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Famous Figures and Anarchism by max & ed.

May 10, 2011

Anarchism doesn’t have much credit within mainstream media or politics. The image that is often evoked is a cartoonish drawing of a cloaked person with a bomb or a protestor breaking windows. One reason the popular imagination can run wild with these representations is because most people have never heard of someone who was an anarchist, much less met one.

Below, I & ed. briefly discuss a range of historical and well-known figures who were anarchists or were sympathetic to those ideas in order to dispel notions that anarchism is obscure by their own merits instead of the way dominant culture crafts its narratives of the past and present. Though focusing on particular figures, we want to make clear that we’re not making a “Great Men” statement about anarchism; we’re not saying these thinkers articulated anarchism and the rest just followed. On the contrary, the spirit of anarchism has always lain in direct action, resistance, and popular struggle, and perhaps this is why one doesn’t find much of the kind of theorist-worship in anarchism that is implicit in many other forms of leftism, like Marxism and its many variants.

The following list of people is much less surprising when one remembers the simple concepts behind anarchism: individual and collective self-determination through direct democracy; non-hierarchical social organization where no individual has power over another; cooperation and mutual aid.

I start by mentioning a few figures who were influential within anarchism to outline a thin historical thread and provide a perspective from which to see how later historical figures were inspired, and then ed. provides a few others. I note the self-conscious ‘influences’ of each person to illuminate the connectedness of these people as well as notable actions they took to show that anarchists aren’t such because they like to think, but because they are committed to change through action.

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 – 1865) was a French philosopher and politician who was the first person to start calling himself an anarchist. His most famous work is What Is Property, in which he argues that people should collectively own and run the land they live on and the places they work. He is also known for having asserted that “Anarchy Is Order,” which some today attribute the beginnings of the common ‘circle-A’ graffiti.

Actions: Partook in the 1848 Revolution in France that ended an 18-year monarchy, though he was pessimistic of the liberal, reformist government that took its place.

(Even though Proudhon was the first self-conscious ‘anarchist,’ anarchists don’t go around claiming that these ideas were first sprouted in the mid-1800s, but rather that they have been a part of human beliefs for as long as people opposed rule and rulers and struggled to govern themselves democratically. All that changed at this point in time is that Proudhon and others started giving those ideas a name.)

Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876) was the anarchist foil to Marx’s socialism within the radical politics of the 19th century. Bakunin’s and Marx’s intellectual clashes were perhaps the beginning of the rift between anarchists and Marxist socialists that continues prominently into the present. Even though Bakunin and Marx and anarchists and traditional socialists/Marxists desire the same end of an egalitarian and society without classes or government, the latter advocated using the state to achieve revolution while the former advocated abolishing the state as soon as possible. Bakunin wrote, “They [the Marxists] maintain that only a dictatorship—their dictatorship, of course—can create the will of the people, while our answer to this is: No dictatorship can have any other aim but that of self-perpetuation, and it can beget only slavery in the people tolerating it; freedom can be created only by freedom, that is, by a universal rebellion on the part of the people and free organization of the toiling masses from the bottom up.” Despite their differences, they did harbor a mutual affinity, with Bakunin being the first to translate Marx’s Das Kapital into Russian and Marx saying of Bakunin long after their most public scuffles, “On the whole he is one of the few people whom I find not to have retrogressed after 16 years, but to have developed further.”

Actions: Participated in popular uprisings in Prague, Dresden, and tried to start one in Brussels. After being arrested in Germany and eventually handed over to Russian authorities, he spent 7 years in the dungeons of the Peter and Paul Fortress and lost all of his teeth from scurvy. Through family connections, he was released from prison but condemned to spend his life in exile in Siberia. He later escaped to Western Europe, where he tried to partake in a Polish insurrection and helped initiate a failed revolution in Lyon.

Influences: Proudhon, Marx, Hegel

Pyotr Kropotkin (1842 – 1921) is the most influential of these early anarchist thinkers and had a direct impact on many of the following figures. He was distinguished in many fields besides politics, including evolutionary theory, geography, and zoology. More than anybody else, modern anarchist ideas find their first full articulation in Kropotkin. He wrote meticulously researched books on how agriculture and factories could be transformed to become egalitarian and non-hierarchical. His most well-known book is Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, which argues that while competition is certainly a part of evolutionary survival, cooperation and mutual aid within and between species is just as or more important. Among many examples given, he talks about how extremely ‘social’ or ‘collective’ animals like ants, sparrows, and deer have thrived in nature due to their cooperative natures. Some credit this book with spawning the since-thriving sub-field of sociobiology, the study of the evolution of social behavior. After applying his ideas of mutual aid to animals, Kropotkin makes similar arguments about human societies and how they have, from the earliest hunter-gatherers up through the late 1800s, flourished when they were based on communal principles of freedom from domination. He points to the complex system of vocational guilds in Medieval cities as the pinnacle of complex, egalitarian social organization.

Actions: Was imprisoned in the same Peter and Paul Fortress as Bakunin in 1873 for his membership in a revolutionary party but escaped in 1876. He was later imprisoned in France from 1883-1886 for his radical associations and activities.

Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) is considered by many anarchists to be one of their own. Thoreau’s witty and poetic writing style leave much room for interpretation, but I think his following quotes about on law, government, and voting as well as his belief in people’s ability for self-rule speak for themselves. “That government is best which governs not at all.” “I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually.” “Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards organizing and recognizing the rights of man?” “Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made agents of injustice.” “When, in some obscure country town, the farmers come together to a special town-meeting, to express their opinion on some subject which is vexing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the most respectable one that is ever assembled in the United States.”

-Actions: Was imprisoned for refusing to pay six years worth of taxes because of his opposition to the Mexican-American War and slavery. The next day, his aunt payed Thoreau’s taxes against his will and he was released.

Influences: Ralph Waldo Emerson,

Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910), one of the greatest novelists of all time, became a Christian anarchist in his later years. In his The Kingdom of God Is Within You, Tolstoy argues that the Bible demands that people live austerely and that they should embrace non-violent, pacifist resistance to the powers that be. While he was devoutly Christian, Tolstoy vigorously opposed any the church because of its historic and contemporary involvement in violence and domination and its authoritarian structure. While he never explicitly called himself an anarchist, few today dispute where to place him politically. He urged his followers to read Kropotkin and his writings against government and law are unequivocal. “Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.” “All governments are in equal measure good and evil. The best ideal is anarchy.” “The Anarchists are right in everything; in the negation of the existing order, and in the assertion that, without Authority, there could not be worse violence than that of Authority under existing conditions. They are mistaken only in thinking that Anarchy can be instituted by a revolution.” “I sit on a man’s back, choking him, and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except getting off his back. The changed form and substance of law is rather like what a jailer might do who shifted a prisoner’s chains…or removed them and substituted bolts and bars.”

Actions: Founded a democratic school and provided major funding for the Doukhobors, a group of dissenting Russian Christian pacifists persecuted by the Tsar, to migrate to Canada. Having struggled for decades with how to relate to his large inherited and accumulated wealth, he abandoned his large estate completely to become a wandering ascetic shortly before his death.

Influences: Thoreau, Proudhon, Kropotkin

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900), prominent Irish essayist and playwright, was inspired by Kropotkin’s writing, calling him “of the most perfect lives I have come across in my own experience.” He wrote his famous anarchist text, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, 12 interpreting Kropotkin’s ideas and applying them to art and the freedom of individuals from harmful institutions. “With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” “…substituting cooperation for competition will restore society to its proper condition … and ensure material well being for each member of the community.”

Influences: William Godwin, Kropotkin

Emma Goldman (1869 – 1940) was perhaps the most popular champion of anarchism, drawing out huge crowds in her many cross-country speaking tours. While Goldman criticized first-wave feminists for their struggles for suffrage—she thought direct action, not putting checks on a piece of paper once every other year, was needed—she brought advocacy of free love and birth control and criticisms of marriage, the nuclear family, and homophobia into anarchism more than anyone else.

Actions: Arrested many times for doing draft resistance to WWI, disseminating birth control information, and for “inciting to riot,” she was deported to Russia, where she met Lenin and criticized USSR for its failures. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, she traveled to Spain to support the anarchists.

Influences: Thoreau, Kropotkin, Francisco Ferrer

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970) was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century in addition to being a harsh critic of wars and nuclear weapons. “I have imagined myself in turn a Liberal, a Socialist, or a Pacifist, but I have never been any of these things, in any profound sense.” While it certainly would be a stretch calling Russell a through-and-through anarchist as well, his book Proposed Roads to Freedom had many favorably things to say on anarchism. “My own opinion–which I may as well indicate at the outset–is that pure Anarchism, though it should be the ultimate ideal, to which society should continually approximate, is for the present impossible…” “I have no doubt that the best system would be one not far removed from that advocated by Kropotkin…” “If men had to be tempted to work instead of driven to it, the obvious interest of the community would be to make work pleasant. So long as work is not made on the whole pleasant, it cannot be said that anything like a good state of society has been reached.” Russell at times seems to fully support anarchism, but throughout the work, he tempers these ideas by saying that for the time being, we should accept minimal forms of hierarchy for practicality. In the rest of Russell’s works anarchism hardly gets mentioned and so it’s unclear how close he maintained these ideas, though they surely influenced him. Proposed Roads to Freedom speaks to the liveliness of anarchist ideas in the early 20th century and how prominent thinkers took them seriously.

Actions: Spent 6 months in jail for anti-WWI activism.

Influences: Kropotkin

Emiliano Zapata (1879 – 1919) was not an anarchist and he never claimed to be one; his leading of an army is a form of authority anarchists find problematic (for an example of an anarchist army, look into Makhno’s “Black Army” in Ukraine). But Zapata’s revolutionary struggles with the Mexican government and the kinds of agrarian redistribution that he sought were deeply inspired by his reading of Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magon and Kropotkin.

Actions: “It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” Yep.

Aldous Huxley (1894 – 1963), author of Brave New World, though not a self-identified anarchist, wrote in his 1946 preface to his 1933 novel in regards to his ideal society, “economics would be decentralized and Henry-Georgian, politics Kropotkinesque cooperative.”

Influences: Kropotkin, Henry-George

Mohandas Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was profoundly influenced by Tolstoy’s Christianity and nonviolence and soaked up a good deal of anti-statism as well. Again, while not identifying as an anarchist, many of his writings seem very similar to anarchism: “The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.” “If India copies England, it is my firm conviction that she will be ruined. Parliaments are merely emblems of slavery.” “If we become free, India becomes free and in this thought you have a definition of swaraj. It is swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves.”

Influences: Tolstoy, Thoreau, Gita, Bible, Quran

George Orwell (1903 – 1950) traveled to Spain to work as a journalist in 1936 when the Spanish Civil War broke out when General Francisco Franco, with the material support of Hitler and Mussolini, tried to stage a military coup of the country. Orwell’s awesome and only non-fiction book, Homage to Catalonia, is a detailed account of his personal experience. When Orwell arrived in Spain, he “joined the militia almost immediately, because at that time and in that atmosphere it seemed the only conceivable thing to do.” Although a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, Orwell outwardly expressed his feelings about anarchism: after joining the Trotskyist militia P.O.U.M. because it was the first one he ran into, he wrote, “As far as my purely personal preferences went I would have liked to join the Anarchists.” On what it was like in anarchist-controlled Spain, Orwell wrote, “when one came straight from England the aspect of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags and with the red and black flag of the Anarchists … Every shop and cafe had an inscription saying that it had been collectivized … There was much in this that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for … so far as one could judge the people were contented and hopeful. There was no unemployment, and the price of living was still extremely low … Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom.”

Actions: Went to Spain to fight Fascists. Near the end of the conflict, a sniper shot him through the throat and he just barely survived and went on to write some of the most widely read fiction of the 20th century.

Influences: Spanish anarchists, Tolstoy, Charles Dickens 14

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973) was probably not an anarchist in any meaningful sense. Though some parts of the following letter to his son are difficult to ascertain the meaning of, I think they are interesting and worth repeating: “My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) — or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy. I would arrest anybody who uses the word State … the most improper job of any many, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity. At least it is done only to a small group of men who know who their master is…. There is only one bright spot and that is the growing habit of disgruntled men of dynamating factories and power-stations; I hope that, encouraged now as ‘patriotism’, may remain a habit! But it won’t do any good, if it is not universal…”

Howard Zinn (1922 – 2010) authored perhaps the most widely read leftist text since WWII, A People’s History of the United States, which documented both the history of abuse by governments and corporations and the coordinated struggles of downtrodden, including the poor, blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women, gays, and others. Zinn didn’t like to choose between political labels for himself, instead recognizing the contributions of many forms of leftism. Zinn once described himself once as “Something of an anarchist, something of a socialist. Maybe a democratic socialist.” But maybe he leaned towards anarchism later in life; “I am an anarchist,” he told in a 2008 interview.

Actions: According to his colleague, on the day that the Board of Directors was to consider whether or not to grant Zinn tenure at Boston University, he was asked by students to speak at a protest against the Board of Directors in front of the administration building. He joined the protest and spoke.

Influences: Charles Dickens, Thoreau, Emma Goldman, Kropotkin

Noam Chomsky (1928 – present) self-identifies with the libertarian socialist strain of anarchism. Chomsky has a long list of accomplishments: He is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; The New York Times Book Review said of him “Judged in terms of the power, range, novelty and influence of his thought, Noam Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive today;” the New York Times again: “Mr. Chomsky’s introduction of his theory of language in 1957, often called the Chomsky revolution, has been equated with Darwin’s theory of evolution and Freud’s theory of the unconscious in terms of its importance in the history of ideas…”; a survey by the Institute for Scientific Information reported that Chomsky is the most cited living intellectual and the 8th most cited of all time, behind only Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, 15 Shakespeare, Marx, Lenin, and Freud; Chomsky is the author of more than 150 books and is perhaps the most widely-read critic of US policy abroad. Listing all of this is rather excessive, but I think it drives home the point that anarchist beliefs are held by some very influential and respected people, despite the mainstream media’s efforts persuade us of the contrary.

Action: One of the most prominent early critics of the Vietnam War and a participant in many protests, he was arrested in connection with organizing one mass protest in Washington DC and expected to spend considerable time in jail—to the extent that his wife went back to graduate school in preparation to providing for their family—but the charges were later dropped.

Influences: Russell, Orwell, Kropotkin, Wilhelm von Humboldt, John Dewey

Ursula Le Guin (1929 – present) is an anarchist and science-fiction writer perhaps most well-known for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness. In another novel, The Dispossessed, Le Guin tells the story of an anarchist society that was exiled to the moon after causing too much trouble for the countries on Earth. [ed: Her The Lathe of Heaven, a Frankenstein-esque novel about a man whose dreams literally alter the existing world, and short stories “Newton’s Sleep” and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” are also highly recommendable.] Her writing is heavily informed by social anthropology and sociology, coloring her worlds with concepts from the social sciences. She has won 5 Hugo awards and 6 Nebula awards, which are the two most-prized accolades in science-fiction writing.

Catholic Worker Movement (1933 – present) is a group of autonomous communities, called Catholic Worker Houses, in more than 100 cities around the world. Started by anarchist Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in the U.S., the movement has always had a close affinity with anarchist ideas, following somewhat in the literal interpretive tradition of Christian anarchism and pacifism set forth by Tolstoy.

Influences: Kropotkin, Tolstoy

[In addition to the aforementioned entries masterfully provided by comrade Max, the editor would like to add a few more:

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975): A German Jew who worked in exile from Nazi Germany for a Zionist organization that worked to evacuate Jewish children under Nazi rule to British-controlled Palestine, Arendt later eschewed Zionism, becoming one of the most prominent public advocates of a bi-national democratic solution for the emerging conflict in historical Palestine. Author of a number of works on twentieth-century fascism—The Origins of Totalitanianism and The Human Condition, among others—Arendt explains totalitarianism 16 as a product of the racism and imperialism that emanated from liberal-capitalist European society. A thinker whose work is greatly informed by reference to ancient Greece, Arendt famously endorses the directly-democratic council system—what she calls the “lost treasure” of the “revolutionary tradition”—in the closing chapter of her study On Revolution. In her Eichmann in Jerusalem, a series of essays written during and after her coverage of the 1963 trial in Israel of the mass-murdering Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann, she posits the concept of the banality of evil, whereby thoughtless conformity to bureaucratic hierarchy allows for massive crimes. No pacifist, Arendt argues in favor of Eichmann’s execution: “no member of the human race” can “be expected to want to share the earth” with Eichmann precisely because he orchestrated policies of “not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations.” Her development of her conception of beginning or natality is a compelling response to many of the questions she examined during her lifetime.

Albert Camus (1913-1960): born into a working-class French colon family in Algeria, Camus was actively involved with the French Resistance movement to Nazi occupation during World War II; as editor of Combat, newspaper of the Resistance, he called for a popular revolution in the wake of the Nazi defeat that would radically redistribute wealth and engage in the “pitiless destruction of trusts and of financial interests.” Author of a number of important fictional works (The Stranger, The Plague) that deal with absurdity and resistance to such, Camus was a seminal figure in the development of the theater of the absurd. In his The Rebel, Camus launches blistering attacks on the insensitivity of nihilism and authoritarian Marxism to human life—a position nonetheless far-removed from pacifism, as can be gleaned from his 1949 play The Just Assassins, which deals with a group of revolutionaries plotting to assassinate Tsar Nicholas II’s Grand Duke. Camus was perhaps the first French intellectual of his time to roundly criticize Stalinism and famously fell out with Jean-Paul Sartre for this reason. He was rather absurdly killed in an automobile accident.

Guy Debord (1931-1994): Principal theorist of the Situationist International (1962-72), a group of dissident European leftists and heterodox artists who in part inspired the May 1968 revolt in France, Debord is author of Society of the Spectacle, a work that characterizes contemporary Western society as one that distracts its subjects and mystifies capitalism by means of the spectacle—fixation with commodities, celebrity culture, and so on—and ends up reducing the human masses to mere spectators of the political world. Though Debord and the Situationists were clearly concerned with the spectacle’s colonization of everyday life, they did hold that capitalist society could entirely eradicate the dreams and desires of people to live under less alienating circumstances, hence their advocacy of workers’ councils as the means by which to supercede the spectacle. Debord died by his own hand, reportedly distraught at the degree to which he felt the spectacle reigned supreme.

Chris Hedges (1956-): A U.S.-born Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Hedges reported for years as in Central America, the Middle East, and the Balkans and was a New York Times foreign correspondent for fifteen years. A trenchant anti-militarist, he is author of War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning and What Every Person Should Know About War, both published during the during the darkness of the Bush years (2002 and 2003 respectively); he has has in recent years adopted an increasingly desperate-radical analysis of existing society, as evinced in his American Fascists (2007), Empire of Illusion (2009), and The World As It Is (2011) as well as in his weekly columns for Truthdig. Hedges’ ruminations 17 on imperial war and environmental catastrophe seem to be highly influenced by the thought of Arendt and Camus in particular: he finds there to be no possible exit from the existent other than through its very overthrow. He was arrested in late 2010 during a protest against Obama’s wars in Washington DC.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924): Kafka is undoubtedly one of the most influential writers of history. His two most famous works—The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926)—depict obscure worlds dominated by indefatigable bureaucracies in which characters suffer limitless anxiety and distress. “Nothing could be less true of Kafka,” writes German critical theorist Theodor W. Adorno, than that his works “coalesce into meaning”; according to leftist critic Michael Löwy, Kafka’s worlds of images assert redemption “only negatively, by its total absence.” Regarding a circle of anarchists with which Kafka had contact, he is reported to have said that they “sought thanklessly to realize human happiness” and that he “understood them” but that he “was unable to continue marching alongside them for long.” Although “most of his work is a reaction to unlimited power” (Adorno), Kafka seems to have been attracted to Zionism in the years before his death.

Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919): A German Jew born in Poland, Luxemburg is a premiere revolutionary voice within the socialist tradition. As a public intellectual she argued against Eduard Bernstein’s reformist attempt to dismiss revolutionary socialism and presciently warned of the dangers that would result from the centralization of power on the Leninist model. Author of The Accumulation of Capital, Luxemburg also contributed greatly to anti-imperialist thought, claiming European imperialist-capitalism historically to have eradicated “primitive communism” from much of the Earth and denouncing contemporary genocide as perpetrated by Germany in its Namibian colony. Though she was nominally a Marxist, Luxemburg was far from orthodox; in Hannah Arendt’s estimation, she was “so little orthodox indeed that it might be doubted that she was a Marxist at all.” A passionate opponent of the horrors of the First World War and one of the central figures of the Spartakusbund (Spartacist League), she helped organize the attempted revolution in Germany in November 1918-January 1919 during which temporarily flowered workers and soldiers’ councils but was brutally murdered along with fellow revolutionary anti-militarist Karl Liebknecht by proto-fascist Freikorps acting with the complicity of the Social Democrat-led government.

Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979): Surely one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers, Marcuse was a principal theorist associated with the Frankfurt-based heterodox-Marxist Institute for Social Research. Once a student of Martin Heidegger, Marcuse broke radically with his teacher over the latter’s public support for the Hitler regime, joining his fellow German leftists in exile in the U.S., where he taught for decades until his death. Marcuse is author of the classic Eros and Civilization (1955), in which he speculates that the rational appropriation of the modern technological base could allow for the institution of social relations freed from repression, and of One-Dimensional Man (1964), wherein he postulates that the industrial proletariat Marx theorized as being the revolutionary subject has in fact been integrated into capitalism. A prominent public opponent of the Vietnam War, Marcuse found revolutionary potential in the youth, the racially oppressed, and social movements from the global South as well as in the general human exercise of reason and imagination and the practice and contemplation of art and nature.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos (1957?-): Reported military chief of and principal spokesperson for the Chiapas-based Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN),

Subcomandante Marcos is an anti-capitalist guerrilla and a notable author and public intellectual. As far as is understood, Marcos was once a professor in Mexico

City who went to live among the indigenous of eastern Chiapas in the early 1980’s; since the public emergence of the EZLN in January 1994, Marcos has intervened often in debates on the neo-liberal global system, U.S. imperialism, and Mexican society and politics. He describes his politics and that of the EZLN as being anti-authoritarian leftism, a position he has developed textually in his communiqués and children’s fictions and physically in his Mexico-wide tours for the Otra Campaña (Other Campaign) which seek to unify subordinated Mexicans in opposition to the hegemonic. In his last public comments before entering a two-year period of silence starting in January 2009, Marcos plaintively denounced Israel’s massacres of Palestinians in Gaza.

Antonio Negri (1933-): Italian political theorist Antonio Negri has been a critical figure in the development of autonomous Marxism, as perhaps best reflected in his work Marx Beyond Marx and in his efforts to found and maintain the Potere Operaio (“Workers’ Power”) grouping. Once a professor, Negri was arrested in 1979 by the Italian government on the charge of complicity in the kidnapping and murder of former prime minister Aldo Moro and advocacy of ‘armed insurrection against the state.’ He fled to Paris during a temporary release in 1983 and there taught philosophy with Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida, and other prominent thinkers for the next fourteen years. Author, with Michael Hardt, of The Labor of Dionysus and the immensely influential trilogy Empire, Multitude, and Commonwealth, Negri postulates along with Hardt the existence of a non-hierarchical anti-statist “multitude” of the subordinated that can appropriate that which they term “the common” and so do away with Empire.

Kim Stanley Robinson (1952-): A science-fiction writer who has written on nuclear war and climate change, Robinson is the author of the Nebula award-winning Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Wars) which examines the establishment by a group scientists of stateless colonies on Mars that consciously avert the institution of patriarchy and private property and struggle against the designs of Earth-based totalitarian capitalists.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2013 4:11 pm

    This is great!

  2. Jeff permalink
    January 6, 2014 6:39 pm

    What about Lysander Spooner?

  3. assata permalink
    March 22, 2014 10:39 pm

    or Lucía Sánchez Saornil?

  4. Ken permalink
    July 18, 2015 2:52 pm

    You forgot Robert Paul Wolfe from Columbia c 1970, book “In Defense of Anarchism”

  5. Eric permalink
    August 24, 2015 11:09 pm

    Very well done. I’m educating myself with anarchist letterature and I wanted to know the influent figures. Thanks!

  6. samuel permalink
    September 30, 2017 11:36 pm

    Came here whilst searching for a succinct yet thorough and informative list of prominent figures in the historical world of anarchist theory.. and found just that. a great article, bookmarking this one. thank you !


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