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Anarchism: Arguments For And Against
by Albert Meltzer
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Midwest Book Review
Anarchism is a definitive pocket primer on anarchism. From the historical background and justification of anarchism, to the class struggle, organization, and the role of an anarchist in an authoritarian society, this slim volume walks the reader through the salient points, theory and practice of a much misunderstood and maligned philosophy. From workers self-defence to the myth of taxation, Anarchism runs through the gamut of objections and queries. Anarchism is a highly recommended introductory text for an understanding of the principles and politics of anarchism which finds current expression in some factions of the contemporary American Libertarian political movement.
This is the second revised edition of Anarchism: Arguments For and Against and was the edition that Albert Meltzer was working on at the time of his death on May 7th, 1996. This book was an important one to Albert and it was one whose arguments he came back to often in his other writings.
Albert had become increasingly concerned about what he saw as the ghettoisation of anarchism. Separated from the working class base so necessary to achieve social revolution, anarchism could easily fall into the twin traps of philosophical radicalism or revolutionary arrogance, the "we're more militant than anyone else" approach. Both stands have appeared in British anarchism alongside a sometimes demoralising and destructive incestuous approach to revolutionary change. Anarchists talk only to other anarchists and are unable to relate to the vast majority of people who are not of their belief and see anarchism as a rather exotic or illogical idea.
This then was Albert's attempt to examine arguments people may have about why anarchism can never work and to counter them. He also examines the basic tenets of anarchist thought and practice and in doing so destroys some of the myths that have been created about anarchist theory and action. It's a book fro those of us who try to win people over to our ideas in everyday life and such it is a book that tries to break down the walls of the ghetto that anarchism has become trapped in.
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