The Anarchist Reader by George Woodcock

The Anarchist Reader by George Woodcock

By George Woodcock

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In Britain this interim movement, as I call it because it represents a transition between nineteenth-century and latetwentieth-century anarchism, drew together not only British writers and painters who had emerged between the 1920s and the 1940s, but also many refugee artists from eastern Europe, from France and Belgium. There were English painters like Augustus John and John Minton, Russian constructivists like Naum Gago and Polish expressionists like Janke! Adler. Herbert Read and John Cowper Powys represented the older writers, but Dylan Thomas was a declared anarchist, and so were Alex Comfort, George Woodcock and Denise Levertov.

The historic movement created by Bakunin and Proudhon died when Franco's armies marched unopposed into anarchist Barcelona. But the anarchist idea, as distinct from the movement, did not, and in the last decade it has risen like a phoenix from the fire of its own transformation. 4 PHOENIX IN THE AWAKENING DESERT In these pages I have been stressing the differences between anarchism and more dogmatic political orthodoxies, and especially between anarchist groups and the tightly hierarchical structures of political parties whose aim is power.

Herbert Read believed that the educational system as it existed, with its emphasis on merely academic learning, prepared men for obedience, not for freedom; in his books, such as Education through Art and The Education of Free Men, he argued that the schools should be transformed to educate the senses before they touched the mind, and that the harmonious personality which resulted from education through art would not only live a more balanced individual life, but would also achieve, with a minimum of disturbance, the peaceful transformation of society of which the anarchists had long dreamed, a transformation in which people who were inwardly at peace and therefore at peaoe with each other could make equality and fraternity compatible with freedom.

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