Colin Ward – The Practice of Freedom. Filmed interview by Paolo Cottino (FILM)

The Practice of Freedom, a wide-ranging filmed interview with anarchist theorist Colin Ward (1924-2010), recorded in 2003 by Paolo Cottino.

Colin Ward, author of Anarchy in Action (1973) and over thirty other books, believed that an anarchist society was not an end goal. Following Alexander Herzen, the writer and thinker known as the “father of Russian socialism”, Colin saw all distant goals as a form of tyranny and believed that anarchist principles could be discerned in everyday human relations and impulses. Within this perspective, politics was about strengthening -co-operative -relations and supporting human ingenuity in its myriad vernacular and everyday form. One of his favourite metaphors – adopted from a novel by Ignazio Silone – was the image of the seed beneath the snow, which suggested to him that anarchist principles were ever alive and prescient. He thought it was the work of politics to nurture such beliefs and to support them through small-scale initiatives, avoiding the temptation to replicate or scale them up to a level beyond which professional bureaucracies take over. He was fond of contrasting the vocabulary of self-organisation, with its friendly societies, mutuals, co-operatives and voluntary associations, with the nomenclature of the state and private sectors with their directorates, corporations, boards  and executives

This interview (see FILMS) was filmed in 2003 by Paolo Cottino and produced by the Centro Studi Libertari/Archivio Giuseppe Pinelli di Milano for their recent exhibition/meeting “Anarchia come organizzazione – Ricordando Colin Ward” (Milano, 30 maggio 2010)