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.
Proudhon’s work is a classic for many reasons. Not only did it put a name to a tendency within socialism (“I am an Anarchist”) and raise a battle-cry against inequality (“Property is Theft!”), it also sketched a new, free, society: anarchy.
or, The Philosophy of Poverty
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon made his name with his first Memoir on property, 1840’s “What is Property?” After two more Memoirs in 1841 and 1842, his next major work was 1846’s “System of Economic Contradictions” in which he first used “mutualism” to describe his libertarian socialism (inspired by the workers in Lyons where he stayed in 1843).
This is the English translation of the principle piece of evidence in an anti-terrorism case in France. Nine people were arrested in 2008, mostly in the village of Tarnac, under the charge of sabotaging overhead electrical lines on the French railways. With only little circumstantial evidence available, the French Interior Minister has associated them with a ultra-left insurrectionary movement and singled out this book as a “manual for terrorism.” It is not that, but is it a manual for revolution?
The rise of fascism in
This is an excellent work. Wide ranging, both in terms of subjects covered and geography. The latter makes a welcome break from most accounts of anarchism which are sadly all-too Eurocentric. The former sees anarchist analysis expanded from the usual subjects of political authority and economic class into gender and imperialism (and national liberation struggles). It covers such perennial issues as anarchist organisation (including Platformism), the Spanish Revolution and a host of others.
Beevor's approach is fresh and different. He understands that much of what made the Spanish Civil War unique from a military viewpoint was the revolution that had taken place. Rather than ignoring the anarchists or treating them as a minor nuisance he puts them where they belong, at the heart of the story.
Pluto Press, 1989 (Translated by John Beverly Robinson (1923))
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Proudhon’s birth, the person who first used the word “anarchist” in a positive light. This was in his 1840 book What is Property? so making anarchism as a named socio-economic theory and movement 170 years old next year.
David Goodway (editor), Five Leaves Publications, 2007 (£9.99)