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Date: Wed, 02 Nov 2005 15:48:54 -0500 From: Jack McKivigan <firstname.lastname@example.org> I have enjoyed reading this discussion of abolitionist politics produced by Fred Blue's most recent book. As someone who in recent years has abandoned most of my faith in the democratic nature of the nation's electoral process and instead embraced many of today's anarchist positions, for the first time in my career I have rethought my earlier scholarly criticism of the Garrisonian dismissal of the ballot box. I find myself agreeing more than ever with earlier historians such as James B. Stewart and Lewis Perry that such positions "freed" the Garrisonian abolitionists from the constraints of advancing the interests of a "compromised" political party or upholding a "morally corrupted" (e.g. proslavery) constitution. Adopting those grounds, they could relentlessly goad northern public opinion and institutions to keep moving toward progressive higher antislavery standards by berating the shortcomings of temporizing politicians. Of course, if you want an abolitionist for today's anarchists to emulate, it is not Garrison but good old John Brown who fearlessly employed the tactic of "propaganda of the deed" and led his own "autonomous commune" of twenty-two raiders into Harper Ferry in October 1859 to launch nothing short of a revolution.of workers to install a "cooperative commonwealth" in the antebellum South.