NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

RockerCover2NATIONALISM AND CULTURE by Rudolf Rocker (Translated by Ray E. Chase)  Complete edition (Books I & II, with all 27 chapters, including bibliography and index. Appx. 713 pp)

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Nationalism and Culture is a detailed and scholarly study of the development of nationalism and the changes in human cultures from the dawn of history to the present day and an analysis of the relations of these to one another. It tells the story of the growth of the State and the other institutions of authority and their influence on life and manners, on architecture and art, on literature and thought. Nationalism and Culture is, primarily, a 600-page (appx 713pp on Kindle/Kobo) exploration of the origins and development of nationalism, and a scathing denunciation of the corrosive effect of national feeling on the human spirit. Yet it is one of those works, like The Anatomy of Melancholy (Robert Burton, 1621), that springboard from their stated purpose to discourse on everything under the sun. Architecture is analyzed, socialism is defended, and Rembrandt’s paintings are scrutinized at length. It is at once a treatise on the state’s relationship with culture and a manifesto for an enlightened leftism. Most of all, it is a clear-eyed plea for sanity at a moment when nationalist and religious irrationalism threatened to swallow the globe. It could not be more relevant. Rocker’s thesis is straightforward: Nations are the products of states, rather than vice versa. They are manufactured to serve the goals of the powerful, to divide human beings and keep them from recognizing their common interests. Rocker argues this point with a litany of historical examples, from the Renaissance to “the stupid and stumbling provisions of the Versailles treaty.”

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ANARCHY Élisée Reclus. First published 1894. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf ).

ReclusAnarchysmallANARCHY by Élisée Reclus. First published 1894. 

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The anarchist ideas of renowned French geographer, writer and activist Élisée Reclus (5 March 1830 – 4 July 1905) who produced his 19-volume masterwork, La Nouvelle Géographie universelle, la terre et les hommes (“Universal Geography“), over a period of nearly 20 years (1875–1894). In 1892 he was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal of the Paris Geographical Society for this work, despite having been banished from France because of his role in the Paris Commune of 1871. The text is based on a talk originally delivered to the Brussels Masonic Lodge ,“The Philanthropic Friends,” on June 18, 1894. It was later published as l’Anarchie in Les Temps Nouveaux 18 (May 25-June 1,1895).

An Anarchist on Anarchy

It is a pity that such men as Elisée Reclus cannot be promptly shot.” — Providence Press

To most Englishmen, the word Anarchy is so evil-sounding that ordinary readers of the Contemporary Review will probably turn from these pages with aversion, wondering how anybody could have the audacity to write them. With the crowd of commonplace chatterers we are already past praying for; no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting. Public speakers on social and political subjects find that abuse of Anarchists is an unfailing passport to public favor. Every conceivable crime is laid to our charge, and opinion, too indolent to learn the truth, is easily persuaded that Anarchy is but another name for wickedness and chaos. Overwhelmed with opprobrium and held up with hatred, we are treated on the principle that the surest way of hanging a dog is to give it a bad name.

 

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THE STATE AND OTHER ESSAYS by RANDOLPH BOURNE. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

BournecoverTheState

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RANDOLPH SILLIMAN BOURNE, born 1886 Bloomfield, New Jersey, died aged 32 during an influenza epidemic on 23 December 1918. A radical social critic who sympathised with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), his literary career lasted less than ten years yet the integrity and commitment, which shines through in his articles and essays in the dramatic period before and during World War One, sets him apart from other intellectuals of his time. He left behind a legacy of astonishingly mature and incisive writings on politics, literature, and culture, which were of enormous influence in shaping the American intellectual climate of the 1920s and 1930s. This collection includes such noted essays as “The War and the Intellectuals,” “The State,” “What is Exploitation,” “Law and Order,” “Trans-National America,” “Below the Battle,” and “Twilight of the Idols.” Bourne’s critique of militarism and advocacy of cultural pluralism are enduring contributions to social and political thought that has an equally strong impact today. In his introduction to The Radical Will: Randolph Bourne Selected Writings 1911-1918 (Urizen Books, 1977) his editor, Olaf Hansen, summed up Bourne’s legacy: ‘Bourne’s quest for a rational community had this significance. He wanted to be a citizen of the world without giving up his vision of how much better a place it might be. His contribution to the attainment of such hopes was a radical analysis of the world’s shortcomings.’

A century later Bourne’s final essay, ‘The State’, reproduced here, retains the resonance it had in 1918 — a lucid analysis of how states and governments manipulate and induce the patriotic hysteria that precedes declarations of war and ‘states of emergency’ to suit their own political and corporate ends.

THE FLOODGATES OF ANARCHY by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

FloodgatesCoverTHE FLOODGATES OF ANARCHY by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer

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“Anyone who wants to know what anarchism is about in the contemporary world would do well to start here. The Floodgates of Anarchy forces us to take a hard look at moral and political problems which other more sophisticated doctrines evade.” —The Sunday Times

“A lucid exposition of revolutionary anarchist theory — Peace News

The floodgates holding back anarchy are constantly under strain. The liberal would ease the pressure by diverting some of the water; the conservative would shore up the dykes, the totalitarian would construct a stronger dam. But is anarchy a destructive force? The absence of government may alarm the authoritarian, but is a liberated people really its own worst enemy—or is the true enemy of humanity, as the anarchists claim, the means by which one is governed? Without government the world could manage to end exploitation and war. Anarchy should not be confused with weak, divided or manifold government. As Christie and Meltzer point out, only with the total abolition of government can society develop in freedom.

With a new introduction, this classic anarchist text from the `70s is available once again.

“Coming from a position of uncompromising class struggle and a tradition that includes many of our exemplary anarchist militants, Floodgates of Anarchy has a power and directness sadly missing from some contemporary anarchist writing. It is exciting to see it back in print, ready for a new generation to read.” — Barry Pateman, Associate Editor, The Emma Goldman Papers, University of California at Berkeley.

REVOLUTION AND EVERYDAY STRUGGLE by Errico Malatesta (Translated by Paul Sharkey). eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

MalatestacoverREVOLUTION AND EVERYDAY STRUGGLE by Errico Malatesta (appx 266 pp) Translated by Paul Sharkey

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Errico Malatesta (1853-1932) is, undoubtedly, one of the ” giants ” of the 19th century revolutionary movement— an agitator, man of action and a thought-provoking writer. Malatesta was active in the international anarchist movement both as activist and propagandist for nearly sixty years. As a glance through the archives of the anarchist press of the time will show, he was one of the movement’s most respected members, as well as one of its most controversial. He was active in many parts of the world, as well as the editor of a number of Italian anarchist journals, including the daily Umanita Nova. Half his life was spent in exile and the respect he was accorded by governments is insanely evidenced by the fact that he spent more than ten years in prison, mainly awaiting trial. Juries, by contrast, showed a different respect by almost always acquitting him, recognising that the only galantuomo, that the only honest man, was the one facing them in the prisoners’ cage!

Yet if there is merit in his ideas, it is through his experience in the day-to-day struggle and his identification with the working people as one of them. Malatesta had no illusions about the ” historic role of the masses”; he shared and understood their lives and reactions. But because he also understood how their oppressors “reasoned”, and how the “in-betweeners ” preached what they were too privileged, socially and materially, to practise, he expected more from the organised workers. Nevertheless he directed his propaganda to all men of good-will.

The texts in this anthology — from Gino Cerrito’s 1982 selection, Rivoluzione e lotta quotidiana — have never before been published in English, including in Vernon Richards’ ‘Malatesta. His Life and Ideas’ or, indeed, in David Turcato’s more recent anthology ‘The Complete Works of Malatesta’.

 

Malatesta (1970 Peter Lilienthal and Heathcote Williams) from Stuart Christie on Vimeo.