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by James Joll

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The anarchists (Universal library) Paperback – 1966. James Joll (1918-1994) wrote an interesting book titled THE ANARCHISTS which was an incomplete summary of Anarchist History.

The anarchists (Universal library) Paperback – 1966. by. James Joll (Author). Find all the books, read about the author, and more. The book cited Medieval religious dissenters such as the Albigensian in Southern France and Northern Spain. Joll mention the events during the French Revolution and then later during the 19th. However, there are gaps in Joll's book, and some of the people mentioned were not part of anarchism.

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Joll begins by situating the anarchist (anti-authoritarian) impulse with the earliest Christian heretics. Joll shows how both Godwin and Prudhon laid the groundwork for all future anarchists

Joll begins by situating the anarchist (anti-authoritarian) impulse with the earliest Christian heretics. It’s an interesting comparison. So much of anarchist philosophy depends upon an innate faith in the goodness of man, that left to his own de The Anarchists by James Joll could be a key text for a systematic study of anarchist history. Joll shows how both Godwin and Prudhon laid the groundwork for all future anarchists. But while their ideas inform the whole thread of anarchist thought, Joll spends more time with two thinkers who had an impact as -it: Bakunin and Kropotkin. Joll’s writing is compact yet very clear at delineating these men and their ideas.

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The Anarchists is a book by the historian James Joll. World Heritage Encyclopedia is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization. At 265 pages, it is a relatively brief history of the anarchist movement, covering its philosophical beginnings in Europe with William Godwin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the further development by the Russians Peter Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin and its influence on the working class movements of the 19th and 20th centuries – mainly in Europe and Russia, but also in the United.

History, Political Studies

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James Joll (1918-1994) wrote an interesting book titled THE ANARCHISTS which was an incomplete summary of Anarchist History. The book cited Medieval religious dissenters such as the Albigensian in Southern France and Northern Spain. Joll mention the events during the French Revolution and then later during the 19th. and 20th. century. However, there are gaps in Joll's book, and some of the people mentioned were not part of anarchism.

The attention paid to the Albigensian movement during the 13th. century (1200s) and some of the Protestant "reformers" is out of place. The Albigensian leaders were fanatics who did not hesitate to use violence against anyone who disagreed with their "purity" and fanaticism. The Albigensian maniacal attention to the "spiritual world" resulted in letting older people die and punishing pregnant women for having children because the Albigensian leaders opposed reality which they claimed would was the only authentic reality. When Catholic dignitaries visited this area to see "what all the fuss was about," they were murdered. The failure of the Albigensian leaders to even listen or compromise led to their own demise based on the phrase, "Violence begets violence." The Albigensian fanaticism belied any tinge of Anarchism. Joll may have used this history as a "running start" to start the book.

Joll's inclusion of Protestant "reformers" was a mistake. Many of the Protestant "reformers" far exceeded their Catholic counterparts in oppression and attempts at absolute control. John Calvin (1509-1564) turned Geneva, Timberland into "a Christian police state" which tried to control the most minute detail of daily living. Calvin even has his step daughter executed probably based on false accusations of adultery. The Peasants Revolt and other events demonstrated fanatical violence rather than any independent freedom and economic systems. Again, Joll may have attempted "running start to this book.

As noted above, "Violence begets violence." The French Revolution began with a weak king. The French suffered through the Reign of Terror and a powerful emperor-Napoleon I (1767-1821) whose ambitions collapsed in 1812 when the French were defeated by "General Winter" in Russia. The political rivalries and political reality erased any attempt at actual freedom.

The late 19th century and 20th. centuries witnessed other anarchist. The French Anarchist Proudhon (1809-1865) is credited with coining the work anarchism. He had a scheme called the People's Bank to develop circulating credit in competition with the central bank. Joll could have exploited Proudhon's concept which has been an continuing political debate in modern history. Of course, the Russians "got into the act." Bakunin (1814-1876) argued that war and revolutionary violence would eventually cause the collapse of the Czarist system. Bakunin figured such a collapse would divide the Russians into voluntary communities with little or no central control. Kropotkin (1842-1921) began as a peaceful anarchist, but events changed his mind. Kropotkin was committed. He was born into nobility and had privileged position. As Joll noted, Kropotkin left his privileged position and brilliant intellectual/academic career to "join the cause." When Nicholas II (1894-1917) was ousted from the power, the Russian anarchists' joy turned to dismay. Lenin & co. used the Russian anarchists and then purged them.

Joll could have given more detail the Spanish Anarchists during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Joll gave a short report of George Orwell's great book titled HOMAGE TO CATALONIA. As readers may know, the Soviets intervened into the Spanish Civil War only to undermine the Spanish Anarchists. The Spanish leftists lost a bitter civil war which went well beyond what the opposing sides ever expected.

James Joll should have included Americans in the Anarchist Movement. Josiah Warren (1798-1874), Lysander Spooner !808-1887), and Benjamin Tucker (1854-1939) wrote about peaceful economic concepts that made sense. These men realized that men and women are not equal in the sense that people have different learning and ability. Warren had a plan for "time stores" in Cincinnati, Ohio..Spooner argued that freedom was not confined to the US Constitution which he argued was ratified in 1787 but was not a perpetual contract. These men were peaceful revolutionaries, and they were practical.

As noted above, Joll's book has too many gaps and includes material not germane to the topic. Yet, the book has interesting historical material. Since Joll included some religious movements, he could have written about Catholic monasticism and convents which, by definition, were example of peaceful anarchism. Material could have included other peaceful people such as the Mennonites and the Amish.

James E. Egolf,

April 28,2016
It is rather ironic to be discussing old time communistic working class political tendencies on a day, May Day, that celebrates the struggles of various leftist, anti- capitalist tendencies, especially Marxism and Anarchism the latter whose history is outlined in the book reviewed here, in the international working class movement. The irony is that, sadly, for all intends and purposes, in the main, the international working class movement has abandoned (at least temporarily) the struggle for socialism of any kind as part of its day to day struggles. Nonetheless, for those who seek to break out of the impasse of international capitalism a fresh look at these tendencies is warranted. I have reviewed various Marxist-oriented movements elsewhere in this space. Today Professor Joll's brief look at the history of the early anarchist movement (up to the Spanish Civil War) is a good primer for getting a handle on that political philosophy.

That there has never been a unitary working class response to capitalism and industrialization is a weakness. That there have been various left-wing tendencies fighting for political leadership of the class is not so. During most of the 20th century the great fights were between the various Marxist-oriented reformist Social Democrats and the ostensibly revolutionary Communists. However the great fights in the late 19th century were between the Marxists and anarchists of various persuasions. Those fights are extensively detailed by Professor Joll here. Given the reemergence over the past decade or various, mainly non-working class-centered, anarchist tendencies, especially of the "propaganda of the deed" variety, it is important for today's labor militants looking for some socialist political direction to learn (or learn more) about.

Professor Joll does some yeoman's work here describing the antecedents of the working class movement, especially the key trends that trace their lineage back to the 18th century French Revolution and the Enlightenment. It is the long term reaction to the failure of that revolution, the weakness of its political organization and its aborted libertarian aims to redress plebeian grievances that provided an opening to anarchist thought. Joll details the various plans, blueprints, panaceas and what not that floated thought the pre-1848 European political milieu (from Godwin to Weitling to the "Communist Manifesto") as the industrial form of organization took hold in Western society. In short, the revolutions of 1848 represented a last gasp outer limit that the bourgeoisie was willing to go to establish its rule in alliance with the working class under the sign of the French Revolution. Marx drew one conclusion from that understanding- the need to create independent working class political organization- the various anarchist trends drew others (independent communes, political withdrawal, permanent insurrection, etc.). This is where the great fight starts.

If mid-19th century Europe was a hot bed for various socialist-oriented theories those theories got hashed out through personalities as much as program. This is the age of Marx, Engels and LaSalle but also of the great anarchist thinkers Proudhon and Bakunin whose names are forever associated with the early anarchist movement, for good or ill. Those thinkers also represented, in embryo, the two great trends within anarchy that fought it out, mainly on European soil, for poltical dominance over most of the next century. If socialism has its reformist and revolutionary wings the same is true of the anarchism movement with its break between what I will call "philosophical anarchists" and "deed anarchists" that reflect the different perspectives of Proudhon and Bakunin. As with the socialist movement there is some overlap but one does not have be all that politically sophisticated to be able to distinguish between where the two lines of thought were heading.

With the defeat of the short-lived and bloodily defeated Paris Commune of 1871, an event that is commemorated with reverence in both communist and anarchist movements, although each drew different conclusions from its demise, European bourgeois society went through a period of relative stabilization with a vast expansion of the industrial enterprise. Needless to say such periods try the souls of revolutionaries, great and small. Part of this frustration worked itself out in the anarchist movement with, on the one hand, a `quietist' turn toward intellectual schemes and literary propaganda work (always appropriate, by the way) by the likes of Kropotkin, and on the other, the emergence of an individualist response by, at times, heroic anarchists committed to "propaganda by the deed".

During this period (about twenty years or so) there were some very spectacular assassinations, and attempted assassinations, of various American and European bourgeois political figures, most famously in America Alexander Berkman's (the fiery anarchist polemicist and orator Emma Goldman's companion of the time) attempt on steel magnate Ford Frick and the successful assassination of President McKinley. Also, needless to say, the wheels of bourgeois society continued working with little interruption. I would point out that the best socialists and communists have always defended such heroic, if misguided, actions by the "anarchists of the deed" while pointing out this truth- It's the system that had to go not individual representatives no matter how fitting for such actions, brothers and sisters.

If , as mentioned above, the great political battles within the international working class in the post-World War I period were between reformist socialists and revolutionary communists before that war the great fight was between various anarchist tendencies in the working class, mainly anarcho-syndicalists, and socialists. That fight reached a fever pitch around the question of defense of the Russian Revolution of 1917. In theory, at least, both anarchism and communism posit the replacement of the role of state as a "cop" with a new role as mere administrator of things (at most). The question is how to get there and how long it will take to place that possibility on the historic agenda. Here the Paris Commune experience is instructive. The anarchists, and here I admit complete solidarity with the Marxist side of the argument, apparently learned nothing from the decentralized confusion created in that revolutionary process, including the fundamental question of defense of the revolution. The Marxists, and in the case of the Russian Revolution its Bolshevik wing, took those lessons to heart and created a political/military party, worked through soviets (workers councils) and defended the revolution with a Red Army, arms in hand.

Whatever happened later in the Soviet experience and, as a supporter of the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky I find plenty to discuss, the Russian Revolution was the great test of the pre-war competing socialist political philosophies and that event split the anarchist movement, as well. Some like Victor Serge, Alfred Rosmer in Europe, "Big Bill" Haywood and some elements of the American-based Industrial Workers of The World (IWW) went over to the Communist International. Inside Russia, depending on the time, anarchist supported the revolution by going over to the Bolsheviks or, during the civil war formed independent "black flag" armies like those of Mahkno in the Ukraine that were generally pro-Soviet, or in the latter period became military opponents of the Soviet regime, most notably at Kronstadt in 1921. Professor Joll outlines the details here although one really needs to read more on this by one of the leading Russian anarchists of the time, Voline's "History of The Russian Anarchists". A mere paragraph here can only alert serious pro-labor militants to the need to work through the political differences. That the anarchist position came up short in Russia does not negate the need today to deal politically with the fringe reemergence of these tendencies. I would only add here that when the anarchists are reduced to talking about the "virtues" of Mahkno and of the Kronstadt sailors in 1921 there is something of an impediment to any fruitful discussion. But so be it.

Professor Joll's last and most important section, at least for today's militant's trying to sort through the questions of the state and revolutionary theory, is the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. In the heat of revolution and civil war all theories get thoroughly tested and it was here that the anarchist attitude toward the state, any state, floundered. Although I have discussed the key questions of the Spanish Civil War elsewhere in this space those questions have been centered on the disputes among socialists and communists and the crisis of revolutionary leadership provoked by the civil war. Needless to say, in Spain at least, no discussion is complete without discussing the role of the anarchists, the largest tendency with political authority within the working class and among the landless rural laborers.

While a full discussion is beyond the scope of this book, and of this review, to sum up the anarchist experience in a nutshell- while the anarchists tried to ignore the state the state did not ignore them. When the deal went down they supported the state- the bourgeois state at a time, in the summer of 1936, when they and no other political formation could have taken political power. And made it stick. Instead the anarchist and anarchist-influenced organizations like the FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation) and CNT (National Federation of Workers) passed the power back to the bourgeoisie (or their agents) and settled for a few (short-lived) ministerial posts. I hope I have provoked some argument here because now in the early 21st century that question of the state is again placed on the agenda for today's anarchists of the second mobilization. It is a question that will not go away for anarchists, socialists or communists alike. Read Professor Joll's book to get a primer on the historical contours of these disputes.
This book is a useful departure point for further study. Joll presents a brisk overview of the high points and major figures in anarchism from 1850 through the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s, carefully tracing communitarian, insurrectionary, and individualist strains in the movement.

But while paying lip service to anarchist ideals, Joll is dismissive of the possibility of putting them into practice, and so offers few lessons to be learned from historical efforts.
Rose Of Winds
The Anarchists by James Joll is an informative and infitely interesting book which deals with the origins and the history of the Anarchist (anti)political movements in europe and briefly in the U.S. Joll comes forth as an objective reporter on this very misunderstood ideology. At times he is critical of the movementbut does paint a fairly unbiased picture. Joll explores the variety of ideals and schools of thought which characteized the anarchist movements of the past. Joll's book would be a good read for anyone who thinks that the term anarchy refers merely to chaos or that it is an invention of the youth to scare their parents. In light of the protests which abounded in 2000 it is a great read for anyone with political curiosity or concern.
one of my all time favorite books. Is the kind of book you wilk want to keep reading over again.
The anarchists (Universal library) download epub
Politics & Government
Author: James Joll
ISBN: 0448001918
Category: Politics & Social Sciences
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Language: English
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (1966)
Pages: 303 pages