And the Nice Try Award…

And the Nice Try Award goes to ….

“Why the Twelve Steps of AA are based on anarchism

The social organization of Alcoholics Anonymous, the Twelve Traditions, is based on the writings of an anarchist and socialist revolutionary. Do you find that a little bit hard to believe?


Bill Wilson, the sainted pioneer of Alcoholics Anonymous, was a semi-closeted fan of Peter Kropotkin, the all-but-forgotten anarchist-communist writer and revolutionary.  Not only was Bill Wilson a fan of Kropotkin, Wilson based the organization of AA on Kropotkin’s work, in the form of the Twelve Traditions.

While AA does indeed have a loose, networked organizational structure that has been admired by many, Bill Wilson himself politically tilted to the right. For example, he loathed unions. So it seems a bit of a stretch that this former Wall Street stockbroker was absorbing the philosophy of a Russian anarchist, especially considering multiple anarchist bombs exploded on Wall Street about 17 years prior to the founding of AA.

AA has its roots in the Oxford Movement and Moral Rearmament, neither of which are even remotely anarchist, and which we now might describe as fundamentalist Christian.
But wait, did the ideas of that wily anarchist Kropotkin infiltrate those groups too?  The horror …