08 August, 2011
Anarchy in Action by Colin Ward (1973)
Anarchists have always delivered the most withering of social critiques. Their shortcoming has typically been in the alternatives they offer. This book, despite the barricade-evoking title, is an attempt at remedying this. Ward sees examples of voluntary, unregulated cooperation everywhere and builds on these to provide a framework for how an anarchist society might function in a complex, industrialised world. His scope is wide - from family structure to education to housing to play. His argument simple – there is no need to ‘smash the state’, nor is there some utopian endpoint, rather the seeds of change lie all around us. It really is a most beguiling read.