Saturday, June 23, 2012

Anarchism Today by Randall Amster

 Randall Amster, J.D., Ph.D., teaches Peace Studies and is Chair of the Master's Program in Humanities at Prescott College, and also serves as the Executive Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. Among his recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness (LFB Scholarly, 2008), as well as the co-edited volumes Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action(Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and Contemporary Anarchist Studies: An Introductory Anthology of Anarchy in the Academy (Routledge, 2009). Dr. Amster writes a regular op-ed column for his local newspaper, edits a national peace and justice newsletter, and is the founding editor of the news and opinion website, New Clear Vision. He also serves on the editorial advisory boards for the Contemporary Justice Review, the Peace Studies Journal, and the Journal of Sustainability Education.

With all of the provocative, sometimes highly destructive acts committed in the name of anarchy, this enlightening volume invites readers to discover the true meaning of anarchism, exploring its vivid history and its resurgent relevance for addressing today's most vexing social problems.

From World Trade Organization protests to the thwarted 2010 letter-bomb campaign in Europe, actions taken in the name of anarchy continue to make headlines. But these sensational, sometimes off-putting events obscure the fact that anarchism itself is a sophisticated, centuries-old school of political thought that has the potential for positive contributions to our future.

In Anarchism Today, an acclaimed scholar and one of the world's foremost advocates for the anarchistic tradition cuts through common misconceptions and caricatures to explore what is perhaps the most poorly understood of all political theories.
As author Randall Amster explains, rather than being an anti-everything rationale for defiance and destruction, anarchism is in fact a coherent set of values and practices with a rich history and contemporary relevance. Passionate and provocative, Amster's book offers readers an expert's perspective on what anarchism really means, including its relationship to other political approaches, its careful balancing of individual liberty and a functioning society, and its controversial image as a wellspring of violence. Along the way, Amster addresses a number of current issues from the perspective of anarchism, including corporate globalization, environmentalism, warfare, nationalism, education, technology, alternative economics, criminal justice, and even spirituality. He concludes with a frank assessment of anarchism's impact and the role it can play in building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

• Explains the fundamentals of anarchism to a general audience, including those repelled by its inaccurate portrayals
• Makes sense of a theory often viewed as violent, incoherent, and even irreconcilably contradictory
• Examines the role of anarchism in addressing critical issues that define our era, from environmentalism to economics
• Shows how applying the tenets of anarchism can potentially lead to a better, safer, and more just world
• Explores anarchism's relationship to local actions and global visions, linking its theories and practices to a wide range of contemporary movements, including anti-globalization, economic justice, criminal justice reform, homelessness & housing, and alternative education

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