Means and Ends: The Revolutionary Practice of Anarchism in Europe and the United States

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    Zoe Baker

    Publisher: AK Press

    Year: 2023

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 472 pages

    ISBN: 9781849354981

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Means and Ends is a new overview of the revolutionary strategy of anarchism in Europe and the United States between 1868 and 1939. Zoe Baker clearly and accessibly explains the ideas that historical anarchists developed in order to change the world. This includes their views on direct action, revolution, organization, state socialism, reforms, and trade unions. Throughout, she demonstrates that the reasons anarchists gave for supporting or opposing particular strategies were grounded in a theoretical framework—a theory of practice—which maintained that, as people engage in activity, they simultaneously change the world and themselves. This theoretical framework was the foundation for the anarchist commitment to the unity of means and ends: the means that revolutionaries propose to achieve social change have to involve forms of activity which transform people into individuals who are capable of, and driven to, both overthrow capitalism and the state and build a free society. The consistent heart of anarchism was the idea that anarchist ends can only be achieved through anarchist means. Cutting through misconceptions and historical inaccuracies, Baker draws upon a vast assortment of examples to show how this simple premise underpinned anarchist attempts to put theory into action.

What People Are Saying

"This informed attempt at systematizing the history of anarchism has the notable merit of focusing on practices, rather than distant utopias, and of probing into the overlooked sophistication of the theory that underpins those practices." —Davide Turcato, editor of The Complete Works of Malatesta

"In Means and Ends: The Revolutionary Practice of Anarchism, Zoe Baker draws from well-known and lesser-known anarchists to assemble a wide-ranging account of the strategies they have pursued to abolish capitalism and the state. Thoroughly researched, rich in detail, this book explores various ways in which anarchists have sought freedom within solidarity so that past experiences can inform present and future struggles." —Kathy E. Ferguson, author of Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets

About the Author

Zoe Baker is a libertarian socialist philosopher with a PhD on the history of anarchism. She is known for popularizing the theory and history of anarchism, feminism, and Marxism on her popular YouTube and Twitter platforms (@anarchopac).

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