So in the context of OWS, I’ve been doing some reading on anarchism lately, and I thought I’d periodically note down some of my findings here.
One thing that’s struck me so far is that the most acute critiques of anarchism have come from anarchists themselves, of which there is no shortage of thoughtful and intelligent examples.
Here’s a quote from Luigi Fabbri, an Italian anarchist who died in 1935. A close collaborator with Errico Malatesta (one of the greats in the anarchist pantheon), and a delegate to the 1907 anarchist congress in Amsterdam (one of the movement’s famous lieux de mémoire), Fabbri was charged with “defeatism” in WWI and died in exile.
This is from his circa 1914 pamphlet, Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism:
The minds of men, especially of the young, thirsting for the mysterious and extraordinary, allow themselves to be easily dragged by the passion for the new toward that which, when coolly examined in the calm which follows initial enthusiasm, is absolutely and definitively repudiated. This fever for new things, this audacious spirit, this zeal for the extraordinary has brought to the anarchist ranks the most exaggeratedly impressionable types, and at the same time, the most empty headed and frivolous types, persons who are not repelled by the absurd, but who, on the contrary, engage in it. They are attracted to projects and ideas precisely because they are absurd, and so anarchism comes to be known precisely for the illogical character and ridiculousness which ignorance and bourgeois calumny have attributed to anarchist doctrines.