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Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History (PM Press) Paperback – September 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1604860412 ISBN-10: 1604860413 Edition: 1st Ed.

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Product Details

  • Series: PM Press
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: PM Press; 1st Ed. edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604860413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604860412
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #833,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"An exquisite contribution to the literature of human freedom, and coming not a moment too soon."  —David Graeber, author, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology and Direct Action: An Ethnography

"From the Zapatista movement in San Cristobal, Chiapas, to the steel mills of rural Ohio, [Staughton] reminds us that when it's all over, said and done, what truly matters the most is our willingness to reach out and love somebody.”  —Bomani Shakur a k.a. Keith Lamar, death row, Ohio State Penitentiary

"Here we have the best of a non-dogmatic Marxism listening to a most creative and humane anarchism."  —Margaret Randall, author, Sandino's Daughters and When I Look Into the Mirror and See You

"Lynd and Grubacic's considerations of these institutions, and their ideas for transcending the society that creates them, are excellent. Their conception of Marxism and anarchism as two hands working together, one devoted to analysis, the other to practice, is terse and elegant . . . a great addition to intellectual-activist literature."  —NACLA Report on the Americas

"Presents an alternative history of social movements in North America that makes historical events come alive on the page and connect to today's activist efforts for change."  —Hour

"Packed with conversations about issues that directly impact modern radicals and visionaries. For this alone, it is well-worth the time investment to read it."  —Theory in Action Special Issue: Building Bridges Between Anarchism and Marxism

About the Author

Staughton Lynd taught American history at Spelman College and Yale University. He was director of Freedom Schools in the 1964 Missisipppi Freedom Summer. An early leader of the movement against the Vietnam War, he was blacklisted and unable to continue as an academic. He then became a lawyer, and in this capacity has assisted rank-and-file workers and prisoners for the past thirty years. He has written, edited, or co-edited with his wife Alice Lynd more than a dozen books.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Gibbons on October 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
Staughton Lynd is a towering figure in the radical left, from his work with the freedom schools in the South to anti-war activism to his years of working deep inside the struggle of workers and prisoners for their rights. He is both deeply thoughtful and deeply compassionate, and his intellect is impressively grounded in the lives and work of those most affected by injustice in this country. While not working class himself, he has chosen his side and remained there, and so has emerged a plain-speaking and practical man who has been able to successfully blend theory with practice in a way that can give hope to all of us actively working to make this world better.

Easy to both read and understand, Andrej Grubacic does a great job in asking questions, pushing the conversation, deepening understanding. It begins with the Zapatistas and the struggle to build new economic and political structures, pulling out the key practices that we can learn from. It contains perhaps the simplest breakdown I have read on the differences between Marxism as an effort to understand the current structure of society and Anarchism as a new way to structure society, and seeks on every page to put forward how to work together to create the world as we want it to be. It looks at radical movements of our past like the Wobblies, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Black Panthers, Liberation Theology, the Weathermen, and Staughton's own work among others. It examines difficult issues such as the place of violence in justice struggles, the meaning of accompaniment in the Zapatista sense and the various roles of the working class, historians, intellectuals, people of privilege in struggle.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto Aguilar on May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
From the moment Marxists and anarchists parted ways in 1872, the peculiar and occasionally rancorous tension between the divergent schools of socialism has been the subject of many a debate, study group and protest. For anarchists, as Mikhail Bakunin articulated, Marxism's ascension would virtually necessitate it would become as oppressive as the capitalist state. For Marxists, anarchism's impulse to support no one having power meant the well-connected in-crowd, mostly well-heeled and white, would exert their power in other ways and with the tacit support of the core of the people. From these early conflicts came years of characterizations - as often fair as misguided - of a host of Anarchism's motivations and political aspirations, and about organizing and the lack thereof.

Still, it would be a sin of omission to avoid saying there was not at least a hint of admiration at times on the part of Marxists for anarchism's flair for harnessing the creative energies of youth, or by anarchists, who secretly desired to have the credibility to organize broadly, with clarity and among communities of color. The admiration is spotty though. Marxism and anarchism have historically had a love-hate relationship as impassioned and tragic as anything Euripides ever penned.

Anti-globalization currents, and both tendencies' struggles to turn early protests into a massive anti-capitalist mobilization, have rekindled discussions of the kind found in Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History. Granted, few of these dialogues have involved luminaries of Staughton Lynd's stature, yet they represent a starting place - not only about differences, but also about commonalities, shared values, and hopes for a better world.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Shukaitis on November 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book that does an excellent job weaving together many threads of social movement histories and struggles without constantly hitting you over the head about it being movement history. The discussion format does a great job of teasing out the resonances between the Staughton and Andrej's experiences. This book is also quite well timed in that Staughton's amazing and inspiring life has seemingly been somewhat forgotten today, and this book really draws out the connections between the struggles he was involved in during the 1960s with those of the IWW, the Zapatistas, and the movement he continues to be involved with (which overlap and converge greatly with where Andre is coming from, even if not in a physical sense of location necessarily). While there are of course things I'd quibble with here and there (the idea that Marxism and anarchism are Hegelian moments in need of a higher form of synthesis, or the quite silly critique of 'whiteness theory' that attributes to it a kind of unchanging and ahistorical essentializing that is exactly what is it aimed at critiquing), nevertheless this is exactly the kind of movement histories and creative approaches to telling those stories and experiences that is really valuable to the continually necessary task of assessing the current political situation and context of movement building while learning from what has come before and necessarily underlies the state of things we find ourselves in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcos on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lynd and Grubacic fantastically marry two of the greatest schools of solution based socio-political thought ever, in a way that is more than just a new form of hybrid dogmatism but practical answers to changing the world - especially since both are grounded in actual tangible revolutionary socio-political change: the modern day Zapatistas in Chiapas and liberation of now Mayan controlled Chiapas post NAFTA, and the victories of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) and Industrial Unionism.

This is a top shelf book and one of the most important modern books written - we need to take the model of Marcos and Chiapas, adjust it and apply it to the world, starting with the U.S. This book is solution based, not just a Marxist analysis of capitalism through an Anarcho lens. It is also fairly accessible to most interested readers without the need to possess an extensive knowledge of Industrial Unionism (the "Wobblies" part in the title) and Anarchism (the Zapatistas part of the title). As long as the reader has cursory knowledge of basic Marxism/Lenin, some idea of Industrial Unionism vs. craft unionism relative to labor, and collectivism/Anarchism, this book actually allows for the reader to jump ahead pursuant to a lot of other reading.
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