Obviously, in the present state of mankind, when the vast majority of people, oppressed by poverty and stupefied by superstition, stagnate in a state of humiliation, the fate of humanity depends on the action of a relatively small number of individuals; obviously it will not be possible suddenly to get people to raise themselves to the point where they feel the duty, indeed the pleasure from controlling their own actions in such a way that others will derive the maximum benefit therefrom. But if today the thinking and directing forces in society are few, it is not a reason for paralyzing yet more of them and for subjecting many others to a few of them. It is not a reason for organizing society in such a way that (thanks to the apathy that is the result of secured positions, thanks to birth, patronage, esprit de corps, and all the government machinery) the most lively forces and real ability end up by finding themselves outside the government and almost without influence on social life; and those that attain to government, finding themselves out of their environment, and being above all interested in remaining in power, lose all possibilities of acting and only serve as an obstacle to others.

Once this negative power that is government is abolished, society will be what it can be, but all that it can be given the forces and abilities available at the time. If there are educated people who wish to spread knowledge they will organize the schools and make a special effort to persuade everybody of the usefulness and pleasure to be got from an education. And if there were no such people, or only a few, a government could not create them; all it could do would be what happens now, take the few that there are away from their rewarding work, and set them to drafting regulations which have to be imposed with policemen, and make intelligent and devoted teachers into political beings, that is useless parasites, all concerned with imposing their whims and with maintaining themselves in power. . . .

In any case we will have on events the kind of influence which will reflect our numerical strength, our energy, our intelligence and our intransigence. Even if we are defeated, our work will not have been useless, for the greater our resolve to achieve the implementation of our program in full, the less property and less government will there be in the new society. And we will have performed a worthy task for, after all, human progress is measured by the extent government power and private property are reduced. And if today we fail without compromising, we can be sure of victory tomorrow. — Errico Malatesta, 1891, from Anarchy


Decentralizing Power: Paul Goodman’s Social Criticism

Edited by Taylor Stoehr

Perhaps the most widely read anarchist text of the ‘50s and ‘60s, Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd was a classic of myth-busting writing. In this new collection of essays, readers can learn more about Goodman’s less-well-known political and social writing. SC

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 206 pages

Durutti: The People Armed

Abel Paz

An exhaustive biography of the legendary Spanish revolutionary, who died at age 40 in 1936. AK

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 323 pages

The Ego and Its Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority

Max Stirner

Quite possibly the most subversive thing ever written by a Young Hegelian, this book got under Marx and Engels’ skins so much that they wrote a 700-page-plus refutation of it, The German Ideology. Stirner’s point is that the individual should be the primary focus of social relationships. This concept appeals to both the left and right; however, anyone who would call himself a “Stirnerite” is either an idiot or misses the point. Cited by everyone from bomb-toting anarchists to limp-wristed Libertarians, consistently misinterpreted, and influential on such varied people as Friedrich Nietzsche and Guy Debord, The Ego and Its Own is a must-read for anyone who is interested in anti-authoritarian politics. SC

Publisher: Rebel
Paperback: 366 pages

The Essential Kropotkin

Peter Kropotkin

General selection from all of his works: “Appeal to the Young,” “Law and Authority,” “The Wage System,” “Anarchism,” “Memoirs of a Revolutionist,” “Mutual Aid,” “The Great French Revolution,” and “Fields, Factories, and Workshops.”

Publisher: Liveright
Paperback: 249 pages

Ethics: Origins and Development

Peter Kropotkin

Kropotkin’s masterwork, this volume sets forth the results of his lifelong research into the history of human ethics, from primitive peoples to the late 19th century. For the author, an anarchist scientist, ethics were not an abstract science of human conduct but a concrete discipline based on mutual aid, justice and self-sacrifice. SC

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 352 pages

The False Principle of Our Education

Max Stirner

Humanism and Realism, the Egoist way. A classic essay from Stirner. AK

Publisher: Ralph Myles
Pamphlet: 28 pages

Fields, Factories and Workshops

Peter Kropotkin

An anarchist study of the possibilities of reorganizing industry along nonhierarchical, nonexploitative lines, with new material by Colin Ward.

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 202 pages

Fra Contadini: A Dialogue on Anarchy

Errico Malatesta

Using the form of a conversation between two peasants, Malatesta expounds on the theory of anarchism. AK

Publisher: Elephant
Paperback: 47 pages

Fugitive Writings

Peter Kropotkin

Serves as a good introduction to Kropotkin’s writings, with his ideas presented in the context of his political and social essays. Much of this material has long been out of print or untranslated. SC

Publisher: Black Rose
Paperback: 202 pages

God and the State

Michael Bakunin

“Among the l9th-century founders of modern philosophical anarchism, none is more important than Michael Bakunin (1814-1876). Born into Russian nobility, he renounced his hereditary rank in protest against Czarist oppression, and fled to Western Europe… A colorful, charismatic personality, violent, ebullient and energetic, Bakunin was one of the two poles between which l9th- and early 20th-century anarchism was formed. All threads of one chain of anarchism lead back to Bakunin, and everyone in the movement either built upon or reacted to his ideas. God and the State has been a basic anarchist and radical document for generations. It is one of the clearest statements of the anarchist philosophy of history: religion by nature is impoverishment, enslavement and annihilation of humanity. It is the weapon of the state. It must be smashed, according to Bakunin, before the right of self-determination is possible.”

Publisher: Dover
Paperback: 89 pages