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Wed 18 March
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Wednesday 18 March 2020 11.00 - 13.00
E-2 THE01 Anarchism and the National Question - Theoretical Perspectives
P.N. van Eyckhof 2, 005
Network: Theory Chair: Stefan Berger
Organizers: Jose Antonio Gutierrez, Ruth Kinna Discussant: Stefan Berger
Pietro Di Paola : ‘Anarchists and Mandolins’: the Italian Anarchists in London between Transnationalism and National Identities
The relationship between ‘nation’ and the ‘state’ has always been particularly complex for the Italian anarchists. The Italian anarchist movement emerged after and thanks to the struggle for the national unification. Members of the First international broke with the republican movement and challenged the nation-state that emanated from the Risorgimento. ... (Show more)
The relationship between ‘nation’ and the ‘state’ has always been particularly complex for the Italian anarchists. The Italian anarchist movement emerged after and thanks to the struggle for the national unification. Members of the First international broke with the republican movement and challenged the nation-state that emanated from the Risorgimento. However, although prioritising and praising internationalism and international solidarity, the anarchists could not escape the linkage with their nation and their national identities. This is of particular significance in the experience of the community of Italian anarchists abroad, where the anarchists’ ‘italianness’ was stressed on a daily basis by the simple fact of living in a foreign country. The use of the Italian language in almost all their publications is a clear example of how the connection with the motherland informed the anarchists’ political activities. However, at the same time it was a reaffirmation of their national identity.
This paper will investigate the ways in which the Italian anarchists in London, though part of a transnational revolutionary network, performed their nationality not just in their political but also in their social and individual lives. To enlighten this contradictory and understudied aspect, the paper will analyse how anarchists’ ‘Italianness’ emerged in different contexts: the exiles’ sociability (the use of Italian folk music in social meetings), working activities (trade of Italian products, working in Italian restaurants), the private sphere, and the interaction with the broader community of economic migrants (including religious festivities, such as the traditional procession of Madonna del Carmine). (Show less)

Jose Antonio Gutierrez, Federico Ferretti : The Republic, the Nation and the Empire: New Perspectives on Transnational Anarchism
This paper addresses the anti-colonial theories and practices deployed by transnational anarchists based in Great Britain and Ireland about the Irish issue between the year of the foundation of the journal Freedom, a Journal of Anarchist Socialism [later Communism], 1886, and the year of the formal recognition of Irish independence, ... (Show more)
This paper addresses the anti-colonial theories and practices deployed by transnational anarchists based in Great Britain and Ireland about the Irish issue between the year of the foundation of the journal Freedom, a Journal of Anarchist Socialism [later Communism], 1886, and the year of the formal recognition of Irish independence, 1922. Recent work on Freedom has shown the importance of the anti-colonialist commitment of British-based anarchists in these decades, applied to Ireland and to worldwide cases.
Building on this work, and based on a continuing survey of primary sources, especially from the archives of Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) and Nannie Florence Dryhurst (1856-1930), we analyse the Irish case to discuss the relations between anarchism and nationalism at the Age of Empire. Our main argument is that the tension between internationalism and a certain sympathy for nationalistic causes which characterised the work of many anarchist activists, eventually when these causes challenged colonial empires and could be associated with social agendas, can be explained by an analysis of the early links between anarchism and the social and anti-authoritarian aspects of the Republican tradition showed by many experiences. Beyond Ireland, this was especially the case with continental Europe and Latin America, from the French Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento onwards.
This work allows extending and putting in relation literature on transnational anarchism and on the spatial turn in the social sciences, to conclude that anarchism is situated, and it does not exclude cosmopolitan notions of rootedness and inclusive ideas of nation as a social entity acting ‘from below’. Most importantly, this contributes to understanding anarchism as a major political idea originally inserted in a multisecular republican and libertarian (European and extra-European) tradition rather than a ‘utopian’ or ‘heretic’ branch of statist versions of socialism whose tenants have always represented themselves as the sole depositaries of the ‘true’ and ‘scientific’ socialistic intellectual tools. (Show less)

Ruth Kinna : Ananda Coomaraswamy, Rudolf Rocker: Autonomy, Nationalism and Internationalism
This paper examines Ananda Coomaraswamy’s framing of individual autonomy to expose tensions in anarchist thought about nationalism and internationalism. Coomaraswarmy, a distinguished art historian and philosopher of transnationalism, advanced a double-sided concept of autonomy employing Nietzsche to distinguish the urge to resist tyranny from the impulse to renounce or repudiate ... (Show more)
This paper examines Ananda Coomaraswamy’s framing of individual autonomy to expose tensions in anarchist thought about nationalism and internationalism. Coomaraswarmy, a distinguished art historian and philosopher of transnationalism, advanced a double-sided concept of autonomy employing Nietzsche to distinguish the urge to resist tyranny from the impulse to renounce or repudiate power. Both were anarchist. Yet the first tended towards mutual suspicion, instability and chaos and the second was consistent with common interest, spontaneity, and equilibrium.
Coomaraswamy’s approach, shaped by an engagement with Indian anticolonial politics, suggests that uncomfortable and sometimes divisive anarchist analysis of nationalism and internationalism is not resolved by the rejection of first and the promotion of the second, as is sometimes suggested. The drive to autonomy instead illuminates the relationship between the two. It focuses attention on complex processes of local and global social interaction and the need to adopt varying levels of analysis to understand the forces at play and the contexts in which they operate.
The paper sets Coomaraswamy’s conception of autonomy in a broader history of anarchist ideas before applying it to explore the tension in anarchist politics. Rudolf Rocker’s decision to support the Allies in 1945 in defence of libertarian values, apparently reversing the stance he took in 1914, provides a focal point for the discussion and a point of entry to explore Rocker’s Nationalism and Culture (1947), the most exhaustive anarchist reflection on nationalism to date. (Show less)

Ivanna Margarucci : Internationalist Roots and National Debates in Bolivian Anarchism. A Complex Articulation during the 1920s and 1930s
Trespassing nation-states borders was a common practice, inherent in libertarian subjectivity, derived from concrete economic or political causes, but also congruent with the anti-statism and internationalism defended in ideas.
The theoretical and historical approach to anarchism also requires breaking down the epistemological frontiers imposed by methodological nationalism.
Precisely, this has been the ... (Show more)
Trespassing nation-states borders was a common practice, inherent in libertarian subjectivity, derived from concrete economic or political causes, but also congruent with the anti-statism and internationalism defended in ideas.
The theoretical and historical approach to anarchism also requires breaking down the epistemological frontiers imposed by methodological nationalism.
Precisely, this has been the exercise proposed by the transnational approach, which through the rethinking of the traditional analytical units and the dialogue of these different levels (the individual and the local, the national, the regional and the transnational), has introduced new themes and problems within the field of anarchist studies.
In the case of Latin American anarchism, the "transnational turn" operated during the last decade has made significant contributions in terms of describing and analyzing the regional dynamics of the libertarian movement. The application of this approach favored the emergence of new issues and problems, as well as the rethinking of old questions. In spite of the "Atlantic bias" present in many of the researches that use this approach regionally, we can affirm that the Andean area was also characterized by the development of transnational links, through which a wide variety of propaganda materials circulated, as well as libertarian militants.
In previous works, we have argued that these networks of circulation and exchange, spread from Chile and Argentina between 1900 and 1930, were decisive for the emergence and development of anarchism in Bolivia. However, in this paper, we will support the hypothesis that, despite the relevance of these links and the strongly internationalist character of the Bolivian anarchist movement, he could not stop being traversed by certain problems linked to the local and national dimension.
Thus, we propose to explore here the decades of 1920 and 1930, in order to analyze the concrete ways in which the Bolivian anarchists contributed -perhaps unwittingly- to the contemporary debate on the definition of the "Bolivian nation", trying to make visible the notions they elaborated as opposed to those proposed by the dominant classes. Likewise, we will stop in the reading that local libertarians made -during and after- of the Chaco War (1932-1935), episode around which internationalism and antimilitarism converged in praxis and discourse with what, a priori, we could define as a "plebeian nationalism".
The objective of this work is, then, to be able to account for the complex and sometimes contradictory articulation developed by the anarchist movement of Bolivia, between its internationalist roots and convictions and the debate on the nation, from which in a quite particular conjuncture, he could not escape. (Show less)



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