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This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and publisher. COMMENT P.O. BOX 158 BURLINGTON, VT 05402 --New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought-- EDITOR: Murray Bookchin Vol. 1, No. 5 Price: 80 cents The American Crisis II NOTE: The following issue of COMMENT No. 5 is a continuation of No. 4. Please note that the publication of COMMENT has been moved to Burlington, Vermont, where it will be published for at least the next year. Readers who have subscribed to COMMENT will continue to receive it. Those who have not done so -- or do not intend to do so in the near future -- will cease to receive future issues owing to our very considerable print and mailing costs. Image::... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


There are two spirits abroad in the world,—the spirit of Caution, the spirit of Dare, the spirit of Quiescence, the spirit of Unrest; the spirit of Immobility, the spirit of Change; the spirit of Hold-fast-to-that-which-you-have, the spirit of Let-go-and-fly-to-that-which-you-have-not; the spirit of the slow and steady builder, careful of its labors, loathe to part with any of its achievements, wishful to keep, and unable to discriminate between what is worth keeping and what is better cast aside, and the spirit of the inspirational destroyer, fertile in creative fancies, volatile, careless in its luxuriance of effort, inclined to cast away the good together with the bad. Society is a quivering balance, eternally struck afresh, betwee... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)


Table of Contents Introduction Inalienable Tenets of Anarchism The Class Struggle Organization and Anarchism The Role of an Anarchist in an Authoritarian Society Bringing About the New Society The Marxist Criticism of Anarchism The Social-Democratic Critique of Anarchism The Liberal-Democratic Objection to Anarchism The Fascist Objection to Anarchism The Average Person's Objection to Anarchism Introduction The Historical Background to Anarchism It is not without interest that what might be called the anarchist approach goes back into antiquity; nor that there is an anarchism of sorts in the peasant movements that struggled against State oppression over the centuries. But the modern anarchist movement could not claim such precursors of revol... (From : Hack.org.)

There has recently been a renewal of interest in anarchism. Books, pamphlets, and anthologies are being devoted to it. It is doubtful whether this literary effort is really very effective. It is difficult to trace the outlines of anarchism. Its master thinkers rarely condensed their ideas into systematic works. If, on occasion, they tried to do so, it was only in thin pamphlets designed for propaganda and popularization in which only fragments of their ideas can be observed. Moreover, there are several kinds of anarchism and many variations within the thought of each of the great libertarians. Rejection of authority and stress on the priority of individual judgment make it natural for libertarians to "profess the faith of anti dogmatism." "Let us not become the leaders of a new religion," Proudhon wrote to Marx, "even were it to be the religion of logic and reason." It follows that the views of the libertarians are more varied, more fluid, and harder to apprehend than thos...


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.)


Individualist Anarchism is a round square, a contradiction in set terms. As a cube is not a ball, so " Individualism " is not Anarchism. What then, is Individualism? It is the chaos of to-day in social and industrial life, which has sprung from the licentious play of self-will Self-will is the will to be somewhat, and to have hold and sway something in isolation from other such wills, and in opposition to them. Property, dominion, government, law, are embodiments of this self will. Individualism is this striving, grabbing, over-reaching, and self-seeking of atoms, that seek to possess human individuality, but go about their quest the wrong way. It calls itself civilization, progress, fair competition, free trade, and many other fine names. ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)

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.)


I Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they maintain that the ideal of the political organization of society is a condition of things where the functions o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


FROM A SOCIAL DEMOCRAT. In the July number of "Freedom" you state in reply to Comrade Underwood, a member of the Social Democratic Federation, that if he or any other Social Democrat will state his objections to Anarchist Communism, you will gladly answer them. Underwood not having sent in his objections, I take this opportunity of stating what I conceive to be some of the serious drawbacks to the realization of your ideals. In the first place, if I understand you rightly, Anarchists are against all laws and government. Now what do we Social Democrats mean by law; a common sense regulation, in conformity, with the best interests of the community, every adult having a voice in the making of the law, such law not to become binding until accep... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


(From a Correspondent.) So strong and so widespread are the pretensions of "governments" to-day, that it is difficult for any civilized community to remain anarchistic without being interfered with or "annexed" by one or the other of them. it is therefore interesting to discover from the 'Colonial Office List' (Harrison & Sons) that the British empire includes at least one successful anarchist commune. Judging train the following account it is in no need of the so-called indispensable "laws" of majority rule. We hope it may be long before busybody philanthropy imposes any such chains upon it. "Tristan d'Acunha and Gough Island are the principal of a group of islands lying in lat. 37 deg. 6 min. S. and long. 12 deg. 2 min. W. It was take... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


On the evening of Sunday August 25th the hall of the Patriotic Club, Clerkenwell Green, London, E.C., was well-filled by Socialists anxious to bear the debate between our comrade John Turner, Anarchist Communist, and HERBERT Burrows, the Social Democrat. Morrison Davidson, who occupied the chair. said be sympathized with both Anarchists and Social Democrats. Anything that taught the English people to revolt against authority was, in his opinion, good. Anarchy was not as the ignorant imagined a synonym for disorder. Those who advocated it regarded. it as the highest form of order. They regarded Law as an evil in itself. They regarded the government of the majority as little better than the government of the oligarchy. He believed. however, t... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


Johann Most's most famous speech. "Among the beasts of prey man is certainly the worst." This expression, very commonly made nowadays, is only relatively true. Not man as such, but man in connection with wealth is a beast of prey. The richer a man, the greater his greed for more. We may call such a monster the `beast of property." It now rules the world, making mankind miserable. and gains in cruelty and voracity with the progress of our so called `civilization " This monster we will in the following characterize and recommend to extermination. Look about ye! In every so-called "civilized" country there are among every 100 men about 95 more or less destitute and about 5 money-bags. It is unnecessary to trace all the sneaking ways by which t... (From : http://www.eclipse.net/~basket42/beast.html.)


A CONTRIBUTION TO AN ANARCHIST BIBLIOGRAPHY OF LATIN AMERICA EDITORIAL LA PROTESTA BUENOS AIRES 1926 MAX NETTLAU - A BIOGRAPHY Max Nettlau was born in Neuwaldweg, near Vienna on 30 April 1865 and died on 23 July 1944. His father was descended form old Prussian stock, and had never renounced his nationality, although he lived in Austria. He saw to it that young Max received a very liberal education: after secondary schooling in Vienna, Max read philosophy in a variety of German towns. He secured his doctorate at the age of 23, with a thesis on Celtic languages. Enthused from an early age by the struggles of the Russian revolutionaries, Max joined the socialist movement and his anarchist beliefs took shape: but for them, he might have gone ov... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

At South Place
If a densely crowded meeting and sustained enthusiasm are criteria of a successful meeting, the gathering at South Place Institute on the eighteenth of March, convened by the Anarchist groups of London, must be considered as preeminently successful. Moreover it was one of the most international meetings ever held in this or any other country, speeches being delivered in the English, French, German, Italian, Russian and Yiddish languages. Before the speaking began there was a brisk sale of Freedom, Die Autonomic, The Workers' Friend, Herald of Anarchy, Commonweal, Free Russia, The Anarchist Labor Leaf and other revolutionary and Anarchist papers. A very large number of the Dew pamphlet, "The Commune of Paris" was also disposed of, besides a ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


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 Commune of March, 1871, was a new departure along an old track. When the workmen- of Paris rose against the middle-class assembly at Versailles, they did more than revolt against mere political tyranny, more than revolt against incapacity and treachery in face of a foreign foe. They revolted against property-rule. They revolted to regain an old popular right lost by the people in the evil days which grew up with the growth of government and law, and the rule of the property grabbers-the right of each group of workers, each locality to manage its own business. It is an old saying : If you want your business done go yourself, if not send some one else. Of late years the people have had plenty of this method of sending some one else. Sendi... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


From: Bakunin's Writings, Guy A. Aldred Modern Publishers, Indore Kraus Reprint co. New York 1947 THE COMMUNE, THE CHURCH & THE STATE. I am a passionate seeker for truth and just as strong an opponent of the corrupting lies, through which the party of order-this privileged, official, and interested representative of all religions, philosophical political, legal economical, and social outrage in the past and present-has tried to keep the world in ignorance. I love freedom with all my heart. It is the only condition under which the intelligence, the manliness, and happiness of the people, can develop and expand. By freedom, however, I naturally understand not its mere form, forced down as from above, measured and controlled by the state, ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Many Anarchists and thinkers in general, whilst recognizing the immense advantages which Communism may offer to society, yet consider this form of social organization a danger to the liberty and free development of the individual. This danger is also recognized by many Communists, and, taken as a whole, the question is merged in that other vast problem which our century has laid bare to its fullest extent: the relation of the individual to society. The importance of this question need hardly be insisted upon. The problem became obscured in various ways. When speaking of Communism, most people think of the more or less Christian and monastic and always authoritarian Communism advocated in the first half of this century and practiced in certa... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and New Politics. The Communist Manifesto: Insights and Problems Murray Bookchin [from New Politics, vol. 6, no. 4 (new series), whole no. 24, Winter 1998] Murray Bookchin is the author of numerous books on left social theory and history. His most recent work is The Third Revolution, a three-volume history of popular movements in the revolutionary era, Volumes 1 and 2 of which have recently been published by Cassell. IT IS POLITICALLY RESTORATIVE TO LOOK WITH A FRESH EYE at The Manifesto of the Communist Party (to use its original title), written before Marxism was overlaid by reformist, postmodernist, spiritual, and psychological commentaries. From an examination of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

THE CONQUEST OF BREAD by P. Kropotkin CHAPTER I Our Riches I THE human race has traveled far since, those bygone ages when men used to fashion their rude implements of flint, and lived on the precarious spoils of the chase, leaving to their children for their only heritage a shelter beneath the rocks, some poor utensils--and Nature, vast, ununderstood, and terrific, with whom they had to fight for their wretched existence. During the agitated times which have elapsed since, and which have lasted for many thousand years, mankind has nevertheless amassed untold treasures. It has cleared the land, dried the marshes, pierced the forests, made roads; it has been building, inventing, observing, reasoning; it has created a complex machinery, wrested her secrets from Nature, and finally it has made a servant of steam. And the result is, that now the child of t...


The Death Penalty La Peine de Mort Translated by Natalya Ratan and Virginia Anton. By Elisée Reclus I do not have the honor of being a Swiss Citizen and know only imperfectly the means to petition the removal of an article, but it is an issue of human agitation in all civilized countries As an international citizen I have the right to address this issue. Unfortunately I also am French and my motherland is also a country of executioners and the guillotine, that we have invented and use everyday Enemies of the death penalty. I must try to find their origins. Is if justifiable that it takes away from the right to self defense? If it is, it will be difficult to oppose it because we all have the right to self defense, against beasts and a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. Ecology and Revolutionary Thought by Lewis Herber (pseudonym for Murray Bookchin) [Originally published in Bookchin’s newsletter Comment in 1964 and republished in the British monthly Anarchy in 1965.] In almost every period since the Renaissance, the development of revolutionary thought has been heavily influenced by a branch of science, often in conjunction with a school of philosophy. Astronomy in the time of Copernicus and Galileo helped to guide a sweeping movement of ideas from the medieval world, riddled by superstition, into one pervaded by a critical rationalism, openly naturalistic and humanistic in outlook. During the Enlightenment—the era that culminated i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


EARLY DAYS: Life at home and school in St. Petersburg. My bourgeois father and aristocratic mother. Jews and gentiles. I question my father about the Turkish prisoners of war begging alms in the streets. OUR FAMILY SKELETON: Strange rumors about my mother and her brother Maxim. Echoes of the Polish rebellion of 1863. I hear of the dreaded Nihilists and revolution. A TERRIFIED HOUSEHOLD: A bomb explodes as I recite my lesson in school. The assassination of Czar Alexander II. Secret groups in our class. Police search our house. Uncle Maxim is arrested for conspiring against the Czar's Life. The funeral of the dead Czar. A terrorized city. FAMILY TROUBLES: Rumors of my beloved Uncle Maxim's execution. My terrible grief. Death of my father. We ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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 find sufficient encouragement to continue his v... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Rousseau was not a Socialist in any scientific and definite way, simply because he was not a political economist. Yet there was in himself amid to a great extent in his works also, all the emotional material of Socialism. And, inasmuch as the Anarchist faith and formula distinguish themselves from general Socialism, in that they affirm entire equality and freedom in association, not merely saying of the members of society that each is for the whole, but adding with the same emphasis that the whole is for each one, and that he, in and through the whole in which he lives and moves and has his being, is an end to himself and never merely a means to any alien end or good that does not include him and is not his very own: this being Anarchism in... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


The discussion on May 10th was very well attended. It was opened by Comrade Merlino. Communist Anarchism, he pointed out, is the logical outcome of the tendencies of the thought of our century, especially of the theory of evolution as applied to social development. As illustrations, he alluded to the growth of the new scientific attitude towards crime, and the practical modifications in an Anarchist direction which it is slowly beginning to introduce in the treatment of criminals; also to the growing tendency to criticize and distrust the system of representative government. The main objections generally raised to Socialism are based on the opposition of these obvious anti-authoritative tendencies of our time to the idea of time extension o... (From : AnarchyArchives.)

A Comedy in Four ActsLEONÍD FYÓDORITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. A retired Lieutenant of the Horse Guards. Owner of more than 60,000 acres of land in various provinces. A fresh-looking, bland, agreeable gentleman of 60. Believes in Spiritualism, and likes to astonish people with his wonderful stories. ANNA PÁVLOVNA ZVEZDÍNTSEVA. Wife of Leoníd. Stout; pretends to be young; quite taken up with the conventionalities of life; despises her husband, and blindly believes in her doctor. Very irritable. BETSY. Their daughter. A young woman of 20, fast, tries to be mannish, wears a pince-nez, flirts and giggles. Speaks very quickly and distinctly. VASÍLY LEONÍDITCH ZVEZDÍNTSEF. Their son, aged 25; has studied law, but has no definite occupation. Member of the Cycling Club, Jockey Club, and of the Society for Promoting the Breeding of Hounds. Enjoys perfect health, and has imperturbable self-assurance. Speaks loud...


When we cast a broad glance upon the history of mankind, we see one distinctive feature pervading it from the remotest antiquity up to our own times. On the one aide there are the masses toiling, laboring creating wealth by the labor of their hands, and asking for nothing else -but peace, liberty, and equality among themselves. And on the other side there is a minority, sometimes of foreign conquerors, and sometimes natives of the country itself, who continually aim dominating the masses, at freely enjoying the fruits of their labor, and at rendering their own rule everlasting by means of Law and Force, by an appropriate education, and religious teachings. All the history of mankind is nothing but that struggle between the two hostile force... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


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.)


On the 5th of May last the celebration of the centenary of the French Revolution began by the commemoration of the opening of the States-General at Versailles, at the same date, in the memorable year of 1789. And Paris—that city which in January last so clearly manifested its dissatisfaction with Parliamentary rule—heartily joined in the festivities organized to celebrate a day when parliamentary institutions, crossing the Channel, went to take firm root on the Continent. Must we see in the enthusiasm of the Parisians one of those seeming contradictions which are so common in the complicated life of large human agglomerations? Or was it the irresistible attraction of a spring festival which induced the Parisians to rush in flock... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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