Revolution — Between chance and necessity. (La révolution entre hasard et nécessité) by Octavio Alberola.

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Oct 262016
 
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Octavio Alberola (2016)

This book starts from the following assumption: The 20th century was the century of revolutions that altered the geography and face of the world; the political instrument they served, however, is no longer usable. The very word revolution has fallen into disuse in recent times. No longer do we dream of the “Great Day”, nor does any agenda remain for the world other than that of globalised predatory capitalism.

Alberola’s book tries to answer this question: What must we do? Resign ourselves to backsliding, abandon all thoughts of emancipation, or toll the bells of rebellion and re-invent revolution?

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THE LIFE, TRIAL, AND DEATH OF FRANCISCO FERRER I GUARDIA by William Archer. Edited and Introduced by Dave Poole. eBook eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Oct 102016
 

The Life, Trial and Death of Francisco Ferrer GuardiaWilliam Archer (Edited and Introduced by Dave Poole) (ISBN 978-1-873976-02-9), First published in 1977 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney,  eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

FerrerMontjuich

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 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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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”

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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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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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MODERN SCIENCE AND ANARCHISM by Peter Kropotkin. eBook £1.00 (see eBookshelf)

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Dec 102015
 

ModernScience&AnarchsmallMODERN SCIENCE AND ANARCHISM by Peter KropotkineBook £1.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

In ‘Modern Science and Anarchism’ Kropotkin argues that the Idea of anarchism originated not with individual thinkers, but from among the people and that it will preserve its vitality and creative force only for as long as it remains a movement of the people. Kropotkin claims in this work that throughout history ‘two currents of thought and action have been in conflict in the midst of human societies,’ — the ‘mutual aid’ tendency, as exemplified in tribal custom, village communities, medieval guilds, and, in fact, all institutions ‘developed and worked out, not by legislation, but by the creative spirit of the masses’. The other current is the authoritarian one, beginning with the ‘magi, shamans, wizards, rain-makers, oracles, and priests’ and continuing with the recorders of laws and the ‘chiefs of military bands’. ‘Kropotkin concludes ‘that anarchy represents the first of these two currents. … We can therefore say that from all times there have been anarchists and statists.’ Kropotkin postulates that the roots of anarchism lie in ‘the remotest Stone-age antiquity’; from this highly personal view of prehistory he continues through all rebellious movements to the rise of the early trade unions, concluding that ‘these are the main popular anarchist currents which we know of in history’. The book’s roots go back to 1887 when Kropotkin wrote an article entitled “The Scientific Bases of Anarchy” for the Nineteenth Century, the magazine edited by James Knowles which published most of Kropotkin’s major works in essay form before they appeared as books. Modern Science and Anarchism originated out of a burst of activity on Kropotkin’s part related to the rise of the clandestine anarchist movement in Russia. The first edition was printed in Russian, in London, in 1901; a later, German edition, was published in 1904, while the English and French versions did not appear until 1912/13. Kropotkin’s intention in writing Modern Science and Anarchism was, apparently, to clarify the basic methodological principle of anarchism, and establish the fact that anarchism is a broad based modern sociological science, i.e. political economy broadly defined, including political sociology, psychology, and law. Far from endorsing ‘the government of science’, he wanted to see established: “A society in which all the mutual relations of its members are regulated, not by laws, not by authorities, whether self-imposed or elected, but by mutual agreement… and by a sum of social customs and habits—not petrified by law, routine, or superstition, but continually developing and continually readjusted, in accordance with the ever-growing requirements of a free life, stimulated by the progress of science, invention, and the steady growth of higher ideals” (Modern Science and Anarchism).

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Anarchism: Arguments For and Against by Albert Meltzer. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Dec 082015
 

AlbertMArgumentsF&AsmallANARCHISM: FOR AND AGAINST by Albert MeltzereBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

This is the revised edition of Anarchism: Arguments For and Against that Albert Meltzer was working on at the time of his death on May 7th, 1996. The book was important to Albert, and it was one whose arguments he returned to often in his other writings.

Albert had become increasingly concerned about what he saw as the ghettoisation of anarchism. Separated from the working class base so necessary to achieve social revolution, anarchism could easily fall into the twin traps of philosophical radicalism or revolutionary arrogance — the “we’re more militant than anyone else” approach. Both strands have manifested themselves in British anarchism together with a sometimes demoralising and destructive incestuous approach to revolutionary change. Anarchists tend to talk only to other anarchists and are unable to relate to the majority of people who do not share their ideas and see anarchism as a rather exotic or illogical idea.

This was Albert’s attempt to examine and counter arguments people may have about anarchism. He examines the basic tenets of anarchist thought and practice and challenges some of the myths about anarchist theory and action— a vade mecum for those who hope to win over sceptics to anarchist ideas and break down the walls of the ghetto in which anarchism has been contained for many years.

The General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century by P. J. Proudhon. Reviewed by Robert Anton Wilson.

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Nov 202015
 

Pierre-Joseph_Proudhon_0The General Idea of the Revolution in the 19th Century, by P. J. Proudhon. Reviewed by Robert Anton Wilson. (With thanks to the Joseph A. Labadie Collection, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan)

Benjamin Tucker considered this Proudhon’s best book — “the most wonderful of all the wonderful books of Proudhon”— and he may well have been right in that judgment. Like many of the greatest works of the last century’ this “most wonderful book” comes to us from a prison cell: a fact which is probably far from insignificant. It is not without cause that the letters of Bartolomeo Vanzetti, the Pisan Cantos of Ezra Pound, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol,” Nietzsche’s Antichrist, the best poems of Antonin Artaud, Van Gogh’s two or three greatest canvases, Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, and several other of the most significant cultural products of this age, were produced by men who were at the time unwilling “guests of the State.” Nor is it idle to note that some time has been served (unproductively, alas!) by Ford Madox Ford, Nijinsky, Seymour Krim, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jim Peck, and almost everybody else worth a damn as a serious thinker or artist. It is getting to the point where, as Eustace Mullins noted in his biography of Ezra Pound, lack of a police or psychiatric record is looked on, by avante garde, as a sign that a man has sold out.

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THE ABC OF ANARCHISM by Alexander Berkman. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Nov 052015
 

ABCofAnarchismsmallTHE ABC OF ANARCHISM by Alexander Berkman.   eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

THE ABC of ANARCHISM was first published in 1929, by the Vanguard Press of New York, under the title What is Communist Anarchism? It comprised three parts: “Now”, “Anarchism”, and The Social Revolution”. It was re-issued in 1936, by Frei Arbeiter Stimme of New York, with the new title of Now and After: The ABC of Communist Anarchism. Freedom Press first published it in Britain, this time as The ABC of Anarchism, in May 1942, but without part one. The ABC of Anarchism is now an historic document. Indeed, George Woodcock (for whatever his opinion is worth!) has called it a minor classic of libertarian literature. That however is not the reason for its republication. The reason is that it still remains one of the best introductions to the ideas of anarchism, written from the communist-anarchist viewpoint, in the English language. Its author, Alexander Berkman, was no mere theoretician or “intellectual”. He had been a militant activist for much of his life.

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ABOUT ANARCHISM by Nicolas Walter. Introduction by Natasha Walter. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Sep 112015
 

WalterCoverABOUT ANARCHISM by Nicolas Walter. Introduction by Natasha Walter.  eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 


A concise introduction to the theories and practice of anarchism by the late Nicolas Walter, lifelong libertarian socialist and editor of the New Humanist for 10 years. Introduced by Nicolas’s daughter, Natasha, ‘About Anarchism’ neatly summarises what anarchists believe, how they differ, what they want, and what they do.

This is a struggle that we may not win and which may never end, but which is still worth fighting.

Sep 012015
 

AninMusicsmallAnarchism in Music Edited by Daniel O’Guérin. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

In this eBook edition (Kindle, Kobo and MOBI file) of the third volume of the Arena series ($3.00 £2.00) we gather around the proverbial camp fire where we might listen to tunes to make our toes tap and to words which might reach into our hearts and pull us into a future of wild possibilities, daring us to dream. These songs of freedom push against convention, sing of finding ways and means to move beyond the confines of staid convention and the litany of war, poverty and misery that are the direct consequence of the edifice of capitalism and those frightened elites who hide cowering behind it.

In ancient Rome, after Constantine bent his knee to Christ (or at least saw the convenient propaganda in such a coat of many colours), the music of theatre and of festival dismayed the naysayers of the ascending Christian empire that grew in his wake; the frivolity and joyousness of celebrating life became anathema to the new social order bent on obedience to the will of God and, by divine right, those masters who perpetuated his will. And so they banned it.

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