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Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, CounterPower Vol. I - Michael Schmidt

Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, CounterPower Vol. I - Michael Schmidt

"A well-thought out and nuanced study of the intellectual, political, and social history of anarchism."

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Black Flame (Counter-Power, Volume 1) is the first of a two-volume set examining the democratic class politics of the worldwide anarchist movement, its vision of a decentralized planned economy, and its impact on popular struggles on five continents over the course of the past 150 years. From anarchism's first glimmers as a nineteenth-century ideology to today's anticapitalist struggles, Black Flame traces anarchism's lineage and contemporary relevance, outlining the movement's insights into questions of race, gender, class, and imperialism. With Black Flame, Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, both writers and activists in South Africa, have begun what promises to be the definitive synthetic account of the international anarchist tradition. Nearly exhaustive in scope, and rigorous in its scholarly detail, this first volume significantly reframes the work of previous historians and, especially, examines coherent alternatives to Marxist and nationalist approaches to revolutionary theory and practice. An indispensable conceptual roadmap to the history and continuing relevance of anarchist praxis. 
"This highly worthwhile book represents the fruit of considerable scholarship and deep reflection. The authors have done a remarkable job in drawing together a vast international body of literature. They show convincingly that anarchism and syndicalism were far more significant political forces in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century world than historians have generally given them credit for. They provide excellent accounts of the movement's global political reach, supported by an impressive knowledge of disparate literatures. Schmidt and van der Walt also make a powerful and lucidly written case for anarchism as a serious and coherent political philosophy." —Jonathan Hyslop, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 
"This book fulfills a daunting task. Covering anarchism in all parts of the world and emphatically tying it to class struggle, the authors present a highly original and challenging account of the movement, its actions and ideas. This work is a must for everybody interested in nonauthoritarian social movements." —Bert Altena, Rotterdam University 

"A well-thought out and nuanced study of the intellectual, political, and social history of anarchism." —Steven Hirsch, University of Pittsburgh

Michael Schmidt is a Johannesburg-based investigative journalist and journalism trainer, with more than twenty years experience in the field as a reporter for South Africa's leading newspapers including the Sunday Times and ThisDay, and as a co-editor of the anarchist news and analysis website anarkismo.net. A seasoned activist, his work has taken him to Chiapas, to Guatemala during the civil war, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Rwanda, Darfur, Lebanon, and beyond. 
Lucien van der Walt is based at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, where he teaches in development, economic sociology, and labor studies. His recently completed PhD on the history of anarchism and syndicalism in early twentieth-century South Africa was awarded the prestigious Labor History international prize for the best doctoral thesis of 2007. He has written and lectured widely on contemporary working-class struggles and the relationship between race and class, and, together with Steven Hirsch, he is the editor of the forthcoming volume, Anarchism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940 (Brill 2009).