You Anarchist, You by Ernestan [Review]

Post modern anarchist “literature” normally falls into two camps, indigestible crap written by people who assume their audience knows what anarchism is all about and academic treatises that are so opaque the content needs a bilateral catarectomy performed before the reader has any inkling about the book’s content. You Anarchist, You!, written by Ernest Tanrez just after the end of World War Two, is a culmination of thirty years writing. Born in 1898 in Belgium, disgusted by the unnecessary loss of life during World War I, Ernestan (his pen name) became an anarchist in 1921. He wrote for the Belgian and International anarchist press between the wars. Escaping the Nazi invasion of Belgium in 1940, he was imprisoned by the Vichy French for three months when he was sent back to Belgium, he was interned by the Gestapo. Physically broken and mentally exhausted on his release he began writing again. His last pamphlet Tu es Anarchiste - You are an Anarchist is a brilliant example of the simple but forceful literature that served the anarchist movement so well during the anarchist movement’s heyday in between the two world wars. Francois, an anarchist, meets Pierre, a socialist sympathiser, who is on strike. At the end of the conversation between the two men, Pierre has become more an anarchist than Francois.

Ernestan is able to pack more in 8,000 words about the positive aspects of anarchism and the negative aspects of Leninism in a simply written conversation between two friends than many books as hundred times the size of this pamphlet have been able to achieve. You Anarchist, You! superbly illustrated by Richard Warren is as relevant and accessible today as it was when it was first published over 60 years ago.

This is the latest of the Kate Sharpley Library’s Anarchist Library Series. If you’re interested in learning more about anarchism and don’t have the time to read the “classics” or don’t want to waste your life surfing the net, I suggest you buy the 21 Anarchist Library pamphlets that the Kate Sharpley Library has published. Maybe you could buy the set for your local library. Easy to read and digest they are well worth the investment.

Whether you only want to get hold of You Anarchist, You! Or the whole set, contact the Kate Sharpley Library.

From: Anarchist Age Weekly Review number 840 (15th-21st June 2009) .