1990s >> 1993 >> no-1066-june-1993

Book Review: ‘Demanding the Impossible – A History of Anarchism’

History of anarchism

‘Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism’. By Peter Marshall. Fontana. £9.99.

Peter Marshall’s monumental history of anarchism from ancient Greece and ancient China to today is now available in paperback. The ideas covered—anyone opposed to the state, from whatever angle— group together people with widely divergent, not to say incompatible views: from anarcho-communists like Kropotkin who stand for common ownership and no money to anarcho-capitalists like Ayn Rand and Proudhon who want to abolish the state so as to allow the market economy free rein.

If the anarcho-communists feel comfortable being grouped with these latter under a common title, we wouldn’t. Which is why we are dubious about the unindexed statement on page 495 that “some claim that the tiny Socialist Party of Great Britain is anarchist in inspiration”—even though we have always held that the state, as the public power of coercion composed of police, prisons and armed forces, will be abolished in socialism.

Adam Buick