- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 1 edition (1 May 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241969603
- ISBN-13: 978-0241969601
- Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.2 x 18.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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On Anarchism Paperback – 28 May 2014
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About the Author
Noam Chomsky is the bestselling author of over 100 influential political books, including Hegemony or Survival, Imperial Ambitions, Failed States, Interventions, What We Say Goes, Hopes and Prospects, Making the Future, On Anarchism, Masters of Mankind and Who Rules the World. He has also been the subject of numerous books of biography and interviews and has collaborated with journalists on books such as Perilous Power, Gaza in Crisis, and On Palestine.
Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona.
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The book consists of five chapters; each taken from a previously published work. Although copyright 2013, the earliest chapter is from 1969, the latest @2002.
The first is an essay entitled 'Notes on Anarchism' and is just that; a wide variety of thoughts, with quotes from others, as to just what true anarchism is, and is not. The second chapter, excerpts from Understanding Power, is worth the price of the book. A question and answer session (Chomsky giving the answers) seemingly in a group setting with various people raising the essential questions of anarchism (tension of collectivism vs. individual freedom etc.) Chomsky gives a magnificent tour-de-force performance in replies. He also mentions the anarchy/chaos situation.
The third chapter is one of very heavy reading. Stating that the Spanish Revolution, 1936-37, is of great historical significance, Chomsky not only reviews the history of the 'people's revolution' which was crushed by those in power, but, citing numerous historians, questions whether or not their views coincided with reality as to what was happening. If you're not familiar with the named historians or their works, this is a tough read. However, if you bypass all of that and accept Chomsky's opinions, you will learn a lot regarding the Spanish Civil War and especially the entrenched power response to anarchists.
The fourth chapter is an interview with Harry Kreisler (of UC Berkeley), Chomsky is the interviewee; the effect is similar to chapters one and two, a variety of anarchist thoughts and concepts are discussed.
The last chapter is the transcript of a lecture given at Loyola University in 1970; Chomsky is a linguist so he is seemingly in his element as this address is entitled -Language and Freedom. But no, he raises the question as to just how language and freedom are related and admits, at the end, that he is still not sure but much intrigued by the association. An interesting essay which will challenge your thinking in many areas, but may also, answer many questions you have had in your pursuit of an understanding of anarchism.
This book is a collection of excerpts from past articles, talks, etc., rather than a single coherent exploration of anarchy in theory and practice. The reader should not expect a text book on the subject, but rather a history lesson and an exhortation to the "anarcho-curious" to embrace the notion that we are each entitled to dominion over our own lives, and to enlighten those who blindly submit to unjustified and unjustifiable impositions of power and authority.