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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.)


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 IDEA IS THE THING Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world? If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them. That is the crux of the whole matter: present-day society rests on the belief of the people that it is good and useful. It is founded on the idea of authority and private ownership. It is ideas that maintain conditions. Government and capitalism are 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.)


A LETTER TO A HINDU THE SUBJECTION OF INDIA-ITS CAUSE AND CURE With an Introduction by M. K. GANDHI INTRODUCTION 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 gran... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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