Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 3 - No. 1
Spring, 1999


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Contacts and Addresses:

AK Press
PO Box 40682
San Francisco, CA 94140

Bound Together Books
1369 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

Friends of the Modern School
200 Sumac Ridge Lane
Altamont, NY 12009
Ph: (518) 861-5544
or email

Fundación Alumbrar
Santiago del Estero 264 Piso 5
(1075) Buenos Aires
Argentina

Institute for Social Ecology
P.O. Box 89
Plainfield, VT 05667
Phone: (802) 454-8493
E-mail: ise@igc.org

International History Review
EAA 2015, Simon Fraser Univ.
Burnaby, British Colombia
Canada V5A 1S6

Kate Sharpley Library
BM Hurricane
London, WC1N 3XX England

Librería Asociativa
‘Traficantes de Sueños’

C/Hortaleza, 19 1° Dcha.
28004 Madrid, Spain

Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism Conference
P.O. Box 111
Burlington, VT 05402

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's Happening: Books & Events

Two new books promise to broaden our conception of the anarchist tradition as well as its influence upon twentieth century intellectual life. Antonio GramsciCarl Levy’s Gramsci and the Anarchists (forthcoming) treats Italian anarchism from the beginning of the century to the rise of fascism, charting its relations with Antonio Gramsci and the Turin-based Ordine Nuovo group. This book will deepen our understanding of Gramsci as well as the history of anarchism (320 pages, NYU Press, 1998). German readers will want to explore Lou Marin’s Ursprung der Revolte: Albert Camus und der Anarchismus (trans: The Origin of Revolt: Albert Camus and Anarchism, 328 pages, Graswurzelrevolution, 1998). Marin argues that anarchism shaped the essence of Camus’s response to the Algerian War of Independence. It draws upon his lectures on anarchism, contributions to anarchist journals, and lifelong contact with the French anarchist movement. It concludes with a discussion of contemporary efforts to rehabilitate Camus as an anarchist.

There is a growing body of literature on the nature and significance of radical social movements at the end of the millennium. Homage to ChiapasBill Weinberg’s forthcoming Homage to Chiapas: The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico will make an exciting contribution (288 pages, Verso, August 1999). This book focuses on contemporary social and ecological activism throughout Mexico, with an emphasis on the South. It looks at popular struggles against Pemex (the state-owned oil company) in the state of Tabasco; an Indigenous uprising against plans for a giant computer complex and golf course in Tepoztlan; the Zapatistas; the Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR); and the ‘War on Drugs’ as a post-Cold War counter-insurgency model. A forthcoming anthology by John Womack, author of Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, studies movements in this region from a different perspective. Rebellion in Chiapas: An Historical Reader (288 pages, New Press, March 1999) looks not only at the five years of conflict since the Zapatista’s 1994 uprising but also at 500 years of struggle and uneasy accommodation between Chiapas' primarily Mayan population and the Spanish conquerors and criollo landowners. For a perspective on dissent in another continent and social context, Spanish-readers will want to consult Lucha Autónoma: una Visión de la Coordinadora de Colectivos (1990 - 1997) (196 pages, Librería Asociativa ‘Traficantes de Sueños’, 1998). This book contains interviews, pamphlets, theoretical texts, and debates from the autonomous movement in Madrid.

Contemporary movements have a living heritage in the older revolutionary tradition, one that still demands serious study and explication. Proficiency in Italian is necessary to appreciate one of the most comprehensive efforts in this regard. At more than a thousand pages, Giampietro Berti’s Il pensiero anarchico: Dal Settecento al Novecento (Trans: Anarchist Thought from the 1700’s to the 1900’s) is quite literally a massive contribution to the history of anarchism with a special focus on its Italian strains (1030 pages, Piero Lacaita Editore, 1998).

Although anarchists were among the most courageous and intransigent opponents of European fascism, there is very little historical work on their efforts. Two forthcoming publications from the Kate Sharpley Library (KSL) will help rectify this problem. This spring the KSL will release a pamphlet on Italian activities entitled Anarchists Against Fascism (various authors). They will also release a translation (by Paul Sharkey) of Michele Corsentino’s biography of Michael Schirru, an Italian-American anarchist executed in 1931 for planning to assassinate Mussolini. Both works will be available from AK Press.

Osugi Sakae
Osugi Sakae

Two new publications will nuance our under-standing of Japanese anarchist history. Victor Garcia’s forthcoming pamphlet from the Kate Sharpley Library, Three Japanese Anarchists, examines Osugi Sakae, Taiji Yamaga, and Kotoku Shusui (available from AK Press). Bakunin’s 1861 visit to Japan is the subject of a fascinating new article by Philip Billingsley entitled "Bakunin in Yokohama" (pp. 532 –570, International History Review, September 1998).

Nigel Anthony Sellars’s Oil, Wheat, & Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World in Oklahoma, 1905-1930 Oil, Wheat , & Wobbliesoffers a critical appraisal of an import-ant dimension of American radical history (320 pages, University of Oklahoma, 1998). Sellars analyzes the IWW’s role in Oklahoma from the founding of the union in 1905 to its demise in 1930. He describes IWW efforts to organize migratory harvest hands and oil-field workers in the context of a broad social history of Oklahoma labor. He examines the relationship between the IWW and other left and labor groups and uses court cases and legislation to explore government repression of the IWW during World War I. He concludes with the IWW’s decline after the war. He suggests that its decline should be attributed more to the union’s failure to adapt to postwar technological change, an attachment to outmoded tactics, and internal policy disputes than to political repression.

Although historical work on anarchism continues to grow, it has lost one of its enthusiasts: we are saddened to note that Jerome Mintz, author of The Anarchists of Casas Viejas, died on November 22, 1997 in Bloomington, Indiana after a long struggle with leukemia. His final work, Carnival Song & Society: Gossip, Sexuality and Creativity in Andalusia (256 pages, NYU Press, 1997), explores important facets of cultural life in one of the regional centers of the classical anarchist movement.

Striking Argentine Ship Builders
Striking ship workers

Anarchism has always had a productive relationship with the arts, especially the visual arts, and Richard Porton’s forthcoming Film and the Anarchist Imagination will help unravel one of its dimensions (320 pages, Verso, April 1999). In this comprehensive survey of anarchism in film, Porton deconstructs cinematic stereotypes of anarchists while offering an account of films featuring anarchist characters and motifs (from the early cinema of Griffith and René Clair to Ken Loach’s contemporary work). This is set in the context of a broad examination of the tradition of anarchist thought (from Bakunin to Bookchin). The relationship between anarchism and film continues to unfold thanks to Argentina’s Fundación Alumbrar, who will release two new films this year. The Strike of Loonies is a documentary video by Mariana Arruti examining the anarchist led strike of the Ship-Building Workers Federation in 1956, known as "the longest strike of the century." Their next documentary will study Argentine anarchist Severino Di Giovanni and his group around 1930.


entrance to the Federacion 
Libertaria Argentina

The "Biblioteca-Archivo de Estudios Libertarios" will contain a good deal of information about the Ship Builder’s strike, Di Giovanni, and other aspects of Argentina’s rich anarchist history. This archive was recently opened by the Federacion Libertaria Argentina, an anarchist organization dating back to 1935. They are presently cataloguing and organizing their material, which includes massive amounts of books, pamphlets, photographs, and other items collected over the years. Please contact them to consult their collection at: Biblioteca Archivo de Estudios Libertarios, Brasil 1551, (1154) Buenos Aires, Argentina, Email: Fla@siscor.bibnal.edu.ar.

Several upcoming events will provide great oppor-tunities to meet friends and discuss contemporary radical politics. Anarchists from around the world will browse literature tables and participate in discussions at the Fourth Annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair on March 27, 1999 at the San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park (contact Bound Together Books for information). Anarchists from Argentina and other countries will gather at this year’s Encuentro Anarquista on April 1-4, 1999 in Córdoba, Argentina. There will be a broad discussion with a focus on the theme ‘Mechanisms of Domination/Mechanisms of Freedom.’ For information contact Mariano Ceballos 2867, El Trebol, Córdoba 5010, Argentina, Fax: (54-351) 465 9720, email: granco@usa.net. The Institute for Social Ecology will mark 25 years of radical education and activism at the 25th Anniversary Celebration Gathering on August 20-22, 1999 at the ISE. There will be workshops, seminars, and social gatherings (contact the ISE for more information). The second International/Interpolis Conference on The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism will take place on August 27-29, 1999 in Plainfield, Vermont. This working conference follows a previous meeting in Lisbon, Portugal and is held for those interested in discussing and advancing libertarian municipalism (contact the International Organizing Committee, Burlington-Montreal for information). The 27th Annual Reunion of the Friends of Ferrer Modern Schools will take place this September, most likely at Rutgers University (for information contact the Friends of the Ferrer Modern School). French Speakers will want to attend the International Symposium: L'Anarchisme a-t-il un Avenir? Histoire de Femmes, d'Hommes et de Leurs Imaginaires (What is the future for anarchism? The History of Women, Men, and Their Visions) at the Université Toulouse on October 27-29, 1999. This conference will draw upon anarchism’s past, present and possible future to explore answers to the question ‘What does it mean to be a revolutionary in the 21st century?’. For information contact: GRHI, colloque Anarchisme, Maison de la recherche, Université Toulouse-le Mirail, 5. Allée A. Machado, 31058 Toulouse cedex, France. email: jf.soulet@wanadoo.fr or atelierlib@aol.com or  Web.