WSM review of An Anarchist FAQ

"This is easily the most comprehensive FAQ on anarchist theory, history and practice available today . . . The writing is such that the reader can find him/herself drawn into the book quite rapidly. It explains complex ideas in a relatively simple manner . . . It is the go to guide for the curious and critical about anarchist theory, history, and practice."

Review of An Anarchist FAQ

from Workers Solidarity (March - April 2010, no. 114)

Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) freesheet.

This is easily the most comprehensive FAQ on anarchist theory, history and practice available today. The Anarchist FAQ provides the answers to questions as straightforward as “What is Anarchism?” but also responds to inquiries about what an anarchist society would look like. It first appeared online as a rebuttal to claims that “anarcho-capitalism” was a form of anarchism but its scope has since been hugely expanded.

The book presents answers to questions about all aspects of anarchism while also responding to the criticisms levelled at anarchism from both the left and right. It also includes an interesting appendix on the symbols of anarchy. It describes the history of the black flag used by anarchists including its use by Nestor Makhno’s partisans in the Russian Revolution when they managed to keep Ukraine free of authoritarian rule for two years.

The writing is such that the reader can find him/herself drawn into the book quite rapidly. It explains complex ideas in a relatively simple manner and it contains many illuminating and memorable quotes that capture the idea that they are expressing very well. Similarly, Clifford Harper put the idea of anarchism eloquently when he wrote "Like all great ideas, anarchism is pretty simple when you get down to it - human beings are at their best when they are living free of authority."

The purpose of the book is to present the case for anarchism, to convince people they should become anarchists and to act as a resource for anarchists. It is the go to guide for the curious and critical about anarchist theory, history, and practice. More a reference volume than a primer, the FAQ engages with questions in a thorough, matter-of-fact style. If you thought Wikipedia was the place to delve into the ideas of anarchism then think again, “An Anarchist FAQ” can be acquired in paperback form and is also found, in full, online at www.anarchistfaq.org.

  


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