A most astute exploration of the history of anarchism, from Proudhon to Bakunin and the Alliance and the IWMA as well the individualists and the platfA most astute exploration of the history of anarchism, from Proudhon to Bakunin and the Alliance and the IWMA as well the individualists and the platform, the Spanish anarchists, and the enrages of 1968.
I very much appreciated the appendix full of primary source documents on the platform and the controversy surrounding it, principally advanced by Voline vs. Makhno and Arshinov....more
The definitive account of Bolshevik/Leninist atrocities and autocracy after the October 1917 seizure of power. A must-read for all those concerned witThe definitive account of Bolshevik/Leninist atrocities and autocracy after the October 1917 seizure of power. A must-read for all those concerned with history and the future, especially of critical and anti-authoritarian sensibilities!...more
A marvellous account of the forerunners of the International, the popularity of anarchism within it, and the Marxists' treacherous machinations vs. thA marvellous account of the forerunners of the International, the popularity of anarchism within it, and the Marxists' treacherous machinations vs. this libertarian, mutualist, and syndicalist alternative, which subsequently would live on autonomously as the Anti-Authoritarian International!...more
Certainly, an incredibly difficult book--but definitely one well worth the effort. Levinas presents so much to contemplate in a way I find other (alteCertainly, an incredibly difficult book--but definitely one well worth the effort. Levinas presents so much to contemplate in a way I find other (alter, perhaps) than in most other forms of expression. The ideas presented here must be continually remembered and reflected on, in my view--very highly recommended....more
In my view, a FAR better account of Mahler's creative genius and social importance (ie, in a constructive, progressive sense) than that provided by SIn my view, a FAR better account of Mahler's creative genius and social importance (ie, in a constructive, progressive sense) than that provided by Stuart Feder in Gustav Mahler: A Life in Crisis. Much of Adorno's writing was lost on me, as he often discussed musical theory, with which I am hardly familiar--but his social/philosophical interpretations of Mahler are fantastic and, I would say, much-needed in our world....more
A fantastic response to the enormity of anxiety, loneliness, alienation, finitude, and meaninglessness that society imposes upon us.
"human rights areA fantastic response to the enormity of anxiety, loneliness, alienation, finitude, and meaninglessness that society imposes upon us.
"human rights are a de facto sanctioning of the oppressive nature of a community whose interests injure or oppose those of its members. It is time to promote a society which will have no need of tutelary guarantees, because it will have obliterated the very conditions which give rise to violence, rape and oppression, and which alienate protest against them."
"The only way of fighting against the worst is to be tenacious about wishing for the best."
"Men and women have no value by virtue of their birth, nor by their power, nor by their possessions. Their only value lies in their humanity."
"For the development of a society preoccupied with happiness, nothing is more fundamental than the will to emancipation, stimulated by the natural birth of love relationships, by education through affection for constant progress in knowledge, by play and the appeal of pleasure in creating one's personal destiny."
"A fatalism anchored in attitudes of mind and perpetuated by those who put their trust in God, in some prince or master or employer, in some mysterious and impenetrable Fate, persists in prohibiting human beings from finding in their pleasures the raw material which fashions their lives in order to build their happiness."
"Anyone with less than ninety per cent of their time at their disposal is a slave."
"With the concern to cease tolerating a power against which we must protect ourselves, we wish to oppose the principle of defence by encouraging the impulse for everyone to feel at home wherever they are."
"Claiming one's own singularity means wishing to be a fully human subject. This resolution is the only one capable of breaking the process of reification inherent in the economy."
"Only individuals who aspire to create their own destiny are equipped to found a society that stands together in solidarity, to make real the old dream of fraternity, and to consign once and for all to the past the dichotomies that split exploiters and exploited, egoism and altruism, rebellion and the herd mentality."
"Inhumanity is not a matter for discussion, but for rejection."
"What has become plain in relation to the rejection of despotic regimes today begins to be true for the construction of situations favourable to the refinement and the flowering of living beings."
"Behind contempt for animals lies contempt for human beings,"
"Ever since childhood, the existential adventure has owed the sureness and firmness of its first steps to an impulse of life which can be protected against old reflex of inversion only by love and human awareness."
"Taking the time to live is the first victory over death."
"everything is beautiful in whoever loves or is loved."
"under the reign of barbarism, the freedoms authorised by life were most usually no more than a license to oppress."
"that insensitivity to life, which has always encouraged the logic of profit and exploitability...."
"The best critique of a deplorable state of affairs consists in creating the situation which remedies it.... The way to have done with a world which enacts its own destruction is not to anathematise it but to clear away its debris and build a brand new civilization."
"We have been subjugated to a process of evolution whereby inhumanity varied in its form, but not in its content. Real change begins where self-exile comes to an end. It marks the passage from survival to life."
"every instant should be a stage lived so intensely that is has no necessary preoccupation with a future and is felicitously rooted in the present."
"Desiring, for and against everything, the most joyous things that love of life has to give, offers without doubt the best prevention against the ever-threatening storms of unforeseen misfortune."...more
Bookchin here promotes his idea of social ecology and his vision of an ecological society (and world). He takes issue with so-called environmentalist movements, which, like the psychotherapist that Herbert Marcuse roundly criticizes, seek merely to have society adapt to the madness of extant structures rather than promote radical change, as social ecology advocates. He also denounces New-Age, biocentric mysticism as feel-goodery that fails to call into question relations of power, hierarchy, and domination and, relatedly, is easily commodified within the capitalist structures that (Bookchin says) it should be subverting and overthrowing.
The core of Bookchin's argument here is the creation of a qualitatively better society, rather than a merely quantitatively better one (something that he criticizes liberals, Marxists, and socialists on). He embarks on a review of anthropological accounts of 'primitive peoples,' who he finds to have lived within a non-hierarchical social nexus that, instead of private property, functioned according to the rights of usufruct (open access to all), an ethics of complementarity (instead of competition), and an irreducible minimum, whereby everyone was afforded the basic necessities of life without reserve. Bookchin denounces Thomas Hobbes' account of human nature here, characterizing it as mere apologism for hierarchy and domination. He also finds much of liberal theory--that which dominates ideology today--to be a natural outgrowth of Hobbesian thought. As with Hobbes, Bookchin finds Sigmund Freud's account of human psychology to be incorrect at best and reactionary at worst, as he attributes human 'evil' to immutable human traits rather than socialization processes shaped by hierarchical, dominant interests.
Positively, Bookchin here posits a return to the values of 'primitive' societies. He finds that only through doing away with hierarchical social relations (capitalism, though more than this of course) can humanity realize its potentiality through affirming the subjectivity of every individual--and, claims Bookchin, the subjectivity of nature--in place of treating people/the environment as mere objects, tools of production, and 'resources.' Bookchin, then, seeks not a less offensive capitalism or a Marxian socialism but a libertarian municipalism, in which everyone can cultivate herself within an authentic, caring, loving social nexus plagued not by hierarchy, Karl Marx's 'realm of necessity,' or the spectre of ecological collapse. Bookchin emphasizes that the project of social ecology must be guided not by the dominant mode--power--but rather by ethics, imagination, and utopianism if it is to defend its advocacy of qualitative change. As in Post-Scarcity Anarchism, Bookchin stresses the need for 'liberatory technologies' that will help to do away with hierarchical modes of social organization and transcend the oppressive and ecocidal impulses of much of our current reality....more
A great book! Kesey's theories of oppression and liberation are wonderful (and reflective of his times--sadly, though, we hear little like this nowadaA great book! Kesey's theories of oppression and liberation are wonderful (and reflective of his times--sadly, though, we hear little like this nowadays)....more
Mesmerizing. I haven't laughed out loud as much, or as genuinely, with any other book I've read. Heller's characters are beyond words--Yossarian, MiloMesmerizing. I haven't laughed out loud as much, or as genuinely, with any other book I've read. Heller's characters are beyond words--Yossarian, Milo Minderbinder, Aarfy, the Chaplain. Wow....more
Absolutely fantastic. I really need to give this one another read--Camus' theory of affirmation (and, crucially, commitment to justice) in the face ofAbsolutely fantastic. I really need to give this one another read--Camus' theory of affirmation (and, crucially, commitment to justice) in the face of non-being and overwhelming odds is a direly needed maxim for our age (not to say other times as well)....more