Order of Empire and Formation of anarchism


General Meeting 2009 of the Historical Science Society of Japan,
Section of modern history

Sunday 24 may 2009,

Tama Campus of the Chuo University

"Order of Empire and Formation of Anarchism
~Imagination for Resistance and Solidarity~"

We would like to approach "anarchism", by reviewing it in the political and historical context where its ideas and practices have taken shape and developed.

Contemporary movements against globalization and neoliberalism include some currents which claim the name "anarchists." They set anarchism as a political method or vision for resistance and solidarity. Anarchism is interpreted here as the practice for solidarity between various forms of resistance beyond the state, while preserving the differences; i.e. a “movement of true globalization” (David Graever). The urgent need for historical studies on neoliberalism and globalization must also lead to a review of the history of anarchism and its relevance as a resistance force against these global trends.

A wide range of researches on anarchism have been accumulated in the science of history. We cannot deny the fact, however, that most of these works were limited to the study within a nation-state or its territory. In response to the problems caused by neoliberalism and globalization, recent works on anarchism have developed based on renewed criticism of previous studies. In other words, they focus on clarification of the historical situation where anarchism was born and contemporary globalization roots, as well as the process of the development of anarchism as a resistance movement accompanying the expansion of imperialistic orders beyond the borders of nation-states.

Benedict Anderson outlines a history of anarchism as it was formed during the “early globalization” of the 1880s, marked by the expansion of imperialism and global networks. In the 1880s, anarchism succeeded---better than Marxism---in organizing networks across the borders of nation-states and territories all over the world through exiles, immigrants and publications, and experienced a boom until the Russian revolution.

Combination of "socialism" and the "state" tended to be regarded as inevitable after the Russian Revolution, which weakened the anarchist movement and even concealed its historical significance. It should be noted, however, that anarchism emerged and developed within the process of the world history that has continued until today. We therefore believe that further review of anarchism will lead to clarification of the historical development of "imperialism" and to comprehension of trans-state resistance from the historical point of view.

The issues or tasks we propose consist of the following two points:

1.Trans-Territorial Networks of "Anarchists"

Some anarchists organized movements across European borders using the networks which had been made possible by the early globalization. This expansion of anarchism proceeded along with nationalist resistance against colonialism. In the 1880s, the terrorism executed previously by anarchists was taken over by European and colonial nationalists. Paradoxically anarchists succeeded in organizing their vast networks of resistance by tying national movements against imperialism to the process which goes beyond national borders.

2.Transformations of Anarchism in Relation to Imperialism and Resistance Movement
It is in this historical perspective that one can clarify the meaning of anarchist thought. Through these resistance networks, anarchism has been transformed in response to the political and cultural contexts of each territory in which it evolved. Accompanying and resisting imperialism and colonialism, anarchism has continued to change its form. The discourse and practices of those who declared themselves "anarchists" did not always come in a hostile relationship with the statements and practices supporting the imperialistic order, such as capitalism, ethnicity, gender role, and regionalism. They sometimes shared the same value. This historical configuration has diversified the idea of anarchism and made it difficult for us to define its meaning. Yet, by clarifying the multi-layered historical contexts, we can have a profound understanding of the ideas of anarchism and its actuality. The diversity of contemporary anarchism in the anti-globalism movement might be considered as an extension of the re-interpretation and re-development of anarchistic resistance to imperialism and globalization.

On these two points, we asked Mr. Hikaru TANAKA and Mr. Naoyuki UMEMORI for reports, and Mr. Mamoru YAMAGUCHI and Mr. Chigaya KINOSHITA for comments. We hope that many researchers in various fields of studies can participate in the symposium from around the world and have an animated debate.



TANAKA Hikaru ( Histoire, Histoire des idées )
Assistant professor of the Ôsaka Kyôiku University
Title:Les immigrants russes anarchistes aux Etats-Unis dans les années 1880-1920.

UMEMORI Naoyuki ( Histoire des idées politiques japonaises)
Professeur à l’Université Waseda
Titre:Le statut de l'anarchisme dans l'histoire des idées japonaises, dans sa relation avec les idées du premier socialisme.


YAMAGUCHI Mamoru (littérature chinoise, anarchisme chinois)

Professeur de l’Université Nihon

KINOSHITA Chigaya (Politiques)


Sunday 24 may 2009,

Tama Campus of the Chuo University
742-1 Higashi-Nakano, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-0393, Japan

10.10-11.10 TANAKA Hikaru
11.20-12.20 UMEMORI Naoyuki
13.30-14.00 YAMAGUCHI Mamoru
14.10-14.40 KINOSHITA Chigaya pause
14.50-17.30 Discussion (Questions and responses)

KATAKURA Yusuke:katecon [atmark]hotmail.co.jp


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