Best introductions or explanations of anarchist thought

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Scallywag
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Jun 27 2017 16:44
Best introductions or explanations of anarchist thought

What in your opinion is the best introduction to anarchism?

I am looking for something fairly short and that really gets at the anarchist ethos. Also as much as I think a class analysis is important something that really speaks to people individually about anarchism and what real freedom means I think would probably be a better way to introduce people to anarchism and get them to consider it and look further into it.

zugzwang
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Jun 28 2017 02:39

There's tons of answers to this already if you search around - don't think anything new has been published in the way of introductions. Abc's of Anarchism/What is Anarchist Communism by Berkman is probably the most well-known, a sort of point-by-point breakdown of capitalist society and the argument for libertarian communism. If you're wanting a taste of all the anarchist thinkers I'd recommend the anthology No Gods No Masters by Guerin. Anarchy: a Graphic Guide by Harper is a light read and accompanied by illustrations as the title suggests.

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Reddebrek
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Jun 28 2017 14:04

Anarchy by Malatesta is a good introduction for the completely new http://libcom.org/library/anarchy-errico-malatesta

Scallywag
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Jun 28 2017 15:12

Cheers I am not really looking for a book though, just something quick that I could share with people, although something decent.

Fluffy
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Jun 28 2017 16:12

I found 'What Is Anarchism? An Introduction' to be helpful when I started to look at anarchism. It deals with some of the misconceptions associated with the words 'anarchy' and 'anarchist' and the second half of the pamphlet is extracts from texts by Malatesta, Bakunin ect which gives ideas on where to find further information.
It is on Libcom here: https://libcom.org/library/what-anarchism-introduction
If that is too long Afed have A Short Introduction to Anarchist Communism available on their site as a downloadable pdf here;https://afed.org.uk/short-intro/

Scallywag
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Jun 30 2017 12:29

Cheers I missed the Donald Rooum anarchism introduction, although seen the AFED one before. Its good, but its aimed at people who are already thinking about anarchism. Its not ideal for sharing with people who have never heard of anarchism before and aren't particularly interested in politics and ideologies, but who you would like to have at least a basic idea of what it means, without having any intention of persuading them into anarchism. Like for example a friend or a family member.

It would have to be something short, like a blog post and its focus should primarily be on explaining the world that anarchists want and the views that we have, in other words it should explain the anarchist outlook. I think it should avoid though, going into depth on why anarchists believe this and oppose that.

Fluffy
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Jun 30 2017 16:50

Ah, this one might be more like what you're looking for; https://libcom.org/library/are-you-anarchist-answer-may-surprise-you-david-graeber
It looks like you might even be able to 'trim' it if needed.

Scallywag
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Jun 30 2017 19:31

Yeah something like that is exactly what I was looking for, thanks!

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Sike
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Jun 30 2017 21:13

I'd echo Zugzwang's suggestion of Berkman's Abc's of Anarchism/What is Anarchist Communism. Berkman wrote it primarily as introduction to the ideas of "communist-anarchism" for non-anarchists although it's certainly useful for anarchists as well.

Edmonton based anarchist publisher thoughtcrime.ink published chapters 10-18 of Berkman's Abc's of Anarchism into a concise pocket-sized (think, big pocket) book titled Reformers, Socialists and Communists: An Anarchist Critique. It's available direct from the publisher or from akpress.

silent_starling
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Sep 14 2017 17:44

I'm surprised that no one mentioned Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread since this is usually one of the first works to be suggested on Facebook and Reddit, as far as I've seen. Is Berkman's ABC's of Anarchism considered a better introduction, or perhaps more up to date? I'm also curious whether people would recommend Murray Bookchin or Robert Paul Wolff. What's everyone's opinion of these authors?

zugzwang
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Sep 14 2017 18:21
silent_starling wrote:
I'm surprised that no one mentioned Kropotkin's Conquest of Bread since this is usually one of the first works to be suggested on Facebook and Reddit, as far as I've seen. Is Berkman's ABC's of Anarchism considered a better introduction, or perhaps more up to date? I'm also curious whether people would recommend Murray Bookchin or Robert Paul Wolff. What's everyone's opinion of these authors?

CoB isn't really layperson-friendly whereas Berkman specifically wrote ABC's of Anarchism with the layperson in mind. I wouldn't recommend CoB to someone without any prior knowledge of socialist thought; there is some jargon in there and some references to the likes of Bakunin and Marx that might confuse people. ABC's of Anarchism is more up to date, as Berkman touches on the Russian Revolution, as well as the various schools of anarchist thought, mutualism for example, and why he thinks anarchist communism is the better system.

silent_starling
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Sep 21 2017 13:55
zugzwang wrote:
CoB isn't really layperson-friendly whereas Berkman specifically wrote ABC's of Anarchism with the layperson in mind. I wouldn't recommend CoB to someone without any prior knowledge of socialist thought; there is some jargon in there and some references to the likes of Bakunin and Marx that might confuse people. ABC's of Anarchism is more up to date, as Berkman touches on the Russian Revolution, as well as the various schools of anarchist thought, mutualism for example, and why he thinks anarchist communism is the better system.

Maybe I'm more familiar with socialist thought than I had thought, but my reaction to reading CoB was that it seemed too directed towards laypeople and not scholarly enough for my personal tastes. I'm thus surprised by your characterization of it as not layperson-friendly. I guess I'm just weird in what I look for in books.

I'm glad to hear that Berkman's book discusses mutualism, though. I was disappointed that Kropotkin didn't talk much about the differences between his school of anarchism and other schools, with the exception of collectivism and a few passing mentions of Proudhon. I'll have to read Berkman's book when I get the chance to.

potrokin
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Sep 21 2017 18:55

What is Anarchism?/the ABC of Anarchism by Berkman has got to be the best anarchist book I've read, Anarchy by Malatesta and the Conquest of Bread by Kropotkin are up there aswell and I really enjoyed reading those. I think what actually made me an anarchist though, is going through the Anarchist FAQ online, great stuff, really made me think.

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Serge Forward
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Sep 21 2017 19:24

Fra contadini by Malatesta is an interesting basic intro. It's a simple dialogue between two farmers.