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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.)
There are two spirits abroad in the world,—the spirit of Caution, the spirit of Dare, the spirit of Quiescence, the spirit of Unrest; the spirit of Immobility, the spirit of Change; the spirit of Hold-fast-to-that-which-you-have, the spirit of Let-go-and-fly-to-that-which-you-have-not; the spirit of the slow and steady builder, careful of its labors, loathe to part with any of its achievements, wishful to keep, and unable to discriminate between what is worth keeping and what is better cast aside, and the spirit of the inspirational destroyer, fertile in creative fancies, volatile, careless in its luxuriance of effort, inclined to cast away the good together with the bad. Society is a quivering balance, eternally struck afresh, betwee... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Table of Contents Introduction Inalienable Tenets of Anarchism The Class Struggle Organization and Anarchism The Role of an Anarchist in an Authoritarian Society Bringing About the New Society The Marxist Criticism of Anarchism The Social-Democratic Critique of Anarchism The Liberal-Democratic Objection to Anarchism The Fascist Objection to Anarchism The Average Person's Objection to Anarchism Introduction The Historical Background to Anarchism It is not without interest that what might be called the anarchist approach goes back into antiquity; nor that there is an anarchism of sorts in the peasant movements that struggled against State oppression over the centuries. But the modern anarchist movement could not claim such precursors of revol... (From : Hack.org.)
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...
The anarchist effort, like any effort, is one focused on social organization, these organizations should be voluntary and cooperative, and it is through these groups that we will establish a better world. (From : HoldOffHunger.)
• "Workers will never be able to emancipate themselves so long as they do not find in union the moral, economic and physical strength that is needed to subdue the organized might of the oppressors."
• "...we anarchists do not want to emancipate the people; we want the people to emancipate themselves. We do not believe in the good that comes from above and imposed by force; we want the new way of life to emerge from the body of the people and correspond to the state of their development and advance as they advance. It matters to us therefore that all interests and opinions should find their expression in a conscious organization and should influence communal life in proportion to their importance."
• "...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..."
Anarchism versus Socialism By WM. C. Owen. London: Freedom Press, 1922. A FOREWORD "Anarchy versus Socialism," which FREEDOM now reissues, after it has run through its columns (1921-22), was published first some eighteen years ago. Emma Goldman was then one of the most popular lecturers in the United States, and, being questioned constantly as to the difference between the Anarchist and Socialist philosophies, felt the need of a treatise that would explain that difference. At her suggestion I undertook the task. The title showed my conviction that between these two philosophies of life no honest alliance is possible. I considered then that both sides suffered seriously from tile persistent efforts made to reconcile the incompatible, for tho... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
From the Encyclopedia Britannica
ANARCHISM (from the Gr. ἄν, and αρχος, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
[Comrade H. Davis of the Socialist League, delivered a lecture having this title, at 13 Farringdom Road, under the auspices of the Clerkenwell Branch of the Socialist League, on the 22nd of last month.] In all discussions on this subject, said be, whether our opponents be of the most generous or the most hostile sort, Anarchy, is, they admit, the highest form of civilization conceivable. Anarchy has been defined by an intelligent opponent as "a state of Society in which each individual is a law unto himself." A grand, but an impossible ideal, we are told, this is when looked at from the imperfections of to-day. Now opposition to most schemes for a reorganization of Society are urged from a more or less well defined knowledge of the imperfec... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
Theory and Practice[Originally published in 1938 by Martin Secker and Warburg Ltd] Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes; The Proletariat and the Beginning of the Modern Labor Movement; The Forerunners of Syndicalism; The Objectives of Anarcho-Syndicalism; The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism; The Evolution of Anarcho-Syndicalism. 1. Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes Anarchism versus economic monopoly and state power; Forerunners of modern Anarchism; William Godwin and his work on Political Justice; P.J. Proudhon and his ideas of political and economic decentralization; Max Stirner's work, The Ego and Its Own; M. Bakunin the Collectivist and founder of the Anarchist movement; P. Kropotkin the exponent of Anarchist Communism and the philosophy of Mutual Aid; Anarchism and revolution; Anarchism a synthesis of Socialism and Liberalism; Anarchism versus economic materialism and Dictatorship; Anarchism and the state; Anarchism a tendency of h...
The workingman, whose strength and muscles are so admired by the pale, puny off-springs of the rich, yet whose labor barely brings him enough to keep the wolf of starvation from the door, marries only to have a wife and house-keeper, who must slave from morning till night, who must make every effort to keep down expenses. Her nerves are so tired by the continual effort to make the pitiful wages of her husband support both of them that she grows irritable and no longer is successful in concealing her want of affection for her lord and master, who, alas! soon comes to the conclusion that his hopes and plans have gone astray, and so practically begins to think that marriage is a failure. THE CHAIN GROWS HEAVIER AND HEAVIER As the expenses grow... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
The grip of capital Upon the workers is like the grip of the thumb-screw upon some wretched victim in the torture chamber of past ages. Deeper and deeper it squeezes into their lives, crushing out endurance. One of the later turns of this pitiless screw is the concentration of industrial control. Socialists have long noted a growing tendency towards this latest form of tyranny, but lately it appears to have started forward with new vigor. Remarkable changes are daily taking place in industry, changes which are rapidly preparing the way for that tremendous social change that the workers call the Coming Revolution, Few realize how fast the small capitalist employer is now being swept away by the competition of large concerns, mostly in the fo... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
HIRED THUGS APPEARED in front of the strike-bound garment factory buildings as another week began. Ostensibly their job was to protect "non-striking" workers; actually, they were on hand to foment disturbances. Clashes were provoked by these "guards" as they led in people who had never worked in the dress industry before, to replace the striking workers. Girl strikers were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. Representatives of both sides conferred on Monday with Campbell MacCulloch, executive secretary of the National Recovery Administration's state board. He proposed a three-month compromise plan to end the strike. We could see only danger in that proposal. Early and specific action was vital to us; more waiting would mean a tired and disgusted rank-and-file, and final acceptance, through sheer weariness, of unfavorable terms. The wearing-down process is a well-known tactic on the industrial battlefield. We rejected the plan quickly. To our surpri...
Published by Freedom Press 27 Red Lion Street, London, W.C.1 July 1945 and printed by Express Printers, London. We are reproducing an abridged version of the first part of Gaston Leval's pamphlet "Social Reconstruction in Spain," which was published by Freedom Press in 1938, but which has since gone out of print. Many readers of "War Commentary" have expressed a desire for the reproduction in some form of the contents of this excellent pamphlet. COLLECTIVES IN SPAIN INDUSTRIAL socialization was the first undertaking of the Spanish Revolution, particularly in Barcelona. But obstacles were created from the beginning, which resulted in preventing these experiments from being developed to their logical end. The war was the principal handicap. B... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
I: The Ideal II: The Men and the Struggles III: Material for a Revolution IV: A Revolutionary Situation CHAPTER 1 THE IDEAL "Now I can die, I have seen my ideal realized." This was said to me in one of the Levante collectives, if my memory servers me well, by one of the men who had struggled throughout their lives for the triumph of social justice, human liberty and brotherhood. His idea was libertarian communism, or anarchy. But the use of this work carried with it the risk in all languages of distorting in people's minds what the great savant and humanist, Elise» Reclus, defined as the "noblest conception of order." More especially because very often, and it was the case in France, the anarchists seems to have done their utmost to agree with their enemies, and to justify to negative and nihilistic interpretation which one already finds in such...
From: Bakunin's Writings, Guy A. Aldred Modern Publishers, Indore Kraus Reprint co. New York 1947 THE COMMUNE, THE CHURCH & THE STATE. I am a passionate seeker for truth and just as strong an opponent of the corrupting lies, through which the party of order-this privileged, official, and interested representative of all religions, philosophical political, legal economical, and social outrage in the past and present-has tried to keep the world in ignorance. I love freedom with all my heart. It is the only condition under which the intelligence, the manliness, and happiness of the people, can develop and expand. By freedom, however, I naturally understand not its mere form, forced down as from above, measured and controlled by the state, ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Many Anarchists and thinkers in general, whilst recognizing the immense advantages which Communism may offer to society, yet consider this form of social organization a danger to the liberty and free development of the individual. This danger is also recognized by many Communists, and, taken as a whole, the question is merged in that other vast problem which our century has laid bare to its fullest extent: the relation of the individual to society. The importance of this question need hardly be insisted upon. The problem became obscured in various ways. When speaking of Communism, most people think of the more or less Christian and monastic and always authoritarian Communism advocated in the first half of this century and practiced in certa... (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.)
Source: The Communist, Vol. XVIII, No.12, December 1939 Publisher: Workers Library Publishers, New York, NY Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive . You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source. HUNGRY for huge war profits, the barons of Wall Street are speeding to involve the American people in the imperialist war raging in Europe. The blackout of civil liberties is part of Wall Street’s war drive. Capitalist reaction is intent upon depriving the Communists of their civil rights as the preparation for an attack on the economic standards and civil rights of the trad... (From : Marxists.org.)
Last Message to the People of America
INTRODUCTION. WITH pencil and scraps of paper concealed behind the persons of friends who had come to say good-bye at the Ellis Island Deportation Station, Alexander Berkman hastily scribbled the last lines of this pamphlet. I THINK it is the best introduction to this pamphlet to say that before its writing was finished the rulers of America began deporting men directly and obviously for the offense of striking against the industrial owners of America. THE "Red Ark" is gone. In the darkness of early morning it slipped away, leaving behind many wives and children destitute of support. They were denied even the knowledge of the sailing of the ship, denied the right of farewell to the husbands and fathers they may never see again. After the bo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
We must get rid of the Anarchists! They are a menace to society. Does not Hearst say so? Do not the M. & M. and the gentlemen of the Chamber of Commerce, who have also declared war on Labor, assure us that the Anarchists are dangerous and that they are responsible for all our troubles? Does not every skinner of Labor and every grafting politician shout against the Anarchists? Isn't that enough to prove that the Anarchists are dangerous? But why are all the money bags and their hirelings so unanimous in condemning the Anarchists? Generally they disagree on many questions and they bitterly fight each other in their business and social life. But on TWO questions they are always in accord. Smash the Labor Unions! Hang the Anarchists! WHY? B... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Let me begin my address with a confession. I make it sorrowfully and with self-disgust; but in the presence of great sacrifice we learn humility, and if my comrades could give their lives for their belief, why, let me give my pride. Yet I would not give it, for personal utterance is of trifling importance, were it not that I think at this particular season it will encourage those of our sympathizers whom the recent outburst of savagery may have disheartened, and perhaps lead some who are standing where I once stood to do as I did later. This is my confession: Fifteen years ago last May when the echoes of the Haymarket bomb rolled through the little Michigan village where I then lived, I, like the rest of the credulous and brutal, read one l... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
An Essay on the Approaching Revolution
I In Gospel language "the age" and "the end of the age" does not signify the end and beginning of a century, but the end of one view of life, of one faith, of one method of social intercourse between men, and the commencement of another view of life, another faith, another method of social intercourse. [...] Every revolution begins when Society has outgrown the view of life on which the existing forms of social life were founded, when the contradictions between life such as it is, and life as it should be, and might be, become so evident to the majority that they feel the impossibility of continuing existence under former conditions. The revolution begins in that nation wherein the majority of men become conscious of this contradiction. As ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
EARLY DAYS: Life at home and school in St. Petersburg. My bourgeois father and aristocratic mother. Jews and gentiles. I question my father about the Turkish prisoners of war begging alms in the streets. OUR FAMILY SKELETON: Strange rumors about my mother and her brother Maxim. Echoes of the Polish rebellion of 1863. I hear of the dreaded Nihilists and revolution. A TERRIFIED HOUSEHOLD: A bomb explodes as I recite my lesson in school. The assassination of Czar Alexander II. Secret groups in our class. Police search our house. Uncle Maxim is arrested for conspiring against the Czar's Life. The funeral of the dead Czar. A terrorized city. FAMILY TROUBLES: Rumors of my beloved Uncle Maxim's execution. My terrible grief. Death of my father. We ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
A few remarks concerning these figures may be of some avail. When a sudden fall in the British and Irish exports took place in the years 1882-1886, and the alarmists took advantage of the bad times to raise the never-forgotten war-cry of protection, especially insisting on the damages made to British trade by German competition, Mr. Giffen analyzed the figures of international trade in his Finance Essays, and in a report read in 1888 before the Board of Trade Commission. Subsequently, Mr. A. W. Flux analyzed again the same figures, extending them to a later period. He confirmed Mr. Giffens conclusions and endeavored to prove that the famous German competition is a fallacy. Mr. Giffens conclusions, quoted by Mr. A. W. Flux (The Commercial Supremacy of Great Britain, in Economical Journal, 1894, iv., p. 457), were as follows:- On the whole, the figures are not such a...
National questions are not in vogue now in Europe. After having so much exercised the generation of '48, they seem to be now in neglect. The poor results of a movement which caused so many illusions; the new problems that are coming to the front -- the social problem taking the precedence of all; the prominence recently given to the ideas of unification and centralization above those of territorial independence and federalism, by the sudden growth of a powerful military State in middle Europe, -- all these have helped to repel into the background those questions of national independence which seemed to constitute the very essence of the history of Europe during the first half of our century. Faith in national programs, formerly so firm, has... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Founding of the Worker's International by Mikhail Bakunin 1814-1876 From "The Political Philosophy of Bakunin" by G.P. Maximoff 1953, The Free Press, NY Awakening of Labor on the Eve of the International. In 1863 and 1864, the years of the founding of the International, in nearly all of the countries of Europe, and especially those where modern industry had reached its highest development - in England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland - two facts made themselves manifest, facts which facilitated and practically made mandatory the creation of the International. The first was the simultaneous awakening in all the countries of the consciousness, courage, and spirit of the workers, following twelve or even fifteen years of a state of d... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
On July 13th, P. Kropotkin opened the second discussion on work and the distribution of wealth, by pointing out the essential injustice of the wage system as a method of distribution, and showing how even under present economic conditions social feeling has supplemented it by a certain amount of distribution according to needs. The Social Democrats propose to do this to a far larger extent, the Communist-Anarchists to base distribution on needs only. The first part of our comrade's paper will be found in another column. The discussion which followed was even more discursive than usual because the Social Democrats animated by the strongest sense of opposition came too late to hear the opening speech and consequently were reduced to the neces... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
On November 20th, the discussion on the organization of labor under Free Communism was opened by T. Pearson in a paper the substance of which will be found in another column. The only opposition was offered by Mr. Harrigon (Individualist Anarchist) who contended that the working classes were miserable worms from whom it was hopeless to expect any good; but that all they wanted was to destroy all governments and drive away all monopolists, leaving the instruments of labor to the laborer and the produce to the producer. As for organization we were already organized quite enough. To which Comrade Richardson replied that it might be true that we are now organized quite enough, but are we organized in the right way? The subject of discussion was... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
The meeting on September 14 was opened by Comrade Marsh with a paper on "Work and Social Utility," the substance of which will be found in another column. There was no direct opposition to the opener's contention that a share in work of social utility, such as providing food, clothing, shelter, etc, ought to be taken by every able-bodied person, and that such work, if fairly shared by all members of the community, would not fall so heavily on any individual as to prevent him or her from exercising special artistic or intellectual capacities at least as fully and as beneficially as they are exercised to-day, when brain and hand labor are almost entirely divided and brain workers are considered as a superior class. Comrade Kropotkin said that... (From : AnarchyArchives.)
From: THE VERMONT PEACE READER 1983. This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From Spectacle to Empowerment: Grass Roots Democracy and the Peace Process By Murray Bookchin Will the present-day peace movement repeat the errors of the 1960s anti-war movement by placing its primary focus on carefully orchestrated and highly centralized national actions in cities like Washington or New York? Or will it try to percolate into the localities and neighborhoods of the country -- into the body politic itself -- and become a genuinely popular movement that reaches deeply into America as a force for education as well as action, for a broad view of the causes of war as well as the dangers of war, for a vision of a harm... (From : Anarchy Archives.)