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0 votes
What i've read of contemporary writings concentrates on the city - its problems, its conflicts, its possibilities.
Primitivists and greens seem to exalt the Wild as some abstract, or seem as daytrippers adventuring out for some protest/action.  (Yes, that probably is unfair, your reading may be broader than mine.)
Some of the old-men-with-beards celebrated a pastoral peasant utopia - but i strongly doubt any of them every got sheep shit on their boots.

So why the disconnect?
The cheap answer is that cities are more diverse, and the few radicals in the small towns flee for the communities offered in the cities.  While there is some truth it that, it rings hollow to me.

Could it be that anarchism (as we know and call it) is a reaction to industrial civilisation?  and that the stronger the imposition of arbitrary authority in people's lives, the stronger the reaction.  (To abuse the metaphor, industrial civilisation is poison ivy, anarchism - as an disorganised philosophy - is the rash.)  And that rural areas, distant from centers of power and authority, never feel the need to find Anarchism because they live every day with a tiny bit of anarchy in their lives (Self-help & Mutual Aid).
And is the shanty-town urban or rural?  Geographically nearby, but as disconnected from the centers of power as any distant backwater.

There is no real answer to this of course, such is the beauty of rejecting dogma, but i'd appreciate your thoughts.
by (2.0k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
Well, historically there are a lot of traditions of peasant anarchism. Spanish anarchism leading up to and including the Spanish revolution had a strong peasant component. The Anarchist Collectives edited by Sam Dolgoff discusses agricultural and industrial collectives in the Spanish revolution. Augustin Souchy wrote a lot about anarchist agrarian collectives too. In Russia there was a strong tradition of peasant communism that was anarchistic, not to mention the largely rural Makhnovshchina in the Ukrainian civil war. Around the same time there was a largely anarchist revolt in Patagonia, Argentina (1920-21). Throughout the classical period of anarchism there were many rural communitarian experiments by anarchists. This current continues to this day with many anarchists involved in contemporary intentional communities, including explicitly anarchist ones (such as Acorn farm in Virginia), and members of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. Fifth Estate magazine was being edited by a collective living in a rural commune not that long ago. There are rural green anarchist experiments too. Folks in Earth First tend to spend a lot of time out of cities, the ZAD in France, and so on.
by (420 points)
Thanks for your response.

In particular, the Patagonia reference.  I had been neglecting that rebellion, confusing it with the Spanish civil war (for no sensible reason).

I'll need time to digest the more recent examples.

(editted to delete a pissy comment - i shouldn't post when i'm over tired.)
ann.c :   i am forever in your debt!
I had read scattered articles from 5th estate wtout connecting them; and i have read about Acorn and FEC in passing (which does them a disservice, and that led me to The Midden, who i find inspiring).

But the ZAD!
Ah, bless your black little heart!  I will think of you everytime i light a bonfire.  This is what i had hoped to find, these are the people that kindle the ember of my insolencence!
[For those few of you, who like me, were ignorant --- the ZAD is a place, not a group; they are people (yes i'm contradicting myself) opposed to the imposition of a redundant airport over good agricultural lands and villages; they are anarchists and radicals and hippies and clowns and little old ladies standing side-by-side with farmers, in the face of tear gas and state intimidation; they are the people who build permaculture gardens and freestores and pirate radio, and when the cops storm in and burn everything to the ground - they evaporate into the mist - and then reappear and rebuild everything before the bastards have collected their overtime pay.  They are, in fact and in fancy, everything we have ever been and everything we may hope to be.]

i'm tempted to pack up my pickax and pitchfork and head for Trenton.