By Peter H. Marshall
A desirable and finished heritage, 'Demanding the Impossible' is a tough and thought-provoking exploration of anarchist principles and activities from precedent days to the current day. Navigating the wide 'river of anarchy', from Taoism to Situationism, from Ranters to Punk rockers, from individualists to communists, from anarcho-syndicalists to anarcha-feminists, 'Demanding the Impossible' is an authoritative and energetic research of a broadly misunderstood topic. It explores the major anarchist options of society and the country, freedom and equality, authority and gear and investigates the successes and failure of the anarchist hobbies through the international. whereas ultimate sympathetic to anarchism, it provides a balanced and significant account. It covers not just the vintage anarchist thinkers, equivalent to Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus and Emma Goldman, but additionally different libertarian figures, reminiscent of Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault and Chomsky. No different booklet on anarchism covers quite a bit so incisively. during this up-to-date variation, a brand new epilogue examines the latest advancements, together with 'post-anarchism' and 'anarcho-primitivism' in addition to the anarchist contribution to the peace, eco-friendly and 'Global Justice' routine. not easy the most unlikely is key studying for a person wishing to appreciate what anarchists stand for and what they've got accomplished. it is going to additionally entice those that are looking to become aware of how anarchism bargains an inspiring and unique physique of principles and practices that's extra appropriate than ever within the twenty-first century.
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Extra info for Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
Despite the outwardly erratic course taken by his political allegiances, SorePs principal ideas and his central vision of human nature are vitally relevant today. Indeed, as Berlin presents him, he seems more modern and to speak to us more directly than a good many of his more celebrated, solid and sober contemporaries. He xliii AGAINST T H E C U R R E N T was not a systematic thinker, purveying a political doctrine whose out· lines were fixed and final. He loathed system and condemned it in others.
Here Berlin discusses the typical forms it takes and some of its major sources, and touches upon one of the most puzzling features of nineteenth-century political thought and prophecy, namely its failure to give a true estimate of the decisive role nationalism was to play in shaping the modern world. As a coherent doctrine nationalism seems to emerge for the first time in the last third of the eighteenth century in the writings of Herder. For Herder and those German thinkers influenced by him, the arch-enemy was French universalism and materialism.
Indeed, one of the greatest of modern evils arises when men and their spiritual and material needs are treated as objects exhaustively analysable by science. Then men are reduced by scientific experts and rational bureaucrats to functioning parts in a machine, robbed of their true human essence as free creative agents. SorePs view of the nature of science, and of its misapplication to the lives of human beings, is strongly reminiscent of the darker apprehensions of Hamann, though unlike the German antinomian he regards science as a triumph of human intellect and effort and as an indispensable machine in the battle to resist blind nature.