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EDITOR: Murray Bookchin Vol. 1, No. 4 Price: 80 cents To conceal real crises by creating specious ones is an old political trick, but the past year has seen it triumph with an almost classic example of text-book success. The so-called "Iranian Crisis" and Russia's heavy-handed invasion of its Afghan satellite have completely deflected public attention from the deeper waters of American domestic and foreign policy. One would have to be blind not to see that the seizure of the American embassy in Teheran by a ragtail group of Maoist students spared both Khomeini and Carter a sharp decline in domestic popularity. The students, whoever they may be, functioned like a deus ex machina in promoting the political interests of the Iranian Ayatollah a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Parsons, A.R. . Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis. Chicago, Mrs. A. R. Parsons [c1887]. PART II CHAPTER I. ANARCHY ON TRIAL. "Black says they are humanitarians. Don't try, gentlemen, to shirk the issue. Anarchy is on trial; the defendants -are on trial for treason and murder." Mr. Black-- The indictment does not charge treason; does it, Mr. Grinnell? Mr. Grinnell -No, sir.-Extract from closing speech of the State's Attorney. Not until this announcement, in the closing words of the last speech by the attorney representing the State, were the eight defendants apprized, officially, or otherwise, that the question at issue was anarchy; for professing which, a verdict of death was then demanded. This announcement was all the more startling from the fact that frequent attacks had been made upon them as socialists and anarchists throughout the trial; and...

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.)

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.)

If Dyer D. Lum were living I doubt whether the articles of Mr. Black, recently copied by the Twentieth Century from the “Australian Workman,” would elicit anything further from him than a hearty laugh. Mr. Lum had a very keen appreciation of the ludicrous and the richness of being classed in company with Victor Yarros as a Communist would have touched what he called his “Sense of ticklety” sufficiently to have compensated him for being subjected to the treatment of such a reviewer. He can, indeed, well afford to be accounted as “lacking in understanding” by this “turgid and tangled” gentleman from New South Wales. It is better to be praised by such a critic’s damnation than damned by his... (From :

This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From: Telos, no. 50 (Winter 1981-82). Telos Discussions: FINDING THE SUBJECT: NOTES ON WHITEBOOK AND "HABERMAS LTD." by Murray Bookchin "For a whole series of reasons, the reputation of Karl Marx has been reborn in a new form, the form of Marx as a sociologist. I believe that this is error: that Marx neither was -- nor in a very important sense intended to be -- a sociologist..." Donald G. Macrae Whitebook has known for years that I reject the very use of the word "modernity." So his attempt to dissociate me from it is quite gratuitous. He also knows that I reject it for reasons that have nothing to do with a desire to return to "premodernity." I also reject "sociol... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

To Business Men. To you, business men, I dedicate these new essays. You have always been the boldest, the most skillful revolutionaries. It was you who, from the third century of the Christian era, drew the winding-sheet over the Roman Empire in Gaul, by your municipal federations. Had it not been for the barbarians, whose coming suddenly changed the aspect of affairs, the republic which you established would have ruled the Middle Ages. Remember that the monarchy in our country is Frankish, not Gallic. It was you who later vanquished feudalism, arraying the town against the castle, the king against the vassals. Finally, it was you who, for eighty years past, have proclaimed, one after the other, all the revolutionary ideas—liberty of worship, liberty of the press, liberty of association, liberty of commerce and industry: it is you who, by your cleverly drawn constitutions, have curbed the altar and the throne, and established upon a permane...

Written: August 1874; Source: Bakunin on Anarchy, translated and edited by Sam Dolgoff, 1971. Bakunin was above all preoccupied with the theory and practice of revolution and wrote very little about how the everyday practical problems of social reconstruction would be handled immediately following a successful revolution. Nevertheless, these problems were intensively discussed in Bakunin’s circle and among the anti-authoritarian sections of the International. In “Ideas on Social Organization”, Guillaume discusses the transition from capitalism to anarchism – a synthesis of “Bakuninist” ideas on how this transition could be effected without the restoration of authoritarian institutions.” Its value li... (From :

Instead of a book! I hear the reader exclaim, as he picks up this volume and glances at its title; why, it is is a book. To all appearance, yes; essentially, no. It is, to be sure, an assemblage within a cover of printed sheets consecutively numbered; but this alone does not constitute a book. A book, properly speaking, is first of all a thing of unity and symmetry, of order and finish; it is a literary structure, each part of which is subordinated to the whole and created for it. To satisfy such a standard this volume does not pretend; it is not a structure, but an afterthought, a more or less coherent arrangement, each part of which was created almost without reference to any other. Yet not quite so, after all; otherwise even the smallest degree of coherence were scarcely possible.(Preface ¶ 1) The facts are these. In August, 1881, I started in Boston...

GREEN PERSPECTIVES A Left Green Publication Number 20 November 1989 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 The Meaning of Confederalism by Murray Bookchin Few arguments have been used more effectively to challenge the case for face-to-face participatory democracy than the claim that we live in a "complex society." Modern population centers, we are told, are too large and too concentrated to allow for direct decision-making at a grassroots level. And our economy is too "global," presumably, to unravel the intricacies of production and commerce. In our present transnational, often highly centralized social system, it is better to enhance representation in the state, to increase the efficiency of bureaucratic institutions, we are advised, than to a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

II. Replacing the cult of God by respect and love of humanity, we proclaim human reason as the only criterion of truth; human conscience as the basis of justice; individual and collective freedom as the only source of order in society. III. Freedom is the absolute right of every adult man and woman to seek no other sanction for their acts than their own conscience and their own reason, being responsible first to themselves and then to the society which they have voluntarily accepted. IV. It is not true that the freedom of one man is limited by that of other men. Man is really free to the extent that his freedom, fully acknowledged and mirrored by the free consent of his fellowmen, finds confirmation and expansion in their liberty. Man is tr... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm by Murray Bookchin For some two centuries, anarchism -- a very ecumenical body of anti-authoritarian ideas -- developed in the tension between two basically contradictory tendencies: a personalistic commitment to individual autonomy and a collectivist commitment to social freedom. These tendencies have by no means been reconciled in the history of libertarian thought. Indeed, for much of the last century, they simply coexisted within anarchism as a minimalist credo of opposition to the State rather than as a maximalist credo that articulated the kind of new society that had to be created in its place. Which is not to say that various schools of anarchism did not advocate very sp... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Proudhon, Pierre Joseph. System of Economical Contradictions: or, the Philosophy of Misery Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library I. If I follow the God-idea through its successive transformations, I find that this idea is preeminently social: I mean by this that it is much more a collective act of faith than an individual conception. Now, how and under what circumstances is this act of faith produced? This point it is important to determine. From the moral and intellectual point of view, society, or the collective man, is especially distinguished from the individual by spontaneity of action, -- in other words, instinct. While the individual obeys, or imagines he obeys, only those motives of which he is fully conscious, and upon which he can at will decline or consent to act; while, in a word, he thinks himself free, and all the freer when he knows that he is possessed of keener reasoni...

An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of GovernmentP. J. Proudhon: His Life and His Works. The correspondence of P. J. Proudhon, the first volumes of which we publish to-day, has been collected since his death by the faithful and intelligent labors of his daughter, aided by a few friends. It was incomplete when submitted to Sainte Beuve, but the portion with which the illustrious academician became acquainted was sufficient to allow him to estimate it as a whole with that soundness of judgment which characterized him as a literary critic. In an important work, which his habitual readers certainly have not forgotten, although death did not allow him to finish it, Sainte Beuve thus judges the correspondence of the great publicist: — “The letters of Proudhon, even outside the circle of his particular friends, will always be of value; we can always learn something from them, and here is the proper place to determine the general character of his correspondence. “It has alw...

After having passed the greater part of my life in the country, I came at length, in the year 1881, to reside in Moscow, where I was immediately struck with the extreme state of pauperism in that city. Though well acquainted with the privations of the poor in rural districts, I had not the faintest conception of their actual condition in towns. In Moscow it is impossible to pass a street without meeting beggars of a peculiar kind, quite unlike those in the country, who go about there, as the saying is, “with a bag and the name of Christ.” The Moscow beggars neither carry a bag nor ask for alms. In most cases when they meet you, they try to catch your eye, and then act according to the expression of your face. I know of one such, a bankrupt gentleman. He is an old man who advances slowly, limping painfully with each leg. When he meets you, he limps, and makes a bow. If you stop, he takes off his cap, ornamented with a cockade, bows aga...

At my request, there had been assigned to me for the census, a portion of the Khamovnitchesky quarter, at the Smolensk market, along the Prototchny cross-street, between Beregovoy Passage and Nikolsky Alley. In this quarter are situated the houses generally called the Rzhanoff Houses, or the Rzhanoff fortress. These houses once belonged to a merchant named Rzhanoff, but now belong to the Zimins. I had long before heard of this place as a haunt of the most terrible poverty and vise, and I had accordingly requested the directors of the census to assign me to this quarter. My desire was granted. On receiving the instructions of the City Council, I went alone, a few days previous to the beginning of the census, to reconnoiter my section. I found the Rzhanoff fortress at once, from the plan with which I had been furnished. I approached from Nikolsky Alley. Nikolsky Alley ends on the left in a gloomy house, without any gates on that si...


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