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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 and Organization appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. The essay originally was written in reply to an attack by Huey Newton on anarchist forms of organization. ANARCHY AND ORGANIZATION A Letter To The Left Reprinted from NEW LEFT NOTES January 15, 1969 by permission of the author There is a hoary myth that anarchists do not believe in organization to promote revolutionary activity. This myth was raised from its resting place by Marcuse in a L'Express interview some months ago and reiterated again by Huey Newton in his "In Defense of Self-Defense," which New Left Notes decided to reprint in the recent National Convention issue. To argue the question of "organization" versus "non-organization" is ridiculous; ... (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.)


[What follows is an nineteenth-century defense of Lamarckism, the since-disproven belief that genetics are molded by the activity or behavior of the organism, instead of through the process of natural selection. Naturally, anyone should be cautious when reviewing a scientific article written more than a hundred year ago, but at least here below, you can see what passionate turns the debate took. In Kropotkin's favor, it may at least be said that the process of natural selection turned out to be far more complicated than Darwin and Wallace had believed, and was only fully elaborated by Dawkins as gene-centric, rather than organism or species-centric. -- Andy Carloff] There can be no doubt that species may become greatly modified through the ... (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.)


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.)


The Impulse to Power introduction to the book "Power" by Bertrand Russell. Between man and other animals there are various differences, some intellectual, some emotional. One of the chief emotional differences is that some human desires, unlike those of- animals, are essentially boundless and incapable of complete satisfaction. The boa constrictor, when he has had his meal, sleeps until appetite revives; if other animals do not do likewise, it is because their meals are less adequate or because they fear enemies. The activities of animals, with few exceptions, are inspired by the primary needs of survival and reproduction, and do not exceed what these needs make imperative. With men, the matter is different. A large proportion of the human ... (From : http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/2528/br_pow....)


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.)


From Meet Kropotkin. The Salvation Series No. 1. Bombay: The Libertarian Book House, n.d. KROPOTKIN - THE MASTER by HERBERT READ. PRINCE PETER ALEXEIVICH KROPOTKIN was born at Moscow on the 9th December, 1842 (o. s.). His father, Prince Alexei Petrovich Kropotkin, is described by Kropotkin as "a typical officer of the time of Nicholas I", but he seems to have been an easy-going parent, content to leave his son's education to his French tutor until it was time to send him off to a military academy. Kropotkin's mother was the youngest daughter of the commander of a Cossack army corps, General Sulima, and a woman of great refinement and sensibility, qualities which her son must have inherited, for she died before she had time to influence him ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


From: Bakunin on Anarchy, translated and edited by Sam Dolgoff, 1971. Letter to the Comrades of the Jura Federation Mikhail Bakunin 1873 October 12, 1873 October 12, 1873 I cannot retire from public life without addressing to you .these few parting words of appreciation and sympathy. ... in spite of all the tricks of our enemies and the infamous slanders they have spread about me, your esteem, your friendship, and your confidence in me have never wavered. Nor have you allowed yourselves to be intimidated when they brazenly accused you of being "Bakuninists," hero-worshipers, mindless followers... You have to the highest degree always conscientiously maintained the independence of your opinions and the spontaneity of your acts; the perfidiou... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Dear Comrades Carbó and Pestaña! Convey to our Spanish friends and comrades and, through them, to all the workers in general my encouragement to them not to let their resolution falter in the revolutionary process which has been launched, as well as to make haste in uniting around a practical program drafted of a specific ideological direction. At all costs there must be no let up in the pace of the masses' revolutionary action. On the contrary, we must rush to help them compel (by force if there is no other way, no other means) the acting republican government which is hindering and distracting the revolution with its absurd decrees to desist from such harmful endeavors. The Spanish toilers - workers, peasants and working int... (From : NestorMakhno.info.)


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.)

In the aftermath of the cold war, in a world that glorifies markets and commodities, it sometimes seems difficult to remember that generations of people once fought to create a very different kind of world. To many, the aspirations of this grand tradition of socialism often seem archaic today, or utopian in the pejorative sense, the stuff of idle dreams; others, more dismissive, consider socialism to be an inherently coercive system, one whose consignment to the past is well-deserved. Yet for a century preceding World War I, and for nearly a half century thereafter, various kinds of socialism — statist and libertarian; economistic and moral; industrial and communalistic — constituted a powerful mass movement for the transformation of a competitive society into a cooperative one — and for the creation of a generous and humane system in which emancipated human beings could fulfill their creative and rational potentialities. People are ends in their own righ...


Whenever a revolution breaks out - and regardless of its character - (the most important point is that broad masses of workers and peasants should have a hand in it) and its guides, whether a compact group or a scattering of individuals, enjoying a special authority in the eyes of the workers, place themselves above these masses and do not march in step with them and do not earn their trust, waiting for something out of the ordinary to happen or even, worse still, seek to subordinate them by trying to point them along the "only" path to follow, well, the revolution fails to develop thoroughly enough and fails to resolve or even correctly formulate the attendant problems in need of resolution. Then it cannot devise new and additional methods... (From : NestorMakhno.info.)


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.)


From: Bakunin's Writings, Guy A. Aldred Modern Publishers, Indore Kraus Reprint co. New York 1947 SOLIDARITY IN LIBERTY Michael Bakunin The Workers Path To Freedom From this truth of practical solidarity or fraternity of struggle that I have laid down as the first principle of the Council of Action flows a theoretical consequence of equal importance. The workers are able to unite as a class for class economic action because all religious philosophies, and systems of morality which prevail in any given order of society are always the ideal expression of its real, material situation. Theologies, philosophies and ethics define, first of all, the economic Organization of society; and secondly, the political organization, which is itself nothing... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


In our last paper we noted the change in men's ideas of the world and their own place in it, which has resulted from the increased mental activity of the last four hundred years; and we saw how the splendid conquests of human thinking-power have led to excessive and superstitious reverence for that one faculty. Excessive, because it contemptuously excludes the rest (the greater part) of men's nature; superstitious, because it erects reason into a sort of internal Mumbo Jumbo--mysteriously capable of comprehending, molding, and controlling the will, feeling and action of the whole human being and the whole society. But what, we may be asked, have the extravagant theories of a few philosophers and scientists to do with the common life of ever... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


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.)


During my ninety days in the United States old friends and new, including people I had never met before, spoke much of my years in exile. It seemed incredible to them that I had been able to withstand the vicissitudes of banishment and come back unbroken in health and spirit and with my ideal unmarred. I confess I was deeply moved by their generous tribute. But also I was embarrassed, not because I suffer from false modesty or believe that kind things should be said about people only after their death, but rather because the plight of hosts of political exiles scattered over Europe is so tragic that my struggle to survive was hardly worth mentioning. The lot of political refugees, even prior to the war, was never free from stress and povert... (From : University of Berkeley.)


Dedicated As my last contribution before going to Jefferson City, Mo., prison for two years, to the Boylsheviki in Russia in appreciation of their glorious work and their insiration in awakening Boylshevism in America. MOTHER EARTH PUBLISHING ASS'N 4 JONES STREET, NEW YORK And yet it is of the utmost importance that the people in America should understand the true meaning of the Boylsheviki, their origin, and the historic background which makes their position and their challenge to the world so significant to the masses. Boylsheviki is the plural term for those revolutionists in Russia who represent the interests of the largest social groups, and who insist upon the maximum social and economic demands for those groups. At a Social Democrati... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Turning Up the Stones A Reply to Clark's October 13 Message Murray Bookchin The May 5th Group's posting on this list (June 13, 1998), and the various subsequent exchanges, have finally led John Clark to attack me and my views with his by-now-typical malevolence (October 13, 1998; at this writing Clark's posting does not appear on the RA List archives). I am only too delighted to have this opportunity, once and for all, to expose his ongoing campaign to defame me. Virtually unrestrained by moral standards, Clark has an indefatigable capacity to slander a critic and distort his or her views, through outrageous gossip, surreptitious character assassination, and falsification. I have had enough of it, and it is time to turn up the stones and re... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


The Century Magazine, July 1929, Vol. 118, No. 3, Pgs. 311-315 The Twilight Of Science Is The Universe Running Down Bertrand Russell It is a curious fact that just when the man in the street has begun to believe thoroughly in science, the man in the laboratory has begun to lose his faith. When I was young, no physicist entertained the slightest doubt that the laws of physics give us real information about the motions of bodies, and that the physical world does really consist of the sort of entities that appear in the physicist's equations. The philosophers, it is true, throw doubt upon this view, and have done so ever since the time of Berkeley; but since their criticism never attached itself to any point in the detailed procedure of scienc... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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