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 GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Anarchism in Spain, Anarchist resistance  Comments Off on THE GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Oct 012016
 

TellezGuerCoverTHE GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo and Kindle

The guerrilla struggle against Francoism arose in the days following the army revolt against the Spanish Republic on 18 July 1936. In areas which fell immediately to the mutinous army the principal leader of which was Lieutenant-General José Sanjurjo y Sacanell (then a refugee in Portugal) with General Emilio Mola Vidal (relieved by the Popular Front government of his post as general-in-chief of the Armed Forces in Morocco and appointed Army Commander in Navarre instead) as its organiser, a bloody repression was promptly set in motion and this obliged many antifascists to take to the hills to save their skins.

This business of fleeing into the hills for survival’s sake was repeated over nearly three years of civil war in the areas conquered one after another, by the Francoist army and it extended to virtually the entirety of the Peninsula after the Republican troops surrendered in the Centre-Levante zone on 31 March 1939.

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

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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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THE POLITICS OF OBEDIENCE. The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Étienne de la Boétie. Translated by Harry Kurz. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Dec 032015
 

BoetiecoverTHE POLITICS OF OBEDIENCE. The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Étienne de la Boétie eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563) wrote the following essay on the ultimate source and nature of political power in the early 1550s, while still a law student at the University of Orleans. In it he considers the origins of dictatorship and the means by which people can prevent political enslavement and liberate themselves. The Discourse deserves a prominent place in the literature of political theory.

The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude is lucidly and coherently structured around a single axiom. a single insight into the nature not only of tyranny but, implicitly, of the State itself. Many medieval writers had attacked tyranny, but La Boétie delved deeply into its nature, and that of State rule itself. His fundamental insight was that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves acquiesce in their own subjection. If this were not the case, no tyranny, indeed no government, could long endure. Hence, a government does not have to be popularly elected to enjoy general public support; for general public support is in the very nature of all governments that endure — including the most oppressive of tyrannies. The tyrant is but one person, and could scarcely command the obedience of another person, much less of an entire country, if most of the subjects did not grant their obedience by their own consent.

For La Boétie the central question of political theory is why people consent to their own enslavement? He cuts to the heart of what is, or rather should be, the central problem of political philosophy — the mystery of civil obedience. Why do people, in all time and places, obey the commands of government, which always constitutes a small minority of the society? To La Boétie the spectacle of general consent to despotism is both puzzling and appalling.

THE FLOODGATES OF ANARCHY by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Nov 292015
 

FloodgatesCoverTHE FLOODGATES OF ANARCHY by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

“Anyone who wants to know what anarchism is about in the contemporary world would do well to start here. The Floodgates of Anarchy forces us to take a hard look at moral and political problems which other more sophisticated doctrines evade.” —The Sunday Times

“A lucid exposition of revolutionary anarchist theory — Peace News

The floodgates holding back anarchy are constantly under strain. The liberal would ease the pressure by diverting some of the water; the conservative would shore up the dykes, the totalitarian would construct a stronger dam. But is anarchy a destructive force? The absence of government may alarm the authoritarian, but is a liberated people really its own worst enemy—or is the true enemy of humanity, as the anarchists claim, the means by which one is governed? Without government the world could manage to end exploitation and war. Anarchy should not be confused with weak, divided or manifold government. As Christie and Meltzer point out, only with the total abolition of government can society develop in freedom.

With a new introduction, this classic anarchist text from the `70s is available once again.

“Coming from a position of uncompromising class struggle and a tradition that includes many of our exemplary anarchist militants, Floodgates of Anarchy has a power and directness sadly missing from some contemporary anarchist writing. It is exciting to see it back in print, ready for a new generation to read.” — Barry Pateman, Associate Editor, The Emma Goldman Papers, University of California at Berkeley.

THE STATE. Its Historic Role by Peter Kropotkin eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Nov 182015
 

TheStateHistRolesmallTHE STATE. ITS HISTORIC ROLE by Peter KropotkineBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

“…Kropotkin’s brilliant, erudite, provocative lecture needs no formal introduction from a latter-day translator. And one assumes that the reader is prepared to make the necessary time adjustment and allowances for ‘contemporary’ references that are no longer contemporary but still interesting and relevant to our time; and for forecasts that have alas been proved over-optimistic; possibly too for Kropotkin’s undue enthusiasm for an historic past the glories of which are sometimes given more emphasis than are its less attractive aspects.

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SOCIALISM & PARLIAMENT by Guy Aldred. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Nov 102015
 

AldredCoversmallSOCIALISM & PARLIAMENT by Guy AldredeBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

In this 1923 work, Glasgow-based anarchist Guy A. Aldred argues for libertarian, extra-parliamentary socialism instead of Labourist or statist socialism. “The advent of a Labour opposition in the House of Commons, the near possibility of that opposition becoming His Majesty’s Government, have revived interest in the question of parliamentary action. Bitter plaints at the historic failure of Parliamentary methods are tempered with a faint hope that something may be achieved by parliamentarism. It is forgotten that reform activity means constant trotting round the fool’s parade, continuous movement in a vicious circle. Something must be done for expectant mothers, for homeless couples wishing to housekeep, for rent-resisters, something to reform here or there, regardless of the fact that capitalism is a hydra-headed monster, that the reforms needed are as innumerable as the abuses begotten of the capitalist system, and such abuses increase with every modification of capitalist administration, the better to perpetuate the system. Under these circumstances it is necessary to restate the arguments against parliamentary activity, to explain and to prove that parliament was never intended to emancipate the working class from the evils of capitalism, that it never can and never will achieve this result.”

I COULDN’T PAINT GOLDEN ANGELS. Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation by Albert Meltzer. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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Jul 252015
 

GoldenAngelsI COULDN’T PAINT GOLDEN ANGELS. Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation by Albert Meltzer  eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

Albert Meltzer (1920–1996) was involved, actively, in class struggles since the age of 15; exceptional for his generation in having been a convinced anarchist from the start, without any family background in such activity. A lively, witty account of sixty years in anarchist activism, and a unique recounting of many struggles otherwise distorted or unrecorded, including the history of the contemporary development of anarchism in Britain and other countries where he was involved, notably Spain. His story tells of many struggles, including for the first time, the Anglo-Spanish cooperation in the postwar anti-Franco resistance and provides interesting sidelights on, amongst others, the printers’ and miners’ strikes, fighting Blackshirts and the battle of Cable Street, the so-called Angry Brigade activities, the Anarchist Black Cross, the Cairo Mutiny and wartime German anti-Nazi resistance, the New Left of the 60s, the rise of squatting—and through individuals as varied as Kenyata, Emma Goldman, George Orwell, Guy Aldred, and Frank Ridley—all of which have crowded out not only his story, but his life too.

***

Albert002In spite of the self-effacing sub-title, the life of Albert Meltzer was far from “commonplace”. It is a witty account of the never-ending and tireless struggle — sometimes Herculean, sometimes Schvejkian — against the hydra-headed nonentities who seek to impose their order and their certainties on the universe.

Since his schooldays, throughout his working life and in “retirement”, anarchism was the guiding star which fuelled Albert’s thankfully incurable and infectious optimism and faith in the ultimate common sense of humanity. He was a worker, active in trade unionism, a tireless but unpaid editor, a traveller, a public speaker and a challenger of humbug. His character, ideas, good humour (mostly) and generosity of spirit have touched and influenced many people in many lands during the past sixty years. I am grateful to have been one of those links in the chain. Others, some of the many younger people Albert inspired, will undoubtedly be the future torchbearers of anarchism — a vision of a free, just and self-managed society — in the twenty-first century.

However did Albert Meltzer get to be one of the most enduring figures in the active international anarchist movement in the second half of the twentieth century? How did his commitment to anarchism survive the destruction of the Revolution and defeat in the Civil War in Spain? How did it survive the Second World War? What was the anarchist contribution to the revolutionary impetus of the 1960s and 1970s? How did it respond to the more demanding reactionary challenges of the 1980s and 1990s? These are important questions with a valuable bearing on the human condition in this century. “I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels” does not provide any easy answers but it does provide sharp and invaluable insights into how anarchists are formed and sustained — unpretentious, without illusions, prepared for everything and forgetting nothing. — Stuart Christie

The obscure title may require some explanation, inasmuch as the following introductory paragraph was accidentally omitted from the printed version: “A nineteenth century sentimental love lyricist of German poetry, who was also its sharpest political satirist, wrote a book of art criticism in Paris. He said he was determined to keep to the one subject, but the revolutions of that year broke out and he could not help bringing in his political prejudices and sympathies. He compared himself with an “honest fellow-tradesman”, a signwriter whose speciality was to paint red lions. Offered a commision to paint a golden angel as a house sign, he declined, saying he was only capable of painting a red lion, and if he attempted to paint a golden angel it would turn out to look like a red lion just the same. This was intended to be by way of being an account of an untypical working life, far from golden and never angelic but I couldn’t keep the red lion of anarchist history from emerging”

Albert Meltzer

 

Revolution 1: What do we mean by ‘revolution’? – An anarchist answer by Philip Ruff

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Jun 052014
 

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

Prise_de_la_Bastille

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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