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Resource List for the Anti-Elections / Pro-Anarchy Campaign

On Line

Andrew Flood, "If Voting Could Change Anything, It Would Be Illegal"

Kevin Doyle, "Parliament or Democracy?"

Iain McKay, Don't Vote, Organize!
(PDF pamphlet, Zabalaza Books, at:

Wayne Price, "None of the Above: The Anarchist Case Against Electoralism"

Cindy Milstein, "Democracy is Direct"

James Herod, "Notes on Building a Movement for Direct Democracy"

James Herod, "Reject and Campaign Vigorously Against Representative Government"

James Herod, "Making Decisions Amongst Assemblies"


Peter Kropotkin, "Representative Government," Words of a Rebel (1885), Black Rose Books, 1996, 229 pages, pp. 118-144.

This is an especially brilliant essay. Kropotkin said it all 122 years ago. What a shame that we've advanced so little toward getting rid of representative government in all those years.

Marina Sitrin, "Introduction," pp. 1-19, in Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina. Edited by Marina Sitrin, AK Press, 2006, 256 pages.

This is a really excellent summary of the struggle for direct democracy in Argentina (participatory democracy, autonomy, grassroots organizing, anarchism, and so forth). The term horizontalism is actually coming to be used quite commonly as a name for this strategy. This may be a good development. As far as I know, there has not yet been a good name (or even a name) for the strategy of the struggle for anarchy (direct democracy, a generally self-managed society), in contrast to common names for the strategies of the statists, like Bolshevism, Leninism, vanguardism, democratic centralism, social democracy, or Trotskyism.

Thomas S. Martin, "Unhinging All Government: The Defects of Political Representation," The Anarchist Papers 2, 1989, 183 pages, Black Rose Books,
pp. 107-127.

Martin summarizes the debate about representation between Royalists and Rebels during the American Revolution and concludes that each side demolished the other side's position, the result being that no justification for representation could be found. Anarchy remained as the only viable option.

Cornelius Castoriadis, "What Democracy?" (1990), in his Figures of the Thinkable, pp. 118-150. Stanford University Press, 2007.

This is a good critique of representative government and defense of direct democracy. He frames it as a struggle for "autonomy"– a theme Castoriadis has been developing for some years. Castoriadis is one of the greatest 20th Century social philosophers to support direct democracy (with a non-dualistic, radical epistemology to go with it).

David Graeber, "There Never Was A West: Or Democracy Emerges from the Spaces In Between," pp. 329-374 in his Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire. AK Press, 2007.

This is a very original examination of the practice of direct democracy throughout history, relying particularly on anthropological data. An excellent essay.

Anthony Arblaster, Democracy. Minnesota U.P., 1987, 119 pages.

This is a very fine, rare survey by a scholar of the history of democracy, in theory and practice. I like it especially because the author believes that the only real democracy is direct democracy, and makes a case for it, urging that it be created. A very helpful read. It's short too.

Pateman, Carole, The Problem of Political Obligation: A Critique of Liberal Theory. (California University Press, Berkeley, 1979, 222 pages.)

This is the best discussion so far of the principle of "self-assumed political obligation," and of political authority in general. Together with her first book, Participation and Democratic Theory (1970) and her third book, The Sexual Contract (1988), this body of work represents the most brilliant and devastating critique of liberal democratic theory so far, and a defense of direct democracy and hence of anarchism.

Parenti, Michael, Democracy for the Few [1974]. (St. Martin's Press, New York, 2001, 7th edition, 351 pages.)

This is a famous book, now in its seventh edition, which proves beyond any doubt that the United States is a democracy only for the ruling class. A hundred years ago, it was commonplace among radicals that the United States was a plutocracy, a country ruled by the rich. That knowledge has been mostly eradicated however by the power of ruling class cultural, educational, and media institutions.

Takis Fotopoulos, "A Confederal Inclusive Democracy," Ch. 6, pp. 224-274, in his Towards an Inclusive Democracy. Cassell, 1997, 401 pages.

This is one of the best descriptions so far of radical, participatory, direct democracy as envisioned by anarchists. Ch. 8 in the same book outlines a radical epistemology to go with it.

Knabb, Ken. The Joy of Revolution. Included in his Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb: 1970-1997, pp 1-88. Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 1997, 408 pages.

Ken Knabb is the leading representative of Situationism in the United States. Situationism has pictured a free society in terms of generalized self-management, a concept taken in part from anarcho-syndicalism. This image is quite nicely fleshed out in this book, which is a useful synthesis of the work and community perspectives. It is one of the few recent, extended, discussions of how a self-governing people would arrange themselves socially, with numerous hints about how to bring such a society into being.

C. George Benello and Dimitrios Roussopoulos, editors. The Case for Participatory Democracy. Some Prospects for the Radical Society. Grossman Publishers, 1971, 386 pages.

A still useful sixties anthology about a major theme of the New Left, with some input from anarchists.

Harold Barclay, The State. Freedom Press, 2003, 110 pages.

A recent and most excellent treatment of the state by an anarchist anthropologist.

Sam Dolgoff, editor. The Anarchist Collectives: Workers' Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution, 1936-1939. Black Rose Books, 1974, 194 pages.

An excellent introduction to the most extensive attempt so far to put anarchist principles of social organization into practice.

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Views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the ideas or opinions of the Northeast Anarchist Network or affiliated groups. Posts, comments and statements represent the individual user by which they are posted, or an individual or group cited within the text.