Kenyon Zimmer
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At war with empire
The anti-colonial roots of American anarchist debates during the First World War
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The ambiguous relationship between anti-statist anarchists and national liberation movements became central to American and international anarchist disagreements over the proper course of action during the First World War. American anarchists unanimously decried the US annexation of Cuba, the Philippines, Hawaii and other territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. After the United States officially joined the war in April 1917, American anarchists became absorbed in struggles against conscription, censorship, deportation and Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. Instead, in many ways, the war marked the beginning of the end for anarchism as a mass movement in the United States. It ushered in an unprecedented period of American nationalism, xenophobia, political repression and immigration restriction. The fact that all the factions had based their wartime positions on the same shared commitment to anti-colonialism helped make such reconciliation possible.

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Anarchism, 1914–18

Internationalism, anti-militarism and war


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