Both of these intriguing new works take critical views of the Russian Revolution, whose centenary has just passed. Anarchist Encounters comprises an edited volume of eyewitness reports written by Spanish and Italian anarcho-syndicalists who visited Russia in the years 1920-1921 that also includes Emma Goldman’s critique of Bolshevik hegemony over the Revolution, based on the two years she spent living there. Eric Lee’s The Experiment examines the relatively unknown Georgian Democratic Republic, a three-year period of Menshevik, social-democratic governance in Russia’s southern neighbor and former colony that was crushed by the Red Army in 1921.
This book is a collection of new translations of articles by Victor Serge (1890-1947). Born of Russian anti-Tsarist exiles in Belgium, Serge is of note for his odyssey from anarchism to Bolshevism, then from Trotskyism to some kind of libertarian Marxism. He is regularly trotted out by Leninists when anarchist influence is on the rise or when Bolshevik tyranny needs to be justified, usually in regard to the crushing of the Kronstadt revolt of 1921. The lesson is clear – Serge came to recognise the limitations of anarchism so follow his lead.
Despite its limitations, Cappelletti’s work, as the introduction so aptly describes, is “groundbreaking,” if for no other reason than its ambitious scope. Anarchism in Latin America is hopefully just the beginning in a series of reflective studies, translations, and “rediscoveries” of anarchist literature and thought from throughout Latin America.
Anyone who wants evidence that anarchist geography is alive and well today need only read this book. The author, Simon Springer, is one of the most active anarchist intellectuals today. In 2016, he authored two books and edited five, mostly on anarchist themes, and he has written numerous articles, some technical, but many deeply immersed in contemporary struggles.
His lively polemic, “Fuck Neoliberalism,” has over 50,000 hits on one website alone.
What we found in this collection of reports put together by Zurbrugg, are testimonies written by anarchists who visited the USSR in the crucial years of 1920-1921, in a period in which still the majority of the anarchist movement supported the Bolsheviks, being oblivious (or in denial) of the suppression of the anarchists which started in 1918 and knowing little or nothing about the Makhnovist movement in the Ukraine. In short, these testimonies constitute a most valuable collection of encounters with the realities of an authoritarian revolution by libertarians.
Pagan Anarchism is a book that shines a light on the commonalities between Anarchism and Paganism by drawing from myth, history, and personal experience of the author. This book serves as a solid introductory for those who may have an interest in paganism/polytheism as well as classical Anarchism (anarcho-communism), and how the two are related, although the critiques within seem to be missing something.
The main contentions of the book are, on the one hand, that the Korean anarchist movement cannot be dissociated from other regional movements in East Asia, particularly in Japan and China. With these movements they were in constant contact, exchange and there was plenty of ideological and practical cross-fertilisation. He also contends, on the other hand, that Korean anarchism was never a monolithic and homogenous body, with important practical and ideological differences which can be explained to a great degree before of the localisation of anarchism in given contexts. Taking together these two main arguments, I feel the book would have been more aptly called “Korean Anarchisms”, instead of “Anarchism [as if singular] in Korea [as he deals extensively with Korean anarchists in China and Japan too]”.
While social justice activists have gotten quite good at shaming those with subtly different views from their own, all their internet crusades combined will never match what the alt-right has shown that it can do–and is more than willing to do–to its chosen enemies.
From Rhyd Wildermuth, a review of Kill All Normies, by Angela Nagle