Statism and Anarchy is the first complete English translation of the last work by the Russian anarchist Michael Bakunin. Given his influence, it is surprising that this 1873 work was his only book and even this is technically incomplete (referring as it does to a second part which was never written). It aimed to influence Russian populism and the “to the people” movement although most of it is an account of European history in the 19th century.
Originally published in 1988 a few years before the crisis in Stalinism, Pat Devine’s model of a planned economy has been republished with a new preface during the crisis in neo-liberalism. He comprehensively discusses capitalist planning, central planning and market socialism before sketching his own economic vision.
Chris Gray's review of Bakunin's Statism and Anarchy is, in general, good. It covers the weaknesses of Bakunin's ideas (namely his personal prejudices against Germans and Jews and for Slavs) and indicates its underlying strengths. As part of his review, Gray raises some serious political points which, I feel, need answering. We should thank Chris for allowing us to bring into clear light some of the key differences between anarchism and Marxism.
Or "how not to critique anarchism."
As in any social movement which is just beginning, the current "anti-globalisation" movement is a mixed bag with contradictory ideas. This is to be expected. Only by discussion and activity can those involved clarify and develop their political ideas. Part of this process is, by necessity, a critical evaluation of past social movements and revolutionary ideals. This, again, is natural and positive. Without discussion, without honest and principled debate, any movement with stagnant.
With anarchism back in the news thanks to the student protests in 2010, we can expect the likes of the Socialist Workers Party to have patronising and inaccurate articles on "anarchism" in their publications. This is a reply to a previous article from 10 years ago but which repeats all the usual nonsense typically spouted by Leninists on "anarchism." This article was serialised in Freedom.
An article from the early 1990s on ideas how the Glasgow Anarchist Group should organise itself. Rejecting both synthesis and platformist organisation, it suggests what is often called a class struggle anarchist group in the UK. Hopefully this will be of interest to others.
This is an excellent, if flawed, little pamphlet. Written by a group of people in the Solidarity Federation, the UK section of the International Workers Association, it is an attempt to explain how a libertarian communist society could work. The aim of such a society is "to guarantee liberty and equality" for all and, unsurprisingly, these principles are at the heart of both their model and their criticism of capitalism.
Allan Engler is a lifelong trade unionist and social activist. Some may recognise his name from his 1995 book Apostles of Greed when he first presented his critique of capitalism and his alternative. His new booklet Economic Democracy: The Working-Class Alternative to Capitalism expands on this vision, which he terms “Economic Democracy” but which others would call market socialism.
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