By kate | October 5, 2009
As many of you know, AK Press was thrilled to finally make available the first volume in the Counterpower series just a few months ago. Entitled Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, and written by South African scholars and activists Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, the book has been generating an incredible about of interest and solid debate and discussion amongst anarchist intellectuals and other radical readers around the globe. Check out some of the great things folks have been saying about Black Flame:
- “A book with a deeply impressive quality of research, analysis and writing, this very important and much-needed work is an unexpected delight and an excellent piece of work”. —Mark Leier, Simon Fraser University, author of Bakunin: the creative passion
- “An enjoyable read, from which I have learnt a great deal—fascinating, revealing and often startling. Thanks to both and each of you”. —Alan Lipman, anti-apartheid activist and exile, winner of South African Institute of Architecture’s ‘Award for Excellence’ for the Workers Library and Museum (Johannesburg), author of On the Outside Looking In: colliding with apartheid and other authorities
- “A useful and insightful treatment of one of the most fascinating alternatives to industrial capitalism and the modern nation state. At the heart of their scholarship is an effort to provide clarity to a much maligned and misunderstood movement and also to examine it as a social history of ideas that percolated from below as well as directed from above by intellectual giants. The authors are careful to present their analysis in a jargon-free language. Readers will be introduced to influential historical actors from across the globe. A grand work of synthesis. An excellent starting point”. —Greg Hall, Western Illinois University, author of Harvest Wobblies: The Industrial Workers of the World and Agricultural Laborers in the American West, 1905–1930, in WorkingUSA
- “Brilliant, a really wonderful book and an outstanding contribution to anarchist theory and history. What does Black Flame get right? Well, almost everything! It is comprehensive, discussing all important issues, people and movements, and the authors do a great job in discussing the ins and outs of our movement and theory, using history to illuminate the ideas and show how they were applied in practice. Do yourself a favour and buy it now! You won’t be disappointed”. —Iain McKay, author of The Anarchist FAQ, volume 1
- “This highly worthwhile book represents the fruit of considerable scholarship and deep reflection. The authors have done a remarkable job in drawing together a vast international body of literature, showing convincingly that anarchism and syndicalism were far more significant political forces than historians have generally given them credit for, and providing excellent accounts of the movement’s global political reach. Van der Walt and Schmidt also make a powerful and lucidly written case for anarchism as a serious and coherent political philosophy”. —Jonathan Hyslop, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, author of The Notorious Syndicalist : JT Bain, a Scottish rebel in colonial South Africa
- “Black Flame is an outstanding contribution to a modern anarchist perspective. Its view is focused on the working class but also supportive of every struggle against oppression. Besides covering the major controversies within historical anarchism in a fair way, it is particularly unique in examining anarchism from a worldwide perspective instead of looking at it only from a west European angle. I learned a good deal from reading it, and think others will also”. —Wayne Price, author of The Abolition of the State: anarchist and Marxist perspectives
- “This book fulfills a daunting task. Covering anarchism in all parts of the world and emphatically tying it to class struggle, the authors present a highly original and challenging account of the movement, its actions and ideas. This work is a must for everybody interested in nonauthoritarian social movements”. —Bert Altena, Rotterdam University, author of Piet Honig, Herinneringen van een Rotterdamse revolutionair
- “A well-thought out and nuanced study of the intellectual, political, and social history of anarchism”. —Steven J. Hirsch, University of Pittsburgh, contributing editor, Handbook of Latin American Studies
- “The first in a two-volume mega-work called Counterpower … the authors … use their conceptual rubric to demonstrate conclusively the coherent international character of the Anarchist movement, a welcome antidote to Eurocentric accounts of the movement and its history. We can’t wait for volume 2!” —Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffee House, Baltimore
If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, we heartily suggest you do so! The book is available at lovely independent bookstores around the world, or you can order a copy here direct from AK Press! You can also read an excerpt from the book here!
Should you happen to be in the Johannesburg area, you’re cordially invited to the book’s South African launch event, on Wednesday, October 7, at 6PM at Wits University! See below for information …
And, feel free to post your thoughts about the book, your comments & questions, here—Black Flame is filled with theories, ideas, and information ripe for discussion!
The Amandla! Collective (Johannesburg) and the Department of Sociology at Wits University
invite you to the next
Johannesburg book launch
BLACK FLAME: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism
Lucien van der Walt & Michael Schmidt
Black Flame examines the anti-authoritarian class politics of the anarchist/syndicalist movement, and its 150 years of popular struggle on five continents.
An indispensible conceptual and historical roadmap, with close attention to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America, looking at its:
· Opposition to hierarchy, capitalism and the state
· Strategy: building revolutionary counter-power
· History: labour, community, anti-imperialism
· Agenda: participatory, cooperative economics
· Revolutions: Mexico, Spain, Ukraine, Korea
· Revival: today’s struggles
Wednesday 7 October 2009 @ 6pm
Senate House Basement 2, East Campus, Wits
All Welcome! Safe Parking at Wits, Yale entrance Jorrisen St.
- “… deeply impressive … a very important and much-needed work… ” (Mark Leier, Simon Fraser University, author of Bakunin: the creative passion )
- ” … fascinating, revealing and often startling …” (Alan Lipman, anti-apartheid militant and exile, author of On the Outside Looking In: colliding with apartheid and other authorities )
- “… useful and insightful … a grand work of synthesis … an excellent starting point …” (Greg Hall, Western Illinois University, author of Harvest Wobblies: the Industrial Workers of the World and agricultural laborers in the American West, 1905–1930)
- “Brilliant … outstanding … Do yourself a favour and buy it now!” (Iain McKay, author of The Anarchist FAQ, volume 1)
- ” … considerable scholarship and deep reflection … a remarkable job … powerful and lucidly written …” (Jon Hyslop, University of the Witwatersrand, author of The Notorious Syndicalist: JT Bain, a Scottish rebel in colonial South Africa )
- ” … an outstanding contribution … unique in examining anarchism from a worldwide perspective instead of only … a west European angle …” (Wayne Price, author of The Abolition of the State: anarchist and Marxist perspectives)
- ” … a must for everybody interested in nonauthoritarian social movements … ” (Bert Altena, Rotterdam University, author of Piet Honig, Herinneringen van een Rotterdamse revolutionair )
- ” … well-thought out and nuanced study of the intellectual, political, and social history of anarchism…” (Steven Hirsch, University of Pittsburgh, contributing editor, Handbook of Latin American Studies )
- “… a welcome antidote to Eurocentric accounts … We can’t wait for volume 2!” – Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffee House, Baltimore
Michael Schmidt is a Johannesburg-based investigative journalist/ journalism trainer and activist, with experience in Chiapas, civil war Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Darfur, and Lebanon.
Lucien van der Walt teaches at Wits. Winner of the 2008 international Labor History dissertation prize, his extensive publications include the co-edited Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940 (Brill 2010).
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