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Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism

Unchemist's picture

"Demanding the Impossible", in addition to doing just that, will also meet and discuss the book by Peter Marshall with the same name. In addition to discussing the text, we hope to also make connections from the theoretical concepts and historical developments discussed in Peter Marshall's book to the current day and even our own organizing.

The book is long (~700 pages), but is written in an approachable style and is thoroughly subdivided. The plan is to collectively edit the syllabus during the first class meeting, deciding what sections of the book we will discuss based on the interests of the class.

Information on the book from the publisher:

"Navigating the broad 'river of anarchy', from Taoism to Situationism, from Ranters to Punk rockers, from individualists to communists, from anarcho-syndicalists to anarcha-feminists, Demanding the Impossible is an authoritative and lively study of a widely misunderstood subject. It explores the key anarchist concepts of society and the state, freedom and equality, authority and power and investigates the successes and failure of the anarchist movements throughout the world. While remaining sympathetic to anarchism, it presents a balanced and critical account. It covers not only the classic anarchist thinkers, such as Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Reclus and Emma Goldman, but also other libertarian figures, such as Nietzsche, Camus, Gandhi, Foucault and Chomsky. No other book on anarchism covers so much so incisively.

In this updated edition, a new epilogue examines the most recent developments, including 'post-anarchism' and 'anarcho-primitivism' as well as the anarchist contribution to the peace, green and 'Global Justice' movements.

Demanding the Impossible is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand what anarchists stand for and what they have achieved. It will also appeal to those who want to discover how anarchism offers an inspiring and original body of ideas and practices which is more relevant than ever in the twenty-first century."


We are holding regular meetings at Mayday Books (301 Cedar Ave. S) on Thursdays from 6:00pm - 7:30pm. We also have a googlegroup ([email protected]) set up to share thoughts, discussion questions, and announcements. Come join us!


Facilitator email(s): 
[email protected]
[email protected]


Mayday Books
301 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN
United States
Facilitator's experience: 
The facilitators have degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering, political science, and music and both have experience with graduate education, organizing, and facilitating EXCO classes.
Facilitator phone number(s): 
Class minimum size: 
Class maximum size: 
Class times: 
Thu, 04/14/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Thu, 04/21/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Thu, 04/28/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Thu, 05/05/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Thu, 05/12/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Thu, 05/19/2011 - 18:00 - 19:30
Location Accessibility: 
No, but willing to find an alternate location if necessary.
Mayday Books
301 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN
United States
44° 58' 15.5928" N, 93° 14' 49.038" W
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