Propaganda of the Deed

Ref: C2225392

"Propaganda of the Deed" (or sometimes, "by" the deed) is a famous phrase attributed to the revolutionary anarchist Mikhail Bakunin (1814 - 1876) - unfortunately, he never actually said it! Nonetheless, its meaning is clear, and sums up an important part of Bakunin's philosophy - that actions are more important than theory. We shall build upon this idea and examine why it helps us to understand the irreconcilable differences between early anarchists and communists - who appeared to share the same vision of the future, but could not agree upon how to achieve it, and see how this affected the development of radical left thinking. Bakunin, Marx, Eugene Debs, the Wobblies and the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists will all feature.

Course aim

To look at the ideas and activities of a wide range of challenging, radical and revolutionary movements in the early stages of communist and anarchist thinkung. Do they still have relevance to today's society?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Differentiate between the principal strands of radical left wing thinking
  • Explain why the differences between communists and anarchists developed
  • Assess the impact these differences have had upon the realisation of the new communitarian world
  • Explain why anarchist / communist splits can so easily be dismissed as "chaotic"
  • Discuss, with confidence, the issues raised during this course

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • The tutor will create an online resource dedicated to this course which will contain a range of supportive materials. Printed handouts will also be available. Discussion and possibly small group work will form an important part of the course.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • If you have a laptop or tablet, it will be useful to bring them to the sessions.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Propaganda of the Deed


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing