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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...


ANARCHISM: Its Philosophy and ldeal. Translated from the German by Harry Lyman Koopman. Ever reviled, accursed,-n'er understood, Thou art the grisly terror of our age. "Wreck of all order," cry the multitude, "Art thou, and war and murder's endless rage." O, let them cry. To them that ne'er have striven, The truth that lies behind a word to find, To them the word's right meaning was not given. They shall continue blind among the blind. But thou, O word, so clear, so strong, so pure, That sayest all which I for goal have taken. I give thee to the future! -Thine secure When each at last unto himself shall waken. Comes it in sunshine? In the tempest's thrill? I cannot tell......but it the earth shall see! I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will No... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Parsons, A.R. . Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Scientific Basis. CHAPTER V. AN ANARCHIST ON ANARCHY. [From the Contemporary Review.] To most Englishmen the word anarchy is so evil-sounding that ordinary readers of the Contemporary Review will probably turn from these pages with aversion, wondering how anybody could have the audacity to write them. With the crowd of commonplace chatterers we are already past raying for; no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting. Public speakers on social and political subjects find that abuse of anarchists is an unfailing passport to popular favor. Every conceivable crime is laid to our charge, and opinion, too indolent to learn the truth, is easily persauded that anarchy is but another name for wickedness and chaos. Overwhelmed with opprobrium and held up to hatred, we are treated on the principle that the surest way of hanging a dog is to give it a bad name. There is nothing s...


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.)

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.)
• "...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..."
• "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."


A correspondent writes to us from Buenos Ayres: I send you a copy of a handbill circulated by Anarchists of Buenos Ayres after a meeting of sympathy and grief for the victims of Chicago. It will probably interest your readers to know that something is doing here, though it is not very much yet. I who write have been for some time a Socialist, though not an Anarchist, as I did not understand Anarchism. I think I am an Anarchist now, and the crime of Chicago has done more than anything else to make me study the subject." After relating the circumstances of the tragedy, with which our readers are familiar, the handbill continues: "The bourgeois in condemning and executing these brave champions of the workers' cause has made no mistake. These m... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


Conclusion of Bruce Glasier's Letter. Regarding the election or appointment of directors or administrators in 9, communal society, I need say little. That such will always be necessary where society and industry, exist, I believe. That it is advisable, even if it were possible, that the persons required to direct social and industrial concerns could always be appointed on the moment, I fail to see. Nor can I understand how it is possible that in every am such appointments would meet with the approval of everybody. The same reasoning that applies to laws and majorities applies to this matter also. I heartily agree with you, however, in thinking that foremen and overseers such as we have today will be almost, if not entirely, unnecessary. The...

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.)


I Anarchism, the no-government system of socialism, has a double origin. It is an outgrowth of the two great movements of thought in the economic and the political fields which characterize the nineteenth century, and especially its second part. In common with all socialists, the anarchists hold that the private ownership of land, capital, and machinery has had its time; that it is condemned to disappear; and that all requisites for production must, and will, become the common property of society, and be managed in common by the producers of wealth. And in common with the most advanced representatives of political radicalism, they maintain that the ideal of the political organization of society is a condition of things where the functions o... (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.)


• "ONE: Destruction of all concentrations of political power is the first duty of oppressed people. TWO: Any organization of an allegedly provisional revolutionary political power to achieve this destruction cannot be other than one trick more, and would be as dangerous to the people as are all present governments. THREE: In refusing every compromise for the achievement of the revolution, workers of the world must establish solidarity in revolutionary action outside the framework of bourgeois politicians."
• "The great majority of anarchists, if I am not mistaken, hold the view that human perfectibility and anarchy would not be achieved even in a few thousand years, if first one did not create by the revolution, made by a conscious majority, the necessary environment for freedom and well being."
• "Social reorganization is something we must all think about right now, and as the old is destroyed we shall have a more human and just society as well as one more receptive to future advances. The alternative is that "the leaders" will think about these problems, and we shall have a new government, which will do exactly as all previous governments have done, in making the people pay for the scant and poor services they render, by taking away their freedom and allowing them to be oppressed by every kind of parasite and exploiter."


A section of our movement is eagerly discussing about the practical problems that the revolution will have to solve. This is good news and a good omen, even if the solutions proposed so far are neither abundant nor satisfactory. The days are gone when people used to believe that an insurrection would suffice for everything, that defeating the army and the police and knocking down the powers that be would be enough to bring about all the rest, i.e. the most essential part. It used to be claimed that providing sufficient food, adequate accommodations and good clothes to everyone immediately after the victorious uprising would be enough for the revolution to be founded on unshakable ground and be able to readily proceed towards higher and high... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


CONTROVERSY: ANARCHISTS IN THE SPANISH REVOLUTION by Sam Dolgoff In 1974, or early 1975, I reviewed in the English anarchist paper Freedom a book by Carlos Semprun Maura, Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Catalonia (French edition). In my review I criticized both Semprun Maura and Vernon Richards' book Lessons of the Spanish Revolution for presenting a distorted, over-simplified interpretation of events- a scenario. This provoked a heated rejoinder from Richards (three or four articles in Freedom). Over forty years after the tragic defeat of the Spanish Revolution - 1936 to 1939 - the question of anarchist participation in the Republican government and the role of anarchists in a revolution is a fundamental problem still debated- still r... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)

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 his...


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.)


To most Americans Anarchy is an evil-sounding word -- another name for wickedness, perversity, and chaos. Anarchists are looked upon as a herd of uncombed, unwashed, and vile ruffians, bent on killing the rich and dividing their capital. Anarchy, however, to its followers actually signifies a social theory which regards the union of order with the absence of all government of man by man; in short, it means perfect individual liberty. If the meaning of Anarchy has so far been interpreted as a state of the greatest disorder, it is because people have been taught that their affairs are regulated, that they are ruled wisely, and that authority is a necessity. In by-gone centuries any person who asserted that mankind could get along without the ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Published in Mother Earth on Nov. 5, 1907 in London by Int. Instituut Soc. Geschlodenis Amsterdam I HAVE often wondered why, with millions of people taking part in progressive and labor movements of all kinds, comparatively few accept Anarchism fully as we do. What is better known than the exploitation of labor by capital, the oppression of the individual by the State, to the student the least interested in social matters and to the practical observer of everyday life? Again, if Anarchist propaganda has not yet touched every remote place in all countries, there are numerous localities where it has been carried on for a generation and more, and even there it does not affect more than a certain proportion of the people. As long as I believed ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


Johann Most's most famous speech. "Among the beasts of prey man is certainly the worst." This expression, very commonly made nowadays, is only relatively true. Not man as such, but man in connection with wealth is a beast of prey. The richer a man, the greater his greed for more. We may call such a monster the `beast of property." It now rules the world, making mankind miserable. and gains in cruelty and voracity with the progress of our so called `civilization " This monster we will in the following characterize and recommend to extermination. Look about ye! In every so-called "civilized" country there are among every 100 men about 95 more or less destitute and about 5 money-bags. It is unnecessary to trace all the sneaking ways by which t... (From : http://www.eclipse.net/~basket42/beast.html.)


It is impossible to imagine a more dramatic and horrifying combination of scientific triumph with political and moral failure than has been shown to the world in the destruction of Hiroshima. From the scientific point of view, the atomic bomb embodies the results of a combination of genius and patience as remarkable as any in the history of mankind. Atoms are so minute that it might have seemed impossible to know as much as we do about them. A million million bundles, each containing a million million hydrogen atoms, would weigh about a gram and a half. Each hydrogen atom consists of a nucleus, and an electron going round the nucleus, as the earth goes round the sun. The distance from the nucleus to the electron is usually about a hundred-m... (From : mcmaster.ca.)

ACKNOWLEDGMENT WHEN I WENT BACK to work in a dress factory early in 1942 I set out to write a book on my years afield as a labor organizer. During that period I had accumulated a great mass of memoranda÷letters, articles written for the labor press, leaflets, pamphlets, copies of special publications used in organization drives, statistical reports, diaries. I had the material and the urge, but soon realized that I was not equal to the task before me. Fortunately, at that stage, my friend John Nicholas Beffel came to my aid. Though he has kept modestly in the background, claiming credit only as editor on the title page, it was largely his collaboration that made this book possible. Mere words cannot express my deep appreciation for his energy and endurance, his ability to get at firstÄhand sources of data, and his painstaking accuracy with regard to names, dates, and historical facts. In...


The original free, unconsciously Anarchist, institutions of our country, which Kemble describes as during the Saxon period "supplying a mutual guarantee of peace, security, and freedom for the inhabitants of a district," have constituted down to the present day the boast of Englishmen. But how changed they are: oh I quantum mutatabillis I. These originally free institutions of the English people have been attacked on both sides; by the over-growth of central government, and by the usurpations of that class whose fortune has been the misery of the people. The process of such political "enclosures," as it were, was extremely varied. Now the committee of the people's assembly was substituted for the assembly itself; now the function of moderat... (From : AnarchyArchives.)


Gaston Leval: Social Reconstruction in Spain (London 1938); quoted in Vernon Richards: Lessons of the Spanish Revolution (London 1983) The mechanism of the formation of the Aragonese collectives has been generally the same. After having overcome the local authorities when they were fascist, or having replaced them by Anti-fascist or Revolutionary committees when they were not, an assembly was summoned of all the inhabitants of the locality to decide on their line of action. One of the first steps was to gather in the crop not only in the fields of the small landowners who still remained, but, what was even more important, also on the estates of the large landowners all of whom were conservatives and rural `caciques' or chiefs. Groups were o... (From : Flag.Blackened.net.)


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 t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


If I am not deceived, my readers must be convinced at least of one thing, that Social Truth is not to be looked for either in Utopia or in the Old Routine; that Political Economy is not the Science of Society, and yet that it contains the elements of such a science, even as chaos before creation contained the elements of the universe; and finally, that in order to arrive at the definitive organization which would appear to be the destiny of our race upon this globe, it is only necessary to make a general equation of all our contradictions. But what shall be the formula of this equation? Already we have been enabled to perceive, that it must be a Law of Exchange, a theory of Mutualism, a system of Guarantees, which dissolves the old forms of... (From : proudhonlibrary.org.)


I. THE PLACE OF THE COMMUNE IN SOCIALIST EVOLUTION On March 18, 1871, the people of Paris rose against a despised and detested government, and proclaimed the city independent free, belonging to itself. This overthrow of the central power took place without the usual stage effects of revolution, without the firing of guns, without the shedding of blood upon barricades. When the armed people came out into the streets, the rulers fled away, the troops evacuated the town, the civil functionaries hurriedly retreated to Versailles carrying everything they could with them. The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a spring breeze, and on the nineteenth the great city of Paris found herself free from the impurity which had defiled ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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.)


This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism by Murray Bookchin One of the most persistent of human frailties is the tendency of individuals and groups to fall back, in times of a terribly fragmented reality, onto obsolete, even archaic ideologies for a sense of continuity and security. Today we find this not only on the right, where people are evoking the ghosts of Nazism and deadly forms of an embattled nationalism, but also on the "left" (whatever that word may mean anymore), where many people evoke ghosts of their own, be they the Neolithic goddess cults that many feminist and ecological sects celebrate or the generally anti-civilizational ambiance that exists among young middle-class ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Emma Goldman, My Disillusionment In Russia (London: C. W. Daniel Company, 1925) PREFACE To First Volume of American Edition THE decision to record my experiences, observations, and reactions during my stay in Russia I had made long before I thought of leaving that country. In fact, that was my main reason for departing from that tragically heroic land. The strongest of us are loathe to give up a long-cherished dream. I had come to Russia possessed by the hope that I should find a new-born country, with its people wholly consecrated to the great, though very difficult, task of revolutionary reconstruction. And I had fervently hoped that I might become an active part of the inspiring work. I found reality in Russia grotesque, totally unlike the great ideal that had borne me upon the crest of high hope to the land of promise. It required fifteen long months before I could get my bearings. Each day,...


FREEDOM PAMPHLETS. No. 1. New Edition. 1920. I. REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT AND WAGES. In their plan for the reconstruction of society, the Collectivists commit, in our opinion, a double error. Whilst speaking of the abolition of the rule of capital, they wish, nevertheless, to maintain two institutions which form the very basis of that rule, namely, representative government and the wage system. As for representative government, it remains absolutely incomprehensible to us how intelligent men (and they are not wanting among the Collectivists) can continue to be the partizans of national and municipal parliaments, after all the lessons on this subject bestowed on us by history, whether in England or in France, in Germany, Switzerland or the U... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

It is evident that we are advancing rapidly towards revolution, towards an upheaval that will begin in one country and spread, as in 1848, into all the neighboring lands, and, as it rocks existing society to its foundations, will also reopen the springs of life. To confirm our view, we do not even have to invoke the testimony of a celebrated German historian, or a well-known Italian philosopher, both of whom, having deeply studied the history of our times, have reached the conclusion that a great revolution was inevitable towards the end of this century. We need only watch the panorama that has unrolled before us over the past twenty years; we need only observe what goes on around us. When we do so, we perceive two major facts emerging from the murky depths of the canvas: the awakening of the peoples, in contrast to the moral, intellectual and economic failure of the ruling classes; and the agitated yet powerless efforts of people of wealth to hinder...

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