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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 thought towards anarchosyndicalism, along lines that bear comparison to Guérins work, puts the matter well when he writes that anarchism is not a fixed, self-...


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.)


ANARCHISM: WHAT IT REALLY STANDS FOR ANARCHY. Ever reviled, accursed, ne'er understood, Thou art the grisly terror of our age. "Wreck of all order," cry the multitude, "Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage." O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven The truth that lies behind a word to find, To them the word's right meaning was not given. They shall continue blind among the blind. But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure, Thou sayest all which I for goal have taken. I give thee to the future! Thine secure When each at least unto himself shall waken. Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill? I cannot tell--but it the earth shall see! I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will Not rule, and also ruled I will not be! &n... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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.)


[Comrade H. Davis or the Socialist League, delivered a lecture having this title, at 13 Farringdom Road, under the auspices of the Clerkenwell Branch of the Socialist League, on the 22nd of last month.] IN all discussions on this subject, said be, whether our opponents be of the most generous or the most hostile sort, Anarchy, is, they admit, the highest form of civilization conceivable. Anarchy has been defined by an intelligent opponent as "a state of Society in which each individual is a law unto himself." A grand, but an impossible ideal, we are told, this is when looked at from the imperfections of to-day. Now opposition to most schemes for a reorganization of Society are urged from a more or less well defined knowledge of the imperfec... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


From: G.P. Maximoff, Syndicalists in the Russian Revolution The Author GREGORI PETROVICH MAXIMOFF was born on November 10, 1893, in the Russian village of Mitushino, province of Smolensk. After studying for the priesthood, he realized this was not his vocation and went to St. Petersburg, where he graduated as an agronomist at the Agricultural Academy in 1915. He joined the revolutionary movement, while a student, was an active propagandist and, after the 1917 revolution, joined the Red Army. When the Bolsheviks used the Army for police work and for disarming the workers, he refused to obey orders and was sentenced to death. The solidarity of the steelworkers' union saved his life. He edited the Anarcho-Syndicalist papers Golos Trouda (Voice... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The Biography of an Anarchist
Errico Malatesta The Biography of an Anarchist A Condensed Sketch of Malatesta from the book written by by Max Nettlau Published by the Jewish Anarchist Federation New York City. 1924 Introduction The short sketch of Malatesta's life is based on the exhaustive study of Max Nettlau, published in Italian translation by "Il Martello" in New York under the title Vita e Pensieri di Errico Malatesta, and in German translation issued at Berlin by the publishers of the "Syndicalist." Max Nettlau, the profound scholar of the Anarchist movement, biographer of Michael Bakunin and author of Bibliographie de l'Anarchie, lives in Vienna, and like so many intellectuals in Europe, in distressing economic condition. May I express here the hope that he will ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From Correspondance de Michel Bakounine, published and prefaced by Michel Dragmanov, 1896, Paris, France, pages 127-128. Fragment of a letter from Bakunin to Herzen and Ogareff, 1861 ....for a real and useful force of the highest degree. From this standpoint, it would therefore be a true crime to separate from you, before having used all means of reconciliation in order to find a total union; to sacrifice, if necessary, my self-esteem by renouncing certain less important beliefs. I will do this all the more willingly if we are pursuing, as it seems to me, the same goal, as it is only in the means of getting there that we differ. This would be, therefore, more than a crime on my part; it would be ineptitude. You have created a remarkable mov... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism by Murray Bookchin One of the most persistent of human frailties is the tendency of individuals and groups to fall back, in times of a terribly fragmented reality, onto obsolete, even archaic ideologies for a sense of continuity and security. Today we find this not only on the right, where people are evoking the ghosts of Nazism and deadly forms of an embattled nationalism, but also on the "left" (whatever that word may mean anymore), where many people evoke ghosts of their own, be they the Neolithic goddess cults that many feminist and ecological sects celebrate or the generally anti-civilizational ambiance that exists among young middle-class ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The Two Camps
You taunt us with disbelieving in God, We charge you with believing in him. We do not condemn you for this. We do not even indict you. We pity you. For the time of illusions is past. We cannot be deceived any longer. Whom do we find under God's banner ! Emperors, kings, the official and the officious world; our lords and our nobles; all the privileged persons of Europe whose names are recorded in the Almana de Gotha; the guinea, pigs of the industrial, commercial and banking world; the patented professors of our universities; the civil service servants; the low and high police officers; the gendarmes; the jailers; the headsmen or hangmen, not forgetting the priests, who are now the black police enslaving our souls to the State; the glorious... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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