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Noam Chomsky/edited by Barry Pateman

The Grand Old Wizard giving us the ins and outs of anarchism. The book really is a compilation of Chomsky's varied writings and interviews on the subject, collected over the last 30 years or so.

Much of Chomsky's writings are direct attacks on aspects of US foreign policy, blasting holes in stated motives and uncovering hidden agenda's. Whilst these criticisms and analysis are defined by his political outlook, it's nice to have something positive on what the Man believes in rather than what he opposes.

Unlike the Marxist Left, Chomsky consistently refuses to go into detail on a blueprint of a future society. To do so would be as unwise as it would be inaccurate. All we can do, he argues, is set the scene for grassroots, non-hierarchical desicion making processes to flourish. This means challenging and abolishing all authoritarian structures unless they can prove their necessity. (E.g. in the parent/child relationship).

Chomsky has an ability to make what is often seen as radical politics accessible and historically relevant to peoples lives. Chomsky's anarchism is similar to the original ideas of democracy and responsibility espoused by the Forefathers of the United Stares - Thomas Jefferson and Henry Throueau, and he refers to this regularly.

Indeed the history of anarchist resistance and innovation was very often initiated by people who had never heard of Bakunin (who?) or Mutual Aid (what?). The Spanish Civil War, South Americas landless peasants movement. They had instead a natural inclination toward direct democracy and direct action. We are anarchists by nature.

Chomsky's rebuttal of Statist Communism and the radical right Libertarian Party is conclusive and helps define his thoughts (particularly anarcho-syndicalism) on what anarchy exactly is and isn't. Unfortunately he doesn't expand enough on his criticisms on Green/primitivist anarchism, currently a big trend, especially in the States, and the book does repeat itself a bit, while feeling a little disjointed at times.

Still, bang it on the coffee table and impress your friends.

AK Press


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