Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 2 - No. 2
Fall, 1998

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AK Press
PO Box 40682
San Francisco, CA
94140-0682 - USA

Anarchist Archives Project
P.O. Box 381323
Cambridge, MA
02238-1323 - USA

Fundación "Anselmo Lorenzo"
Paseo de Alberto Palacios, 2,
28021 Madrid, Spain

Kate Sharpley Library
BM Hurricane
London, WC1N 3XX

Libertad Verlag Berlin/Köln
Postfach 800162
D-14427 Potsdam, Germany

Los Libros de la Catarata.
Fuencarral, 70 2º izda.
28004 Madrid, Spain

Madre Tierra
Parque Vosa, 12, Bajo.
28933 Móstoles
Madrid, Spain

Rivista Anarchica
Editrice A, cas. post 17120
20170 Milano, Italy

Kooperativet NISUS Forlag
Postboks 106, N-3901
Porsgrunn, Norway

P/a: Roger Jacobs
Kempenhof 45
3500 Hasselt, Belgie

Virus Editorial
c/ de la Cera nº 1, bis.
Barcelona 08001, Spain


The last issue of Perspectives contained the incorrect address for the Fundación Alumbrar (Argentine anarchist filmmakers). The correct address is: Fundación Alumbrar, Santiago del Estero 264 - Piso 5 (1075) Buenos Aires, Argentina

What's Happening: Books & Events

Few have done more to illustrate the systematic cruelties of the contemporary political-economic order than Noam Chomsky and readers will find another addition to his voluminous work on the subject in his new book, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order (288 pages, Seven Stories, October 1998. Orders: (800) 596-7437). This collection of essays examines the divide between proclaimed and actual political-economic principles, tracing the origins of neoliberalism from Adam Smith to the epoch of Clintonism. Chomsky enthusiasts will also want to read Robert Barsky’s new biography, Noam Chomsky: A Life of Dissent (256 pages, MIT, 1998).

bookchin in venice.jpg (25610 bytes)

Bookchin in Venice, 1984 *

Murray Bookchin - another anchor of the late twentieth century left - continues his indefatigable efforts. His new work, Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left; Essays and Interviews: 1993-1998, sketches the theoretical dimensions of a radical politics able to confront contemporary conditions while preserving the best of the classical revolutionary tradition. This book (400 pages, AK Press, November 1998) contains recent but hard-to-find essays as well as interviews with Bookchin by Doug Morris and Janet Biehl. Spanish readers will be glad to know that Bookchin’s History, Civilization, and Progress has recently been released in translation by Madre Tierra publications.

A less contemporary but still valuable exposition of anarchist theory appears with the publication of Camillo Berneri’s Humanismo y Anarquismo. Berneri, father of Marie Louise Berneri (Journey Through Utopia), was a devoted theorist and activist murdered by Communists on a Barcelona street during the Spanish Revolution (160 pages, Los Libros de la Catarata, 1998).

There is continued progress in efforts to theorize late twentieth century radical social movements. George Katsiaficas’s Subversion Of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life (285 pages, Humanities Press, 1997) makes a valuable contribution. This work, a sequel to his Imagination of the New Left, explores direct action social movements in Italy, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Denmark from 1968 to 1996. It examines autonomous feminist movements, the effect of squatters and feminists on the disarmament movement, and anti-fascist challenges to the neo-Nazi upsurge. Also, worthy of note is ZAPATISTA! Reinventing Revolution in Mexico, edited by John Holloway and Eloina Pelaez (Pluto Press, September 1998). This anthology aims to demonstrate that the Zapatista uprising raises new questions about the meaning of revolution and political action. It includes essays such as "History and Symbolism in the Zapatista Movement," "Chiapas and the Global Restructuring of Capital," and "Zapatista Indigenous Women." Readers may also be interested in The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy by Neil Harvey (Duke University, October 1998).

Historical treatments of the classical revolutionary era acquire greater depth every year, and The Third Revolutionthe recent publication of volume two of Murray Bookchin’s Third Revolution: Popular Movements in the Revolutionary Era (a three volume series) marks an important event in the maturation of this literature. Volume two analyzes the course of revolutionary movements in Western Europe from 1820 to 1914 (1998, Cassells, £59.95 hardcover, a £17.20 paperback will be available in January 1999). A much smaller but still valuable contribution appears in El Anarquismo de Ayer y Hoy de la 1st Internacional a la Aktitud Punk by O. Escribano, one of the first books to trace developments in anarchism from the First International to the end of this century (65 pages, Desalambrando, 1998. Address: CC 18 Cod. Ptal. 1871, Buenos Aires, Argentina).

General studies of revolutionary history find their complement in works that detail the more localized traditions and uprisings of which it is composed. The literature on Spanish anarchism, as one example, continues to grow, although naturally most of this work is done in Spanish. Julián Casanova has produced an overview of one period in Spanish anarchism with De la Calle al frente: el Anarco-sindicalismo en España: 1931-1939 (272 pages, Crítica, 1997) whereas Ángel Olmedo Alonso has written a more specific work on the journal of the Friends of Durruti Group: El Anarquismo Extremeño frente al Poder: Estudio de un Periódico Libertario ‘El Amigo del Pueblo’, Azuaga 1930-1933 (225 pages, Institución Cultural ‘El Brocense,’ 1997). Readers may also enjoy the new Spanish publication of the documentary novel by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, El Corto Verano de la Anarquía: Vida Y Muerte de Durruti (Editorial Anagrama, 1998).

The truly global, inter-continental character of the classical anarchist movement is increasingly being represented in the historical literature. We can learn more about the history of anarchism in Japan with Helene Bowen Raddeker’s Treacherous Women Of Imperial Japan: Patriarchal Fictions, Patricidal Fantasies (272 pages, Routledge, 1998). This work examines the life and writings of Kanno Suga and Kaneko Fumika, two anarchists convicted of attempting to assassinate the Japanese emperor (in 1910 and 1926, respectively). Likewise, Edward Krebs’s Shifu, Soul of Chinese Anarchism (352 pages, Rowman & Littlefield, October 1998) adds new depth to the study of anarchism in China. This intellectual biography examines the life and political milieu of one of the most important figures in the early history of Chinese anarchism. Also, the anarchist movement in Argentina – one of the largest in anarchism’s classical era – is explored in Antonio López’s new book on the Federación Obrera Regional Argentina: La FORA en el Movimiento Obrero (222 pages, 1998, António Lopez’s - Tupac Ediciones, CC 18 Cod. Ptal. 1871, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Finally, the Kate Sharpley Library will add another pamphlet to its exceptional collection with the release of Ned Kelly’s Ghost by John Patten, a work about the IWW in Australia (£1 from the Kate Sharpley Library).

The long history of Jewish radicalism finds expression in a number of new works. Peter Glassgold has written an enjoyable novel, The Angel Max The Angel Max(Harcourt Brace, 1998), that chronicles the lives of several Russian-Jewish immigrants and anarchists in New York during the first several decades of this century. Kropotkin, Goldman, Berkman, and other familiar figures make appearances. This period is also the subject of Steven Cassedy’s (non-fiction) To the Other Shore: The Russian Jewish Intellectuals Who Came to America (Princeton University, 1997). Finally, in cooperation with the Anarchist Archives Project, the Kate Sharpley Library has just published the Yiddish Anarchist Bibliography (edited by John Patten). At 32 8½ x 11" pages, this bibliography is the most comprehensive source on this topic to date ($12 from the Anarchist Archives Project (postage included, make checks payable to Jerry Kaplan) and £7.50p from the Kate Sharpley Library).

The complicated relationship between anarchism and art is the subject of several new works. Paul Smith’s Seurat and the Avant-garde (Yale University, 1997) studies the post-Impressionist Ramon Acinpainter Georges Seurat and offers a critical view of his relationship to anarchism. Readers of German may enjoy Raimund Schäffner’s Anarchismus und Literatur in England (1997, Carl Winter), as Spanish readers may enjoy Sonya Torres Planells’s Ramón Acín (1888-1936): una Estética Anarquista y de Vanguardia (Editorial Virus, 1998). Acín was a Spanish sculptor, painter, and cartoonist as well as an active member of the CNT. He was murdered by fascists in 1936 at the beginning of the Spanish social revolution.

Without boasting too much, we want to note that our interview with Janet Biehl in the last issue of Perspectives (spring 1998) has been translated and published in three languages. An Italian translation (by Guido Lagomarsino) was published in Rivista Anarchica (anno 28, n. 6), a Dutch translation (by Johny Lenaerts) was published in VerZ (No. 10, 1998), and a Norwegian translation (by Eirik Eiglad) was published in Tidsskrift (May 1998, No 8).

Two important projects need your support: Social Anarchism, a central forum for the discussion of anarchist ideas since 1980, is suffering financial burdens caused by the loss of thousands of dollars after the collapse of Fine Print distributors and continual increases in printing costs. They must raise $2000 by mid-November to publish their next issue. Please show your support by sending a contribution to Social Anarchism at 2743 Maryland Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21218 - USA. South End Press, an anchor of US progressive publishing for more than 20 years, also needs assistance. The cruel success of bookselling chains has made it harder and harder for South End to make ends meet and they must raise $20,000 by 1999. They have already raised a considerable sum but are still short of their goal. Please help them fight the chain store massacres by sending a donation to the South End Press at 7 Brookline Street, #1, Cambridge, MA, 02139.

* Photo from Marianne Enckell et al., Another Venice: Images of an International Anarchist Meeting (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1986)