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It has just come to my attention (first via Booksurfer) that the anarchist writer Colin Ward has died. Sad, sad news:


Colin's contribution to anarchism has been invaluable - he founded, edited and often wrote Anarchy magazine for over ten years. In Anarchy, and a whole series of books and hundreds of articles he wrote about the practical application of anarchist ideas to social organisation. and outlined anarchism as a sociological theory. He is probably best known for Anarchy in Action, but every book he wrote provided new insights into the revolutionary potential of the way ordinary people organise and live their lives in the face of enormous odds (more...)

This via the Five Leaves Blog:


The anarchist writer Colin Ward, who died on the night of 11th February, was indirectly responsible for the existence of Five Leaves. We’d met years before, and like several people I later met, I’d been vaguely collecting Colin’s Anarchy (first series), still the best anarchist magazine produced in this country. A small group of us in Nottingham, publishing as Old Hammond Press, brought out a couple of pamphlets by Colin, one on housing, one on William Morris’s ideas of work. But in 1994 I got so fed up waiting for Faber to bring out the paperback of The Allotment: its landscape and culture that I offered to buy the rights. Colin said that as long as his co-writer, David Crouch, was in agreement he’d be pleased if Faber were to hand them over, and if it helped, the co-authors would do without royalties as they were simply pleased to have the book available in paperback.

Well, thousands of copies later Colin never regretted his generosity, and as well being the first book published by Five Leaves (though initially, for the sake of any bibliographers reading, Mushroom Bookshop), for years The Allotment kept the press afloat. We went on to publish Colin’s Arcadia for All (co-written with Dennis Hardy), Talking Anarchy (with David Goodway) and Cotters and Squatters. Colin also wrote the introduction to our edition of The London Years by Rudolf Rocker, who of course he knew. Rocker in turn knew Peter Kropotkin, whose Mutual Aid had such an influence on Colin as a political thinker (more...)

Readers Comments

  1. I have just read of Colin Ward's death, in this weeks Guardian, a name that sadly I had allowed to drift to the back of my mind, sadly one of those people who greatly influenced me in my younger days, of whom you say "he's dead? I didn't know he was still alive". And then it all comes flooding back. His writing on children and children's play, anarchism and housing and communities greatly influenced me as a playworker in the late 1960s-late 80s. I will read his book on allotments, an idea whose time has come again.

  2. There was also a more detailed obituary by Ken Worpole in the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/feb/22/colin-ward-obituary
    and a thoughtful assesment of Colin's work by Stuart White on the 'Next Left' blog:
    http://www.nextleft.org/2010/02/colin-ward-pioneer-of-mutualism.html

    I have been informed that a memorial service will be held in London.

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