James Horrox on A. D. Gordon and anarchism

There is very little good material online about A. D. Gordon, even less in English, and none that discusses his anarchism. So I am very pleased to be able to post the following essay, adapted by James Horrox from his book A Living Revolution (AK Press, 2009), on the inspiring life and ideas of this unique figure.

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A. D. Gordon

by James Horrox

Doyen of the early kibbutz communards and an important, yet largely forgotten figure in the history of utopian thought, Aaron David (A.D.) Gordon (1856-1922) was one of the most influential ideologues of the early twentieth century Jewish labour movement in Palestine. Gordon’s agrarian philosophy – which he himself refused to speak of in terms of ‘socialism’, ‘anarchism’, “or any other isms”[1] – was rooted in a deep-seated reverence of the natural world, which appeared to him driven by organic non-hierarchical principles in which he saw a model for the reorganisation of human society.

Born into a middle class, orthodox Jewish family in Podolia in 1856, Gordon was raised in the heart of the Ukrainian countryside where his father worked in the management of agrarian estates. An early member of the Hibbat Tziyon (Love of Zion) movement, he proved himself a charismatic teacher and local community activist, and by the time he arrived in Palestine in 1904 at the age of 48, thanks to his upbringing he had a knowledge of agriculture and the natural world uncommon among the Jewish émigrés of that era, most of whom came from sedentary urban lifestyles. After working for brief periods at the First Aliya settlements at Petah Tikvah and Rishon Le-Zion Gordon eventually settled at Kibbutz Degania. Though he never became a permanent member of the kibbutz it was there that he spent most of his working life in Palestine, lived out his last years, died and was buried. In his memoirs, one of Degania’s founding members, Joseph Baratz, eulogised Gordon as “the most strange and wonderful figure in our kvutza”[3]. He “had a great love of manual labour”, Baratz writes, “and he thought everybody should work with his hands – teachers, writers, administrators. One day, he was explaining this to [Chaim] Arlosoroff, the President of the National Fund, who had come to see him. He was spreading manure with a pitchfork in a field. ‘You see’ he said’, when you stand in a field and you use your pitchfork like this….and this….you feel well and you feel you have a right to live.’ He used to say that by work a man is healed”.[3]

This love of manual labour and the natural world lay at the heart of Gordon’s writings. Influenced by Kabbalistic and Hassidic mysticism, Nietzschean existentialism and Tolstoyan agrarian anarchism, Gordon held that manual labour was not only essential for the regeneration of the Jewish people (it is through labour, he argued, that “a people becomes rooted in its soil and culture”)[4] but also that it held a more holistic value. Physical, and in particular agricultural work, he believed, enabled the human being to connect with nature through creativity, and it was therefore through a return to the land that individuals, peoples and humanity would be able to find spiritual succour and a more meaningful way of life:

“Man’s life has been cut away from its source. Naturally, it has become narrowed, impoverished, meagre, hollow, empty, uninteresting, vain. On the one hand, this results in a feverish pursuit of a life of pleasure, of sickly passion, of grasping at anything in the dregs of life that still has pungency… On the other hand, there follow perplexities, barren spiritual confusion, sterile scepticism, aimless wandering, vacillation, mystic fancies, useless despair. The light in life has been lost; its zest has gone; the talent for understanding life is wasted; in short, the talent to live has been destroyed.”[5]

Gordon echoed the Tolstoyan argument that human beings are at our best when and if we reject the mechanical artifices of civilisation and live our lives in an organic relationship with other people and with nature. It was largely through his influence that agricultural labour came to be seen by the early kibbutzniks not just as a means for the satisfaction of human needs, but as an end in its own right. Although he himself never actually used the phrase Gordon is credited as the founder of the “religion of labour” that became a “surrogate moral code”[6] for the early kibbutzniks: a secular religiosity, akin to Tolstoy’s notion of seeking “the Kingdom of God not without, but within ourselves”.

Gordon’s Zionism was staunchly pacifistic and anti-militarist, and the idea of creating a Jewish state is never once mentioned in his entire body of work. While he believed in the Jews’ historical right to live in Palestine, he viewed the Arabs as an organic nation living in harmony with the land, from whom the Jews should take an example. At the same time he was not naïve about Arab resistance to Zionism, which he saw as a natural reaction to Jews’ westernised and rootless lifestyle, and he thus envisaged the future of Jewish-Arab relations as one of peaceful competition at best – at least until the Jews fully reconnected with the land and earned the respect and cooperation of their neighbours.

While opposed to capitalist forms of labour exploitation, Gordon also rejected “socialism” – by which he always meant Marxism – with its emphasis on class struggle for changes in economic relationships as the key to overcoming capitalism and alienation. In Marxism he saw merely a continuation of the reigning mechanistic conception of the human being and of society, an expression of alienated thought rather than a response to it, and argued that since class is itself nothing more than an artificial organisation of human beings, an edifice of industrial capitalism, the proletariat could hardly be expected to serve as an agent of human transformation. Instead he believed that the nation – an organic collection of individuals based on the principles of kinship and shared cultural values – was the only agent capable of heralding such change. Rejecting the Marxist emphasis on changes in economic organisation as a privileging of form over content, the understanding that society would not change unless the individual changed was central to his thinking. It was through the self-improvement of each and every individual, within the context of a revival of organic national life, by which mankind – and in this setting Diaspora Jewry – would be able to achieve renewal.

It is in this context that Gordon emphasises the spiritual value of labour. Since human beings were deteriorating in proportion to the degree that they became alienated from the natural world, and since the Jewish people in the Diaspora had been affected more than any other in this respect, doubly detached from the cosmic flow of creativity by being both away from their homeland and occupied primarily in trade and sedentary urban professions rather than in agriculture, Gordon viewed a return to nature and a life of physical, and especially agricultural work as essential. This reconnection between man and land through agricultural labour was for him the sine qua non of the spiritual and political reawakening of humanity, hence the centrality of kibbutz in the regeneration of the Jewish people.

Although he never elaborated in much detail on the minutiae of social or political arrangements, Gordon had clear ideas about the form and function of the kibbutz. He argued that small, rural communities are a scale of human living preferable to modern urban civilisation, and that infrastructure and sociopolitical systems should be reorganised along these lines. The basic molecular unit of human society was to be the kvutza, a communalism which should not only subvert the alienation inherent in capitalist production, but which must act also as a family, a vector for the extension of familial bonds outwards into the wider social space. Humanity’s natural bonds of fraternity and empathy, in other words, corrupted by capitalist modernity, need to be restored, and from there a new society can arise.

“The basic idea of the kvutza” Gordon wrote, “is to arrange its communal life through the strength of the communal idea, through aspiration and the spiritual life, and through communal work, so that the members will be interdependent and will influence each other along their positive qualities”:

“The kvutza….can and must work on two fronts. On one side – that of work and nature, the person must be free and must reform him or herself through work and through nature. The individual must associate with the very work and the very nature wherein he or she labours and lives. On the other front, there is the life of the family in the kvutza. The kvutza must serve as a family in the finest meaning of the term. It must develop its members through the strength of their mutual, positive influence….As soon as [individuals] draw together and begin to associate with one another, they become a family as though they had already passed through the sacred rites of marriage.”[7]

Gordon’s writings were mainly published in the magazine of the Hapoel Hatzair workers’ party, which he founded in 1904, alongside articles by and about well-known anarchists of the time, including Kropotkin, Landauer, Proudhon and, later, Hapoel Hatzair theorist Chaim Arlosoroff (the latter strongly influenced in his youth by fin de siècle European anarchist thinkers, in particular Kropotkin). Among the kibbutz founders there was a broad consensus that creating a new kind of society entailed the creation, first, of a new kind of person, and Gordon’s philosophy of spiritual regeneration was one to which the young idealists of the Second Aliya could readily subscribe. Following his death in 1922, Gordon’s ideas continued to tower over the kibbutzim. Hapoel Hatzair continued to look to him as their spiritual leader, and the early groups of Hashomer Hatzair who arrived in Palestine from 1919 and subsequently evolved into the Kibbutz Artzi federation, were strongly influenced by his thinking (Kropotkin, Proudhon, Buber and Landauer were also required reading for Hashomer Hatzair members). In 1923-24, Hapoel Hatzair supporters in Galicia, led by Pinhas Lubianker, founded the Gordonia youth movement, which adopted Gordon’s philosophy and acted as a counterbalance to the Marxisms that were by then beginning to appear in the politics of other Zionist pioneering groups. In the decades following his death, however, Gordon’s subversive ideas would be muddled and eventually forgotten in the process of Zionist myth-making, which ultimately retained only his personal example of dedication to agricultural labour and Jewish renewal for the Israeli historical narrative.

Given the mythological status ascribed to him in this narrative it is perhaps par for the course that Gordon has become a target for attack in recent leftist academia. He has become a prominent feature in particular in liberal historians’ explanations of why Zionism, irrespective of its secular claims, is indeed religious, and even a classically nationalist monism. Some have argued that it was precisely para-religious spiritual socialisms like his that laid the groundwork for a conciliation of Judaism and Zionism, and ultimately the far right national-religious ideology of the contemporary settler movement.

This argument, elaborated at length in Ze’ev Sternhell’s book The Founding Myths of Israel, holds that mystical naturalism of the kind Gordon espoused, European romanticism and hostility to industrial capitalism fuse in the Zionist context to become compatible with a classical nationalist outlook. Gordon’s pacifism, communitarianism and silence on the question of statehood on this view do not necessarily mean that his philosophy did not contain the same ingredients as European integral nationalism.

Gordon is a key illustration in Sternhell’s contestation of the idea that a synthesis of socialism and nationalism was ever an objective of the kibbutz pioneers. Sternhell argues that the ideologues of Labour Zionism realised early on that the two objectives were irreconcilable, and that the pursuit of egalitarianism was really only ever a “mobilising myth…a convenient alibi that sometimes permitted the [Zionist] movement to avoid grappling with the contradiction between socialism and nationalism”.[8] He presents Gordon as the exemplar of this contradiction, dissecting his philosophy so as to rebrand him as a proto-fascistic figure who, “in his rejection of the materialism of socialism, employed the classic terminology of romantic, volkisch nationalism”.[9] The ontic-religious content of Gordon’s nationalism is presented as evidence of how Zionism expressed its religious character, undermining its self-image as a secular endeavour opposed to the ‘slave morality’ of Diaspora Judaism; Gordon’s positive attitude toward “the traditional requirements of religion”, and “the historical manifestations of tradition”[10] in Sternhell’s view affirm his consistency with integral nationalism, which also held religion, tradition and ritual to be core components of national identity. The “paradox of religiosity without belief in God” in Gordon’s writing is thus for Sternhell an index of his congruence with integral nationalism’s “affirmation of religion as a source of identity [which] had no connection with metaphysics”.[11]

Leaving aside the larger question of whether the Gordon Sternhell is analysing is actually Gordon the myth rather than Gordon the writer, the problem with this critique is that it rests on the erroneous assumption that the volkisch romanticism of Herder, in which Sternhell traces Gordon’s intellectual lineage, has no other descendants than the xenophobic views of writers associated with integral nationalism – a specious teleological view of European political romanticism that leads to an understanding of romanticism exclusively in terms of a simple unilinear development to fascism. Since Sternhell fails to acknowledge that Gordon’s repudiation of “socialism” was in fact solely a rejection of Marxism, the question of parallels with other contemporaneous branches of socialist thought is an avenue he completely neglects to explore. In making this leap he overlooks an entire history of left-wing, democratic, humanitarian incarnations of volkisch romanticism, his reassessment of Gordon thus failing to examine links between Gordon’s philosophy and similar imbrications of volkisch thought, secular spiritualism and antipathy to capitalist modernity found in the works of certain European anarchists of the era.

Returning to Palestine from a conference in Prague in 1920, Gordon himself claimed to have ‘found his ideas’ in the writings of the German anarchist Gustav Landauer who, like him, drew together the secular spiritualism of Spinoza and Tolstoy, the existentialism of Nietzsche and the ideas of the volkisch thinkers into an antiauthoritarian and obsessively pacifistic left-wing volkisch romanticism. At the heart of Gordon’s philosophy is a synthesis of antiauthoritarianism, anticapitalism, anticlericalism, secular spirituality and mystical belief in land as source of creativity strikingly similar in its central qualities to Landauer’s anarchism. Indeed, though he may have suffered at the hands of Sternhell, the consistency between Gordon’s philosophy and that of Landauer and other anarchists in this tradition, most notably Tolstoy and Proudhon, has led to an alternative view of Gordon as one of the kibbutz movement’s early anarchist ideologues. Some have identified his pacifist, anti-statist naturalism and anti-Marxist critique of modernity as anticipating contemporary eco-anarchisms specifically. Even the most perfunctory assessment of Gordon’s writings in the context of the anarchist thinking of his own time is more than enough to base an argument that it is in fact to the antiauthoritarian tradition that Gordon rightfully belongs.

NOTES

[1] Baratz, J. A Village by the Jordan, London: Harvill, 1954, 82

[2] Ibid., 79

[3] Ibid.

[4] Gordon, A.D. “Thoughts and Letters”, Yassour, Avraham (ed.), The History of the Kibbutz a Selection of Sources – 1905-1929, Israel: Merhavia 1995, 143

[5] Gordon, A.D. “Man and Nature”, A.D. Gordon: Selected Essays, Burnce, F. (trans.), New York: League for Labour Palestine, 1938, 205

[6] Warhurst, C. Between Market, State and Kibbutz: The Management and Transformation of Socialist Industry, London: Mansell, 1999, 132

[7] Gordon, A.D “Thoughts and Letters”, 143

[8] Sternhell, Z. The Founding Myths of Israel, Maisel, D. (trans.), Princeton University Press, 1998, 3

[9] Ibid. 60

[10] Schweid, quoted. in Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel, 57

[11] Sternhell, The Founding Myths of Israel, 57

Frankfurt Update: Individual bans withdrawn, Actions start

from http://www.globalinfo.nl/tag/frankfurt/

Blockupy-actions are starting now. Police have announced to want to evict (‘temporarily’, but if they do not collaborate it might be for good) the occupy camp in front of the ECB that has been there since October 15 last year. Occupiers have declared that they will ‘resist peacefully’ and Blockupy called for solidarity. On Tuesday police started to surround the camp with fences.

Also the surroundings of the neighbouring ECB has been fenced off with barbed wire.

Latest newsletter with handy info (in German)

There is also (more) good news: police decided to withdraw the ‘personal bans’ that more than 400 people got sent home, forbidding them to be in the Frankfurt area from May 16-20. The reason to withdraw the ban is the fear that the bans might not hold in court.

Meanwhile many meanstream media report that the blockades are already functioning. The ECB is organising police escort for some of their personnel, and changing venues for some of their activities (Reuters: – The European Central Bank plans to hold its mid-month policy meeting early, move staff out of its headquarters and shift a farewell event for one of its board members out of town, all to avoid clashes with anti-capitalist ‘Blockupy’ protesters.

(…) The ECB has also shifted a farewell event for outgoing board member Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, due to be attended by policymakers from around the world. It was originally to be held at one of Frankfurt’s plushest hotels, just a stone’s throw from the ECB’s headquarters. Instead it will now be held out of town with guests to be told the exact location only hours beforehand.

Other banks decided to close down completely

The Commerz Bank is closing its offices from Thursday on

Others are boarding up, or removing signs from their buildings, in the hope that demonstrators don’t recognize them. Some smaller businesses have declared to be on the side of the demonstrators and to have made good business with demonstrators. One of the occupy-activists appears to be a trader himself.

Then there is this hilarious report that bankers have been instructed to ‘dress casually’ and not come to work in their usual dress (= suit and tie for men, women can be a bit more frivolous) but wear ragged jeans instead.

In an interview with two activists from an antifascist organisation we can also read about the propaganda from the side of the authorities. One of the arguments for all the repressive measures, is the fact that an anti capitalist demonstration on March 31 turned violent. One police officer was hospitalised, as media don’t stop repeating, claiming that he was ‘severely wounded’. He was, but it turned out that it was mainly pepper spray he got, and he could leave the hospital the next day after they examined him and had that outcome. Police sprays pepper spray on demonstrators as a habit almost, and in large quantities, but not one of the victims got any media attention.

John Holloway in the Guardian: Blockupy Frankfurt is a glimmer of hope in times of austerity (Popular protests such as Blockupy offer an alternative to capitalism for those facing a life hunting through garbage cans)

As the famous folksinger B.Dylan once wrote: You don’t need to be in Frankfurt to block a bank

More information:
http://www.blockupy-frankfurt.org
http://17to19m.blogsport.eu/
http://notroika.linksnavigator.de/
http://de.indymedia.org/
https://linksunten.indymedia.org/
http://www.ea-frankfurt.org/

Nice review in Capital and Class

David Bell from the University of Nottingham has published a positive review of Anarchy Alive! in the journal Capital and Class. Quite nice for a Marxist journal! Here it is:

In 2004, David Graeber (2004: 2) noted that although ‘anarchism is veritably exploding right now’, academia has failed to keep up, offering little other than caricatured understandings of a complex movement. Whilst he was perhaps overstating his case a little, even then, Uri Gordon’s Anarchy Alive! Anti-Authoritarian Politics from Practice to Theory shows that a thoughtful, nuanced understanding of contemporary anarchism is not an impossibility in the university. Developed from his Ph.D. thesis (written at Oxford University, no less) it offers a compelling vision of an ideological movement whose relevance now is even stronger than it was in 2004.

The subtitle of Gordon’s work talks of a move ‘from practice to theory’, inverting the more standard approach of books which proclaim the relevance of a particular political ideology. Yet Gordon’s book actually goes further, undermining the dichotomy between practice and theory: it is perhaps best thought of as a work of praxis, in which theory and practice are irreducibly bound together in a mutually reinforcing relationship. It is a work which puts ‘organisation, action and lifestyle on the same footing with ideas and theories’ (p. 27), and what results is that each of these facets of anarchism asks awkward questions of the others such that a precise definition of ‘anarchism’ can never be established. Any initial fears that encoding key issues in anarchist practice into a work of theory might bring about an ossification of the movement are thus unfounded, and despite a cautiously optimistic tone throughout, Anarchy Alive! is bookended with assertions that its purpose is to ask ‘relevant questions’ (p. 7), and that ‘there are more questions than answers’ (p. 164). Indeed, the book’s refusal to fix the meaning of anarchism once and for all – and the liveliness of the debates it draws on – perhaps offers an answer to the questions Sartre posed in Critique of Dialectical Reason, where he wondered how it was possible for revolutionary politics to avoid ossification into bureaucratic forms of organisation, killing its vitality (Sartre, 2004).

It may seem odd, then, that Gordon considers anarchism an ‘ideology’ – a concept often seen by many anarchists as the site of precisely such ossification (see McQuinn, 2011; Landstreicher, 2001). Yet drawing on the work of his Oxford supervisor Michael Freeden, Gordon instead argues that ‘ideologies are not irrational dogmas or forms of “false consciousness”’ but rather are ‘paradigms that people use … to handle ideas that are essentially contested in political language’ (p. 20). This view of ideology poses no threat to Rudy Rocker’s understanding of anarchism (which Gordon quotes approvingly) as offering ‘no patent solution for human problems … It does not believe in any absolute truth, or in definite final goals for human development’ (p. 43).

It is to the current framing of the paradigms central to anarchism that Gordon turns in Chapter 2, where – as throughout the book – he draws predominantly on his experiences in anarchist struggles across Europe and the Middle East, and on the literature developed from these struggles: webzines, photocopied pamphlets, Indymedia postings and diy documentary films. From this, he argues that the three core concepts for the ideology of anarchism are domination, prefiguration and diversity/open-endedness, but that the meanings and relationships of these ‘are constantly reframed and recoded in response to world events, political alliances and trends in direct-action culture, evolving through intense flows of communication and discussion, and through innumerable experiences and experiments’ (p. 28).

Gordon’s familiarity with the multifarious debates of contemporary anarchism means that his work is imbued with an intrinsic understanding of the subtleties of anarchism that is lost in the caricatures of which Graeber speaks sorrowfully. In Chapter 3, ‘Power and Anarchy’, for example, he notes that ‘anarchists are hardly “against power”’ (p. 49), and continues to explain how anarchism seeks to maximise the individual’s ‘power-to’ by developing the communal ‘power-with’ (p. 50, 54-5). The complexities of this process are then examined with reference to anarchist practice of groups including Food not Bombs (p. 58) and Reclaim the Streets (p. 72-3), where factors not traditionally considered in works of ‘political philosophy’ must be considered: sparse finances, the self-confidence of activists, a lack of equipment and so on. Equally nuanced is Gordon’s argument that anarchism must not be seen as the logical conclusion of democracy, since it is philosophy that lacks the ability to force decisions upon others (p. 68-9); although, whilst he makes a compelling case here, it is one of the rare occasions on which his reflections are grounded in abstract theorising rather than in the movement itself. I am sympathetic to his claims, but would argue that it is for the movement to decide whether the term ‘democracy’ should be dispensed with or not – perhaps it is a concept that can be remade, rather than rejected.

The second half of the book sees Gordon apply his approach to a number of key issues of debate in contemporary radical politics and features chapters on the role of violence, technology, and the politics of Israel/Palestine. This section of the book, I wish to suggest, is particularly fruitful, both for those involved in the movement and those seeking an understanding of how it operates. The former can take inspiration for Gordon’s call for a ‘diversity of tactics’ (p. 78) and the unstinting tolerance for a diversity of opinions which is a frequent marker of this book. For the latter, it helps to flesh out how the machinations of anarchism play out on a ‘day-to-day basis’ far more effectively than any work grounded solely in theory ever could. I do not always agree with Gordon’s pronouncements (I think he is too pessimistic about the radical potential of technology, for example); others I found persuasive (his claim that no form of politics can escape violence, and that anarchism needs to bear this in mind when debating when violent struggle is ethically acceptable): but to take debate at length with these in this review would miss what makes this book so vital, for Gordon is not limiting anarchist theory to his beliefs on these issues, but rather showing how anarchism is ‘a dialogue’, which discusses real people’s ideas and practices with them: which ‘speak[s] – not from above, but from within’ (p. 9). These chapters should rather be read as invitations to reflect on and engage with Gordon’s claims from within the movement, using the same generosity of spirit Gordon shows in developing his arguments.

That is not to say that this book is beyond reproach, and I have concerns that the vision of the anarchist ‘movement’ Gordon offers (unintentionally) sets up a dichotomy between the ‘inside’ of that movement and the ‘outside’: with the inside appearing somewhat intimidating to penetrate. ‘Our archetypal anarchist’, we are told, ‘could pull up genetically modified crops before dawn, report on action through emails and independent media websites in the morning, take a nap, and then do a bit of allotment gardening in the afternoon and work part-time as a programmer in the evening’ (p. 109). Inspiring stuff, undoubtedly, but due to issues such as childcare, timidity, depression, disability, imprisonment or financial woes – not to mention a whole host of other late-capitalist anxieties – not an approach that is open to all. I worry that setting up such an intense body of activity as ‘anarchism’ risks alienating people who cannot offer that much to the movement. It might, perhaps, be more productive to think of anarchism as a culture which, at times, we all embody – the approach taken by Colin Ward (1982) (and which Gordon himself acknowledges: 41). Yet this is not perfect either, and runs the risk of depoliticising anarchism, reducing it to a series of generous gestures and leading to a situation in which ‘your archetypal anarchist helps an old lady across the street in the morning, illegally downloads some music all afternoon and then dumpster dives with his mates in the evening’. To avoid potential activists succumbing to this rather individualised fate, the anarchist movement must display not only the internally generous spirit exemplified by Gordon’s book, but also appear outwardly attractive to those who have much to offer the movement.

If the anarchist movement can find a way to solve this conundrum and move forwards with the clarity, honesty and enthusiasm that Gordon’s book displays then I would be tempted to share the optimism with which it closes and agree that many of the questions anarchists must now face are indeed ‘new questions … questions about winning’ (p. 164).

References

Graeber D (2004) Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Ceros Press.

Landstreicher W (2001) How then do we go wild? Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed 52.

May M (1994) The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism. Pennsylvania State University Press.

McQuinn J (2011) Post-left anarchy: Leaving the left behind. Online at www.theanarchistlibrary. org, accessed 14 June 2011.

Sartre J-P (2004) Critique of Dialectical Reason, vol. 1: Theory of Practical Ensembles, trans. Smith A. London: Verso.

Ward C (1982) Anarchy in Action. London: Freedom Press.

Author biography

David Bell is a writer, artist, educator and musician. Drawing on radical political theory, poststructuralism and works of musicology and art theory, his work seeks to reimagine utopia as a space of non-hierarchy and becoming. He is currently studying for a Ph.D. at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (cssgj) at the University of Nottingham.

French translation out now!

Just received a few copies of the French translation of Anarchy Alive!, translated by Vivien Garcia and published by Atelier de Creation Libertaire. Hopefully we’ll be able to arrange a book-tour in France for the summer/autumn.
AA!_fr cover

From the back cover:

Non seulement l’anarchisme est bien vivant, mais il est en bonne forme. Uri Gordon le proclame dès le titre de son ouvrage. Qui pourrait n’y entendre qu’une vaine allégation trouvera dans cette lecture de quoi dissiper ses doutes. Elle lui offrira d’abord un instantané présentant une bonne part des pratiques libertaires en vigueur aujourd’hui. Elle l’introduira ensuite à quelques débats qui en sont issus et les accompagnent. La vie dont il est ici question prendra tout son sens. Elle a si peu à voir avec la perpétuation de fonctions qui, essentielles dans la seule mesure où elles évitent le trépas, ne préservent en rien de la répétition mécanique, des rituels vides et de l’ennui généralisé. Cette vie se dévoile au contraire sous les traits d’une multitude en mouvement qui, luxuriante, brille d’inventivité. Et le livre qui se loge entre vos mains, en même temps que d’en offrir un panorama encore sans égal, y contribue pleinement.