ANARCHIST HISTORY AND THOUGHT
- Political Studies 155
- Office Hours
- Contact Professor Ward by email for individual appointments
The roots of this course are entangled with the roots of the World Wide Web. Although the internet component receives little emphasis this semester, an important resource for the course is Anarchy Archives, the most comprehensive and oft-visited anarchist site on the internet. Conceived in 1995 as the World Wide Web was just starting to inflitrate into our lives, this course was designed following a "content based approach to internet literacy." The idea was to simultaneously develop internet skills and an understanding of the history and theory of anarchism by creating digitized versions of anarchist writings. As a result, the great bulk of materials found in Anarchy Archives is the product of students at the Claremont Colleges. Today, most students no longer require basic internet training, so the emphasis has shifted to the history and theory of anarchism, using Anarchy Archives as the princple source of reading material.
Although unintended and despite attempts to reign it in, the internet is the quintessential example of a large scale anarchist organization. There is no hierarchical authority controlling the internet, the subunits participate voluntarily, information flows freely, individuals join and exit associations at will. Since the internet also contains abundant information about anarchism, it is the perfect medium for a course on the political history and theory of anarchism.
Class sessions will consist of lectures, films, field trips and discussions.
Traditionally, teachers control students' behavior by establishing a hierarchy based on the power to grade. The result is that most students pursue grades rather than knowledge. Anarchists have approached education in an entirely different manner. Anarchists believe that in all spheres, including education, "more harm than good results from coercion, top-down direction, central authority...pre-ordained standardization..., etc." (Goodman, 1987, "The Anarchist Principle", in A Decade of Anarchy, ed. Colin Ward, p. 38. Also see Godwin, Political Justice, Book IV, Chapter 5, appendix.) Anarchists still recognize the value of leadership and expertise, but leadership and expertise must be separated from the exercise of power in order to avoid the deleterious and corrosive effects of coercion. Accordingly, in this course, my evaluations will not result in a grade. As elaborated upon below, students will be responsible for grading, and my evaluation of your work will be for the purpose of edification, with one caveat. Given that this is but one of several courses you are taking, the tendency will be to let this course slide in order to meet the onerous graded assignments in other courses. Consequently, to insure that you do not waste your fellow students' time, or mine, before the three assignments discussed below are submitted to your peers for grading, I will certify that adequate work has been done, that major errors have been corrected, and that the subject fits within the scope of the course. The caveat, then, is before your work is graded by your peers, it must pass my most basic standards which include 1) sufficient reading in the area of the work's focus, 2) sufficient effort to construct an analytic framework and argument, and that 3) the subject is within the scope of anarchist history and thought and that you have attended classes as agreed to by enrolling in the course. Failure to meet my minimal standards will result in an F for the assignment.
The practice of anarchy requires order and moral integrity. Although adherence to anarchism is by no means a requirement of the course, order and integrity are necessary values to maintain if the course is to be a success. To meet these requirements, by voluntarily enrolling in this course, you have agreed to attend class sessions, do the weekly reading for the course on a regular basis and on time, and produce three works on the history and theory of anarchism, one due February 26, one on April 2, and the final work is due the last day of class, May 2. Since I must certify that the work is ready to be graded, the material must be submitted to me 10 days before it is due for review by your peers. Therefore, I will need you work by Feb 14, Mar 21 and Apr 23. There are distinct topics for each of the assignments. The first paper must focus on an aspect of anarchist theory or the thought of a particular anarchist. The second paper must be on some aspect of anarchist history in a particular city, e.g. Paris, Barcelona, London, Buenos Aires, NYC, or Chicago (other cities are possible but check with me first). The third assignment will be a collective class project upon which all members of the class will work. The topic of that collective project will be anarchism in Los Angeles and the end product will be a section in Anarchy Archives documenting the history of anarchism in our region. Throughout the semester we will be working with Matt Hart who leads a tour of anarchist sites in L.A. and who is involved with the Anarchist Black Cross, the IWW, and other anarchist groups in the area. He will be the expert source for the collective project. Matt also will lead two class tours of the Jewish, Italian, and Mexican-American anarchist neighborhoods in downtown Los Angeles as well as various anarchist landmarks, the first on Jan 27 and the second on Feb 24. We will take public transportation downtown and everyone is required to go on at least one of the tours.
By eliminating traditional grading from the internal structure of the course I hope to create the possibility of a truly collective learning experience. Hopefully, this will create an environment in which we participate in the class activities for the intrinsic pleasure of learning, not the fear of a plummeting GPA. While traditional grading has been eliminated, work has not. Perhaps by removing the drudgery of grades, room can be made to experience the joy of productive work. The class is designed in such a way that we will all be able to make real contributions to others' potential for learning, at the same time that we learn ourselves. How much we each learn will depend upon how much effort we each put into the course. The basic activities of the course are elaborated upon below.
There are three books not on the internet which you will read during the semester and should be purchased:
- Marshall, Peter. Demanding the Impossible: A History of
- Anarchism. London: Fontana Press.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame:
- The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism. Oakland: AK Press.
- Cornell, Andrew. Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the 20th Century.
- Berkeley: University of California Press.
Mere assimilation of material, without an attempt to analyze, synthesize, and recapitulate the material, is mere intellectual wheel spinning. It takes you nowhere. That is why you are expected to try to put together an intellectual product dealing with the assigned topics in the history and theory of anarchism. You will be expected to consult with me about the projects regularly throughout the semester. I will provide as much feedback and evaluation of the projects as I possibly can to make your project a success. Peer groups of no less than three and no more than five members will be formed for each of the first two projects based on some affinity for the topics chosen and these groups will provide the feedback and grade for your work. What form this work takes is up to you. It may be a written article or any other form of reproducible intellectual communication. Each project will constitute one third of your final grade. For the final project due the last day of class, peer evaluations and grades will be due during the period scheduled for the final exam (there is no final in the course).
Movies will also be included as part of the course on a voluntary basis. Over the course of the semester I will screen various anarchist films at my home to which you will be invited, and most will be available for private viewing as well. A few films will be shown during class sessions.
The required readings are listed below in Blue type.
- Jan 17: Orientation
- Jan 22: Marshall, P., Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, pp. ix-xv, 3-50.
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 1-52.
- Jan 24: Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 5-27.
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 53-110.
- Jan 29: Marshall, P., Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, pp. 191-219.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 33-73.
- Jan 31: Godwin, Political Justice, Book III, Chapter 6, "Of Obedience.
- Godwin, Political Justice, Book VIII, Chapter 1, "Of Property",
Godwin, Political Justice, Book VIII, Chapter 2, Principles of Property.
- Feb 5: Marshall, P., Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, pp. 234-262.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 83-114.
- Feb 7: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What Is Property?, Chapter 2
- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1847). The Philosophy of Poverty.
Chapter II. Of Value.
- Feb 12: Marshall, P., pp. 263-308.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 123-144.
- Feb 14: Bakunin, M., The Immorality of the State
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 149-171.
- Feb 19: Rocker, R. "The Forerunners of Syndicalism", chapter 3 of Anarcho-Syndicalism.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 181-204.
- Feb 21: Kropotkin, P., "The Commune of Paris."
- Edwards, S., The Communards of Paris, 1871, "Introduction," pp. 9-42 (on Sakai Resources)
- Feb 26: Marshall, P., pp. 309-338, 339-344.
- Recus, An Anarchist on Anarchy
- Reclus, Evolution and Revolution.
- Reclus, On Vegetarianism.
- Feb 28: Kropotkin,
Law and Authority
- Mutual Aid, Introduction
- Mar 5: Marshall, P., pp. 220-233, 345-361, 362-383, 410-421.
- Stirner, The Worker and the Government
- Malatesta, "Anarchism and Organization" (1897)
- Malatesta, Syndicalism and Anarchism
- Tolstoy, On Anarchy
- Most, Johann (1884) "When Is The People "Ready" For Freedom?"
|THE IMPACT OF NINETEENTH CENTURY ANARCHISM
- Mar 7: Kropotkin, P., "Anarchism", from the 1910 Encyclopaedia Britannica.
- "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." San Francisco: Free Society, 1898.
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 111-144.
- Mar 19: Marshall, P., pp. 181-188, 384-395, 496-503.
- "Haymarket Martyrs--Origin of International Workers Day". Watch the 3 part series on YouTube.
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 147-182.
- Mar 21: Marshall, P., pp. 396-409.
- Emma Goldman, Anarchism: What It Really Stands For, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911).
- Emma Goldman, Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911).
|EMMA GOLDMAN'S PHILOSOPHY
- Mar 26: Emma Goldman, Marriage and Love, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911), pp. 233-245.
- Emma Goldman, The Psychology of Political Violence, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911).
- Emma Goldman, THE TRAGEDY OF WOMAN'S EMANCIPATION, in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911).
- Mar 28: Marshall, P., pp. 469-478.
- Makhno, Nestor, The Struggle Against the State and Other Essays (read as much as you can).
|EUROPEAN & AMERICAN ANARCHISM
- Apr 2: Marshall, P., pp. 431-452, 479-495.
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 183-239.
- Apr 4: Marshall, P., pp. 505-518, 519-535.
- Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 271-291.
- Apr 9: Marshall, P., pp. 453-468.
- Gaston Leval, Collectives in Spain. (To explore the topic further, see Leval's full book: Collectives in the Spanish Revolution
- Apr 11: Christie, Stuart, A Study of the Revolution in Spain, 1936-1937, Chapters 1-4.
- Apr 16: Dirlik, A. "The Anarchist Alternative in Chinese Socialism",
- in Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution, pp. 197-247 (on sakai).
THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE:
New Strains of Anarchism
- Apr 18: Marshall, P., pp. 539-558, 587-601
- Cornell, Andrew, Unruly Equality, pp. 240-300.
- (Optional) Jensen, Derrick. Endgame. Volume II: Resistance, pp. 673-737. (on sakai.)
THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE:
The Modern Anarchist Underground
- Apr 23: Marshall, P., pp. 602-622.
Corr, Anders, No Trespassing! Squatting, Rent Strikes, and Land Struggles Worldwide, pp. 17-37, 117-144. (on sakai.)
- Apr 25: Marshall, P., pp. 625-665.
- Day, Richard J. F. Gramsci, Is Dead: anarchist currents in the newest social movements, pg. 1-45 (on sakai).
THE CONTINUING CHALLENGE:
Social vs. Lifestyle anarchism,
Anarchism vs. Primitivism
- Apr 30: Marshall, P., pp. 670-705.
- Bey, Hakim. T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism, pp. 60-70, 95-132, 145-147. (on sakai.)
Bookchin, Murray, Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, pp. 4-66.
- May 2: Schmidt, Michael and Lucien van der Walt. Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, pp. 297-335.