soil and advantages of climate are praised to the skies, whereas time truth is that except in the valleys, which are ag... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
We had a rough and ready sort of meeting on April 12, for the opener mistook the date and did not appear, and the notices were sent too late to Justice and the 'Weal. So Comrade Kropotkin opened the debate with some general remarks on voluntary association. A common objection, he said, to Communist-Anarchism is that men are not yet good enough to organize themselves on a basis of perfect freedom, or to behave like social beings without government control. But in truth, authority in itself has a depressing influence, corrupting even good men, and already more of our social life is founded on voluntary association than we at all realize. If it is true that among the workers to-day there are many men who are as ready as any bourgeois to compet... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
From: THE VERMONT PEACE READER 1983. This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From Spectacle to Empowerment: Grass Roots Democracy and the Peace Process By Murray Bookchin Will the present-day peace movement repeat the errors of the 1960s anti-war movement by placing its primary focus on carefully orchestrated and highly centralized national actions in cities like Washington or New York? Or will it try to percolate into the localities and neighborhoods of the country -- into the body politic itself -- and become a genuinely popular movement that reaches deeply into America as a force for education as well as action, for a broad view of the causes of war as well as the dangers of war, for a vision of a harm... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the International Institute for Social History Speech by William D. Haywood at Meeting Held for the Benefit of the Buccafori Defense, at Progress Assembly Rooms, New York, March 16, 1911. Comrades and Fellow Workers: I am here to-night with a heavy heart. I can see in that Raymond Street jail our comrade and fellow-worker Buccafori in a cell, a miserable cell, perhaps 4 1/2 feet wide, 7 feet long, sleeping on an iron shelf, wrapped up in a dirty blanket, vermin-infested perhaps; surrounded by human wolves, those who are willing to tear him limb from limb, those who will not feel that their duty to the political state is entirely fulfilled until Buccafori's heart ceases to beat.... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Social Democrats in nearly all countries begin to reap what they have sown. For years the propaganda of principles has had to stand back before the reckless strife for votes to conquer political and municipal power, as the phrase goes. Their ranks were swelled on one side by masses of voters, whose real convictions and prejudices remained for the greater part untouched; on the other side, by politicians and self-seeking persons who were on the lookout for a party which would accept them as leaders. Among the inevitable consequences of these superficial flippant tactics are some apparent successes of a kind that makes sincere members of the party blush with shame--like the admission of Millerand, the French Socialist politician, to the Minis... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The month of October 1917 is a great historical watershed in the Russian revolution. That watershed consists of the awakening of the toilers of town and country to their right to seize control of their own lives and their social and economic inheritance; the cultivation of the soil, the housing, the factories, the mines, transportation, and lastly the education which had hitherto been used to strip our ancestors of all these assets. However, as we see it, it would be wide of the mark if we were to see all of the content of the Russian revolution encapsulated in October: in fact, the Russian revolution was hatched over the preceding months, a period during which the peasants in the countryside and the workers in the towns grasped the essenti... (From : NestorMakhno.info.)
CHAPTER IV War Clouds; The Taste of Defeat; War at Last; Internment and Discernment; Splitting the Atom; Blackpool Breezes; Prison; Division; Military Detention War Clouds Getting back to 1938, as it drew to a close I began to work at a North London hospital. It was well paid for the time -- hospitals have slid back since like everything else in local government but there was great competition for such municipal and therefore presumed secure and pensionable jobs. The nurses themselves were less well rewarded, then as now being regarded as dedicated and expected to put up with low pay and poor conditions. There was no possibility of my getting into any trouble here, since the non-medical staff was unionized but apathetic. This was a bit upsetting as I had a seeming compulsion to bash my head on brick walls. Wages were set according to national standards, and the non-nursing medical staff were only interested in their careers...
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.)
From Meet Kropotkin. The Salvation Series No. 1. Bombay: The Libertarian Book House, n.d. KROPOTKIN - THE MASTER by HERBERT READ. PRINCE PETER ALEXEIVICH KROPOTKIN was born at Moscow on the 9th December, 1842 (o. s.). His father, Prince Alexei Petrovich Kropotkin, is described by Kropotkin as "a typical officer of the time of Nicholas I", but he seems to have been an easy-going parent, content to leave his son's education to his French tutor until it was time to send him off to a military academy. Kropotkin's mother was the youngest daughter of the commander of a Cossack army corps, General Sulima, and a woman of great refinement and sensibility, qualities which her son must have inherited, for she died before she had time to influence him ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
From Selected Writings on Anarchism and Revolution, P.A. Kropotkin, edited and translated by Martin A. Miller. The letter appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the editor and translator. Dmitrov, 4 March, 1920 Esteemed Vladimir Ilich, Several employes of the postal-telegraph department have come to me with the request that I bring to your attention information about their truly desperate situation. As this problem concerns not only the commissariat of mail and telegraphs alone, but the general condition of everyday life in Russia, I hasten to fulfill their request. You know, of course, that to live in the Dmitrov district on the salary received by these employes is absolutely impossible. It is impossible even to buy a bushel of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
I should be very glad to join you and your associates -- whose work I know and appreciate -- in standing up for the rights of the Literature Committee and opposing the enemies of popular education. But in the sphere in which you are working I see no way to resist them. My only consolation is that I, too, am constantly engaged in struggling against the same enemies of enlightenment, though in another manner. Concerning the special question with which you are preoccupied, I think that in place of the Literature Committee which has been prohibited, a number of other Literature Associations to pursue the same objects should be formed without consulting the Government and without asking permission from any censor. Let Government, if it likes, pr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)