Republican Anarchism/Libertarian Republicanism

This in response to a thread at

Some extracts on Libertarian Republicanism, and the adaptation of universalist, general ideas to local, specific contexts —

Republican ideals & Anarchist thought:

“Two substantive aspects of anarchist thought…: the alternative conception of social contract elaborated in Proudhon’s ‘mutualism’ as a way of addressing the tendency towards factions or ‘coalitions of the willing’ in international society; and the wider influence of ‘republican’ ideals of civic virtue on anarchist thinking leading to a ‘republican anarchist’ conception of the society of states – an inchoate international republicanism without the state – where state autonomy is integrated with active participation in issues concerning the ‘common good’.”
Kazmi, Zaheer. “Rethinking Anarchy: ‘Classical’ Anarchist Thought and International Society” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mar 17, 2004. 2009-04-14

Thomas Jefferson’s “Little Republics” and the United Irishmen:

Jefferson’s proposal of the ward republic represented an attempt on his part to supply greater security to the political rights of citizens by overcoming anemia (a potential vulnerability in liberal polities) and encouraging citizen vigilance.
Webb, Derek. “Jefferson’s Ward Republic: Political Rights and an Engaged Citizenry” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois, . 2009-02-05

Thomas Jefferson idealistically remained attached to and hopeful of putting into practice his classical republican ideas. This paper analyzes Jefferson’s ward democracies and how they intended to support public education and active citizenship.
“… ward republics, which were to be divisions within each county ‘of such size as that every citizen can attend, when called on, and act in person’ to govern locally… Unlike many of the founders, Jefferson believed that a republic must be established on more than mere consent, and many of his republican proposals were considered by his critics to be of the ‘levelling’ sort… he was advocating his ‘little republics… where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward… and feels that he is a participant in the government… not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day…”
Dotts, Brian. “Thomas Jefferson’s Ward Republics and a Defense of Classical Republicanism” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Midwest Political Science Association, Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, Illinois, Apr 20, 2006 . 2009-02-05

Among the thousands of political refugees who flooded into the United States during the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, none had a greater impact on the early republic than the United Irishmen. They were, according to one Federalist, “the most God-provoking Democrats on this side of Hell.” “Every United Irishman,” insisted another, “ought to be hunted from the country, as much as a wolf or a tyger.” […]
[…] America served a powerful symbolic and psychological function for the United Irishmen as a place of wish-fulfillment, where the broken dreams of the failed Irish revolution could be realized. The United Irishmen established themselves on the radical wing of the Republican Party, and contributed to Jefferson’s “second American Revolution” of 1800; John Adams counted them among the “foreigners and degraded characters” whom he blamed for his defeat. After Jefferson’s victory, the United Irishmen set out to destroy the Federalists and democratize the Republicans. Some of them believed that their work was preparing the way for the millennium in America. Convinced that the example of America could ultimately inspire the movement for a democratic republic back home, they never lost sight of the struggle for Irish independence. It was the United Irishmen[…] who originated the persistent and powerful tradition of Irish-American nationalism.

Bolton Hall & the “Free Acres” community:

“Selections from Free America and other works” Bolton Hall
(Introduction by Mark Sullivan)
(p.1) “Bolton Hall was a pioneer of what we may cal ‘alternative economics’ – what E.F. Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful’ ppopularized as ‘Economics as if Prople Mattered’…”
(p.2-3)”Bolton Hall was born August 5, 1854 in Ireland. He came to America in 1867 with his parents when his father had been chosen pastor of the 5th Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York… he took up the study of law, and founded the American Longshoreman’s Union. […] He took part in other movements tending in anarchist or libertarian directions […] Moving among these radical circles [he] eventually met Emma Goldman. Despite their differences on how best to realize a free society, they became friends and mutual supporters through thick and thin…”

Founding of Free Acres
In 1910 Bolton Hall (1854-1938), a follower of Henry George, founded Free Acres. Hall’s background and intellectual predilections were strikingly similar to those of George. The son of a prominent New York City Presbyterian minister, Hall also combined religious and economic views to argue that humankind should serve as the “stewards” of the land. Hall’s philosophy is a combination of the law of love enunciated by Jesus, the economic views of Henry George, and the political rights of people defined by Thomas Jefferson.
He also followed American anarchists and antistatists in the tradition of Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and John Brown. He was influenced by his contemporary anarchists like Russians Leo Tolstoy and Pyotr Kropotkin, Englishman William Morris and American Emma Goldman. He believed that governments generally interfere unjustly with individual liberty and should be replaced by the voluntary association of cooperative groups. He held a vision of small cooperative communities in which simple life can maximize opportunity for individual self-expression.
He founded Free Acres to serve as a working experiment in local democracy, a living testament to his beliefs. He had an abiding faith in small communities, that liberty, justice and greater equality would prevail among the face to face relationships provided by the Free Acres monthly meeting. Free Acres would be able to avoid the onerous burden of bureaucracy and the futility of civil service reform that he associated with state socialism.

Jim Larkin, James Connolly, and the Revolutionary Syndicalism of Chicago culture & the IWW:

“The Rise & Fall of the Dil Pickle: Jazz-Age Chicago’s Wildest & Most Outrageously Creative Hobohemian Nightspot”
Founded in 1914 by former Wobbly Jack Jones, Irish revolutionist Jim Larkin, and a group of fantastic IWW-oriented Bughouse Square hobos and soapboxers, the Dil Pickle in just a few years was widely recognized as the wildest, most playful, most creative, and most radical nightspot…

Industrial workers of the World: James Connolly
First and foremost James Connolly was a Socialist. And when asked to elaborate on his Socialist theory, he would always advocate Revolutionary Syndicalism. Readers of James Connolly may react by saying that almost nowhere in Connolly’s work can any mention of Syndicalism be found. This is simply because Connolly preferred to use the term ‘Industrial Unionism’ to Syndicalism.

Jack White: Anarchist & Christian Communist

Jack White proposed the idea of workers’ militia, the Irish Citizens Army (ICA) in 1913 and played a key role in its early development and organisation. In April 1916 he was arrested in south Wales for attempting to organise a strike of miners in support of James Connolly.
In 1931, White was involved in a bitter street battle between unemployed workers and the RUC on the Newtownards Road in Belfast. 1936 at the age of 57 he travelled to Spain (as part of a Red Cross ambulance crew) to help fight fascism. Here he gravitated towards the anarchist CNT.
Impressed by the revolution that had unfolded in Spain, White was further attracted to the anarchist cause due to his own latent anti-Stalinism

“It is a fact, that the Barcelona churches were burnt, and many of them, where roof and walls are still standing, are used to house medical or commissariat stores instead of, as previously, being used by the fascists as fortresses. I suspect their present function is nearer the purpose of a religion based by its founder on the love of God and the Neighbour.”
First Spanish Impressions, Nov. 1936
“White travelled to Bohemia… lived in a ‘Tolstoyan’ commune in England and then travelled and worked in Canada… declaring himself to be a ‘Christian Communist’. He declared that ‘he was not prepared to go forward as the representative of any class or party, but only of a principle – the voluntary change to communal ownership of the land – and – the gradual withering of the poisoned branches of standing armies, prisons and the workhouse system.'”


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