PEOPLE WITHOUT GOVERNMENT. An Anthropology of Anarchism by Harold Barclay – Preface by Alex Comfort. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

PwGcver005People Without Government. An Anthropology of AnarchismHarold Barclay (Preface by Alex Comfort) (ISBN 978-0-904564-47-1). First published by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, in 1982.

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Anarchy, as the absence of government, is neither chaos nor some impossible Utopian dream. In fact it is a very common form of political organisation and one that has characterised much of the human past. People Without Government describes briefly the anarchic political structures of a number of these societies. True they are mainly small-scale hunting, gathering and horticultural groups. However, the social organisation of certain large populations with complex relations is also sometimes anarchic. Thus anarchy applies to a broad spectrum of different kinds of societies.

This book seeks to show what anarchy has been like in practice. Special attention is paid to the techniques of leadership, maintaining order and decision-making. The dynamic interplay between freedom and authority is considered, particularly the apparent tendency of anarchic polities to degenerate into states with government and for organisations to become oligarchies, and it is concluded that liberty and individuality are at best very tenuous and fleeting entities. There can be no relenting in the struggle for freedom.

Harold Barclay, who obtained his Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1961, has lectured in anthropology at the University of Alberta, Canada, since 1966. Prior to that he taught at the American University in Cairo and at the University of Oregon. His anthropological research has included studies of Egyptian and Arab Sudanese villages and he is the author of books on the Arab Sudan, the Middle East, and, through his interest in agriculture, the role of the horse in man’s culture.

CONTENTS: Preface ; Introduction ; On the Nature of Anarchy ; On anarchy and anarchism ; Social order and authority ; Social sanctions ; Government and the state ; Conclusion ; Some Observations on Procedure ; Anarchy among Hunter-Gatherers ; Eskimo ; Bushman ; Pygmies ; Australian hunters and foragers ; Other hunter-gatherers ; The Yurok ; Northwest Coast Indians ; Bibliographic note ; Anarchist Gardeners ; Sub-Saharan Africa ; Lugbara ; Konkomba ; Tiv ; The Plateau Tonga ; Two marginal cases: Anuak and Ibo ; Ibo ; New Guinea ; The Ifugao ; The Land Dayaks ; South American Indians ; Bibliographic note ; Anarchist Herders ; The Nuer ; Egalitarianism and cattle pastoralism ; The Lapps ; Bibliographic note ; Anarchy in Agricultural Societies ; Berbers ; The Santals ; The medieval free city ; Fascist corporatism, syndicalism and the medieval commune ; Anabaptists and anarchy ; Bibliographic note ; Anarchy in the Modern World ; The Spanish Revolution ; The anarchist intentional community ; Bibliographic note ; Do Anarchic Politics have a Message? ; Some general characteristics of anarchic polities ; Cultural florescence and anarchy ; Techniques for maintaining order ; Group decision-making ; Types of leaders in anarchic polities ; On the origins of the state.. 102 ; Does anarchy have a future or is history a one-way street?. 106 ; Bibliography ; Index.. 121