On Anarchism

Front Cover
The New Press, Nov 5, 2013 - Political Science - 128 pages

The definitive primer on anarchist thought and practice, from the thinker the New York Times Book Review calls “the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet”

“The essence of anarchism [is] the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.” —Noam Chomsky

With the specter of anarchy being invoked by the Right to sow fear, a cogent explanation of the political philosophy known as anarchism has never been more urgently needed. In On Anarchism, radical linguist, philosopher, and activist Noam Chomsky provides it. Known for his brilliant evisceration of American foreign policy, state capitalism, and the mainstream media, Chomsky remains a formidable and unapologetic critic of established authority and perhaps the world’s most famous anarchist.

On Anarchism sheds a much-needed light on the foundations of Chomsky’s thought, specifically his constant questioning of the legitimacy of entrenched power. The book gathers his essays and interviews to provide a short, accessible introduction to his distinctively optimistic brand of anarchism. Chomsky eloquently refutes the notion of anarchism as a fixed idea, suggesting that it is part of a living, evolving tradition, and he disputes the traditional fault lines between anarchism and socialism, emphasizing the power of collective, rather than individualist, action.

Including a retrospective interview with Chomsky where the author assesses his writings on anarchism to date, this is a book that is sure to challenge, provoke, and inspire. Profoundly relevant to our times, On Anarchism is a touchstone for political activists and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of anarchism and the power of collective action.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pivic - LibraryThing

From the book: WOMAN: It seems to me that as a social system, anarchism makes such bottom-line sense that it was necessary to discredit the word, and take it out of people’s whole vocabulary and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bkinetic - LibraryThing

Chomsky makes a good case for anarchism. A highlight is the autobigraphical section detailing how he came to be an anarcho-syndicalist. A significant part of the book is a reinterpretation of the ... Read full review

Contents

1 Notes on Anarchism
1
2 Excerpts from Understanding Power
21
3 Part II of Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship
45
4 Interview with Harry Kreisler from Political Awakenings
103
5 Language and Freedom
117
Notes
143
Permissions
169
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

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. A world-renowned linguist and political activist, he is the author of numerous books, including On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language; Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky, edited by Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel; American Power and the New Mandarins; For Reasons of State; Problems of Knowledge and Freedom; Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship; Towards a New Cold War: U.S. Foreign Policy from Vietnam to Reagan; The Essential Chomsky (edited by Anthony Arnove); and (with Michel Foucault) The Chomsky-Foucault Debate. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Nathan Schneider is the author of Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse and God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet. He also edits the online publications Waging Nonviolence and Killing the Buddha. He lives in Brooklyn.