Anarchism: an Introduction
Anarchism comes to us from the Greek anarkhos—“without a ruler.” “To be governed,” wrote the famous French anarchist Pierre Proudhon, “is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.” But anarchists are concerned with more than oppressive states. They sought liberation on all fronts including sexual freedom, an end to private property, freedom of expression, and freedom from want through mutual aid. Often portrayed as irrational actors espousing social ideas that are either needlessly violent or hopelessly utopian, anarchists have actually been a significant and influential presence in world and American politics. In this course we will examine this varied and complex philosophy through four central themes: property, family, violence, and government. What does it mean to live ungoverned? Who or what governs a community in the absence of a state? What, if anything, distinguishes propaganda of the deed from terrorism? Is revolutionary violence justifiable? What does sexual freedom look like? Why is sexual freedom and personal expression more than just a bourgeois preoccupation? And how do we define and ultimately abolish private property? We will read Emma Goldman, Pierre Proudhon, William Godwin, Ruth Gilmore, Alexander Berkman, Murray Bookchin, Victoria Woodhull, and James C. Scott among others.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:00-9:00pm ET
March 02 — March 23, 2023