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Anarchist theory and practice in a global age

This book attempts to convey the different sociological contexts for how contemporary anarchist theory and practice is to be understood. It concentrates on the issue of broadening the parameters of how anarchist theory and practice is conceptualized. The book compares the major philosophical differences and strategies between the classical period (what Dave Morland calls 'social anarchism') and the contemporary anti-capitalist movements which he regards as being poststructuralist in nature. It also documents the emergence of the now highly influential anti-technological and anti-civilisational strand in anarchist thought. This offers something of a challenge to anarchism as a political philosophy of the Enlightenment, as well as to other contemporary versions of ecological anarchism and, to some extent, anarcho-communism. The book further provides a snapshot of a number of debates and critical positions which inform contemporary anarchist practice. The specific areas covered offer unique perspectives on sexuality, education, addiction and mental health aspects of socialisation and how this can be challenged at a number of different levels. The fact that anarchism has largely premised its critique on a psychological dimension to power relations, not just a material one, has been an advantage in this respect. Ecological anarchism, which has been the driving force behind much contemporary anarchist theory and practice, has been committed to thinking about the relationships between people and 'nature' in new ways.

Towards a left-libertarian conception of freedom

This book presents a new left-libertarian conception of liberty, ‘freedom as Marxian-autonomy’, which is explored above all in terms of its organisational contours. The project brings together in theoretical dialogue Karl Marx’s (1818–83) critique of capitalism, certain ideals adapted from the guild socialist writings of G.D.H. Cole (1889–1959) and the sub-schools of social anarchism. In doing so it contributes towards the healing of a major historical schism in socialist theory. The outcome is a newly formed anarchist constitution, ‘associational anarchism’. In offering something important to the recent outpourings in current anarchist discourse, the book contends that liberty can be attained without passing through the mediation of self-interested employers, career politicians or state planners. The foundational claim is that a condition of freedom requires equal and democratic access to the material means of life, where self-mastery is attained in both the productive and consumptive spheres. Negative (non-coercion) and positive (self-direction, self-development) ideals are combined congenially in a conceptual framework that does not frame them in perpetual contradiction. This specific protection of a set of individual liberties, of which the political liberties are of equal value, effectively challenges the ideological belief that only liberalism safeguards negative liberty. As the book unfolds, an argument is developed that hard market forces must lose their ascendancy in much the same way the socialist state must be stripped of its unaccountable authority. The associational anarchist configuration of social planning with a guild-regulated market system is offered as the necessary corrective.

Abstract only
Classical to contemporary
Chris Wyatt

those elastic words, so convenient and yet so terrible: ‘for reasons of state’ . (Bakunin, 1973 : 134, original emphasis) There are two sections to this chapter. Section one, ‘Class struggle anarchism: a redesigned foundation’, begins by introducing

in Associational anarchism
An unlikely convergence, 1890–1940

This book focuses on the apparently surprising convergence between anarchism and eugenics. By tracing the reception of eugenic ideas within five different anarchist movements –Argentina, England, France, Portugal and Spain – the book argues that, in fact, there is ample evidence for anarchist interest in, and implementation of, some form of eugenics. The author argues that this intersection between anarchism and eugenics can be understood as an emanation from anarchism’s nineteenth-century legacy, which harnessed science as a means to change the social world and an ideological commitment to voluntarism as a political praxis. Through the articulation of interest in birth control, ‘neo-Malthusianism’, freedom to choose for women and revolutionary objectives, many anarchists across these five countries provided the basis for the creation of ‘anarchist eugenics’ in the early twentieth century.

Andrew Patrizio

‘The real revolution is internal … the most effective action is molecular.’ (Herbert Read, ‘Anarchism Past and Present’, 1947) This chapter looks at anarchist-related ideas of mutualism and nonhierarchy with an eye on what kind of art history has and could in future be written using such principles. There is a particular focus on the work of Herbert Read, not only as a well-known figure in our discipline but as a public intellectual who shaped postwar anarchist writing beyond art history, criticism and poetry. In the main, anarchist inflections

in The ecological eye
Open Access (free)
Kevin Harrison
Tony Boyd

Although Marxism and even anarchism are sometimes treated as if they are simply varieties of socialism, we consider that they have sufficiently distinctive characteristics to warrant separate treatment. Starting with Marxism, we examine Marx’s theories of history, economics and politics before discussing the controversies within Marx-inspired political organisations in the

in Understanding political ideas and movements
Dave Morland

1 Dave Morland Anti-capitalism and poststructuralist anarchism1 Introduction Social anarchism has a long reputation as a disparate and incoherent ideology. Commentators, sympathetic and objective alike, have frequently accused social anarchism of being too diverse to constitute a singular, recognisable ideology at all (Chomsky, 1970; Miller, 1984; Ball and Dagger, 1991). To a degree this is true: social anarchism is a loose and diverse ideology that may be too elusive for some commentators to categorise neatly and clearly. However, other commentators, myself

in Changing anarchism
Chris Wyatt

, 1958 : vi–vii) The three sections that make up this chapter will introduce associational anarchism’s mode of organisation in full. In transcending the divide between state and civil society, democratic participation is extended into the economic and civic realms and is centred on the various

in Associational anarchism
Richard Cleminson

1 The ‘paradox’ of anarchism and eugenics Introduction In 1933, the anarcho-pacifist Romanian intellectual Eugen Relgis explored the conundrum of humanitarianism as applied to eugenics in the Valenciabased anarchist cultural review Estudios.1 Could there be, the author asked, a community of interests or any compatibility between the philosophical and ethical concept of humanitarianism and the new science of eugenics? Relgis, active in the anti-war movement and a supporter of the Spanish Republic, certainly thought so. Nevertheless, his attempt to articulate a

in Anarchism and eugenics
Dana M. Williams

6 Anarchism as a “new social movement”? The conception of society just sketched, and the tendency which is its dynamic expression, have always existed in mankind, in opposition to the governing hierarchic conception and tendency – now the one and now the other taking the upper hand at different periods of history. (Peter Kropotkin) The new? Few sociological perspectives excel at summarizing the character of current anarchist movements, with the exception of those grouped under the moniker of “new social movement” (NSM) theories. This chapter presents the

in Black flags and social movements