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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-enc...


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.)

February 24.---It was 3 A. M. In the Foreign Office correspondents were about and visitors come by appointment with Tchicherin. The People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs has turned night into day. I found Tchicherin at a desk in a large, cold office, an old shawl wrapped around his neck. Almost his first question was "how soon the revolution could be expected in the States." When I replied that the American workers were still too much under the influence of the reactionary leaders, he called me pessimistic. In a revolutionary time like the present, he thought, even the Federation of Labor must quickly change to a more radical attitude. He was very hopeful of revolutionary developments in England and America in the near future. We discussed the Industrial Workers of the World, Tchicherin saying that he believed I exaggerated their importance as the only revolutionary proletarian movement in America. He considered the Communist Party in that country of far gr...


Comments on the International Social Ecology Network Gathering and the "Deep Social Ecology" of John Clark by Murray Bookchin Between August 14 and 19, 1995, an international social ecology network gathering met near Dunoon, Scotland, to discuss the topic "Democracy and Ecology." Its agenda featured, among other presentations, a one-hour summary of a long essay by John Clark titled "The Politics of Social Ecology: Beyond the Limits of the City." My age and growing disabilities prevented me from attending the gathering, which caused me some concern since Clark has broken with social ecology and become, as he impishly denominated himself in The Trumpeter, an organ of the deep ecology "movement," a "deep social ecologist, or social deep ecolog... (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 greatest excitement has prevailed in Russia for the last few weeks since it became known that representatives of the Zemstvos of thirty-four provinces of the Empire were going to meet at St. Petersburg in order to discuss the necessary reforms in the general political organization of the country. The very fact that such an authorization had been granted was equivalent to an invitation to discuss a scheme of a Constitution; and so it was understood everywhere. When the Zemstvo delegates were leaving their respective provincial towns they were sent off by groups of enthusiastic friends, whose parting words were: 'Return with a Constitution!' Their original intention was to make of their conference a solemn official gathering which would s... (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.)


Note: This piece was printed in Alternative Forum, Vol. 1, No. 1, Fall, 1991 INTELLIGENTSIA AND THE NEW INTELLECTUALS By Murray Bookchin Editorial Introduction: The following lecture was delivered as the opening address at the fourth continental Youth Greens conference that took place on the campus of Goddard College in Vermont on July 27,1990 The social theorist Murray Bookchin, whose work on ecology began with an article on the chemical additives in food in 1952, is a long-standing activist in the ecology movement and the author of several books, including The Ecology of Freedom, Remaking Society and The Philosophy of Social Ecology. In many ways, this confrontational and thought-provoking address expresses some of the most difficult prob... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From my copy of Alexander Berkman's The Kronstadt Rebellion, Berlin: Der Sindikalist, 1922. Russian Revolution Series The Kronstadt Rebellion By Alexander Berkman Fifteen Cents 1922 I. LABOR DISTURBANCES IN PETROGRAD It was early in 1921. Long years of war, revolution, and civil struggle had bled Russia to exhaustion and brought her people to the brink of despair. But at last civil war was at an end: the numerous fronts were liquidated, and Wrangel -- the last hope of Entente intervention and Russian counter-revolution -- was defeated and his military activities within Russia terminated. The people now confidently looked forward to the mitigation of the severe Bolshevik régime. It was expected that with the end of civil war the Commu... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From Post Scarcity Anarchism, 1971. Listen, Marxist! by Murray Bookchin All the old crap of the thirties is coming back again--the shit about the "class line," the "role of the working class," the "trained cadres," the "vanguard party," and the "proletarian dictatorship." It's all back again, and in a more vulgarized form than ever. The Progressive Labor Party is not the only example, it is merely the worst. One smells the same shit in various offshoots of SDS, and in the Marxist and Socialist clubs on campuses, not to speak of the Trotskyist groups, the International Socialist Clubs and the Youth Against War and Fascism. In the thirties, at least it was understandable. The United States was paralyzed by a chronic economic crisis, the deepe... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Written: August 1907; Source: Bakunin on Anarchy, translated and edited by Sam Dolgoff, 1971. James Guillaume, Bakunin’s friend and comrade-in-arms, edited the last five volumes of the six-volume French edition of his collected works. Guillaume’s biographical sketch of Bakunin, originally appeared in his introduction to Volume II of that edition. This sketch is a primary source not only on the life of Bakunin, but also on the most significant events in the socialist movement of that period. It incidentally contributes valuable background information for many of the other selections in the present volume. Guillaume, who did not limit himself to recording events but also took part in shaping them, had been inclined toward anarchis... (From : Marxists.org.)

The annals of literature tell of books expurgated, of whole chapters eliminated or changed beyond recognition. But I believe it has rarely happened that a work should be published with more than a third of it left out and-without the reviewers being aware of the fact. This doubtful distinction has fallen to the lot of my work on Russia. The story of that painful experience might well make another chapter, but for the present it is sufficient to give the bare facts of the case. My manuscript was sent to the original purchaser in two parts, at different times. Subsequently the publishing house of Doubleday, Page & Co. bought the rights to my work, but when the first printed copies reached me I discovered to my dismay that not only had my original title, "My Two Years in Russia," been changed to "My Disillusionment in Russia," but that the last twelve chapters were entirely missing, including my Afterword which is, at least to myself, the most vital part.


All Socialists are convinced of the absolute and speedy necessity of Social Revolution, and are determined to bring about a change in the economic relations of men to one another which shall give all who do their best in working to supply the needs of the whole community, an equal chance of supplying their own needs, and render it impossible for a crew of willful idlers to live in luxury at the cost of their industrious fellows. We all desire to establish a manner of life among ourselves that shall tend naturally to keep us all on terms of economic equality, making it more easy for each one to work than to be idle, and to work for the common benefit, than to attempt to make a pile for himself. And we an convinced, we Socialists, that to do ... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


This pamphlet is the second printing of an expanded version of an article that appeared in a 1970 issue of "Libertarian Analysis". It is the first pamphlet published by "Soil of Liberty". A second pamphlet, "A Critique of Marxism", also by Sam Dolgoff, is also available ($0.55). Bulk rates are available for both. Sam has been active in the anarchist movement since the 1920s and is a re- tired house painter living in New York City. "Soil of Liberty" offers a literature service through the magazine and a partial listing is available. Magazine subscriptions are $3 - $4 per year. Soil of Liberty POB 7056 Powderhorn Station Minneapolis, MN 55407 First Printing - August 1977 Second Printing - September 1979 NOTE: ABOVE LISTED PRICES ARE AT LEAST ... (From : Spunk.org.)


Last month's attempt to celebrate the anniversary of the execution of Alexander II. by that of his son and successor has revealed to all Europe the depth of the surging discontent now stirring among the people of Russia; the burning shame and indignation with which they see themselves crushed beneath a system of government which would have disgraced the Dark Ages. As Leroy-Beaulieu has pointed out, Russia has been the scapegoat of Western Europe. Her people have borne the brunt of the successive tides of invasion by the savage and cruel hordes of Asia; by her brave resistance she has glutted their fury, by her industry she has satiated their greed. Thus Teuton and Kelt have been left the freer to develop their social life at the cost of the... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


Translated by Larry Gambone Comrades, I explained - quickly, but in a sufficient way - the first part of libertarian Communism, the critical, negative part and, I hope that I managed to convince you that misery, ignorance, hatred, repression, suffering in all its forms, is the fatal result of the social background in which we live. If, as I hope, you arrived at this conviction, you must also be convinced of the need and the urgency to put an end to a social system which generates such pains. It is precisely what we will begin to study this evening. It is necessary to destroy the established social order since it is generating sufferings, inequalities, injustices and miseries. It should be destroyed at all costs; it should be destroyed as so... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


To write a biographic sketch of even an ordinary man within the limited space at my disposal would be difficult. But to write about one whose personality is so complex and whose life so replete with events as that of Alexander Berkman, is almost an insurmountable task. To do justice to such a rich and colorful subject one must not be so limited by space as I am. Above all, one should be removed, in point of time and distance, from the life to be portrayed. Which is not the case in the present instance. I shall therefore not attempt a biography at the present time. I shall merely joint down a few outstanding features in the life and activities of our Comrade, which may serve as an introduction to something bigger yet to be written. Perhaps i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

The month of October 1917 is a great historical watershed in the Russian revolution. That watershed consists of the awakening of the toilers of town and country to their right to seize control of their own lives and their social and economic inheritance; the cultivation of the soil, the housing, the factories, the mines, transportation, and lastly the education which had hitherto been used to strip our ancestors of all these assets. However, as we see it, it would be wide of the mark if we were to see all of the content of the Russian revolution encapsulated in October: in fact, the Russian revolution was hatched over the preceding months, a period during which the peasants in the countryside and the workers in the towns grasped the essential point. Indeed, the revolution of February 1917 came to be a symbol for the toilers of their economic and political liberation. However, they quickly noticed that the February revolution as it evolved adopted the degenerated format cha...


"Discussing the activities and role of the Anarchists in the Revolution, Kropotkin said: 'We Anarchists have talked much of revolutions, but few of us have been prepared for the actual work ,to be done during, the process. I have indicated some things in this relation in my Conquest of Bread. Pouget and Pataud have also sketched a line of action in their work on Syndicalism and the Cooperative Commonwealth. Kropotkin thought that the Anarchists had not given sufficient to the fundamental elements of the social revolution. The real facts in a revolutionary process do not consist so much in actual fighting--that is, merely the destructive phase necessary to clear the way for constructive effort. The basic factor in a revolution is the organiz... (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...

“Russian Revolution” can mean three things: either the entire revolutionary movement, from the revolt of the Decembrists until the present; or only the two consecutive uprisings of 1905 and 1917; or, finally, only the great explosion of 1917. In this work, “Russian Revolution” is used in the first sense, as the entire movement. This is the only way the reader will be able to understand the development and totality of events as well as the present situation in the U.S.S.R. A relatively complete history of the Russian Revolution would require more than one volume. This would have to be a long-term project carried out by future historians. Here we are concerned with a more limited project whose aims are: (a) to provide understanding of the entirety of the movement; (b) to underline its essential elements, which are largely unknown abroad; (c) to make possible certain evaluations and conclusions. As the wor...

Now and After: The ABC of Communist AnarchismI am glad your friend asked the question, for every workingman realizes how important this matter of unemployment is to him. You know what your life is when you are out of work; and when you do have a job, how the fear of losing it hangs over you. You are also aware what a danger the standing army of unemployed is to you when you are out on strike for better conditions. You know that strikebreakers are enlisted from the unemployed whom capitalism always keeps on hand, to help break your strike. 'How does capitalism keep the unemployed on hand?' you ask. Simply by compelling you to work long hours and as hard as possible, so as to produce the greatest amount. All the modern schemes of 'efficiency', the Taylor and other systems of 'economy' and 'rationalization' serve only to squeeze greater profits out of the worker. It is economy in the interest of the employer only. But as concerns you, the worker, this 'economy' spells the greatest expenditure of your effort and...


Publication of the following article is forthcoming in Murray Bookchin, Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left (San Francisco and Edinburgh: A.K. Press, 1998). The article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and publisher. Whither Anarchism? A Reply to Recent Anarchist Critics by Murray Bookchin Liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice. Socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality. -- Mikhail Bakunin What form will anarchism take as it enters the twenty-first century? What basic ideas will it advance? What kind of movement, if any, will it try to create? How will it try to change the human sensibilities and social institutions that it has inherited from the past? In a fundamental sense the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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