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Wobblies And Zapatistas
 
 

Wobblies And Zapatistas [Kindle Edition]

Staughton Lynd , Andrej Grubacic

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Review

"This book demonstrates not only that another world is possible, but that it already exists, has existed, and shows an endless potential to burst through the artificial walls and divisions that currently imprison us. An exquisite contribution to the literature of human freedom, and coming not a moment too soon.a

--David Graeber, author of "Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology"

Product Description

Offers the reader an encounter between two generations and two traditions. Grubacic is an anarchist from the Balkans. Lynd is a lifelong pacifist influenced by Marxism. They meet in dialogue in an effort to bring together the anarchist and Marxist traditions, to discuss writing of history by those who make it and to remind readers of the idea that "my country is the world".

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 479 KB
  • Print Length: 289 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1604860413
  • Publisher: PM Press (29 Nov 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050AOXEE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #944,329 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting walk through decades of thought and struggle 27 Oct 2008
By Andrea Gibbons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Staughton Lynd is a towering figure in the radical left, from his work with the freedom schools in the South to anti-war activism to his years of working deep inside the struggle of workers and prisoners for their rights. He is both deeply thoughtful and deeply compassionate, and his intellect is impressively grounded in the lives and work of those most affected by injustice in this country. While not working class himself, he has chosen his side and remained there, and so has emerged a plain-speaking and practical man who has been able to successfully blend theory with practice in a way that can give hope to all of us actively working to make this world better.

Easy to both read and understand, Andrej Grubacic does a great job in asking questions, pushing the conversation, deepening understanding. It begins with the Zapatistas and the struggle to build new economic and political structures, pulling out the key practices that we can learn from. It contains perhaps the simplest breakdown I have read on the differences between Marxism as an effort to understand the current structure of society and Anarchism as a new way to structure society, and seeks on every page to put forward how to work together to create the world as we want it to be. It looks at radical movements of our past like the Wobblies, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the Black Panthers, Liberation Theology, the Weathermen, and Staughton's own work among others. It examines difficult issues such as the place of violence in justice struggles, the meaning of accompaniment in the Zapatista sense and the various roles of the working class, historians, intellectuals, people of privilege in struggle.

Essentially it is flowing discussion and a telling of stories that is a true pleasure to read, touching on radical movement, radical theory and radical practice. For veterans of social struggles it will spark your thoughts, deepen your understanding of the history and context within which we work, expand your ideas on combining theory and practice. And for those just beginning to seek for their way towards remaking the world, it is an invaluable orientation to what is possible and how to get there.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merging of great traditions 5 May 2009
By Ernesto Aguilar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From the moment Marxists and anarchists parted ways in 1872, the peculiar and occasionally rancorous tension between the divergent schools of socialism has been the subject of many a debate, study group and protest. For anarchists, as Mikhail Bakunin articulated, Marxism's ascension would virtually necessitate it would become as oppressive as the capitalist state. For Marxists, anarchism's impulse to support no one having power meant the well-connected in-crowd, mostly well-heeled and white, would exert their power in other ways and with the tacit support of the core of the people. From these early conflicts came years of characterizations - as often fair as misguided - of a host of Anarchism's motivations and political aspirations, and about organizing and the lack thereof.

Still, it would be a sin of omission to avoid saying there was not at least a hint of admiration at times on the part of Marxists for anarchism's flair for harnessing the creative energies of youth, or by anarchists, who secretly desired to have the credibility to organize broadly, with clarity and among communities of color. The admiration is spotty though. Marxism and anarchism have historically had a love-hate relationship as impassioned and tragic as anything Euripides ever penned.

Anti-globalization currents, and both tendencies' struggles to turn early protests into a massive anti-capitalist mobilization, have rekindled discussions of the kind found in Wobblies and Zapatistas: Conversations on Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History. Granted, few of these dialogues have involved luminaries of Staughton Lynd's stature, yet they represent a starting place - not only about differences, but also about commonalities, shared values, and hopes for a better world.

Wobblies and Zapatistas puts Lynd at the table with Andrej Grubacic, a Northern California anarchist by way of the Balkans, for extensive exchanges about history, political theory and practical reality. Removed from these talks are some of the stranger hues of Marxism and anarchism - extreme sectarianism and "post left" posturing among them - nor is this book intended to blast one idea or the other. Instead, Lynd and Grubacic are aiming squarely for those looking to build bridges between the two camps.

Their conversation about the Zapatistas' militancy emerges an intriguing discourse, flowing throughout the book, about how politics over the last generation has fundamentally changed. For this reason, how activists and radical partisans in the struggle see themselves and their orientations must also change, with an eye to rejecting old labels. This is not a new revelation. The New Left has postulated such ideas for some time, and the aforementioned anti-globalization clashes and demonstrations have often eschewed ideological tags. In Lynd and Grubacic's estimation, internationalism is as much of the heart as it is about politics. One could derisively call this misty idealism, although one cannot discount the earnestness of such beliefs.

Both are correct in seeing the importance of "big-picture" ideas when it comes to putting forward a political vision. For example, proclaiming that Joe Hill would have seen himself as a Palestinian conjures up effective imagery, and a fertile discussion arises from this point. Lynd seems to acknowledge the amount of work that remains to be done when he argues that the movements of today face difficulties concerning strategy. Compare this with the South's fight over African American disenfranchisement and the North's battle against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s-70s, which galvanized disparate forces. Yet, the bulk of the book suggests a bigger problem is the reliance on old ways of doing thins. What gets a little downplayed here is an assessment of the amount of work involved in moving towards these "big-picture" moments.

Lynd's remark that anarchism and Marxism are not mutually exclusive alternatives, but Hegelian moments split by personality clashes with the First International, seem simplistic, and comments in the book too often dismissively reduce significant and substantive splits to mere sleights of hand. At the same time, engaging critiques, such as seeing anti-imperialism not as a rejection of everything American but as embracing the best in American radical traditions, abound. Reexaminations of the Haymarket affair and the Industrial Workers of the World ("the Zapatistas of yesteryear," as Lynd calls them) are sure to make one look upon these memorable revolutionary surges in a new light. Chalk that up to Lynd's take on history, which is richly textured and buoyed by the weight of experience.

One cannot address the ideas presented here without appreciating Lynd's remarkable life. From his expulsion from the military to his directorship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee's Freedom Schools, to his engagement in the Youngstown steel mill struggle in the 1970s and beyond, Lynd has been a critical figure on the left. He has also been a vibrant socialist, albeit one who has embraced socialism's diversity over dogmatism. His genuine love for humanity shines through, and it is doubtful such a that this dialogue could be so arresting without his compassion.

Noted German statesman Otto von Bismarck was famously quoted as saying after the First International split that "crowned heads, wealth and privilege may well tremble should ever again the black and red unite." In the pages of Wobblies and Zapatistas, such a possibility seems not so far away.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A World in which many Wobblies (and Zapatistas) Fit 25 Nov 2008
By S. Shukaitis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a lovely book that does an excellent job weaving together many threads of social movement histories and struggles without constantly hitting you over the head about it being movement history. The discussion format does a great job of teasing out the resonances between the Staughton and Andrej's experiences. This book is also quite well timed in that Staughton's amazing and inspiring life has seemingly been somewhat forgotten today, and this book really draws out the connections between the struggles he was involved in during the 1960s with those of the IWW, the Zapatistas, and the movement he continues to be involved with (which overlap and converge greatly with where Andre is coming from, even if not in a physical sense of location necessarily). While there are of course things I'd quibble with here and there (the idea that Marxism and anarchism are Hegelian moments in need of a higher form of synthesis, or the quite silly critique of 'whiteness theory' that attributes to it a kind of unchanging and ahistorical essentializing that is exactly what is it aimed at critiquing), nevertheless this is exactly the kind of movement histories and creative approaches to telling those stories and experiences that is really valuable to the continually necessary task of assessing the current political situation and context of movement building while learning from what has come before and necessarily underlies the state of things we find ourselves in.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must, must, must read. 23 Feb 2012
By Marcos - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Lynd and Grubacic fantastically marry two of the greatest schools of solution based socio-political thought ever, in a way that is more than just a new form of hybrid dogmatism but practical answers to changing the world - especially since both are grounded in actual tangible revolutionary socio-political change: the modern day Zapatistas in Chiapas and liberation of now Mayan controlled Chiapas post NAFTA, and the victories of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) and Industrial Unionism.

This is a top shelf book and one of the most important modern books written - we need to take the model of Marcos and Chiapas, adjust it and apply it to the world, starting with the U.S. This book is solution based, not just a Marxist analysis of capitalism through an Anarcho lens. It is also fairly accessible to most interested readers without the need to possess an extensive knowledge of Industrial Unionism (the "Wobblies" part in the title) and Anarchism (the Zapatistas part of the title). As long as the reader has cursory knowledge of basic Marxism/Lenin, some idea of Industrial Unionism vs. craft unionism relative to labor, and collectivism/Anarchism, this book actually allows for the reader to jump ahead pursuant to a lot of other reading.

If I could suggest only 5 books for the modern activist to read, this would be in that top 5, accompanied by Non Violent Resistance by Ghandi, Anarchism and Other Essays by Emma Goldman, Our Word is Our Weapon by Marcos, and The Late Great USA (:NAFTA, the North American Union, and the Threat of a Coming Merger with Mexico and Canada), followed by the works of Albert Parsons, the Catholic Anarchist Dorothy Day, Peter Krotopkin, William Cooper, along with some other reading on the threat of economic and political globalism involving the WTO, World Bank, Bilderberg Group, NAFTA and both the approaching threat of the N. American Union and the Asian Union to round out a top ten, provided they already had read the obvious foundational material.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Staughton Lynd's ideas. 15 Jun 2011
By Z.A. Mrefu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is sure to be valuable to readers interested in radical politics. While the book in fact has little to do with the Wobblies or the Zapatistas, it is a terrific primer on Staughton Lynd's ideas around revolutionary working-class social movements. This book, along with Lynd's "Labor Laws for the Rank-and-Filer", are both valuable writings on topics such as solidarity unionism, accompaniment, nonviolent civil disobedience and anarchist organization.
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