New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism [Book Review]

This is the fruit of (part of) an Anarchist Studies Network conference. Some new academic interest in anarchism has produced stuff that is incomprehensible. Fortunately, this is both readable and interesting. If “Alfons Pilarski and Upper Silesian Anarcho-syndicalism during the Interwar years” seems too narrow a topic, you probably shouldn’t be reading the Kate Sharpley Library bulletin anyway.

The editors trace the current state of play and in particular the fact that transnational networks and the lives of individuals are currently of interest. Each contribution is fairly short (which is good) but also provides leads to lots of further reading (also good, if a bit daunting to think about buying them all.)

Davide Turcato ends his piece on the 1896 London Congress “[B]y appreciating the weight of the controversy on organisation we can recognise that the issues that most concerned anarchists, and therefore divided them, were not their theoretical utopias for the future, but practical means of struggle in the present.” A good, grounded thought. For those who want to study not just what happened in anarchist history, but the how and why, this book contains some interesting threads to pull.

New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism: The Individual, the National and the Transnational edited by David Berry and Constance Bantman. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010. ISBN 9781443823937 £40/$60