THE “ANARCHIST HYPOTHESIS” IN THE 21st CENTURY. A reply by Octavio Alberola to Gabriel Kuhn’s “The Anarchist Hypothesis, or Badiou, Žižek and Anti-Anarchist Prejudice”

 anarchism, Anarchist ideas  Comments Off on THE “ANARCHIST HYPOTHESIS” IN THE 21st CENTURY. A reply by Octavio Alberola to Gabriel Kuhn’s “The Anarchist Hypothesis, or Badiou, Žižek and Anti-Anarchist Prejudice”
Sep 262016
 
octavio_alberola

Octavio Alberola

Reading the interesting essay “The Anarchist Hypothesis or Badiou, Žižek and Anti-Anarchist Prejudice[1] by our Austrian comrade and friend Gabriel Kuhn, I was prompted to spell out where I agree and take issue with what he sets out in the essay; even though I agree with his rebuttal of the views and claims of those two renowned neo-marxist philosophers on the subject of anarchism, I take issue with the relevance and viability of his proposition – a counter to Alain Badiou’s “communist hypothesis” – of some “anarchist hypothesis” founded upon “a strong, united collective movement under a shared name”.

To be more specific, my response to the essay was grounded in the view that the “points of agreement” validate the “points of disagreement” and that the most salient events to have come to pass over the five years that have elapsed since the essay was written fail to bear out his proposition. So, rather than going into the reasons why his “hypothesis” does not strike me as pertinent or viable, allow me briefly to summarise those “points of agreement” and “points of disagreement”.

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THE PROBLEM PARENT by A. S. NEILL M.A. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism, Education  Comments Off on THE PROBLEM PARENT by A. S. NEILL M.A. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Sep 182016
 

problemparentsmallTHE PROBLEM PARENT, A.S. Neill (1883-1973) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo.

“When Mr. Neill was correcting the proofs of The Problem Child, he realized suddenly that he had written the wrong book. ‘There isn’t a problem child,’ he said, ‘there is only a problem parent.’ That was some years ago, and then he had no time to tell the problem parent what he thought of him . . . and her. Now the book of the parent has been written. Mr. Neill has been called the only genius in modern education. The Problem Parent is a wise book, full of new ideas of value because they are the results of long experience in child and adult psychology. It is a book that will shock the die-hards into thinking and the go-aheads into action.”

Lucid insights into what causes ‘problem children’ – problem parents! — by that troublesome Scottish anarchist dominie and Summerhill School founder, Alexander Sutherland Neill.

“THERE is never a problem child; there is only a problem parent. That may not be the whole truth, but it is nearly the whole truth. The child usually becomes a problem because its parents do not understand the nature of the child. In other cases the child becomes a problem because the parents do not understand the nature of themselves.
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NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

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Aug 252016
 

RockerCover2NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase)  Complete edition (Books I & II, with all 27 chapters, including bibliography and index. Appx. 713 pp) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  and Kindle (READ INSIDECheck out all Christiebooks titles HERE

Nationalism and Culture is a detailed and scholarly study of the development of nationalism and the changes in human cultures from the dawn of history to the present day and an analysis of the relations of these to one another. It tells the story of the growth of the State and the other institutions of authority and their influence on life and manners, on architecture and art, on literature and thought. Nationalism and Culture is, primarily, a 600-page (appx 713pp on Kindle/Kobo) exploration of the origins and development of nationalism, and a scathing denunciation of the corrosive effect of national feeling on the human spirit. Yet it is one of those works, like The Anatomy of Melancholy (Robert Burton, 1621), that springboard from their stated purpose to discourse on everything under the sun. Architecture is analyzed, socialism is defended, and Rembrandt’s paintings are scrutinized at length. It is at once a treatise on the state’s relationship with culture and a manifesto for an enlightened leftism. Most of all, it is a clear-eyed plea for sanity at a moment when nationalist and religious irrationalism threatened to swallow the globe. It could not be more relevant. Rocker’s thesis is straightforward: Nations are the products of states, rather than vice versa. They are manufactured to serve the goals of the powerful, to divide human beings and keep them from recognizing their common interests. Rocker argues this point with a litany of historical examples, from the Renaissance to “the stupid and stumbling provisions of the Versailles treaty.”

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The framing of Joaquín Ascaso, the break-up of the Defence Council of Aragón and the destruction of the Aragón collectives

 anarchism, Anarchism in Aragón  Comments Off on The framing of Joaquín Ascaso, the break-up of the Defence Council of Aragón and the destruction of the Aragón collectives
Aug 142016
 

AscasocoversmallerThe following account of the treacherous dealings that led to the framing of Joaquín Ascaso. the tragic break-up of the Defence Council of Aragón and the destruction of the Aragón collectives — by August 1937 the sole surviving beacon of anarchist integrity — is from ¡Pistoleros! 3:1920-24 – The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg. The extract highlights the infamous moral, political, and military compromises made in the rearguard by the CNT’s so-called ‘notables, particularly general secretary Mariano Rodríguez Vázquez “Marianet”, and ‘anarchist’ ministers García Oliver, Federica Montseny and her partner, Germinal Esgleas.

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LIBRADO RIVERA. Anarchists in the Mexican Revolution by Dave Poole eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf) Also available from Kobo and Kindle

 anarchism, Anarchists in Mexico, libertarian socialism, Mexican Revolution  Comments Off on LIBRADO RIVERA. Anarchists in the Mexican Revolution by Dave Poole eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf) Also available from Kobo and Kindle
Jul 262016
 

Librado Rivera (17 August 1864, Aguacatillos, Rayón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Died 1 March 1932 in Mexico City.)

Librado Rivera and Ricardo Flores Magón

Of the many comrades and collaborators of Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón, Librado Rivera was by far the closest. It was a revolutionary partnership that lasted twenty years, rivalling that of Durruti and Ascaso, ending only with Ricardo’s murder (directly or indirectly by the US authorities) in Leavenworth Federal Prison, Kansas. Librado, a founding member of the Partido Liberal Mexicano, was a man who made fundamental and major contributions to its anarchist orientation.

1913 – Arrest of the PLM Organising Committee prior to their imprisonment on McNeil Island (Washington State): Ricardo Flores Magón, with Pinkerton agent; Anselmo L. Figueroa, Librado Rivera (and Pinkerton agent); Enrique Flores Magón.

Librado, however, has been badly neglected on his own account, partly due to his own natural modesty and reticence. He always shunned the limelight while remaining at the same time in the forefront of the struggle, preferring to adopt the role of a seemingly ‘simple militant’. The reality was very different. A tireless anarchist revolutionary and propagandist, he spent more than thirty years fighting, as he would say, ‘for all the oppressed and exploited of the earth’ against injustice and ‘a new society which would have, as well as liberty, love and justice for all!

In addition to Dave Poole’s English text, the book contains many of Rivera’s most important articles, but unfortunately these are IN SPANISH ONLY.

eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  and Kindle

RADICAL GLASGOW A skeletal sketch of Glasgow’s radical tradition by John Couzin (see eBookshelf)

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May 282016
 

RADICAL GLASGOW. A Skeletal Sketch of Glasgow’s Radical Tradition by John Couzin eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  and Kindle
A summary of some of the events and people that have helped to shape the Glasgow of today, a glimpse at a history that is sometimes difficult to find. My hope is that anyone who reads these few pages will be prompted to dig a little bit deeper and discover a rich heritage of which we can be very proud and perhaps try to contribute to that struggle and carry the heritage forward. The information contained in these pages has been gleaned from countless conversations, stories told, articles, pamphlets and books read over more years than I care to remember. My thanks goes to those friends, acquaintances and total strangers who over the years passed on some of these stories. — John Couzin

The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism, Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
May 172016
 

BollotenSCWBWsmallThe Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten.  eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  BUT NOT from Kindle

The final, revised, edition of Burnett Bolloten’s exhaustive and indispensable, 50-year-long scholarly study of Republican/revolutionary politics in the Spanish Civil War (“The Grand Camouflage:, 1961; “The Spanish Revolution”, 1979; “The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution”, 1986), covers the entire period of the war from 1936 to 1939. Welsh-born Bolloten, initially a Communist Party fellow-traveller, was a war correspondent for United Press who witnessed at first hand the rise to power of the Stalin- and bourgeois liberal-backed Spanish Communist Party and how it successfully subverted and repressed the popular revolutionary process that resulted from the failed military-clerical-fascist pronunciamento of July 1936.

“Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution is a monument of dedicated scholarship that is not likely to be replaced. The best study of the subject in any language, it merits a place beside Gerald Brenan’s The Spanish Labyrinth and Raymond Carr’s Spain, 1808-1939 as a classic in the historiography of modern Spain.” Paul Avrich, Queens College, City University of New York

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MORAL COERCION by Ricardo Mella. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism, Ideas, Philosophy  Comments Off on MORAL COERCION by Ricardo Mella. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf)
Apr 252016
 

MoralCoercioneBook £1.00/€1.25 (see eBookshelf ). Also available from Kindle and Kobo

Galician-born surveyor Ricardo Mella (1861-1925) is regarded by many as one of the major theorists of anarchism in Spain. His moderate tone and outlook set the keynote for fellow-anarchists in Galicia and Asturias as he oposed jacobinism, regionalism, political socialism and extremism of any hue. While many embraced Ferrer’s rationalist educational methods, Mella campaigned for “neutral” education. Himself an anarcho-collectivist by inclination, he was one of those who brought Spanish anarchism out of the ghetto and into the workplace. His wide reading, incisive mind and preparedness to tackle the big subjects without going for extremist position has left a lasting imprint on the libertarian movement in Spain. In this work he considers the question — Can society really cope without law and government? What is the nature of moral coercion? How does it manifest itself in human relationships? What is its role in a free and egalitarian society? and how modern capitalist society turns moral coercion on its head.

“Whenever we posit that in a free society founded upon equality of condition moral coercion will be enough to maintain the harmony and peace between men, we are stating something that cries out for clear and precise proof.

“Folk being used to the belief that everything that happens in the world happens by the efforts and grace of governments, and persuaded that they themselves count for nothing in the life of society, so much so that they think of themselves are mere cogs in the machinery of government, it is going to be hard to explain to them how human society might function with no compulsion other than that deployed naturally and mutually by the members of society. So, even though the impact of moral coercion may be a self-evident fact today, we need to show that the world dances to the tune of said mutually suggestive force and that it, on its own, is enough to ensure that human groups with sound foundations can develop and survive.

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MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTIONIST by Peter Kropotkin. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 anarchism  Comments Off on MEMOIRS OF A REVOLUTIONIST by Peter Kropotkin. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Mar 132016
 

MemoirsRevolutionistsmalleBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf ). Also available from Kindle and Kobo

Peter Kropotkin’s (1842-1921) autobiographical account of his journey from privileged childhood, through military service and two years in prison to anarchist thinker and activist; it was originally serialised in The Atlantic Monthly from September 1898 to September 1899, and provides a fascinating account of his intellectual development and radicalisation, of life under tsarist rule, and of the early European socialist movement.

The following footage is of Kropotkin’s funeral procession from the village of Dmitrov, where he died, to Moscow on 13 February 1921. It turned into a protest — the last anarchist demonstration in Russia until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The accompanying sound track is a choral rendition of a traditional Russian folk song: ‘The Sun Descends Over the Steppe’.

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ANARCHISM Kropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. First published 1910. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).

 anarchism  Comments Off on ANARCHISM Kropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. First published 1910. eBook £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ).
Mar 102016
 

AnarchismKropotkinsmallKropotkin’s entry on ‘anarchism’ for the 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1910). £1.00/€1.30 (see eBookshelf ). Also available on Kobo

Anarchism is “the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being.”

“ANARCHISM (from the Gr…., and …., contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government – harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent – for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary – as is seen in organic life at large – harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

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