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Anarchist Studies

Volume 9, 2001 No.1

Maoism and Anarchism: Mao Zedong's Response to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism

John A. Rapp

In this paper I use anarchism as a prism to analyse Mao's political thought and ruling practice. First, I construct the best case possible for the populist, anti-statist Mao. Next, I present a contrary case, which shows the roots of Mao's autocratic practice in the statist, authoritarian aspects of his ideology, leading to his failure to answer the anarchist critique of Marxism.

Chasing Rainbows? Utopian Pragmatics and the Search for Anarchist Communities

Randall Amster

This is the second part of an analysis of anarchist theory and practice, building on the framework previously developed in 'Anarchism as Moral Theory: Praxis, Property, and the Postmodern' (in Anarchist Studies, 6[2], 1998). In the original essay, concepts such as moral self-direction, a commonly-held materiality, and human sociality were advanced and analysed in theoretical terms. In this article, the empirical foundations of these concepts are explored, with an emphasis on sociological processes such as norm formation, sanctioning, dispute resolution, and exchange. In addition, concepts such as power, authority, consensus, and cooperation are analysed, drawing on anthropological studies of communities manifesting anarchist tendencies, including 'utopian' experiments, 'indigenous' societies, and the unique case of the 'Rainbow Family'. The article concludes that conceptions of 'property' and the social dynamics that inhere within a community are inextricably linked, setting the stage for a third component of the study that will explore the possibility of achieving an organic synthesis of self, society, and nature.

The Ecological Libertarian Approach: What Role in UK Social Housing Development?

Ben Lawley

This article discusses two housing schemes under development in 1997. Contrasts are drawn: dweller control versus consumer consultation, ecology versus environmentalism, drawing on anarchist and ecological debates. The limitations imposed by planning legislation and finance are recognised in discussion of real world techniques for ecological self help construction of housing. A development on squatted land and a housing association self build co-operative are examined in detail. Discussions with participants are analysed against indices of mutualism derived from Sorokin. It is noted that both the schemes studied provide Kropotkin's polytechnic education among multiple benefits to their participants. It is recognised that achievement of settled housing solutions are not the only valid outputs from the projects: campaigning, publicity and longer term goals including development of radical technology and societal transformation, are also acknowledged as significant results

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