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Anarchism in the United States, 1946-present

Gabriel Kuhn and Jesse Cohn


In the first decades after World War II, anarchism did not play a significant role in US politics. One notable organization emerging in the 1950s was the Libertarian League (dissolved in the late 1960s) around anarchosyndicalist Sam Dolgoff (aka Sam Weiner, 1902–90), but the immigrant communities that anarchists like Dolgoff came from were rapidly integrating, leaving African Americans as the largest pariah group – a community in which anarchists had almost no presence. The pacifism espoused by some anarchists during World War II, in contrast to communists' support for the war after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, further marginalized the movement, though endearing them to a segment of bohemia on both coasts. In this countercultural milieu, the writings of Paul Goodman (1911–72) proved influential. Anarchism, although rarely in an ideologically pure or traditional form, regained popularity in the late 1960s in the context of the decade's social protest movements. Anarchist elements were present amongst the Yippies, or in Situationist groups like San Francisco's Point Blank or New York's Black Mask, and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) harbored a number of anarchists. It was one of these, decrying the seduction of SDS by authoritarian and van-guardist tendencies, who would come to have the strongest impact on the US anarchist movement and its development: Murray ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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