Asian anarchism in western languages (2): China

Suggested reading list from Libero International.

Submitted by Spartacus on February 2, 2011


  • Internationalist: The Origins of the Anarchist Movement in China (Coptic Press, London, 1968; many reprints including Solidarity-Chicago, 1971; now a Simian pamphlet, London): the pioneer libertarian study on the Chinese movement; much of the contents drawn from contacts with Chinese workers and sailors; weak on history, but the movement really comes to life. From 83a Haverstock Hill, London NW3.
  • Robert A. Scalapino and George T. Yu: The Chinese Anarchist Movement (Berkeley, California, 1961): The lone book-length foray of the establishment scholars into the history of the Chinese movement; a very small book which conceals more than it reveals. Information on work-study movements and ideological exchanges, but nothing on the important anarchist movement which resisted communist centralization. Concludes that the anarchists were the losers from the start.
  • Olga Lang: Pa Chin and His Writings (Harvard Univ. Press, 1967): a sensitive political and literary biography of the anarchist novelist who did so much through his books to expose the evils of the old society, and who was rewarded with the dunce's cap by Red Guards in 1968. More information on the movement background would have been useful though, and the lack of it probably reflects the position of Pa Chin, a "soft" anarchist. Bibliography gives many titles not included here.
  • Chao Ts'ung: "Pa Chin Destined for the Trials in Purgatory", China Weekly, XXIV/7 (17/11/68), Hong Kong. Not seen.
  • Pa Chin: "Dog", in Edgar Snow, compiled, Living China (New York, ca 1936) pp. 173-80: first translation of any of Pa Chin's work into English... "power. ful" (Beni). P. 173 has short biographical sketch of Pa Chin.
  • Pa Chin: Family (Anchor, 1972, translated and introduced by Olga Lang, $1.95): Unfortunately, translated from the emasculated 1958 Peking version with all references to anarchists removed (item 3, above, discusses this emasculation). A stinging denunciation of the traditional Chinese family. Also translated into German, Polish, Russian and Italian. [
    *]"International News China," Black Flag, 111/19 (April 1975): about Pa Chin's public humiliation by Red Guards during the "Cultural Revolution" and befriending by the workers among whom he was sent for "re-education".
  • Victor Garcia: The Literary Suicide of Pa Chin: a pamphlet, translated into English. Not seen, details unknown.
  • K. C. Hsiao: "Anarchism in Chinese Political Thought" Tien Hsia Monthly, 111/3 (Oct. 1936), pp. 249-63: very simplistic treatment of Lao Tse and other traditional utopian thinkers with little reference to the modem movement. Probably in university libraries with Asian studies sections.
  • "La lutte des ouvriers chinois pendant la revolution culturelle," Informations Rassembles a Lyon, 4 (Nov-Dec. 1974), pp. 12-15: on the workers' struggles in industrial cities, especially Shanghai, in late 66 -early 67; evidence of anarchist organizations in the cultural revolution, though information is 2nd-hand and from official Chinese sources. From: HL, Boite Postale 543, 69221, Lyon Cedex 1; or xerox from us, $2.00 or Ll.
  • "Workers on Trial in China," Anarchist Black Cross Bulletin, 7 (Jan. 1974), Chicago: some 300 workers charged with trying to get control of the workers' committees running their factories; charged simultaneously with "anarcho-syndicalism" and "hooliganism." Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  • "Anarchists in China", Direct Action, IX/5 (May 1968). Not seen.
  • "The Ultra-Left in China," 70s Biweekly, 29 (Hong Kong). Not seen.
  • "Whither China?", International Socialism, 37 (June/July 1969), pp. 23-27; also excerpted in News and Letters pamphlet published at 1900 East Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48207: excerpts from the program of the Sheng-wu-lien, an anti-bureaucratic, libertarian group created in 1968 when Mao sent the cultural revolution into reverse. Criticized Mao for not practising what he preached; suppressed amid great ideological furror.
  • "Chinese Anarchy," Freedom, 27/l/68: sees anarchism in the cultural revolution's attack on the bureaucracy. Overtaken by events. Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  • "Conflict in China," Freedom, 27/4/68: a rejoinder to item 15. Denies that cultural revolution itself inspired by anarchists, but notes how the anarchists rebelled against the false promises and were put down by the army. Xerox from us, $1.00 or 50p.
  • Martin Bernal: "The Triumph of Anarchism over Marxism," in M. C. Wright, ed., China in Revolution (Stanford Univ. Press, ca 1968), pp. 97-142: on the origins of the socialist movement and its immediate conversion to anarchism, including both traditional theories of universal harmony and new terroristic ideas; scholarly, useful.
  • -------: "Chinese Socialism Before 1913," in Jack Gray, ed., Modern China's Search for a Political Forum (Oxford University Press, 1969): not seen, but probably has good background information.
  • -------: An article on Liu Shih-p'ei, in Charlotte Furth, ed., Chinese Conservatism (Harvard University Press, forthcoming). Not seen.
  • Robert A. Scalapino: "Early Socialist Currents in the Chinese Revolutionary Movement," Journal of Asian Studies, XVIII/3 (May 1959), pp, 321-42. Not seen, but again probably good background information.
  • Chow Tse-tsung: The May Fourth Movement (Harvard Univ. Press, 1960, $4.50): important background text to the nationalist movement which provided the first steeling for many Chinese revolutionaries including the present Peking leadership.
  • Michael Gasster: "The Anarchists," in his book, Chinese Intellectuals and the Revolution of 1911, (Univ. of Washington Press, ca 1969): on Chang Ping-lin, Wu Chih-hui, and Liu Shih-p'ei.
  • Conrad Brandt: "The French-Returned Elite in the Chinese Communist Party," in E. F. Szcepanik, ed., Symposium on Economic Problems of the Far East, (Hong Kong, 1961), pp. 229-38: not seen.
  • Annie Kriegel: "Aux origines francaises du parti communiste chinois," Preuves, Aug-Sept. (1968): not seen, but note that this magazine was allegedly published under the auspices of the CIA-sponsored Congress for Cultural Freedom.
  • Marianne Rachline: "A propos de L'anarchisme chinois," Le Mouvement Social, 50 (1968): review of item 9, above. Not seen.
  • Victor Garcia: Escarceos sobre China (Mexico City, Tierra y Libertad, 1962): chapter on Shih Fu, Pa Chin, others. Not seen.
  • ------ : preface to his translation of the Japanese anarchist Yamaga Taiji's book: Lao Tse y su libro del Camino y la Virtud (Tierra y Libertad, Mexico City, 1963). Not seen.
  • Jean Chesneaux: The Chinese Labor Movement, 1919-27 (publisher unknown, ca 1968): translated from the French original. Masses of detailed information on the labor movement; haven't seen it, but wouldn't trust author's Maoist politics to do justice to the anarchists.
  • Ting Ling: Purged Feminist (Femintern Press, Tokyo, 1974): short biography and translation of two articles by the woman writer purged as a "rightist" in 1957 for criticizing the party's attitude towards women and towards sexual relations. From PO Box 5426, Tokyo Intl, Japan.
  • "Voice of the 70s Front," Minus 9, No. 1, (Hong Kong): news of the local situation - anti-government strikes and Maoist collusion in their suppression. From Percy Fung, APS/Asia-Pacific, 158 Shaukiwan Road, Ground Floor, Hong Kong.
  • Agnes Chan: "Liu Shih-fu: a Chinese anarchist and the radicalization of early Chinese socialist thought," (PhD thesis). Contact c/o History Dept., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA.
  • Paul Clifford: "The intellectual development of Wu Chih-hui," (PhD thesis): Wu was one of the founders of the Chinese movement. Contact c/o History Dept., SOAS, Univ of London, Malet St., London WC 1.
  • Edward S. Krebs: "Liu Ssu-fu and Chinese anarchism, 1905-15," (PhD thesis): on Shih Fu. Contact c/o History Dept., Georgia College, Carrollton, Georgia 30117.
  • Vallerie J. Steenson: "The work-study movement: Chinese students in France, 1912-24," (PhD thesis). Contact c/o History Dept., Univ of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93016.


    The criteria used to select this bibliography were (a) availability and (b) direct relevance. More detailed pieces, as well as background materials, can be found in the bibliographies to items 7, 9, 12, 14 (a separate volume titled Research Guide to the May Fourth Movement), 16, 24 and 25. Not much has appeared from the "China scholars," though some academic theses are in progress, as shown above. Good libertarian critiques of the Chinese regime will be introduced in a future issue. Thanks to CIRA Switzerland, Alan Charles, and Beni for help with sources. We'd appreciate hearing of anything we've left out.

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