Perspectives on Anarchist Theory

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Vol. 5 - No. 1
Spring, 2001

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What's Happening: Books and Events
by Chuck Morse

The Battle After Seattle
It is essential that anarchists contend with changes in the structure of power and the nature of oppositional politics effected by the globalization of capitalism. A broad introduction to the relationship between social movements and some of global capital's most important institutions can be found in Contesting Global Governance, edited by nowto.gif - 44264 Bytes Robert O'Brien (et al). This anthology examines the relationship between three multilateral economic institutions (the IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organization) and three global social movements (the environmental, labor, and women's movements). It provides a comparative analysis of the institutional response to social movement pressure, tracing institutional change, policy modification, and social movement tactics as they struggle to influence the rules and practices governing trade, finance, and development regimes (Cambridge University, 2000, 280 pages). Amory Starr's Naming the Enemy: Anti-Corporate Social Movements Confront Globalization focuses exclusively on the opposition. This book explores the ways that tendencies in the anti-corporate movement conceive of their enemy and envision a desirable future. Starr discusses the anarchist movement among others (Zed Books, 2001, 253 pages). Catherine Eschle's Global Democracy, Social Movements, and Feminism examines the relationship between social movements and democracy in social and political thought in the context of debates about globalization, feminist efforts to democratize politics, and the feminist movement itself (Westview Press, 2001, 292 pages). She treats anarchism as well as other traditions.

There is a growing literature on the 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle. Globalize This!: The Battle Against the World Trade Organization, edited by Kevin Danaher and Roger Burbach, contains essays by prominent activists who share their experiences before, during, and since the WTO conference (Community Archives Publications, 2000, 218 pages). Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair's Five Days That Shook the World: The Battle for Seattle and Beyond attempts to bring readers into the streets of Seattle while also looking at the broader issues raised by the protest, such as the WTO's undemocratic practices and the various menaces posed by globalization (Verso, 2001, 144 pages). Janet Thomas's The Battle in Seattle: The Story Behind and Beyond the WTO Demonstrations focuses on personalities as well as issues to present a substantive view of the protests (Fulcrum Publications, 2000, 224 pages).

A direct statement from a leading figure of the movement against global capital is available in Jose Bové's The World is Not For Sale: Farmers Against Junk Food (Verso, June 2001, 240 pages). Jose Bové and François Dufour (the General Secretary of the French Farmers Confederation) recount the famed attack on the McDonalds in Millau, France and Bové's subsequent imprisonment. They examine issues behind the attack such as the industrialization of agriculture in the global economy, the massive environmental damage this causes, and the tasteless, unhealthy food that results.

Anarchism and poststructuralism both focus on power, but what are the affinities and dissimilarities between these traditions? Saul Newman's From Bakunin to Lacan (Rowman & Littlefield, May 2001, 208 pages) treats thinkers such as Bakunin, Lacan, Stirner, and Foucault, and examines the tendency of radical theorists and movements to reproduce power in their very attempts to overcome it. He asks: is the essential human subject the point of departure from which power and authority can be opposed or a site of domination itself that must be unmasked?

The Battle after Catalonia
The experiences of the anarchists during Spain's Civil War are rich in lessons for both historians and activists. Stuart Christie develops an anarchist critique of the FAI in We, the anarchists! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937 (Meltzer Press/Jura Media, 2000, 127 pages). Christie argues that the FAI ultimately hindered the development of revolutionary, anarchist initiative during the Civil War. Although the Spanish anarchists fought for a revolution in political and economic relationships, they also fought for the transformation of other less explicitly 'political' aspects of life. Richard Cleminson focuses on one aspect of this in Anarchism, Science and Sex: Eugenics in Eastern Spain, 1900-1937 (Peter Lang, 2000, 288 pages). Cleminson examines the reception of eugenics in Catalan and Valencian anarchist reviews in the early twentieth century, setting anarchist discourse on sexuality, theories of degeneration, inheritance and disease in the context of anarchism's ideological framework, European sexology, and eugenics. It shows how far the social and ideological concerns of anarchists shaped their form of eugenics and how eugenic science in turn shaped their anarchism. Eduard Masjuan Bracons treats similar themes in La Ecología Humana en el Anarquismo Ibérico: Urbanismo «Orgánico» o Ecológico, Neomalthusianismo y Naturismo Social (Trans: Human Ecology in Iberian Anarchism: 'Organic' or Ecological Urbanism, Neomalthusianism and Social Naturism (Anselmo Lorenzo, 2000, 504 pages). Two new publications detail activities of Spanish anarchists after the Civil War: Revolutionary Activism: The Spanish Resistance in Context recounts some of the anarchist opposition to Franco's regime in the 1960's (Kate Sharpley Library, 2000, 19 pages) and, in Spanish, Joan Zambrana's La Alternativa Libertaria: Catalunya 1976-1979 (CEDAL, 2000, 224 pages) treats the CNT and the libertarian movement during the later part of the seventies.

Spanish readers may wish to check out a recent contribution to the study of Argentina's rich anarchist heritage: Jorge Etchenique's Pampa Libre: Anarquistas en la Pampa Argentina (Ediciones Amerindia, 2000, 242 pages) explores the history of anarchism in Argentina's Pampa region from 1915 to 1930. 

There is no doubt that Emma Goldman's Mother Earth Magazine, published from 1906 to 1917, was a centerpiece of radical intellectual culture during its time. Peter Glassgold, author of Angel Max, a novel featuring Emma Goldman and other anarchists, has prepared the first anthology of the magazine: Anarchy!: An Anthology of Emma Goldman's Mother Earth (Counterpoint Press, March 2001, 400 pages).

Despite the extensive literature on the Black Panthers, there is still much to explore. Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party: A New Look at the Panthers and Their Legacy, edited by George Katsiaficas and Kathleen Cleaver, gathers reflections by scholars and activists on the historical impact of the Black Panther Party (Routledge, 2001, 288 pages). These articles recount the Party's tumultuous history and its reverberations through modern politics, including Chicano movements, international labor movements, and the campaign to free Mumia Abu Jumal. For a treatment of a very different group that also embraced the fight against racism, read the account of the UK's Anti-Fascist Action in Bash the Fash: Anti-Fascist Recollections 1984-93 by K. Bullstreet (Kate Sharpley Library, 2000, 29 pages).

Education for Change
The Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) has added a new program to its already rich educational offerings. This year the ISE will hold Continuing Studies in Social Ecology: Philosophy & Politics in the Age of Globalization from August 3rd to the 12th. Two Institute for Anarchist Studies board members (among others) will facilitate classes.  Students must have completed the ISE's Ecology and Community program to enroll. You can find information about the ISE's programs and other resources at their new website: or write ISE, 1118 Maple Hill Road, Plainfield, VT 05667.

There will be a second Renewing the Anarchist Tradition Conference in Plainfield, Vermont on August 23rd-26th. The organizers are presently accepting proposals for presentations. For information on presenting or attending write C.M., 5641 S. Blackstone Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60637-1898 or J.P., P.O. Box 715, Conway, MA 01341 or visit their website at

Switzerland's International Centre for Research on Anarchism (CIRA) has informed us that they have relatively few contacts in English-speaking countries, which suggests that Anglophones are unaware of their rich resources. CIRA holds more than 15,000 books in 25 languages on the anarchist movement, 300 current periodicals (including 3000 archived), and much more. CIRA is open weekdays from 4-7 p.m. and by appointment. They lend books abroad, can provide photocopies, and also produce a bulletin. Access to the library and borrowing rights can be purchased for $25 annually. You can learn more about CIRA at or write C.I.R.A. Avenue de Beaumont 24, Ch - 1012 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Print Media
Several new anarchist publications have appeared recently. Arsenal: A Magazine of Anarchist Strategy and Culture is a stylish journal containing thoughtful articles pertaining to the anarchist movement, reviews, and even an advice column. Subscriptions are $14 for 4 issues from Arsenal, 1573 N. Milwaukee Ave, PMB #420, Chicago, IL 60647 or e-mail Another new publication is Onward: Anarchist News, Opinion, Theory, and Strategy for Today. Onward has an activist orientation, but also contains articles on theory and strategy. Subscriptions are $7-10 in the U.S. and $10-13 elsewhere from Onward, PO Box 2671, Gainesville, FL 32602-2671 or Another good new periodical is Modern Times: A Long Island Journal of Art, Community and Radical Politics. This magazine is directed toward residents of Long Island (New York), but contains articles and reports of much broader interest. Subscriptions are $7-$25 (sliding scale) from Modern Times, PO Box 7152, Garden City, NY 11530 or

Perspectives on Anarchist Theory - Vol. 5, No. 1 - Spring 2001