Lefty Parent

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Posts Tagged ‘Francisco Ferrer’

Anarchism and the Sub-basement of the Graduate Library

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

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. (more…)