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A History of the French Anarchist Movement 1917 to 1945


5.0 average, based on 1 reviews

Manufacturer: AK Press

Product Information

David Berry's study is the first English-language evaluation of the development and lessons of the French anarchist movement between the wars. Using an impressive array of archival sources and personal interviews, Berry's original research explores the debates and growing pains of a massive, working-class, revolutionary movement facing great obstacles and uncertainty. Focusing on the organized wings of the movement—the anarcho-communist and syndicalist groups—it offers a ringside seat to the legacy of the First International, the upheaval of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Bolshevik treachery, and the fight against fascism. Includes an introduction from archivist and historian Barry Pateman.

"I think Berry's book deals with two constant and re-occurring questions in the history of anarchist practice; are anarchists ever able to create organizations that are supple and nuanced enough to be faithful to the complexities of anarchist practices and relationships, and who should or can anarchists work with in order to dismantle capitalism and replace it with a society predicated on voluntary agreement, equality, and mutual aid? ... Research of this high quality reminds us that we have much more to do before we start throwing around too many generalizations about where we are now as anarchists and what needs to be done to allow anarchy to flourish and grow. There is still much for us all to learn. Time to get on with it."—Barry Pateman, from the Introduction

"Berry has done an amazing job of poring through the speeches, the newspapers, the reports of meetings of all the various strands of the anarchist movement to develop a coherent story of changing anarchist ideology in the 1920s and 1930s."— H-France
"We should applaud a study which has no equivalent in French and which does not fear bringing to light the hesitations and the U-turns, but also the lucidity and the courage of many militants."—Réfractions

Dave Berry has been active on the Left in one way or another for over 30 years, most recently in the local branch of his union. He teaches French and politics at Loughborough University (UK). A founding member of the Anarchist Studies Network, he is also reviews editor of the journal Anarchist Studies.

This edition published by AK Press, 2009.

Product Code: 9781904859826

Customer Reviews

Average Rating: 5

Anarchist history at its best

At times the anarchist movement in France had exceptional levels of influence and dominated the Labour movement. This book does an exceptional job of charting the history of this movement between 1917 to 1945 and, as such, charts some of the pivotal events affecting the movement such as the Russian Revolution, the Spanish revolution and Fascism/anti-Fascism. Not only that it does this masterfully. Whilst focusing on the organised aspects of the movement including anarchist Communist and anarcho-syndicalist groups it also makes some exceptionally pertinent points on French ‘individualist anarchism’ with reference to some of them supporting Bolshevik dictatorship and showing outright disdain for the working class. It was particularly refreshing reading a text that did not refer to Sorel as an important figure in French anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism like many academic ‘specialists’ tend to do. I also found the identification of the internal conflicts within French anarchism at the time and how they were resolved really useful. Furthermore reading about anarchist resistance was great after reading so much about self congratulating Communists claiming a monopoly of the resistance to Fascist occupation. In sum an outright stonker of a book that, alongside many other high quality publications, shows AK to be a publisher of outstanding quality.

Anonymous :: May 23 2010, 10:38 AM

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