Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism

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9780002178556: Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism

Anarchism is a philosophical and political creed which many individuals have subscribed to over the centuries, and for which many have been persecuted by other more authoritive ideologies like fascism and state socialism. There have been anarchist-inspired revolutions - in Spain, in the Ukraine, in Mexico - which have in turn led to (however short-lived) anarchist administrations. But anarchism's power has, first and foremost, been the power of the lone protestor, the dissenter who is unafraid to expose himself to reprisal for the sake of preaching the real gospel of liberty, equality and fraternity which so many so-called revolutionaries usually leave in tatters once they graduate from barricades to corridors of power. The author argues that the spirit of anarchism is in the voice of Tolstoy, of Gandhi, of Bakunin and of Godwin, of Camus and of Chomsky.

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About the Author:

Peter Marshall is a philosopher, a historian, a poet, and the author of 15 books, including Nature's Web: Rethinking Our Place on Earth.

From Publishers Weekly:

The goal of an egalitarian, communal society has always united Marxists and leftist socialists, some of the latter (often if not always described as anarchists) refusing any truck with centralized power At various times, such ideas have found relatively wide appeal, and this era is one—expressed for instance in the antiglobalization movement's emphases on local control and direct democracy—making Marshall's comprehensive treatment a timely read. Newly revised and updated, this indispensable history of social libertarian thought now reaches into the 21st century—touching upon themes echoed in other recent titles, including Raj Patel's The Value of Nothing. Marshall casts a wide net, gathering all traces of antiauthoritarian socialist thought in works from Lao Tzu through Noam Chomsky, social ecology, and the Zapatistas. Readers will be repeatedly rewarded by Marshall's judiciousness and close readings of both the great names in anarchist history—Proudhon, Kropotkin, and Tolstoy—and less expected contributors—Rousseau, Swift, and Burke. Blowing away cobwebs of misunderstanding and misrepresentation, this is a stimulating portrait of a highly varied but distinctive political ideal, tradition, and practice arising from the enduring human impulse to be free. (June)
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Peter Marshall
Published by HarperCollins (1992)
ISBN 10: 0002178559 ISBN 13: 9780002178556
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