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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 nation, freedom and equality, authority and tool, the checklist investigates the successes and screw ups of anarchist pursuits in the course of the international. proposing a balanced and significant survey, the unique rfile covers not just vintage anarchist thinkers—such as Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus, and Emma Goldman—but additionally different libertarian figures, corresponding to Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault, and Chomsky. crucial studying for a person wishing to appreciate what anarchists stand for and what they've got accomplished, this attention-grabbing account additionally comprises an epilogue that examines the latest advancements, together with postanarchism and anarcho-primitivism in addition to the anarchist contributions to the peace, eco-friendly, and worldwide justice hobbies of the twenty first century.

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Additional info for Demanding the impossible : a history of anarchism : be realistic! Demand the impossible!

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But while all anarchists call for the dissolution of the State and believe that social order will eventually prevail, they base their confidence on Society and the State 17 15 different premisses and models. Individualists like Stirner and Tucker developed Adam Smith's economic vision in which a hidden hand will translate private interest into general good and promote a coincidence of interests. Since economic activity involves countless decisions and operations it cannot be successfully regulated or directed by one individual or a group of individuals.

19 The individualist Stimer, on the other hand, focused on the State as the cause of evil. '20 Its one purpose is to limit, control and subordinate the individual. Not all anarchists are as consistent as Godwin and Stimer. Proudhon asserted that the government of man by man is servitude, but he paradoxically defined anarchy as the absence of a ruler or a so"ereign as a 'form of government'. ZI Nevertheless, he acknowledged that 'anarchical government' is a contradiction in terms and left one of the most damning descriptions of government and bureaucracy ever made: To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither thc right, nor wisdom, nor virtue ...

Strictly speaking, a law is a rule of conduct made by government and enforced by the State. 53 Laws restrict our liberty by making us act or refrain from acting regardless of our wishes; they stand like high hedges, keeping us on the straight and narrow. The methods used by the State to enforce its laws are those of compulsion: the ultimate power of the law is the coercive power of the State. As Hobbes recognized, the authority of Leviathan is ultimately based on the sword - or its modern equivalent, the policeman's cosh or the soldier's gun.

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