Anarchy 16

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Contents of No. 16

June 1962

The ethics of anarchism Bob Green 161
The bounds of possibility Kenneth Maddock 171
Anarchism and the African Maurice Goldman 179
Africans and anarchism Henry Dowa 183
The poetry of dissent Harold Drasdo 187
Cover and titles Rufus Segar  

Peter Kropotkin

THE STATE: Its Historic Rôle

The classic of anarchist thought begins with a description of the free societies, primitive and mediaeval, which existed before the development of centralised power in the modern era (or which, in the case of certain primitive societies in Kropotkin’s own day, even contrived to exist in a world for the most part dominated by increasingly centralised States). There follows a description of the way in which these free societies disintegrated under the impact of the rising power of authority in the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. And finally, analysing the way in which the State has developed since its origin, Kropotkin reaches the conclusion that, if it is allowed to expand unrestrictedly, it will mean social destruction and a new and more terrible Dark Age:

“Either the State will be destroyed and a new life will begin in thousands of centres, on the principle of an energetic initiative of the individual, of groups, and of free agreement, or else the State must crush individual and local life, it must become the master of all the domains of human activity, must bring with it war and international struggles for the possession of power, its surface revolutions which only change one tyrant for another, and inevitably, at the end of this evolution—death.”

This conclusion must have seemed far-fetched and apocalyptic in Kropotkin’s own day, but his warning has been amply fulfilled in a world of all-pervasive government and ever more destructive wars. The argument of this pamphlet is indeed at the heart of the present debates on the future of the campaign in many countries against nuclear weapons and was never more timely and relevant.

44 pages
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“Now that it has completed a year of publication one can say confidently that it is one of the most stimulating magazines now appearing in this country … In almost every single article Anarchy shows a passionate concern for the way in which individual human beings are prevented from developing, and at the same time there is a vision of the unfulfilled potentialities of every human being …”

Richard Boston in Peace News, 23 Feb., 1962.

“To evoke its tone and contents I can best say this. In my own writing about the social scene I have tried to discover, even guess at, realities behind our lives in the past decade, and if I have succeeded at all in this I’m bound to say I have little to help me in the ‘informal journals of opinion’. In fact, a prodigious gift for not seeing what’s really going on in England seems to me their most striking—and soothing—characteristic. To this intellectual-spiritual torpor Anarchy is an absolute exception, and you do not need to accept anarchist ideas at all to find more surprising, revealing information about our country than in any other journal that I know of. That Anarchy is relatively little read does not surprise or dismay me, though it may do its editorial board. For I have found through long and frustrating experience that the degree to which the ideas of any journal are realistic, and of ultimate power of germinal penetration into human minds, is in direct inverse relation to its circulation and apparent material success.”

Colin MacInnes in The Queen, 15 May, 1962.


Other issues of ANARCHY

  1. Sex-and-Violence; Galbraith; the New Wave, Education, Opportunity, Equality.
  2. Workers’ Control.
  3. What does anarchism mean today?; Africa; the Long Revolution; Exceptional Children.
  4. De-institutionalisation; Conflicting strains in anarchism.
  5. 1936: the Spanish Revolution.
  6. Anarchy and the Cinema.
  7. Adventure Playgrounds.
  8. Anarchists and Fabians; Action Anthropology; Eroding Capitalism; Orwell.
  9. Prison.
  10. Sillitoe’s Key to the Door; MacInnes on Crime; Augustus John’s Utopia; Committee of 100 and Industry.
  11. Paul Goodman; Neill on Education; the Character-Builders.
  12. Who are the anarchists?
  13. Direct Action.
  14. Disobedience.
  15. The work of David Wills.

The relevance of ANARCHISM

London New Left Club, Monday June 4th, 8 pm at The Partisan,
7 Carlisle Street, W1

Coming soon in ANARCHY

Maurine Blancke on Benevolent Bureaucracy
A symposium on comprehensive schools

Universities and ANARCHY

Anarchy can be obtained in termtime from:
Oxford: Martin Small, Trinity College
Cambridge: at University Labour Club meetings or from Tim Oxton, Trinity Hall.
Leicester: University Socialist Society Bookstall.
Keele: Peter Neville, Students’ Union.
Bristol: University CND Bookstall.
Birmingham: Anarchist Group Bookstall, Students’ Union.

Subscribe to ANARCHY

Single copies by post 1s. 9d. (30c.)
12 issues 20s. ($3).

and to FREEDOM

the anarchist weekly, which readers of ANARCHY will find indispensable. A year’s subscription to both journals is offered at 32s. ($5).

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