Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 5 - No. 2
Fall, 2001

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What's Happening: Books & Events
by Chuck Morse

Globalize Resistance!
Anarchists have had an extraordinary influence upon the anti-globalization movement and bear considerable responsibility for its confrontational, decentralized character. However, we cannot afford to gloat over our accomplishments: we must study this movement and nurture its revolutionary potential. Restructuring and Resistance: Diverse Voices of Struggle in Western Europe is one of several new publications that can help us in this task. This book examines some of the rapid changes in social, political and economic relations that have been occurring in Western Europe, particularly European Unification, and the new social conflicts they have produced. The book contains contributions from (mainly) Western European activists directly involved in diverse grassroots movements. Its seventy-seven chapters chart the breakdown of social consensus in post-WWII Western Europe and the growth of new challenges to the social order produced by this breakdown. Analyses of restructuring processes and accounts of resistance are intertwined with each other, demonstrating their inseparability. It is edited by Kolya Abramsky and available from AK Press (UK) or directly from (2001, 566 pages). Another useful work is The Other Davos: The Globalization of Resistance to the World Economic System, edited by Francois Houtart and Franpcois Polet (Zed Books, 144 pages, 2001). This anthology contains articles produced at the counter-summit held at the 1999 meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Also of interest is Women Resist Globalization, edited by Sheila Rowbotham and Stephanie Linkogle (Zed Books, 224 pages, December 2001). This book analyzes resistance to globalization led by groups that are exclusively or significantly female in the Northern and Southern regions of the globe. It focuses on women's grassroots activism in the two key areas: claims to livelihood and human rights. It contains an essay by Temma Kaplan, author of Anarchists of Andalusia, among others.

Act Up! demonstration on Wall Street, March 24, 1997. From ACT UP! NY

The contemporary resurgence of anarchism has roots in years of anti-authoritarian political and cultural work. For a perspective on the radical urban culture that has shaped the lives and consciousness of many US activists, readers will want to pick up Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy by Jeff Ferrell (Palgrave, November 2001, 304 pages). This book looks at how “graffiti artists, young people, radical environmentalists, and the homeless clash with police on city streets in an attempt to take back urban spaces from the developers and "disneyfiers."” Act Up!, with its decentralized, colorful, and media-savvy approach, is certainly a predecessor of the anti-globalization movement. The group’s history is documented in From ACT UP to the WTO: Urban Protest and Community Building in the Era of Globalization, edited by Benjamin Shepard and Ronald Hayduk (Verso Books, February 2002, 360 pages). Direct Action in British Environmentalism, edited by Benjamin Seel (et al), examines the resurgence of direct action in the UK’s environmental movement during the 1990s. This anthology discusses topics such as protest camp tactics, the anti-roads movement, among others (Routledge, 2001, 256 pages).

In many respects the Zapatista launched the first salvo in the war against global capitalism and their movement continues to produce invaluable lessons for radicals worldwide. Auroras of the Zapatistas: Local & Global Struggles of the Fourth World War by Midnight Notes (Autonomedia, 2001, 256 pages) examines the Zapatista rebellion as part of a broader assault against global capital. Essays in the book look at the Zapatistas directly as well as their impact upon radical movements around the globe. Lynn Stephen’s Zapata Lives!: Histories and Cultural Politics in Southern Mexico (University of California Press, January 2002, 460 pages) chronicles recent political events in southern Mexico up to and including the July 2000 election of Vicente Fox. Stephen focuses on the meaning that Emiliano Zapata, anarchist and great symbol of land reform and human rights, had and has for rural Mexicans. She documents the rise of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas and shows how it was understood in other parts of Mexico, particularly in Oaxaca. Stephen illuminates the cultural dimensions of these political events, showing how indigenous Mexicans and others fashioned their own responses to neoliberal economic policy, which ended land reform, encouraged privatization, and produced increasing socioeconomic stratification in Mexico. She shows how activists appropriated symbols of the Mexican revolution to build the contemporary political movement, examines the history of land tenure, racism, gender issues in the Zapatista movement, the Zapatista uprising of the 1990s, its aftermath, and more. The Zapatista Reader: A Literary Anthology includes reflections on the Zapatistas by writers such as Bill Weinberg, Eduardo Galeano, and many others. It is edited by Tom Hayden, the primary author of SDS’s Port Huron Statement and now a smuck in the Democratic Party (Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, November 2001, 400 pages).

The Broad View
A broad treatment of the anarchist movement and tradition can be found in a new edition of The Anarchist Papers, edited by Dimitrios Roussopoulos (Black Rose, 2001, 216 pages). This issue contains articles by Murray Bookchin, Cornelius Castoriadis, among others. A similarly broad treatment will be accessible to French readers in L'Anarchisme a-t-il un Avenir?: Histoire de Femmes, D'Hommes et de leurs Imaginaries (trans: What is the Future for Anarchism? The History of Women, Men, and Their Visions). This work derives from a 1999 conference of the same name held in Toulouse, France and examines issues in the history of anarchism, its presence in contemporary social movements, and its future (Atelier de Création Libertaire, June 2001, 555 pages). A less contemporary but sweeping treatment of the anarchist tradition in Europe is available in Gaetano Manfredonia’s L'Anarchisme en Europe (Presses Universitaires de France, 2001, 158 pages). This French language work analyzes the formation of the anarchist movement, its influence upon the European labor movement, and its possible future in the 21st century.

The literature on anarchism has generally become more specialized as the movement has grown. An extensive treatment of the relationship between anarchism and Judaism is available (in Italian) in L'Anarchico e L'Ebreo: Storia di un Incontro (Trans: The Anarchist and the Hebraic: History of an Encounter, Eleuthera, 2001, 238 pages). This work contains essays on thinkers such as Gustav Landauer, Gershom Scholem, studies of Jewish anarchist movements in Poland, Argentina, and many other issues. Portuguese readers will want to pick up Foucault eo Anarquismo (trans: Foucault and Anarchism) by Salvo Vaccaro (Editora Achiamé, 2001, 40 pages).

Homage to Catalonia
The already vast information on anarchist participation in Spanish social revolution of 1936 continues to increase. Miguel Íñiguez’s Esbozo de una Enciclopedia Histórica del Anarquismo Español (trans: Sketch of an Historical Encyclopedia of Spanish Anarchism) will be an indispensable resource for Spanish readers interested in the history of Spanish anarchism (Anselmo Lorenzo, 2001, 648 pages). This will be complemented by the first English language translation of the first volume of Jose Peirats' seminal book on the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union: The CNT in the Spanish Revolution (Meltzer Press, 2001, translated by Paul Sharkey and Chris Ealham). For an audio introduction to the Spanish Revolution, listeners should obtain Canciones Anarquistas (trans: Anarchist Songs) produced recently by Grupo “Paso a la Verdad”. This 36 track CD contains anarchist songs from Spain as well as Argentina (write: Grupo “Paos a la Verdad”, Apartado 2372, 39080 Santander, Spain or

Living My Life
Biographies and autobiographies are essential documents for the history of anarchism and two new studies of anarchists who lived during the movement’s heyday will be published soon. The World's Most Dangerous Woman: A New Biography of Emma Goldman by Theresa and Albert Moritz draws upon previous ignored resources in Europe and the US and places special emphasis on Goldman’s years in Canada (Subway Books, 2001). Frank Ray Davis’s Ricardo Flores Magon: the Man who Saw Tomorrow will be the first English-language biography of this leading Mexican anarchist (See Sharp Press, 2001).

Post-War Anarchism
Many historians of anarchism would lead us to believe that the movement died when World War Two began, but this assertion is not true and increasingly difficult to sustain thanks to the expanding literature on post-WWII anarchism. Margareth Rago’s Portuguese language Entre a História e a Liberdade: Luce Fabbri e o Anarquismo Contemporâneo (trans: Between History and Liberty: Luce Fabbri and Contemporary Anarchism) studies the life and times of this remarkable Uruguayan/Italian anarchist theorist and activist (Fundaçáo Editora Da Unesp, 2000, 368 pages). Bernard Thomas’s Spanish-language Lucio, el Anarquista Irreductible (trans: Lucio, the Irreducible Anarchist) narrates the life of Lucio Urtubia, a consummate anti-fascist and post-war anarchist activist. This book recounts his extraordinary life, which included decades of anarchist activity, meetings with figures such as Quico Sabaté and Che Guervera, and much more (Ediciones B, 2001, 304 pages).

The lessons of the IWW are vital for anyone who wants to bring a revolutionary spirit back to the labor movement. Greg Hall’s Harvest Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World and Agricultural Laborers in the American West, 1905-1930 (Oregon State University Press, 2001, 288 pages) analyzes how "harvest Wobblies" organized the migrant and seasonal workers who were so essential and so exploited on the farms of the West.

Emma Goldman
Paris will host The Emma Goldman Colloquium in Paris at the Université Paris VIII, 2 rue de la Liberté, 93526 Saint-Denis, France, from November 30 to December 1st, 2001. This conference will feature presentations by numerous scholars of Goldman’s life and politics.

Two new anarchist bookstores/information centers have opened recently. Anarchists have filled the vacuum left by the closure of New York’s Blackout Books by opening Mayday Books. It is located in the lobby of the Theater for the New City at 155 1st Avenue, New York, NY (between 9th & 10th Streets). It is open Thursday to Sunday, 12-6 PM. For more information call (212) 894 3749, ext. 2156 or write Comrades in São Paulo, Brazil have recently opened the Instituto de Cultura e Ação Libertária (trans: Institute of Libertarian Culture and Action) at Praça Américo Jacumino, 89., Ao lado do metrô Vila Madalena., São Paulo, capital, phone: (011) 38657028. The Instituto will contain a bookstore, a meeting space, and many other vital resources for anarchists.  ~

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory - Vol. 5, No. 2 - Fall 2001