By Peter H. Marshall
Lively and authoritative, this examine of a extensively misunderstood topic skillfully navigates the tough waters of anarchistic concepts—from Taoism to Situationism, ranters to punk rockers, individualists to communists, and anarcho-syndicalists to anarcha-feminists. Exploring key anarchist rules of society and the country, freedom and equality, authority and tool, the list investigates the successes and screw ups of anarchist routine during the global. proposing a balanced and important survey, the precise record covers not just vintage anarchist thinkers—such as Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus, and Emma Goldman—but additionally different libertarian figures, comparable to Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault, and Chomsky. crucial interpreting for an individual wishing to appreciate what anarchists stand for and what they've got accomplished, this interesting account additionally comprises an epilogue that examines the newest advancements, together with postanarchism and anarcho-primitivism in addition to the anarchist contributions to the peace, eco-friendly, and worldwide justice events of the twenty first century.
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Additional resources for Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism : be realistic! Demand the impossible!
Although as a social movement it has developed a wide variety of strands from extreme individualism to communism, all anarchists share certain common concerns. They offer a critique of the existing order, a vision of a free society, and a way of moving from one to another. Above all, they reject all coercive forms of external authority in order to achieve the greatest degree of freedom and equality. In the process they illuminate many of the fundamental principles of moral and political philosophy.
On the other hand, both Proudhon and Kropotkin looked to contracts in the form of voluntary agreements to regulate affairs between people in an anarchist society without the State. But since such contracts are not legally enforceable and carry no sanctions, they are more like declarations of intent than binding contracts in the conventional sense. The only reason why people would keep them is the pragmatic one that if an individual habitually broke his contracts, he would soon find few people to enter into agreement with him.
Anarchists are not therefore immoralists asserting absolute freedom for themselves alone. They do not, like Dostoevsky's Underground Man, believe that it is right to assert one's independence whatever it may cost and wherever it may lead, or maintain that the greatest good is 'one's own Freedom and Equality 39 The anarchist stress on personal morality does not of course mean a commitment to past values. Kropotkin sees the value of age-old patterns of co-operation and mutual aid, but would like to combine them with a modem sense of individuality.