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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.)


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.)


Published in Mother Earth on Nov. 5, 1907 in London by Int. Instituut Soc. Geschlodenis Amsterdam I HAVE often wondered why, with millions of people taking part in progressive and labor movements of all kinds, comparatively few accept Anarchism fully as we do. What is better known than the exploitation of labor by capital, the oppression of the individual by the State, to the student the least interested in social matters and to the practical observer of everyday life? Again, if Anarchist propaganda has not yet touched every remote place in all countries, there are numerous localities where it has been carried on for a generation and more, and even there it does not affect more than a certain proportion of the people. As long as I believed ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


In olden times, men of science, and especially those who have done most to forward the growth of natural philosophy, did not despise manual work and handicraft. Galileo made his telescopes with his own hands. Newton learned in his boyhood the art of managing tools; he exercised his young mind in contriving most ingenious machines, and when he began his researches in optics he was able himself to grind the lenses for his instruments and himself to make the well known telescope which, for its time, was a fine piece of workmanship. Leibnitz was fond of inventing machines: windmills and carriages to be moved without horses preoccupied his mind as much as mathematical and philosophical speculations. Linnaeus became a botanist while helping his f... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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.)


(The 19th of December, 1913, was "confession evening" at the "Twilight Club", New York, among whose members are the "best" people, supreme court judges, and other pillars of society. "Confessions" were made by a drunkard, a dope fiend, an actress, a labor agitator, a convict, etc., some of whom spoke in complete darkness, to hide their identity.) This is an evening of confession, and I therefore at once confess myself a lawbreaker, a criminal -- if you will -- and a convict. Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentleman, I beg your kind indulgence, for the convict's manner is uncouth, his speech ragged, his thoughts indecently naked. For only the convict, the outcast from the fold of commonplace respectability and dull conformity, can afford the luxur... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


[What follows is an nineteenth-century defense of Lamarckism, the since-disproven belief that genetics are molded by the activity or behavior of the organism, instead of through the process of natural selection. Naturally, anyone should be cautious when reviewing a scientific article written more than a hundred year ago, but at least here below, you can see what passionate turns the debate took. In Kropotkin's favor, it may at least be said that the process of natural selection turned out to be far more complicated than Darwin and Wallace had believed, and was only fully elaborated by Dawkins as gene-centric, rather than organism or species-centric. -- Andy Carloff] There can be no doubt that species may become greatly modified through the ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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.)

The Subjection of India-Its Cause and Cure
Introduction by M. K. GANDHI The letter printed below is a translation of Tolstoy's letter written in Russian in reply to one from the Editor of Free Hindustan. After having passed from hand to hand, this letter at last came into my possession through a friend who asked me, as one much interested in Tolstoy's writings, whether I thought it worth publishing. I at once replied in the affirmative, and told him I should translate it myself into Gujarati and induce others' to translate and publish it in various Indian vernaculars. The letter as received by me was a type-written copy. It was therefore referred to the author, who confirmed it as his and kindly granted me permission to print it. To me, as a humble follower of that great teacher who... (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.)


This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. Originally published in The Raven: Anarchist Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 4 (Winter 1994), pp. 328-46. A Meditation on Anarchist Ethics Ulrike Heider, Anarchism: Left, Right, and Green (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1994; 153 pages) by Murray Bookchin In the late winter of 1989, one Ulrike Heider appeared at my home in Burlington, Vermont, for an interview, armed with a tape recorder, clothing for a weekend visit--and apparently a butcher's cleaver, looking for as much blood as she could draw from an unsuspecting victim. Citing an old anarchosyndicalist whom I knew as a reference and her plan to write a book on American anarchists as her aim, she was housed, fed, kept... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


The Paris Commune, like other spectacular events in human history, has become the clinging point for many legends, alike among its enemies and among its friends. Indeed, one must often question which was the real Commune, the legend or the fact,— what was actually lived, or the conception of it which has shaped itself in the world-mind during those forty odd years that have gone since the 18th of March, 1871. It is thus with doctrines, it is thus with personalities, it is thus with events. Which is the real Christianity, the simple doctrine attributed to Christ or the practical preaching and realizing of organized Christianity? Which is the real Abraham Lincoln,—the clever politician who emancipated the chattel slaves as an act ... (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.)


To give an adequate exposition of the Philosophy of Atheism, it would be necessary to go into the historical changes of the belief in a Deity, from its earliest beginning to the present day. But that is not within the scope of the present paper. However, it is not out of place to mention, in passing, that the concept God, Supernatural Power, Spirit, Deity, or in whatever other term the essence of Theism may have found expression, has become more indefinite and obscure in the course of time and progress. In other words, the God idea is growing more impersonal and nebulous in- proportion as the human mind is learning to understand natural phenomena and in the degree that science progressively correlates human and social events. God, today, no... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


To write a biographic sketch of even an ordinary man within the limited space at my disposal would be difficult. But to write about one whose personality is so complex and whose life so replete with events as that of Alexander Berkman, is almost an insurmountable task. To do justice to such a rich and colorful subject one must not be so limited by space as I am. Above all, one should be removed, in point of time and distance, from the life to be portrayed. Which is not the case in the present instance. I shall therefore not attempt a biography at the present time. I shall merely joint down a few outstanding features in the life and activities of our Comrade, which may serve as an introduction to something bigger yet to be written. Perhaps i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Although we heartily sympathize with our comrades of the Socialist League, Social Democratic Federation, Fabian Society, and all other associations engaged in Socialist propaganda, we by Do means consider all the theories they advance or the methods they advocate beyond question. Probably some of our readers share this view and hold with us that friendly criticism and discussion is a wonderful help in clearing up difficulties, and may aid us all to pierce through the mere formulas of our party into the essence of Socialism. We shall therefore gladly welcome any communication criticizing or commenting upon Socialist speeches and lectures. We propose to publish such communications month by month under the above heading. The following has been... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


In our last paper we noted the change in men's ideas of the world and their own place in it, which has resulted from the increased mental activity of the last four hundred years; and we saw how the splendid conquests of human thinking-power have led to excessive and superstitious reverence for that one faculty. Excessive, because it contemptuously excludes the rest (the greater part) of men's nature; superstitious, because it erects reason into a sort of internal Mumbo Jumbo--mysteriously capable of comprehending, molding, and controlling the will, feeling and action of the whole human being and the whole society. But what, we may be asked, have the extravagant theories of a few philosophers and scientists to do with the common life of ever... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


This essay is contained in the book Anarchismus, Kommunismus, und Sozialismus (Anarchism, Communism, and Socialism) by Karl Diehl. Essay Six: The Theory of Anarchism Anarchism The Theory of Anarchism Why is it that in times of late Anarchy suits me so well? Each lives in pursuit of his wishes, That is also my goal. I leave to each his endeavors, In order that I might be able to pursue mine. In these verses, Goethe has characterized the essence of the anarchist movement in a strikingly accurate manner. Anarchism intends to create a society in which there is the greatest possible human freedom. To begin with, two sorts of prevalent errors regarding the means and intents of the anarchists must be dispelled. The anarchist movement is often mixe... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


We are very well pleased with the results of the Liverpool Trade Union Congress. The party of inaction, the "old gang" of place-hunters have been thoroughly worsted by the upholders of the "new" unionism, and the latter have taken a firm hold of the controlling power of the trade unions of this country. The organizations are pledged to a policy of very much greater activity, they have endorsed Socialism to a very considerable extent, they have declared their desire to have an eight hour law passed in the imperial parliament, they have elected John Burns on their parliamentary committee and they have discarded Shipton as parliamentary secretary. The men who in the past criticized the "Do-nothing" party in the severest manner- -criticism by t... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


I begin with an admission: Regardless of all political and economic theories, treating of the fundamental differences between various groups within the human race, regardless of class and race distinctions, regardless of all artificial boundary lines between woman's rights and man's rights, I hold that there is a point where these differentiations may meet and grow into one perfect whole. With this I do not mean to propose a peace treaty. The general social antagonism which has taken hold of our entire public life today, brought about through the force of opposing and contradictory interests, will crumble to pieces when the reorganization of our social life, based upon the principles of economic justice, shall have become a reality. Peace o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Dedicated As my last contribution before going to Jefferson City, Mo., prison for two years, to the Boylsheviki in Russia in appreciation of their glorious work and their insiration in awakening Boylshevism in America. MOTHER EARTH PUBLISHING ASS'N 4 JONES STREET, NEW YORK And yet it is of the utmost importance that the people in America should understand the true meaning of the Boylsheviki, their origin, and the historic background which makes their position and their challenge to the world so significant to the masses. Boylsheviki is the plural term for those revolutionists in Russia who represent the interests of the largest social groups, and who insist upon the maximum social and economic demands for those groups. At a Social Democrati... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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