Monday, May 29, 2006

The Life and times of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed: 25 years of critical anarchist publishing - by Jason McQuinn AKA Lev Chernyi

Throughout the 1950s and early ‘60s most of the historical anarchist movements around the world looked like just that, historical movements—withering and dying out where they hadn’t already done so. In fact, one former-anarchist writer, George Woodcock, announced in his well-known 1962 anthology, Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements, that anarchism as a social-political movement had had its day.

By chance I happened across one of the more lively remaining embers of the North American anarchist milieu in the late 1960s as a crippled teen attending a Midwestern high school in a thoroughly white, working-class suburb of St. Louis. Like many others of my generation, I followed with great interest the emergence and radicalization of the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the growing hints of the oncoming second wave of feminism, the slow ecological awakening, and the many student struggles around the continent. Unable to participate directly in any substantial way due to my relative isolation, lack of mobility and consequently limited range of opportunities, I spent much of my time during my high school years reading about the then-current crises and researching the histories of radical theories and movements. One of the radical threads that interested me greatly happened to be the criticism of schooling. And this led eventually to some of the writings of Paul Goodman, one of the more notable and controversial educational critics of the time. While reading one of his books, probably in 1967 or 1968, I happened across a line in Notes of a Neolithic Conservative, in which he mentioned his perspective in a off-hand way by saying something like: “I, of course, am an anarchist.”more...


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