Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Remember Our Own, Colin Ward.

     We should always remember and honour our own, February 11th. 2010, anarchist Colin Ward died aged 85.
Colin Ward (14 August 1924 – 11 February 2010) was a British anarchist writer. He has been called "one of the greatest anarchist thinkers of the past half century, and a pioneering social historian."
     A respected voice in many fields and prolific writer and thinker a credit to the anarchist movement.

      Colin Ward, who has died aged 85, lived with the title of Britain's most famous anarchist for nearly half a ­century, bemused by this ambivalent soubriquet. In Anarchy in Action (1973), he set out his belief that an anarchist society was not an end goal. Following Alexander Herzen, the writer and thinker known as the "father of ­Russian socialism", Colin saw all distant goals as a form of tyranny and believed that anarchist principles could be ­discerned in everyday human relations and impulses. Within this perspective, politics was about strengthening ­co-operative ­relations and supporting human ingenuity in its myriad vernacular and everyday forms.
       One of Colin's favourite metaphors – adopted from a novel by Ignazio Silone – was the image of the seed beneath the snow, which suggested to him that anarchist principles were ever alive and prescient. He thought it was the work of politics to nurture such beliefs and to support them through small-scale initiatives, avoiding the temptation to replicate or scale them up to a level beyond which professional bureaucracies take over. He was fond of contrasting the vocabulary of self-organisation, with its friendly societies, mutuals, ­co-operatives and voluntary associations, with the nomenclature of the state and private sectors with their directorates, corporations, boards   and executives.
Some of Colin Ward's writings from Anarchist Library
This from Spacial Agency:
       Ward's writings are characterised by a combination of theoretical discussion on the nature of anarchism with a practical sensibility that looked for empirical results and solutions that could transform real-life situations and everyday living conditions. One of the key themes of his work was the promotion of cooperative self-help strategies, in the form of squatting, tenant cooperatives and self-build projects. Ward was an admirer of Walter Segal whose self-building system he saw as exemplary of such an approach to housing, promoting participation and dweller control. Much of Ward's later writing was historical in nature, in Cotters and Squatters he wrote a history of informal customs for the appropriation of land in Britain that included the Digger movement, the Plotlanders of southern England and the Welsh tradition of tŷ unnos, where a house is built in one night, which also has its echoes in the geçekondus of Turkey and the amateur building tactics of the global South. Other books uncovered the history of allotments or the creative ways in which children inhabit their environments.
      Ward's writings did much to dispel popular myths and stereotypes associated with anarchism, as well as demonstrating the practical applicability of such an approach to a wide range of issues pertinent to architecture.
 A man, a loss to the anarchist movement but his writings and thoughts live on.
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