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Synopsis

As the reactionary forces in Germany grew in strength, Mühsam’s activities were severely restricted. In July 1931 the social democratic police chief of Berlin, Grzesinski, banned the distribution of Mühsam’s anarchist magazine, Fanal, for four months. With the growing influence of the extreme right, the circle of those meeting to discuss anarchist ideas was severely reduced and, as a consequence, together with the high unemployment rate and increased working class poverty, it triggered a financial crisis for the entire workers movement. When the four-month ban expired, Mühsam no longer had the means to continue publishing the magazine. Instead, he distributed occasional circulars to his friends and comrades and finally, as a replacement for Fanal, he wrote the following work that summarised his view of the world, and of the idea that animated his magazine. In it Mühsam outlined the basic features of his anarchist doctrine which appeared under the title of Die Befreiung der Gesellschaft vom Staat Was ist kommunistischer Anarchismus? (The Liberation of Society from the State: What is Communist Anarchism?) in 1933, an essay that should be considered to be the most mature expression of Mühsam’s anarchism.

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