Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow

Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow is a 2011 book about anarchism and left-libertarian thought in Britain written by David Goodway and published by PM Press.

Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow
Anarchist Seeds beneath the Snow
AuthorDavid Goodway
SubjectAnarchist politics, history, philosophy[1]
Published2011 (PM Press)
ISBN978-1-60486-221-8 [1]


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External links

Alex Comfort

Alexander Comfort (10 February 1920 – 26 March 2000) was a British scientist and physician known best for his nonfiction sex manual, The Joy of Sex (1972). He was an author of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as a gerontologist, anarchist, pacifist, and conscientious objector.

Anarchism and the arts

Anarchism has long had an association with the arts, particularly with visual art, music and literature.This can be dated back to the start of anarchism as a named political concept, and the writings of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon on the French realist painter Gustave Courbet. In an essay on Courbet of 1857 Proudhon had set out a principle for art, which he saw in the work of Courbet, that it should show the real lives of the working classes and the injustices working people face at the hands of the bourgeoisie.However, very quickly this was refuted by the French novelist Émile Zola who objected to Proudhon advocating freedom for all in the name of anarchism, but then placing stipulations on artists as to what they should depict in their works. This opened up a division in thinking on anarchist art which is still apparent today, with some anarchist writers and artists advocating a view that art should be propagandistic and used to further the anarchist cause, and others that anarchism should free the artist from the requirements to serve a patron and master and be free to pursue their own interests and agendas. In recent years the first of these approaches has been argued by writers such as Patricia Leighten and the second by Michael Paraskos.Significant writers on the relationship between art and anarchism include:

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

Peter Kropotkin

Herbert Read

Alex Comfort

George Woodcock

David Goodway

Allan Antliff

Cindy MilsteinDespite this history of a close relationship between art and anarchism some anarchist writers, such as Peter Kropotkin and Herbert Read, have argued that in an anarchist society the role of the artist would disappear completely as all human activity would become, in itself, artistic. This is a view of art in society that sees creativity as intrinsic to all human activity, whereas the effect of bourgeois capitalism has been to strip human life of its creative aspects through industrial standardisation, the atomisation of production processes and the professionalisation of art through the education system.However, for some writers on art and anarchism artists would not disappear as they would continue to provide an anarchist society with a space in which to continue to imagine new ways of understanding and organising reality, as well as a space in which to face possible fears similar to Noël Carroll's theory of the function of horror stories and films in current society, 'Art-horror is the price we are willing to pay for the revelation of that which is impossible and unknown, of that which violates our conceptual schema.’

Anarchism in Ireland

Leaving aside the related tradition of syndicalism in Ireland, associated with figures like James Connolly, Irish anarchism had little historical tradition before the 1970s. As a movement it only really developed from the late 1990s – although one organisation, the Workers Solidarity Movement has had a continuous existence since 1984. Anarchists have been active in Ireland as far back as 1886, but these were short-lived groups or isolated individuals with large gaps between activity.

Anarchism in the United Kingdom

Anarchism in the UK initially developed within the context of radical Whiggery and Protestant religious dissent. During the English Civil War and the industrialisation English anarchist thought developed in the context of revolutionary working class politics.


Anarcho-pacifism (also pacifist anarchism or anarchist pacifism) is a tendency within anarchism that rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change, the abolition of capitalism and the state. The main early influences were the thought of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy while later the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi gained importance. Pacifist anarchism "appeared mostly in the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States, before and after the Second World War and has continued since then in the deep in the anarchist involvement in the protests against nuclear armament.".

Chris Pallis

Christopher Agamemnon Pallis (2 December 1923, Bombay – 10 March 2005, London) was an Anglo-Greek neurologist and libertarian socialist intellectual. Under the pen-names Martin Grainger and Maurice Brinton, he wrote and translated for the British group Solidarity from 1960 until the early 1980s. As a neurologist, he produced the accepted criteria for brainstem death, and wrote the entry on death for Encyclopædia Britannica.

Colin Ward

Colin Ward (14 August 1924 – 11 February 2010) was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian."

Committee of 100 (United Kingdom)

The Committee of 100 was a British anti-war group. It was set up in 1960 with a hundred public signatories by Bertrand Russell, Ralph Schoenman, Michael Scott, and others. Its supporters used mass nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience to achieve their aims.

David Goodway

David Goodway is a British historian and a respected international authority on anarchism and libertarian socialism. A student of Eric Hobsbawm, Goodway specialised in the history of Chartism in London and his work London Chartism is an acknowledged classic work on the subject. He has also written widely about writers in the British left libertarian tradition, such as William Morris, John Cowper Powys, Alex Comfort, Herbert Read, George Orwell, Colin Ward and Maurice Brinton.

Derek Savage (poet)

Derek Stanley Savage (6 March 1917 – 14 October 2007), was a pacifist poet and critic, and usually published as "D.S.Savage". He was General Secretary of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, 1960-62.

Herbert Read

Sir Herbert Edward Read, DSO, MC (; 4 December 1893 – 12 June 1968) was an English art historian, poet, literary critic and philosopher, best known for numerous books on art, which included influential volumes on the role of art in education. Read was co-founder of the Institute of Contemporary Arts. As well as being a prominent English anarchist, he was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism.

Marie-Louise Berneri

Marie Louise Berneri (March 1, 1918 – April 13, 1949) was an anarchist activist and author. She was involved with the short-lived publication, Revision, with Luis Mercier Vega and was a member of the group that edited Revolt, War Commentary, and the Freedom newspaper, which is still being published by the Freedom Bookstore in London. She was a continuous contributor to Spain and the World. She also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia, first published in 1950. Neither East Nor West is a selection of her writings (1952).

PM Press

PM Press is an independent publisher that specializes in radical, Marxist and anarchist literature, as well as crime fiction, graphic novels, music CDs, and political documentaries. It has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and West Virginia.

Precursors to anarchism

Prior to the rise of anarchism as an anti-authoritarian political philosophy in the 19th century, both individuals and groups expressed some principles of anarchism in their lives and writings.


The Ratirahasya (Sanskrit रतिरहस्य) (translated in English as Secrets of Love, also known as the Koka Shastra) is a medieval Indian sex manual written by Kokkoka, a poet, who is variously described as Koka or Koka Pundit. The exact date of its writing is not known, but it is estimated the text was written in the 11th or 12th century. It is speculated that Ratirahasya was written to please a king by the name Venudutta. Kokkoka describes himself in the book as siddha patiya pandita, i.e. "an ingenious man among learned men". The manual was written in Sanskrit.Unlike the Kama Sutra, which is an ancient sex manual related to Hindu literature, Ratirahasya deals with medieval Indian society. During the medieval age, India became more conservative compared to ancient India, freedom of women decreased, and premarital and extramarital sex were frowned upon. A sex manual was needed that would be suitable for the medieval cultural climate, and Ratirahasya was written, quite different from the ancient text Kama Sutra.There are fifteen pachivedes (chapters) and 800 verses in Ratirahasya which deal with various topics such as different physiques, lunar calendar, different types of genitals, characteristics of women of various ages, hugs, kisses, sexual intercourse and sex positions, sex with a strange woman, etc. Kokokka describes various stages of love in Ratirahasya, the fifth stage being weight loss, the ninth is fainting, and the tenth and last stage is death. Ratirahasya makes classifications of women, and describes erogenous zones and days that lead to women's easy arousal.

Ratirahasya is the first book to describe in detail Indian feminine beauty. The book classified women into four psycho-physical types, according to their appearance and physical features.

Padmini (lotus woman)

Chitrini (art woman)

Shankini (conch woman)

Hastini (elephant woman)On the basis of the size of the genitals, the text classifies sexual intercourse into nine different types. Aphrodisiacs are also described in the book.According to W.G. Archer, Kokkoka "is concerned with how to make the most of sex, how to enjoy it and how to keep a woman happy." In writing this text, Kokokka depended on a number of other authors including, among others Nandikeshvara, Gonikaputra, and Vatsyayana.Arabic, Persian and Turkish translations of the book are entitled Lizzat-al-Nissa. Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex, made an English translation of Ratirahasya in 1964 titled The Koka Shashtra, Being the Ratirahasya of Kokkoka, and Other Medieval Indian Writings on Love (London: George Allen and Unwin). Another English translation was made by S. C. Upadhyaya, entitled Kokashastra (Rati Rahasya) of Pundit Kokkoka. Some commentaries have been written on this text by Avana Rama Chandra, Kavi Prabhu, and Harihara. It is a popular text in India, second only to the Kama Sutra among sex manuals.

Solidarity (UK)

Solidarity was a small libertarian socialist organisation from 1960 to 1992 in the United Kingdom. It published a magazine of the same name. Solidarity was close to council communism in its prescriptions and was known for its emphasis on workers' self-organisation and for its radical anti-Leninism.

The Ego and Its Own

The Ego and Its Own (German: Der Einzige und sein Eigentum; meaningfully translated as The Individual and his Property, literally as The Unique and His Property) is an 1844 work by German philosopher Max Stirner. It presents a radically nominalist and individualist critique of Christianity, nationalism, and traditional morality on one hand; and on the other, humanism, utilitarianism, liberalism, and much of the then-burgeoning socialist movement, advocating instead an amoral (although importantly not inherently immoral or antisocial) egoism. It is considered a major influence on the development of anarchism, existentialism, nihilism, and postmodernism.

Thomas Hastie Bell

Thomas Hastie Bell (1867–1942) was a Scottish anarchist. He was born in Edinburgh in 1867.

Rudolf Rocker describes him as 6 ft tall , redhaired with a bushy beard in his later years.In his youth he was a member of the Scottish Land and Labour League and in the 1880s through involvement with the Socialist League became an anarchist.While in Paris, he urged anarchists in France for an open-air meeting and distributed handbills. In Place de la République in a Sunday, amidst a big crowd and policemen, he climbed up a lamp-post and gave a speech. The police threatened him with prosecution for "insults to the Army and the law", but the authorities were not inclined to prosecute him. After two weeks in jail he was expelled as "too dangerous a man to be allowed loose in France".

On the visit of Tsar Nicholas II to Leith on Tuesday 22 September 1896 , Bell got through to the Tsar’s carriage and shouted in his face "Down with the Russian tyrant! To hell with all the empires!". Again the British authorities decided not to prosecute him, because a Scottish jury would probably throw out any charges.In 1898 Bell left for London and He was involved with the Freedom group there.

Bell moved to New York in 1904 living with anarchist Charles B. Hooper and moving with his wife and daughter Marion Bell, to Arizona in 1910Bell was a well known anarchist who had friendships with Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker and Peter Kropotkin. Bell was also a close friend of Oscar WildeEmma Goldman described Bell as "of whose propagandistic zeal and daring we had heard much in America".

Bell died in 1942 aged 75.

William Harrison Riley

William Harrison Riley (c.1835–1907) was an early British socialist.

Riley was born in Manchester, his father being the manager of a cloth printing factory and Methodist preacher. He trained as an engraver before moving to the United States for three years, then returned to England to work as a commercial traveller.In the late 1860s, Riley returned to the U.S., where he became an active socialist and gained experience as a journalist. In 1870, he returned to England once more, and got in touch with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. He settled in London, where he published Yankee Letters to British Workmen in 1871, and became active in the First International, editing its British journal, the International Herald, from 1872. By 1875, he had moved to Bristol, then in 1876 he moved to Sheffield on the invitation of John Ruskin to manage St George's Farm at Totley on a communitarian basis. In Sheffield, he launched a monthly journal, The Socialist, which ran for only six months.The farm project was not a success; the workers, former shoemakers, fell into dispute with each other and with Riley, and the land was not as productive as had been hoped. With the failure of the project, Ruskin permitted Riley to remain at the farm, but in 1880 Riley moved back to the U.S., where he based himself in Massachusetts, writing socialist articles and farming. In 1884, Edward Carpenter stayed with Riley while he was visiting Walt Whitman. In 1889, he moved to Lunenburg, Massachusetts, where he lived until 1896.

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