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A great deal is being written now in the Soviet Press about the new American law against convict or forced labor. The United States has recently passed a statute according to which no goods can enter the country that are the product of unfree, forced or convict labor. The new law went into effect in January and there is much discussion in Russia, as well as in the United States, as to what effect the new legislation will [have] on Russian industrial conditions and on its foreign trade. The unusual feature of the law is that the burden of proof is laid upon the accused. That is, if Russia attempts to bring its manufactured goods into the United States, it will [be] up to the Soviets to prove that the goods are not the product of forced or co... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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.)
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.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Newsletter of the Green Program Project A LEFT GREEN PERIODICAL P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 No. 6, May 1988 Price:$1.50 The Crisis in the Ecology Movement by Murray Bookchin American ecology movements -- and particularly the American Greens -- are faced with a serious crisis of conscience and direction. Will ecologically oriented groups and the Greens become a movement that sees the roots of our ecological dislocations in social dislocations -- notably, in the domination of human by human which has produced the very notion of dominating nature? Or will ecology groups and the Greens turn the entire ecology movement into a starry-eyed religion... (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 23 June 1991 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 A Critique of the Draft Program of the Left Green Network by Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl Editors note: The Left Green Network is in the process of writing, developing and debating its program. The draft proposal for the program was published in the April/May 1991 issue of the Network's organizing bulletin, Left Green Notes, number 7. The following critique was written in response to that program. The proposed program will be debated at the upcoming continental conference of the Network, over the July 4 weekend in Chicago, Illinois. To receive a copy of t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. It appeared originally in The Progressive, August 1989, pp. 19-23. DEATH OF A SMALL PLANET It's growth that's killing us BY MURRAY BOOKCHIN We tend to think of environmental catastrophes -such as the recent Exxon Valdez oil-spill disaster in the Bay of Alaska-as "accidents": isolated phenomena that erupt without notice or warning. But when does the word accident become inappropriate? When are such occurrences inevitable rather than accidental? And when does a consistent pattern of inevitable disasters point to a deep-seated crisis that is not only environmental but profoundly social? President Bush was content to blame the spill of more than ten million gallons of c... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The doctrine of Malthus--Progress in wheat-growing--East Flanders--Channel Islands--Potato crops, past and present --Irrigation--Major Hallet's experiments--Planted wheat. Few books have exercised so pernicious an influence upon the general development of economic thought as Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population exercised for three consecutive generations. It appeared at the right time, like all books which have had any influence at all, and it summed up ideas already current in the minds of the wealth-possessing minority. It was precisely when the ideas of equality and liberty, awakened by the French and American revolutions, were still permeating the minds of the poor, while the richer classes had become tired of their amateur excursions into the same domains, that Malthus came to assert, in reply to Godwin, that no equality is possible; that the poverty of the many is not due to institutions, but is a natural law. Population, he wrote...
Voluntary Cooperation a Remedy Excerpted from the book; Individual Liberty Selections From the Writings of Benjamin R. Tucker Vanguard Press, New York, 1926 Kraus Reprint Co., Millwood, NY, 1973. Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe, of London, wrote a lengthy plaint in Liberty, setting forth his woes as a citizen beset with various difficulties. He wished to be informed if Anarchism could free him from those woes, whereupon Mr. Tucker tried to lead him to the light: The Anarchists never have claimed that liberty will bring perfection; they simply say that its results are vastly preferable to those that follow authority. Under liberty Mr. Donisthorpe may have to listen for some minutes every day to the barrel-organ (though I really think that it will never lodge him in the mad-house), but at least he will have the privilege of going to the music-hal...
FOREWORD Socialism is the future system of industrial society. Toward it America, Europe, Australasia, South Africa and Japan are rapidly moving. Under capitalism today the machines and other means of wealth production are privately owned. Under Socialism tomorrow they will be collectively owned. Under capitalism all popular constitutional government is merely political. Its main purpose is the protection of private property, Industry is at present governed by a few tyrants. Its purpose is to take from the workers as much wealth as possible. Under Socialism industrial government as well as political government will be democratic. Its purpose will be to manage production and to establish and conduct the great social institutions required by ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Since the death of those Chicago comrades of ours whose names are engraved on the hearts of all those who struggle for freedom, two years have passed away, during which the Anarchist cause has advanced by leaps and bounds. In America itself it does not appear to us Europeans that great progress has been made, because there have been no stirring events such as have happened on this side of the Atlantic, but those who know the workers of the United States best know that the new ideas are ever gaining fresh adherents. and that with the increasing tyranny of capitalist rule has grown up in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of the most intelligent of American workmen a determination to be free. The men who will lead the Social Revolution in Am... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
[Liberty, August 18, 1888.] To the Editor of Liberty(67 ¶ 1) During the past six months I have read your paper searchingly, and greatly admire it in many respects, but as yet do not grasp your theory of interest. Can you give space for a few words to show from your standpoint the fallacy in the following ideas?(67 ¶ 2) Interest I understand to be a payment, not for money, but for capital which the money represents; that is, for the use of the accumulated wealth of the race. As that is limited, while human wants are infinite, it would appear that there will always be a demand for more than exists. The simplest way of solving the difficulty would, therefore, be to put the social capital up and let open competition settle its price. Added accumulation means...
These letters, addressed to Frederic Bastiat, an economist, originally appeared in a debate published in The Voice of the People, in 1849. Interest and Principal A Loan is a Service On the one hand, it is very true, as you have unquestionably established, that a loan is a service. And as every service has a value, and, in consequence, is entitled by its nature to a reward, it follows that a loan ought to have its price, or, to use the technical phrase, ought to bear interest. But it is also true, and this truth is consistent with the preceding one, that he who tends, under the ordinary conditions of the professional lender, does not deprive himself, as you phrase it, of the capital which be lends. He lends it, on the contrary, precisely bec... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
These letters, addressed to Frederic Bastiat, an economist, originally appeared in a debate published in The Voice of the People, in 1849. Interest and Principal The Origin of Ground Rent I said before that in ancient times the landed proprietor, when neither he nor his family farmed his land, as was the case among the Romans in the early days of the Republic, cultivated it through his slaves: such was the general practice of patrician families. Then slavery and the soil were chained together; the farmer was called adscrpitus gleboe, joined to the land; property in men and things was undivided. The price of a farm depended upon its area and quality of its soil, upon the quantity of stock, and upon the number of slaves. When the emancipation... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Generally speaking, there is neither any sincere and intelligent plan among the reformers, of whatever hue, to solve this great problem, nor any possibility of a thorough and final solution of unemployment within the legal and industrial boundaries of present-day capitalist society. Unemployment is no sporadic phenomenon of modern life. It is inherent in the character and mode of functioning of our industrial system. The jobless man is always with us, and industrial crises or stagnation, eliminating hundreds of thousands of workers, for a longer or shorter period, from the field of labor, are events of regular and inevitable recurrence. The causes of unemployment are ridiculously simple, and therefore so little understood. Sociologists, pol... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in their IdeasSECTION II. What is Wealth? Wealth is any thing, that is, or can be made, valuable to man, or available for his use. The term wealth properly includes every conceivable object, idea, and sensation, that can either contribute to, or constitute, the physical, intellectual, moral, or emotional well-being of man. Light, air, water, earth, vegetation, minerals, animals, every material thing, living or dead, animate or inanimate, that can aid, in any way, the comfort, happiness, or welfare of man, are wealth. Things intangible and imperceptible by our physical organs, and perceptible only by the intellect, or felt only by the affections, are wealth. Thus liberty is wealth; opportunity is wealth; motion or labor is wealth; rest is wealth; reputation is wealth; love is wealth; sympathy is wealth; hope is wealth; knowledge is wealth; truth is wealth; for the simple reason that th...
A Letter to Grover Cleveland, on his false Inaugural Address, the Usurpations and Crimes of Lawmakers and Judges, and the consequent Poverty, Ignorance, and Servitude of the People A LETTER TO GROVER CLEVELAND. Section I. To Grover Cleveland: Sir, Your inaugural address is probably as honest, sensible, and consistent a one as that of any president within the last fifty years, or, perhaps, as any since the foundation of the government. If, therefore, it is false, absurd, self-contradictory, and ridiculous, it is not (as I think) because you are personally less honest, sensible, or consistent than your predecessors, but because the government itself—according to your own description of it, and according to the practical administration o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Dr. Malthus, an economist, an Englishman, once wrote the following words: “A man who is born into a world already possessed, if he cannot get subsistence from his parents on whom he has a just demand, and if the society do not want his labor, has no claim of right to the smallest portion of food, and, in fact, has no business to be where he is. At nature’s mighty feast there is no vacant cover for him. She tells him to be gone, and will quickly execute her own orders...” As a consequence of this great principle, Malthus recommends, with the most terrible threats, every man who has neither labor nor income upon which to live to take himself away, or at any rate to have no more children. A family, — that is, love, &mda... (From : anarchism.pageabode.com.)
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.)
MUNICIPALIZATION Community Ownership of the Economy1 by Murray Bookchin In my article, "Toward a Libertarian Municipalism2," I advanced the view that any counterculture to the prevailing culture must be developed together with counterinstitutions to the prevailing institutions -- a decentralized, confederal, popular power that will acquire the control over social and political life that is being claimed by the centralized, bureaucratic nation-state. Through much of the nineteenth century and nearly half of the twentieth, the classical center of this popular power was located by most radical ideologies in the factory, the arena for the conflict between wage labor and capital. The factory as the locus of the "power question" rested on the bel... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A NEW BANKING SYSTEM THE NEEDFUL CAPITAL FOR REBUILDING THE BURNT DISTRICT By LYSADNER SPOONER. BOSTON: SOLD BY A. WILLIAMS & CO. 135 WASHINGTON SREET 1873 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, By LYSANDER SPOONER, In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. Printed by WARREN RICHARDSON, 112 Washington St. C O N T E N T S. CHAPTER I. A New Banking System CHAPTER II. Specie Payments CHAPTER III. No Inflation Prices CHAPTER IV. Security of the System CHAPTER V. The System as a Credit System CHAPTER VI. Amount of Currency Needed CHAPTER VII. Importance of the System to Massachusetts, CHAPTER VIII. The True Character of the "National" System CHAPTER IX. Amasa Walker's Opinion of the Author's System The... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A Letter From Paris
A new illusion to the fore. When, oh when, we may well ask, shall we see the last? Trades' unionism, cooperation, Socialistic legislation, universal suffrage, labor representation, all have had their day in this or other countries, and have failed to bring about social equality and justice. Now to the great joy of all reactionaries, another failure is about to be added to the list--I mean the Labor Exchange. A few days ago, wandering in the Paris streets, I happened to stop in front of a building which is being adapted for a Labor Exchange. A workman, perceiving the interest with which I watched the work began to talk to me. "Here at last," said he, "is an institution for the benefit of the working classes! Now-a-days the workman out of emp... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
What is there about money and its function in commercial societies that entraps so many into laying on "the currency" the responsibility for that disease of modem societies of which the tricks of the money market are but a single symptom Not capitalism, they would have us believe, is the enemy, but coined money. Here is a pamphlet by our comrade D. A. Andrade, of the Melbourne Anarchists' Club, which is really quite bewildering in its mixture of sound sense and--opinions on currency. Andrade ought, by his own showing, to be quite free from the influence of the vulgar illusions which haunt the threshold of the study of wealth, for he warns us that money is simply "the token by which one individual keeps record of and measures that portion of... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
The Newcastle Daily Chronicle: February 20, 1985, p4. Reprinted in Small Communal Experiments and Why They Fail Jura Books Editor's Preface Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) was one of the greatest anarchist theoreticians of his time. Although he admired the directly democratic and non-authoritarian practices of the traditional peasant village commune, he was never an advocate of small and isolated communal experimentalism. Many people, upon reading his works, have been inspired to found such communities, both in his own time as well as the hippies of the 1960s (a period when Kropotkin's major works were republished and influential). Kropotkin did not consider such ventures were likely to be successful or useful in achieving wider revolutionary g... (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.)
The defenders and guardians of property are trying to raise such a dust in one comer of the labor market as to divert public attention from the general misery of the workers and stave off the Social Revolution with one more quack reform. They feel specially called upon to inquire into the condition of the comparative handful of Jewish and other foreign immigrants who have fled to London from the persecution and oppression of the ruling classes elsewhere. Very probably the Tory Government might find a new and stringent alien law convenient in dealing with other foreign refugees, besides the victims of the sweating system, if only they could establish any sort of pretext for proposing it, What would these disinterested philanthropists think o... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
Our reformers have suddenly made a great discovery--the white slave traffic. The papers are full of these "unheard-of conditions," and lawmakers are already planning a new set of laws to check the horror. It is significant that whenever the public mind is to be diverted from a great social wrong, a crusade is inaugurated against indecency, gambling, saloons, etc. And what is the result of such crusades? Gambling is increasing, saloons are doing a lively business through back entrances, prostitution is at its height, and the system of pimps and cadets is but aggravated. How is it that an institution, known almost to every child, should have been discovered so suddenly? How is it that this evil, known to all sociologists, should now be made s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
I begin with an admission: Regardless of all political and economic theories, treating of the fundamental differences between various groups within the human race, regardless of class and race distinctions, regardless of all artificial boundary lines between woman's rights and man's rights, I hold that there is a point where these differentiations may meet and grow into one perfect whole. With this I do not mean to propose a peace treaty. The general social antagonism which has taken hold of our entire public life today, brought about through the force of opposing and contradictory interests, will crumble to pieces when the reorganization of our social life, based upon the principles of economic justice, shall have become a reality. Peace o... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The spectacle presented at this moment by Europe is deplorable enough but withal particularly instructive. On the one hand, diplomatists and courtiers hurrying hither and thither with the increased activity which displays itself whenever the air of our old continent begins to smell of powder. Alliances are being made and unmade, with much chaffering over the amount of human cattle that shall form the price of the bargain. "So many million head on condition of your house supporting ours; so many acres to feed them, such and such seaports for the export of their wool." Each plotting to overreach his rivals in the market. That is what in political jargon is known as diplomacy. [NOTE. -- While it will be understood that the political situation ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)