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Anarchism and Its Aspirations (Anarchist Intervention Series #1)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  21 reviews
From nineteenth-century newspaper publishers to the protesters in the “Battle of Seattle” and the recent Greek uprising, anarchists have long been incited to action by the ideal of a “free society of free individuals”—a transformed world in which people and communities relate to each other intentionally and without hierarchy or domination. But what exactly would that look ...more
Paperback, 145 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by AK Press (first published 2009)
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Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf RockerAnarchism and Its Aspirations by Cindy MilsteinThe Accumulation of Freedom by Deric ShannonOn Anarchism by Noam ChomskyHow Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos
AK Press Books
2nd out of 48 books — 13 voters
Understanding Power by Noam ChomskyFailed States by Noam ChomskyHegemony or Survival by Noam ChomskyThe Shock Doctrine by Naomi KleinCorpalism by Arun D. Ellis
Emancipatory Left
97th out of 99 books — 26 voters

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One of the most common questions I hear is people asking for nice books that provide a basic idea of what Anarchism actually is and what it stands for. I finally have a book by someone who's written it recently, and is still alive, so this is the one I'm going to recommend. "Anarchism and Its Aspirations" by Cindy Milstein is a short, concise but great intro text which you can read in a few hours. The book paints anarchism as a hopeful school of thought that sees the best in humanity while recog ...more
Introductions to anarchism are always going to be hard work. Anarchism is a pretty heterogeneous entity, with a lot of scope for emphasis on organisational forms, strategies and tactics. That’s why calls for recommending a beginners text are always likely to go way beyond the bounds of aesthetical or literary appeal.
Even moreso, the problem is compounded because the canon of often recommended texts like Berkman, Goldman, Kropotkin, Maltesta, Meltzer, etc. etc. can come across quite one-sided a
This review is not meant to push any buttons, and to be honest I will never read the last 30 or 40 pages because I found this book to be so mediocre it caused me physical pain. It's the same far left, Marx based anarchism propaganda that anarchists have been spewing for the past century. Not terribly insightful, comes to no new conclusions except that 'capitalism sucks, let's create worker's collectives' and pat each other on the back for being 'revolutionaries.' Left me really asking the questi ...more
Keith Ford
I'm liking it so far. This and The Kingdom of God is Within you by Leo Tolstoy are giving me an idea for my doctoral thesis, whenever I finally go back to college.
If you're looking for a brief but pithy introduction to modern anarchism, this is your book.

If you're looking for a book to give to someone that will be an intelligent and moving but accessible explanation of anarchism, this is your book.

I won't try to summarize anarchism but instead mention a few of the particular contributions of this book. First, it shows how "anarchism is a synthesis of the best of liberalism and the best of communism" (p. 13), in that it combines individual responsibility w
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Just got done with this. I've been reading it over the past 2 weeks in conjunction with Roy's Field Notes on Democracy. Both point to the flaws of parliamentary democracy and both are incredibly inspirational. Both demand people wake up and take a look around; both require us to not only demand liberation and freedom but to create it now.

I've met Cindy in various locations and I'm always a little intimidated being around her. She's thoughtful and definitely critical--both are traits to be value
Maiga Milbourne
This book is such a great resource! It's certainly for folks already with some knowledge of anarchism and/or leftist politics. It certainly gave me much better context, history, and appreciation for anarchist impetus and influence. I would have liked a little more structure. The book is a quick read and largely hinges on the Battle of Seattle. That specific event works well as an anchor for larger anarchist history and contribution but a little mapping of what would be covered thematically and c ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Jake added it
A nicely written introduction to anarchism that can be read by newcomers (for the ideas) or old hats (for a brush up on talking points)alike. Very much a "New Anarchist" text, its theory lives firmly in the post-Seattle realm.

This book gives a very friendly picture of anarchism. It definitely falls short of engaging some of the more contentious aspects of anarchism such as, for instance, revolutionary violence. The author, however, makes no claims to make a complete overview of anarchism, and ex
Very compelling primer on anarchism with a strong focus on anarchist ethics in 21st century North America and Europe, focusing much less on the details of the origins of anarchism as a political philosophy distinct from Marxist socialism in the 19th century. Which is fine for the purposes of this book.

Milstein also spends a lot of time explaining the anarchist model of social transformation that she most heartily endorses -- "prefiguration" of alternative institutions that challenge (and eventua
Excellent overview of the political and ethical position of Anarchism. Suitable for both the curious without any background on the topic, as well as folks already involved in radical politics.
Perfect introduction to anyone who is interested in what modern anarchism actually means. The book is intended to get the reader accustomed to the sentiment of libertarian thought and give a small introduction into the idea of horizontal organization. Anarchism and is aspirations does what is intended to do being an excellent way to start AK presses anarchist intervention series.
Not really an "introduction to anarchism" (as some of the blurbs inside claim it to be - more like her reasons for being an anarchist and perspective on it), very light on class struggle and analysis (even in the essay on "anticapitalist resistance"), but okay.
david meieran
Cindy's excellent book has great value for all flavor anarchists: young and old, newbies and vets, queers and straights, insurrectionists and DIYers. Her conclusion is thought-provoking and I look forward to hearing more discussion about it soon!
Arjun Ravichandran
Decent, essay-sized introduction to the much-misunderstood philosophy of anarchism. This introduction aims to capture the spirit, so to speak, of anarchism ; the values and philosophy that drive anarchism as a movement.
I liked the book. It covered a lot of territory, almost too much territory. I'm not sure who it was meant for. Seemed like an intro, but flew by so fast I'm not sure a newbie would process it all.
Yup. This is book is about Anarchy and what its aspirations are. Not many concrete examples on how things will be accomplished, but more on what the ideas are that motivate a anarchist community.
Asa Wilder
Pretty crazy this was written before occupy took off. Lays it all out there very clearly. I wish it was longer and that the history of anarchism sections were more in depth.
Really this is just a primer of sorts, but damn it's a good one...
I cann't comment its outstanding and so amazinggggggggggg
Stephanie Pollard
Great introduction to anarchism.
Mr. Roboto
Reading this for my Jewish book club.
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Cindy Milstein is an anarchist activist and educator who talks at various anarchist and socialist gatherings. One such talk was the very informal but in-depth class, "Anarchism 101" at the National Conference on Organized Resistance, at the American University in Washington DC, in 2003 and 2004. (See the NCOR Web site for other talks by Milstein each year, including in the new Radical Theory Track ...more
More about Cindy Milstein...

Other Books in the Series

Anarchist Intervention Series (7 books)
  • Oppose and Propose: Lessons from Movement for a New Society
  • Decolonizing Anarchism: An Antiauthoritarian History of India's Liberation Struggle
  • Imperiled Life: Revolution against Climate Catastrophe
  • Anarchists Against the Wall
  • Undoing Border Imperialism
  • Self and Determination: An Inward Look at Collective Liberation
Paths Toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism Side by Side: A Critical Reader for Accomplices

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