£1.50Add to basket All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels: The Communist Manifesto
Modernity brought in its wake a series of civilization changing events. Social tradition, family life, government, nothing was safe from its long lumbering march over the corpses of outdated societies. Like some Darwinian experiment, whole civilizations were forced to upheave their past and redefine themselves, or face crushing colonization from countries that had already undertaken the great change. Modernity brought technology, and technology brought power. To exist in the modern world, to survive, a country needed both.
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Chinese Anarchists were inspired by the ideas of Pierre Proudhon, Michael Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin and Elisée Reclus. Many were exposed to Anarchist ideas while they were students in Europe and Anarchist books were soon translated into Chinese and Esperanto, a popular language among Chinese students. They used the term “Anarchist Communist” interchangeable with the word “Anarchist.” The Chinese words for Anarchist-Communist (Wu-Zheng-Fu Gong-Chan) literally meant “Without Government Common Production” and in no way implied Bolshevism or Maoism. On the contrary, theirs were the Libertarian Socialist ideas of the First International which reflected the traditional Chinese Anarchistic teachings of Lao Tzu while Maoism reflected the authoritarian bureaucracy of Confucianism.
Like the word “communism”, the word “collectivism” also has a different literal meaning in Chinese than when it is commonly used in English. In Chinese, the word for a “collective enterprise” (Ji-ti Qi-ye) literally means an assembly of people in a bureaucracy (a “tree of people”) — very different from our understanding of Michael Bakunin’s Collectivism or a workers’ collective — more like Bolshevism or Fabian Socialism — The Chinese Anarchist Shih Fu substantiated this translation by identifying Karl Marx as the father of “collectivism” in his writings .
Historically, Marxism was unable to make inroads into China until after the Russian Revolution of 1917 when Lenin’s followers, bankrolled by the Bolshevik government, began their attacks on Anarchists in Russia and neighboring countries. This book describes some of the early history of Chinese Anarchism up to the period after the Bolshevik counter-revolution when Russia began to send Marxist-Leninist missionaries like Chou En-lai to try to try to infiltrate and take over the student movements in Europe. It includes some of the ideological debates which ensued between Chinese Anarchists and their Marxist-Leninist adversaries.
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BA JIN. On Anarchism and Terrorism by Ba Jin (Li Feigan), with contributions by Angelo Pino, Jean Jacques Gandini and Giuseppe Galzerano. Translated from the French by Paul Sharkey. ISBN 978-1-873976-18-0. First published in French by A Contretemps, Paris.
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Contents: Ba Jin: A Life; Ba Jin in 1921 – An Anarchist Militant is Born; Anarchism and Terrorism – An Answer to Comrade Taiyi’s; The IWW and Chinese Workers; Underground China; Patriotism and the Chinese Path to Happiness; Farewell to Anarchism; The Anarchist Writer Pa Kin (Pa Chin); Notes on Chinese Anarchism in the First Half of the 20th Century; Ba Jin, Goldman, Berkman and Ba Jin’s Greatest Work of Ideology; Ba Jin– From Rebellion to Endurance.