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There is a classical story that, on one occasion during the Crimean War, a general sent a telegram urging that Lieutenant Dowbotham be granted every facility to prove his merits, and that consistent with his military duties it should be borne in mind that his advancement and protection would greatly please those distinguished persons vouching for him. In telegraphese this became "Look after Dowb. Their watchword is still "Look after Dowb. He is guarded if not from the cradle, certainly from the classroom, until the grave and beyond, as far as the bourgeois historian is concerned.

To look after Dowb from his earliest induction in the public school, he is trained on spartan lines both as a servant of abstract power and a master of lesser humans; he is bred in an elite known to each other in strength and weakness from earliest years, immured to the hardships of power as well as made desirous of it, inculcated in the dominant mystique and way of leadership, and isolated from the rest of the community even at play.

To this day, the "public" school system of education dominates the British ruling class and the task of governing the nation at top level is entrusted to it. Only now has it been possible to envisage a revolt from within, since the continuous absorption of the new ruling class by the old has diluted the latter to a greater extent than was ever thought possible.

The Floodgates of Anarchy

The capitalist class was welded into the old aristocracy upon the playing-fields of the public schools. Now, a new liberal ruling class is rising from the managerial and technocratic ranks and sensibility and intellect may be found even among the education-fodder. A Shelley vii is no longer a total phenomenon in the public school or university.

In any case, in modern society he would be treated rather differently. Those who aspire to a gentleman's career in publishing do not go "Shelley baiting," even at school. They wonder how his poetical productions could be used to advantage. Perhaps in advertising? Even radical Dowb may be looked after nowadays; there are for him the new worlds of the film, radio, TV press, and publicity. There he may enjoy progressive views if he wishes. He can combine his fashionably provocative radicalism with his innate privileges, whilst staid Dowb major pursues the more humdrum road to glory in the Foreign Office or the top echelons of industry.

The sequence of command-and-obey which is preached as high gospel in the education factories is not shattered by more generous views; indeed, the more urbane, who try to bridge the gap between the classes and are specially courteous to those who have not had their advantages may well be the more dangerous. No longer, of course, is education itself a preserve of the wealthy or those favored by the State. The modern State is too large a monster to be satisfied with trained servants coming from so small a minority.

Not only are there wider fields for those trained to rule than ever there were, but the growth of science has created a demand for technicians and scientists. The system of licensed education in turn creates the modern fetish for examinations and the continual polishing and re-polishing of academic learning that goes with them. So we find that some pass their thirtieth birthday, still students, still about to make their contribution to society, doing their academic researches and enjoying their chosen hobbies at the expense of those who work, and the State welcomes it; for the whole purpose of education factories is not to increase the sum of knowledge, but to make docile citizens.

Kropotkin's "typical optimism" was derided when he said that a man need only work until his fortieth year, and then might devote himself to research or science or whatever took his fancy, having performed sufficient value for the community and done his share of the world's work already. But Kropotkin was scientific enough in his analysis and assumptions, and only optimistic in that he believed scientific progress should be used for the betterment of man and not to his disadvantage.

He did not believe that this would happen at all if the State were not destroyed root and branch. Because this has not been done, education remains a method of giving a little liberty within the State. Unfortunately for the bourgeoisie, the process of education cannot be entirely canned and criticism of the present order may creep in. For some take their learning seriously and not all accept their predestined role as trainee mandarins.

While the student rebellion may partly be the last outcry of nature before the obsolescence of adult professional life, it is now reasonable to expect that not every student can be bought and sold in the cattle market, and amongst the trainee mandarins there are bound to be some who will reject their destiny in the Destruction State, and it is for these that Cohn-Bendit viii amongst others, has become a spokesman.

It would hardly be true to assert, as do some followers of Marcuse ix that students form a class of their own.

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But, in our scientific renaissance, students cannot be charged to do nothing but think about social problems, without coming to some recognition of the basic facts of society and therefore the need for rebellion. The young automatically question established authority. Some enthusiastic Tories think that the answer to student militancy is to cut off their grants. But even the ultra-Toryism of an Abdul the Damned — to cut off their heads — would not suffice. The system will not stand up to scrutiny.

The Floodgates of Anarchy by Stuart Christie

The "queen of the sciences" in specific universities may still be the classical queen, theology; it may be the drag queen, economics; or the lady-president of the sciences, Marxist-Leninism in Eastern Europe — or the American equivalent, social and business administration. But now they must buy out or abdicate. The ruling class must woo and win the trainee mandarins; the current asking prices are advertised in the columns of the better Sundays. They are well in advance of thirty pieces of silver, and may even be accepted without the need for selling out.

You object to using your degree for destructive nuclear research?

"OPEN THE FLOODGATES of Heaven

Why not try the social services? At present, Marx's analysis that the ruling class is sustained by the surplus value produced by the working class, very largely holds good.

We still live in a competitive society, though its edges are becoming blurred by collectivism. Labor is bought and sold like anything else. The myth of capitalism is, of course, that one gets what one deserves; those who do well out of the system like to believe that it is their superior intellect that is the cause.


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The Conservative credo is that without some reward, society would go flat. As one of the finest short introductions to the basic concepts, theories, and applications of anarchism, About Anarchism has been translated into many languages, including French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, and Russian. This new edition includes an updated introduction from Natasha Walter and an expanded biographical sketch of the author, Nicolas Walter, who was a respected writer, journalist, and an active protester against the powers of both the church and the state.

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The Floodgates of Anarchy

Almost every paragraph in this book contains examples of his subversive thinking, and many of his observations push contemporary anarchists to think harder about the nature of politics. It greatly influenced me when it first came out and is as relevant and timely as it was half a century ago, if not more so.

A perfect introduction. About the Contributors: Nicolas Walter — was one of the best-known and most widely read anarchist writers of the last half of the twentieth century. He was a lifelong critic and active protester of both church and state. She has worked as a journalist, columnist, and reviewer for the Guardian , the Observer , and the Independent , and is the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women.

Click here for one-page information sheet on this product. Cart Contents. Recent Posts. Price: 0. Add To Wishlist. Overview Tell a Friend. See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on Nicolas Walter's page HERE Click here for one-page information sheet on this product.

Send Message. Nicolas Walter Nicolas Walter scorned the pomp and frequent ignorance of the powerful and detested the obfuscatory prose and intellectual limitations of academia.