Beer and Revolution: The German Anarchist Movement in New York City, 1880-1914 (Hardcover)

Beer and Revolution: The German Anarchist Movement in New York City, 1880-1914 By Tom Goyens Cover Image
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Understanding an infamous political movement's grounding in festivity and defiance

Beer and Revolution examines the rollicking life and times of German immigrant anarchists in New York City from 1880 to 1914. Offering a new approach to an often misunderstood political movement, Tom Goyens puts a human face on anarchism and reveals a dedication less to bombs than to beer halls and saloons where political meetings, public lectures, discussion circles, fundraising events, and theater groups were held.

Goyens brings to life the fascinating relationship between social space and politics by examining how the intersection of political ideals, entertainment, and social activism embodied anarchism not as an abstract idea, but as a chosen lifestyle for thousands of women and men. He shows how anarchist social gatherings were themselves events of defiance and resistance that aimed at establishing anarchism as an alternative lifestyle through the combination of German working-class conviviality and a dedication to the principle that coercive authority was not only unnecessary, but actually damaging to full and free human development as well. Goyens also explores the broader circumstances in both the United States and Germany that served as catalysts for the emergence of anarchism in urban America and how anarchist activism was hampered by police surveillance, ethnic insularity, and a widening gulf between the anarchists' message and the majority of American workers.

About the Author

Tom Goyens is an assistant professor of history at Salisbury University.

Praise For…

"This well-researched study of anarchism in New York City makes a significant contribution to the history of radicalism, German ethnicity, and urban culture."--Journal of American History

"Goyens . . . does a masterful job of placing leading anarchists such as Johann Most in a transnational context by detailing both the European and US aspects of their careers. . . . Scholars and students will find this is an interesting, informative book. Highly recommended."--Choice

"Beer and Revolution is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the fascinating history of social and political radicalism in American immigrant communities. The work explores in rich detail the German anarchist subculture that flourished for several decades in New York City and the surrounding area. It presents a vivid picture of meeting places such as beer halls, beer gardens and cafes; of organizations such as social and political clubs, musical groups, labor organizations, intentional communities, and schools; of forms of expression such as speeches, lectures, newspapers, magazines, and theatrical performances; and of social activities such as picnics, banquets, celebrations and festivals. Along the way, Tom Goyens offers the reader an illuminating introduction to the social and historical context out of which this particular community emerged. The foremost lesson of this admirable work is that political movements cannot be understood adequately in terms of organizations, events and ideas, but must be studied more deeply in the context of the complex political culture in which they are embedded."--John Clark, author of Anarchy, Geography, Modernity: The Radical Social Thought of Elisée Reclus

Product Details
ISBN: 9780252031755
ISBN-10: 025203175X
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication Date: November 12th, 2007
Pages: 296
Language: English