Monday, March 15, 2010

"Black Flame" book tour: Ontario, Canada, organised by Common Cause

South African writer and activist Michael Schmidt, co-author of Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism,  will be in several Ontario cities between March 15 and March 21 to promote and discuss this important new book on the global history of anarchist movements and ideas. The tour, organized by Common Cause with support from AK Press and several local sponsors, is scheduled to pass through the following cities listed below.

To promote the tour Common Cause has also produced a short video which can be seen here and set up a Facebook page. Copies of "Black Flame" will be available for purchase at each tour stop.

Read the full story here

And check out this poster:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Another (fine) review: the Kate Sharpley Library bulletin

The Kate Sharpley Library, based in the UK, specializes in anarchist history - it has produced a series of wonderful pamphlets and bulletins; its work played no small part in inspiring the authors of Black Flame. See So, a review by the KSL is of especial interest. The full review by "M. Bookunin" (!) is online at  

Here are some highlights to whet your appetite for that thoughtful commentary:
"This ...  introduction to the history and ideas of anarchism [is] ... not like any you’ve read before ...  Against the lowest-common-denominator approach of writers from Eltzbacher to Marshall they limit anarchism to the class struggle anarchist movement (that is, libertarian socialism) from the mid-nineteenth century onwards ... This is a helpful and necessary distinction ...  

"... Schmidt and van der Walt take a global approach, pushing beyond the 'usual suspects' in Western Europe and North America, to Latin America, southern Africa and East Asia ...their potted biographies of thinkers and militants are very useful ... Thankfully, the authors are able to make their discussion of anarchist ideas accessible. There’s no jargon introduced for its own sake ...

"This book is obviously the result of a huge amount of work and a valuable synthesis of an awful lot of historical and political writings. Their clear idea of what they wanted from it has kept their writing to the point ...

"... unlikely to end debates about 'what is anarchism?' ... it’s a useful (if not perfect) contribution to them ... a great contribution to anarchist history. Not everyone will like the political choices they make, but anyone would be able to learn something from their work.

"... this is not just about history, nor just about ... internal affairs ... After the blind alley of authoritarian 'socialism', it’s about putting liberation back on the agenda, and how to make it a reality.

"It’s enjoyable to read something where the 'big picture' is handled so confidently. Roll on volume two, a global history of anarchism."