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Anarchism and Its Aspirations (Anarchist Interventions) Paperback – May 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Anarchist Interventions (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849350019
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849350013
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #598,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cindy Milstein has served as the Director of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and is a co-organizer of and long-time participant in the annual Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference. Milstein was a board and a faculty member at the Institute for Social Ecology, where she taught courses on the history and practice of anarchist politics.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By James Generic on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
One of the most common questions I hear is people asking for nice books that provide a basic idea of what Anarchism actually is and what it stands for. I finally have a book by someone who's written it recently, and is still alive, so this is the one I'm going to recommend. "Anarchism and Its Aspirations" by Cindy Milstein is a short, concise but great intro text which you can read in a few hours. The book paints anarchism as a hopeful school of thought that sees the best in humanity while recognizing that centralized power and inequality does bad things to human condition. Milstein points out what anarchists are for as well as the usual idea of what they are against, freedom "to choose" as well as freedom "from wants", something that liberalism and capitalism both miss by overemphasizing one over the other.

Anarchism also poses the way to do it, by organizing from the bottom up as democratically as possible instead of top-down, working to change things in the hear and now as well as visioning a better world. Anarchists traditionally have tried to live the change they want to see, pre-figuring their politics into their organizations. They also actively work to create spaces that envision what they're looking to create, like social centers and infoshops. Anarchists also recognize that there is a democratic impulse within people and that often revolutions come about when this impulse reaches a breaking point, only to be later crushed by the people who take power in the name of the revolution, as can be seen in the French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Mexican Revolution, Spanish Revolution, or more recently in Gwangju, South Korea.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By wildflowerboy on April 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
In this wonderful new book by the brilliant writer and political activist Cindy Milstein, we are presented with an inspirational vision of what a liberatory, ecological society free of hierarchy and domination might look like. Emphasizing a politics of reconstruction rather than just opposition, she eloquently speaks about the need for socialist libertarians to build counter-institutions like workers' cooperatives, neighborhood assemblies, town meetings, and community mediation boards where individuals can work together to make decisions democratically on a face-to-face level. As such, instead of reclaiming the streets, she insists that we reclaim the cities, transforming them into egalitarian municipalities in harmony with nature. In this depressing historical moment shaped by the interlocking crises of corporate globalization, imperialist war, climate instability, and social reaction, Milstein's optimistic and accessible book is literally a breath of fresh air, encouraging readers to live ethical, meaningful lives and to remake our world according to the humane left libertarian values of mutual aid, social equality, voluntary association, and ecological sustainablity.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scheurin on May 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I think that this book is a great (concise) articulation of the contemporary anarchist movement. If you ever wondered what all those kids in black are on about, look no further.
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Format: Paperback
as a caveat emptor - after getting to half of the book and feeling I had been reading the same things reworded and rephrased over and over again, I started skimming through it, so I might have lost things here and there.

I probably jumped way too fast at this book after seeing the excellent ratings it got here. I expected a quick and direct intro to anarchism regarding its history, theorists, perspectives, different branches and so on, but instead got greeted by very vague opinions that really did not improve my knowledge on what is anarchism in one tiny bit. most of the book felt like an endless succession of "anarchism is about freedom, goodness and fighting domination and oppression in all its many forms, yay!" - nothing of which is necessarily wrong, but lacks much substance, imho. every now and then there is a bit of actual fact or information there, but usually as a quick note, never expanded upon.

tl;dr: if you have absolutely no idea what anarchism might be and, as another reviewer noted "you ever wondered what all those kids in black are on about", this book might work for you. if you want something more serious and direct look somewhere else, really.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Concise work that presents a brief overview of the state of anarchism as political philosophy in the world today. Has references to historical works that can be read for a more indepth understanding. I was a little worried about 40 pages in that the presentation was going to be redundant, but the author moved on and reframed and fleshed out a lot of material. First rate as a first book to read to understand anarchism today.
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