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Five Weeks of Anarchy! Ruth Kinna FULLY BOOKED, THANKS

This event is fully booked. Join our mailing list at bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk for early notice of other events.


This is Five Leaves’ second “Night School” on anarchism, with Ruth Kinna. This year the series of five will be online only via Zoom. The talks will be suitable for newcomers to anarchism as well as old hands, and will not cover the same ground as our previous Night School on anarchism. Anarchists and non-anarchists equally welcome. The course starts on 5th January and runs for five consecutive weeks.

To facilitate discussion after each presentation we are limiting numbers to 25 participants.

This is a course, so we are only taking bookings for the series not for individual sessions.

The cost is £15.00 for the five events, £10.00 to those in need of a concession. Each session will last an hour and a half and will start at 7.00.

Register via Eventbrite. We expect the course to be fully booked, so we recommend you book early.

The theme for this series is practicality: will it/how does anarchy work. The starting point is Proudhon’s concept of anarchy as order: what does this mean and how does it shape the ways anarchists think about institutions and political arrangements? The following sessions discuss anarchist utopias and utopianism and the notion of ‘abolition’. Anarchist feminist critiques of the family and anarchist demands for prison abolition provide the foci. 

Format: informal illustrated presentations with space for questions, discussion and comments. Non-essential reading supports rather than structures the presentations. 

Week one     Anarchy as order

What’s the thinking behind the familiar graffiti – the A in the circle? This session looks at two ideas: first, the way that anarchists have understood the relationship between society and the state and second, what the prioritisation of society over the state implies for questions of practicality.


James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism, preface https://libcom.org/files/James-C.-Scott-Two-Cheers-for-Anarchism-Six-Easy-Pieces-on-Autonomy-Dignity-and-Meaningful-Work-and-Play-Princeton-University-Press-2012.pdf  

Harold Barclay, People Without Government, preface by Alex Comfort, introduction & ch. 1 https://we.riseup.net/assets/85518/People-Without-Government-an-Anthropology-of-Anarchy-Harold-B-Barclay.pdf 

Sam Mbah & I.E. Igariwey African Anarchism: The History of a Movement chs. 1-3 https://libcom.org/files/African%20Anarchism%20-%20Mbah%20and%20Igariwey.pdf

Week two        Anarchist utopias

This session looks at two literary utopias: Louisa Bevington’s Common Sense Country and William Morris’s News from Nowhere. Bevington called herself anarchist communist. Morris was a sometime pro-anarchist and sometime anti-anarchist communist. Nevertheless, Kropotkin described News from Nowhere as a perfect anarchist utopia. What are we to make of these dreamy ideals? 


William Morris, News from Nowhere chs. IX-XV https://www.gutenberg.org/files/3261/3261-h/3261-h.htm 

Louisa Bevington, Common Sense Country https://www.gutenberg.org/files/61234/61234-h/61234-h.htm 

Marie Louise Berneri, Paths in Utopia, with an introduction by Matthew Adams and afterword by Rhiannon Firth. See presentations from Housmans https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6LCuOT9L_Y&t=2849s 

Matthew Adams, ‘The Black Rose of Anarchism’ (introduction to Journey Through Utopia) https://repository.lboro.ac.uk/articles/chapter/The_Black_Rose_of_Anarchism_Marie_Louise_Berneri/9470081 

Week three     Anarchist utopianism

This session asks why anarchists have been so interested in imagining alternatives and how this interest affects questions of practicality. Turning to our own ecological predicaments, it considers how alternatives challenge norms and practices. 


Paul and Percival Goodman, Communitas: Means of Livelihood and Ways of Living https://archive.org/details/communitasmeanso010751mbp Part II

Tcherkesoff, Pages of Socialist History, chs. IV & XIV https://libcom.org/library/pages-socialist-history-teachings-acts-social-democracy-warlaam-tcherkesoff

Week four     Abolition of the state #1

This session discusses anarchist feminist critiques of the family. 




Emma Goldman, ‘The Tragedy of Women’s Emancipation’ http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/aando/emancipation.html

Emma Goldman, ‘Marriage and Love’ http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/aando/marriageandlove.html 

Voltairine de Cleyre, ‘Sex Slavery’ http://pzacad.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/cleyre/sexslavery.html 

Week five     Abolition of the state #2

This session looks at the case for prison abolition and draws some conclusions about what the state’s abolition/the building of anarchist orders entails.  



Charlotte Wilson & Helen Blagg, Women in Prisons, https://digital.library.lse.ac.uk/objects/lse:dag993nuv

Peter Kropotkin, In French and Russian Prisons chs. IX and X http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/kropotkin/prisons/toc.html

Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete ch. 1 https://www.feministes-radicales.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Angela-Davis-Are_Prisons_Obsolete.pdf

Ruth  Kinna is a professor of political philosophy at Loughborough University. Since 2007 she has been the editor of the journal Anarchist Studies. She began working at Loughborough University in 1992. Her subsequent work focused on the socialist thought of William Morris (1834–1896). She is the author of the book Anarchism – A Beginners Guide, an in depth study into the political concept of anarchy (Oneworld Publication).