Sunday 29 April 2018
Anarchist Movement Periodic Table
In finalising my world-spanning anarchist movement history, In the Shadow of a Hurricane: Global Anarchist Ideological and Organisational Lineages, I had to develop several new conceptual frameworks, one of which was my Six Waves (originally Five Waves) periodisation which theorises that the fortunes of the movement, being fundamentally proletarian in nature, rose and fell in waves that approximated the fortunes of the oppressed classes in general. These waves are: First Wave 1868-1894, initiated by the consolidation of mass-line revolutionary anarchism in the First International, a period that incorporates the Cantoalist Revolt; the Second Wave of 1895-1921 initiated by the formation of the French CGT and which embraces the Mexican, Russian and Ukrainian Revolutions; the Third Wave of 1922-1949 initiated by the founding of the IWA, which embraces the Manchurian and Spanish Revolutions; the Fourth Wave of 1950-1975 initiated by the Latin American resistance and which incorporates the Cuban Revolution; the Fifth Wave of 1976-1991 initiated by the reconstitution of the Spanish CNT and which embraces the Iranian Revolution; and the Sixth Wave of 1992-2016 initiated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and which embraces the Rojava Revolution.
Above is part of a "periodic table" of the movement that I drew up to indicate when the movement arose (initial dates), suffered repression (pale-coloured blocks), and disappeared if relevant (white blocks). At a glance, you should be able to see that in many countries / territories, the 1930s-1980s were a bit of a dead zone - but also that other regions experienced organisational continuity, defeating the conventional anarchist historiography that claims the movement died on the barricades of Barcelona in 1939. For one thing, the Far Eastern and Latin American movements in particular survived WWII pretty much intact and in fighting spirit, while those in Europe had been devastated by Nazi-Fascism and had to rebuild from scratch. In its full extent, this table has helped me get a bird's eye view of the evolution of the movement internationally so I will probably get it replicated in the book itself to likewise assist my readers' understanding.