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Young George Woodcock
// -- Anarchist Encyclopedia: George Woodcock, anarchist, poet, literary critic
George Woodcock (1912-1995),
Canadian anarchist, poet, literary critic, historian...

George Woodcock was born May 8, 1912, in Winnipeg, Canada.

Active in anarchist politics in the 1930s when his family returned to England from Canada to escape poverty. He was educated in England, where he worked in railway administration & as a farmer, free-lance writer, & editor.

For a long period he was editor of the anti-war paper, "War Commentary" & the anarchist newspaper, "Freedom".

Woodcock taught at the University of Washington in Seattle, & the University of British Columbia. He held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1951-52 & in l959 became editor of the periodical "Canadian Literature".

He published a considerable number of books, articles, fiction, & poetry, including biographies of Godwin, Proudhon, & Kropotkin. He wrote two well known books on anarchism -- Anarchism & The Anarchist Reader.

His life spanned some of the highest & lowest moments of the movement he came to chronicle & mistakenly wrote off as dead.

Throughout his long life, George Woodcock stressed the primacy of the moral over the political & steadfastly defended the natural human tendency to rebel against artificial restraints. He never doubted Kropotkin' s confidence in mutual aid & the great maxims of Proudhon continued to guide him until the end: "Anarchy is Order" but "Property is Theft".

— Peter Marshall's obituary,

Featured author at Black Rose Books,
Woodcock Obituary by Kevin Doyle,
George Woodcock Page,
? Woodcock Resources,

  • Spunk Press features his article "The Tyranny of the Clock",
  • Archived at University of British Columbia,
  • 1990 Interview by Alvin Finkel,
  • A three-part profile of George Woodcock aired on the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) May & June 1995, &

    "Unconsciously, the generation of the 1960s, as well as that of the 1970s, picked up the longstanding libertarian dynamic that Arendt, Bookchin, Paul Goodman, George Woodcock & others had detected in the historical upheavals of the past."

    —Our Generation

    To conclude, here is his poem, Black Flag
    When I die
    let the black rag fly
    raven falling
    from the sky.

    Let the black flag lie
    on bones and skin
    that long last night
    as I enter in.

    For out of black
    soul's night have stirred
    dawn's cold gleam,
    morning's singing bird.

    Let black day die,
    let black flag fall,
    let raven call,
    let new day dawn
    of black reborn.

    George Woodcock, 8th May 1912 to 28th January 1995.
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