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In 2015, artist, architect and anarchist Adrian Blackwell contributed a sculptural installation, Mirrored Circles for Ba Jin, to an exhibition of public art by four Canadian artists curated by Yan Wu (‘Subtle Gesture’ was an offsite contribution to that year’s ‘Shanghai Urban Space Art Season’).
This article explores the conflicted relationship between creative activism and the art world, through an analysis of the Barcelona-based activist collective Enmedio.
Marie-Louise Berneri was a revolutionary writer, editor, public speaker, and psychologist active in London during a period when Europe was engulfed by war and fascism (1937-49). Articulate, insightful, and accessible, Berneri had a readership that spanned the globe. Her influence as a significant critical thinker, radical, and humanitarian continues to this day. What follows is a short reprise of her biography.
Marie-Louise Berneri was well placed to argue that the USSR was no utopia, not only because of her firm conviction of what socialism should truly look like, but also because of her knowledge of utopianism. In Journey through Utopia, appearing posthumously in 1950, Berneri was the guide on a comprehensive tour of the history of utopian thinking from Plato to Huxley. Arguing that – in an era defined by the ‘compromises’ of modern democracy and the ascendancy of the ‘practical men’ of technocratic politics – re-acquaintance with the radicalism of utopianism was a tonic, she nevertheless discerned a dual current in the history of utopias.
Contemporary readings of Franz Kafka’s works often remark on the affinity between the ideas present in Kafka’s texts and those of postmodern philosophers such as Michel Foucault. Through an examination of some recent Foucauldian readings of In the Penal Colony and The Trial, this article argues that Kafka’s engagement with anarchist theory, particularly that of Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin and Gustav Landauer, may be considered an unacknowledged source for the well-documented ‘postmodern’ aspect to his work.
A background to this issue's cover art by portraitist Robert Henri.
Plínio de Góes Jr
Anarchist Studies' artwork editor Allan Antliff explains the history behind this issue's cover image, 'Follow Your Leader' by David Wilcox.
This article opens with a press report of a particularly violent action involving anar-chists at an anti-fascist action in the USA, shows how it was inaccurately perceived by media and law professionals, and how this indicates a universal lack of under-standing about anarchists and militant anti-fascism. We then focus on the UK to see how anarchists prioritise anti-fascism and show their historical connections with militant groups like Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), No Platform and Antifa from the 1980s through to the early 2000s, and their current support for the militant Anti-Fascist Network.
The photo of Vice Admiral H.P. ‘Spike’ Blandy and his wife gleefully slicing up an atomic explosion angel cake was taken on November 6, 1946.
Often overlooked in histories of abstract expressionism is the role that anarchism as a philosophy played in the art of postwar American painters like Barnett Newman. For Newman, anarchism was not merely a programme for revolutionary action but an experimental way of life that, much like painting itself, sought to imagine a life lived free from coercive authority. Through his signature painting style, which featured vertical stripes painted on coloured canvases, Newman put forth a radical political theology based on the writings of Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin. In his art, Newman presented what might be called an anarchist sublime, an aesthetic experience that opened up viewers to the expressive capacity of being itself.
Eleanor Finley and Dr Federico Venturini review Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin by Janet Biehl
Rowan Tallis Milligan
This paper examines the London squatting movement and argues that it was a key radical social movement which redefined the ownership of space and politicised housing.
This piece aims to demonstrate that now is not the time for the international Left to be disputing the Rojava revolution and whether it fits their theoretical framework, but to instead show communitarian solidarity with the Rojavans in what is arguably a fight for freedom and popular democracy against the forces of fascism.
Informed by anarchism, this article raises the possibility of viewing the state per se as a system of domination, oppression, appropriation and exclusion, one that is interwoven with other systems and influences them as much as they influence the state.
Kim Croswell’s, Portrait of Herbert Read (‘To Hell With Freee’), marks the first issue of Anarchist Studies devoted to a pivotal figure in the history of modern art (and much more), with a special focus on Read’s polemical pamphlet, To Hell with Culture (1941).
In 1941 Herbert Read – a British art critic, poet, novelist and political thinker – wrote an essay, to be published as a pamphlet in ‘The Democratic Order’ series, entitled ‘To Hell with Culture’. The essay sought to criticise the capitalist co-optation of culture, whilst simultaneously calling for a functional art within a democratic society.
The Anarchist Critic first appeared in the Vancouver anarchist journal Open Road in 1982. Robert Graham, who was a member of the collective, recalls Woodcock subscribed to Open Road though he never joined its social circle.