Today the word “anarchism” inspires both fear and fascination. But few people understand what anarchists believe, what anarchists want, and what anarchists do. This incisive book puts forward the case for anarchism as a pragmatic philosophy.
Originally written in 1969 and updated for the twenty-first century, About Anarchism is an uncluttered, precise, and urgently necessary expression of practical anarchism. Crafted in deliberately simple prose and without constant reference to other writers or past events, it can be understood without difficulty and without any prior knowledge of political ideology.
As one of the finest short introductions to the basic concepts, theories, and applications of anarchism, About Anarchism has been translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, and Russian. This new edition includes a preface from David Goodway and retains Natasha Walter’s updated introduction and expanded biographical sketch of the author, Nicolas Walter, who was a respected writer, journalist, and an active protester against the powers of both the church and the state.
What People Are Saying
“A clear and incisive introduction to the subject.” New York Times
“Walter’s anarchism incorporates a wealth of influences and the best of both old and new anarchism. Almost every paragraph in this book contains examples of his subversive thinking, and many of his observations push contemporary anarchists to think harder about the nature of politics.” Andrej Grubačić, coauthor of Living at the Edges of Capitalism: Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid
“Nicolas Walter was a writer and lecturer of deep secular humanist and anarchist convictions—his book About Anarchism is known round the world.” Guardian
“Nicolas Walter was one of the most interesting left intellectuals of the second half of the twentieth century in Britain.” Professor Richard Taylor, University of Cambridge
“A wonderful short work which gives a clear and straightforward exposition of anarchism. It greatly influenced me when it first came out and is as relevant and timely as it was half a century ago, if not more so. A perfect introduction.” Peter Marshall, author of Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism
About the Contributors:
Nicolas Walter (1934–2000) was one of the best-known and most widely read anarchist writers of the last half of the twentieth century. He was a lifelong critic and active protester of both church and state. An edited collection of his writings was published by PM Press as Damned Fools in Utopia: And Other Writings on Anarchism and War Resistance.
Natasha Walter is the author of two nonfiction books, The New Feminism and Living Dolls, and her debut novel, A Quiet Life, was published in 2016. She has worked as a journalist, columnist, and reviewer for the Guardian, the Observer, and the Independent, and is the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women.
David Goodway is a British social and cultural historian who for thirty years has written principally on anarchism and libertarian socialism. He is the author of Anarchist Seeds beneath the Snow: Left-Libertarian Thought and British Writers from William Morris to Colin Ward and editor of For Anarchism, Herbert Read Reassessed, The Letters of John Cowper Powys and Emma Goldman, and collections of the writings of Alex Comfort, Herbert Read, Maurice Brinton, and Nicolas Walter.