This introductory chapter provides a brief background of anarchism. The competing varieties of anarchism endeavor to reconcile the seemingly conflicting claims of individual autonomy and collective struggle. Despite significant differences between the classical anarchists, the term “communal individuality” allows one to recognize affinities between the evolving connotations of anarchy embedded in the works — and deeds — of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, and Peter Kropotkin. In addition, a productive tension between individuality and communal solidarity fuels the fascinatingly contradictory work of two thinkers sometimes not considered part of mainstream anarchism — William Godwin and Max Stirner. In the years since the first edition of this book was published in 1999, the so-called “post-anarchist” turn has posed a challenge, in both activist and academic circles, to the canonical anarchism of Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin. The book focuses on links between anarchist self-activity and films that not only reflect, but often actively promote, workplace resistance, anarchist pedagogy, and anti-statist insurrections. It also broadens the definition of “anarchist cinema” to include discussion of films not made and produced by anarchists.
Keywords: anarchism, individual autonomy, collective struggle, communal individuality, post-anarchism, anarchist self-activity, anarchist cinema, workplace resistance, anarchist pedagogy, anti-statist insurrections
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