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Anarchism and the Dictionary

Don't be so reliant on the dictionary for your education.
Here is a very basic starting point to learn more about Anarchism. Unfortunately it seems the rich history of Anarchist theory and practice has flown over many people's head. No matter what you think of Anarchists, any basic understanding of 19th and 20th century American history will illustrate the key role's they have played in labor struggles, peace movts, women's rights, birth control, civil rights, ecology and the critique of corporate globalization.

For a more traditional definition try Peter Kropotkins: "Anarchism" (incidently this essay is the Encyclopedia Brittanica, perhaps a good next step from the dictionary) and "Anarchist Communism".

Then you could read some Emma Goldman and her essays on Anarchism and how it plays into a variety of social issues.

For a very easy to read and concise explanation try Alex Berkman's "ABC of Anarchism"

These days there is a wide variety of thought within the Anarchist "movement". If you want to know about the more radical strain, investigate 'green anarchism' or anarcho-primitivism theories and critiques. John Zerzan's "Future Primitive" or "Running on Empty" might be a good place for this.

Note these books are availble in the libraries and most good book shops. Try Laughing Horse books on 38th and Division. or go to www.infoshop.org and you'll soon discover how people who call themselves anarchists envision a better world.
those are good but.... 15.Oct.2002 01:13


They leave out the syndicalist tendencies (as well as the libertarian stuff). Try Daniel Guerin's Anarchism, any article by Chomsky on Anarchism (their available in the chomsky archive on ZMAG.org), or other works by the so-called anarcho-syndicalists.

Briefly one might characterize the syndicalists as taking a common union between workers (a syndicate) to be the primary unit of social structure in anarchist society. Another way ( a better way) to think about it is to use it not as an ideal but rather as a guidance tool. So whenever one has the oppurtunity: decentralize authority, establish worker/participant control, promote liberty and autonomy of the members whenever possible, and apply autonomy to economic and other forms of repression as well as political.

Personally I am compelled to anarchism because I feel that the primary goal of society ought to be to produce the best possible individuals and works.Historically it has been shown that the strong are usually kept down by the inept, lazy, and stupid rulers at the top. In other words society is held from flourishing by arbitrary restrictions bent on preserving structure rather than furthering well-being. It is in fact in the nature of hierarchy to maintain such order despite the injustice, or inferiority of those at the top. In that sense I see the breakdown of hierarchy as actually promoting the greatest individuals and achievements.

no offense to the syndicalists 15.Oct.2002 02:30

arm chair anarcho

I only meant those texts to serve as an entry point into the basic tennents of anarchism. but you are absolutely right and i think anarcho-syndicalism offers a comprehensible projection of how the 'economy' and 'social structure' might look under anarchism. for more syndicalist theory, check out the Industrial Workers of the World. www.iww.org

One thing, I think we have to be careful about is bogging people down with all varying terms, isms, schims and internal bickering. When trying to get a grasp of some people's views on anarchism you often have to sift through alot of petty insults aimed at someone who has an opposing view. ie. Bookchin Vs Bey or Zerzan vs Chomsky. It gets very tedious very quickly.

and at Laughing Horse Books 15.Oct.2002 13:58


There will be a discussion revolving around "anarchism" the encyclopedia britanica essay by WWI British supporter.....
Yes you guessed it MR PETER KROPOTKIN...... so if you feel so enclined I would like to end this comment with an invite to our little group.

it happens at 7pm every friday except the last friday of this month due to a wonderful class on the revolutionary Black Panther Party & the Yippies so please join us there.

ABCs of anarchism available on the web 15.Oct.2002 22:00


At: http://www.cluefactory.org.uk/ace/abc/