This is, above all, a history of the anarchist movement from the perspective of those who were at the centre of its development, their voices recovered through a careful and extensive research of conference proceedings, journal articles, memoirs, etc. Altogether, this is a prime example of historical work which is not backward-looking, but forward-looking, bringing history back to life in order to feed contemporary agitated conversations, encounters and debates.
by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
A.W. Zurbrugg has edited and worked on some very interesting contributions on historical anarchism: his selection of Bakunin’s texts and his book on anarchists’ impressions on the Russian Revolution, had both been reviewed in anarkismo.net before and I absolutely recommend them to anyone interested in anarchism. Now Zurbrugg comes back with a more ambitious project: an international historical recount of anarchism in the 20th century in four volumes, of which the first one was published under the title “Anarchist Perspectives in Peace and War 1900-1918”.
So what’s different in this attempt at an international history of anarchism from others?
As part of ASH’s residency at the 221A Gallery in Vancouver, the Pollyanna 圖書館 Library asked us to provide a bibliography of books to add to their collection that provide a written context to the four workshops we will be holding on the principles and practices of a socialist architecture. This is what we came up with.
How would anarchists suggest we reorganize society in order to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to survive an already changed world?
There is no single anarchist position, and many anarchists refuse to offer any proposal at all, arguing that if society liberates itself from State and capitalism, it will change organically, not on the lines of any blueprint. Besides, the attitude of policy, seeing the world from above and imposing changes, is inextricable from the culture that is responsible for destroying the planet and oppressing its inhabitants.
Nonetheless, I want to outline one possible way we could organize our lives, not to make a concrete proposal, but because visions make us stronger, and we all need the courage to break once and for all with the existing institutions and the false solutions they offer. For the purposes of this text I’m not going to enter…
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The deputation to the Council of Newham…
Residents of Brimstone House formed a powerful woman led deputation to the Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and the full Labour council meeting at Stratford Town Hall on Monday 15 July. The deputation spoke about their submission of a legal complaint, compiled with the Public Interest Law Centre supported by Focus E15 campaign, regarding the appalling conditions of the temporary and emergency accommodation in the Newham Council-owned building in Victoria Street, Brimstone House.
The deputation by Brimstone House residents was organised after a year of meetings with Newham Council which has seen little change for the majority of the residents.
One Focus E15 campaigner Hannah Caller described what happened during the deputation: “the powerful and eloquent words of mothers, pregnant women and teenagers sent shivers down the spine of even the most hardened. This is no way to treat people, lives of adults and…
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A few days ago, in response to the announcement from Essex County Council that there would be no actual library closures in the next five years, we published this post: Essex library closures – a battle has been won but the fight goes on. Like Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE), we suspected that the devil would be in the detail and this has subsequently proved to be the case. This is what SOLE have had to say about the detail:
The revised library strategy has been released.
SOLE said the devil would be in the detail. However there remains a distinct lack of detail and transparency. Many people across the county will be wondering if their local library is about to see its librarians sacked and taken over by volunteers. And if their local library is about to be taken over, who will be taking it over (of course many…
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Since the beginnings of organized anarchist movements in the so-called First International, anarchists have had to figure out how to participate in popular liberation movements, whether working class movements against capitalism, movements against dictatorial governments, anti-war movements, national liberation movements, women’s liberation movements, gay liberation movements, the Occupy movement, and so on, without losing their anarchist identity. Errico Malatesta confronted these issues from the beginning of his career as an anarchist revolutionary during the First International, which was an association of working class organizations with sometimes very different political positions. In this article from 1899, when there was a growing movement in Italy to abolish the monarchy, Malatesta attempts to steer a middle course between an anarchist purism which holds itself aloof from popular struggles that do not seek the immediate abolition of capitalism and the state, and collaboration with other political groups resulting in anarchists subordinating themselves to…
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As the left revisits questions of strategy and the role of elections in the path towards socialist transformation, author and veteran activist Tom Wetzel outlines both a critique of the electoral centered path and a strategy for working class power from below.
By Tom Wetzel
Could a shift from capitalism to socialism be brought about through electoral politics? Ever since the origins of the modern socialist left in the late 1800s, many socialists have viewed the politics of parties and elections as a way they can insert themselves into history — forming a core component of their strategy.
In the World War I era the American Socialist Party (SPA) had gained a hundred thousand members and elected more than a thousand government officials — mayors, members of city councils and state legislators. By the mid-20th century “democratic socialism” had been coined as a kind of political brand to refer to the tradition of the socialists oriented to electoral politics as a strategy for social change.
The “democratic socialist” label was partly meant to show their defense of the systems of “representative democracy” and liberal values in western Europe, North America and elsewhere. This was combined with critiques of the repressive and undemocratic nature of the “communist camp” countries of the mid-20th century — the Soviet Union, Castro’s Cuba, Communist China. This defense of “representative democracy” is tied in with their basic strategy of working to gain political power through elections.