Libertarian Socialism : Politics in Black and Red

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Dr Prichard is a member of the Center of Advanced International Studies and the Center for Political Thought at the University of Exeter. His research sits within and spans both centers. He has published in the following areas: Anarchist political thought International political theory The ethics and phenomenology of war and violence Republican political theory Constitutional politics Co-production methods in political philosophy... (From :

Andrew Cornell is an author, educator, and organizer. He is currently a visiting assistant professor of American Studies at Williams college, and has taught at Haverford College, Université Stendhal, and SUNY-Empire State. He has also worked as an organizer with the United Autoworkers, the American Federation of Teachers, and other labor unions. His writings focus on 20th and 21st century radical movements, and on the history of work, social class, and racial capitalism. (From :

Benoit Challand is Associate Professor of Sociology at The New School for Social Research. He has previously taught at NYU and at the University of Bologna. Most recently, he was coeditor of The Struggle for Influence in the Middle East: The Arab Uprisings and Foreign Assistance and coauthor, with Chiara Bottici, of Imagining Europe: Myth, Memory and Identity. He is completing a book manuscript on Violence and Representation in the Arab Uprisings. (From :

(1951 - )
Carl Levy is professor of politics at Goldsmith's College, University of London. He is a specialist in the history of modern Italy and the theory and history of anarchism. (From :


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Acknowledgments We would like to thank our contributors to the volume for their patience and for responding so positively to editorial requests. We gratefully acknowledge the support of everyone at PM Press, who have enabled us to bring out this expanded, accessible edition of the book. We would also like to thank all the participants at the ‘Is Black and Red Dead?’ conference held at the Center for the Study of Social and Global Justice, University of Nottingham, UK, in September 2009, which provided the original inspiration for this collection. Sue Simpson and Tony Burns deserve a special mention for their help and support throughout. We would also like to acknowledge the generosity of the UK Political Studies Association’s Marxist Specialist Group and the PSA Anarchist Studies Network, who, in supporting this conference, made it possible for some of the contributors, and many others whose excellent papers could not be included, to meet and excha... (From :

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Contributors Jean-Christophe Angaut has been Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon since 2006. His fields of research and teaching are nineteenth-century philosophy, political philosophy and connections between socialist, communist and anarchist thought. He has published two books on the young Bakunin’s thought: Bakunin jeune hégélien — La philosophie et son dehors and La liberté des peuples — Bakunin et les révolutions de 1848 . He has also published articles on Marx, Bakunin, Kropotkin, the Young Hegelian movement and the situationists. He is a member of the editorial committee of the French anarchist journal Réfractions. David Bates is a principal lecturer and Director of Politics and International Relations in the Department of Applied Social Sciences a... (From :

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Preface Saku Pinta, Ruth Kinna, Alex Prichard, and David Berry A century has now passed since the 1917 October Revolution in Russia ushered in the world’s first ‘workers’ state.’ Aside from its significance as one of the defining historical moments of the twentieth century, the ten days that shook the world reshaped the contours of the revolutionary Left, casting a long shadow over later global movements. The clampdown on radical left formations that followed the Bolshevik seizure of power generated considerable hostility and mutual recrimination, bringing to an end the reasonably good relations that groups of anarchists and Marxists had forged in opposition to the European capitalist war and against reformist social democracy. This was especially so after the suppression of the Makhnovists in Ukraine and the Kronstadt uprising in 1921, though the antagonism was symbolized most dramatically in Eu... (From :

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1. Introduction Ruth Kinna and Alex Prichard Crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the Black and Red unite! Otto Von Bismarck This book is about two currents of ideas, anarchism and Marxism. It examines their complex interrelationship and mutual borrowings in history, theory and practice and it probes the limits and possibilities of cooperation by looking at the institutional and social contexts in which both heretical and orthodox expressions of these movements have operated. In presenting this collection, we have not attempted to fix the ideological content of either of these two currents but to show instead how this content has itself been shaped by a process of engagement, theoretical debate and political activity. To begin with definitions is to restart the long and wearisome tradit... (From :

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2. Freedom and Democracy: Marxism, Anarchism and the Problem of Human Nature Paul Blackledge Introduction In this paper I argue that anarchist criticisms of Marx’s ‘statism’ inherit themes from liberalism that serve as a brake on the democratic aspirations of anarchist practice. While superficially attractive, especially when deployed to explain the character of both Stalinism and social democracy, this liberal element of anarchist theory prevents anarchist practice developing from a mode of resistance to capitalism to become an adequate strategic alternative to it. Further, I argue that classical Marxism offers tools by which to overcome this problem and suggest that Marx is best understood not as the statist other to libertarian socialism, but as the most coherent exponent of human emancipation. I conclude that anarchists would do well to reengage with his critique of li... (From :

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3. Anarchism, Individualism and Communism: William Morris’s Critique of Anarcho-communism Ruth Kinna Introduction William Morris’s commitment to revolutionary socialism is now well established, but the nature of his politics, specifically his relationship to Marxism and anarchist thought, is still contested. Perhaps, as Mark Bevir has argued, the ideological label pinned to Morris’s socialism is of ‘little importance’ for as long as his political thought is described adequately. Nevertheless, the starting point for this essay is that thinking about the application of ideological descriptors is a useful exercise and one which sheds important light on Morris’s socialism and the process of ideological formation in the late nineteenth-century socialist movement. Bevir is surely right when he says that ‘ideologies are not mutually exclusive, reified entities’... (From :

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4. The Syndicalist Challenge in the Durham Coalfield before 1914 Lewis H. Mates Introduction The British ‘labor revolt’ immediately before the outbreak of the First World War saw millions of working days lost in strike action and the mushrooming of trade unions. This unrest, which included the first British national miners’ strike in 1912, coincided with a growth in revolutionary agitation. The emergence of syndicalist ideas, essentially revolutionary trade unionism, seemed fortuitously timed to give coherence and revolutionary temper to an urge to revolt evident in important sections of the organized (and previously unorganized) British working class. ‘Syndicalism’ is deployed here in its ‘broadest sense’ to refer to ‘all revolutionary, direct-actionist’ organizations. As Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt have recen... (From :

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5. Georges Sorel’s Anarcho-Marxism Renzo Llorente When one considers the tragic history of the international working-class movement since 1914, one is inclined to regard the doctrine of revolutionary syndicalism advocated … by the ‘new school’ of Georges Sorel, Edouard Berth, and Arturo Labriola as one of the most interesting and promising forms in which Marxian thought has experienced a renaissance. Maximilien Rubel Introduction: Sorel’s uncertain legacy Georges Sorel (1847–1922) was an important figure in the development of radical left-wing theory during the early decades of the twentieth century, and his ideas strongly influenced the work of some major Marxist thinkers, including Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukács, Jos&eacut... (From :

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6. Antonio Gramsci, Anarchism, Syndicalism and Sovversivismo Carl Levy Introduction The relationship between Antonio Gramsci’s Marxism and the anarchist and syndicalist traditions is complex and intriguing but it is overlooked by most of his scholarly interlocutors. I have argued that there are a number of elective affinities between the young Gramsci’s unorthodox Marxism and the libertarian socialist tradition, and that Gramsci’s concept of industrial democracy, elaborated during the era of the factory councils in Turin (1919–1920), was shaped through his encounters with anarchists, self-educated workers and formally educated technicians employed by Fiat and others. His relationship to the anarchists runs far deeper than an Italian variation of the tactical political ploy, which Lenin indulged in his anarchist-sounding pronouncements in revolutionary Russia during the... (From :

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7. Council Communist Perspectives on the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, 1936–1939 Saku Pinta Introduction Council Communism is often regarded as a current within the revolutionary Marxist tradition that bears a close resemblance to what some now refer to as ‘class struggle’ anarchism and is routinely considered to belong to a broader ‘libertarian communist’ tendency. In so far as those anarchist currents which embrace a revolutionary class politics are delineated from individualist or other variants, the common emphasis on direct action and forms of self-organization as the prefigurative organs of revolutionary change, distrust of bureaucracy and officialdom, and critique of both reformism and Bolshevism all lend credence to suggestions of convergent perspectives between councilism and class struggle anarchisms. Moreover, much like the... (From :

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8. A ‘Bohemian Freelancer’? C.L.R. James, His Early Relationship to Anarchism and the Intellectual Origins of Autonomism Christian Høgsbjerg In April 1940, in a private letter written amid a fierce faction fight then engulfing US Trotskyism, Leon Trotsky would refer in passing to Cyril Lionel Robert James (1901–1989), one of his leading comrades hailing originally from Trinidad, as a ‘Bohemian freelancer.’ No doubt such an appellation would have caused distress to James had he heard of it at the time, for his political and intellectual evolution had owed much to Trotsky’s Marxism ever since his reading of the first volume of History of the Russian Revolution in 1932. Yet such an appellation would, for many, both within and outside orthodox Trotskyism, seem to be vindicated by James’s subsequent development as a political thinker, which would see him leave the o... (From :

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9. ‘White Skin, Black Masks’: Marxist and Anti-racist Roots of Contemporary US Anarchism Andrew Cornell As in other parts of the world, anarchists, socialists and Marxists based in the USA have frequently influenced and borrowed from one another over the past century and a half of struggles. More research into these lines of influence is certainly called for. However, any thorough investigation of the cross-pollination of radical traditions in the USA must also consider the many ways in which the autonomous freedom struggles of people of color have co-mingled with European-origin traditions such as Marxism and anarchism. In fact, I would suggest that it has frequently been on the terrain of campaigns opposed to white supremacy and colonialism that anarchists, socialists and Marxists have found common ground to collaborate and to develop synthetic theoretical and tactical paradigms. In this essay, I consi... (From :

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10. The Search for a Libertarian Communism: Daniel Guérin and the ‘Synthesis’ of Marxism and Anarchism David Berry I have a horror of sects, of compartmentalization, of people who are separated by virtually nothing and who nevertheless face each other as if across an abyss. Daniel Guérin Concerned that his reinterpretation of the French Revolution, La Lutte de classes sous la Première République , had been misunderstood, Daniel Guérin wrote to the socialist Marceau Pivert in 1947 that the book was to be seen as ‘an introduction to a synthesis of anarchism and Marxism-Leninism I would like to write one day.’ This paper aims to analyze exactly what Guérin meant by this ‘synthesis,’ and how and why he came to be convin... (From :

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11. Socialisme ou Barbarie or the Partial Encounters between Critical Marxism and Libertarianism Benoît Challand For many, the French group Socialisme ou Barbarie remains associated with the name of the political theorist and psychoanalyst Cornelius Castoriadis (1922–1997). While Castoriadis played a pivotal role in the group, it also included a number of other prominent intellectuals over the course of its publishing lifetime, such as Claude Lefort (1924–2010), Jean-Francois Lyotard (1924–1998) and Guy Debord (1931–1994). The group’s eponymous journal, published between 1949 and 1965, was dedicated to an increasingly unorthodox Trotskyist critique and it provided an important platform for debating Marxism with other strands of the ultra-Left, some of them closely associated with Left-libertarian thinking. One line of division inside the group discussed here (though to be sure, there a... (From :

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12. Beyond Black and Red: The Situationists and the Legacy of the Workers’ Movement Jean-Christophe Angaut Introduction Over the last 20 years, the situationists have often been reduced to a mere group of artists criticizing everyday life, detached from any social struggle. The common description of their contribution to the events of 1968 in France was symptomatic of this reduction: either the so-called cultural orientation of these events was attributed to them, or it was said that, because the role of the situationists had been over-emphasized, these events were reduced in the collective memory to their cultural aspect. Nevertheless, this understanding tends to weaken with a close reading of the situationists’ texts (consisting of articles, letters, pamphlets and theoretical books). From this literature, it appears that the situationists were linked with and/or o... (From :

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13. Carnival and Class: Anarchism and Councilism in Australasia during the 1970s Toby Boraman Anarchism and ‘councilism,’ a form of libertarian socialism that was influenced heavily by council communism, converged in Australasia during the 1970s. Many anarchists drew upon councilism in order to update anarchism. Councilists sought to rejuvenate socialism from below and to reevaluate Marx. In so doing, they took an anarchistic turn. Overall, two loose anarchist/councilist tendencies emerged. The first was that of ‘class-struggle anarchists’ and councilists. The second was a bohemian, anti-work current represented by ‘carnival anarchists’ and situationist groupings influenced by the Situationist International (SI). This chapter examines the perspectives these currents held on class. Both tendencies, following the councilist analysis of ‘bureaucratic capitalism,’ asserted... (From :

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14. Situating Hardt and Negri David Bates Introduction To what extent is it possible to situate Hardt and Negri’s thought? Are they best regarded as ‘anarchists,’ ‘socialists,’ ‘communists,’ ‘Marxists,’ ‘Leninists,’ ‘post-Marxists’ or ‘post-anarchists’? Answering this question is no mere intellectual exercise. As Wittgenstein once remarked, ‘words are deeds.’ On the radical Left, much blood has been spilled through those deeds, careers ended and reputations shattered. Of course, today a great deal is made of the claim that we live in ‘post-ideological’ times, ‘new times’ where ‘class struggle’ does not have the importance it once had; postmodern times, where meanings and identities are constantly subject to the contestation of ‘discourse.’ N... (From :

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15. Conclusion: Towards a Libertarian Socialism for the Twenty-First Century? Saku Pinta and David Berry There is something that has amazed and even shocked me for a long time. There is a tragicomical paradox in the spectacle of people who claim to be revolutionary, who wish to overthrow the world and at the same time try to cling at all costs to a reference system, who would feel lost if the author or the system which guarantees the truth of what they believe, were to be taken away from them. How is it possible not to see that these people place themselves by their own volition in a position of mental subjection to a work which is already there, which has mastered a truth which henceforth can only be interpreted, refined, patched up? Cornelius Castoriadis It is difficult to imagine the ‘Black and Red’ conference... (From :

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Bibliography Manuscripts and Archival Material Dachine Rainer Papers. Yale Collection of American Literature. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Daniel Guérin Papers. International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam. David Thoreau Wieck Papers, 1942–1969. Peace Collection, Swarthmore College. Fonds Guérin. Bibliotheque de Documentation Internationale Contemporaine, Nanterre. James, C.L.R. ‘Charlie Lahr’ . Unpublished MS in the possession of David Goodway. Karl Korsch Papers. International Institute for Social History, Amsterdam. Leahy, Terry. Pre-War Anarchists and the Post-War Ultra-Left. MS, Sydney, 1981. McDonagh, Grant. My Involvement in an Ultra-Leftist Tendency. MS, Nelson, 1981. National Archives, London. KV/2/18... (From :

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Lucien van der Walt, ‘Counterpower, Participatory Democracy, Revolutionary Defense: Debating Black Flame, Revolutionary Anarchism and Historical Marxism,’ International Socialism 130 , accessed 19 February 2017, Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy (London: Kahn & Averill, 1970), 6. Jorge Semprun, Communism in Spain in the Franco Era: The Autobiography of Federico Sanchez, trans. Helen R. Lane (Sussex: Harvester, 1980), 7. Marie-Louise Berneri, Neither East Nor West: Selected Writings 1939–1948 (London: Freedom Press, 1988), 66. Benjamin Franks, ‘Between Anarchism and Marxism: The Beginnings and Ends of the Schism …,,’ Journal of Political Ideologies 17:2 , 207–27, accessed 15 February 20... (From :


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