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(en) Canada, Cause Commune #34 - Mapping of revolutionary anarchism (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sat, 23 Mar 2013 11:41:22 +0200

"History is not neutral. At school, we believe that we have need of employers and governments. We are told that history is the story of struggles between governments, between armies, among elites. We are told that it is the rich and powerful who make history, but we are not told is that there have always been ordinary people to fight against the bosses and leaders, and that class struggle is the real engine of civilization and progress." ---- Michael Schmidt ---- Mapping with revolutionary anarchism, published by LUX last May, Michael Schmidt contributes to rehabilitate the historical impact of anarchist movements. The advantage of this valuable - and too short - publication is threefold. ---- Mass movements at the international level ----

She goes first anarchist history ruts in which several - some anarchists! - The sink: especially those of a European movement which would have major deployment Spanish episode of 1936-1939. Michael Schmidt brilliantly deconstructs the myth convenient flying into five waves (see below) the rich history of anarchist movements internationally.

Unions anarchist gathering dozens - sometimes hundreds - of thousands of people have been the main drivers of social change in many regions of the world: Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, South Africa and the Philippines. Their presence is also felt in North Africa, South Africa and Southeast Asia. From 1868 to 2012, Schmidt made the recension not exhaustive - glossary available - nearly 200 organizations revolutionary anarchists in one hundred countries and regions. The golden age of anarchism is located between 1880 and 1920, although some regions - especially Asia - have experienced their most important activity in the 1920s and 1930s.

Anarchism was so much more than a matter of bearded European revolutionaries, but a set of tools and living practices put forward by "ordinary" people. And these people, when confronted with repression and challenges of their time, offered a variety of responses and contextualized that Schmidt takes the time to look. End of each chapter and concluded by articulating responses roughly around the same "complex issue that lies at the heart of any social revolution that has given so much of trouble to all the revolutionary left that relationship between a revolutionary organization and all the exploited and oppressed-es-es. "

Principles: a clear and consistent definition of anarchism

A second advantage of the book is that it provides a more stringent definition - and in my opinion more consistent - anarchism. In the first pages of his book, Schmidt identifies what he calls the "great anarchist tradition" through principles. He dismisses this step a few thinkers who have influenced anarchist movements, but some dimensions of thought exclude family anarchist. For various reasons, Proudhon, Marx, Stirner, and Tolstoy are thus part of the lot!

Strategies: trade unionism as the preferred means of anarchists

Within this family anarchist he charted Schmidt are two strategic approaches: insurrectionary anarchism anarchism and mass. If the first postulates that reforms are illusory and emphasizes armed action, the second considers the social movements and unions can create a revolutionary change, and focuses on daily gains. Each strategic approaches has its strengths and limitations, but Schmidt emphasizes the second cover. He then stressed that revolutionary syndicalism - not one large central Quebec complacent - has Constitute the main driver of anarchism.

Of course it would have been interesting to have a history of anarchism a little more generous. Mapping of revolutionary anarchism is also, in many respects, a substitute Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, a more comprehensive book published in 2009. But until we have a complete translation of this book, we must welcome this publication in French!


Set of historical landmarks indicating the ups and downs of the anarchist movement.

First wave (1868-1894): The rise of the great anarchist movement in the era of capitalist expansion state.

Second wave (1895-1923): Consolidation of anarchist and revolutionary syndicalism and anarchist organizations specific wartime and assaults of the reaction.

Third wave (1923-1949): The anarchist revolutions against imperialism, fascism and Bolshevism.

Fourth wave (1950-1989): Shares rear background of the Cold War and decolonization of Africa and Asia.

Fifth wave (1990 to present): Resurgence of the anarchist movement in the era of the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the neoliberal hegemony.


"For unionism, we mean a strategy in which revolutionary anarchist syndicalist unions - which apply participatory democracy and a revolutionary vision of libertarian communism - are considered the main means and immediate resistance to the ruling classes and as the core of a new social order based on self-management, economic planning and democratic universality of the human community. "

- Michael Schmidt
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