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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.)


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.)


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! JOHN HENRY MACKAY. &... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From: Bakunin's Writings, Guy A. Aldred Modern Publishers, Indore Kraus Reprint co. New York 1947 THE CLASS WAR Except Proudhoun and M. Louis Blanc almost all the historians of the revolution of l848 and of the coup d'etat of December, 1851, as well as the greatest writers of bourgeois radicalism, the Victor Hugos, the Quinets, etc. have commented at great length on the crime and the criminals of December; but they have never deigned to touch upon the crime and the criminals of June. And yet it is so evident that December was nothing but the fatal consequence of June and its repetition on a large scale. Why this silence about June? Is it because the criminals of June are bourgeois republicans of whom the above named writers have been, moral... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


If I were asked to give my opinion, as a geographer, on the pending conflict on the Afghan frontier, I should merely open the volume of Elisée Reclus's Geographie Universelle L'Asie, Russe, and show the pages he has consecrated under this head to the description of the Afghan Turkistan. Summing up the result of his extensive careful and highly impartial studies of Central Asia, Reclus has not hesitated to recognize that, geographically, the upper Oxus and all the northern slope of the Iran and Afghan plateaux belong to the Ural-Caspian region, and that the growing influence of the Slavonian might cannot fail to unite, sooner or later, into one political group, the various parts of this immense basin. And, surely, nobody who has studi... (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.)


In reply to "A project of anarchist organization" Dear Comrade Malatesta, I have read your response to the project for an 'Organizational Platform of a General Union of Anarchists', a project published by the group of Russian anarchists abroad. My impression is that either you have misunderstood the project for the 'Platform' or your refusal to recognize collective responsibility in revolutionary action and the directional function that the anarchist forces must take up, stems from a deep conviction about anarchism that leads you to disregard that principle of responsibility. Yet, it is a fundamental principle, which guides each one of us in our way of understanding the anarchist idea, in our determination that it should penetrate to the ma... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)


The minds of men are in confusion, for the very foundations of our civilization seem to be tottering. People are losing faith in the existing institutions, and the more intelligent realize that capitalist industrialism is defeating the very purpose it is supposed to serve. The world is at a loss for a way out. Parliamentarism and democracy are on the decline. Salvation is being sought in Fascism and other forms of "strong" government. The struggle of opposing ideas now going on in the world involves social problems urgently demanding a solution. The welfare of the individual and the fate of human society depend on the right answer to those questions The crisis, unemployment, war, disarmament, international relations, etc., are among those p... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


No one at all capable of an intense conscious inner life need ever hope to escape mental anguish and suffering. Sorrow and often despair over the so-called eternal fitness of things are the most persistent companions of our life. But they do not come upon us from the outside, through the evil deeds of particularly evil people. They are conditioned in our very being; indeed, they are interwoven through a thousand tender and coarse threads with our existence. It is absolutely necessary that we realize this fact, because people who never get away from the notion that their misfortune is due to the wickedness of their fellows never can outgrow the petty hatred and malice which constantly blames, condemns, and hounds others for something that is... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


No incident of recent years has served to bring out so much crude thinking among supposedly educated men as the now happily ended McNamara case. A wave of hysterical passion for law and order seems suddenly to have swept over the land, a passion which one would like to believe is entirely sincere and ready to carry itself through to logical conclusions. It looks a little too much like a sudden scare, a purely physical timidity on the part of the comfortable classes, to be quite convincing. The gallant and well-worn phrase, law and order, has been worked overtime to conceal a very real fear on the part of the dominant classes for their lives and property. The law and order which they reverence is one in which society minds its own business a... (From : fair-use.org.)


From: International Publishers, International Pamphlets No. 12, sponsored by the John Reed Club, an organization of revolutionary writers and artists in New York. Third edition, 1934. On March 18, 1871, the revolutionary workers of Paris established the Commune. It was the first attempt at a proletarian dictatorship. Again and again the story has been told: how Napoleon III (the Little) attempted to bolster up the decaying regime of the Second Empire by declaring war on Prussia in July, 1871; how he met his debacle at Sedan and exposed Paris to the Prussian troops; how a bourgeois republic was proclaimed in September and a so-called Government of National Defense organized; how this Government betrayed the besieged city and how the Parisian... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From: La Correspondance de Michel Bakunin, "Lettres A Herzen et A Ogareff, Paris: Librairie Academique Didier, 1896. Dear Herzen, In all honesty, you have as much of a talent for misunderstanding my thoughts as you do my words. I never had the slightest doubt about the usefulness, nay the necessity, to unite with the Polish people; I leave this matter to your very own argument. The only thing here which could lead me to doubts is that you yourself have no strong faith in this alliance, and if you think you saw discontent in my reaction, it was certainly not caused by Martianoff, but rather by the fear that you could still hesitate at the last moment. I was wrong; so much the better. About the conflict in opinion between us and Martianoff co... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview by Murray Bookchin Perhaps the greatest single failing of movements for social reconstruction -- I refer particularly to the Left, to radical ecology groups, and to organizations that profess to speak for the oppressed -- is their lack of a politics that will carry people beyond the limits established by the status quo. Politics today means duels between top-down bureaucratic parties for electoral office, that offer vacuous programs for "social justice" to attract a nondescript "electorate." Once in office, their programs usually turn into a bouquet of "compromises " In this respect, many Green parties in Europe have been only marginally different from conventional parliamentary parties. Nor have social... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Denver is not unlike a prison. Its inhabitants, too, have been sent there "to do time." That which makes the position of the prisoner preferable, is the consolation that the State will feed him and that some day his time will expire. The majority of Denverites have no such cheerful outlook, Although arriving there with hopes of a speedy return, it's usually imprisonment for life. We all know the paralyzing effect of the daily grind for existence, even for most of us who can boast an average physique. How much more paralyzing must it be for those who go to Denver as a last resort to rescue life from its downward path? Under such conditions and in such an atmosphere people are not interested in abstract ideas. "To hell with Bebel's speech," s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

An Essay
• "...where violence intervenes, injustice, oppression and exploitation invariably triumph."
• "...­human history is full of violence, wars, carnage (besides the ruthless exploitation of the labor of others) and innumerable tyrannies and slavery."
• "...official "morality"... serves to defend the privilege and violence of the ruling class..."


This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. On "Remaking of the American Left" Murray Bookchin STANLEY ARONOWITZ has written a generally admirable and important work in Socialist Review, "The Remaking of the American Left," that deserves widespread discussion. For the present, I would like to focus on what I regard as a core issue of the article, notably Aronowitz's distinction "between the ideological left of socialists, communists, libertarians of various sorts . . . and the popular left" which in past decades consisted of movements for redistributive justice," by which I take Aronowitz to mean the traditional labor, agrarian, and unemployed movements of the 1930s and earlier periods. While these movements ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


March is a historic month: in the struggle of mankind against the power of darkness and oppression it has frequently played a very significant role. But the most important March event of modern times is of comparatively recent date. It took place in Russia just ten years ago in 1921, and is known as the Kronstadt Rebellion. In many of its characteristics the Kronstadt Rebellion had great similarity with another great historic uprising, namely that of the proletariat of Paris in 1870, which is known as the Paris Commune. The month of March is the anniversary of the Paris Commune, as well the as the Kronstadt Rebellion, and it is fitting that the two great events be celebrated at the same time. I say " celebrated" advisedly. For though Kronst... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


First Published in 1871 Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY. Image:1 This work, like all my published work, of which there has not been a great deal, is an outgrowth of events. It is the natural continuation of my Letters to a Frenchman (September 1870), wherein I had the easy but painful distinction of foreseeing and foretelling the dire calamities which now beset France and the whole civilized world, the only cure for which is the Social Revolution. My purpose now is to prove the need for such a revolution. I shall review the historical development of society and what is now taking place in Europe, right before our eyes. Thus all those who sincerely thirst for truth can accept it and proclaim openly and unequivocally the philosophical principle... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Saverio Merlino sees, according to us, the decomposition and agony of the anarchist movement in the conflict between the individualist and the organizers on the ground of immediate action and in the intimate contradiction particular to the two streams of thought: those, the organizers “are not able to find a compatible organization with the anarchist principles”: those, the individualists, “miss the concept of retaliation which was the spirit of anarchist action. They can’t find a better way to act and they are not able to sustain an organization that they deny.” That these organizers can’t find some form of organization compatible with the anarchist principles is perfectly natural and logical: and this, its ar... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Price:$1.00 A LEFT GREEN PUBLICATION Number 18 November 1989 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 Radical Politics in an Era of Advanced Capitalism by Murray Bookchin Defying all the theoretical predictions of the 1930s, capitalism has restabilized itself with a vengeance and acquired extraordinary flexibility in the decades since World War II. In fact, we have yet to clearly determine what constitutes capitalism in its most "mature" form, not to speak of its social trajectory in the years to come. But what is clear, I would argue, is that capitalism has transformed itself from an economy surrounded by many precapitalist social and political formatio... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Noam Chomsky on Anarchism, Marxism & Hope for the Future Noam Chomsky is widely known for his critique of U.S foreign policy, and for his work as a linguist. Less well known is his ongoing support for libertarian socialist objectives. In a special interview done for Red and Black Revolution, Chomsky gives his views on anarchism and marxism, and the prospects for socialism now. The interview was conducted in May 1995 by Kevin Doyle. RBR: First off, Noam, for quite a time now you've been an advocate for the anarchist idea. Many people are familiar with the introduction you wrote in 1970 to Daniel Guerin's Anarchism: From Theory to Practice, but more recently, for instance in the film Manufacturing Dissent, you took the opportunity to high... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)


Political Freedom without economic equality is a pretense, a fraud, a lie; and the workers want no lying. The workers necessarily strive after a fundamental transformation of society, the result of which must be the abolition of classes, equally in economic as in political respects: after a system of society in which all men will enter the world under special conditions, will be able to unfold and develop themselves, work and enjoy the good things of life. These are the demands of justice. But how can we from the abyss of ignorance, of misery and slavery, in which the workers on the land and in the cities are sunk, arrive at that paradise, the realization of justice and manhood? For this the workers have one means: the Association of Counci... (From : Marxists.org.)


SOCIETY AND ECOLOGY The problems which many people face today in "defining" themselves, in knowing "who they are"--problems that feed a vast psychotherapy industry--are by no means personal ones. These problems exist not only for private individuals; they exist for modern society as a whole. Socially, we live in desperate uncertainty about how people relate to each other. We suffer not only as individuals from alienation and confusion over our identities and goals; our entire society, conceived as a single entity, seems unclear about its own nature and sense of direction. If earlier societies tried to foster a belief in the virtues of cooperation and caring, thereby giving an ethical meaning to social life, modern society fosters a belief i... (From : Spunk.org.)


There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions. The accepted ideas of the constitution of the State, of the laws of social equilibrium, of the political and economic interrelations of citizens, can hold out no longer against the implacable criticism which is daily undermining them whenever occasion arises,--in drawing room as in cabaret, in the writings of philosophers as in daily ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936Preface These essays are less an analysis of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War of 1936-39 than an evocation of the greatest proletarian and peasant revolution to occur over the past two centuries. Although they contain a general overview and evaluation of the Anarchist and Anarchosyndicalist movements (the two should be clearly distinguished) in the three-year struggle at the end of the 1930s, they are not intended to be a full account of those complex events. It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish Revolution was the farthest-reaching movement that the Left ever produced, for reasons the essays that follow will make clear. The Spanish proletariat and peasantry, led largely by Anarchist militants whose names will never be known to us, strained the limits of what we in the 1930s called "proletarian socialism" and went appreciably beyond them. Far more than the leaders of the Anarchosyndicalist National Confederation of Labor and the Iberian Anarchist Fe...


This letter was translated by John Clark and appears in Anarchy Archives with his permission To the editors of la Huelga General in Barcelona. Brussels, Dec. 4, 1901. Corresp. III:238-240. Dear comrades, We have an ingrained habit of exaggerating both our strengths and our weakness. During revolutionary periods, it seems that our most minor actions have incalculably great consequences. On the other hand, during times of stagnation, though we may be totally dedicated to our work, our entire lives seem barren and useless, and we may even feel swept away by the winds of reaction. What then should we do to maintain our intellectual vigor, our moral energy, and our faith in the good fight? You come to me hoping to draw on my long experience of p... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


With an Introduction by James J. Martin Introduction In reissuing this famous but long-neglected work for the first time in over a century, it is not intended that it furnish a pretext to leap into the complex controversy concerning "women's rights" which has become increasingly intensified in the last fifteen years. The object is rather to bring attention to an undeservedly obscured figure in American intellectual and ideological history, first of all, and to put on the contemporary record one of the overlooked phases of the struggle to achieve equality before the law, especially, for women in the USA. It has been observed that it has become progressively more difficult to write about any phase of this subject recently, as the language of ... (From : crispinsartwell.com.)


This work is part of the International Institute for Social History's collection and appears in Anarchy Archives with ISSH's permission. TO THE PUBLIC. THE AMERICAN LETTER MAIL COMPANY present the following exposition of the grounds on which they assert their right to establish mails and postoffices, in competition with those of Congress. If the public are satisfied of the correctness of the principle, the Company ask their patronage to enable them to sustain it. CONTENTS. 1. Argument. 2. Review of the Postmaster General's Argument. UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE LAWS OF CONGRESS, PROHIBITING PRIVATE MAILS. ARGUMENT. Of the following propositions, almost any one of them is sufficient, I apprehend, to prove the unconstitutionality of all laws pr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


To most Americans of the classes which consider themselves significant the war [World War II brought a sense of the sanctity of the State which, if they had had time to think about it, would have seemed a sudden and surprising alteration in their habits of thought. In times of peace, we usually ignore the State in favor of partisan political controversies, or personal struggles for office, or the pursuit of party policies. It is the Government rather than the State with which the politically minded are concerned. The State is reduced to a shadowy emblem which comes to consciousness only on occasions of patriotic holiday. Government is obviously composed of common and unsanctified men, and is thus a legitimate object of criticism and even co... (From : bopsecrets.org.)


PREFACE EVERY great movement since the beginning of history has been a movement to lift the bottom dog and put him on his feet. And every such movement has been led by extremists. All the great names of history have been the names of extremists. The brave pioneers who blazed the trail through the unknown forest had to fight their way against the many dangers of wild nature, wild beasts, and wilder men. The heroic men who first raised their voices in the cause of religious liberty had to pass through years of cruel persecution. They were hounded to the scaffold or the state with execration and abuse. The wheel slowly turns full circle, and the malefactor of yesterday become the hero-martyr of to-day, and the faithful tread weary miles to his... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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