Gustav Landauer

Last updated
Gustav Landauer
Gustav Landauer 189x.png
Born(1870-04-07)7 April 1870
Died2 May 1919(1919-05-02) (aged 49)
NationalityGerman
Spouse(s) Hedwig Lachmann
Gustav Landauer (1892) Gustav Landauer.jpg
Gustav Landauer (1892)

Gustav Landauer (7 April 1870 2 May 1919) was one of the leading theorists on anarchism in Germany at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. He was an advocate of social anarchism and an avowed pacifist. In 1919, during the German Revolution, he was briefly Commissioner of Enlightenment and Public Instruction of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. [1] He was killed when this Republic was overthrown.

German individualist philosopher Max Stirner became an important early influence in anarchism. Afterwards Johann Most became an important anarchist propagandist in both Germany and in the United States. In the late 19th century and early 20th century there appeared individualist anarchists influenced by Stirner such as John Henry Mackay, Adolf Brand and Anselm Ruest and Mynona.

Social anarchism is a non-state form of socialism and is considered to be the branch of anarchism that sees individual freedom as being interrelated with mutual aid.

Pacifism opposition to war and violence

Pacifism is opposition to war, militarism, or violence. The word pacifism was coined by the French peace campaigner Émile Arnaud (1864–1921) and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress in Glasgow in 1901. A related term is ahimsa, which is a core philosophy in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. While modern connotations are recent, having been explicated since the 19th century, ancient references abound.

Contents

Landauer is also known for his study of metaphysics and religion, and his translations of William Shakespeare's works into German.

Metaphysics branch of philosophy

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between possibility and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among the [study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.

Religion may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.

William Shakespeare English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Life and career

Landauer was the second child of Jewish parents Rosa (Neuberger) and Herman Landauer. [2]

Landauer developed an anarchism which was not individualistic; he rejected individualist anarchism. Landauer supported anarchism already in the 1890s. In those years, he was especially enthusiastic about the individualistic approach of Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche, but also "cautioned against an apotheosis of the unrestrained individual, potentially leading to the neglect of solidarity". [3]

Individualism moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual

Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government. Individualism is often defined in contrast to totalitarianism, collectivism, and more corporate social forms.

Individualist anarchism several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions and ideological systems. Individualist anarchism is not a single philosophy, but it refers to a group of individualistic philosophies that sometimes are in conflict. Benjamin Tucker, a famous 19th century individualist anarchist, held that "if the individual has the right to govern himself, all external government is tyranny".

Max Stirner German philosopher

Johann Kaspar Schmidt, better known as Max Stirner, was a German philosopher who is often seen as one of the forerunners of nihilism, existentialism, psychoanalytic theory, postmodernism and individualist anarchism. Stirner's main work is The Ego and Its Own, also known as The Ego and His Own, first published in 1845 in Leipzig and since then appeared in numerous editions and translations, with his German original title literally translating as The Individual and His Property.

One of Landauer's grandchildren, with wife and author Hedwig Lachmann, was Mike Nichols, the American television, stage and film director, writer, and producer. [4]

Hedwig Lachmann German author, translator and poet

Hedwig Lachmann was a German author, translator and poet.

Mike Nichols German-American television, director, writer, producer and comedian

Mike Nichols was an American film and theater director, producer, actor, and comedian. He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres and an aptitude for getting the best out of actors regardless of their acting experience. Nichols began his career in the 1950s with the comedy improvisational troupe, The Compass Players, predecessor of The Second City, in Chicago. He then teamed up with his improv partner, Elaine May, to form the comedy duo Nichols and May. Their live improv acts were a hit on Broadway resulting in three albums, with their debut album winning a Grammy Award.

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Works

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas is a three-volume anthology of anarchist writings edited by historian Robert Graham. The anthology is published by Black Rose Books. Each selection is introduced by Graham, placing each author and selection in their historical and ideological context. The focus of the anthology is on the origins and development of anarchist ideas; it is not a documentary history of the world's anarchist movements, although the selections are geographically diverse.

Related Research Articles

Libertarian socialism form of left-wing anarchism

Libertarian socialism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects the conception of socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy.

Bob Black American anarchist

Robert Charles Black Jr. is an American anarchist. He is the author of the books The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, Beneath the Underground, Friendly Fire, Anarchy After Leftism, and Defacing the Currency, and numerous political essays.

The history of anarchism begins with the first humans walking on earth. Prehistoric society existed without formal hierarchies, pretty close to anarchist principles. The first traces of anarchist thought can be spotted in ancient Greece and China where numerous philosophers questioned the necessity of the state and declare the moral right of the individuals to decide for themselves. During the Middle Ages, few religious sects espoused some libertarian thoughts, and at Enlightenment, the rise of rationalism and science yielded in the birth of the modern anarchist movement.

Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

Jewish anarchism encompasses various expressions of anarchism within the Jewish community.

Individualist anarchism in the United States

Individualist anarchism in the United States was strongly influenced by Josiah Warren, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lysander Spooner, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Max Stirner, Herbert Spencer and Henry David Thoreau. Other important individualist anarchists in the United States were Stephen Pearl Andrews, William Batchelder Greene, Ezra Heywood, M. E. Lazarus, John Beverley Robinson, James L. Walker, Joseph Labadie, Steven Byington and Laurance Labadie. The first American anarchist publication was The Peaceful Revolutionist, edited by Josiah Warren, whose earliest experiments and writings predate Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

Anarchism has been an undercurrent in the politics of Palestine and Israel for over a century.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to anarchism:

Egoist anarchism school of anarchist thought

Egoist anarchism is a school of anarchist thought that originated in the philosophy of Max Stirner, a 19th-century existentialist philosopher whose "name appears with familiar regularity in historically orientated surveys of anarchist thought as one of the earliest and best known exponents of individualist anarchism".

Individualist anarchism in Europe

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and his or her will over external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems. European individualist anarchism proceeded from the roots laid by William Godwin, Individualist anarchism expanded and diversified through Europe, incorporating influences from American individualist anarchism.

The relation between anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche has been ambiguous. Even though Nietzsche criticized anarchism, his thought proved influential for many thinkers within what can be characterized as the anarchist movement. As such "[t]here were many things that drew anarchists to Nietzsche: his hatred of the state; his disgust for the mindless social behavior of 'herds'; his anti-Christianity; his distrust of the effect of both the market and the State on cultural production; his desire for an 'übermensch'—that is, for a new human who was to be neither master nor slave".

Anarchy is a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word originally meant leaderlessness, but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy: anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations. In practical terms, anarchy can refer to the curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions. It can also designate a nation that has no system of government or central rule. Anarchy is primarily advocated by anarchists, individuals who propose replacing government with voluntary institutions.

Some observers believe existentialism forms a philosophical ground for anarchism. Anarchist historian Peter Marshall claims, "there is a close link between the existentialists' stress on the individual, free choice, and moral responsibility and the main tenets of anarchism".

Post-anarchism or postanarchism is an anarchist philosophy that employs post-structuralist and postmodernist approaches. Post-anarchism is not a single coherent theory, but rather refers to the combined works of any number of post-modernists and post-structuralists such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard; postmodern feminists such as Judith Butler; and alongside those of classical anarchist and libertarian philosophers such as Zhuang Zhou, Emma Goldman, Max Stirner, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Thus, the terminology can vary widely in both approach and outcome.

Anarchist schools of thought

Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds ruling classes and the state to be undesirable, unnecessary and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as "anarchists", advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations. However, anarchist schools of thought can differ fundamentally, supporting anything from extreme individualism to complete collectivism. Strains of anarchism have often been divided into the categories of social and individualist anarchism or similar dual classifications. Anarchism is often considered a radical left-wing ideology and much of anarchist economics and anarchist legal philosophy reflect anti-authoritarian interpretations of communism, collectivism, syndicalism, mutualism or participatory economics. At some point "the collectivist, communist, and liberal and individualist strands of thought from which anarchists drew their inspiration began to assume an increasingly distinctive quality, supporting the rise of a number of anarchist schools". Anthropologist David Graeber has noted that while the major schools of Marxism always have founders, schools of anarchism "almost invariably emerge from some kind of organizational principle or form of practice", citing anarcho-syndicalism, individualist anarchism and platformism as examples.

References

  1. Samuel Hugo Bergman and Noam Zadoff. "Landauer, Gustav". Jewish Virtual Library/Encyclopedia Judaica. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  2. Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary People Discovered Their Pasts, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 2010, p. 10
  3. Miething, Dominique (2016-04-02). "Overcoming the preachers of death: Gustav Landauer's reading of Friedrich Nietzsche". Intellectual History Review. 26 (2): 285–304. doi:10.1080/17496977.2016.1140404. ISSN   1749-6977.
  4. Bruce Weber (November 20, 2014). "Mike Nichols, 83, Acclaimed Director on Broadway and in Hollywood, Dies". New York Times.

Further reading