A new anarchism emerges, 1940–1954

A new anarchism emerges, 1940–1954

A history by Andrew Cornell of the American anarchism movement from the beginning of the Second World War until the mid-1950s.

U.S. historians and political scientists writing in the 1970s explained that anarchism, as an organized political movement, had died on the battlefields of Spain, only to spring up once again, unexpectedly, in the wake of the 1968 uprisings in Paris.1 In a similar vein, Jonathon Purkis and James Bowen have recently suggested that those trying to make sense of contemporary anarchist initiatives would do well to recognize 1968 as the jumping off point for a “paradigm shift ” in anarchist politics: “[T]he events in France and beyond seemed to act as a lens for a number of emerging movements which, in addition to existing official anarchist movements, have given anarchism a new lease on life.” Th ey suggest that “the logic of many of these discourses only realized their potential in the late 1990s.”2 Certainly, to take the case of the United States, anarchism was at a low point—perhaps the lowest since its inception—from the onset of World War II in 1939 until the mid-1960s, if judged by numbers of participants, organizations, and activities. Yet this picture neglects the continuous existence of anarchist periodicals and initiatives across that twenty-five year period. Although anarchism was a tiny and marginal political current during the 1940s and 1950s, it was not at all static. Rather, anarchists spent these years developing new political analyses, strategies, and aesthetics that fundamentally shaped the forms anarchism took when it again gained wider currency in the late 1960s and the 1970s. Moreover, 1940s and 1950s anarchism influenced the civil rights movement, the 1960s counterculture, the New Left , and the women’s liberation movement in ways that historians have yet to fully understand or acknowledge.

During and after World War II, theorists drew on recent developments in social theory to broaden the anarchist critique of power beyond the movement’s traditional focus on class oppression. At the same time, they learned new techniques and conceptions of resistance from groups of radical pacifists with whom they collaborated. From this milieu arose a conception of anarchism indebted to Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy that advocated individuals focusing on living their own lives in a fashion that resembled their ideals as closely as possible. These “practical anarchists” sought to prefigure the world they hoped to live in rather than wait until after a revolution that now seemed impossibly far off .3 It was this new style of anarchism—not the classic variety that obtained before the war—that would most directly inform and inspire the movements of the 1960s. As anarchist ideas contributed to mid-century pacifism, the debates of the “New York Intellectuals,” and the nascent counterculture, these influences, in turn, shifted anarchism toward a middle-class constituency and promoted personal lifestyle change as a strategic priority.

Anarchists

The outbreak of World War II delivered a sharp blow to the small anarchist movement left in the United States at the end of the 1930s. Since 1933, the International Group of San Francisco, publishers of the monthly newspaper Man!, had promoted a form of insurrectionary anarchism that eschewed formal organizations and encouraged spontaneous uprisings of the oppressed. In 1939, Man! was forced to cease publication when its editor, Marcus Graham, and publisher, Vincenzo Ferrero, went underground to avoid the jail time and deportation threatened by federal agents as a means of suppressing their outspokenly antiwar paper. The New York City based Vanguard Group, which had advocated a syndicalist strategy of building revolutionary trade unions throughout the decade, also produced the last issue of its journal, Vanguard: A Journal of Libertarian Communism, in 1939.4The group suffered from personal feuds, disagreements over how to relate to the coming war, and hearts broken from the defeat of their comrades in the Spanish Civil War. However, beginning in 1934 the Vanguard Group had helped anarchist teenagers in Brooklyn and the Bronx (many of them children of anarchists involved with the Yiddish newspaper Freie Arbeiter Shtimme) launch youth study groups. A number of these Vanguard Juniors would play important roles in sustaining and transforming the anarchist movement in the 1940s.

In 1942, Audrey Goodfriend, a twenty-two-year-old Hunter College graduate who had been a driving force in the Bronx Vanguard Juniors, launched the newspaper Why? with her roommate, Dorothy Rogers, and a few other close friends. Rogers was an older woman with personal ties to Italian anarchists of the insurrectionary school, who published the weekly newspaper L’Adunata dei Refretarri (The Summoning of the Unruly).5Sam and Esther Dolgoff, founding members of the Vanguard Group, contributed to the first issues of Why?, which difered little in content from Vanguard. An early reviewer noted, “The political position of WHY? is anarcho-syndicalism, with emphasis on Bakunin and the CNT of Spain. Its position on the war has not been made very clear.”6A majority of the members of the Vanguard Group had sided in 1939 with Rudolf Rocker, a leading spokesperson of anarcho-syndicalism, when he urged qualified support of the allies in order to defeat the menace of fascism.7 Soon, however, Why? began printing critiques of the war and commentary questioning the possibility of bringing about an anarchist society through a violent seizure of the means of production. The Dolgoffs withdrew from the group, with Sam writing the younger radicals off as “Village anarchists” and “professional bohemians.”8 In fact, the younger members of Why? were drawing closer to the L’Adunata anarchists, who had butted heads continuously over the previous decade with the Vanguard Group and the Italian syndicalists who looked to Carlo Tresca for political direction.9 Ties between the Why? Group and L’Adunata were strengthened when Diva Agostinelli, the daughter of anarchist coal miners in Jessup, Pennsylvania, joined the Why? Group after graduating from Temple University.

Why?’s move away from the axioms of anarcho-syndicalism was also affected by its members’ analysis of the Spanish Civil War and by their encounters with the writings of the Dutch anarchist-pacifist Bart De Ligt. De Ligt was a former minister, heavily influenced by Leo Tolstoy and Peter Kropotkin, who served for a time as chair of the War Resisters International. In 1937, De Ligt published The Conquest of Violence, a book that introduced the maxim, “the more violence, the less revolution,” and laid out an ambitious plan to defeat fascism via pacifist noncooperation. After fighting in the Spanish Civil War, the individualist anarchist Brand developed a perspective similar to De Ligt. “Some of us took part in revolution under the illusion that something better might come out of it,” he said. “But through violent revolution we cannot inaugurate anarchism. Revolutions are inherently authoritarian.”10 Audrey Goodfriend of Why? recalls, “At that time, thinking about Spain and how the anarchists entered the government, and all the things that beset the anarchists in Spain, and realizing how many people had been killed, had died—I just realized that change is not going to happen through violence. That was a very pivotal thing for me.”11 Although she still believed in fundamental change, Goodfriend came to reject the idea of revolution as a singular event when radicals destroyed the state and implemented a new society immediately.

Audrey’s antiwar position was seconded by Why? Group member David Thoreau Wieck. After dabbling with the Communist Party in his early teens, Wieck participated in the Vanguard Juniors study group that Goodfriend had helped organize in the Bronx. He recalls, “It wasn’t by reading Thoreau that I was persuaded to anarchism; it was Kropotkin and Emma Goldman whose lives were an effort to save the world from itself.”12 Wieck attended Columbia University, receiving a bachelors degree in philosophy in 1941, and contributed articles under a variety of pen names to early issues of Why?.13 When the United States entered the war, Wieck applied for conscientious objector (CO) status, writing the draft board, “I am conscientiously opposed to participation in any war in which it is necessary, for the successful prosecution of the war, to compel men to fight and to centralize society so that the evils whose eradication is the aim of the war, become an internal menace to the home country.” The fear that efforts to combat totalitarian regimes were making the United States itself increasingly totalitarian was widely held on the libertarian left throughout the decade. The judge found that “the Registrant’s views are of an economic and political, rather than a religious nature,” and denied his application.14 Wieck refused induction and skipped town, making it to New Orleans before he was turned over to the FBI in February 1943 by local police who had arrested him for violating a local “vagrancy, loitering” ordinance.15 He was given a three-year sentence in the Federal Penitentiary at Danbury, Connecticut.16

Meanwhile, Why? was joined by Retort, another new anarchist periodical. Styling itself “a journal of art and social philosophy,” Retort was issued quarterly by editor Holley Cantine and his partner, Dorothy Paul, from a small cabin they had built in Bearsville, New York, just outside of Woodstock. Cantine took pride in hand-setting, printing, and binding Retort rather than having it produced in a commercial print shop. He saw his efforts as promoting the merits of small-scale artisanal production, and a rejection of the spread of automation and mass production. Unlike Goodfriend and Wieck, Cantine came from wealth. His maternal grandfather served as the first president of Panama and later as Ambassador to the United States, and his paternal grandfather owned factories near Saugerties, New York. Although he had not participated in anarchist circles like the members of the Vanguard Juniors, Cantine spent his childhood in Woodstock, a flourishing left -wing artistic community in the 1920s.17 He attended Swarthmore College and Columbia University, concentrating in anthropology, but abandoned the academy before completing a doctoral dissertation in order to live a self-sufficient “Thoreauian” life.

“Since all free societies have always been artistic societies,” Cantine sought to intersperse original political thought with formally and politically provocative poetry and fiction in each issue of Retort. Although Retort served as an early outlet for a variety of respected literary figures—Kenneth Patchen, Saul Bellow, and Robert Duncan among them—the journal’s most notable nonfiction pieces came from the editor himself. Beginning with its first editorial, Retort marked a departure from the left -wing politics (including much of the anarchism) of the previous decades. Despite their longstanding feuds, anarchists oft en shared with orthodox Marxist-Leninists certain fundamental assumptions: the struggle between economic classes formed the basis of the revolutionary project; a materialist viewpoint provided the conceptual tools radicals needed to make sense of the world; revolution was an inevitability in the progressive march of history; when revolution occurred, it would be at the hands of masses of workers—organized or inspired by self-conscious radicals—who would dispense with the old and initiate new institutions in one fell swoop. Retort boldly set itself against all these positions from the outset. “We enter the arena with few, if any illusions and no certainty that our cause will be victorious. Overconfidence is one of the few weaknesses that our opponents cannot accuse us of,” Cantine acidly admitted.18 As one verity of the left after another was proven false in the twentieth century, he had seen most radicals either grow despondent or retreat into a delusional sectarianism. “However,” the editor asserted, “we cannot persuade ourselves that an absolutism which claims that success is impossible is any more reasonable than the old absolutism of inevitable success.”19

The task of committed intellectuals, then, was to propose tenets of a new radicalism at the same time they thoroughly debunked the old. Cantine could see that “human motivation is more complex than the theorists of the last century realized.”20 He hoped that applying the insights offered by the sciences of psychology and anthropology—disciplines he had studied at Columbia University—to the social crisis of the contemporary world would help leftists develop a more accurate understanding of human nature and new strategic directions. Making good on his word, Cantine drew on Sigmund Freud to understand why ordinary people, instead of acting for themselves, continued to place their faith in revolutionary leaders, despite so many betrayals.21 In Retort’s second issue, he delved into anthropological accounts of early societies to conceptualize the origins of the multiple forms of oppression existing in the world. “Social stratification is deeply rooted in human society,” Cantine wrote, “and can take a number of different forms—all of them inimical to the establishment of a really free and stable social order. Therefore, before a decent society could be brought into existence, all factors—political, economic, religious—that make it possible for a minority to rise to a position of predominance must be eliminated.”22

Cantine also acknowledged that “[t]he problem of achieving a decent society is vastly more complex and roundabout than the 19th century imagined.”23 This very complexity convinced him that radicals must select the means for attaining their goals “with great care.” The Russian Revolution had proven that “the mere overthrow of a decadent ruling class is but an incident in the real revolution . . . Indeed, it may be the prelude to a worse reaction than before.” The instrumentalist means enacted by earlier militants needed to be carefully parsed, given the degree to which they were implicated in the further oppression of those they promised to liberate. “In the name of a vague and distant future of Triumphant Socialism the worst exploitation and persecution have been condoned,” he wrote.24 No future movement could, then, be considered revolutionary if it sacrificed the lives of individual humans for the promotion of an abstract system.

Cantine’s reading of history led him to eschew “placing very much reliance in benevolent leadership,” since leaders of previous revolutions had either divided against themselves or grown detached with privilege and power from the people they claimed to represent, undermining the goals originally fought for.25

Furthermore, the editor argued, “It is the radical movement’s present-day emphasis on politics—the idea of achieving control of the government, either by election or insurrection—that is perhaps the greatest single reason why the movement is so thoroughly stratified. An organization which is oriented toward political action, which expects to achieve its goal by taking over the state, must be highly centralized, and dominated by a hierarchy of trained specialists.”26 Against political action aiming to influence or control the state, Cantine believed that another orientation was possible:

Since both violent revolution and parliamentary activity seem to lead away from the realization of fundamental liberty, a realistic radical movement should concern itself with building up a nucleus of the new society “within the shell of the old.” Communities and various other kinds of organization must be formed, wherein the ideals of the revolution are approximated as nearly as possible in daily life. Th e new society must be lived out by its advocates; both as a way of influencing the masses by example, and in order to iron out weaknesses of theory by actual experiment.27

Retort’s editor claimed no credit in originating such an idea of radical politics. “This tradition,” he noted, “found probably its clearest expression in the writings of Thoreau and Tolstoi . . . and today provides the driving impulse for most conscientious objectors . . . It is present, at least by implication, in the writings of Eugene Debs and nearly all anarchist thinkers.”28 Retort and Why? grew to see each other as kindred spirits that differed mainly in emphasis—Why? ran shorter, newsy items, whereas Retort interspersed long theoretical considerations with poetry and fiction. The periodicals printed reviews and advertisements for each other’s publications in their pages, and the editors took trips to visit one another. The editors of both publications likewise found a kinship in Dwight MacDonald’s Politics. One of the most capable writers of the period, MacDonald played a central role in the debates of the “New York Intellectuals”—writers who had come of age within the Communist and Trotskyist movements but grappled for new political foundations as the depredations of the Stalinist regime became more glaring. Politics published some of the leading European leftist intellectuals of the period, including Hannah Arendt, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone Weil.29

By the mid-1940s, MacDonald’s own politics gravitated toward an anarchist-pacifism similar to that being developed by Retort, Why?, and British “literary anarchists” such as Herbert Read and Alex Comfort, who contributed to the quarterly journal Now. MacDonald was an occasional speaker at the weekly political forums the Why? Group began hosting at a hall maintained by Spanish anarchists just south of Union Square in Manhattan. The forums featured many notable figures, including the chair of the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, A. J. Muste, the council communist Paul Mattick, and the writer James Baldwin, who debuted selections from Go Tell It on the Mountain.30 Another regular at the Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista (SIA) Hall was the novelist and essayist Paul Goodman. A Bronx-raised and University of Chicago–educated polymath, Goodman would become famous in the 1960s as the author of Growing Up Absurd and as a mentor to the New Left. Why? contributor David Koven remembers that Goodman “was the ferment within the Resistance Group [as the Why? Group was known after 1947] that made our meetings the most vital and exciting in New York. He introduced us to . . . the contemporary world of psychology and sociology.”31 During the spring of 1945, Goodman wrote a series of essays that would prove to be his most significant contributions to anarchist theory. Though later issued jointly as The May Pamphlet, the material was originally published in Retort, Why?, and Politics. Goodman shared a good deal in common with Cantine’s perspective. “A free society,” he wrote, “cannot be the substituting of a ‘new order’ for the old order; it is the extension of spheres of free action until they make up most of the social life.” Goodman then posited a simple maxim: “Free action is to live in the present society as though it were a natural society.”32 Ties among Why?, Retort and Politics were personal as well as intellectual. After splitting with Dorothy Paul, Cantine met his next love, Dachine Rainer, during a visit to the Politics office, where she was working as an assistant to MacDonald.33 Rainer, born Sylvia Newman in 1921, was the daughter of leftist Polish Jews. Having read Tolstoy and Kropotkin as a teenager, she already counted herself an anarchist-pacifist by the time she enrolled at Hunter College, on scholarship, in 1938.34 After an awkward courtship, she returned with Cantine to Bearsville and became co-editor of Retort.

Radical Pacifists

Because of his arrest, David Wieck missed the early Why? Group forums and the new ideas and friendships that grew out of them. However, upon arrival, he was happy to discover that Danbury Federal Penitentiary had been designated as one of the East Coast centers for incarcerating war resisters. In a letter home, he insisted that his mother “quit worrying” because “the physical side is abundantly cared for” and he had met “several COs in quarantine [the section of the prison for new inmates] who are decidedly good and interesting company.”35 Wieck’s new companions were some of the nearly 6,000 conscientious objectors and war resisters imprisoned or sent to Civilian Pubic Service (CPS) camps during the Second World War. As historian James Tracy explains, “Of these, 4,300 were Jehovah’s Witnesses with little or no political agenda . . . The remaining seventeen hundred, however, constituted the most militant distinct group of pacifists in the country.”36 In 1941, Danbury had housed the Union Eight—a group of young pacifists who had created Gandhi-style ashrams in Harlem and Newark, New Jersey, while studying at New York’s prestigious Union Theological Seminary. After refusing to register for a draft exemption provided to clergy, members of the Union Eight—most notably George Houser and David Dellinger—had demonstrated their refusal to bend willingly to the prison’s arbitrary procedures and racial segregation, earning themselves long stays in solitary confinement, but also the grudging respect of fellow inmates.37

Shortly after Wieck arrived, Danbury COs launched a successful strike against racial segregation in the prison. Wieck took part in the four-month strike—refusing to work, to take his allotted time in the yard, or to eat meals in the segregated cafeteria. Through the strike he befriended a number of young men, including Jim Peck and Ralph DiGia, who would play important roles in radical pacifist organizations such as the War Resisters League upon their release. He also met Lowell Naeve, an anarchist painter who collaborated with Wieck on writing projects about their prison experiences after they were released. The Danbury strike set off a wave of similar actions in prisons and CO camps across the country. Besides successfully forcing the desegregation and liberalizing the polices of federal penitentiaries, the wave of nonviolent direct action united the radical pacifists and prompted them to discuss the potential for a broad movement of “revolutionary nonviolence” against war, racism, and economic inequality in the United States.38 Imprisonment also lead the dissenters to modify their beliefs. Wieck later wrote, “I did not go to prison as a pacifist but rather as an objector to war and conscription. (I take words seriously.) It was in prison that I learned the methods of nonviolence. If I didn’t dislike hyphenations I would characterize myself as an anarchist-pacifist.”39 In turn, the influence of prisoners such as Wieck and Naeve helped move other COs and pacifists in the direction of anarchism. Anarchists outside the prison walls also had a salutary effect.

Although members of the Why? Group had considerable differences of opinion with religiously motivated radicals, they recognized them as some of the only allies available during the war and found ways of working together. Audrey Goodfriend remembers that the Why? Group “would do street corner meetings, stuff like that. There was one time we were scared shitless that we would be hurt because we were near Hell’s Kitchen and a bunch of Catholics were coming out. But the Catholic Worker was antiwar and we were having meetings with all groups of people like that—War Resisters League, Catholic Worker—and so we were safe! These kids came out and saw a Catholic paper and they backed off !”40 Catholic Worker politics combined the French Catholic tradition of personalism with the teachings of Tolstoy and Kropotkin. Personalist doctrine asserted that “persons were not subservient to the political community; they were ends in themselves, and the preservation and growth of whole persons was the central purpose of the political community.”41 Save for its religious basis, personalism had clear affinities with the anarchism being developed in the 1940s.42 This small coalition also jointly picketed Danbury prison in February of 1946 alongside parents of COs who remained incarcerated after the armistice. After the war, Why? raised funds to mail packages of food and clothing to European anarchists left destitute by the war. When they discovered regulations severely limited what they could send, they picketed the Post Office.43

In the 1940s the gregarious anarchist Ammon Hennacy devoted considerable energy to bridging the Catholic Worker movement with the anarchist movement proper. Hennacy was a member of the Socialist Party when World War I broke out and refused to enlist because of his belief in working class internationalism. He was imprisoned for two years at the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary where he met Alexander Berkman, serving his own term for counseling draft resistance. Shortly after Berkman converted the midwesterner to anarchism, Hennacy was thrown in solitary confinement with nothing but a Bible to occupy him. He was released a self-declared “Christian Anarchist,” believing Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” to be the “most revolutionary statement ever written.”44 During the Second World War, Hennacy picketed the nearest Federal Building daily and wrote a letter each year to the IRS declaring his refusal to pay taxes during a time of war. He became the distributor of Why? and Retort in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and urged other anarchists and pacifists to be as outspoken as himself and to bravely accept the consequences.

Although Hennacy’s enthusiasm for bold acts of resistance was infectious, he also exemplified some problematic aspects that could arise if the emerging new anarchist sensibility was taken too narrowly. Hennacy exalted the rebellious initiatives of individuals to the exclusion of collective action. Like the Italian insurrectionists of earlier years, he distrusted organizations and disregarded the power of collective action by workers or any other group. In 1948, for example, he wrote to the editors of Retort:

There is another matter on which I expect we agree, that is that we do not suffer from the illusion that what we say or write will move the masses. [Fred] Thompson of the Wobblie paper [The Industrial Worker] recently wrote me that great numbers of workers were wise to this system but were unorganized. I don’t believe it, and even if they were organized that would likely spoil them into some party line that would limit their growth. You two living on the land, approximating the simple life (even with Holley’s wine and tobacco) and myself doing productive work and denying the tax man and the other war mongering bastards have an influence much greater than thousands of voters and union members who gain 2 penny victories but are bound to the same capitalist wheel of misery.45

As one of the few antiwar periodicals being circulated, Retort made a considerable impact in the WWII conscientious objector camps and penitentiaries. After his release, West Coast CO Paul Lieber Adams wrote to Cantine:

When I was in CPS camp from January to Th anksgiving, 1944, I liked Retort very much. As you can guess, most of the men in those labor camps who could be considered politicized at all are men in the libertarian socialist position. Even in the backwoods camp to which I was assigned there were some philosophical anarchists and many younger fellows who have gone down the line from CP membership to sympathy with the IWW and the SP. Retort is a good influence for such people.46

Another CO who found intellectual sustenance in Retort was David Dellinger. Born in 1915 to a patrician New England family, Dellinger began developing a radical egalitarian worldview after being introduced to the Gandhian movement for Indian independence by leaders of a Social Gospel Christian organization at Yale University. After experiencing the Spanish Civil War first-hand and running messages between dissidents in Nazi Germany, he returned to the United States and was a leading force in establishing the Harlem and Newark Ashrams. After serving a year in Danbury Prison as one of the Union Eight, Dellinger founded the People’s Peace Now campaign, and was sent to Lewisburg Penitentiary in Pennsylvania as a recidivist war resister.47

In October, 1944, Dellinger wrote to Holley Cantine, “Dwight MacDonald performs an excellent service in Politics. So do you in Retort.”48 During his months of incarceration, Dellinger had grown increasingly critical of the structure of the Socialist Party and the insularity of the peace organizations to which he had previously belonged. Like Cantine, he felt that “we must develop a new ideology and methodology if we are to keep alive.”49 Yet, in a February 1945 letter, Dellinger challenged what he perceived to be over-corrections in the developing analysis of figures such as Cantine and Hennacy. He believed there were alternatives to abandoning political organizations and campaigns to confront oppressive institutions wholesale.

I think that some kind of communal associations—from each . . . ability, to each . . . needs [sic]; and, so far as possible with a non-monetary scale of values—is a great help toward avoiding the pit-falls of intellectualism and professional radicalism without being exhausted by “the life of a worker.” . . . I think a revolutionary organization should operate somewhat similarly. Its full-time workers should be men who have left their other work for 6 months, a year, or so, and will return to it again. I think this would increase the value of this work as well as avoiding some of the problems of a centralized “leadership” that tends to become sterile, self-perpetuating and conservative . . . Not only would their [the leaders’] effectiveness be increased, but others would be developed who are now kept undeveloped or are alienated.50

In the early 1960s, some leaders of the black freedom struggle, notably Ella Baker, would concur with Dellinger that the mark of a good leader was his or her willingness and ability to develop leadership capacities in others.51

Dellinger’s letters to Cantine demonstrate that by the mid-1940s, anarchism played a formative role in his thinking and that Dellinger saw the anarchist Cantine as a potential collaborator in the political work he planned to do upon release. “Naturally I have read quite a lot of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Kropotkin, Ligt, and Trotsky,” Dellinger explained in one letter, but he asked Cantine to suggest other relevant political theory for him to delve into.52 After receiving his release date, Dellinger wrote Cantine that he was eager to meet in person so that they might discuss in more detail “the kind of left -wing libertarian socialist movement in which we are both interested.” As his biographer, Andrew Hunt, asserts, “once a Christian socialist, Dellinger had evolved into a secular anarchist in Lewisburg.”53

Upon his release from Lewisburg in April 1945, Dellinger drew on the network of anarchists, writers, and pacifists that had developed during the war to get his life together.54 When the housing situation Dellinger and his wife Elizabeth Peterson had arranged didn’t work out, Dellinger called upon his friend—and the namesake of his first child—Kenneth Patchen. Patchen and his wife arranged for the Dellingers to share a property with them in Mount Pleasant, New York, near Woodstock. In his autobiography, Dellinger recalls:

On the first or second weekend, Betty and I walked about ten miles to visit Holley Cantine, an anarchist who, doing his own printing, published a small magazine that I liked, Retort. It was in Retort that I had first read one of Kenneth Patchen’s poems, aft er my first release from prison and just before he showed up at a meeting at which Paul Goodman and I were speaking.

Holley informed Dellinger that a local writer had a printing press for sale and helped arrange for him to purchase it.55 With press in hand, Dellinger and his CO comrades Bill Kuenning, Ralph DiGia, and Roy Kepler wrote and printed the first issue of a new militant pacifist journal, Direct Action. The journal’s most powerful and historically significant article was a “Declaration of War” penned by Dellinger in the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Japan:

The “way of life” that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . is international and dominates every nation of the world . . . With this “way of life” (“death” would be more appropriate) there can be no truce nor quarter. . . . It must be total war against the infamous economic, political and social system which is dominant in this country . . . The enemy is every institution which denies full social and economic equality to anyone. The enemy is personal indifference to the consequences of acts performed by the institutions of which we are a part . . . There is no solution short of all-out war. But there must be one major difference between our war and the war that has just ended . . . The war for total brotherhood must be a nonviolent war carried on by methods worthy of the ideas we seek to serve . . . There must be strikes, sabotage and seizure of public property now being held by private owners. There must be civil disobedience of laws which are contrary to human welfare. But there must be also an uncompromising practice of treating everyone, including the worst of our opponents, with all the respect and decency that he merits as a fellow human being . . . Every act we perform today must reflect the kind of human relationships we are fighting to establish tomorrow.56

The editors of Direct Action intended for it to become the mouthpiece of the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution (CNVR), a nationwide radical pacifist organization that they helped to found later in February 1946. The CNVR organized pickets in New York, produced position papers, and held a second conference, but never achieved the momentum Dellinger, DiGia, and others hoped it would. Besides lacking sufficient resources, Andrew Hunt argues, “the CNVR’s inflammatory rhetoric and anarchical politics alienated more moderate pacifists such as A. J. Muste and Abe Kauffman. The political landscape of cold-war America simply would not accommodate ultraradical sects like the CNVR.”57 Though Direct Action and the CNVR both sputtered out by 1948, Dellinger and his closest collaborators—men like DiGia and Bill Sutherland, a black radical pacifist who grew along with Dellinger to embrace anarchism—worked tirelessly to replace them with more effective organs. They edited or contributed to papers such as Alternative and Individual Action, radicalized the War Resisters League, and built new pacifist organizations such as The Peacemakers and the Committee for Nonviolent Action.58

In 1947, the Dellingers realized David’s dream of creating an intentional community of radical pacifists. Together with three other COs and their families, they collectively purchased a twenty-acre farm in northwestern New Jersey, built additional houses, and named it the Glen Gardner World Citizens Community, after the nearest town. Soon the print shop was moved to Glen Gardner and established as Libertarian Press: A Worker’s Cooperative. Dellinger and his business partner, anarchist CO Igal Roodenko, produced leaflets, periodicals, and books for movement organizations but also secured enough commercial contracts to provide a steady, if modest, income for their families and the community as a whole.

Dellinger had been free for nearly a year when David Wieck was released from prison in May of 1946. Wieck quickly gravitated back to the Why? Group, where he met and began a romance with Diva Agostinelli, who had joined the group after Wieck had been arrested. Later he wrote, “After jail I encountered all the new ideas—new to me anyway—that were being talked about at SIA hall and informally within the group.”59 In 1947, the Why? Group decided to change the paper’s name (as well as the group’s) to Resistance. After his return to New York, Wieck took on increasing responsibilities for the production of the paper, assuming editorship in all but name. Beginning with the first issue, Resistance devoted considerable space to chronicling and promoting the activities of radical pacifists, especially their expanding efforts to subvert Jim Crow segregation in the U.S. South.

The interconnections among anarchists, radical pacifists, and the nascent civil rights movement in the late 1940s can be glimpsed in a leaflet announcing a “public rally against conscription” issued in 1946 or 1947. Chaired by Direct Action editor Roy Kepler, the program included speeches by Wieck and Goodfriend of Resistance, as well as by Dellinger and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) national organizer Bayard Rustin. Bill Sutherland provided entertainment alongside Rustin.60

Proto-Beats

Less apparent from an event such as the anticonscription rally were the ways in which anarchist and radical pacifist circles were also imbricated in the avant-garde literary scene of the 1940s and early 1950s. The first poem Retort printed was a paeon to Emma Goldman and her determined antiwar stand by Kenneth Rexroth. By the early 1940s, Rexroth had made a name for himself as an avant-garde poet and as a fixture of San Francisco’s bohemian community of radical artists. He grew up in Chicago, educating himself about art and politics as a regular of such 1920s haunts as the soapboxing hub Bughouse Square, where his “favorite people were the anarchist and former IWW freelance soapboxers,” and at the Green Lantern and the Dil Pickle Club—cafes featuring performances of the latest in jazz and modern writing.61 Rexroth expressed considerable affinity toward the political vision Cantine was carving out in his essays and editorial decisions. “From the looks of Retort #3,” he wrote, “you are out for another synthesis, Kropotkin, Rosa [Luxemburg], Geo[rge] Fox—which is pretty much my point of view too.”62 Rexroth ordered copies of Retort, Why?, and Politics in bulk and distributed them among writers and released conscientious objectors in the Bay Area. By 1946 he could brag, “We seem to have got together a very healthy little ‘Circle.’ The first English speaking one since [Alexander] Berkman was out here.” With its focus on artistic self-expression, Rexroth assumed that his group departed in certain respects from its East Coast counterparts. “Our bunch,” he wrote Rainer in 1946, “are not precisely up the same anarchistic alley—I think we are Neo-de Cleyreans—it’s a trifle orgiastic and apocalyptic out here. In theory of course, no impurities. But lots of [Wilhem] Reich and [D. H.] Lawrence and not so much of that fine rational air of Condorcet or whoever it is you read.”63

In April 1947, Rexroth’s circle gained national notoriety when Harper’s Magazine published an expose of the “New Cult of Sex and Anarchy” that had grown rapidly on the streets of San Francisco and the beaches of Carmel since the war had ended.64 Novelist Henry Miller had drawn young artists to the Big Sur area since 1943, and Rexroth served as a similar pole of attraction. “Around him, as around Miller,” wrote Brady, “there collected a group of young intellectuals and writers who met weekly in self-education sessions, reading the journals of the English anarchists, studying the old-line anarchist philosophers like Kropotkin, and leavening the politics liberally with psychoanalytic interpretations from Reich.”65 In the mid-1940s, San Francisco was still home to a small grouping of aging Italian anarchists who, in the 1930s, had supported the English-language monthly newspaper Man!. Calling themselves “the Libertarians,” they maintained their sense of community by hosting regular socials and fundraising events for L’Adunata dei Refretarri. Brady condescendingly noted Rexroth’s attempts to build bridges with this group across the language and generation gap. “At meetings of the Libertarians, today, you will be apt to find young intellectuals sprinkled among the mustachioed papas and bosomed mamas who, until recently, had no such high-toned cooperation.”66

The group released the first issue of its literary magazine, The Ark, in the spring of 1947. It featured poetry by established writers such as e.e. cummings, Duncan, and Goodman, as well as by rising stars Phillip Lamantia and William Everson.67 Ammon Hennacy and Canadian author George Woodcock contributed essays about their visions of anarchism, while The Ark’s editorial statement clearly announced its personalist credo. “In direct opposition to the debasement of human values made flauntingly evident by the war,” the editors wrote, “there is rising among writers in America, as elsewhere, a social consciousness which recognizes the integrity of the personality as the most substantial and considerable of values.”68 For many of the young anarchists of the Bay Area, art wasn’t a mere supplement to, or aspect of, political struggle, but was its highest form. Rexroth expressed this view bluntly (and in his typical hyperbolic style) when he wrote to editors of Retort, “As for Patchen, Everson, Goodman, Miller, Duncan, myself and a few others—Lamantia for instance for the past year—we are the freedom you are fighting for. Frankly, I think one poem by Kenneth Patchen worth all the possible theoretical journal articles that ever have been and ever will be published—and I don’t think Patchen the greatest poet.”69

Rexroth’s sensibility, shared by the majority of his acolytes, represented a more artistically minded gloss on Cantine’s injunction to create communities wherein “the ideals of the revolution are approximated as nearly as possible in daily life.” Surrounded by what they saw as world of war—and mass apathy toward war—they felt their only option was to subtract themselves from that world, and to dedicate their own lives to the promotion of beauty, creativity, and other positive values. Th roughout the next decade, members of this libertarian art scene established cultural institutions such as the Coexistence Bagel Shop and the City Lights bookstore that served to incubate the reputations of writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlenghetti, and Gary Snyder, as well as the Beat Generation subculture they inspired.

Although the editors of Resistance wrote letters and visited with their West Coast counterparts regularly, they struggled to articulate a vision of anarchist politics that could balance the joy of free personal expression with the responsibility of working to dismantle oppressive social structures. At the end of 1948, Wieck penned an essay that the Resistance editorial committee adopted as a statement of its position. “Anarchism” synthesized many of the new ideas that had been percolating in Cantine’s Retort editorials, Goodman’s May Pamphlet, Dellinger’s “Declaration of War,” and Dwight MacDonald’s seminal essay, “The Root is Man.” With the goals and values of the anarchist tradition, the Resistance Group was “in complete agreement.” Yet it expressed grave doubts about the traditional methods anarchists had employed to reach their goals. The group rejected an economistic view of humanity’s oppression, the teleological view of history, and the old belief that the majority of people were becoming increasingly immiserated and, therefore, radical. “The mass of the people is increasingly indifferent to radical ideas—indifferent even to thinking,” the essay tartly asserted. Therefore it was incumbent upon anarchists to recognize:

The revolution is not imminent, and it is senseless to expend our lives in patient waiting or faithful dreams: senseless because the revolution of the future requires active preparation: not the preparation of conspiracy and storing of arms, but the preparation of undermining the institutions and habits of thought and action that inhibit release of the natural powers of men and women . . . The revolution as a “final conflict” exploding out of the condition of man is an illusion; revolutionary growth is necessarily the hard-won learning and practice of freedom.70

“Anarchism” went beyond similar statements of the 1940s to suggest a number of practical steps the movement could take. First, it recognized the importance of winning “concrete victories” and “improving existing conditions”— that is, reform struggles. To this end, the statement suggested that direct action campaigns should be prioritized in the workplace and against militarism and racism. Secondly, the anarchist movement should serve as a sphere of freedom where “people can find a refuge of sanity and health” and “learn in practice what anarchism and an anarchist society are.”71 Finally, the statement suggested that anarchists should refocus on education. More than newspapers and forums, however, they needed to place significantly more emphasis on relationships within the family: “We believe the present state of ‘human nature’ is largely responsible for the present state of human society, and that this ‘human nature’ is formed in the early part of life when the family and morality and discipline (and not economic or political institutions) are the dominant facts in the life of the individual.”72 Clearly, shades of feminist consciousness and post-structuralist thinking, both of which informed anarchism in the 1970s, were beginning to emerge.73

Conclusion

Despite its exciting intellectual ferment, the new anarchist sensibility developing in the 1940s and early 1950s did not take root at that time as an avowedly anarchist movement of any considerable size or influence. When it became clear that their ideas would remain marginalized, and that funding their publications would remain a burden, the main contributors moved on from the anarchist press to a variety of new projects and callings. Resistance published its final issue in 1954. Afterward, Audrey Goodfriend and David Koven started a libertarian educational center—the Walden School—in Berkeley, California, and helped former COs from Rexroth’s circle to establish the Pacifica radio network. David Wieck became a professor of philosophy and contributed articles to David Dellinger’s Liberation until the mid-1960s, when the two men had a falling out over the Cuban Revolution. After Retort ceased publication, Cantine wrote radical science fiction stories and translated the Russian anarchist Voline’s multivolume account of the degeneration of the Russian revolution. As these writers focused primarily on the “education” and “anarchist culture” planks of the Resistance program, Dellinger, DiGia, Sutherland, and other pacifists maintained the “direct action” component. Over the next decades they relentlessly organized campaigns against U.S. militarism, nuclear weapons, and Jim Crow segregation. Along with less anarchist-minded leaders of CORE, they served as respected mentors to young organizers involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Students for a Democratic Society, and other emerging organizations of the 1960s New Left . If these two areas of concentration—the Beat Generation and the Civil Rights Movement, or more broadly, artistic counterculture and campaigns of organized resistance—remained at arms length during the 1950s and early ’60s, they reunited with a fury in 1968.

The developments in anarchist thought and activity that emerged during and immediately after World War II have had a defining impact on anarchism, as well as the broader Left , ever since. The shift of critique from class to “social domination” writ large, the focus on prefiguring the world one desires to live in, the creation of artistic subcultures in opposition to alienating consumer culture, and (after the momentum of 1968 was rolled back) the recognition that revolution is neither imminent nor a singular event, have all been integral to the “paradigm shift ” Purkis and Bowen announce. At the same time, the evolution of anarchism from an ideology that appealed primarily to working-class immigrants to one whose base, at least in the industrial countries of the Global North, is alienated middle-class youth, is more comprehensible when the mid-century period is included in the narrative. Key figures of this period—Wieck, Goodfriend, Agostinelli, and Goodman among them—benefitted from the expansion of federal support for higher education in the 1930s and 1940s to become the first members of their working-class families to attend college. That experience helped expose them to the worlds of literature, psychology, anthropology, and other disciplines. Federal repression of war resisters ironically served to introduce these working-class radicals to pacifists from more affluent backgrounds who had arrived at an anarchist position more from their opposition to violence than their opposition to class exploitation. These personal paths combined with the new anarchism’s deemphasizing of labor organizing to shift the demographic and cultural norms of anarchism away from the working class.

Th e mid-century period has bestowed a mixed and complicated legacy on the liberation movements that have succeeded it. Anarchists took a leap forward by incorporating twentieth-century social theory into their critical framework, by actively supporting freedom struggles of people of color, and by expanding their estimation of just how many aspects of a new world could be prefigured inside the shell of the old. The milieu’s commitment to gender equality, for example, was uneven but an improvement over that of the previous generation of U.S. anarchists. Men continued to dominate the front lines of direct action and to produce the most respected theoretical writings, but women took on prominent roles editing and contributing to publications. Participants worked to incorporate an understanding of sexuality into their critiques of power while making conscious efforts to challenge traditional gender roles in their personal lives.

Yet the anarchism of the 1940s also became divorced from its traditional working-class base. The ideology was upwardly mobile along with the few young people who worked to maintain it during these difficult years. Because of conservative tendencies in the leadership of the labor movement and the perceived acquiescence of working people in the face of expanded postwar consumer opportunities, anarchists largely gave up hope in the working class as a collective agent of change. They weren’t able to muster the long-range vision needed to anticipate later shifts in capitalist development that would again leave workers in precarious conditions that compelled them to fight back more forcefully. Anarchists of the period were also ambivalent about organizing. This stemmed partially from concerns—born of recent historical events—about recreating hierarchies and delegating power to leaders that could then be turned against the movement itself. But their resistance to organizing also resulted from the promotion, by some participants, of artistic expression and the maintenance of resistant lifestyles as the highest form of activity in which social rebels could engage.

The writers and activists of the 1940s and early 1950s adapted the anarchist tradition to the historical circumstances in which they found themselves. By doing so they were able to keep the libertarian socialist current alive during a period of total war, McCarthyism, and declining labor movement militancy. Because of their efforts, when struggles for what Holley Cantine termed “a truly free and equal social order” once again found a much larger constituency in the late 1960s and afterward, the tenets of this new anarchism—with their concomitant strengths and weaknesses—formed the basis of one important tendency animating radical political activity in the United States and abroad; they continue to provide inspiration and to provoke debate amongst activists and organizers in a wide range of social movements to the present day.74

Originally appeared in Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 5:1, Spring 2011, published by Michigan State University Press.

  • 1. For example, Terry Perlin introduced his volume on “contemporary anarchism” with the claim, “The anarchist challenge to authority and the anarchist promise of freedom and peace did not die with [Alexander] Berkman. It resurfaced, in America and Europe, during the 1960s and early 1970s.” Terry Perlin, ed. Contemporary Anarchism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1979), n.p. Alix Kates Shulman likewise explains, “Until somewhere toward the end of the 1960s, anarchism and feminism seemed irrelevant anachronisms to most Americans . . . Now, as everyone knows, things have changed.” Alix Kates Shulman, ed, Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches by Emma Goldman (New York: Random House, 1972), 1.
  • 2. Jonathon Purkis and James Bowen, “Introduction,” in Changing Anarchism: Anarchist Theory and Practice in a Global Age, ed. Jonathon Purkis and James Bowen (Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2004), 5.
  • 3. For the concept of prefigurative politics, see Wini Breines, Community and Organization in the New Left , 1962–1968: Th e Great Refusal (New Brunswick, NY: Rutgers University Press, 1989); Francesca Polletta, Freedom is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2002).
  • 4. For a comparison of insurrectionist versus syndicalist or “mass” approaches to anarchism, see Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2009).
  • 5. Goodfriend had met Rogers when she and another female member of the Vanguard Group hitchhiked to Toronto to hear Emma Goldman lecture there in 1938. The New Yorkers stayed with Attillio “Art” Bortolotti, a veteran antifascist organizer and staple of the Italian anarchist community. Bortolotti rented a room to Rogers, who served as Goldman’s chauff eur throughout her visit. When Rogers decided to relocate to New York, she invited Goodfriend to share an apartment with her. Author interview with Audrey Goodfriend, 10 November 2008.
  • 6. Holley Cantine, “Book Reviews,” Retort (June 1942): 54.
  • 7. See Abe Bluestein Oral History, Abe Bluestein Papers, Labadie Collection, University of Michigan; Sam Dolgoff , Fragments: A Memoir (Cambridge, UK: Refract Publications, 1986), 71.
  • 8. Sam and Esther Dolgoff Interview, 1975, compact disc, Labadie Collection. In the decade before World War I, the most respected anarchists of the day—figures including Emma Goldman, Carlo Tresca, and Hippolyte Havel—collaborated and formed close friendships with writers, artists, dancers, and other habitués of Greenwich Village. These associations worked to broaden the anarchist agenda to include support for feminism, birth control, homosexuality, and other issues, while winning adherents and allies amongst middle-class native-born Americans for the first time. In the interwar years, however, the anarchist-bohemian connection tapered off , and Dolgoff ’s Vanguard Group promoted an anarchism focused almost entirely on class-based organizing.
  • 9. Nunzio Pernicone, “War Among the Italian Anarchists: The Galleanisti’s Campaign against Carlo Tresca,” in The Lost World of Italian American Radicalism, ed. Phillip Cannistraro and Gerald Meyer (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003), 77–97; Dolgoff , Fragments, 32–35.
  • 10. Paul Avrich, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2005), 174.
  • 11. Goodfriend interview.
  • 12. Untitled reminiscence about Edward Wieck, n.d., David Thoreau Wieck Papers, Box 1, Tamiment Library, New York University; Goodfriend interview.
  • 13. David Wieck to Paul Avrich, 2 March 1992, Box 1, David Thoreau Wieck Papers, Tamiment Library.
  • 14. “Conclusion of Report of Hon. Monroe Goldwater, Jan. 15, 1943,” David Wieck Papers, Swarthmore College Peace Collection (hereafter SCPC).
  • 15. David Wieck to Agnes Wieck, 16 Feburary 1943, David Wieck Papers, SCPC.
  • 16. Another Why? Group member, Cliff Bennett, also tried to dodge the draft, but was eventually apprehended and jailed. Goodfriend’s partner David Koven tried to avoid military service by training as a medic in the merchant marines. He, too,was briefly imprisoned, however, for refusing to respect the military discipline of a naval officer responsible for his certification. Goodfriend interview; David Koven, “Live an Anarchist Life!,” Social Anarchism, no. 42 (2008–2009): 72–77.
  • 17. On Cantine’s life, see Dachine Rainer, “Holley Cantine, February 14, 1916–January 2, 1977,” in Drunken Boat: Art, Rebellion, Anarchy, ed. Max Blechman (Brooklyn and Seattle: Autonomedia and Left Bank Books, 1994), 177–85; Allan Antliff , Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007), 115–17; David Wieck, Letter to the Editor, Th e Match!, no. 82 (11 November 1987).
  • 18. Holley Cantine, “Editorial Statement,” Retort (Winter 1942): 3
  • 19. Cantine, “Editorial Statement,” 4.
  • 20. Cantine, “Editorial Statement,” 5.
  • 21. Holley Cantine, “Egoism and Revolution,” Retort (Winter 1942): 22–29.
  • 22. Holley Cantine, “The Mechanics of Class Development,” Retort (June 1942): 7. Cantine’s anthropological approach in this and other articles anticipated by three decades Murray Bookchin’s similar work in The Ecology of Freedom, as did his conclusion that anarchists must seek to root out not only economic exploitation but all forms of social domination. Murray Bookchin, The Ecology of Freedom: Th e Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2005 [1982]). Amongst these forms, he included the sexual oppression of women by men, providing a glimpse of the theoretical affinities feminists would find with anarchism in the 1970s. See Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader, ed. Dark Star Collective (Edinburgh, UK, and Oakland, CA: Dark Star and AK Press, 2002).
  • 23. Cantine, “Editorial Statement,” 6.
  • 24. Cantine, “Mechanics of Class Development,” 12.
  • 25. Cantine, “Mechanics of Class Development,” 12.
  • 26. Holley Cantine, “Editorials,” Retort (Winter 1945): 6.
  • 27. Cantine, “Mechanics of Class Development,” 13.
  • 28. Holley Cantine, “Editorials,” Retort (Winter 1945): 8.
  • 29. See Michael Wreszin, A Rebel in Defense of Tradition: Th e Life and Politics of Dwight MacDonald (New York: Basic Books, 1994); Gregory Sumner, Dwight MacDonald and the Politics Circle: Th e Challenge of Cosmopolitan Democracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996); Alan Wald, Th e New York Intellectuals: Th e Rise and Decline of the Anti-Stalinist Left from the 1930s to the 1980s (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987).
  • 30. Diva Agostinelli, “A 79 Year Old Woman Who Bowls: An Interview with Diva Agostinelli, Anarchist,” Perspectives on Anarchist Th eory 5, no. 1 (Spring 2001), n.p. Available at http:// flag.blackened.net/ias/9diva.htm (accessed 8 August 2010).
  • 31. Avrich, Anarchist Voices, 462.
  • 32. Paul Goodman, Drawing the Line Once Again: Paul Goodman’s Anarchist Writings, ed. Taylor Stoehr (Oakland, CA: PM Press, 2010), 25–26.
  • 33. Rainer, “Holley Cantine,” 182.
  • 34. “Dachine Rainer” (Obituary), Th e Daily Telegraph, 8 September, 2000, 31. See also Toni Widenbacher, “Making Her Own Electricity” (Obituary), Woodstock Times, 31 August 2000, 16; John Rety, “Death and the Imagination,” Freedom (London), 9 September 2000, 5. Her chosen name, Dachine Rainer, combined a Hindi word with the first name of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
  • 35. David Wieck to Agnes Wieck, 25 August 1943, David Wieck Papers, SCPC.
  • 36. James Tracy, Direct Action: Radical Pacifism from the Union Eight to the Chicago Seven (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 16.
  • 37. David Dellinger, From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (New York: Pantheon, 1993), 81–97.
  • 38. See Tracy, Direct Action; Polletta, Freedom Is an Endless Meeting; Scott Bennett, Radical Pacifism: Th e War Resisters League and Gandhian Nonviolence (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2003).
  • 39. David Thoreau Wieck, “Peace-related activities, post World War II,” David Wieck Papers, SCPC.
  • 40. Goodfriend interview.
  • 41. James J. Farrell, The Spirit of the Sixties:The Making of Postwar Radicalism (New York: Routledge, 1997), 10.
  • 42. David Dellinger, in fact, used the term as a synonym for anarchism. He wrote, “As a pacifist and personalist (anarchist, if you prefer), I was not predisposed to like the Cuban Revolution.” David Dellinger, “Cuba: Seven Thousand Miles from Home,” Liberation, June 1964, quoted in Andrew Hunt, David Dellinger: Th e Life and Times of a Nonviolent Revolutionary (New York: NYU Press, 2006), 119.
  • 43. Dorothy Rogers to Agnes Inglis, 14 May 1946; Goodfriend interview; “Millions are Starving! Cut the Red Tape . . . Open the Mails!” leaflet, Subject Vertical File, Folder: Anarchism—Resistance, Labadie Collection.
  • 44. See Ammon Hennacy, The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist (New York: Catholic Worker Books, 1954); Joan Thomas, Years of Grief and Laughter: A “Biography” of Ammon Hennacy (Phoenix: Hennacy Press, 1974).
  • 45. Hennacy to Cantine and Rainer, 15 June 1948, Box 8, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library, Yale University.
  • 46. Paul Lieber Adams to Holley Cantine, 24 October 1945, Box 11, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library
  • 47. On Dellinger’s life, see Dellinger, From Yale to Jail, and Hunt, David Dellinger.
  • 48. Dellinger to Cantine, 13 October 1944, Box 8, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library.
  • 49. Dellinger to Cantine, 20 April 1944, Box 8, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library.
  • 50. Dellinger to Cantine, 4 February 1945, Box 8, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library.
  • 51. See Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
  • 52. Dellinger to Cantine, 20 April 1944, Box 8, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library
  • 53. Hunt, David Dellinger, 86.
  • 54. See Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
  • 55. Dellinger, From Yale to Jail, 138.
  • 56. David Dellinger, “Declaration of War,” Direct Action (Autumn 1945): 6–9; reprinted in Dellinger, From Yale to Jail, 139–42.
  • 57. Hunt, David Dellinger, 89.
    58. Dellinger, From Yale to Jail, 137
  • 58. Dellinger, From Yale to Jail, 137–57; Hunt, David Dellinger, 84–107.
  • 59. Wieck to Avrich, 2 March 1992, David Thoreau Wieck Papers, Tamiment Library.
  • 60. Leaflet, David Wieck Papers, SCPC.
  • 61. Linda Hamalian, A Life of Kenneth Rexroth (New York: Norton, 1991), 16.
  • 62. Rexroth to Cantine, n.d., Box 11, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library. George Fox was one of the originators of the Quaker faith, one of the “historic pacifist churches” that helped establish the conscientious objector system after the First World War.
  • 63. Rexroth to Rainer, n.d., Box 11, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library. On the formation of the Libertarian Circle, also see Linda Hamalian, Kenneth Rexroth, 149–50.
  • 64. Midred Edie Brady, “The New Cult of Sex and Anarchy,” Harper’s Magazine, April 1947, 312–22.
  • 65. Brady, “New Cult,” 319. Wilhelm Reich was widely read by anarchists of the 1940s but was not nearly as influential or reverentially respected as Brady claimed. Phillip Lamantia wrote to Resistance: “Actually among those who consider themselves anarchists, in San Francisco or Northern California, I know of none who accept Reich’s psychology as wholeheartedly as Mrs. Brady made out. And as far as his theory of the ‘orgone’ goes, it leaves most of us pretty cold.” “Letters,” Resistance, June 1947, 15. See also Goodfriend interview; Rexroth to Cantine and Rainer, n.d., Box 11, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library. Reich prompted anarchists to consider the political importance of the era’s repressive sexual morality. Interestingly, however, Reich’s analysis lead to a greater analysis of the connection between sexual repression and state power than to the oppressive social relations existing between men and women throughout society—a perspective that likely contributed to the less-than-emancipatory character of the early “sexual revolution” of the 1960s.
  • 66. Brady, “New Cult,” 320.
  • 67. On the anarchism of Phillip Lamantia, see Franklin Rosemont, “Surrealist, Anarchist, Afrocentrist: Phillip Lamantia Before and Aft er the ‘Beat Generation,’” in Are Italians White? How Race Is Made in America, ed. Jennifer Guglielmo and Salvatore Salerno (New York: Routledge, 2003), 124–43.
  • 68. “Editorial,” The Ark, Spring 1947, 3.
  • 69. Rexroth to Cantine and Rainer, n.d., Box 11, Dachine Rainer Papers, Bienecke Library.
  • 70. David Wieck, “Anarchism,” Resistance, November-December 1948, 4.
  • 71. Wieck, “Anarchism,” 5.
  • 72. Wieck, “Anarchism,” 14.
  • 73. Wieck’s perspective was gaining considerable currency in Europe by the half-century mark, and “Anarchism” generated considerable excitement and discussion. Resistance had fruitful exchanges with the French journal Noir et Rouge and the Italians who published Volonta. George Woodcock reprinted the statement in Freedom, and Colin Ward took a similar position in his influential book Anarchy in Action (London: Freedom Press, 1976). On the Resistance Group’s influence on Ward, see David Goodway, Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow: Left -Libertarian Th ought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2007), 322; Colin Ward, “Th e Anarchist as Citizen,” New Letters 42, no. 2–3 (1976): 237–45.
  • 74. For the United States, see Andrew Cornell, “Anarchism and the Movement for a New Society: Direct Action and Prefigurative Community in the 1970s and ’80s,” Perspectives on Anarchist Th eory 12, no. 1 (2010). For the United Kingdom, see George McKay, Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties (London: Verso, 1996). For a recent consideration of similar themes in contemporary anarchism, see Cindy Milstein, Anarchism and Its Aspirations (Oakland: AK Press and the Institute for Anarchist Studies, 2010).

Comments

Juan Conatz
May 19 2015 05:16

Looks like I lost a footnote somewhere. Will get to it when I have time.

Juan Conatz
May 19 2015 20:22

Ok, fixed the footnote.

I found this pretty interesting, as I knew basically nothing about this period. Reading it, what American anarchism is currently, makes a little more sense.

syndicalist
May 19 2015 21:55
Juan Conatz wrote:
Ok, fixed the footnote.

I found this pretty interesting, as I knew basically nothing about this period. Reading it, what American anarchism is currently, makes a little more sense.

Let me add, that shift from basically a class struggle anarchist (anarcho-syndicalist) POV also represented changes within the movement. It's lonely being an anarcho-syndicalist when others have gone off in more lifestylist directions.

syndicalist
May 19 2015 22:29

Dolgoff's comment on "Why?" & "Resistance" - Fragments, Pages 16, 71-73
https://libcom.org/files/fragments.pdf

x359594
May 23 2015 20:42

Two significant figures associated with Paul Goodman since the late 1940s were Judith Malina and Julian Beck, co-founders of the Living Theater. When I joined the IWW in 1974 the Living Theater was a job collective of the New York City GMB, and FW Dolgoff told me that Goodman had lined up with the IWW in the mid-1960s (Goodman passed away in 1972 if I remember correctly.)