Anarchy 70/Anarchist anthologies
After the histories of anarchism come the anthologies. We have already had by George Woodcock, and by , which were reviewed in anarchy 28 and 46. Now we have The Anarchists (no connection) edited by Irving L. Horowitz, and Patterns of Anarchy edited by and Lewis Perry, which are reviewed together now.
Both books are American paperbacks edited by American academics. Horowitz is Associate Professor of Sociology atBoth books come from outside the anarchist movement. The Anarchists originated when , , and The Anarchists is published by Dell as Laurel Book 0131 (1964, 95c.). Krimerman is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at , , and Perry is Lecturer in History at , , and Patterns of Anarchy is published by Doubleday as Anchor Book A501 (1966, $1.95). , the left-wing American sociologist, planned “a reader on Anarchists, Criminals and Deviants” (shades of !). He later “came to consider anarchism as one of the three major pivots of , the other two being
Patterns of Anarchy originated when Krimerman and Perry “began to discuss, in deep ignorance, the likelihood that the anarchist position had not been given its due.” Well, it is probably better to have no ideas than wrong ideas. “Agreed on the likely value of anarchism, we were almost stymied by the paucity of available materials. Slowly the idea of an anthology took hold, as we continued to uncover interesting but neglected anarchist writings. Our amazement at the wealth of anarchist literature has been growing ever since.”
The Anarchists has 640 pages. It begins with a Preface and an Introduction and ends with a Postscript by the editor. The rest of the book is divided into two parts containing 35 passages.
“The Theory” is divided into three sections. “Anarchism as a Critique of Society” contains extracts from *; ’s pamphlet (1891)*; ’s book (1840); ’s book (1793); ’s essays “Science and the Urgent Revolutionary Task” (1870) and “The Programme of the International Revolutionary Alliance” (1871)*, both from ’s book (1953); Kropotkin’s book (1903)*; ’s article “ ” from his magazine (1886)* and his book (1893); and ’s essay “ ” from ’s book European Ideologies (1948).’s (1772)
“Anarchism as a Style of Life” contains extracts from Emma Goldman’s essays “ ” (1906)* and “ ”,* both from her magazine and her book (1910); and the letters of (1927), from the edition by Frankfurter and Jackson.“Anarchism as a System of Philosophy” contains extracts from ’s novel (1907); ’s novel (1864)*; ’s book (1886)*; ’s book (1951)*; ’s book (1845)*; ’s essay “ ” (1848)*; ’s book (1869); ’s book Man and the State (1926); ’s article “Anarchism in a Capitalist Society”, from the magazine (1962); and ’s article “In Defence
“The Practice” is divided into two sections. “The Historical Dimension” contains accounts of the anarchist movement in George Woodcock), and in Spain during the 1930s (by ), together with Alexander Berkman’s diary of the (1921).up to 1902 (by ), in Italy during the 1870s (by , in the United States during the 1880s (by ), in France, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States during the 1890s (by ), in Russia up to 1883 (by ), in America outside the United States and in northern Europe outside up to the 1930s (by
“The Sociological Dimension” contains extracts from Paul Goodman’s book Drawing the Line (1946); ’s book The Organisational Society (1962); ’s article “Revolution Sacred and Profane”, from the magazine Enquiry (1944); and ’s article “On the Revival of Anarchism”, from the magazine (1961).’s book (1906)*;
Patterns of Anarchy has 570 pages. It begins with a Foreword and ends with an essay called “Anarchism: The Method of Individualisation” by the editors. The rest of the book is divided into seven sections containing 63 passages.
“Defining Anarchism” contains extracts from George Woodcock’s pamphlet Railways and Society (1943)*; ’s book (1913); ’s (1954); and Paul Goodman’s “ ”, to on pornography and censorship from the magazine (1961).’s article “ ”, from the magazine (1958); ’s novel (1891); ’s article “ ”, from the magazine (1933);
“Criticising Socialism”—authoritarian socialism, that is—contains extracts from Emma Goldman’s book (1924); the anarchy Editorial “Moving with the Times . . . but Not in Step” from anarchy 3 (May 1961); and Paul Goodman’s book (1965).’s article “ ”, from his magazine (1886)* and his book (1893); ’s book (1900); ’s books (1867)* and The Knouto-Germanic Empire and the Social Revolution (1871)*, and some minor works of the same period from ’s book (1950);
“Philosophical Foundations” contains extracts from Kropotkin’s pamphlets (1887)*, (1891)*, and (1896)*.’s (1839)*; ’s book Slavery and Freedom (1944); ’s (1845)*; ’s (1793); ’ book (1852); and
“Constructive Anarchism” contains extracts from Alexander Berkman’s pamphlet (1929)*; ’s article “ ”, from the magazine (1938); ’s book (1938); ’s (1954); ’s book (1952); Paul Goodman’s People and Personnel (1965); and Colin Ward’s articles “Anarchism as a Theory of Organisation” and “Adventure Playground”, from anarchy 62 (April 1966) and anarchy 7 (September 1961).’s book (1846); ’s articles “ ”, from the (1849)*;
“The Anarchists on Education” contains extracts from Tony Gibson’s pamphlet Youth for Freedom (1951); ’s (1846); Paul Goodman’s book The Community of Scholars (1962); and ’s essays “ ” and “ ”*’s books Education through Art (1943) and Education for Peace (1949); ’s book (1908)*; ’s pamphlet (1911)*; ’s books (1797) and (1793);
“How Sound is Anarchism?”—consisting of passages attacking anarchism—contains extracts from’s book (1918)*; ’s book (1894)*; ’s pamphlet (1893); ’s (1874); two letters from to ’s magazine (1890)*, from Tucker’s ; ’s (1913); ’s (1918 and ); ’s attack on in (1846)*, as summarised in ’s book From Hegel to Marx (1962); and ’s book Godwin’s Moral Philosophy (1953).
General discussion of the books must unfortunately begin with general criticism. My first criticism is of their bibliographical and biographical apparatus. In both books—though The Anarchists is the worst offender—the notes about the sources of nearly half the passages are inadequate, and in too many cases they are inaccurate as well.
Patterns of Anarchy has many more and much shorter passages, and manages to give a much wider view of anarchist thought, but there is still some distortion. Why is there nothing written before 1793, when the first passage in the book traces the anarchist tradition back to, and when even Horowitz goes back to 1772? Why is there nothing from outside Europe and North America? Why are there three passages about religious anarchism, and none about antireligious anarchism? Why are there eight passages about authoritarian socialism, and eleven about education?
To begin with The Anarchists. Horowitz’s Preface is promising. He says that he speaks “not as an anarchist but as a social scientist.” He considers that “the anarchist tradition is a particularly fruitful and frightfully neglected source in the common human effort to overcome manipulation,” and he adds that his “sympathies for the anarchists shall not be disguised.” He agrees that anarchism is not what it was once, but “the collapse of anarchism as a social movement does not signify its annihilation as an intellectual force.” Anarchism may have failed, but “the anarchist does not live in terms of criteria of success, and neither should his views be judged in such terms,” for “we inhabit a world of dismal success and heroic failure.” He comments that “this sort of orientation may not qualify me as a bona fide anarchist, but it is my belief that at least it does not disqualify me from writing on and introducing the reader to the wealth of anarchist literature.” No indeed.
After this, his Introduction is disappointing. It is full of the sort of abstract generalisation that disfigures much modern sociological writing—and disfiguredThe Introduction also contains a “typology of anarchist strategies and beliefs,” which is unfortunately never heard of again. Horowitz distinguishes eight varieties of anarchism; utilitarian (mentioning ’s book as well. Because of this, the good things he has to say are obscured. , , , and , peasant mentioning , , , , and ), syndicalist (mentioning ), collectivist (mentioning Bakunin and Kropotkin),
Horowitz’s Postscript was published in anarchy 50, and readers will remember it as a useful survey of some of the problems of anarchism—the liberative potentiality of the state, the utopian, metaphysical, destructive and reactionary tendencies of anarchism, and the personal peculiarities of anarchists—but it really has no place in this book.
“The Theory” contains some of the basic texts of anarchism, but readers who are unfamiliar with the movement should have been told about the passages which are not really anarchist, or even anarchic, or else they might get a rather confused impression. The contributions by Diderot, Tolstoy, Goldman, and Stirner. ’s is a useful summary, and the letters of provide a tragic glimpse of living—and dying—anarchism. The extract from ’s forgotten is diligent but dull, and ’s is a repetition of what said much better during the —especially in (1917).What are inexplicable and inexcusable are the contributions by , and have all been found valuable by anarchists, but they are hardly as central as those by Malatesta, Proudhon, Godwin, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Tucker, , and . Conrad’s was drawn ostensibly from the of 1894, but it is actually a grotesque misrepresentation of the British or any other anarchist movement. Conrad himself said in the Preface that his original feeling about anarchism was of “the criminal futility of the whole thing, doctrine, action, mentality,” and of “the contemptible aspect of the half-crazy pose as of a brazen cheat exploiting the poignant miseries and passionate credulities of a mankind always so tragically eager for self-destruction.” Incidentally, it is worth remembering that the “Secret Agent” of the title is an unsuccessful agent provocateur who arranges the explosion to discredit the anarchists, and that the “Professor” of the extract given here is an unbalanced nihilist who gives explosives to anyone who asks—neither of them coming near Samuels, the mystery
“The Practice” contains far fewer useful passages. The historical section, as I said, is very uneven. George Woodcock’s need no introduction, since their general high quality has already been noted in anarchy. Nor does ’s Spanish Civil War, since its low quality has also been noted. Richard Hostetter’s Italian Socialist Movement and Samuel Yellen’s American Labour Struggles contain a great deal of information, so much indeed that it is easy to get confused. ’s article “ ” (originally published in the , and now incorporated in her book ) is another matter altogether, being full of sensational nonsense— is “the soothsayer of the movement” and Malatesta is “the firebrand of anarchism” (who—of course—escapes from “in a rowboat during a storm”, and—of course—is shot at “by an Italian fellow-anarchist of the extreme anti-organizzatori wing”**), and most of the passage describes the terrorist wave of the 1890s with a wealth of melodramatic detail.† Berkman’s diary is certainly outstanding material for the history of the , but by itself it gives a rather narrow view of a complex episode.The “sociological” section has little sociological about it. ’s and was hardly a social scientist; nor was he one of “the classical anarchists,” as Horowitz claims (he ought to know, too, since he has written a whole book on Sorel, called Radicalism and the Revolt against Reason). is always interesting to read, but for some reason the passage here is not the one in which Sorel deals with the myth of the general strike—his most important idea. Paul Goodman is much admired by many anarchists, but I must say I find his writing quite antipathetic, and the passage here quite absurd (to use one of his favourite words); but other readers may well think otherwise. is a real sociologist, and his seems to be similar to ’s better-known —not really anarchist, but certainly relevant to modern anarchism. rightly apologises for his , and it would really have been kinder to leave it out. ’s isn’t really about the revival of anarchism so much as the increasing attraction of libertarian ideas, with special reference to , and it is a weak ending for an anthology described
Turning to Patterns of Anarchy, Krimerman and Perry remark in the Foreword that “the peace movements, the civil rights struggles, the agitation of students for unshackled education have evinced vague feelings of affinity to anarchism,” and that disillusionment with Communism “has raised further interest in left-wing alternatives to Marxism.” Although most of the renewed interest in anarchism is not serious, they “are determined to take anarchism seriously,” for they “have become more and more amazed at how many perceptive social theorists have spoken in the anarchist tradition,” and they “have tried to restore anarchism to its rightful place as more than a rejection of politics, indeed as a rewarding full-scale theory of human conduct.”
There are a few detailed criticisms to make.Another very useful feature is the final section—“How Sound is Anarchism?”—but this is to some extent spoilt by the large claims made for it. Krimerman and Perry describe it as “far more than a sample of the serious efforts to evaluate the anarchist position,” and they even claim that, “with little exaggeration, we could offer them as the only efforts of this sort.” On the contrary, this is a huge exaggeration. Take for example the statement that there aren’t “anything approaching comprehensive critical works on such first-rank libertarian thinkers as Berdyaev, Bakunin, and the individualist anarchists.” Berdyaev was hardly a libertarian, or a first-rank thinker of any kind, but there are several books about him published just after the ’s is a weak opening for such an ambitious work, and Novak is hardly “one of the few scholars” to deal with the origins of anarchism, which is after all one of the commonest preoccupations of anarchist scholars, from Kropotkin onwards. It should have been explained that ’s of syndicalism is confused about more than just Proudhon’s relationship with anarchism and syndicalism, above all in giving far too much prominence to the writings of Sorel. It should also have been explained that , though an admirer of Proudhon’s economic ideas, later became an extreme reactionary newspaper editor, as well as ’s during the . . There are also several books about Bakunin, as well as important contemporary criticisms by and . There is a book about Max Stirner, as well as Marx’s attack in , which is after all given in this section—though in ’s words, “For
There is in fact a much larger body of criticism of anarchism than Krimerman and Perry realise. They give Marx’s attack on Stirner, but not his attack of Proudhon in(1847), though this is included in the bibliography. They give ’s , but not the earlier works by Marx ( ) and ( ), or the later works by ( ) and ( ). They give ’s modern of Godwin, but not ’s contemporary criticism in (1825). They don’t mention the chapters on Godwin, Proudhon and Bakunin in ’s (1946) and in ’s Politics and Opinion in the Nineteenth Century (1954). They don’t seem to be aware of the long list of 19th-century studies of anarchism mentioned in ’s (1900). They don’t mention the Epilogue of Woodcock’s Anarchism or the Conclusion of Joll’s The Anarchists. And they don’t even mention the Postscript of Horowitz’s The Anarchists.
Patterns of Anarchy is clearly a better book than The Anarchists, though the latter does quote more basic anarchist texts at length, and is of course much cheaper. The real trouble is that neither book is as good as it could and should have been. Horowitz has a great deal of ability, and Krimerman and Perry have done a great deal of work, but somehow they have all missed their opportunity, and there is still room for a really good anthology of anarchism. In ideal circumstances both books would be almost valueless, because even the best anthology is only a second-best in comparison with original material, and these are far from the best. But the circumstances are not ideal, and in fact both books are extremely valuable, because even the worst anthology is better than nothing—and apart from them, there is almost nothing of the original material of anarchist literature in print.This is indeed one of the most serious defects of the English-speaking anarchist movement today. Many important anarchist works have been written in, or translated into, English at one time or another, but very few are still obtainable. I wonder how many readers of anarchy have ever read any book by any major anarchist writer, and how many of those who have done so actually own one. It is possible to get hold of them, but it isn’t easy. and Godwin were reprinted in the United States and Canada during the , but were soon out of print again. The old translation of Stirner by was reprinted in the United States a few years ago, but it has aready gone. The old translations of Proudhon by Benjamin Tucker—and Tucker’s own Instead of a Book—have been out of print for years. Bakunin’s fragmentary output has long been obtainable only in digests, and Kropotkin’s enormous output only through a few pamphlets. Some of Tolstoy’s tracts are still in print, but mostly the religious rather than the political ones. Emma Goldman and Rudolf Rocker have virtually disappeared, and the same was true of Malatesta until Vernon Richards rescued him last year. Many more have com
In the present circumstances, then, we must be grateful for both books, and they are certainly good value for only a guinea or so. But we must also consider the dangers of these circumstances. We have a weekly and a monthly paper, a new pamphlet every year or so, occasional reprints of old pamphlets (Berkman and Malatesta being the most recent), and very occasional books (such as Richards’ and anarchy are best forgotten, but the good ones are forgotten too. We have had to wait for Patterns of Anarchy to see a few of the valuable articles disinterred, and this is the sort of work we should be doing ourselves; it is not enough to bind up back numbers or annual selections.). Apart from that, there are miscellaneous second-hand books and pamphlets in curculation, and occasional magazines appearing at irregular intervals. That’s about all, because that’s about all we can afford. The trouble is that there are not only old things which ought to be reprinted again, but also new things which ought to be printed or reprinted for the first time. It is important to remember the past, as these anthologies remind us, but not at the price of forgetting the future. In practice, what happens is that we are stuck in the present, running as fast as we can to stay in the same place, working so hard to fill up our papers and keep them going from week to week and from month to month, that we have no time or energy (or money) for anything else. Partly because of this, most of what is printed is disappointingly bad—most of the articles in
It is true that if we pay too much attention to literature we may neglect other important things—direct contact with appropriate people, for example, and direct action in appropriate places—and it is true that both these anthologies, like most literature, stress the theory of anarchism at the expense of the practice. But no one can say that we are all so active that we have no time to preserve the literature of the past or create the literature of the future. Literature is after all the main voice of a movement. These anthologies may be only a faint echo, but then our own efforts are hardly more than a whisper. If we don’t like what people write about us, the remedy is in our hands. Both the anthologies refer to and result from the recent revival of interest in anarchism. It is a pity that this revival has taken place almost in spite of, rather than because of, what we have said or done. It is time that we took advantage of it, and raised our voice again.
† ’s may have been a good book when it was published, nearly half a century ago, but it has been completely superseded by ’s —published in this country as Roots of Revolution (1960).