Books & Reviews
Avoiding the Blame — What a Focus on Grain Obscures
James C. Scott (2017). Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. New Haven: Yale University Press. James C. Scott’s latest book, Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, is sure to become a classic and a brick in the wall of core anarchist theory. It covers somewhat different but complementary…
Review: Walkaway
Cory Doctorow (2017). Walkaway. New York: Tor I. The story opens at a communist party in an unspecified post-industrial town in Ontario sometime in the late middle of this century, from the first-person perspective of Hubert, Etc. A communist party, you should understand, is not an institution but a social event: something like a rave at…
Review: Liberty in the Age of Terror
Grayling, A.C. (2009). Liberty in the Age of Terror: A Defense of Civil Liberties and Enlightenment Values. London: Bloomsbury In his 2009 book, Liberty in the Age of Terror: A Defense of Civil Liberties and Enlightenment Values, British philosopher AC Grayling sets out to do just what the subtitle suggests. He presents a case for civil libertarianism in a…
Review: “Rise of the Warrior Cop”
Radley Balko (2013). “Rise of the Warrior Cop.” New York: PublicAffairs This book was a timely read after the last book I reviewed for C4SS, Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism by Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall. Tyranny Comes Home gives a “macro” overview of the broader policy implications of U.S. military adventurism, while…
Review: Sharing Cities: Activating the Urban Commons
Shareable, a nonprofit media outlet co-founded by Neal Gorenflo in 2009, is devoted to the sharing economy (the real sharing economy of platform cooperatives and other open, self-organized effort — not proprietary, walled-garden, Death Star platforms like Uber and Airbnb). In 2011 Shareable organized the Share San Francisco conference to promote the city as a…
Review: “Space is the (non)place”
Stevphen Shukaitis. “Space is the (non)place: Martians, Marxists, and the outer space of the radical imagination” Sociological Review 57 Suppl (2009). In this article, Shukaitis surveys “the particular role outer space and extraterrestrial voyage play within the radical imagination.” In particular, he sees speculative fiction about life and travel in outer space as a form…
Review: Radical Markets
“Contra doctrinaire libertarians, freedom is a high-dimensional design space.” ~ Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Co-Founder A distinctive feature of left-libertarianism is its commitment to liberty and egalitarianism – not as moderating influences on each other, but as complementary and mutually reinforcing components of their philosophy. In this sense, they continue a view on markets that goes…
Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism
“The great Randolph Bourne realized that ‘war is the health of the State.’ It is in war that the State really comes into its own: swelling in power, in number, in pride, in absolute dominion over the economy and the society.” — Murray Rothbard In Tyranny Comes Home professors Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall methodically…
Review: Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience
Let us be clear that ecocide is happening. While we may yet avoid the severest possibilities of global ecological collapse the situation has long been grim. And it’s not just a matter of capitalism or the state making uniquely bad decisions, the tensions at play are deep — at the core of homo sapiens itself….
Review: Omnia Sunt Communia, by Massimo De Angelis
Massimo De Angelis. Omnia Sunt Communia: On the Commons and the Transformation to Postcapitalism (London: Zed Books, 2017). Massimo De Angelis is a thinker very much in the autonomist tradition; he mentions being a student of Harry Cleaver. This comes through loud and clear in his focus on the self-activity of ordinary people, and on…
Review: Srnicek and Williams, Inventing the Future
Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams. Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (London and New York: Verso, 2015, 2016). I approached this book with considerable eagerness and predisposed to like it. It belongs to a broad milieu of -isms for which I have strong sympathies (postcapitalism, autonomism, left-accelerationism, “fully automated luxury communism,” etc.)….
Review: Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals, by Derek Wall
Derek Wall. Elinor Ostrom’s Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States (London: Pluto Press, 2017). I’ve known Derek Wall for some time as a friend on Twitter, a fellow admirer of Elinor Ostrom, an Ostrom scholar, and an official in the Green Party of England and Wales. This is not my first introduction…
Right-Wing Collectivism
There are few figures the alt-right hate more than Jeffrey Tucker — which may be something of a plot twist, given his alleged hand in the racist Ron Paul newsletters of the 80s. Yet Tucker has evolved into a passionate critic of racism, the alt-right and Trump. An affable and optimistic proponent of cosmopolitanism and…
Emma Goldman’s Story: Living My Life
In Living My Life, anarchist, orator, immigrant, writer, and activist Emma Goldman chronicles her prolific life through a tumultuous period in world history. Born in 1869 in czarist Lithuania she became one of the millions of Eastern European immigrants who came to the United States in droves in the late 19th and early 20th centuries….
Fascism Today: What It Is And How To End It
There are numerous points in Shane Burley’s Fascism Today: What It Is And How To End It where I stopped, reread a passage, and with a little bit of shocked relief went “that is entirely accurate!” I don’t mean to damn with faint praise. In this last year’s stampede of everyone suddenly writing about fascism…
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
There is no reviewing Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House without commenting on its questionable cannonicity. But there’s also no mistaking its appeal as a supplemental to the last season of electoral politics in America. Like any good expanded universe offering it tries to enrich and deepen everything that entertained…
Rothbard’s “Left & Right”
Rothbard, Murray, ed. Left & Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought. Auburn. Alabama Ludwig Von Mises Institute. 2007 The mid-sixties was a unique time in the history of the libertarian movement, as well as in the world at large. US involvement in Vietnam was escalating, the Cold War was at its height, and the civil…
The Animals’ Freedom Fighter
It’s about time. Someone has finally written a biography on the real father of the animal liberation movement – Ronnie Lee. Lee’s lifelong work for animals spans five decades and counting. During this time, he has been involved in just about every form of animal advocacy imaginable — direct action, grassroots vegan outreach, public interest…
Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform
Of all the State’s activities, incarceration – especially on a mass-scale – is probably one of the most brutal, disruptive, and inhumane. Of all the state’s activities, the census is probably one of the most… boring. But if we care about the former, we should care about the latter. As it stands, the census counts…
The New Jim Crow
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. 2010. The New Press Michelle Alexander’s 2010 book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, argues mass imprisonment and related policies have created a racial caste system for black Americans, which parallels the Jim Crow laws of the late 19th to…
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist