Anarchism: From Theory to Practice is a book by Daniel Guérin, termed a Weekly as describing the “intellectual substance and actual practice” of anarchism. Daniel Guerin attempts to give a brief history of anarchist theory and practice in this particular book. Written in the ’60’s, Guerin’s book seems a bit dated. tionary theory and practice as being that of a technologist of revolution and DANIEL GUERIN’S BOOK is much inferior to anarchist sympathiser George.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Paperbackpages. Published January 1st by Monthly Review Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Anarchismplease sign up. Lists with This Book. May 26, Adam rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is appealing because it is a broad survey of the topic, and covers many of anarchism’s important thinkers, but isn’t bogged down with biographical details, like many of the other books on the topic.
Instead, Guerin focuses on the range of ideas contained within anarchism. Guerin argues that far from being utopian, anarchism is highly constructive, and reviews a number of considerations that go into visioning anarchist society: To prove his point, Guerin highlights anarchist planning and practice at various times and places, including early 20th century Italian Worker Councils and revolutionary-era Spain the darling and poster child for most anarchists!
Here, as elsewhere in the book, Guerin’s sympathy for Bakunin and syndicalist anarchism is revealed. The Italian example is fascinating, in which unions established workplace councils that fought for managerial control of production through direct actions. The Spanish example is the most widely referenced by anarchists, though this is the first account that I’ve read.
This Spanish experience contains some notable features. First, the two-headed stronghold of the movement: The result was two divergent anarchist forms, the former being more syndicalist organized by trade unions and the latter more communalist drawing from local villages’ traditions.
The enormous union membership and the dissemination of propaganda in rural areas well prepared workers and peasants for self-management of their economic affairs after the revolution. Perhaps the most important feature of the Spanish anarchism was the economic primacy of the revolution. Instead of attempting to seize political power, the workers and peasants seized economic power, through direct action.
Guerin argues that this is attributable in part to the lessons learned from the Russian Revolution, and the tragedy that the Soviet state became. For me, the most interesting discussion to be drawn from Guerin’s work is the revolutionary potential of unions today.
Guerin’s historical examples show the integral role unions played in the achievement of workers’ self-management. Also, what are the possibilities for Italian-style worker councils in today’s workplaces? This is highly recommended for those interested in an introductory reading on anarchism, particularly its syndicalist form.
Jun 29, Bitty Navarro rated it it was amazing Shelves: It is also great for those of us who want to refresh our knowledge of anarchism and to help pinpoint what anarchist author or what type of anarchist thought to read next, to add to our knowledge of anarchism. Anarchism is still alive and, nowadays, it’s more relevant than it has been for the past sixty or seventy years. Will anarchism become a new apolitical, economical option? Will it become a social upheaving?
Will it be the next, so to speak, statu quo? Dec 22, J. Hushour hheory it liked it. Largely a rehash of just the sorts of polemics that tend to make anarchism, the classical political framework, not your stupid friend’s anarchism, annoying. The best and most practical political idea that has failed utterly anytime anyone has ever tried it, anarchism doesn’t really get the respect it should but Guerin’s admirable attempt is nice.
A better approach might be to simply discuss the notion itself, its relevance to the modern world a la Kropotkin and theorize whimsically about how you could bring it about basically everyone pitching in and giving the finger to the government, yay If you think sharing is satanic and the frank expression of emotions like love and compassion make you weak, better avoid this one.
Feb 11, Nic Don rated it liked it. Guerin defines anarchism somewhat narrowly along syndicalist lines, and shows a particular dependence on Proudhon and Bakunin. Also, it goes without saying that, published insome aspects of the book’s analysis are dated.
Nevertheless, this is a helpful introduction to anarchist economic and political thought. The section on history is particularly useful, disentangling several lines of post-French Revolutionary radical action, particularly the contradictory nature of the early days of the Guerin defines anarchism somewhat narrowly along syndicalist lines, and shows a particular dependence on Proudhon and Bakunin.
The section on history is particularly useful, disentangling several lines of post-French Revolutionary radical action, particularly the contradictory nature of the early days of the Russian Revolution and in Lenin’s early development. Oct 24, sarinrabbit rated it it was amazing.
Said time and again: Always a great reference for jumping-off points of specific theories and historical implementations of the dainel. Some of the most interesting material is arguably the suppression of anarchists during the Bolshevik Revolution, all the while avoiding an overstatement of the actual anarchist involvement in the revolution.
Impassioned defense of anarchism, recommended as an introduction on the topic, prior to the reading of the 19th century classics. However, the author is so committed to the cause, so emotionally invested, and much of the descriptions of self-management are so stainlessly positive that the doubt remains on the objectivity of the analyses, and the suspicion persists of a excessively biased collection and interpretations of facts and sources.
Jul 03, Jesse rated it liked it Shelves: Informative but oddly obsessed with Soviet state daneil. Not that daniell stuff isn’t really interesting, but I really wanted to get more thoroughly into an overview of anarchist theory and follow it up with examples of that in practice, and the baffle of Soviet repression became a third issue I hadn’t expected.
Nonetheless an interesting and informative read, albeit pretty dry. Mar 09, Otii rated it it was amazing. Perfect introduction to anarchism! Apr 01, Euan Pollock rated it it was amazing. A phenomenal introduction to anarchist thought, clearly and carefully laying out both the theory and the history of anarchism.
A book I will definitely be reading again. Jul 23, Jake rated it liked it. Well admittedly when I read this book it was mostly review.
Anarchism: From Theory to Practice
That being said I found the theory section first 70 pages pretty weak. The practice half second 70 pagescalled “Anarchism in revolutionary practice,” was much better, but mostly because the events covered speak for themselves. Guerin, for some reason incomprehensible to me, seems to have a super affinity for Proudhan. He seems to privilege Proudhan’s ideas many of which are largely considered pre-anarchist and somewhat reformist Well admittedly when I read this book it was mostly review.
He seems to privilege Proudhan’s ideas many of which are largely considered pre-anarchist and somewhat reformist by many anarchists now-a-days over those of his much more developed successors. Furthermore, Guerin focuses a lot a post-revolutionary programs mostly those outlined by Proudhan instead of looking at how the deconstructing of hierarchies and the revolutionary practice ftom non-hierarchical organizing can open space for thsory plethora of diverse programs decided and implemented from below.
ANARCHISM: From Theory to Practice by Daniel Guerin | Kirkus Reviews
The “Anarchism in revolutionary practice” section is much more agreeable. It is basically an overview in some of the more successful experiments in anarchism throughout the revolutionary guerinn of the 20th century.
Guerin does a good job of examining the “third revolution” trend that Murray Bookchin would later identify in more depth. The idea being that revolutions often occur spontaneously from a popular discontent, followed by bottom-up organizing of the means of production by the workers themselves factory councils, neighborhood assemblies, worker self-management essentially driving towards the type of decentralized, stateless social organization that defines anarchism.
A group of professional revolutionaries then emerges from the mix, riding popular sentiment into power Lenin’s, for instance, implemented this bait-and-switch, seeming to be a supporter of self-management and the soviet council system’s that emerged quite democratically and directly after the revolution.
These professional revolutionaries gradually centralize their control through the state apparatus, thus crushing the prospects of libertarian revolution. Guerin poses some questions about anarchsim this can be avoided in the future as well as what we can learn by those brief periods of social self-organization that so often existed in the early months of revolution before the state was established. I suggest reading this book, but substituting the first half with another introduction to anarchist theory.
Aug 09, Ryan Milbrath added it.
Anarchism: From Theory to Practice – Daniel Guerin – Google Books
Daniel Guerin attempts to give a brief history of anarchist theory and practice in this particular book.
However, Guerin focuses on presenting theory and practice that is pretty timeless. From Proudhon and Bakunkin to anarchist presence in the Russian and Spanish revolutions, Guerin does a great job of summarizing the general trends in anarchist thought. Though I would disagree with the generalizations made concerning the differences between Marxist and and libertarian socialism, I think the book does a great job of detailing the differences between the sects without splitting to many hairs.
Guerin uses the popular examples of the Russian revolution, Italian, and Spanish revolutions to examine the anarchist presence and role in these revolutions. I believe he was not critical enough of their strategy, tactics, and ability to garner support.
Especially in regards to the Russian Revolution where terror tactics is only briefly discussed and the most influential anarchist movement of the time, the Narodniks, were not even mentioned.
Mar 05, Marshall rated it it was ok Shelves: A painfully dry theory and history of libertarian socialism, or anarcho-syndicalism. I still can’t figure out if the two are synonymous, and I don’t understand why a book on such a specific topic was given such a generic name. There are so many things this book did not help me understand, which it did not make up for by what it did help me understand, that anarcho-syndicalism isn’t actually about eliminating government, but replacing a large-scale state with a collection of small-scale “worker c A painfully dry theory and history of libertarian socialism, or anarcho-syndicalism.
There are so many things this book did not help me understand, which it did not make up for by what it did help me understand, that anarcho-syndicalism isn’t actually about eliminating government, but replacing a large-scale state with a collection of small-scale “worker councils” governed by direct democracy. How these councils interact, how conflicts are resolved, how crime is policed, and how to defend against international attacks was not even addressed in this book, much less answered.
Most of the book is spent contrasting anarchism with communism, which is necessary because they are in fact so similar. The history it provides seemed to demonstrate how impractical anarchism has proven to be, as all attempts at it have degenerated into authoritative, centralized state socialism. Even the one “success,” the Spanish Revolution indicated this tendency in its short life. Aug 27, Nargiz rated it really liked it. The first two parts describe the basic concepts in anarchism and debates between its theorists.