This short interview from Murray Bookchin about how he became an anarchist is from a little-known 1981 documentary called Anarchism in America (available via bittorrent). The documentary is interesting in some parts, notably this interview with Bookchin and it was interesting to see real life footage of Emma Goldman too, but bizarre in that it seemed to meld anarcho-capitalism with the rest of anarchism and also tried to portray the American character as inclined towards an anarchist outlook — a peculiarly nationalist perspective for an anarchist movie!

In any case, Bookchin’s interview is interesting. I can see how he became so popular — he’s not only a good writer but clearly a lively and engaging speaker.

The most interesting aspect though, is his thesis that the factory and proletarian existence par excellence is not a revolutionary force, as the Marxists have always made out, but rather a domesticating force, inclining workers towards a reactionary work ethic rather than a desire for fundamental change. This is a thesis Bookchin also advanced in his book Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution: The Heroic Years (vol. 1 — sadly there is no vol. 2). In this book, Bookchin goes onto observe that it is instead the newly transplanted peasants, the hobos, the unemployed, youth and generally those least integrated (and most alienated) into the regimen of the capitalist mode of existence who, time and time again, are the ones to spark rebellion and call for revolutionary change.

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