Anarchist Studies

Anarchist Studies Volume 28 No.2

Anarchist Studies is an inter- and multi-disciplinary journal of anarchism research, which has been publishing novel, refreshing and provocative arguments for over twenty years. The journal publishes original research on the history, culture, theory and practice of anarchism, as well as reviews of recent work published in the field.

‘There has been a remarkable surge of interest in anarchist thought and practice in recent years. Anarchist Studies has played an important part in this revival with serious and constructive inquiries into anarchism’s historical experience and animating ideas, and valuable contributions to enriching and deepening them’.
Noam Chomsky

‘Anarchism has once again exploded across our political horizons. The emergence of new autonomous movements of resistance to capitalism and state power – such as the Global Justice Movement and, more recently, student protests, the Arab Spring and Occupy – demands a renewed focus on anarchism as the political tradition they most closely resemble and evoke. Anarchist Studies provides a platform for engagement with anarchism in the academy, publishing research and writing on anarchist theory, history, culture and politics. Countless new ideas have appeared on these topics, stimulating lively debates about the meaning and relevance of anarchism today’. Saul Newman.

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Anarchist Studies Volume 28 No.2

September 2020

Editor: Ruth Kinna

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Anarchist Resistance in the German Hambach Forest: Localising Climate Justice (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

The Hambach forest occupation is the most important ecology-oriented anarchist resistance project in Germany and Europe. Anarchists in the Hambach forest are part of the national and transnational anti-coal and climate-justice movement. The forest occupation is the only direct strategic intervention for the transformation of the German energy system. The central principles of anarchist practice in the forest are decentralisation, voluntary association for direct action and a direct democratic organisation. The success of the resistance has been enhanced by the occupiers’ ability to connect forest occupation to societal goals and highlight the difference between sustainable and exploitative ways of producing and living.

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Dr Félix Martí Ibáñez’s ‘Considerations on Homosexuality’ and the Spanish Anarchist Cultural Project (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

This article places a reconsideration of the Spanish anarchist doctor Félix Martí Ibáñez’s work on sexual morality and, in particular, homosexuality within the dual historiographical framework of scientific ideas and anarchism's own history of engagement with these subjects. It argues that recent developments in the writing of the history of anarchism have paid far more attention to the articulation of cultural issues within anarchist movements as part of their overall contestation against the 'bourgeois' religious and capitalist world and sets this article within this renewed framework. The thought of Félix Martí Ibáñez is assessed not for its supposed 'scientificity' but for what it tells us about the eclectic nature of Spanish anarchism at the time and for what such thought signifies for today's libertarian movement.

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REVIEWS (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

Inna Shtakser, The Making of Jewish Revolutionaries in the Pale Settlement: Community and Identity during the Russian Revolution and its Immediate Aftermath 
Reviewed by Benjamin Franks

Paul Le Blanc, Left Americana: The Radical Heart of US History 
Reviewed by Steven Parfitt

John Asimakopoulos and Richard Gilman-Opalsky (eds), Against Capital in the Twenty-First Century: A Reader of Radical Undercurrents 
Reviewed by Iwona Janicka

Cemal Burak Tansel (ed.), States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order 
Reviewed by Jeff Shantz

Matthew S. Adams and Ruth Kinna (eds), Anarchism, 1914–18: Internationalism, Anti-Militarism and War 
Reviewed by Lewis H. Mates

Elizabeth Anderson, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about it) 
Reviewed by Iain McKay

Marco Manfredi, Emozioni, Cultura Popolare e Transnazionalismo: Le Origini dellaCultura Anarchica in Italia (1890–1914) 
Reviewed by Davide Turcato

Scott Henkel, Direct Democracy, Collective Power, the Swarm, and the Literature of the Americas
Reviewed by James Martel

Catherine Burke and Ken Jones (eds), Education, Childhood and Anarchism: Talking Colin Ward 
Reviewed by Carl Levy

Rosi Braidotti & Maria Hlavajova (eds), The Posthuman Glossary 
Reviewed by Elizabeth Vasileva

Robert H. Haworth and John M. Elmore (eds), Out of the Ruins: The Emergence of Radical Informal Learning Spaces 
Reviewed by Judith Suissa

Simon Schaupp, Der kurze Frühling der Räterepublik: Ein Tagebuch der bayerischen Revolution 
Reviewed by Thomas Kilkauer

Ouvrage Collectif, De l’autogestion: Théories et pratiques 
Reviewed by A.W. Zurbrugg

Matthew Worley, No Future: Punk, Politics and British Youth Culture, 1976–1984 
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

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About this issue’s cover: The True Meaning of Decolonization (Anarchist Studies 28.1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

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Modelling Power in Anarchist Perspective (Anarchist Studies 28.1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

An adapted version of the taxonomy of power developed by Starhawk and Uri Gordon can help us to construct an integrated model of power that is consistent with anarchist principles. Rather than conceptualising power as a pyramid, in which power emanates from the apex and cascades down the ranks, we should see it as a dynamic matrix within which power is continually shifting both in quantitative and qualitative terms. The overall power (power-to) of individuals and groups is derived from a combination of coercive power (power-against), social power (power-with) and power-from-within. We will only be able to survive as a species if we can find ways to limit the exercise of all forms of coercive power, to unleash the multiplier effect of social power, and to distribute power-to as widely as possible. To achieve these goals, it is necessary to reconceptualise the nature of power itself.

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Medieval History and Anarchist Studies (Anarchist Studies 28.1, Spring 2020)

March 1, 2020

Medieval history and anarchist studies have a great deal to offer one another, but there is very little intellectual traffic between the two fields. This paper encourages historians to deploy anarchism as an approach to historical research akin to Marxist or feminist historiography, so that ‘anarchist history’ can move beyond the history of the modern anarchist movement and become a radical new way of studying and learning from the human past. Recent developments in anthropology and archaeology are offered as examples of how this might happen. Medieval history would benefit from the development of an anarchist approach to questions of ungoverned spaces, domination and inequality, and the growth of states and institutions. Anarchist studies would benefit from greater awareness of recent research in medieval history, much of which is relevant to anarchist interests.

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About this issue’s cover: Trans Anarchist, Ecowarrior, Political Prisoner, Artist (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

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Introduction: Indigeneity and Latin American Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

Examples of indigenous/anarchist cross-fertilisation, so to speak, abound in Latin America, particularly in the case of Mexico, the site of the twentieth century’s
first social revolution. Devra Weber examined the alliance, which transcended the northern border, between Mexican Magonistas associated with the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) and Purépecha/Tarascan, Yaqui and Mayo peoples. Mexicans, she wrote, were critical in forging the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), particularly in the Southwest of the United States. The PLM, which coordinated its activities from the US Midwest, in addition to indigeneity brought questions of gender and women’s rights to the fore of the Mexican revolutionary struggle. According to Weber tactics of ‘hiding and evasion’ developed by indigenous communities in their long struggle against imperial and national conquest were reformulated and deployed by Magonista ‘Wobblies’ north of the border. She highlights the cases of figures such as Fernando Palomárez, a Yoeme, Spanish and English-Speaking Mayo Indian and critical architect of revolutionary organisation in northern Mexico, and Primo Tapia de la Cruz, ‘a Purépecha Magonista Wobbly’ who took time to ‘carefully explain the precepts of anarcho-syndicalism and communism in the Purépecha language and within the context of a Purépecha worldview’. Tapia, a prominent activist for indigenous rights, learned English and migrated to Los Angeles in 1907, before returning to Michoacán where he organised a communist peasant union in 1921 and fell to assassination in 1926. ‘Magonista Wobblies’, she concludes, ‘provide a window into the diverse history of Mexicans who migrated to the United States and into the historical roots of many families and communities’.

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Indigeneity, Gender, and Resistance: Critique and Contemporaneity of Bolivian Anarchism in the Historical Imagination of Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

For Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019, was ‘the façade of the Indian’ who ‘usurped the symbolic added value of all the social struggles’ of the years leading up to his election. In January 2020, his right-wing successor Jeanine Añez, a white representative of the oligarchical restoration that followed the military coup against Morales, proposed a bill that would declare the ‘chola’ to be an emblem of the country’s national heritage. To mark the occasion, she staged a parade of fashion models posing as the urban indigenous/mestiza migrant women whom Rivera Cusicanqui had identified as the driving force behind the Bolivian anarchist movement of the 1920s to the 1940s. The scene was criticised by Aymara journalist Yolanda Mamani of the anarcho-feminist collective Mujeres Creando as a ‘catwalk’ that excluded ‘cholas who sell their wares in the street or work the land’, an electoral ploy designed to ‘whitewash the racism of her government’. Both Rivera Cusicanqui’s critique of the Morales government and Mamani’s denunciation of the Añez regime’s ploy emanated from an anarchist perspective on Bolivian history. It is fitting that Álvaro García Linera, the former Katarista guerrilla and Marxist theorist turned Vice President of Bolivia, had warned against what he called ‘a kind of non-statehood dreamed of by primitive anarchism’. When the socialist government collapsed, the spirit and legacy of anarchist critique (and years of popular mobilisations) appeared vindicated, even as the right’s appropriation of multiculturalism demonstrated that the question of indigeneity as a core component of Bolivian history had made irreversible strides.

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Anarchists and ‘the Indian Problem’ in Peru, 1898-1927 (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

Elucidating Peruvian anarchists’ views of the indigenous ‘other’ and their emancipatory practices to end indigenous oppression and marginalisation poses a number of challenges. The documentary record to reconstruct anarchist-indigenous relations during anarchism’s heyday in Peru between the 1890s and the 1920s is decidedly scarce and fragmented. Systematic state repression of anarchist activists, study groups, cultural associations, and labour organisations scattered and destroyed countless source materials. Much of what remains are anarchist presses and publications linked to Lima’s anarchist movement, which constituted the largest and most influential collective of anarchist militants in Peru. Relying strictly on the writings of Lima-based anarchists, however, risks overlooking and misunderstanding the distinctive perceptions and actions of anarchist individuals and groups located throughout Peru’s diverse regions. At present, the historiography of Peruvian anarchism suffers from a nearly singular focus on Lima and its adjacent port city of Callao. Another serious impediment to understanding the ways anarchists thought about and interacted with indigenous peoples is the dearth of indigenous accounts. Illiteracy in Spanish as well as in native languages was pervasive among indigenous Peruvians in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Fortunately, the existence of a few biographies and memoirs of bi-cultural indigenous anarchists does at least partially fill the void. Still, it is no surprise that only a smattering of scholarly articles, and a single text, directly attempt to grapple with Peruvian anarchists’ engagement with indigenous emancipation.

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Anarchism and the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala: A Tenuous Relation (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

While the indigenous peoples of Guatemala and its history of anarchist thought are seldom studied together, there is merit to exploring the differences and convergences between the anarchist movement’s perspectives on class and ethnicity and those of better understood liberal, socialist and communist traditions. Anarchists in Guatemala made tentative efforts to reach out to rural workers and peasants in the period between 1928 and 1932, but these efforts were circumscribed and largely unsuccessful. They did so under the influence of more structured movements in Mexico and Argentina, which incorporated visions of collective emancipation that would appeal to autonomous indigenous movements; however their brief embrace of these issues, interrupted by fierce repression by the state, was curtailed by the overwhelming urban base from which they intervened in labour and social struggles. The reasons for this failure lay in the history of Guatemalan race relations and the structural divisions between urban and rural society that endured during the transition from colonial to republican society, and which anarchists tried to overcome.

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REVIEWS (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2020)

January 9, 2020

Pancho McFarland, Toward a Chican@ Hip Hop Anti-Colonialism Aftermath
Reviewed by Luigi Celentano

Paul Avrich, An American Anarchist: The Life of Voltairine de Cleyre 
Reviewed by Michelle M. Campbell

René Berthier, ‘Science & Society’, Mr. A.H. Nimtz & Bakunin 
Reviewed by Saptadeepa Banerjee

Ramon A. Feenstra, Simon Tormey, Andreu Casero-Ripollés and John Kean, Refiguring Democracy: The Spanish Political Laboratory 
Reviewed by Benjamin Franks

Markus Lundström, Anarchist Critique of Radical Democracy: The Impossible Argument 
Reviewed by Maarit Laihonen

Federico Ferretti, Gerónimo Barrera de la Torre, Anthony Ince, and Francisco Toro (eds), Historical Geographies of Anarchism: Early Critical Geographers
and Present-Day Scientific Challenges 

Reviewed by Sarah Gelbard

Danny Evans, Revolution and the State: Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 
Reviewed by George Esenwein

Colin Holmes and Anne J. Kershen (eds), An East End Legacy: Essays in Memory of William J. Fishman 
Reviewed by David Goodway

Anthony Ince and Sarah Marie Hall (eds), Sharing Economies in Times of Crisis: Practices, Politics and Possibilities 
Reviewed by Patricia Burke Wood

Kirwin R. Shaffer, Anarchists of the Caribbean: Countercultural Politics and Transnational Networks in the Age of US Expansion 
Reviewed by Geoffroy de Laforcade

Julien Besançon (ed.), The Walls Have the Floor: Mural Journal, May ’68
Reviewed by David Porter

CrimethInc. Ex Workers’ Collective, The Russian Counterrevolution 
Reviewed by Lara Green

Constance Bantman and Ana Cláudia Suriani da Silva, The Foreign Political Press in Nineteenth-Century London 
Reviewed by Tom Scriven

A.W. Zurbrugg, Anarchist Perspectives in Peace and War, 1900-1918
Reviewed by Ole Birk Laursen

William L. Remley, Jean-Paul Sartre’s Anarchist Philosophy 
Reviewed by John Clark

Jeffrey A. Johnson, The 1916 Preparedness Day Bombing: Anarchism and Terrorism in Progressive Era America 
Reviewed by Andrew Hoyt

Shane Burley, Fascism Today: What It Is & How To End It 
Reviewed by M. Test

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Contrasting French Anarchist Memoirs of the Algerian National Liberation War (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

While anarchists continue today to debate whether or not to support national liberation movements, discussion of the issue often refers back to French anarchists’ experience during the Algerian war (1954–62). Among the half dozen or so detailed and useful French anarchist memoirs relating to that period, three especially stand out for their self-revelation and retrospective self-critiques. It is their honest admission of questioning, imperfection and vulnerability in the midst of and after the challenging crisis, I believe, that makes such accounts especially accessible. The more forthright the account, resisting the claim of a singular unified self, the greater is its potential relevance for readers’ own engagements as they make history, in their own ways, within the struggles of the present.

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About this issue’s cover: Herbert Read Commemorates Emma Goldman (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

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Crying in the Wilderness? The British Anarchist Movement During the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

This article examines the British anarchist movement during the Spanish Civil War. It focuses on activists, rather than intellectual figures, and argues that the tendency to dismiss the work of the movement during the period is misplaced. British anarchists coordinated to organise solidarity for their Spanish comrades through organisations such as the CNT-FAI London Bureau, the AnarchoSyndicalist Union and Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista. Others travelled to Spain to produce propaganda for the CNT-FAI Foreign Language Division or to aid persecuted revolutionaries. The British movement certainly lacked a mass following during this period, but activists maintained a commitment to their ideals and continued to agitate for the cause, carrying on the tradition of anarchism in sometimes difficult circumstances. 

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Re-theorising the Social and its Models after Lévi-Strauss’s and Pierre Clastres’s Study of Stateless Social Assemblages (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

The study of stateless social groups defies our conceptual imagination in several correlative ways: denominational (we tend to represent them thus, but are stateless formations what we call groups at all?), historical (we tend to assign a lower degree of social development in comparison to state societies, but should we?), and structural (apart from the negative definition as ‘groups without state’ we lack a social-theory model). Being unable to represent stateless social ‘groups’ as little more than a residue of the past we are therefore unable to (re)think them. This paper outlines some recent developments in post-structuralist Brazilian anthropology on sociality and gender and suggests that the work of Claude LéviStrauss (1908-2009) and Pierre Clastres (1934-1977) offer a counterpoint to this discouraging picture and provide us with important conceptual tools that help us move beyond the mere description of ‘immediate-return societies’ and/ or groups displaying a ‘reverse dominance hierarchy’. Furthermore, I suggest that Lévi-Strauss and Clastres invite us to re-conceptualise important aspects of social theory. Accordingly, I propose to distinguish between four social models (or models of sociality) in virtue of their contrasting arithmetic’s and constitutive principles, as well as to determine their reciprocal relations in terms of historical transition, meta-logical disclosure, logical inference, and/or radical exteriority.

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Experiences of an Activist and ZACF Anarchist-Communist in Soweto, South Africa, 2002-2012 (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

I am an anarchist-communist, a community-based activist and journalist and a founder member of the platformist Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) in South Africa. I have been involved in many social movements and struggles, and today, I organise waste-pickers in Makhanda (Grahamstown), in the Eastern Cape Province. This is the story of how I became involved in the anarchist and syndicalist movement and of my first decade in the movement. It is a testimony on the history of African anarchism / syndicalism, and, especially, of its main current, platformism. It sheds a small light on our larger history in the southern African black working class since the 1990s.

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Obstacles to Insurrection: Militarised Border Crossings Hindering the Rojava Liberation Struggle (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

The aim of this paper is to broaden our understanding of multidimensional sociospatial relations as they apply to anti-systemic insurrectionary movements. As an illustrative case I discuss the Rojava insurrectionary movement, particularly the difficulties it faces in maintaining its solvency as a free territory due to multiple mechanisms of state power and capital accumulation in the world-system. I discuss where anarchist theory in the social sciences has been adequate and where it has come up short in understanding the potentialities of anarchist insurrectionary movements. I do this by paying particular attention to the sociohistorical and sociospatial realities in Rojava as it applies to territory, place, scale, and networks. In conclusion I call for a synthesis of anarchist theorisation with the world-systems perspective.

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American Anarchisms? (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

October 1, 2019

Steve J. Shone, American Anarchism
Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2013; 297pp; ISBN 97804251946
Terrance Wiley, Angelic Troublemakers: Religion and Anarchism in America
London: Bloomsbury, 2014; 208pp; ISBN 978162356601

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Sacrifice or Solipsism: Paradoxes of Freedom in Two Anarchist Social Centres (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

In this paper I analyse and problematise what I argue are the dominant modes of liberated subject formation performed through divergent modes of organising within two anarchist social centres in Bristol, UK. Drawing on practical examples, I show how practices oriented to equality, like consensus decision–making and more formalised and codified modes of conduct, perform and presuppose a conception of freedom as coextensive with the attainment of rational subjectivity. In order to participate, to consent and to practice the self–limitation required to safeguard the freedom of others, sovereignty over the self is required – reason must outweigh desire. Yet as the activist subject defers pleasure for the sake of others, the practice of freedom comes to feel more like moral duty. Participation is at once the marker of freedom yet enacted out of an obligation that is as oppressive to anarchists as it is patronising to the mythical community we/they try to attract. Arising in opposition to the felt oppression of these practices, I identify a set of more spontaneous, joyful and less codified (anti–)organisational forms. Against the duty–bound activism of the rational activist, this counter–current embraces a conception of personal freedom as the liberation of desire. While this approach creatively counters the ‘martyrdom’ of the activist to the collective cause, it risks a moral solipsism that is equally unacceptable to anarchists. Whether possessed of own desire or rational will, freedom, in both sets of practices, is seen as coextensive with sovereignty over the self. Freedom and equality are thus diametrically opposed.

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Anti-Colonialism, Terrorism and the ‘Politics of Friendship’: Virendranath Chattopadhyaya and the European Anarchist Movement, 1910-1927 (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

This article traces the life and activities of the Indian anti-colonial nationalist Virendranath ‘Chatto’ Chattopadhyaya in the European anarchist movement from 1910 to 1927. While Chatto is better known for his role as secretary for the Comintern-led League Against Imperialism (1927-1933), this article argues that his peripatetic movements in European revolutionary networks during the early decades of the twentieth century suggests a much closer attraction to the ideas and practices of anarchism – including insurrectionist terrorism – than often acknowledged. Drawing on Leela Gandhi’s insight into the revolutionary practices of the ‘politics of friendship’, it opens a window onto the cross-fertilised world of anticolonial and anarchist internationalism in the early twentieth century.

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REVIEWS (Anarchist Studies 27.2, Autumn 2019)

March 1, 2019

Sheila Rowbotham, Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers, and Radicals in Britain and the United States
Reviewed by Donna M. Kowal

Dylan Taylor, Social Movements and Democracy in the 21st Century
Reviewed by Laura Galián

Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest
Reviewed by Lisa Matthews

Paolo Gerbaudo, The Mask and the Flag: Populism, Citizenism and Global Protest
Reviewed by Thomas Swann

Kevin Van Meter, Guerrillas of Desire: Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to make a Revolution Possible
Reviewed by Robin Jervis

Daniel Guerin, For a Libertarian Communism, David Berry (ed.)
Reviewed by Wayne Price

Patricia Burke Wood, Citizenship, Activism and the City: The Invisible and the Impossible
Reviewed by Hamish Kallin

George Ciccariello-Maher, Decolonizing Dialectics
Reviewed by William L. Remley

Julian Wright, Socialism and the Experience of Time: Idealism and the Present in Modern France
Reviewed by Constance Bantman

No!: Against Adult Supremacy
Reviewed by Tania de St Croix

Derek Wall, Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States
Reviewed by John Blewitt

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Censored on Arrival (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

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’).1 Mirrored Circles for Ba Jin was composed of six mirrored stainless-steel concentric circles elevated from the ground and sited throughout a small park in Shanghai’s historical district (Xingguo Community Park). The width of each metal circular sculpture was such that it could be utilised as a bench for sitting, as a table, as something to lean on, or simply experienced as a mirror that activate one’s awareness of the surrounding environment. Differently-sized circles facilitated different modes of interaction, depending on which circle was being utilised.

Blackwell conceived his work as a tribute to one of China’s most well-known novelists, the anarchist activist Ba Jin (1904-2005). In the first half of the twentieth century, Ba Jin achieved great fame for a series of novels addressing the hierarchy and conservatism of Chinese society.

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Operating at a Necessary Distance from Institutions: A Case Study of the Barcelona-Based Collective Enmedio (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

This article explores the conflicted relationship between creative activism and the art world, through an analysis of the Barcelona-based activist collective Enmedio. It traces the emergence of Enmedio back to their involvement in Las Agencias, a radical collaboration between activist groups and the Museu D’art Contemporani, Barcelona (MACBA) in 2001, the outcome of which led the members of Enmedio to conclude that they needed to ‘work at a necessary distance from institutions’. Taking this position as a jumping off point, this article questions the efficacy of such an approach and asks on what terms, if any, a relationship between anti-institutional actors and the art establishment can be mutually beneficial?

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Love, Sex, and Social Justice: The Anarcha-Feminist Free Love Debate (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

Feminists today debate questions about just social arrangements for love and sex that were also being discussed by anarcha-feminists in the United States over a hundred years ago. Our contextual analysis of Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, and Voltairine De Cleyre’s commentaries on the dispute between free love and marriage shows that the forced choice between these two social arrangements is misleading. By arguing that patriarchal/hierarchal power compromises both free love and marriage, these anarcha-feminists show that anarchism provides hope for social justice in the realms of love and sex since an anarchist society would displace and undermine the norms that buttress domination.

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Mikhail Bakunin’s True-Seeking: Anti-Intellectualism And The Anarchist Tradition (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

In this essay, I argue that the nineteenth-century thinker and revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin anticipated many of the concerns of twenty-first century post-foundational anarchist theorists. I consider how current post-foundational anarchist critiques of representation, scientific rationality, and Enlightenment humanism echoes Mikhail Bakunin’s notion of ‘true-seeking’ and in so doing I problematise the post-foundational reading of Bakunin as a conventional child of the Enlightenment.

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2019)

March 1, 2019

adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds
Helen LaKelly Hunt, 
And the Spirit Moved Them: The Lost Radical History of America’s First Feminists 
Reviewed by Stina Soderling

Lewis H. Mates, The Great Labour Unrest: Rank-and-fi le Movements and Political Change in the Durham Coalfield  
Reviewed by Yann Beliard

Charles Forsdick & Christian Høgsbjerg, Toussaint Louverture: A Black Jacobin in the Age of Revolutions  
Reviewed by Jorell Meléndez Badillo

Ra Page (ed.), Protest: Stories of Resistance  
Reviewed by Elliot Murphy

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Assembly  
Reviewed by Todd May

Michael Loadenthal, The Politics of Attack: Communiqués and Insurrectionary Violence  
Reviewed by Allan Antliff

Tom Goyens (eds), Radical Gotham: Anarchism in New York City from Schwab’s Saloon to Occupy Wall Street  
Reviewed by Spencer Sunshine

Iwona Janicka, Theorizing Contemporary Anarchism: Solidarity, Mimesis and Radical Social Change
Reviewed by Nathan Jun

Petar Jandrić, Learning in the Age of Digital Reason  
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Peter Harrison, The Freedom of Things: An Ethnology of Control  
Reviewed by Jared McGeough

Nangwaya, Ajamu, and Michael Truscello (eds), Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up?: Organizing the Twenty-first Century Resistance  
Reviewed by Rhiannon Firth

Daniel Loick, Anarchismus zur Einführung  
Reviewed by Dominique Miething

Andrew Kolin, Political Economy of Labor Repression in the United States  Reviewed by Ron Mendel L.A. Kauffman, Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism  
Reviewed by Leonard Williams

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The Domination Of The Text: Morris’s Reading Of The Impossible Community: Reply to Brian Morris (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

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From Proudhon to Lévi-Strauss And Beyond – A Dialogue Between Anarchism and Indigenous America (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

I will present a theoretical framework to open a dialogue between Amerindian and anarchist political forms through anthropology, highlighting an anarchist influence on the discipline and the contributions this dialogue can offer both anarchism and anthropology. I will point out similarities between Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s and Claude Lévi-Strauss’ dialectics, suggesting that the first self-declared anarchist may have strongly influenced the Americanist anthropologist. Nevertheless, indigenous American peoples show their influence in Lévi-Strauss work by adding to it eccentric anti-unitarian perspectives. These comparisons unfold in the study of the ‘federative principle’ through Proudhon’s ‘political dualism’ and in the ‘dualism in perpetual imbalance made politics’ investigated by Beatriz Perrone-Moisés and Renato Sztutman in Amerindian cosmopolitics. Some key Amerindian deviations from politics are found to contribute critically to anarchist organisation and theory. I pay special attention to the way of life and thought of the A’uwe-Xavante people, with whom I have done ethnographic research, focusing particularly on kinship, gender, generations and game play.

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

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​Marie Louise Berneri (1918-1949): ‘Prophecying Utopia’ (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

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‘To Live Outside the Trial’ Anarchist Implications in Foucauldian Readings of Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony and The Trial (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

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.

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(Mis)Conceptions of Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

Difficulties in defining anarchism arise from there being different ways of conceptualising anarchism. Instead of trying to develop one common definition for every conceptualisation of anarchism, it is better to define each conceptualisation separately. It is also important to distinguish between providing a philosophical basis for any conception of anarchism and defining it. The differences between philosophical anarchism conceived as scepticism toward authority and anarchism conceived as a political theory are examined in order to illustrate these points. Then, using a historical-conceptual approach focusing on anarchism as a political theory, anarchism is defined as a political doctrine based on anti-authoritarianism, anti-statism, anti-parliamentarianism, voluntary association, libertarian methods and direct action.

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

Simon Springer, Marcelo Lopes de Souza and Richard J. White (eds), The Radicalization of Pedagogy: Anarchism, Geography and the Spirit of Revolt
Reviewed by Emily Charkin 

Alexander Reid Ross, Against the Fascist Creep
Reviewed by M Testa

James Gifford, Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks and the Later AvantGardes
Reviewed by Elinor Taylor

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos and Matthew S. Adams (eds), Essays in Anarchism and Religion: Vol. I
Reviewed by John A. Rapp

Shahin, Nietzsche and Anarchy: Psychology for Free Spirits, Ontology for Social War
Reviewed by Lewis Call

Bill Ayers, Demand the Impossible! A Radical Manifesto
Reviewed by Sharif Gemie

Dongyoun Hwang, Anarchism in Korea: Independence, Transnationalism, and the Question of National Development 1919-1984
Reviewed by George Katsiafi cas

Alexander Vasudevan, The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting
Reviewed by Rowan Tallis Milligan

Mark Sundeen, The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today’s America
Reviewed by Elizabeth Russell

David Mulry, Joseph Conrad Among the Anarchists: Nineteenth Century Terrorism and The Secret Agent
Reviewed by Michelle M. Campbell

Christoph Knüppel (ed.), Gustav Landauer, Briefe und Tagebücher 1884-1900
Reviewed by Bert Altena

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The Reformist Anarchism Of John Clark (Anarchist Studies 2, Autumn 2018)

October 1, 2018

Brian Morris discusses John P. Clark, The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitarian Anarchism, London: Bloomsbury 2013. 

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

Portraitist Robert Henri is well known in the history of American modernism for promoting a succession of juryless, artist-organised exhibitions during the first two decades of the twentieth century and for influencing hundreds of students through his teaching.1 Specifically, his style of painting, which emphasised artistic sponta- neity through the quick application of paint, had a wide impact. Henri regarded his expressive palette as synonymous with ‘individuality and freedom in art’, a stance which led him to anarchism, most likely in the late 1880s, when he was living in France (Henri, who was fluent in French, resided in Paris over three extended periods: 1888-1891; 1895; and 1898-1900).2 Evidence of anarchism’s importance for Henri is legion. For example, his close friend and fellow artist John Sloan, who first met him in 1892, recalled he ‘was an anarchist and had no sympathy with my devotion to socialism’ (Sloan would later become active in the American Socialist Party in 1910 and run twice as a Socialist Party candidate for the New York State legislature).3 In keeping with this position, in 1893 Henri gave Sloan Mikhail Bakunin’s God and the State (1882), a passionately argued condemnation of State power and institutional religion as mechanisms of class oppression.4  

NOTES

1. Allan Antliff, Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), pp12-13.

2. Robert Henri, ‘Progress in Our National Art Must Spring from the Development of Individuality of Ideas and Freedom of Expression: A Suggestion for a New Art School’, The Craftsman 4 (January 1909): 387-401. On Henri in Paris, see ‘Robert Henri, Chronology’, John Sloan/Robert Henri: Their Philadelphia Years, 1886-1904, Deborah Allen (ed.), (Philadelphia: Moore College of Art, 1976), pp59-60.

3. Helen Farr Sloan, ‘John Sloan discussing Robert Henri (notes taken 1949/1951)’, John Sloan/Robert Henri: Their Philadelphia Years, 1886-1904, 31; see also ‘John Sloan Chronology’, in ibid, pp49-53.

4. William Innes Homer, Robert Henri and His Circle, (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1969), p78; see also Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State (New York: Freeport Press, 1971). 

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Ferreira de Castro’s Emigrantes: An Anarchist Portuguese Novel Responds to the Myth of the ‘Brasileiro’ (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

The Portuguese author Ferreira de Castro was a participant in the Iberian anarchist movement in the early twentieth century. This article suggests that his novel Emigrantes (Emigrants) is an attempt to disprove the myth of the ‘brasileiro’, the wealthy Portuguese-born man who returns home from Brazil as a powerful patriarch. The figure of the ‘brasileiro’ represented the possibility of success offered by international capitalism. Ferreira de Castro’s anarchist sympathies inspired him to craft a novel which reaches the conclusion that the possibility of material gain is ephemeral for the poor.

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Caught Between Internationalism, Transnationalism and Immigration: A Brief Account of the History of Anarchism in Egypt until 1945 (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

Anarchism first appeared in the Southern Mediterranean countries at the end of the nineteenth century with the immigration of European workers and political exiles. Despite the important role anarchists played in introducing radical and revolutionary political thought in Egypt, only historians Anthony Gorman and Ilham Khuri-Makdisi have paid attention to these narratives. The main goal of this article is twofold: on one hand, to analyse the reasons for the paucity of studies related to anarchism in Egypt, and, on the other hand, to delve into the history of anarchism in Egypt before and after the First World War to contribute to the writing of the history of postcolonial Egypt. This article explores two different anarchist experiences in Egypt. The first one is related to the Italian political exiles in Egypt who developed a strong anarchist movement in the country through the construction of trade unions, educational institutions and study groups. The second experience emerged in the interwar period due to the rise of Fascism and the disillusionment with parliamentary politics through the artistic and revolutionary project of al-Fann wa al-Hurriyya (Art and Liberty Group). Our goal is to demonstrate that before the arrival of Gammal Abdel Nasser, anarchism was a potent political culture and philosophy and an existing way of doing politics in the country. Tracing this hidden history is crucial to understanding the developments of non-party politics in the history of modern Egypt.

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Against Soft Anarchism: Challenging Liberal Cooptations of Anarchism in International Relations Theory (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

This article addresses recent efforts to incorporate anarchist theory into the field of international relations (IR). Recent articles on anarchism and IR open a new realm of possibility, for understanding non-state actors, but also risk co-opting selective principles and concepts of anarchism towards a legitimisation of the liberal state system. Many IR scholars who have addressed anarchism have failed to underscore its essential break with the state, in both theory and practice, thus creating a diluted anarchist analysis. By emphasising principles such as cooperation, diversity and resistance, without maintaining a central critique of the state, the economy and centralised power, these studies may be contributing to a discourse of liberal global governance. This article provides a caution regarding this process of softening anarchism while failing to substantially contest the state in a field dedicated to understanding the state system.

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Anarchism’s Posthuman Future (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

In previous work, we have argued that there are considerable areas of overlap between anarchism and complexity thinking, in particular because both explore the possibilities for the development of order without a specific source of authority. In more recent interventions we have developed a posthuman world view as a political project based on a foundation in complexity thinking. Hierarchical and exclusive forms of social organisation are usually understood by anarchists to be forms of domination. It is unsurprising then, that the history of anarchist thought and practical political engagement demonstrates a concern with an eclectic range of dominations. In this paper, we argue that in questioning our treatment of the environment, or ‘nature’ and in problematising some of our relations with non-human beings and things, some anarchism usefully informs the politics of posthumanism. We trace the past and contemporary linkages between anarchism and posthumanist thinking, drawing on literature in the overlapping fields of political ecologism, new materialism and animal studies. However, we also argue that there is a contradiction embedded in arguments for the liberation of human and non-human beings and things and a recognition that our world was ever more-than-human. The western conception of the human as an autonomous, rational being able to make decisions and choices about actions has only developed alongside,and in contradistinction to, the ‘animal’. These conceptions of autonomy and rationality have been important to all western left political projects, including much of the politics of ecologism and anarchism, where the notion of ‘freedom’ is writ large. If anarchism is to have a posthuman future, we consider that it needs to interrogate and perhaps loosen its ties to some established conceptual building blocks of the western political tradition.

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Review article: Antisemitism in the anarchist tradition (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

Three important books have recently picked up on the topic of antisemitism in the anarchist movement past and present. One of them is Frédéric Krier’s Socialism for the Petty Bourgeois: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon – Precursor of the Third Reich. Published in 2009, the book is a rich resource for everyone interested in the French thinker, the reception of his thought by the far right and the ignorance of the latter by his usual adherents, the anarchists. Though the first part of the title alludes to Karl Marx’s critique of Proudhon’s defence of private property, Krier’s historical study must not be mistaken for a rehashing of socialist rivalry. Instead of summa- rising the book’s many interesting theses in detail – for instance, that Proudhon was a nineteenth century version of the Christian gnostic Marcion – I will focus on one of its core claims: the pervasiveness of anti-Jewish sentiment in Proudhon’s thought. The book first unfolds a detailed account of ‘Proudhon’s reception in the “Third Reich”’ (pp16-178), and second, a scrutiny of ‘Anti-Theism, Judaism and Christianity’ in Proudhon’s own thought (pp179-282). The third section is a genealogical search for the ‘missing link’ (pp283-390) between Proudhon’s approach to economic questions and National Socialist ideology – specifically, the link between the French thinker’s highly moralising critique of ‘interest’ and the Nazi party’s antisemitic call for the ‘breaking of interest slavery’ as laid out in its twenty-five- point Program of 1920. 

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2018)

February 1, 2018

Reply by Janet Biehl, author of Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin, to a review in Anarchist Studies 25, 1 (2017) by Eleanor Finley and Federico Venturini, followed by a response to Biehl from Finley and Venturini 109
Federico Ferretti, Élisée Reclus: Pour une géographie nouvelle 

Reviewed by Constance Bantman 

Simon Springer, The Anarchist Roots of Geography: Toward Spatial Emancipation
Reviewed by Anthony Ince 

Layla Abdel Rahim, Children’s Literature, Domestication, and Social Foundation: Narratives of Civilization and Wilderness
Reviewed by Petar Jandri

Victor Serge, Men in Prison, translated and introduced by Richard
Greeman

Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

Max Baginski, What Does Syndicalism Want? Living, Not Dead Unions, Nathan Jun (ed.), Yvonne Franke and Friederike Wiedemann (trans.)
Reviewed by Oscar Addis

Seth Tobocman, Len, A Lawyer in History: A Graphic Biography of Radical Attorney Leonard Weinglass 
Reviewed by Moira Meltzer-Cohen

Podemos: In the Name of the People: Inigo Errejon in Conversation with Chantal Mouffe
Reviewed by Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha

Jim Mac Laughlin, Kropotkin and the Anarchist Intellectual Tradition
Reviewed by Iain McKay

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

Anarchist Studies’ artwork editor Allan Antliff explains the history behind this issue’s cover image, ‘Follow Your Leader’ by David Wilcox.

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‘A Good Deal of Disorder’ or The Anarchists & Anti-Fascism In The UK (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

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.

Despite a respectable tradition of physically confronting fascists from the 1930s to the 1960s, the contemporary Communist Party factions have little to do with physical force anti-fascism. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) organised the hugely successful Rock Against Racism/Anti-Nazi League in 1978 that harnessed the energy of punks and bought them into the broader political struggle. The SWP also formed self-defence squads to protect their activities and supplied a model for effec-tive intelligence gathering and physical confrontation that is still used by anti-fascists today. The SWP now delegate their anti-fascist resources to the large, national UAF whose relationship with anarchists and other militants has been fractious.

Searchlight magazine also excelled in effective intelligence gathering, exposing fascists from the mid-1970s onwards, and were originally part of AFA but as we shall see, they were damaged by falsely smearing anarchists and by their relation-ship with state operatives; their revisionist tracts have also tried to airbrush militant socialists and anarchists out of recent anti-fascist history. Searchlight have now been superseded by the more vigorous Hope Not Hate campaign who split away from them and organise a broad front against the far right. Finally, we look at the mainly anarchist initiative of Anti-Fascist Network (AFN), their relationships with other anti-fascists, and how they are now the most prominent militant opposition to the far right in the UK, before drawing some conclusions on the current, global state of right wing politics and what anarchists could be doing about it.

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Reconsidering the Newest Social Movements from the Perspective of Lacanian Sociology (Anarchist Studies 25.2, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

This essay examines the ‘newest social movement’ paradigm advanced by Richard J.F. Day. The strength of his methodology consists of its movement away from a tendency to favour the Gramscian organisational logic of ‘hegemony’, toward an embrace of the ‘affinity logic’ of modern anarchist political theory. However, the inadequacy of the approach arises due to a number of assumptions, including the following three: (1) there is an assumption that the genealogy of affinity provides a sufficient counter-narrative to the more prevalent logic of hegemony; (2) there is an assumption that the former logic breaks completely from the latter, and; (3) there is an assumption that the former is a spontaneous and contemporary logic while the latter is a bygone determinative logic. I shall aim to demonstrate that a more compel-ling claim may have been that hegemony logic is a less cunning discourse of mastery than affinity logic, and that the latter is in all actuality a continuation rather than an abandonment of the former. I believe that this amendment broadens the paradigm’s applicability and situates it within a global context of determination.

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‘A Feminist Disciple of Nietzsche’: The Case of Dora Marsden’s Unstable Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 25.2, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a considerable number of anarchists grappled with the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. This article presents a highly peculiar reading of the German philosopher’s ideas by the radical suffragist and short time anarchist Dora Marsden. The adoption of concepts such as ‘master morality’, ‘genius’ or the critique of language enabled her to formulate a non-essentialist feminist identity. Failing to confront the elitism that haunts Nietzsche’s philosophy, however, Marsden’s anarchism eventually collapsed.

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Man, ‘Quite a World of Federations’ or Man ‘is a Group’: The Incompatibility of Anarchism and Individualism (Anarchist Studies 25.2, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

The aim of this essay is to develop a genealogy of anarchism and individualism. The methodological assumption is that anthropological premises underpin every political philosophy and these ought to be used as analytical tools. The argument shows how one of these genealogical lines connects, among others, Locke with Stirner, as advocates of the propertarian theory of man as an owner, and that the other connects classical thought (Aristotle’s zoon politicon) with classical anarchism, in its view of man as an heir. We will argue, then, that the anthropological theories of Stirner and of anarchism are not only incompatible, but mutually exclusive. Furthermore, we will argue that Stirner fails to achieve his main aims, to provide an anthropology free of abstractions and fictions and thus break away from the western philosophical tradition. And he fails because he bases his philosophy on the ontological premise of a man/society dualism, a dualism that anarchism rejects as inconceivable.

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Review Article: Attack the machinery of permitted consumption (Anarchist Studies 25.2, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

In 2003, in a small town bordering West Yorkshire, I sat in the back of a police car next to my accomplice. He was shouting at the officers who had caught us: ‘Class traitors, you’re the criminals here, arresting us while people are being bombed in Iraq!’ Rather than join in, I was desperately trying to remember the lyrics to ‘The Arrest‘ by Conflict, which contained advice on the right to remain silent. James, who I’d met through the Anarchist Youth Network and with whom I shared a love of punk, obviously couldn’t remember the lyrics either. Two hours earlier we’d set out with a rucksack full of spray paint to spread the anti-war message, but had ended up targeting anything corporate or that we felt represented authority. As I was spraying ‘fuck the police’ on the local police station, a car with flashing lights pulled up. ‘This is so unlucky’, I remember thinking, as we made an escape attempt. The car seemed to know exactly which backstreet we would run down, and promptly drove to the end of it to greet us. In the back seat I was glad the police seemed more focussed on making ‘caught you red handed’ jokes than asking why we’d just vandalised their station. Though, if I’d had the chance to read these two books, Advertising Shits in Your Head: Strategies for Resistance and Subvertising: The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising, I might have been able to add to James’s rant, with a dose of my own propaganda. 

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 25.2, Autumn 2017)

September 1, 2017

Helene Minkin, Storm in My Heart: Memories from the Widow of Johann Most

Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer

Mark Mattern, Anarchism and Art: Democracy in the Cracks and on the Margins

Reviewed by Oliver Harrison

Stuart Jeffries, Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School

Reviewed by Oliver Harrison

Matthew S. Adams, Kropotkin, Read, and the Intellectual History of British Anarchism: Between Reason and Romanticism

Reviewed by Nathan Jun

Natasha King, No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance

Reviewed by James Ellison

Federico Ferretti & Patrick Minder, Pas de la dynamite, mais du tabac: L’enquête de 1885 contre les anarchistes en Suisse romande

Reviewed by A.W. Zurbrugg

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Walker C. Smith & William E. Trautmann, Direct Action & Sabotage: Three Classic IWW pamphlets from the 1910s

Reviewed by Benjamin Franks

Peter Gelderloos, Worshiping Power: an Anarchist View of Early State Formation

Reviewed by John-Erik Hansson

Chris Robé, Breaking the Spell: A History of Anarchist Filmmakers, Videotape Guerrillas, and Digital Ninjas

Reviewed by Allan Antliff

Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashina (eds), The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities

Reviewed by Rhiannon Firth

Neil Shirley & Saralee Stafford, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South

Reviewed by Catherine Armstrong

Richard White, Simon Springer & Marcelo Lopes de Souza (eds), The Practice of Freedom. Anarchism, Geography and the Spirit of Revolt

Reviewed by Federico Ferretti

Marcelo Lopes de Souza, Richard J. White and Simon Springer (eds), Theories of Resistance: Anarchism, Geography, and the Spirit of Revolt

Reviewed by Simon Runkel

Clifton Ross, Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey though American Revolutions

Reviewed by Andrew Cornell

Karen Kennedy, Deeply Felt: Reflections on Religion & Violence within the Anarchist Turn

Reviewed by Keith Hebden

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

Reviewed by Dana Williams

Agustin Comotto, 155 Simón Radowitzky

Reviewed by Mitchell Abidor

Chris Knight, Decoding Chomsky. Science and Revolutionary Politics

Reviewed by Peter Seyferth

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Proudhon’s Constituted Value and the Myth of Labour Notes (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Spring 2017)

March 1, 2017

Karl Marx’s The Poverty of Philosophy has played a key role in associating Pierre-Joseph Proudhon with the idea of labour-time money. This article challenges this account by demonstrating that Marx not only failed to prove his assertion but that he also ignored substantial evidence against it. Proudhon’s ‘constituted value’ is explained and linked to other key ideas in System of Economic Contradictions which Marx ignores.

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Alternatives to Representative Democracy and Capitalist Market Organisation: The Wintukua, Guardians of the Earth (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Spring 2017)

March 1, 2017

This essay presents the findings from field research conducted among the Wintukua, or Arhuaco, people of Colombia, in 2014. The aim of the analysis is to describe Wintukua politics, as this group practices direct, deliberative democracy. The Wintukua have some 50,000 members and live in a reservation, which they share with other indigenous groups, the Wiwa, Kaggaba (Kogi) and Kankuamo people, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. The description of Wintukua politics allows for drawing some lessons of broader relevance. First, the Wintukua demonstrate that direct, deliberative democracy is practicable today. Second, we can gauge the importance of a common interest, which, in this case, is nurtured by shared cultural and religious practices. Finally, it appears that a strong focus on responsibilities, and not on rights, constitutes an important element to make direct, deliberative democracy among the Wintukua work. 

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Spring 2017)

March 1, 2017

Chris Ealham, Living Anarchism: José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement
Reviewed by Andrew H. Lee 

Davide Turcato (ed.), The Method of Freedom: An Errico Malatesta Reader
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Jesse Cohn, Underground Passages: Anarchist Resistance Culture 1848–2011
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

The Invisible Committee, To Our Friends
Reviewed by Elizabet Vasileva

Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan
Reviewed by Oscar Addis

Osvaldo Bayer, The Anarchist Expropriators. Buenaventura Durruti and Argentina’s Working-Class Robin Hoods
Reviewed by Thomas Swann

Janet Biehl, Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin
Reviewed by Eleanor Finley and Federico Venturini

Penny Rimbaud, The Last of the Hippies. An hysterical romance
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Jeremy Brecher, Strike!
Reviewed by Ron Mendel

Gavin Bowd, The Last Communard. Adrien Lejeune, the Unexpected Life of a Revolutionary
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

A.W. Zurbrugg (ed.), Bakunin. Selected Texts 1868-1875
Reviewed by Sebastian Averill

Jason Garner, Goals and Means: Anarchism, Syndicalism, and Internationalism in the Origins of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica
Reviewed by Danny Evans

Osvaldo Bayer, Rebellion in Patagonia
Reviewed by Gregorio Alonso

A.W. Zurbrugg (ed.), Not Our War. Writings against the First World War
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

Eirik Eiglad (ed.), Social Ecology and Social Change
Reviewed by Yagmur Savran

Cindy Milstein (ed.), Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism
Reviewed by Elizabet Vasileva

Kelly Fritsch, Clare O’Connor and AK Thompson (eds), Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle
Reviewed by James McIntyre

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Janet Biehl, Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin – Book Review (Anarchist Studies 25.1, Spring 2017)

March 1, 2017

Eleanor Finley and Dr Federico Venturini review Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin by Janet Biehl

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Sovereign Indifference: Jünger’s Anarch and the Appeal of the Small (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

Pericles’ boast that ‘the man who takes no part in politics [is] not unmeddlesome but useless’ underscores a fundamental principle in any anthropocentric system: that any individual human being is a composite of an indefinite totality, to wit, historical humanity. Carl Schmitt’s and Giorgio Agamben’s formulations of sover-eign power, the state of exception and bare life are relevant here; yet both thinkers are compromised by the supremacy of the political and human totality. The same, it will be claimed, also ultimately holds true for a great number of classical and contemporary anarchist thinkers. What makes Ernst Jünger’s ‘anarch’ different is precisely his indifference to the sovereign claims of any human totality, and the assertion of his own sovereignty: ‘the monarch wants to rule many, nay, all people; the anarch, only himself’. One of the key differences between more communal conceptions of the anarchist and Jünger’s anarch is that the latter does not believe that ‘human nature is intrinsically good’. More crucially, the anarch recognises that he lives in a world which he cannot ‘take seriously’. Underlying all this there is an implicit appeal for the small, the limited and the concrete. In a time of increasingly global compacts and formulations, this is worth investigating.

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Giovanni Rossi and his Anarchist Utopia in nineteenth century Brazil (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

Giovanni Rossi was an Italian anarchist who promoted an experiment in socialist life by founding an alternative community in the countryside of Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century. The experiment, however, was short lived and lasted only from 1890 to 1894. After the collapse of the community, Rossi remained in Brazil until 1907, working as an agronomist. In the meantime, he wrote a novel, Il Paraná nel XX Secolo, in which he describes the future of the southern Brazilian state of Paraná, imagined as one of the greatest world powers at the end of the twentieth century, along with Belgium. The future of Paraná combines advances in technology and social life and resembles Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward, published a few years before. In this article, I want to present a study of this novel, relating it to some of Rossi’s main commentators and to more general studies about utopian and anarchist thought.

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Bakunin and the Entheogenic Challenge to Atheism (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

As fossil fuelled capitalism drags global civilisation towards the strange attractor of ecological implosion, can we get any help from outside (what the secular main-stream in the west generally recognises as), the human social field? This paper makes the case for the pedagogical potential of the naturally-occurring psycho-active ‘entheogens’, that is, substances which, taken sacramentally, are held to ‘engender the divine within’. Handled in a thoughtful way, these substances, I argue, are potential allies for the remaking of the revolutionary movement in an age where human extinction is now thinkable. Between the existing radical left in its various forms, and this ally, however, there are some obstacles. One such obstacle is the atheism of the dominant European revolutionary tradition. In this paper Mikhail Bakunin’s influential critique of religion as a form of human domina-tion, as an enemy of human freedom, is taken as exemplary of this tradition. The testimony, meanwhile, of entheogenic experience puts this familiar leftist-atheist standpoint in question. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews with users of entheo-gens including ayahuasca, vaporised DMT, and 5-MeO-DMT toad venom, I argue that a left willing to open itself to these experiences could gain a new standpoint from which to oppose and outflank capitalist ecocide. 

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Bastards of Utopia (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

Maple Razsa, Bastards of Utopia: living radical politics after socialism
Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2015; 291pp; ISBN 9780253015839 

with:
Maple Razsa and Pacho Velez (dirs.), Bastards of Utopia (2010), 54 minutes
‘Bastards of Utopia: a remixable documentary’, http://www.enmassefilms.org/remix/why-remixable

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Reviews (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

Renaud Garcia, Le désert de la critique: déconstruction et politique
Reviewed by Sharif Gemie

Ruth Kinna, Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition
Reviewed by Iain McKay

Marco Deseriis, Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous
Reviewed by James Ellison

Iain McKay (ed.), Direct Struggle against Capital: A Peter Kropotkin Anthology
Reviewed by Jeffrey D. Hilmer

Jay Kinney (ed.), Anarchy Comics. The Complete Collection
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

Kristin Ross, Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune
Reviewed by Adam Driver

Andrej Grubačić and Denis O’Hearn, Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in exile and mutual aid
Reviewed by Petar Jandrić

Kenyon Zimmer, Immigrants against the State: Yiddish and Italian Anarchism in America 
Reviewed by Andrew Hoyt

René Berthier (trans. A.W. Zurbrugg), Social Democracy and Anarchism in the International Workers’ Association 1864-1877 
Reviewed by Iain McKay

Patrick Hayden, Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought: Between Despair and Hope
Reviewed by Sebastian Averill

Immanuel Ness, Southern Insurgency – The Coming of the Global Working Class
Reviewed by Thomas Klikauer

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

Umbrella House (1990) is by one of New York’s most well-known anarchist illus-trators. Seth Tobocman is co-founder of the collectively produced semi-annual publication, World War Three Illustrated, which has been coming out since 1979. He is also author-illustrator of the scathingly irreverent You Don’t Have to Fuck People Over to Survive (1990); an invaluable first-hand analysis of squatting and gentrification in New York entitled War in the Neighbourhood (2000); Portraits of Israelis and Palestinians (2003), which was produced while teaching art in the Palestinian village of Dir Ibzia; Disaster and Resistance; Comics and Landscapes for the Twenty-First Century (2008); and Len: A Lawyer in History (2016). War in the Neighbourhood is long out of print, but a new edition is pending from the Canadian anarchist press, Ad Astra Comix (https://adastracomix.com/catalogue/). The book is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in the politics of squatting.

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The Politics of the Crowbar: Squatting in London, 1968-1977 (Anarchist Studies 24.2, Winter 2016)

December 1, 2016

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. I challenge the dominant framework through which both squatters and scholars currently view squatting. Squatting is predominantly framed as a binary between political squatters who take buildings in order to engage in political activism and deprivation squatters who live in empty homes out of necessity due to their homelessness. I propose that all squatting is inherently political as it challenges ownership of property and the authority of the state in allocating housing, and forces confrontation with the state. Thus, whether out of need or choice, all squatters are political agents.

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Are these Bubbles Anarchist? Peter Sloterdijk’s Spherology and the Question of Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

The question of solidarity is an important one for anarchism. However, to date solidarity as a concept has not been given the philosophical attention it deserves. In this paper I wish to fill in this gap in the anarchist literature and discuss solidarity from the perspective of Peter Sloterdijk’s work. I will examine the key features of Sloterdijk’s theory of spheres and claim that his spherology can be useful for thinking about solidarity in the context of anarchism. Sloterdijk’s work also allows for a theoretical support of the anarchist idea of slow, everyday transformation that is often contrasted with its main counter model for social change – revolution. It also offers an alternative to the usual philosophical reference that anarchists turn to in order to describe anarchist collectives, that is, Félix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze’s rhizomes. Although not an anarchist himself, Sloterdijk provides a theoretical framework to understand and constructively think about anarchism and contempo- rary anarchist movements. 

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Global Anarchism and Syndicalism: Theory, History, Resistance (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

The discussion below is a lightly edited transcription of a talk given by the author at the Ay Carmela, Rua das Carmelitas, in São Paulo, Brazil, on 2 November 2010. This article provides a global perspective on the history and theory of anarchism and syndicalism, arguing against views that treat anarchism as simple ‘anti-statism’ or a natural human ‘impulse’, in favour of the argument that the current is a socialist, working class tradition dating to the International Workingmen’s Association (the ‘First International’), 1864-1877. An international movement in intent, conception and membership from the start, it drew on a range of modernist, rationalist socialist ideas, and developed a powerful base in many regions of the world by the 1940s. Spanish anarchism was undoubtedly important, as was the anarchist Spanish Revolution of 1936–1939, but Spain provided but one of a series of mass-based, influential anarchist and syndicalist movements. Barcelona was only one in a chain of red-and-black anar- chist and syndicalist strongholds, and the Spanish Revolution only one of a number of major rebellions, revolutionary rehearsals and actual social revolutions in which anarchism/ syndicalism played a decisive role. Although public attention was drawn by the spectacular actions of the movement’s marginal ‘insurrectionist’ wing, it was the ‘mass’ anarchist approach – based on patient mass organising and education – that predominated. The movement’s immersion in mass movements – especially through syndicalism, peasant and civil rights struggles, fights against racism and women’s oppression, and anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles – can also only be properly appreciated from a global perspective – one in which the movement’s rich history in the colonial and postcolonial world is placed centre-stage. The real history of the movement should not be confused with the mythological, propagandistic history of anarchism that sections of the movement subsequently promoted, centred on claims that ‘anarchism’ existed across all human history, was ‘natural’ etc.

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Response to Thomas Klikauer’s review article ‘Management, business, anarchism’ (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

A response to Thomas Klikauer’s review article ‘Management, business, anarchism’ in Anarchist Studies 23.2 (2015).

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AS Vol 24 No 1 – Reviews (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

Bart van der Steen, Ask Katzeff and Leendert van Hoogenhuijze (eds), The City Is Ours. Squatting and Autonomous Movements in Europe from the 1970s to the Present 
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Louise Michel, À travers la Mort. Mémoires Inédits, 1886-1890, (edited and introduced by Claude Rétat) 
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

M. Testa, Militant Anti-Fascism. A Hundred Years of Resistance 
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey  

Žiga Vodovnik, A Living Spirit of Revolt: The Infrapolitics of Anarchism 
Reviewed by Robert Graham

Alex Ogg, Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, The Early Years 
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Brian Morris, Anthropology, Ecology, and Anarchism: a Brian Morris Reader 
Reviewed by Thomas Martin 

Colin Ward and David Goodway, Talking Anarchy 
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Claude Guillon, Comment Peut-on Être Anarchiste? 
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

In 2014, Canadian anarchist Cody Bergerud resolved to travel to Rojava to ‘document and participate’ in the on-going revolution. ‘The entire experience’, he writes, ‘was life changing’:

The most inspirational thing is to see how the vast majority of people in Rojava are politically engaged. There is real potential for this movement to become a model for other struggles around the world. In that regard, one of the greatest challenges is communicating that the Rojava revolution is a multi-ethnic project when international and State media depict it as a one-dimensional struggle specific to Kurds, rather than an effort based on ideas that have universal appeal.

When I arrived I consulted with Rojava’s self-defence forces and decided
to participate as a medic in a front-line position. I spent two months working as a medic in the town of Til Temir, in Cizire canton. Later I moved to larger cities and starting doing interviews with local political figures, journalists and schoolteachers. Sometimes I would write reports on my blog or a presentation to be passed on to diplomats in other countries. My future work in Rojava will focus on contributing to the planning and construction of educational facili- ties, some of which are already in the works.

The cover photo was taken by Cody in the town of Til Temir: ‘My friend’s son is in the foreground of the photo. His name is Al Ward, and he is waiting to start school with kids from his neighborhood’.

Allan Antliff

Cover photo: Cody Bergerud, Learning in Til Temir, 2014 

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Anarchist Women Of Imperial Japan: Lives, Subjectivities, Representations (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

This essay is focused on Kanno Suga (1881–1911), Itô Noe (1895–1923) and Kaneko Fumiko (1903–1926), women who were closely associated with Japan’s pre-war anarchist movement. This was the case even with Fumiko who defined her political stance as ‘nihilistic egoism’, yet was an admirer of the leading anarcho-syndicalist in Taishô (1912– 26) Japan, Ôsugi Sakae, and numbered anarchists amongst her political intimates. Her nihilism/egoism was, in any case, strongly inspired by individualistic anarchism.

Because of their connection with anarchism, it may come as no surprise that all three women died young and either in prison or in the hands of state forces. Yet it is unlikely that any one of them would have met such an end if not for her determi- nation to be treated as the equal of male partner who occupied a leading position in the movement. Suga was the one woman executed for high treason in the Meiji High Treason Case of 1910–1911, along with the leader of the Meiji anarchists, her lover Kôtoku Shûsui, and ten other male comrades. At the end of a similar criminal case in 1926, Fumiko took her own life in her prison cell. This was after the death sentence for high treason meted out to herself and her Korean partner, Pak Yeol, had been commuted to life imprisonment. Noe, on the other hand, had already been murdered by this time by military police together with her partner, Ôsugi, just after the Great Kantô Earthquake of 1 September 1923.

This essay contrasts contemporary and later representations of the three women with the meanings they themselves attached to their lives and subjectivities. It highlights the irony involved in gendering Kanno Suga, Itô Noe or Kaneko Fumiko in stereotypically feminine terms, when the subjects themselves were critical of the gender norms of the time – not only in mainstream society but also within Japan’s libertarian movement. 

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Is the State Part of the Matrix of Domination and Intersectionality? An Anarchist Inquiry (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

The notions ‘matrix of domination’ and ‘intersectionality’ have become buzzwords in discussions of power relations (patriarchy, racism, capitalism). Systems of domination must be examined in terms of their overlaps and mutual influences (‘matrix’), institutions and individuals being necessarily positioned at the intersections of these systems. In the scholarly literature, the focus is generally on three systems: sexism, racism, classism. Other aspects, such as age, may also be included. Apparently, however, the state is never regarded as a system but rather as a secondary or auxiliary institution affecting systems of domination or serving social movements in their quest for justice. 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. 

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The Rojava Revolution and British Solidarity (Anarchist Studies 1, Spring 2016)

March 1, 2016

Since the civil war in Syria erupted, ordinary Syrians seemed to have been forced to choose between two alternatives – to either side with the Assad regime or an extremist Islamist group. The Kurds in the north of Syria rejected both of these to instead pave the way for a third option: democracy. Taking advantage of the power vacuum created after Assad’s forces withdrew from the region to fight Islamic extremists, the Kurds in the north of Syria formed three autonomous cantons – Afrin, Cizire, and Kobane – in a geographic area they refer to as Rojava. The Kurds, mainly led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), have been pushing for a comprehensive social transformation to create a radically democratic, free and egalitarian society. All around Rojava, citizens assemble in communes, councils, committees, and neighbourhood assemblies to take decisions on social, economic, cultural, and ecological matters that affect their daily lives. What is most impressive is that they are trying to implement this unique political experiment in libertarian socialism in the midst of war. However, the Rojavan model, which bears similarities to the Zapatista experience, is under threat by the fascism of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and other regional actors vehemently against Kurdish autonomy. 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. 

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 22.1, Spring 2014)

February 1, 2016

In the winter of 1917, following the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II on 2 March and the declaration of a Republic, Russian anarchists in North America were ecstatic, including Volin (Vsavolod Mikhailovich Eikhenbaum) and Maksim Raevskii, editors of the New York-based newspaper Golos Truda (Voice of Labour). Founded in 1911, Voice of Labour was the weekly publication of the Union of Russian Workers of the United States and Canada, an anarchist-syndicalist organisation with 10,000 members. On 23 March 1917, Volin published an article, ‘The Revolution Ahead’, assessing recent events and their significance for radicals. Overthrowing the Tsar was but a first step, he argued: abolish private property, declare peace, and establish communal control of the land and factories on a federated basis, and then ‘we may speak of revolution’. To this end, in the spring and summer of 1917, the Union coordinated the return of hundreds of anarchists to Russia, including Volin and Raevskii. That August, the editors re-established Voice of Labour as the leading publication of the newly-founded Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) Union of Anarchist-Syndicalism. Thus it came about that in October, just prior to Lenin’s orchestration of the coup that brought his ‘Bolshevik’ faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party to power, Voice of Labour featured the illustration reproduced on this issue’s cover.

‘Civilization’ depicts an immense executioner wading through a pulpy mass of humanity. Ankle deep in corpses, hands dripping in blood, he towers over his victims, thirsting for more. The drawing was by American anarchist Robert Minor and had first appeared in the 16 December 1915 issue of the socialist New York Call news- paper, where it was captioned: ‘National Honour! In Terms of War and Democracy’. A few years later, with World War One casualties climbing towards 37,466,000 plus, Minor’s nightmarish depiction of warring nationalism run amuck was the perfect anecdote to the propagandistic rhetoric permeating all sides of the conflict. As the signatories of the ‘International Anarchist Manifesto on the War’ (1915) put it, each government claimed to be ‘the immaculate defender of right and liberty and the champion of civilization’. ‘Civilization?’ they asked: ‘Who, then, represents it now? Is it the German State, with its formidable militarism, and so powerful that it has stifled every disposition to revolt? Is it the Russian State, to whom the knout, the gibbet, and Siberia are the sole means of persuasion? Is it the French State, with its Biribi (a refer- ence to disciplining camps for recalcitrant conscripts), its bloody conquests in Tonkin, Madagascar, Morocco, and its compulsory enlistment of black troops? France, that detains in its prisons, for years, comrades guilty only of having written and spoken against war? Is it the English State, which exploits, divides, and oppresses the popula- tions of its immense colonial Empire?’

In early April 1918, five months after ‘Civilization’ appeared in Voice of Labour, Minor was able to make his way from America to Petrograd (via Sweden, which remained neutral during the war). He remained in Russia until December 1918 and witnessed the crushing of the anarchist movement firsthand, beginning in mid-April with government assaults and mass arrests in Moscow and Petrograd. Minor stands out as one of the first American anarchists to condemn the emerging ‘Soviet’ regime as counterrevolutionary. Capping a feature interview with Lenin published by the New York World newspaper in February 1919 (i.e., after he had left Russia) Minor condemned the Bolsheviks’ program of State centralisation for taking ‘industry’ out of the hands of ‘insurgent’ workers and returning it to ‘the business class, who disguise their activities by giving orders under the magic title of “Peoples’ Commissars”’. As a result, the Soviet government had ‘roused the bitter antagonism of the anarchist- syndicalists’ who were ‘the strongest opponents Lenin now has’, Minor concluded. Tragically, as we know, the Soviet State prevailed over the anarchists, ensuring more wars and more revolutionary betrayals would plague the twentieth century.

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To Hell With Culture: Fascism, Rhetoric, and the War for Democracy (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

To Hell With Culture was Herbert Read’s most concise exposition of his aesthetic politics, but it was a work moulded by the particular context in which he wrote. Starting life as a contribution to a series of pamphlets pondering the shape of Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, Read drew on a deep reading of socialist intellectual history to plot a new, radical path for democracy. His text was a necessary utopia, presenting an outcry against the cultural barbarities of both the capitalist and totalitarian superpowers, and entering a battle of ideas to determine the shape of post-war Europe.

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AS Vol 23 No 2 – Reviews (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

Alexandre Kojève, The Notion of Authority (A Brief Presentation)
Reviewed by Paul McLaughlin

Immanuel Ness (ed.), New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Norman Nawrocki, Cazzarola!: Anarchy, Romani, Love, Italy (A Novel)
Reviewed by Peter Seyferth

Han Ryner, Les Paraboles Cyniques
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

Christos Memos, Castoriadis and Critical Theory: Crisis, Critique, and Radical Alternatives 
Reviewed by John Asimakopoulos

Martin Veith, Unbeugsam: Ein Pionier des rumänischen Anarchismus: Panait Muşoiu
Reviewed by Bert Altena

Elliot Murphy, Unmaking Merlin, Anarchist Tendencies in English Literature
Reviewed by Jon Bigger

Magda Egoumenides, Philosophical Anarchism and Political Obligation
Reviewed by Sotirios Frantzanas

Stephen E. Hunt, The Revolutionary Urbanism of Street Farm: Eco-Anarchism, Architecture and Alternative Technology in the 1970s
Reviewed by Thomas Martin

Guillaume Davranche, Trop jeunes pour mourir. Ouvriers et révolutionnaires face à la guerre (1909-1914) 
Reviewed by Constance Bantman

Massimo Ortalli, Ritratti in piedi. Dialoghi fra storia e letteratura 
Reviewed by Vittorio Frigerio

Squatting Europe Kollective (eds), Squatting in Europe. Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles
Reviewed by Jim Donaghey

Huw Wahl, To Hell with Culture. A Film about Herbert Read (2014), 56 minutes
Reviewed by Diane Morgan.

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

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). To fully grasp that statement, we need to recall the salient points of Read’s biography. […]

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To Hell with (the contemporary commodification of) Culture! (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

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. As Matthew Adams notes in this issue, it was a peculiar essay within its series. Read focuses on art’s role within society rather than the more ‘immediate’ (political, financial and material) issues facing British society during and after the Second World War. I came to Read’s essay in 2013 after filmmaker Huw Wahl, who was making a film about Herbert Read, contacted me and requested to meet and talk about Read and his work. As a student at the University of Leeds, I had studied under Read’s son – the Art Historian Benedict Read – during which time I encountered Herbert Read in his role as art critic. I had read (and written an essay on) his book Contemporary British Art (1951) and was familiar with Read’s prox- imity to key mid-twentieth century British artists such as Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, in addition to the genealogy of the term ‘geometry of fear’ coming out of his catalogue essay to the British Pavilion at the 1952 Venice Biennale. In short, as I understood, Read was a figure central to the history of British Modernist art. Read’s political writings had, for the most part, been bypassed. There was something about Read and anarchism in the background, but that was as far as my engagement with Read’s political writings had travelled.

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To Hell with Herbert Read (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

Freee write manifestos by taking a pencil (or a laptop) to an historical text, usually belonging to the entwined traditions of the avant-garde and political activism. Sometimes, as Tristan Tzara advised, we choose the text according to its length, while other times, such as in this instance, we select the text according to the conditions of the invitation that triggered the writing of the manifesto. Our manifesto ‘To Hell with Herbert Read’ was written originally as a contribution to a conference held in Manchester that took its title from Herbert Read’s essay ‘To Hell with Culture’ (1941).

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To Hell with Architecture: An Architecture of Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

The commodification of art is just as in evidence in the ‘art’ of architecture. Architecture is perhaps the most obviously commodified and the most essential to western capitalism of all the arts. Is architecture an art? Can it ever be de-commodified? I will argue that mass housing is a key example of the commodification of culture in architecture, also however that the self-build form of housing is a potential example of architecture breaking away from this commodification. A return to what N. John Habraken called, in an echo of Read, the natural relationship. This form of architecture and the historic example of The Architects’ Revolutionary Council, as a rebellion from within the profession, will form the basis of my argument.

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Beyond the Institution: Community-Centred Art Activism Against the Commodification of Culture (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

Herbert Read’s 1941 essay ‘To Hell with Culture’ spoke of the state of artistic practice under a capitalist system and conditioned by the structures of the art institution. Read saw a project for social change that had art and culture at its centre, but not a kind of artistic practice that is elitist and exclusive; rather, he saw art as a liberatory practice for everyone. Departing from Read’s essay, this article examines community-centred artistic practices that challenge the canons and structures of institutions, and that have social change at their core. By looking at the processes and politics of these practices, I will argue that art activism has the potential to fight the commodification of culture denounced by Read, and take forward the still incomplete project of democratisation of the arts in a prefigurative manner.

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The Snake and the Falcon (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

The Snake and the Falcon is an adapted version of Emma Goldman’s 1933 speech ‘An Anarchist Looks at Life’, edited to conform to contemporary parlance and inclusive of contemporary political references. Goldman’s message of believing in a freedom unencumbered by dogma and financial servitude remains relevant nearly eighty-five years later and inspires anew. A work of personal reflection and political quotation, this new text cannot easily be characterised as art or scholarship, but nonetheless exists as labour in the present and begs for continuity with such labours of the past. Readers are challenged to imagine whether they, as artists and intellectuals, are the snake or the falcon in the twenty-first century parable suggested by Goldman’s ongoing speech act, itself an appropriation of Gorky’s poetics. If the snake represents an acceptance of the world as-is, and the falcon is the image of a risky and idealistic drive towards a better future, the text asks: What work does our collective labour perform? What work does criticism do? What can art be?

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Management and Anarchism (Anarchist Studies 23.2, Autumn 2015)

November 1, 2015

Konstantin Stoborod and Thomas Swann (eds), ‘Management, business, anarchism’ special issue of ephemera – theory & politics in organization
November 2014, volume 14, number 4; pp591-1079; ISBN 978-1-906948-25-2 (available free online)

ephemera’s November 2014 special issue links anarchism to organisations and manage- ment, with twenty-two articles from thirty-five authors, on themes such as: anarchism as a theory of organisations; key ideas of anarchism and Critical Management Studies (CMS); the roots of anarchist organisations; anarchist praxis; and radical imagina- tion. Management signifies virtually everything anarchism rejects, and as Swann and Stoborod’s editorial highlights, ‘the inclusion of anarchism and management in the same sentence would normally connote a rejection’ (p591). Indeed, Taylor’s (un-) Scientific Management (1911) described workers as ‘trained gorillas’,1 while Fayol’s (1916) invention of managerial activities such as forecasting, planning, organising, commanding, delegating, and controlling2 cemented management’s anti-anarchist stance. Management originated with the use of whips and sticks to domesticate workers in the brutal factory discipline of Dickensian Satanic Mills.3 In many cases, though not all, this has been reformulated into ‘human resources’ with its performance management and Key Performance Indicators. To hide these historical facts, ephemera euphemises the ideology-laden ‘management’ with ‘organisation’. 

Notes

  1. This was typical of managerial language long before management mutated into Managerialism. Quoted in T. Klikauer, Managerialism – Critique of an Ideology, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2013), p51. See also: F.W. Taylor, The Principle of Scientific Management, (New York: Norton Press, 1911) and www.marxists.org/

  2. H. Fayol, Industrial and General Administration, (London: SirI. Pitman & Sons, ltd. 1916 (1930)). 

 

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Pacifism, Violence and Aesthetics: George Woodcock’s Anarchist Sojourn, 1940-1950 (Anarchist Studies 23.1, )

June 1, 2015

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 23.1, )

June 1, 2015

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Pacifism, Violence and Aesthetics: George Woodcocks Anarchist Sojourn, 1940-1950 (Anarchist Studies 21.1, Spring 2015)

May 1, 2015

‘Art is antithetical to violence’ – so claimed George Woodcock (1912-1995) in his opening editorial for the first edition of the literary journal Now, which he edited from late March 1940 to fall 1947.1 In the third issue of Now (Fall, 1940) Woodcock lent nuance to this declaration by announcing his principled opposition to military service, stating that recruitment into the army in wartime Britain was ‘incompatible with my whole conception of morality and service to mankind, and entirely opposed to the function of the artist’.2 Shortly after this statement appeared Woodcock went before a government tribunal and received conscientious objector status, but unlike his close friend the poet and Christian anarchist Derek. S. Savage (who was granted an unconditional exemption) Woodcock was required to join the War Agricultural Committee (WAC) and work the land.3

Notes

  1. George Woodcock, ‘Introduction’, Now No. 1 (Easter, 1940), p1.
  2. George Woodcock, ‘’Crouchy’ Poets’, Now No. 2 (Fall 1940), p8.
  3. Derek Savage, ‘Crouchy Poets’, Now No.2 (Fall 1940), 7; George Fetherling, The Gentle Anarchist: A Life of George Woodcock (Subway Books: Vancouver, 2003), p20. 

 

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George Woodcock on ‘The Anarchist Critic’ (Anarchist Studies 23.1, Spring 2015)

May 1, 2015

The Anarchist Critic first appeared in the Vancouver anarchist journal Open Road in 1982.1 Robert Graham, who was a member of the collective, recalls Woodcock subscribed to Open Road though he never joined its social circle.2 He would go on, at Graham’s prompting, to contribute an article-length review of Richard Attenborough’s film, Gandhi, to a special ‘Direct Action’ issue [George Woodcock, ‘Gandhi: The Price of Glory’, Open Road no. 15 (Spring, 1983): 21-22] and a feature on George Orwell for a themed issue, ‘Coming to terms with Direct Action’ [George Woodcock, ‘Orwell was no Cold Warrior,’ Open Road 16 (Spring 1984): 19-20].3 The fact that the latter two issues of Open Road focus on the bombing campaign, subsequent arrest, and trial of the Vancouver- based anarchist urban guerilla group ‘Direct Action’ make Woodcock’s contributions all the more interesting.4 

Notes

  1. George Woodcock, ‘The Anarchist Critic’, Open Road no.14 (Summer 1982): p17.
  2. Robert Graham to Allan Antliff: March 17, 2015.
  3. Ibid.
  4. ‘Direct Action’ member Ann Hansen has published a personal account, Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerilla (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2001). I also reprint ‘Direct Action’ related communiques, interviews and debates from the anarchist press in Allan Antliff, Only a Beginning: An Anarchist Anthology (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004). 

 

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Bakunins anti-Jacobinism: Secret societies for self-emancipating collectivist social revolution (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2014)

November 1, 2014

The historiography of nearly the past century and a half may render surprising – if not, to some, jolting – the juxtaposition, in the title, of the noun ‘anti-Jacobinism’ to the possessive form of Bakunin’s surname. This is the point. Bakunin’s idea and practice of ‘secret societies’ was directed at reversing the Jacobin tradition in European socialism. To indicate and to sketch such a nucleus of the structure of his beliefs, as may be argued to have governed Bakunin’s mature revolutionary practice, is the purpose of this short article. There is not enough space to review chronologically his various ‘secret societies’, but these have been treated in the literature.

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Permanent war: Grids, boomerangs and counterinsurgency (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2014)

November 1, 2014

Rooted in Michel Foucault’s (2003: 15, 47) conception of politics – ‘[P]olitics is a continuation of war by other means’ – this paper seeks to support and draw attention to the ‘primitive or permanent war’ that underlies society in its modern manifestations. This inquiry into permanent warfare is broken down into five sections. The first explores the social construction and evolution of peace as a concept and political lever. The second, goes to the ground, examining the planning of society, its construction and the use of grids as a means to govern and manage populations. The third, considers Hannah Arendt’s ‘boomerang effects’ that cross-pollinate repressive techniques and technologies between home countries and colonies, escalating repression and state control as it corresponds to resistance. The fourth, delves into counterinsurgency practices and techniques that have ‘boomeranged’ from colonial wars and the wars in the Middle East back to the United States and elsewhere. Finally, this paper concludes by drawing attention to the current intensification of internal colonisation that continues the ‘permanent war’ against people and populations.

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 22.2, Autumn 2014)

November 1, 2014

In 2014, the government of Brazil blew roughly 11.63 billion on the FIFA World Cup. Mass protests against this fiasco, before and during the event, were met with harsh police repression, in the course of which Mikhail Bakunin became a ‘subject of interest’. Brazilian anarchists were delighted and news of his riotous reappearance spread quickly. An anonymous article posted on the http://revolution-news. com website communicates the gist of the Brazilians’ response:

Nineteenth Century Anarchist Bakunin, Investigated by Brazil’s Police As ‘Suspect’ Brazil’s police state has played a joke on itself: Mikhail Bakunin, an anarchist born in Russia 200 years ago, is being investigated by the Rio de Janeiro police under the suspicion that he is participating in protests against the World Cup and social injustice. Police suspect Bakunin of participating in ‘vandalism acts’ during protests. Bakunin, considered among the founders of anarchism (which is a theory of organising the society without the state and without capi- talism; horizontally, without hierarchies, without the bourgeois class, oppression, exploitation, wage slavery and private property), has been listed as ‘a potential suspect’ because a thirty-four year old professor, who is enduring state repres- sion, mentioned him in a phone conversation. Police tapped her phone to spy on her activities, and when they heard her mentioning the name they included it in a 2000 page report against social activists. In the past, cops investigated Marx too; oddly enough Marx and Bakunin are known due to their divergent posi- tions regarding the state’s disappearance. Bakunin’s conflict with Marxists is best stated in his words: ‘As for me, I do not hesitate to say that all the Marxist flirta- tions with radicalism of the bourgeois, whether reformist or revolutionary, can have no other result than the demoralization and disorganization of the rising power of the proletariat, and consequently a new consolidation of the established power of the bourgeois.’ Bakunin is censored by mainstream curricula, and by mainstream political ideas, because he and other anarchists contest the legitimacy of the capitalist ruling classes, of their capitalist economic arrangements, and of their domination over the majority of the population, which they keep in submission through silent or violent coercion. So with this, cops help the ones they hate most, the anarchists, propagate their ideas. [After news of the police targeting of Bakunin] a webpage immediately appeared denouncing more terrorists and vandals to the police. Those listed have been fighting against the state and the capital all their lives: Mikhail Bakunin, Louise Michel, Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Ricardo Flores Magón, Emiliano Zapata (who was partly influenced by the anarchist from Oaxaca, Ricardo Flores Magón), Nestor Makhno, and Alexander Berkman.

The article closes with the poster featured in this issue’s cover appealing to concerned citizens to help police track down ‘Bakunin, the leader of the vandals’.
Happy 200th Mikhail!

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Socialism and Strategy: A Libertarian Critique of Leninism (Anarchist Studies 21.1, Spring 2014)

May 1, 2014

This essay criticises ‘Leninism’. It addresses seven points on social change and transformation: change as a broad social movement, and issues of gender, management, authority, the state, the party and the union. It draws on perspectives from various anarchist, syndicalist, feminist, and socialist traditions. It suggests that future socialist movements might well draw on inclusive participatory democratic forms, rather than looking towards reviving some form of a Leninist party.

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Gezi resistance in Istanbul: Something in between Tahrir, Occupy and a late Turkish 1968 (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2013)

November 1, 2013

It started with a small group of activists trying to defend a public park against government’s plans to build a huge shopping mall. In few days, as police used increasing violence against that tiny cluster of protestors, more and more people came to show their support. On 31 May, the whole country woke up at 3 a.m. to find that a small protest had turned into a huge revolutionary moment. Taksim Square and Gezi Park (in central Istanbul) were ‘captured’ on 1 June and remained government-free zones for two weeks … It was a bit ethereal for everyone: a stateless mega city-centre! The Taksim Commune! And anarchists were clearly not the only people who enjoyed the temporary autonomous zone. The heterogeneous movement was politicised through a common process. Different political stances converged for the first time. There was clearly a ‘multitude’ on the streets during the uprising and this multitude is still active in different forms. What happened, how did it develop? I believe that the events repay discussion.

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Revisiting social and deep ecology in the light of global warming (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2013)

November 1, 2013

The purpose of this article is largely theoretical. It asks what type of perspective is needed in order for left libertarians and anarchists to develop a deeper understanding of global warming. This way of framing the question builds on a set of premises which I will spell out. First, global warming is real. Second, the reality of global warming exists independently of our discourse about it. Third, global warming will have real and dangerous consequences for humans and human society. Fourth, we do not have full knowledge about global warming and climate change, and we must reach a deeper understanding. Fifth, the urgency of global warming demands that we act before we know everything we want to know about it. Sixth, human societies have an inherently creative capacity to find solutions to the challenges posed by global warming. Ethical thinking about global warming cannot, therefore, be reduced to the realm of human consciousness, language and discourse; global warming forces us to rethink our relationship with nature and our possible paths to understanding nature and reality in a theoretically serious manner (in the Hegelian sense of the word ‘serious’) – that is, in terms of the unity between theory and praxis.

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Bridging Utopia and Pragmatism to Achieve Direct Economic Democracy (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2013)

November 1, 2013

Owing to a poverty of vision anarchists are failing to bridge the gap between utopian economic models of society and reality – theory and praxis. The result is a de facto acceptance of the basest systems as ‘pragmatic’. Direct economic democracy, also known as libertarian socialism, is attainable but only in ways that connect to the experiences of daily life. By modifying existing institutions of production it is pragmatically possible to achieve societies resembling distant utopias. One of my proposals is that the top corporations have half their boards of directors filled by lottery from the demos modelled on the jury system, the other half by workers of the company. Here, citizens and workers would set corporate policy which affects society at large. My second proposal is to establish a standard national wage, leading to increased economic efficiency and development. These changes are possible only through critical pedagogy and radical direct action but the possibilities have been demonstrated by US labour and civil rights history.

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 21.2, Autumn 2013)

November 1, 2013

In January 1963, New York pacifist-anarchists Judith Malina and Julian Beck, co-founders of the Living Theatre, debuted a remarkable play called The Brig. The playwright was a former marine, Kenneth Brown, who had been incarcerated in a military brig for thirty days while stationed in Japan. In the brig, prisoners followed a strict sequence of routines, day in and day out, for the length of their incarceration. The goal was to strip them of their identity and instil unquestioning obedience. Each inmate was given a number and forced to answer to it. Punishment was to study the Guide for Marines to the letter while obeying rigid protocols of behaviour within a tightly confined space sectioned off by lines that could not be crossed without permission or an order to do so. Prisoners were screamed at, punched, and subjected to constant humiliation by the guards, who enforced a strict code of silence between inmates. Brown’s play presented a day in this brig, with all its attendant brutality.

The Living Theatre regarded their performance of The Brig as a political state- ment. This is clear from Malina’s director’s notes, published in 1964, in which she interprets the play as a transformative critique of society’s authoritarian structures. ‘Whether that structure calls itself a prison or a school or a factory or a family or a government’, she writes, ‘that structure asks each man what he can do for it, not what it can do for him, and for those who do not do for it, there is the pain of death or imprisonment, or social degradation, or the loss of animal rights’. Outlining her techniques for staging the marine brig’s ‘structure’ of psychological and physical cruelty, she underlined that her ambition was to radicalise people through the play. She also interpreted the play’s message as anarchist. The Brig’s brutalised marines and their guard-persecutors were united by the choice, at some juncture, to submit to authority. Each soldier had decided to ‘draw the line at that line’ and this was ‘the symbolic key of his repressed powers’ [Malina’s emphasis] and his suffering. In a free society no such line need ever be drawn by any individual. What inner force could free us to usher in such a society? ‘Love, the saving grace in everything human’, was the Living Theatre’s answer. In The Brig, Malina revealed, the Living Theatre ‘called on pity last, on basic human kinship first’ so that their audience may ‘know violence in the clear light of the kinship of our physical empathy’. When humanity grasps the truth of violence, she predicted, we will ‘confront the dimensions of the Structure, find its keystone, learn on what foundations it stands, and locate its doors. Then we will penetrate its locks and open the doors of all the jails.’

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Whose Streets? Anarchism, Technology and the Petromodern State (Anarchist Studies 21.1, Spring 2013)

June 1, 2013

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Toward a Peak Everything Postanarchism and a Technology Evaluation Schema for Communities in Crisis (Anarchist Studies 21.1, Spring 2013)

June 1, 2013

Communities everywhere are already in crisis as a result of the twin threats of peak everything and climate change. These threats will pressure all future organisations of the technological base. This presents opportunities for careful and intelligent intervention. Though some forms of environmental crises are certain, the timing and severity of these remain unclear and will likely provide unique challenges to varying climate and socio-economic contexts. A variety of probable environmental scenarios will constrain the range of potential political interventions. In this article different orientations to the interacting crises, with focus toward possible reorganisation of the technological base, are considered. Through a brief discussion of environmentally-oriented anarchist politics, postanarchism, and radically democratic politics of technology, I find new directions for an anarchist politics of technology prepared for the short- and long-term responses to the crises. I demonstrate these politics through a set of practicable evaluative questions for assessing new and existing artefacts and systems. In doing so, I provide not only the beginnings of an analytic theory of tech- nology, but also an evaluation-oriented experimental schema.

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Cybernetics, Anarchism and Self-organisation (Anarchist Studies 21.1, Spring 2013)

June 1, 2013

The revival and reinvention of anarchist theory in the second half of the twentieth century shared the conceptual stage with the advent of cybernetics. Through a consideration of the works (among others) of Sam Dolgoff, John McEwan, Grey Walter, Paul Goodman and Gregory Bateson, I highlight a few key moments in which the new scientific concepts of systems, circular causality, and self-organisation found their way into anti-authoritarian theory. By untangling the multiple strands of this complicated encounter between anarchism and twentieth- century science, we can better understand the genealogy of contemporary notions around self-organisation, networks and horizontalism, avoid some of the pitfalls encountered by an earlier generation, and find inspiration in some of the avenues afforded by this intersection which are yet to be fully explored.

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Anarchism and Council Communism – on the Russian Revolution (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2012)

November 1, 2012

The Russian Revolution, being part of the revolutionary tradition of the exploited and oppressed, encompasses sufferings, horrors and tragedies, but also unfulfilled promises, hopes and revolutionary inspirations. The subversive heritage includes, among others, the largely neglected radical critiques of the Russian Revolution that preceded analogous Trotskyist endeavours. All these forgotten critiques, unrealised potentials and past struggles could act as a constantly renewed point of departure in the fight for human emancipation. This essay examines the two radical currents of anarchism and Council Communism and their critical confrontation with the Russian Revolution and the class character of the Soviet regime. First, it outlines the major anarchist critiques and analyses of the revolution (Kropotkin, Malatesta, Rocker, Goldman, Berkman and Voline). Following this, it explores the critique provided by the Council Communist tradition (Pannekoek, Gorter and Rühle). The essay moves on to provide a critical re-evaluation of both anarchist and councilist appraisals of the Russian Revolution in order to disclose liberating intentions and tendencies that are living possibilities for contemporary radical anti-capitalist struggles all over the world. It also attempts to shed light on the limits, inadequacies and confusions of their approaches, derive lessons for the present social struggles and make explicit the political and theo- retical implications of this anti-critique.

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Reform – when is it worthwhile? (Anarchist Studies 20.2, Autumn 2012)

November 1, 2012

Reform and revolution are often presented as mutually exclusive. To probe how reform can contribute to radical change, nine case studies are examined: action on student cheating, progressive course content and self-managed learning, each in the area of education; campaigning against military spending, nuclear weapons and conscription, each in the area of defence; and pressure group politics, running for office and voting, each in the area of electoral politics. The case studies show that the way reform efforts are targeted and organised greatly affects their contribution towards self-managing alternatives. Four key dimensions of reform efforts are questioning of the system, experiences of participation, the way the system responds to protest, and whether change opens opportunities for further action.

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About this issue’s cover (Anarchist Studies 20.1, Spring 2012)

May 1, 2012

This issue’s cover, ‘Money Talks Too Much‘, was created by anarchist print artist Josh MacPhee of the Justseeds artists’ collective and handed out at the first mass demonstration held by the Occupy Wall Street General Assembly. MacPhee writes:

The posters were printed at the behest and with the help of a group of cultural workers calling themselves Artists and Writers Exhausted by Capitalism and Inspired by the Occupation, and we thought 300-400 posters would make an impact for the contingent, but instead, the posters were distributed within seconds, and disappeared into a crowd of over 10,000 … But it didn’t take long for the image to appear again. It was reproduced as the back cover of the first n+1 Occupy! Gazette, and was posted as a free, high-res downloadable pdf on both the Justseeds.org website and Occuprint.org, and has been downloaded thou- sands of times from these sites. In addition, it turns out many people who sucked up the printed posters on Oct. 5th kept them, and they have been showing up to related OWS events, such as anti-foreclosure demonstrations and student actions, with the posters tacked to pickets, or even laminated.

The design of the poster itself was inspired by the proliferation of hand-painted cardboard signs in Zuccotti Park. Each of these signs was unique and created from an individual perspective, and while I knew I couldn’t recreate that in a mass-produced poster, I could attempt to capture the spirit of it. The movement consciously developed in the shadow of Wall Street, and the bull sculpture that sits there as a monument to capitalism was a popular target of derision in the early days of OWS. So I had my object, what the poster was against. The more complicated part was who the ‘we’ is, how to represent our attack on the bull and capitalism? By using scrappy hand-drawn letters, and literally writing on top of the image of the bull graffiti-ing on it I tried to harness the power of self-expres- sion and the intersection of individual voices and mass articulations in the Park. The hand-writing and harness strapping the bull’s mouth shut are my creation, but I also wanted the image to be a stand in for all the voices in the park, all the hand-writing on the signs. The poster is an attempt to graphically capture the struggle between ‘our’ voice and the voice of capital.

The Occupy movement is an example of how the politics of radicalism are shifting away from old forms and becoming more meaningful in the process. Anarchism is at the crux of this development, which is drawing a clear line between those who seek power over others and those who seek to empower themselves.

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Building Another Politics: The Contemporary Anti-Authoritarian Current in the U.S. and Canada (Anarchist Studies 20.1, Spring 2012)

May 1, 2012

Recent decades have seen the convergence of a variety of anti-authoritarian politics and broader-based movements in the US and Canada. Coming out of this convergence, a growing set of activists and organisers are developing shared politics, practices, and sensibilities based in overlapping areas of work. Those creating these politics compose a political tendency, what I call the anti-authoritarian current, which cuts across a range of left social movements. Broadly conceived, what distinguishes this current is its commitment to combining anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist politics with grassroots organising among ordinary, non-activist people. I argue that the anti-authoritarian current, in effect, builds on the best features of the anarchist tradition while drawing on substantial contributions from other political formations and movement experiences. Based on in-depth interviews with organisers in six North American cities, this essay traces the strands that have led into the anti-authoritarian current and explores the defining principles of its politics.

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Another View: Syndicalism, Anarchism and Marxism (Anarchist Studies 20.1, Spring 2012)

May 1, 2012

In the AS special issue on syndicalism, Ralph Darlington seeks to downplay anarchist influence on syndicalism while also suggesting that Marxism was one of its core ideological elements. He ignores both the more obvious influence of Bakunin on the syndicalist tradition and that Marx and Engels explicitly rejected the syndicalist ideas expounded by libertarians in the First International. The supposed conceptions syndicalism is claimed to have inherited from Marxism can all be found in the revolutionary anarchist tradition. Rather than syndicalist ideas being inherited from Marxism, they arose from a large anarchist movement in the 1860s and subsequently influenced a wing of Marxism decades later.

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