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Anarchism, 1914-18Internationalism, Anti-Militarism and War$
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Ruth Kinna and Matthew Adams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784993412

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784993412.001.0001

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The anarchist anti-conscription movement in the USA

The anarchist anti-conscription movement in the USA

(p.201) 9 The anarchist anti-conscription movement in the USA
Anarchism, 1914-18

Kathy E. Ferguson

Manchester University Press

This paper explores the activities of The No-Conscription League in the U.S. in order to analyse the conceptual logic and the political strategy of the movement. The grounds of the anarchists’ opposition were not based on pacifism, but on the right to choose what to fight for. Contrary to contemporary images of anarchists as isolated extremists, the anarchists forged an effective coalition with socialists and other progressives. The connected their opposition to militarism and to capitalism with their support for birth control, because all three issues have to do with freedom to control one’s own body. They questioned conscription from the theoretical position of internationalism, as well as appealing to the rights of Americans to protect their liberties. They also critiqued the militarization of American society as a greater danger than those the war was intended to fight.

Keywords:   Birth control, Conscription, Amnesty, Militarism, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman

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