Before giving the details of my forthcoming talks I need to mention a few things. First off, I should mention that I have posted write-ups of my previous two talks in Nottingham – Peter Kropotkin: Science and Syndicalism and The 1848 Revolutions: An Anarchist Perspective – along with an article Propertarianism and Fascism. As noted in the introduction to both the talks, neither are exactly what I said on the day but rather what I had hoped to cover. I’ll leave it to those there to say whether I active that goal or not!
The article is based on a previous blog, and driven in part as a result of my work on A Libertarian Reader. For those who are unaware, propertarianism is what we should call right-wing “libertarianism” – or, as they would have it, “libertarianism.” The Wikipedia entry covers it reasonably well, although it is clearly a bit of a mess given the right-wing appropriation of the word libertarian to describe something the exact opposite of its original usage. I will return to this below, after the meeting details.
The Kropotkin talk was based on one given earlier in the year in Edinburgh (I have not written up my Glasgow talk yet, but I will) and gives a basic overview of both Kropotkin’s contributions to science and anarchist theory. Hopefully that will help combat a few myths as well as make people read Direct Struggle Against Capital and Modern Science and Anarchy.
The second is something I had hoped to do for some time. I had the idea of a collection of some of my articles entitled Anarchy in the Age of Revolution, which would cover the Paris Commune, Russia in 1905 and 1917, Spain, France 1968, Argentina and so on. One revolution which was noticeable in its absence was 1848. Given the impact it had on anarchist theory due to Proudhon’s active participation in it, I knew it had to be covered. So when the Sparrow’s Nest comrades asked me to cover the events as part of their anniversary talks, I jumped at the chance.
I soon discovered that little or nothing had been written on it from an anarchist perspective – basically an essay by George Woodcock from 1948 and the second volume of Murray Bookchin’s The Third Revolution (written as he was breaking from anarchism, it was less useful than you would think – his account of Proudhon is shockingly bad, for example). Bakunin and Kropotkin obviously mention it, but mostly in passing, while Proudhon’s Confessions of a Revolutionary has not been completely translated (some chapters are in Property is Theft!). So I had to hit the books to see what popular organisations developed and indicate their potential, to draw conclusions for today – and that is the point, we study the past to inform our activity today (and to avoid mistakes).
Talking of Proudhon, I should mention that I’ve posted more extracts from Property is Theft! along with a new, complete translation of the final chapter of System of Economic Contradictions. More details – and links – can be found in this blog: David Harvey on Proudhon.
So having mentioned Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin I should give details of the two public meetings next year before giving an update on two of my current projects:
The Meaning of Anarchism, via twelve libertarians
Five Leaves Bookshop, 14a Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DH
Anarchism is a much misunderstood and much misrepresented theory. Rejecting the chaos of capitalism and statism, it seeks to create the order of libertarian socialism, a free society of free associates. To discover more, please join Iain McKay (author of An Anarchist FAQ) for an exploration of libertarian ideas by means of six male and six female anarchist thinkers and activists.
Over two nights, the lives and ideas of the founding fathers and mothers of anarchism – including Michael Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, Louise Michel and Emma Goldman – will be discussed and their continuing relevance highlighted.
Week one — Monday, 28th January: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Founding Fathers, 1840 to 1940: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Joseph Dejacques; Michael Bakunin; Errico Malatesta; Peter Kropotkin; Rudolf Rocker
Week two – Monday, 4th February: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Founding Mothers, 1840 to 1940; André Léo; Louise Michel; Lucy Parsons; Emma Goldman; Voltairine de Cleyre; Marie-Louis Berneri
£3.00 on the door, including refreshments.
Obviously, others will be mentioned along with various organisations and revolts, but these are the people being talked about in order to give a framework to the talk. And I should state that this topic was not my choice, but rather the bookshop’s. We will see if it works as a format!