A Libertarian Reader has been published

Submitted by Anarcho on November 27, 2023

A four volume collection of libertarian (socialist) writings edited and introduced by Iain McKay has been published by Active Distribution.

A Libertarian Reader: 160 Years of Fighting for Freedom


Libertarian was first coined in 1857 to summarise opposition to the authoritarian relations generated by the state, capitalism and patriarchy – and the desire to end them. This anthology brings together libertarian writings from the next 160 years, all united by a love of freedom and seeking to change the world to allow every individual to flourish.

Articles by thinkers and activists from all libertarian schools are included: anarchists, council communists, situationists, autonomists, guild socialists and revolutionary syndicalists raise their voices in fighting for freedom.

These writings will aid today’s struggles against every hierarchy – whether political, economic, or social – and bring a free socialist society closer.

It includes writings by a wide range of thinkers and activists from the various schools of libertarian thought -- social anarchism (mutualist, collectivist, communist), individualist anarchism, revolutionary syndicalism, industrial unionism, anarcho-syndicalism, guild socialism and libertarian Marxism (council communism, situationism and autonomism).

An essential addition to any serious libertarian activist's bookshelf, even if I say so myself!

Agent of the I…

3 months 1 week ago

Submitted by Agent of the I… on November 28, 2023

I can't find the book on the website. But it looks great from what I can tell from it's contents.

My only issue with it though is that it should have only consisted of writings by socialist-anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists. Other volumes should have been devoted to writings from the other tendencies such as guild socialism and libertarian marxisms. I know you tried to divide the volumes by the time period but it would have been great if it was divided by ideology, and then the material ordered chronologically.


3 months ago

Submitted by Anarcho on November 29, 2023

I may have jumped the gun slightly in terms of advertising -- Active have the books but have not got around to updating their on-line catalogue yet. I'm sure they will soon.

In terms of volumes by tendency, that is very much dependent on available material and it would have, I think, produced volumes of varying sizes. Hopefully, though, this will inspire someone else to do such a project -- it would be of interest.

I do think that interweaving them chronologically helps bring out what they have in common.


3 months ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on November 30, 2023

I would like to read André Léo's The Programme of the Commune. Is it available free online?

The front cover photographs of the four volumes are not analogous to the periods of literature covered in each volume.


3 months ago

Submitted by Anarcho on November 30, 2023

That particular article is not on-line yet, but others are here:


Black Flag is planning to run translations by André Léo in an issue next year -- we are looking for someone to write the introductory article for these. Any volunteers? (you can email us via the webpage https://blackflag.org.uk/)

And just to say, Black Flag is always looking for articles/reviews/suggestions for reprinting from fellow libertarian socialists.

In terms of the covers, yes, I know -- but they look striking and we were in a hurry (to get the books out for a bookfair). Also, in colour which helps.


3 months ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on November 30, 2023

In the mean time, between Time, here is a striking portrait of our comrade,


P.S. Thanks for the link to, To the worker of the countryside, from The Commune. A short excerpt below:

'You, countryman, poor day-labourer, have for almost a century been repeatedly told that property is the sacred fruit of labour, and you believe that. But open your eyes and look around you; look at yourself, and you will see that it is a lie. Here you are old; you have always worked; all your days have passed with the shovel or sickle in your hand from dawn to dusk, and yet you are not rich, and you do not even have a piece of bread for your old age. All your earnings have been spent raising children, so that conscription will take them from you, or that, marrying in their turn, they shall lead the life of the beast of burden you led, and will end up as you will end, miserably, for the strength of your limbs being exhausted, you will find hardly any work; you will worry your children with the burden of your old age and will soon see you obliged, rucksack on your back, and bowing your head, to go begging door to door for condescending and bitter handouts.

That is not right, brother countryman, do you not feel it? You can see, then, that you have been deceived; for if it were true that property was the fruit of labour, you would be the owner, you who have worked so hard. You would own this little house, with a garden and a paddock, which was the dream, the goal, the passion of your whole life, but which you have not been able to acquire – or perhaps that you have the misfortunate of acquiring it by a debt that exhausts you, gnaws at you and will force your children as soon as you are dead, perhaps before, to sell that roof which has already cost you so much. No, brother, work does not yield property. It is inherited or earned by trickery. The rich are idle; the workers are poor – and stay poor. The exceptions only prove the rule.'

And this, dealing with the programme of the commune:

'Paris wants the son of the country to be as educated as the son of the wealthy, and FOR NOTHING, since human science is the right of all men, and is no less useful for conducting life than having eyes to see.

Paris wants there to be no more king who receives 30 million of the people’s money and who moreover fattens his family and his favourites; Paris wants this huge expense no longer, greatly reducing taxation. Paris demands that no more functionaries be paid 20,000 – 30,000 – 100,000 francs – feeding a man the wealth of several families in a single year; and that, and that with this saving, retirement homes are established for the workers’ old age.

Paris demands that every man who is not a proprietor pays not a penny in tax; that he who has only a house and his garden again pays nothing; that small fortunes are taxed lightly, and the whole weight of taxation falls on the rich.

Paris says that it is the deputies, senators, and Bonapartists, the authors of the war, who paid five billion to Prussia, and for which they sell their holdings out of what is called the property of the crown, who are no longer needed in France.

Paris demands that justice costs nothing to those who need it, and that it is the people themselves who chooses the judges, from amongst the honest people of the county.

Finally, Paris wants – listen well to this – worker of the countryside, poor day-labourer, small owner whom usury gnaws, strip-farmer, sharecropper, farmer, all who sow, harvest, sweat, so that most of your products go to someone who does nothing; what Paris wants, all told, is THE LAND TO THE COUNTRYMAN, THE TOOL TO THE WORKER, WORK FOR ALL.'