Jun 162014
 
Lobster

“You can really have no notion how delightful it will be When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!”

CHAPTER II: DEMOCRACY AND THE IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY

Reduced to its most concise expression, the fundamental sociological law of political parties (the term “political” being here used in its most comprehensive significance) may be formulated in the following terms: “It is organisation which gives birth to the dominion of the elected over the electors, of the mandataries over the mandators, of the delegates over the delegators. Who says organisation, says oligarchy.”

Whilst the majority of the socialist schools believe that in a future more or less remote it will be possible to attain to a genuinely democratic order, and whilst the greater number of those who adhere to aristocratic political views consider that democracy, however dangerous to society, is at least realizable, we find in the scientific world a conservative tendency voiced by those who deny resolutely and once for all that there is any such possibility. As was shown in an earlier chapter, 1 this tendency is particularly strong in Italy, where it is led by a man of weight, Gaetano Mosca, who declares that no highly developed social order is possible without a “political class,” that is to say, a politically dominant class, the class of a minority. Those who do not believe in the god of democracy are never weary of affirming that this god is the creation of a childlike mythopoeic faculty, and they contend that all phrases representing the idea of the rule of the masses, such terms as state, civic rights, popular representation, nation, are descriptive merely of a legal principle, and do not correspond to any actually existing facts. They contend that the eternal struggles between aristocracy and democracy of which we read in history have never been anything more than struggles between an old minority, defending its actual predominance, and a new and ambitious minority, intent upon the conquest of power, desiring either to fuse with the former or to dethrone and replace it. On this theory, these class struggles consist merely of struggles between successively dominant minorities. The social classes which under our eyes engage in gigantic battles upon the scene of history, battles whose ultimate causes are to be found in economic antagonism, may thus be compared to two groups of dancers executing a chassé croisé in a quadrille.

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May 302013
 

kropotkinstudyRUSSIAN LITERATURE. Ideals and Realities by Peter Kropotkin. ISBN 978-1-873976-04-3, ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £3.41  READ INSIDE!

UK : £3.41 ; USA : $5.16 ; Germany : €3,99 ; France :  €3,99 ; Spain:  €3,99 ; Italy :  €3,99 ; Japan : ¥ 507 ; Canada : CDN$ 5.16 ; Brazil : R$ 10,26

Kropotkinsmall‘Peter Kropotkin’s unique take on pre-Revolutionary Russian literature. A ‘must have’ reference for all intelligent Kindle-owning flâneurs, would-be Tverskoy Boulevardiers, students and aficionados of Russian culture…’ Farquhar McHarg

THIS book originated in a series of eight lectures on ‘Russian Literature during the Nineteenth Century’ which Peter Kropotkin delivered in March 1901, at the Lowell Institute, in Boston.

Given the impossibility of exhausting so wide a subject as Russian Literature within the limits of one book, Kropotkin focused his attention on modern literature. The early writers, down to Púshkin and Gógol — the founders of the modern literature — he deals with in a short introductory sketch. The most representative writers in poetry, the novel, the drama, political literature, and art criticism, are considered next, and round them the author has grouped the less prominent writers, of whom the most important are mentioned in short notes. Kropotkin is fully aware that each of the latter presents something individual and well worth knowing; and that some of the less-known authors have even succeeded occasionally in better representing a given current of thought than their more famous colleagues; but ‘Russian Literature. Ideals and Realities’ is a book intended to provide only a broad, general idea of the subject.

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Sep 162012
 

SAM DOLGOFF, retired house painter, editor and translator of Bakunin on Anarchy, The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective, The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-management in the Spanish Revolution (1936-1939), was 83 years old when he completed this Memoir. He started out in life, more than half a century earlier, as a working hobo on the railroads and waterfronts, in lumber camps, canneries, and steel mills of the United States. Caught up early in ideas of radical social change, he moved from reformist socialism to anarchism, publishing his first piece, a criticism of Gandhi, in the anarchist journal Road to Freedom. As a member of the IWW he became a strong propagandist for libertarian labor movements—incidentally teaching himself to read six different languages—lecturing across America in union halls, civic centers and colleges. Under the pen name Sam Weiner, he published innumerable articles in labor and anarchist periodicals, many of which he helped to found and edit.

Fragments: a memoir, Sam Dolgoff, ISBN 978-0-946222-04-9. First published (one edition, now long o/p) 1986 by Refract Publications (formerly Cienfuegos Press Ltd), Cambridge. This Kindle eBook published 2012 by ChristieBooks. (€3,21; £2.58; $4.13UK ; US/Canada/India and RoW ; España ; France ; Germany ; Italy