History and analysis, theory and empiricism, have led us, through the agitations of Liberty and Power, to the idea of political contract.
Since, in theory and in history, Authority and Liberty follow one another as by a kind of polarisation;
That the first declines imperceptibly and withdraws whilst the second grows and reveals itself;
That a kind of subordination results from this double movement in accordance of which Authority takes up more and more the cause of Liberty [au droit de la Liberté];
If the reader has followed with some diligence the previous exposition, human society must appear to him like a fantastic creation, full of surprises and mysteries. We shall briefly recall the different terms:
a) Political order rests on two related, opposed and irreducible principles: Authority and Liberty.
Translators: Nathalie Colibert (First Part) and Ian Harvey (Conclusion)
Lucy Parsons (c. 1853-1942) is worthy of a great biography. She took an active part in the American anarchist and labour movements from the 1870s to her death and should be better known to today’s radicals. Anyone described by the Chicago Police Department as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters” is worthy of remembrance. So the reprinting of Carolyn Ashbaugh’s Lucy Parsons: American Revolutionary should be welcome news – except that the book is so terrible.
Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin was born in Moscow on December the 9th in1842 within a royal family that could trace its origins to the founders of the Tsarist regime. As a member of the Russian ruling class, he received the best education his father’s exploitation of his serfs could provide. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Corps of Pages in St. Petersburg, an elite Court institution attached to the imperial household.
This is a write up of a talk I did at the 2012 London anarchist bookfair. It explores the interwoven nature of revolutionary anarchism and syndicalism, showing how the standard Leninist account of both is false. It shows how syndicalism evolved as a key anarchist tactic within the First International and how revolutionary anarchists like Bakunin and Kropotkin advocated syndicalist ideas and tactics. Suffice to say, this is the talk I hoped to give – the actual one may not have equalled these hopes! The title is a Kropotkin quote, one much repeated in his works
While much attention will be directed towards London for the expensive farce which is the Olympics, 2012 should be marked for far more important events – the 100th anniversary of the two great strikes by tailors and dock workers. At the centre of the epic struggle of the tailors was Rudolf Rocker whose excellent autobiography The London Years covers these events and much more.
This is the published version of a reply to an article by Marxist Ralph Darlington in Anarchist Studies (vol. 17, no. 2). Darlington's original article appeared in Volume 17, Number 1 of Anarchist Studies and discusses the anarchist origins of syndicalism and refutes attempts to include Marxism as one of its influences. It discusses Bakunin’s syndicalist ideas and shows how Marx and Engels explicitly rejected them. Ralph Darlington declined to reply
This is a very edited version of the review article Syndicalism, Marxist Myth and Anarchist Reality and will appear in the new issue of Black Flag (235) out May 2012. This issue also has as its revolutionary reprint Kropotkin’s 1890 article The Use of the Strike and this is included at the end of this review.