Tag Archives: anarchism

My Tentative Embrace of Left-Libertarianism

Logo of the Alliance of the Libertarian Left

In the profile section of my Facebook page and increasingly in conversation when asked, I’m describing my political orientation as “left-libertarian” rather than “progressive” or “liberal”. I kind of feel like an adolescent experimenting with or trying on for size a persona that they are intrigued with but may not yet be fully comfortable with. Perhaps in wrestling with principles built around the primacy of liberty, I’m trying to rationalize some sort of continuity with ideas that I inherited from my parents. My mom always saying that in terms of parenting principles, that “kids will tell you what they need”, and when it came to education, “teachers should run the schools”. My father (though never explicitly stated as far as I can recall) believing that life at its best is an adventure, with twists and turns and outcomes always in doubt.

Continue reading →

Anarchism and the Sub-basement of the Graduate Library

Mikhail Bakunin

Mikhail Bakunin

My senior year in high school (1971-1972) I was a wannabe radical, enjoying the intoxicating stories of my high school history teacher (an avowed communist) about the group that plotted and killed the Czar in 1881, the Russian revolution of 1905 and its failure to seize power, and the Bolsheviks who thirteen years later successfully did so, leading to my own flirting with the ideas of anarchism, entombed in old dusty volumes housed in the sub-basement of the University of Michigan graduate library.

Throughout my childhood and youth, whatever compelling story I heard, read, saw in the movies or saw on television, I wanted to emulate, and became a source of play and fantasy. Now 16 and a senior in high school (I skipped kindergarten if you’re doing the math), I was enthralled by the story my “Modern Russian History” teacher was telling us. He was a larger than life figure, an “out” Trotskyite and a heck of storyteller, and I imagine only in a really liberal university town like Ann Arbor could he unabashedly do his thing and flaunt his card-carrying credentials. Continue reading →