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An Anarchist FAQ: The Book!

By AK Press | November 14, 2008

The long-awaited print version of An Anarchist FAQ is back from the printer! Well, at least Volume One is. In an over-sized format, and clocking in at 557 pages, this exhaustive compendium seeks to provide answers for the curious and critical about anarchist theory, history, and practice. More a reference volume than a primer, An Anarchist FAQ eschews curt answers and engages readers with questions in a thorough, matter-of-fact style.

The FAQ began in 1995 when a group of anarchists decided to write a criticism of the idea that “anarcho-capitalism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) was a form of anarchism. Over the next decade or so, the project evolved—in an ever expanding online format—into an informative history and analysis of the entirety of anarchism itself.

According to editor Iain McKay, An Anarchist FAQ has two main aims: “1) To present the case for anarchism, to convince people they should become anarchists; and 2) To be a resource for existing anarchists, to use to bolster their activism and activities by presenting facts and arguments to allow them to defend anarchism against those opposed to it (Marxists, capitalists, etc.).” It’s nearly exhaustive coverage will also make it valuable to researchers and those simply interested in learning more about anarchism.

Here’s a quick look at Volume One’s table of contents:

Section A: What is Anarchism?
An overview of what anarchism stands for, where it comes from, and what anarchists have done.

Section B: Why are anarchists against the current system?

Why anarchists are against hierarchy, capitalism, and the state. What they are and how they affect liberty. On the negative nature and impact of social hierarchies and economic classes.

Section C: What are the myths of capitalist economics?
Why capitalist economics is an ideology, not a science. Why anarchists think capitalism is exploitatiove. Exposes the extremely negative effects of trying to run a socisty along the lines recommended in economics textbooks.

Section D: How does statism and capitalism affect society?

How economics and politics cannot be separated and an outline of the impact of each on the other. It indicates how wealth influences society and discusses the media, imperialism, nationalism, state intervention, and technology.

Section E: What do anarchists think about ecological problems?
An overview of the roots of the ecological crisis and why anarchists reject many commonly proposed solutions as inadequate (when they do not make things worse).

Section F: Is “anarcho”-capitalism a form of anarchism?

No, it is not. If you know about anarchism and its history, you will already know why.

Appendix: The Symbols of Anarchy
This explains why anarchists carry Black and Black & Red flags, and use the circled-A. What they mean and where they originate from.

Also, if you happen to be in the Glasgow area in early December, be sure to stop by the book’s launch party:

An Anarchist FAQ launch
4.00 – 5.30pm

STUC centre
333 Woodlands Road
G3 6NG
(near Kelvinbridge U)

FUN, FOOD, FILMS + BOOKS from noon to 8.00pm

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Topics: AK News | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “An Anarchist FAQ: The Book!”

  1. Ilan Says:
    November 15th, 2008 at 5:31 am

    It would been better if the author had stressed it is his personal FAQ and not just An Anarchist FAQ.

    As it is the only wide spread anarchist FAQ it would be much more anarchist to warn the reader its status is just as “One Anarchist Say”

    Ilan S.

  2. Anarcho Says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Given that many anarchists link to it, recommend it and that AK Press has published it, I guess that it’s more than one Anarchist’s opinion!

    But let us see what AFAQ itself says:

    From the introduction:

    “We are sure that many anarchists will not agree 100% with what we have written in the FAQ . . . However, we are sure that most anarchists will agree with most of what we present and respect those parts with which they do disagree with as genuine expressions of anarchist ideas and ideals”

    From the introduction to volume 1:

    “Needless to say, not all anarchists will agree with what is in AFAQ (it is, after all, as we have always stressed “An Anarchist FAQ”, not “The Anarchist FAQ” as some comrades flatteringly call it). From my experience, most anarchists agree with most of it even if they have quibbles about certain aspects of it.”

    So, please, Ilan, give it a rest. You are so full of yourself! I’m sick of your negativity, to be honest. Fine, you do not like “An Anarchist FAQ” — but regardless of what you may think, most anarchists support it. So deal with it.

  3. AK Press Says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Anarcho, it’s helpful that you quoted from the introduction, but please try to avoid introducing comments about another person’s character into the discussion. Good people can differ about these topics and we really want to keep the dialogue on this blog as constructive and supportive as possible.

    Thanks very much.

  4. Anarcho Says:
    November 27th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    You would not be writing that if you had Ilan cyber-stalking every mention of An Anarchist FAQ!

    Normally, I would not make personal comments but after reading the same petty comments again, I got sick of it and over-reacted. Sorry, but that was the way it was.

    Suffice to say, his opinion seems to in a minority of one so far. Which is good.


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