12th September (Wednesday); 13th September (Thursday); 14th September (Friday)
The Intellectuals 2
The Anarchists and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Federico Ferretti
The ninth, tenth and eleventh editions of the famous Encyclopaedia Britannica are commonly considered as the first ones which were mainly edited and contributed by scholars rather than divulgators, ecclesiastics and other professionals. Therefore, they corresponded to a step in the professionalisation of scholarly publishing in Britain. Amazingly, this also corresponded to the insertion of leading figures of the anarchist movement among the contributors. If the most famous of them was Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), author of 28 new entries for the ninth edition (1883-1888), 37 for the tenth (1902) and 23 for the eleventh (1910-1911) including the famous entry on ‘Anarchism’, the first one was Elie Reclus (1827-1904), brother of the better known Elisée, who published two entries on ‘Ethnography and Ethnology’ and ‘The Fire’ between 1878 and 1879. Reclus was then living in London, where he was an active member of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and was preparing his studies on first peoples which would challenge the idea of racial and ethnic superiority, participating in the collective construction of the theory of mutual aid, later popularised by Kropotkin. Drawing upon Reclus’s and Kropotkin’s original texts and on Kropotkin’s unpublished correspondence with his Britannica editors William Robertson-Smith, John Black, John Scott Keltie and Hugh Chisholm, I argue that this collaboration was a substantial part of the bargains that early anarchist geographers did with the mainstream publishing industry in Britain and in France at that time, to multiply their publics and to enhance the dissemination of their scholarly ideas, a task which they considered as indissolubility linked with their activism.
Aesthetic Introspection against Authority: Nietzsche’s Will to Power Dominique Miething
When the First World War broke out, public opinion, particularly in English-speaking countries, turned against Friedrich Nietzsche. His philosophy fell into ill repute as the ideology of German military aggression in Europe. Only a small minority objected to this view, among them anarchists who developed a more nuanced approach to Nietzsche’s thought. Not only did they defend the philosopher against such accusations, they laid claim to anti-authoritarian and even pacifist readings of the infamous “will to power.” Interpreting the motif as an aesthetic strategy of self-restraint, these dissidents encouraged individuals to refuse conscription and withdraw their participation from the oppressive political structures of State power.
History of Anarchist Thought
‘Bastards of all nations’: Anarcho-Nationalism and Internationalism during the Spanish Civil War and Revolution, 1936-1939 Morris Brodie
During the Spanish Civil War, anarchists from different countries viewed Spain as a symbol of internationalist class struggle. Yet, despite the perceived internationalism of the Spanish Civil War, the nature of the conflict was frequently couched – even by anarchists – in explicitly national terms. The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) gradually adopted a nationalistic, arguably racist, discourse that corrupted their interpretation of the war. This put them at odds with many in the international anarchist movement, who criticised the ‘national chauvinism’ of their Spanish comrades, very nearly splitting the whole anarchist movement. The Italian-American anarchist newspaper L’Adunata dei Refrattari, in its obituary to Michele Centrone, who had recently been killed while serving in the Ascaso Column in Spain, said he and anarchists like him were ‘the bastard[s] of all nations’, who ‘would have felt offended by those who said that they had gone to fight and die for the splendour of the patria [mother country]’. When transnational solidarity was pursued, however, as through the work of the anarchist-inspired aid organisation Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista (SIA), it was wholehearted and meaningful. This paper will investigate the contradictions of trying to adhere to an internationalist view of the world in an age of nationalism through an analysis of the CNT-FAI and the international anarchist movement. Generally, in the battle between nationalism and internationalism in the 1930s, the latter suffered the most telling blows. The work of the international anarchist movement to counteract this tendency provides important lessons for future activists.
“Comrade Krishnamurtiî: Brazilian Anarchist Press and Krishnamurtiís trip to Brazil in 1935 Gilson Leandro Queluz
This work intends to analyze the repercussions of the Brazilian anarchist press on Jiddu Krishnamurtiís trip to Brazil in 1935. Between April and June 1935, Krishnamurti gave a total of 7 lectures in the cities of S„o Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and NiterÛi, with themes such as ìThe Pursuit of Safety and Happinessî, ìIndividualî, ìMoralî, ìTrue Actionî, and ìOn living fullyî. His activities were widely reported in the national press, including the libertarian press. For example, the traditional anarchist magazine ìA Plebeî [The Plebs] published several articles about Krishnamurti in 1935, among which were an article with general presentation of his ideas, called ìComrade Krishnamurtiî, a commentary on a lecture by G. Soler that sought to establish approximations between the thought of the Indian philosopher and that of Bakunin, and another text written by Martins Garcia, which analyzed the emancipatory potential through Krishnamurtiís point of view that spirit and matter are one universal substance. We will try to demonstrate that the anarchist interpretation of Krishnamurtiís thought emphasizes libertarian themes par excellence, such as the denouncement of class and caste privileges, the fight against patriotic prejudice, the exaltation of free thought and the criticism of the hierarchical structures of society, such as family and institutionalized religions. This interpretation is imbedded in a poignant tradition of laborersí internationalism and of dialogue with non-conformist spiritualist currents.
Body and knowledge
The co-construction of the free woman/man: the free sexual morality and anarchist neo- Malthusianism in early 20th century Spain Mònica Alcalá-Lorente, Jorge Molero-Mesa, Isabel Jiménez-Lucena
In a socio-political context of “peace through strength” previous to World War I, the struggle for hegemony imbued every social space, also the body, the private and the everyday life. Within this atmosphere, anarchist neo-Malthusianism emerged in Spain stating for an alternative sexuality released from hegemonic bourgeois and catholic morality, conceiving a sexual behaviour based on free love and self-management of reproduction, and ultimately presented as the most effective working-class’ weapon for the class struggle: to stop producing new labourers for the purposes of the capitalist system. Focused on conscious maternity, neo-Malthusian propaganda stood up for the emancipation of women through the achievement of what they called ‘rational’ sexual behaviour, basically encouraging the use of contraception strategies. In this sense, neo-Malthusians generated an anarcho-libertarian biopolitics managed by and for the working classes themselves, which constituted an attempt to (de)stabilize hegemonic sexual policies. By the study of several pamphlets of Colección Biblioteca de Amor y Maternidad Libre (Free Love and Maternity Library Collection) devoted to women, and its relation with the articles published in the main journal Salud y Fuerza (Health and Strength) (1904-1914), mostly written by men, we discuss whether the discourses about women emancipation through rational sexuality and maternity, and the neo-Malthusian practices associated, did effectively supposed an empowerment for working women. On the other hand, and assuming the construction of gender identities woman/man as a dialogical process, we analyze how this new femininity affected the definition of the masculine. Did men commited to neo-Malthusianism need to disempower themselves? Was the neo-Malthusian man the archetype of the “new masculinity” at that time?
Science, Race and Nation in the Iberian Anarchism (1890-1914) Juan Cristóbal Marinello Bonnefoy
During the last decades, studies on anarchism have acquired a transnational perspective that allowed to overcome some of the main limitations of methodological nationalism. The success of this approach was linked to the perception that transnational history was a particularly suitable terrain for understanding the anarchist movement, considering its nomadic and cosmopolitan character. However, the first balances on these studies have emphasized that, despite their contributions, it is necessary to reconsider the strength of national identities in the anarchist world. In this perspective, our paper focuses on the conceptions of the Spanish and Portuguese anarchist movement regarding the nation between the late Nineteenth and the outbreak of the First World War. Our intention is to transcend the traditional opposition between class and nation, observing this issue through the prism of science. Anarchism maintained a keen interest in scientific theories, including the racial and biological aspects that characterized views on the nation during this period. The research is based on the anarchist press, considering its relevance in creating anarchist networks beyond borders. Besides, the anarchist press became a channel for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, particularly relevant in the European peripheries. In these countries, the weak scientific institutionalization throughout the nineteenth century meant that the separation between experts and lays was less strict, leaving a communicative space open to different actors.
Coloniality and Race
Decolonizing anarchy: incorporating alterity by subsuming anarchists authority Caio Lobato
We must decolonize the concept of anarchy from its Anarchists’ intellectual colonization. Anarchism is broadly conceived as a movement originating in the European socialist struggle of the 19th century, in a specific context of resistance against State and Capitalism. To incorporate a critique of colonialism, it is necessary to overcome the presuppositions that underlie colonial thinking: western exceptionalism. To take seriously the idea of decolonizing Anarchism we must firstly deny us, Anarchists, any exceptionalism, or any privileged epistemological position in framing the understanding of oppression and in creating resistance. Secondly, we must think of anarchy beyond the aforementioned historic context and rearticulate Anarchism’s relation to diverse peoples by acknowledging them as capable of producing sound theories and effective practices of resistance against exploitation and oppression. To move libertarian practice-theory into a broader context we must produce comparative expansive descriptions of the concept of anarchy by translating other peoples’ modes of resistance against the state-form, either as an organised exterior being, or as a virtual interiority of social authoritarian tendencies. We must subsume Anarchists’ revolutionary authority – the epistemological authority to determine what is anarchy and revolution – and move towards an anarchy as alterity – an open concept of resistance, an otherness ‘unsubsumable’ by any transcendent point of view. Drawing on the recent ontological turn in Anthropology, I intend to reconceptualise the relation between Anarchism and anarchy by expanding the concept anarchy as widespread yet always a different cosmopolitical experience, and framing Anarchism as just one particular actualization of it.
“All Oppressions Matter” – Anarchism and the Afterthought that is Race Lucas Van Milders
Through its orientation to disrupt all forms of oppression, anarchism has always presented itself to be both a theoretical as well as an historical ally to decolonial and anti-imperial struggles. Indeed, the vanguardism of late 19th century European insurrectionist anarchism and the so-called propaganda of the deed were unimaginable outside a global network of ideological cross-fertilisation with anti-imperial struggles at the time (Anderson 2013). Conceptually too, in its contemporary form, anarchism has emerged as a critique of all forms of oppression and hierarchy (Bookchin 1982). However, this moral resistance against all forms of oppression should not cause one to forget that “anarchism has always had a hard time dealing with race” (Olson 2009: 35) as the latter is often added as an afterthought to the Eurocentric focus on class. This paper will therefore argue that contemporary anarchism’s critique of all forms of oppression is informed by a “lazy intersectional argument” (Ciccariello-Maher 2011: 22) that fails to distinguish the ontological oppression that is white supremacy. By treating the category of race as an afterthought that is grafted into anarchism’s fetishisation of anti-capitalism and anti-statism, contemporary anarchist theory is at risk of reproducing the obfuscation of white supremacy in mainstream liberal and capitalist discourses. The argument will therefore emphasise that anarchist theory is in urgent need of re-centralising race through a decolonial turn – also referred to as “the highest form of anarchism” (Ramnath 2011: 15) – that abandons a nominal and sterile critique of all forms of oppression in favour of pathways that move beyond Europe.
Madness, race, psychiatry and colonialism from 1800 to today. A critical review and an Anarchist perspective Gabriel Cammarata
This work focuses on an emerging topic, not explored and researched enough in depth, concerning the use of Psychiatry from 1800 onwards in European colonialism, which has played a significant coercive role and continues to play a part even today within some humanitarian practices around the world and within European mental health institutions allegedly in support of migrants and asylum seekers. This essay first explores the political role of Psychiatry on a general level as well as that of Anti-psychiatry and democratic psychiatry. Different theories of mental health, both mainstream and critical-revolutionary, are discussed (including Freud, Foucalt, Basaglia, Fanon, Ignacio Martín-Baró, David Smail), with the aim of explaining how mainstream Psychiatry and also Psychology have been used as coercive tools of European and Western Colonialism to subjugate people around the world focusing on Africa, India and Latin America. It is also discussed how the use of mainstream Psychiatry and Psychology has potentially prevented social changes and used Westerner and European mental health diagnosis as ways to mystify race and gender differences and in some cases allowed ferocity and human right violations. Possible alternatives to the colonisation of mainstream psychiatry and psychology and the abuse of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) are presented (including Ethno-Psychiatry and Critical Clinical and Community Psychology) from a Social-Libertarian perspective.
Understanding Hybridity Benjamin Franks
All ideologies evolve. They are influenced by locality and respond to opportunities, external threats and internal difficulties. Anarchism is particularly noted for its diverse ideological structures and manifold organisational forms, yet one response has been to develop an anarchism ‘without adjectives’, to find a minimum that unites or unifies all anarchisms. This paper will argue that this approach is unlikely to succeed. Instead this paper will explain why hybridity is a necessary feature of anarchism. In doing so it will trace some of the account of hybridity from disciplines such as cultural studies, political science and ethnic studies, to develop a practical account of ideological hybridity informed by Michael Freeden’s conceptual approach to ideology. Utilising this adapted approach it will help to assess the strengths and weaknesses of generating multiple hybrids and explore how understanding hybrid ideological movements might help develop effective collaborations.
Bookchin’s Exemplary Hybridity: From Social Ecology to Libertarian Municipalism Leonard Williams
Murray Bookchin’s project combined philosophical with political concerns, blended the articulation of comprehensive social theory with vigorous engagement in polemical debates. Coming to notoriety with the publication of Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Bookchin has long been a central, if paradoxical, figure in the anarchist pantheon. Often hailed as the most significant anarchist theorist of the twentieth century, he was criticized for being a statist masquerading as an anarchist—albeit one who later abandoned that identity. Nevertheless, Bookchin was one of the first social thinkers to link environmental and political concerns. His approach to anarchism emphasized not only this respect for the environment and support for various aspects of radicalism, but it also rested on a conception of politics as deliberative self-governance. In this paper, I seek to trace and explain the trajectory of Bookchin’s political orientations. I argue that his hybrid (if not eclectic) versions of radical theory can be understood by drawing upon two approaches to thinking about ideology—Michael Freeden’s conceptual morphology and Ernesto Laclau’s discourse theory. The analysis reveals that Bookchin’s approach to anarchist and radical politics bears all the markings of hybridity. His concerns ranged far and wide—from history to political practice, from ecology to direct democracy, from activism to theory. In his work, Bookchin always seemed to be searching for the revolutionary possibilities lurking within each social and political moment. Historicizing the existing order, and then searching for a flicker of hope, Bookchin sought the utopian potential in what people were doing—even as he ruthlessly critiqued their efforts.
Anarcho-Syndicalism Anthony Zurbrugg
If one asks this question: is the area of common agreement among various sorts of anarcho-syndicalists greater than the area of common agreement among anarchists? I guess one has to say no. For example, after 1931, within the CNT and the FAI and other anarchist groups consensus was less substantial in either than the disagreements in both. Over time different directions were chosen, and these were not so much confined among those whose primary identity was specific/political or syndicalist, on the one side or the other, rather these differences were to be found in both ‘sides’. Put another way, what divisions there were within and around the CNT in the 1930s and the CNT/CGT in the post-Franco era can be best understood not as a function certain anarcho-syndicalisms, or anarcho-syndicalism in general being more coherent as against certain anarchisms, or anarchism in general, but rather because within various streams of anarchism there were different strategies. To conclude, if the idea is to consider what in anarcho-syndicalism was unique drawing in elements from syndicalisms and anarchisms and constructing something new and greater, that idea, is in my view flawed.
Rooted & Radical: Making the Case for Eco-Syndicalism as a Successful Anarchist Hybrid Dion Dobrzynski
Eco-syndicalism provides a sophisticated political alternative to 21st century global capitalism which carries out the entwined exploitation of the environment and the working-class. Critics, such as Murray Bookchin, contend that ecologist principles are simply attached as floating concepts to a narrowly economist ideology, making eco-syndcalism a ‘minor variant of a dominant parent’ hybrid (Franks 2016, p.9). I argue that, rather than being narrowly economist, eco-syndicalism forms a stable and mutually extensive ‘joint attribute’ (p.9) hybrid rooted in core political concepts and praxis found in both parents. Eco-syndicalism widens the sphere of concern for traditional anarcho-syndicalism to a biocentric sense of community. While eco-syndicalism contextualises environmental issues by recognising their entanglements in class struggle, so as to mobilise those most affected by – and most marginalised from – conventional environmental politics.
Anarchist Hybrids 2
Anarchism without Adjectives Nathan Jun
The distinct but related concepts of “anarchism without adjectives” and anarchist synthesis emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in response to counterproductive and harmful sectarianism in the anarchist movement. Although both were marshaled in an attempt to foster ideological cohesion and minimize (if not altogether overcome) sectarian differences by identifying the common threads that holds otherwise diverse strands of anarchism together, they nonetheless carried very different implications. Proponents of the former generally maintained that differences among anarchists had more to do with disputes over strategy and tactics than disagreements about basic ideological commitments. Proponents of the latter, in contrast, attempted to forge a higher order consensus among strands of anarchism based on fundamentally different ideological foundations. In this presentation, I argue that both concepts serve to undermine the coherence of anarchism by diluting its conceptual core. As an alternative, I propose a way of thinking about anarchism that accommodates internal diversity within anarchism while simultaneously preserving its unifying content.
Anarcho-Punk and Punk Anarchism Jim Donaghey
Anarcho-punk and punk-anarchism have been hugely influential in the development of anarchism over the last forty years. What started as a particular sub-strain of punk in a small corner of an Essex forest in the late 1970s has spread, developed, and had a profound impact in terms of aesthetics and politics, and revitalised a moribund anarchist milieu which has subsequently shaped the core organising principles of social movements all over the world. This paper will explore the particular (though diverse) aesthetics and political expressions at the intersection of punk and anarchism, from Crass and their anarcho-punk ilk, via hardcore, crust, grindcore, riot folk (and all the rest), up to contemporary anarchist-inspired punk bands, and ‘punk-anarchist’ activist groups. The relationship between punk and anarchism speaks to the wider relationship between politics and culture. To some extent, ‘punk-anarchism’ can be viewed as a hybrid of anarchist political philosophy and a range of culturally focussed radical political influences, including the ‘60s counter-culture, the Situationists, and the DIY sensibilities of the garage rock scene. But, ‘punk-anarchism’ has been shaped as much by its negative reactions to anarchism, as by its engagements with it. More often than not, ‘punk-anarchism’ developed with little reference to (or knowledge of) the existing anarchist canon, and ‘punk-anarchists’ are iconoclastically critical of the ‘old-guard’ of the anarchist movement – and this antagonism is frequently reciprocated. If ‘punk-anarchism’ can be described as an anarchist hybrid, it is a complex and conflicted example.
Anarchism and Nonviolent Civil Resistance: A Constructive Dialogue Iain Atack
Nonviolent forms of civil resistance have become increasingly visible as effective challenges to undemocratic or oppressive regimes over the last century or so. Prominent instances in which nonviolent civil resistance has played an important role in an anti-colonial context include campaigns led by Gandhi in India, struggles against the apartheid regime in South Africa and the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, as well as on-going unarmed resistance to Israeli settler-colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Anarchism and nonviolent civil resistance share significant features in terms of methodologies of resistance. These include an emphasis on direct action as distinct from constitutional politics, a suspicion or rejection of the militarised state, a constructive programme for building alternative forms of social and political organisation, and a role for “prefigurative politics” as part of that process of social reconstruction. Both traditions have much that they can learn from each other and can benefit from a closer examination of where they complement as well as differ from each other. Nonviolent political action utilises a particular analysis of social power to help explain the effectiveness of civil resistance against even highly oppressive and repressive regimes, for example. Anarchism incorporates a useful critique of state violence and other forms of domination, as well as a vision of society based on equality, freedom and human dignity that provides a useful corrective to an exclusively pragmatic view of nonviolence as a set of political tactics or techniques. This paper will examine some of these points of comparison by means of a constructive dialogue between anarchism and nonviolent civil resistance.
The Anarchist Studies Network and Workplace Organising
This is an open session on the future priorities of the Anarchist Studies Network. The ASN was established in late 2005 with the aim of promoting anarchism as an intellectual framework through which to conduct academic research, and to promote the study of anarchism in the UK academy. In many respects, this aim has been met, with regular conferences, a university press monograph series, regular special issues and journal articles, all the product of the establishment of a professional network offering mutual aid and support. But, having established anarchism as a viable pedagogical framework, and an intellectual/ideological stance, as well as a professional career choice for scholars, scholar-activists and others, the remaining question is how should those with an anarchist(ic) politics position themselves within the academy, understood as an institution and workplace that localises intersecting oppressions, and sustains other regimes of domination in society at large? Does the ASN have a role to play in workplace struggles, either within or alongside the University and Colleges Union (UCU), or in conjunction with more radical unions, such as the education workers group within the IWW? How should anarchademics relate to student movements and politics, and to national-level education policy? Likewise, should the ASN have more formal ties with groups such as Libertarian Education, or the Anarchist Research Group? In this open session we will discuss these and other issues.