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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, Albert Richard. Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis as defined by some of its apostles. Chicago, Mrs. A. R. Parsons [c1887]. CHAPTER IV. CAPITALISM-ITS ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT IN EUROPE. The wage system of labor is a despotism It is coercive and arbitrary. It compels the wage-worker, under a penalty of hunger, misery and distress of wife and children to obey the dictation of the employer. The individuality and personal liberty of the, wage-worker, and those dependent upon him is destroyed by the wage-system. A republican form of government does not alter the class servitude of the wage-worker. While governments are necessarily despotic--they may differ in degree. But all governments based upon the wage-labor system are essentially the same. The government of the United States, based upon the wage-labor system, does not, and cannot guarantee the inalienable right of the wage-workers to "life, liberty an...


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 : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)


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 "so... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

In every revolutionary history three things are to be observed: The preceding state of affairs, which the revolution aims at overthrowing, and which becomes counter-revolution through its desire to maintain its existence. The various parties which take different views of the revolution, according to their prejudices and interests, yet are compelled to embrace it and to use it for their advantage. The revolution itself, which constitutes the solution. The parliamentary, philosophical, and dramatic history of the Revolution of 1848 can already furnish material for volumes. I shall confine myself to discussing disinterestedly certain questions which may illuminate our present knowledge. What I shall say will suffice, I hope, to explain the progress of the Revolution of the Nineteenth Century, and to enable us to conjecture its future. This is not a statement of facts: it is a speculative plan, an intellectual picture of the Revolution.


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 : Marxists.org.)

Shall the Transfer Papers Be Taxed? [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. T...


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 alway...

The Free Age Press is an earnest effort to spread those deep convictions in which the noblest spirits of every age and race have believed—that man's true aim and happiness is “unity in reason and love”; the realization of the brotherhood of all men: that we must all strive to eradicate, each from himself, those false ideas, false feelings, and false desires—personal, social, religious, economic—which alienate us one from another and produce nine-tenths of all human suffering. Of these truly Christian and universally religious aspirations the writings of Leo Tolstoy are to-day perhaps the most definite expression, and it is to the production of very cheap editions of his extant religious, social and ethical works, together with much unpublished matter and his new writings, to which we have special access (being in close touch with Tolstoy), that we are at present confining ourselves. We earnestly trust that all who symp...

That very evening, on my return from the Lyapinsky house, I related my impressions to a friend. The friend, an inhabitant of the city, began to tell me, not without satisfaction, that this was the most natural phenomenon of town life possible, that I only saw something extraordinary in it because of my provincialism, that it had always been so, and always would be so, and that such must be and is the inevitable condition of civilization. In London it is even worse. Of course there is nothing wrong about it, and it is impossible to be displeased with it. I began to reply to my friend, but with so much heat and ill-temper, that my wife ran in from the adjoining room to inquire what had happened. It appears that, without being conscious of it myself, I had been shouting, with tears in my voice, and flourishing my hands at my friend. I shouted: “It’s impossible to live thus, impossible to live thus, impossible!” They made me...

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