Anarchist thought, now beaming a weak radio pulse, resonating from the beginning of the 20th Century,buried under the layers of brick dust debris that fell in cascades from collapsing plaster and burnt ridden roof beams. Smashed relics that littered individual and collective thoughts within one blood soaked century.
A book which builds on the individual thoughts of one of the early theoreticians, a man who attempted to initiate a new way of thinking, by turning it into practice to recreate further thoughts. A dialectic process of social change. Landauer like Erich Muhsham was involved in the 1919 Munich uprising, taking place directly after WW1. The home of the current Bayern Motorwerke was once the foundation of sedition and a radical revolutionary programme was attempted.
As many of the proponents were Jewish, this fed into the later Nasty propaganda about the Zionist conspiracy to take over the world.
Landauer in one of the essays within the book; "Anarchic thoughts on Anarchism" sets out what he believes Anarchism should be- drawing from Nietzsche, Proudhon, Tolstoy and Bakunin.
Deploring the recent wave of assassinations taking place across Europe leading tod counter state persecutions of the perceived populations thought to be responsible to the carnage, he sets out an alternate tableau.
Anarchism is not about attaining a mythical future by a violent overthrow of the current world. Instead it is about growing a new vision within the inward psychological life of each individual person. It is not about waiting for the eventual overthrow of the state and taking over the means of production for the revolution to begin, it is fought and transformed each day through action and reflection.
The basis of the new external world lies in the inward thought patterns of each individual. A harder vision to visualise but a potentially easier one to maintain. This separates the anarchist vision from the communist one, as the latter is based on economics, not psychology, seeing the distribution of resources as creating a mythological ideal social world. The problem with this form of Marxism is that the individual has been reduced to a "thing" who is acted upon. Instead Landauer posits the individual as the repository of change, a social actor, firstly taking control within themselves, not just their consciousness, but their holistic humanity.
Finally, building a new society emerges, based upon the congregation of uber individuals, those who transcend the current social world- the refuseniks, will be born. New societies and social structures will form from an individual transcendence. An overthrow of the economic conditions is not going to bring this about, as this reduces the question of revolution to simple economics and faith, once again. Somehow the Communist vision postulates, a fairer distribution of resources will usher in a new kinder humanity, by default. Violence however begets violence, and pacifism creates the conditions for the violent to subjugate the pacifist. A problem that Landeur reflects upon.
Psychological transcendence is where the revolution takes place, the liberation of the individual, comes from a self liberation, but this also forms from basic trust of individuals.
Read the book to retrace the steps from the current alienated malaise. Landauer and the other pre WW1 mystics such as Otto Gross, Muhsam, Adler contend with the ideas we now take for granted, as personified in Nietzsche, Stirner and Marx's theory of alienation. They were the original freedom fighters.