Anarchism has traditionally laid great emphasis on the construction of a “counterculture” – a sphere of imagery, symbolism, and sensory experience imbued with its own emancipatory values. In this respect, it does not differ essentially from other social movements with vastly different aims. More unique is the tendency of anarchist culture to blur distinctions between the creation and reception of culture as well as between the ideal and the real in representation.
These tendencies are present from the first phase of the modern anarchist movement, when Pierre Joseph Proudhon argued for the abolition of distinctions between artistic industrial creation. This meant refusing the romantic notion of the artist as solitary geniu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809–65), the first to write the words “I am an anarchist” in 1840, was at the same time a convinced anti-feminist, regarding women as intellectual and moral inferiors and dedicating an entire book to attacking feminism as a form of modern decadence or “pornocracy” (1858, 1875). These arguments led feminist radical Jenny d’Héricourt (1809–75) to reply not only that his accounts of women were contradicted by historical and scientific fact, but that “you contradict your own principles” (1864: 117). Joseph Déjacque went further, admonishing Proudhon either to “speak out against man’s exploitation of woman” or “do not describe you... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Acknowledgments
ONE OF THE SIMPLEST AND PROFOUNDEST TEACHINGS OF ANARCHISM IS THAT IT is only with the help of many, many others that one finds oneself. I want to thank everyone who made this book possible: Darlene most of all, for the gift of time and space in which to work, and for her endless love, enthusiasm, and (by no means least) patience; my students, for allowing me to try out some of these half-baked notions on them first, and for constantly inspiring me to the effort of interpretation and writing again; Silvia Dapía, for her gracious mentorship and friendship, and Ronald Creagh for his; and a whole generation of researchers for doing the hard work of re-opening the questions I have tried to address here, including Allan... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The anarchist movement had a substantial presence in Brazil in the early twentieth century. Eclipsed by the ascension of the communist left and crushed by anti-communist military regimes, it still survives, and its traces can be seen in some contemporary political and cultural movements.
FROM COLONIZATION TO THE INDUSTRIAL ERA
During the colonial era some aspects of the numerous slave rebellions had an anti-authoritarian character, notably the quilombos – independent agrarian settlements formed by escaped slaves in the Brazilian hinterlands. The inception of Brazil’s anarchist movement per se, however, is generally dated to the arrival of European immigrants, particularly Italians, in the late nineteenth century. It was a nu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The writings of German anarchists such as Max Stirner (a.k.a. Johann Kaspar Schmidt, 1806–56) and Gustav Landauer (1870–1919) have had a profound impact on anarchist movements from New York to Paris, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires. Even as exiles or emigrants, anarchists from Germany left their mark on history, as in the United States, where they accounted for five of the eight sentenced to death for the Haymarket bombing of 1886, or in the East End of late Victorian London, where Rudolf Rocker (1873–1958) became a preeminent leader among the Jewish immigrant workers. Within Germany, anarchist ideas – if not a coherent anarchist movement – predate the foundation of the German nation-state.
... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In the context of India and its anti-colonial struggle, the meaning of the word “anarchist” has been highly variable and contested since the turn of the twentieth century. The British colonizers then called Indian radicals – particularly rebels in Bengal, who had begun to use explosives as a means of fighting – “anarchists.” Around the same time, on a 1909 visit to London, Mohandas K. Gandhi, deeply influenced by the radical pacifism espoused by Leo Tolstoy, debated anti-colonial tactics with the residents of India House, among whom he encountered young radicals whose ideology he, too, described as “anarchist,” although he may have meant by this merely that they were advocates of armed struggl... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchism in the United States to 1945
Historians have adopted two approaches in their study of anarchism in the United States. Some narratives concentrate on individuals and grassroots movements with relatively well-defined connections to a historical anarchist movement. Others seek traces of anarchism in a broader sense, in fields such as art or philosophy or in some independent group or personality. There is indeed no single “essence” of anarchism but a wealth of perspectives as well as unexpected rebirths.
Both approaches require specific narratives. Elements of anarchism in the broad sense of rebellions against the state or other established authorities appear during the colonial period and up to th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Over the last decade and a half, cultural historians like Patricia Leighten, David Weir, David Kadlec, and Allan Antliff have rediscovered the role of anarchism in the formation of modernist avant-garde esthetics. Their new historical narrative posits a “resistance to representation” (Kadlec 2) and an embrace of “stylistic fragmentation” (Weir 168) as thematic links between modernism and anarchism: modernist moves toward abstraction and anti-art can be seen as informed by the individualism of Max Stirner, founded on the uniqueness of the ego, that irreducible fragment which belongs to no group and therefore cannot be represented.
This new narrative is attractive in many ways, as it forces us to rethink the politics ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In common parlance “anarchy” refers to a state of chaos or violent disorder and “anarchism” to the rebellious or merely perverse pursuit of this state. Indeed, the word “anarchist” was first used in the seventeenth century as an epithet against the defeated Levelers in the English Civil War. While the ideas and practices that would become known as anarchism were distinctly foreshadowed by movements such as the Diggers and the Ranters in the seventeenth century as well as by eighteenth-century thinkers such as William Godwin (and arguably by far more ancient schools of thought, from the Cynics of the fifth century BCE to the Taoists of a century later), it was not until Pierre-Joseph Proudhon turned this e... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchocommunism, sometimes also called “anarchist communism” or “libertarian communism,” is the tendency within anarchism advocating the abolition both of the state and the system of wages and prices. Under “the communism of the free,” as Peter Kropotkin (1842–1921) called it, the communist distributive ethic – “from each according to ability, to each according to need” – would constitute the extension of individual freedom into the economic realm, permitting each to take and to give at will, in keeping with the dictates of his or her conscience (1892/1995: 36).
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) and Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876) were both opponents of “comm... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchosyndicalism is the term for the anarchist labor union movement (a labor union is called a syndicat in French, or a sindicato in Spanish). Powerful anarchosyndicalist organizations included the Federación Obrera Regional Argentina (founded 1901), the Industrial Workers of the World (founded 1905), the Confédération Générale du Travail (founded 1906), and the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (founded 1910). These unions were distinguished from their conventional counterparts not only by their radical goals – the abolition of capitalism and the state in favor of a system of generalized self-management – but also by their decentralized structure and willingness to engage in direct a... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) “We can’t defect to a future which has no relation to its past
— a past which consists of pain and evil.”
It’s a bright May day in Paris in 1926, a quarter after two in the afternoon. A middle-aged watchmaker named Samuel Schwartzbard, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion and, as it happens, of the Red Army, is waiting outside the Chartier restaurant in the Rue Racine. A man with a cane, a former foreign dignitary now living in exile, steps out of the restaurant. Schwartzbard approaches him, and calls out in Ukrainian: “Are you Mr. Petliura?” The man turns. “Defend yourself, you bandit,” shouts the watchmaker, drawing his pistol, and as Petliura raises the cane in his right ha... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Acknowledgments
We would like to thank all the anarchists who had the courage to fight systems of oppression, sometimes at great cost to themselves. We thank those who continue to fight for the freedom of all, despite surveillance and systems of control that make it harder than ever before. It is you who help us dream-create a better world. We would like to thank Carol Macdonald at Edinburgh University Press and give a special thanks to Ian Buchanan for encouraging us to take up the project. Finally, we would like to thank all our contributors for their diligence and thoughtful provocations.
Introduction, by Chantelle Gray van Heerden and Aragorn Eloff
In an interview with Antonio Negri, philosopher Gilles Deleuze memorably states th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) As long as we’re on the subject of endings—or rather, the rhetoric of “the end”—I’d like to intervene in the ongoing conversation about what Roger Farr recently referred to in these pages as “the end of an era,” i.e., the era of anarchism as a “communicative” project (“Anarchist Poetics,” Fifth Estate #373, Fall 2006).
This historical narrative, in which we go from an old-fashioned “classical anarchism” to a post-modern “new anarchism,” is on a lot of lips these days. Where the classical anarchists are supposed to have clung to naïve notions about science, progress, and human nature, one hears, the new anarchism boldly dispenses with such o... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It had an amazing scent, the anarchic flower
when I was young it flashed out of books and genealogies
and with a hand eased by the thwack of hope
I offered it to the world and you ...
Meir Wieseltier, “The Flower of Anarchy” (translated from the Hebrew by Shirley Kaufman)
It’s a bright May Day in Paris, 1926, a quarter after two in the afternoon. A middle-aged watchmaker named Samuel Schwartzbard, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion and the Red Army, is waiting outside the Chartier restaurant on Rue Racine. A man with a cane, a former foreign dignitary now living in exile, steps out of the restaurant.
Schwartzbard approaches him and calls out in Ukrainian: “Are you Mr. Petliura?”
The man ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Newly resurgent anarchist movements, shaking the streets from Seattle to Genoa, are caught in a field of tension between two magnetic poles: Eugene, Oregon, and Plainfield, Vermont. Eugene is the home of John Zerzan, author of Future Primitive (1994), who has pushed anarchist theory in the direction of an all-encompassing negation of "civilization." At the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield in 1995, Murray Bookchin issued his much debated challenge to the "anti-civilizational" anarchists, Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm. Bookchin's "social anarchism" is in the tradition of the anarcho-communism theorized by Peter Kropotkin, calling for the replacement of nations and markets with a decentralized federat... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) What is now being called “postanarchism” by some thinkers, including Saul Newman, can take on many forms, but the term generally refers to an attempt to marry the best aspects of poststructuralist philosophy and the anarchist tradition. One way to read the word, thus, is as a composite: poststructuralism and anarchism. However, the term also suggests that the post- prefix applies to its new object as well — implying that anarchism, at least as heretofore thought and practiced, is somehow obsolete. Together, these two senses of the word form a narrative: an aging, spent force (anarchism) is to be saved from obsolescence and irrelevance by being fuzed with a fresh, vital force (poststructuralism). We would like to question t... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchism” and “religion” are categories of belonging that serve as tools for identification – both of oneself and of others. Yiddish-speaking anarchism is overwhelmingly remembered as an antireligious movement, a characterization drawn from its early experiences in the immigrant communities of the U.S. (circa 1880–1919). However, this obscures the presence of competing definitions of both religion and anarchism within the Jewish anarchist milieu and fails to take into account the social character of processes of identification unfolding over time. A generation after its circulation peaked, in a context of declining Jewish anarchist “groupness” (1937–1945), the Yiddish anarchist newspaper Fray... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)