Introduction by Noam Chomsky "Notes on Anarchism" in For Reasons of State Noam Chomsky, 1970 Transcribed by firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Lear) 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 th...
The anarchist effort, like any effort, is one focused on social organization, these organizations should be voluntary and cooperative, and it is through these groups that we will establish a better world. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "...we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance. It matters to us therefore that all interests and opinions should find their expression in a conscious organization and should influence communal life in proportion to their importance."
• "Workers will never be able to emancipate themselves so long as they do not find in union the moral, economic and physical strength that is needed to subdue the organized might of the oppressors."
• "...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."
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.)
ANARCHIST COMMUNISM: ITS BASIS AND PRINCIPLES Section I Section II Additional Note to "Anarchist Communism" I Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they mai... (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 is part of the International Institute for Social History's Alexander Berkman archive and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. THE ANARCHIST MOVEMENT TODAY By Alexander Berkman The history of human civilization is not a straight, continuously forward-moving line. Its diagram is a zigzag, now advancing, now retreating. Progress is measured by the distance separating man from his primitive conditions of ignorance and barbarism. At the present time mankind seems to be on the retreat. A wave of reaction is sweeping the countries of Europe; its effects and influence are felt all over the world. There is fascism in Italy, Hitlerism in Germany, despotism in Russia, destructive dictatorship in other countries. Every p... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
1. ANARCHISM - a life of freedom and creative independence for humanity. Anarchism does not depend on theory or programs, which try to grasp man's life in its entirety. It is a teaching, which is based on real life, which outgrows all artificial limitations, which cannot be constricted by any system. Anarchism's outward form is a free, non-governed society, which offers freedom, equality and solidarity for its members. Its foundations are to be found in man's sense of mutual responsibility, which has remained unchanged in all places and times. This sense of responsibility is capable of securing freedom and social justice for all men by its own unaided efforts. It is also the foundation of true communism. Anarchism therefore is a part of hum... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
From the upcoming "No Gods, No Masters" edited by Daniel Guerin, to be published by AK Press the summer of 1997 Anarchists Behind Bars (Summer 1921) by Gaston Leval Once I discovered that there were so many of our comrades in prison, I arranged, together with the French syndicalist delegates to make overtures to Dzerzhinsky, the People's Commissar for the Interior, implicitly obedient to Lenin. Being wary of me, my fellow delegates chose Joaquin Maurin to speak on behalf of the CNT delegation. Maurin reported back on their first audience. At the sight of the list of the prisoners whose release was being sought, Dzerzhinsky blanched, then went red with fury, arguing that these men were counterrevolutionaries in cahoots with the White general... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
CONTROVERSY: ANARCHISTS IN THE SPANISH REVOLUTION by Sam Dolgoff In 1974, or early 1975, I reviewed in the English anarchist paper Freedom a book by Carlos Semprun Maura, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Catalonia (French edition). In my review I criticized both Semprun Maura and Vernon Richards' book Lessons of the Spanish Revolution for presenting a distorted, over-simplified interpretation of events- a scenario. This provoked a heated rejoinder from Richards (three or four articles in Freedom). Over forty years after the tragic defeat of the Spanish Revolution - 1936 to 1939 - the question of anarchist participation in the Republican government and the role of anarchists in a revolution is a fundamental problem still debated- still r... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)
(Front our Norwegian correspondent.) In one of the highest parts of Norway, in the wide and beautiful Osterdalen (East Valley), there lies a large and rich country named Tynset. The winters are long and very cold up there, but it is a summer resort, and people from all parts of the country, but mostly from England arid other foreign lands, come up the fjord in steamers to breathe the fresh and healthy mountain air. This remarkable place is the bead-quarters of the Anarchist movement in mountainous Norway. That is to say, that in this place the Norwegian Anarchist paper Fedraheimen is published. The present editor-in-chief Rasmus Steinsvik, is living in a little cottage, very little indeed, living the rich life of a man fighting for truth an... (From : AnarchyArchives.)