Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China (Contemporary Anarchist Studies)
John A. Rapp
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This volume in the Contemporary Anarchist Studies series focuses on anti-statist critiques in ancient and modern China and demonstrates that China does not have an unchallenged authoritarian political culture.
Treating anarchism as a critique of centralized state power, the work first examines radical Daoist thought from the 4th century BCE to the 9th century CE and compares Daoist philosophers and poets to Western anarchist and utopian thinkers. This is followed by a survey of anarchist themes in dissident thought in the People's Republic of China from 1949 to the present. A concluding chapter discusses how Daoist anarchism can be applied to any anarchist-inspired radical critique today.
This work not only challenges the usual ideas of the scope and nature of dissent in China, it also provides a unique comparison of ancient Chinese Daoist anarchism to Western anarchist. Featuring previously untranslated texts, such as the 9th century Buddhist anarchist tract, the Wunengzi, and essays from the PRC press, it will be an essential resource to anyone studying anarchism, Chinese political thought, political dissent, and political history.
[meaning that] disaster is imminent.” Confucius was scared, but he would not bring himself to stop. Thereafter, he was kicked out of the country of Wei, and then he was disgraced in the state of Song, then he almost starved in Chen and Cai, and then he was surrounded by people who did not like him in Kuang. He spent his whole life anxiously, and several times he was almost killed. Confucius turned around and looked at his disciple Yan Hui and said: “You don’t suppose what Laozi said was right,
now grown up and can make his own decisions. 50Later Han emperor Guang of Wu, ninth generation descendant of Emperor Gao of Han, who rebelled during the Wang Mang dynasty and reestablished the Han Dynasty. 51Four non-Chinese minority tribes. 52A famous usurper. 53Emperor Guang Wu’s brother. 54People would use this bird’s poison to assassinate people by putting it in their wine. BIBLIOGRAPHY A An (pseudonym for Anarchist A?). “Wo suo xinyang de geming” (The Revolution I Believe In). Wuyi
have emerged from the masses . . . it will not be surprising if the rebellious people kill a great many of them at first. This will be a misfortune, as unavoidable as the ravages caused by a sudden tempest, and as quickly over. . . .91 Both Bao and Bakunin find that crime is caused by government, especially by one emphasizing harsh laws and punishments whether they be late absolutist monarchies of Bakunin’s day or the Legalist side of the Chinese imperial state, which in its last stages is more
were themselves quite hierarchically organized, coercive movements that failed to break down the imperial system of autocracy, perhaps the Daoist anarchists were aiming at opposing the state by attempting to subvert its myth of legitimacy and by undermining the confidence of the scholar–gentry elite in the morality and/or efficacy of rule. Thus, even if there were limits to Daoist anarchism because of the class background of its main adherents in the Wei-Jin period, on the other hand, Daoist
event, in times of disorder in China, when fighting between rival states intensified and state power in general became increasingly centralized and oppressive, some intellectuals started to make more directly radical statements based on the utopian anarchist side of Daoism. This chapter argues that these more direct statements are not distortions of the original message represented by the Guodian texts but instead a more explicit statement of Daoist anti-statist impulses that always exist for