Jun 052014

This article is abridged from a talk by the author to the Cambridge branch of DAM/IWA on 8 August 1985


The Storming of the Bastille, July 14 1789

‘…you ask me what I seek in life. I wish neither to dominate nor be dominated. I wish neither to dissimulate nor deceive; nor do I wish to exert myself to acquire what I am told is necessary, but of which I do not feel the need.’ — N. G. Chernyshevsky, What Is To Be Done? (1863)

REVOLUTION is a much used term but rarely is it discussed in a way that sheds any light on what the process actually involves. Revolutionaries themselves more often than not refer to it only in passing, or in terms of some historical myth dictated by whatever their particular ideology happens to be. The actual historical events of revolutions are either overlooked or tailored to fit a prefabricated political dogma. So let us get away from this habit and look at what we mean when we talk about revolution.

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Jan 152014

UralesConsideraciones Morales sobre el funcionamiento de una sociedad sin gobierno por Federico Urales (Joan Montseny Caret — August 19, 1864 —March 12, 1942) France 1940 (Kindle edition — £1.25/€1.50/$2.00) (in Spanish). Talk first given in Barcelona in 1922 and published in 1940 by Ediciones del Movimiento Libertario Español in France. This eBook (Kindle edition) is published by ChristieBooks in conjunction with the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne and Acracia Publications —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.25/€1.50/$2.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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Jan 112014

CoverGrannywebMy Granny Made me an Anarchist: The Christie File: Part 1, 1946-1964. First published by ChristieBooks in 2002 in a limited edition of 100 copies, this fully revised, updated, unabridged eBook (Kindle edition, 2014) is published by Christie(e)Books  —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.51/€3.03/$4.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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“This fascinating personal account offers a remarkable picture of the late-20th century, seen through sensitive eyes and interpreted by a compassionate, searching soul.” Noam Chomsky

“Stuart Christie’s granny might well disagree, given the chance, but her qualities of honesty and self-respect in a hard life were part of his development from flash Glaswegian teenager — the haircut at 15 is terrific — to the 18-year old who sets off to Spain at the end of the book as part of a plan to assassinate the Spanish dictator Franco. In the meanwhile we get a vivid picture of 1950s and early 1960s Glasgow, its cinemas, coffee bars and dance halls as well as the politics of the city, a politics informed by a whole tradition of Scottish radicalism. Not just Glasgow, because Stuart was all over Scotland living with different parts of his family, and in these chapters of the book there is a lyrical tone to the writing amplified by a sense of history of each different place. When we reach the 1960s we get a flavour of that explosion of working class creativity and talent that marked the time, as well as the real fear of nuclear war and the bold tactics used against nuclear weapons bases. It is through this period of cultural shake-up that Stuart clambers through the obstructive wreckage of labour and Bolshevik politics, and finds a still extant politics of libertarian communism that better fitted the mood of those times. Now, in 2002,it is Stuart who finds himself quoted in an Earth First pamphlet as the new generation of activists for Global Justice by-pass the dead hand of Trotskyist parties and renew the libertarian tradition.” John Barker

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Jan 082014

TemasEsencialesTemas Esenciales del Anarquismo by Fabián Moro (in Spanish). First published in 1968 by Edition CNT in the Imprimerie des Gondoles, France. This eBook (Kindle edition) is published by ChristieBooks in conjunction with the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne and Acracia Publications —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.26/€1.51/$2.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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Dec 052013

David Wieck (in the 1950s)

David Thoreau Wieck was born in St. Louis, Missouri on December 13, 1921. Named after David Henry Thoreau, he was the son of Edward A. and Agnes Burns Wieck. His mother, known as the Mother Jones of Illinois, was the daughter of a miner. She was a writer in the middle and late 1920s for the weekly journal Illinois Miner, and after training with the Women’s Trade Union League, she worked as an organizer for the Progressive Miners of America. His father was a self-educated coal miner and writer. In 1934 the Wiecks moved to New York City when Edward Wieck was hired as a research associate for the Russell Sage Foundation’s Industrial Studies Department. David Wieck joined the Young Communist League in 1935, but by 1936 had become, in his own words, a “dissident bolshevik,” much more enamored of the anarcho-syndicalists then fighting in Spain.

He enrolled at Columbia University in 1937 and graduated in 1941. He subsequently did post-graduate work toward a masters degree with Leo Wolman, writing an unpublished study of the process of centralization in the United Mine Workers of America. Registering as a conscientious objector following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he left New York City in early 1943 pending his appeal and was arrested in New Orleans for not notifying his draft board of his “change of address.” In July 1943 Wieck began serving a three-year sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut for refusing induction into the United States Armed Services. As prisoner #2674 Wieck was involved in numerous actions protesting racial segregation in the federal prison system.

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Oct 022013

The following article on the ‘place of power in political discourse’ by Australian political scientist/theorist Saul Newman first appeared in The International Political Science Review in 2004. The subject it deals with, the nature and concept of power — as outlined by Michel Foucalt — relates to the anarchist critique of — and struggle against— the State. We welcome any contributions to the discussion, which should be emailed to us; these will be posted in due course.


Michel Foucault (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984) – French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic

ABSTRACT. This article examines the concept of a central, symbolic place of power in political theory. I trace the genealogy of “place” from sovereign conceptions of power in classical political theory to the problem of state power in radical politics. I then examine the theoretical and political implications of Foucault’s reconfiguration of the concept of power, in particular, his contention that power does not have a place, but rather, is dispersed throughout the social network.  I argue that this decentralization of the concept of power denies a universal dimension that “sutures” the political field.  I critically engage with the limitations and flaws of Foucault’s theory of power, and turn to the work of Lefort and Laclau for a more viable understanding of the relationship between power, its place or non-place, and the contemporary possibilities for radical politics.

This relationship of domination is no more a “relationship” than the place where it occurs is a place. Michel Foucault  (1984:85)

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Jun 012013

Octavio_AlberolaPensar la utopía en la acción Trazas de un anarquista heterodoxo 1950-1975 : en el exilio y en la clandestinidad 1975-2013 : en la “Transición” y la “Democracia” por Octavio Alberola Surinach. ISBN 978-1-873976-05-0, ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.72/€3,18 READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! See also Spanish anarchism and Revolutionary Action

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UtopiacoverPara el autor, “pensar la utopía es pensar una sociedad fundada en la anarquía, porque sólo rechazando la autoridad es posible la libertad, la igualdad y la fraternidad”. Y pensarla “en la acción” es por haberlo hecho durante su exilio en México, en donde  militó socialmente y colaboró con el Movimiento 26 de Julio en la lucha contra la dictadura del general Batista en Cuba, y luego al incorporarse en 1962 a la lucha clandestina antifranquista hasta la muerte de Franco en 1975 y comenzar la llamada ‘Transición a la democracia’ que “ha culminado hoy en la regentada por los herederos del franquismo”. 

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Apr 252013

The Life, Trial and Death of Francisco Ferrer GuardiaWilliam Archer (Edited and Introduced by Dave Poole) (ISBN 978-1-873976-02-9),  £2.71  ChristieBooks. PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN341ZS. First published in 1977 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, This fully revised ChristieBooks (Kindle eBook) edition published 2013. READ INSIDE!

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Francisco Ferrer y Guardia (1859 –1909), anarchist, internationally renowned educationalist and founder of the rationalist ‘Modern School’ (La Escuela Moderna), was arrested in September 1909 in the wake of the popular and violent protests in Catalonia against Spain’s highly unpopular war against Moroccan tribesmen. The events of that week in July 1909 came to be known as the ‘Tragic Week’ (La Semana Tragica) for which the Spanish government and Catholic Church selected their most hated enemy, Francisco Ferrer, as the scapegoat — ‘the author in chief of the popular rebellion”. Within a month he had faced a mock military trial – a drumhead court martial – and on October 13 he was escorted to the ‘ditch of many sighs’ in Montjuich Castle and executed by a firing squad.

FerrerCover2This account of the life and death of Francisco Ferrer Guardia (now available as a Kindle volume) was written by William Archer for the October and November issues of McClure’s Magazine for 1910. Archer, a freelance journalist, had been commissioned by the magazine editor to go to Spain to find new material on the Ferrer case, as public interest in the affair had been revived. During his stay in Spain, Archer was able to interview Ferrer’s family and friends, as well as his opponents. He was also able to consult the many new books on the Tragic Week that had, at the time, just been published, and the official trial report, Juicio Ordinario Seguido … contra Francisco Ferrer Guardia. It is therefore to Archer’s credit, that on his return from Spain, he was able to write a very fine and well-documented article.

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Feb 022013

Proudhoncover2Proudhonist Materialism and Revolutionary Doctrine by Stephen Condit First published in 1982 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney. This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN341ZS ISBN 978-0-904564-49-5

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Few historians of ideas have questioned Proudhon’s impact in his own time. Yet his affinities with and contributions to some of the most important trends in modern political philosophy, and his relevance to the problems which increasingly reveal the failures of existing political doctrines and systems, have been neglected.

‘… in general, regimentation was the passion common to all socialists prior to 1848. Cabet, Louis Blanc, the Utopians — all were possessed by the passion to indoctrinate and to organise the future. All were authoritarians to some degree. The one exception was Proudhon. The son of a peasant, and by instinct a hundred times more revolutionary than all the doctrinaire and bourgeois socialists, Proudhon developed a critical viewpoint, as ruthless as it was profound and penetrating, in order to destroy all their systems. Opposing liberty to authority, he proclaimed himself an anarchist as distinct from state socialists, and in the face of their deism or pantheism he also had the courage to declare himself an atheist . . .’ Michael Bakunin, ‘A Critique of State Socialism’ (Review)

Jan 212013

LibComcoversmallLibertarian Communism by Isaac Puente Amestoy. First published in 1932 under the title El comunismo libertario. First English-language translation (by Paul Sharkey) published in The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review (No. 6, 1982),  Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, KW172BL This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks,  PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN341ZS. ISBN 978-1-873976-11-1

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Dr. Isaac Puente Amestoy (3 June 1896 – 1 September 1936)

‘Economic pressures compel the individual to co-operate in the economic life of the locality. These same economic pressures ought to be felt by the collectives, obliging them to co-operate in the economic life of the nation. But to accomplish this needs no central council or supreme committee, which carry the seeds of authoritarianism and are the focal points of dictatorship, as well as being nests of bureaucracy. We said that we have no need of an architect or any ordaining authority beyond the mutual agreement between localities. As soon as each and every locality (city, village, or hamlet) has placed its internal life in order, the organisation of the nation will be complete. And there is something else we might add concerning the localities. Once all its individual members are assured that their needs will be met, then the economic life of the municipality or of the federation will also be perfected. . .’

This seminal anarchist text defining the term ‘libertarian communism’ was first published in 1932 by the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist unions of the National Confederation of Labour (CNT), with many subsequent editions. The first English translation, by Paul Sharkey, appeared in ‘The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review‘ #6 Orkney, 1982.