Saturday, 8 February 2014

Working Classics Series

This dinky quartet of historical anarchist books from AK Press illustrating key thinkers in the movement, are an accurate and concise introduction to the panoply of anarchist theory and practice. They are not meant to be exhaustive, just snapshots in time. And between them, they provide a good systematic educational overview of anarchism, whereupon you will be disavowed of the opinion that it is all about waving a black flag and throwing Molotov cocktails at demonstrations. One thing you come away from these books thinking is how simple the basic ideas of anarchism are, and how such simplicity gives them abiding strength.

I have summarised the general feel of each book in the table below, and shall take the next few days to post quotes from each book to give you a flavour.

Conquest of Bread
Peter Kropotkin
The Anarchist version of the Communist Manifesto by Marx.

What is Anarchism?
Alexander Berkman
Good but Billy Basic introduction. Section on Chicago Anarchists was inspired, emotional & most informative.

Anarcho- Syndicalism
Rudolf Rocker
A bit geek academique chiq. Dry in places, it nonetheless explores the interface between anarchism and trade unionism thoroughly. A “how to” manual.

Post- Scarcity Anarchism
Murray Bookchin
The best of the four. Noticeably more contemporary. Addresses today’s issues competently in the context of the ecological crisis. Prescient and forward thinking.

By South Utsire

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