Sunday 10 June 2018

New Editions of Cartography

I consider myself an African Makhnovist and “Manchurian” yet I have come a long way in my understanding of the international, organised, revolutionary anarchist movement over the past thirteen years since I first provided a historical sketch of in the pamphlet Five Waves: A Brief Global History of Revolutionary Anarchist Communist Mass Organisational Theory & Practice, Zabalaza Books, Durban, South Africa, 2005. 

A book tour of Canada in 2009 lead to me being approached to write a revised and more detailed and expanded version of the text – combined with parts of my talk which I’d called (De)constructing Counter-power – which was published as Cartographie de l’anarchisme révolutionnaire, translated into French by Alexandre Sánchez, Lux Éditeur, Montreal, Canada, 2012. I remain very proud that that book, or really pocket-book as it weighed in at a mere 35,163 words – forms part of a Lux series entitled Instinct de Liberté alongside great contemporary libertarian socialist theorists such as Noam Chomsky, David Graeber, John Holloway, and Howard Zinn, as well as classic anarchist writers such as my beloved Errico Malatesta, Voltairine de Cleyre and Elisée Reclus. 

That text was polished and slightly updated for its English-language edition in 2013, and I have since revised it and updated it significantly. In particular, I have developed a more refined explanation for the class betrayals of the anarcho-syndicalist House of the World Worker (COM) in Mexico and of the National Confederation of Labour (CNT) in the Mexican and Spanish Revolutions respectively, and have detailed the crucial uncompromised movements of the Manchurian and Ukrainian Revolutions, especially the Korean Anarchist Communist Federation (HMGY) and the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of the Ukraine (RPAU). I have also distilled my now in-depth knowledge of the most important post-WWII anarchist mass movement, that of the Uruguayan Anarchist Federation (FAU) and its associated initiatives which built a union federation 400,000 strong by 1972, and have updated the text by sketching the Rojava Revolution currently underway in Western Kurdistan. 

I have also altered my periodisation to add in a Sixth Wave, by ending the Fourth with the collapse of brown-fascist Spain in 1975, and adding a “short Fifth” that ends with the collapse of the red-fascist USSR in 1991, and have significantly revised the footnotes to guide readers to the most incisive, honest – and critical – academic and movement analyses of the anarchist trajectory and track-record as the world’s most holistic and revolutionary libertarian communist praxis. The result is a text that now – though still a pocketbook – stands at 65,895 words. And now I am ready to have the revised English text published as Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism – with, I’m sure you’ll agree, a stunning new glossy black on matt black cover by Dutch-South African designer Angela Meuwsen. 

The book is set to be published both as an e-book and in hard copy. The important thing to me is that the revised “Six Waves” English-language edition will be translated into Arabic and Spanish by some wonderful, top-drawer translators from Algeria and Chile respectively, the prior edition intended for the post-“Arab Spring” Maghreb and Mashriq, and the latter to the post-colonial Hispanophone world which is so embattled against neoliberalism and Bolivarist populism. In turn, the Arab world and intersecting Muslim community in particular desperately need an infusion of the practical ideas of proletarian revolutionary anarchist praxis in order to achieve the democratic-horizontalist promise of the Arab Spring.