Proudhonist Materialism and Revolutionary Doctrine by Stephen Condit First published in 1982 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney. This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks, ISBN 978-0-904564-49-5
Few historians of ideas have questioned Proudhon’s impact in his own time. Yet his affinities with and contributions to some of the most important trends in modern political philosophy, and his relevance to the problems which increasingly reveal the failures of existing political doctrines and systems, have been neglected.
‘… in general, regimentation was the passion common to all socialists prior to 1848. Cabet, Louis Blanc, the Utopians — all were possessed by the passion to indoctrinate and to organise the future. All were authoritarians to some degree. The one exception was Proudhon. The son of a peasant, and by instinct a hundred times more revolutionary than all the doctrinaire and bourgeois socialists, Proudhon developed a critical viewpoint, as ruthless as it was profound and penetrating, in order to destroy all their systems. Opposing liberty to authority, he proclaimed himself an anarchist as distinct from state socialists, and in the face of their deism or pantheism he also had the courage to declare himself an atheist . . .’ Michael Bakunin, ‘A Critique of State Socialism’ (Review)
Marxism and a Free Society by Marcus Graham. First published 1976 by Simian Publications (Cienfuegos Press), Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, KW172BL/ This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks
Isaac Deutscher’s lecture “On Socialist Man” was given to the second annual Socialist Scholars Conference held at the Hotel Commodore, New York, on September 9-11, 1966. Deutscher had come from London as the principal invited guest at the conference. This reply to Deutscher’s address by Romanian-American anarchist writer Marcus Graham deals, in particular, with the Minutes of the First International and the sabotaging of the Hague Congress by the Marx clique.
Marcus Graham (1893-1985) lived most of his early life in the semi-clandestine world where many fighters for freedom have occasion to find themselves. He contributed to several anarchist papers before launching, in January 1933, MAN!, the organ of the International Group in San Francisco, an important link between different strands of the North American anarchist movement. In its pages Graham published articles covering the whole spectrum of anarchist thought, the politics of Roosevelt’s America, crime, fascism, religion, resistance, art, poetry, literature and anarchist profiles — a real snapshot of life and anarchism throughout most of the Thirties. MAN! continued to be published, despite police and state harassment, until its forced closure by the US government in April 1940.
Three Essays on Anarchism by Charlotte Wilson. Introduction and biographical note by Nicolas Walter. First published as separate essays in 1886. Compiled and published in 1979 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, KW172BL This eBook (Kindle) edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks ISBN 978-0-904564-26-6
Charlotte Wilson was the principal founder of Freedom Press, and the first editor of the anarchist newspaper Freedom, in 1886. She had been writing about anarchism in the socialist press since 1884, and like the work of her better-known contemporary Peter Kropotkin, whom she invited to England to join the Freedom group, her anarchist writings are scholarly, original, thoughtful and clear.
‘Economic pressures compel the individual to co-operate in the economic life of the locality. These same economic pressures ought to be felt by the collectives, obliging them to co-operate in the economic life of the nation. But to accomplish this needs no central council or supreme committee, which carry the seeds of authoritarianism and are the focal points of dictatorship, as well as being nests of bureaucracy. We said that we have no need of an architect or any ordaining authority beyond the mutual agreement between localities. As soon as each and every locality (city, village, or hamlet) has placed its internal life in order, the organisation of the nation will be complete. And there is something else we might add concerning the localities. Once all its individual members are assured that their needs will be met, then the economic life of the municipality or of the federation will also be perfected. . .’
This seminal anarchist text defining the term ‘libertarian communism’ was first published in 1932 by the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist unions of the National Confederation of Labour (CNT), with many subsequent editions. The first English translation, by Paul Sharkey, appeared in ‘The Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review‘ #6 Orkney, 1982.
Peter Kropotkin: His Federalist Ideasby Camillo Berneri. First published in 1922 under the title Un federalista Russo, Pietro Kropotkin. First English-language translation published in War Commentary, May 1942. This eBook (Kindle) edition republished (2013) from the ‘Simian’ (Cienfuegos Press) edition 1 Exchange, Honley, W. Yorks. 1976. ChristieBooks.
One thing on which all anarchists and libertarian socialists agree is that the social revolution should be the result of a popular movement, not one imposed from above. As Peter Kropotkin, probably the best-known of the anarchist theoreticians, described it, “[the revolution] must take the form of a widely spread popular movement, during which movement, in every town and village invaded by the insurrectionist spirit, the masses set themselves set themselves to the work of reconstructing society…without waiting for schemes and orders from above…They may not be – they are sure not to be – the majority of the nation. But if they are a respectably numerous minority of cities and villages scattered over the country…they will be able to win the right to pursue their own course”.
Following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Kropotkin began developing his federalist ideas as a means of countering the centralised state-building agenda then being pursued by the Bolsheviks. His vision of a federalist Russia was based on the existing regions of the Tsarist empire: Finland, the Baltic provinces, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Siberia and others, each of which would have received international recognition of its right to govern itself. But, as Camillo Berneri points out, Kropotkin envisaged that, ultimately, each component of the new Russian Federation would itself by a federation of free cities and rural communities.