Guerin is a prolific writer whose '30's work on fascism is
something of a Marxist classic. This emphatically pro-anarchist
essay fails to define key polemical terms like "the state": it
lacks the informality, and philosophical sensitivity of first-rate
French political writing. Noam Chomsky's introduction echoes the
view of anarchism as a "libertarian" brand of socialism. Guerin's
thematic presentation of nineteenth-century anarchist theory
expounds and abundantly excerpts from Proudhon and Bakunin, with
ancillary reference to Kropotkin, Stirner, et al. The section on
"practice" portrays the Bolsheviks as evil dictators and the
Russian anarchists as unsung heroes of 1917, glances at the Italian
left of Gramsci's day, and deals richly deserved blows to Stalinist
policy in the Spanish Civil War without pursuing the significance
of the Spanish anarchists' vacillation between anti-political
purity and political opportunism. Guerin concludes with a call for
unadulterated postrevolutionary workers' control, quite indifferent
to the question of how or why to make a revolution. The habit of
"forcing history" which Sartre noted in Guerin's work is here, but
not enough of the "enriching" quality, especially with respect to
the social roots of anarchism. Yet the subject has enough intrinsic
and topical importance to draw a political-intellectual audience.
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