Anarchist Studies, Volume 1, No 1, Spring 1993
Published in Social Anarchism #19, 1994
For a number of years, a group mainly of academics have been producing a Bulletin of Anarchist Research in Britain. Several of them were contributors to the volume For Anarchism: History, Theory and Practice, warmly reviewed by Neala Schleuning in Number 17 of Social Anarchism.
Now they have taken their activities one stage further by producing an academic journal, to appear initially twice a year. It is edited by Tom Cahill of Lancaster University (author of the excellent paper on cooperatives and anarchism in the For Anarchism volume), with an impressive editorial board. It is published by a commercial publisher, and its future obviously depends upon building up a basic raft of institutional subscribers. Consequently, those readers who are in the academic world should, if they want this new addition to our periodical literature to survive, put pressure on their departmental librarians to subscribe.
(I think I should add, parenthetically, that I know people who automatically sneer at the mention of the word "academic,'' but note that they are usually highly educated people. I, on the other hand, as a propagandist, innocent of academe, find that whenever I am in a college or university, I invariably escape from the bar to the library to loot facts that I can't find elsewhere.)
The new journal, of much the same size and length as this one, has a not dissimilar content. Murray Bookchin attacks the claims of anarcho-syndicalism, with particular reference to the Spanish experience, Richard Cleminson discusses Wilhelm Reich's views on "mass sex economic therapy,'' again in a Spanish context, and Richard Kostelanetz puts the music of John Cage in an anarchist perspective. David Berry conducts a survey of the 17 anarchist journals published in France today, ranging from Le Monde Libertaire with its enviable weekly print run of between 10,000 and 15,000 copies and anarcho punk fanzines distributing 300. France has a very rich libertarian literature.
Extended review articles include Ruth Kinna on George Crowder's Classical Anarchism, Max Cafard on Norman O. Brown's most recent book, and Brian Morris making an illuminating comparison between Bill McKibben's The End of Nature and Kirkpatrick Sale's Dwellers in the Land. There follows a section of regular book reviews, and a listing of English-language anarchist journals. (Friends of Social Anarchism will be gratified to find it described as "one of the best intellectual journals in English.'') There are also notes on anarchist gatherings: the recent Kropotkin conference in Russia and the launching of a Social Ecology Network in London, which the reporter found fascinating for the way that "the best and worst of the green and eco-anarchist milieu asserted themselves.''
I think that the appearance of this journal could be made significant. Our task as spreaders of the anarchist approach is to move it from the margins into the mainstream of social ideas, and people come to the anarchist idea through a bewildering variety of routes. For example, I can remember a gardener explaining in Freedom that he was drawn to anarchism by a fellow horticulturalist through a common love of chrysanthemums. So I hope that Anarchist Studies can find its way onto the magazine shelves of college libraries. Who knows who might pick it up?
Anarchist Studies. Vol 1, No 1. Spring 1993.
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