Books & Reviews
Review: The Operating System by Eric Laursen
Eric Laursen. The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State. Foreword by Maia Ramnath (AK Press, 2021). Much of the ground Laursen covers in this book is already familiar to most anarchists. He does an adequate job, or better, at all of it. His treatment of the ideological hegemony of the state is…
Review: Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation
Let’s begin this review honestly: Despite having referenced her in multiple articles, I—like almost all leftists regardless of ideology—do not like Ayn Rand and am most certainly not an Objectivist. I approach her much like Karl Hess did: Seeing her value in comparison to Emma Goldman but rejecting her ostensive, unflattering solipsism. Yet, I consider…
Book Review: Groove is in the Heart: The DisCO Elements
DisCO Coop (primary authors Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel). Groove is in the Heart: The DisCO Elements. Introduction by Ela Kagel and Afterword by Ann Marie Utratel (2020).  As the Introduction explains, the first installment of the DisCO Trilogy — The DisCO Manifesto — was about ” the reasons behind DisCO, its roots and…
Board Game Review: Bloc by Bloc
For better or worse, board games tend to be a popular form of entertainment in radical spaces, and yet there are precious few games that explicitly deal with anarchist ideas. For those exhausted by games glorifying nationalistic conquest, monopoly capitalism, and settler colonialism, Bloc by Bloc: The Insurrection Game may offer a breath of refreshing…
Escaping the Armed Madhouse: Review of Robert Anton Wilson’s “The Starseed Signals”
“To remain in the neuro-semantic insanity of larval society, without laughing hysterically or otherwise giving away the secret of one’s mutation, is the path of the Bodhisattva, who, like Father Demian going to live among the lepers, steels himself against the risk of contagion and returns to the madhouse of Circuit I-IV humanity.” –The Starseed…
Book Review: Ruth Kinna and Clifford Harper. Great Anarchists (London: Dog Section Press, 2020)
Written by anarchist scholar Ruth Kinna (professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University and editor of Anarchist Studies) and illustrated by Ralph Harper (most famous for the illustrations in Radical Technology), this book is a collection of essays on ten anarchists that were originally published as stand-alone pamphlets.  The essays — not presented in chronological…
Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand and the Cult of Productivity
Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged is a work whose reputation precedes it. Some may love and some may hate it, but most readers of this site, including ones who have not read this book, will likely have some knowledge of its major plot points and the ideological views of its author. Therefore this review…
Review: Bourgeois Dignity
Bourgeois Dignity‘s line of inquiry — at least as stated — is into the causes of what Deirdre McCloskey calls “the Fact” — the tenfold or more increase in the average person’s standard of living in a couple centuries’ time. Her thesis that “the Fact” owed its origins to a culture of innovation, of openness…
Review: Libertarian Equality
Fabio Massimo Nicosia, Libertarian Equality, Contradiction, Reconciliation, Maximization. (Amazon.com, 2020) Libertarian Equality, by Italian author Fabio Massimo Nicosia, is a surprising book on left-libertarian political philosophy. It’s not often that left-libertarian thought pops up in Italy, so a brand new book on the topic is a refreshing novelty. In Italy – and probably elsewhere too…
Review: Open Borders
Libertarian economist Bryan Caplan and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal creator Zach Weinersmith have collaborated on a non-fiction graphic novel called Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration. As the title suggests, it’s a fully-illustrated graphic novel making the case for open borders. Caplan and Weinersmith’s partnership is unexpected, but maybe it shouldn’t be. Caplan’s enthusiasm…
Review: A DisCO Manifesto
As stated by Ruth Catlow in the Foreword, DisCOs are an alternative to blockchain-based Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO):  Open Distributed Cooperatives. They’re funded by member investments rather than third party capital, and organized around an infrastructure of “interoperable, open-source legal contracts, with a near zero-cost of organisation creation.” DisCOs differ from the predominant model of…
Review: The Socialist Manifesto
I started this book with some eagerness, expecting to like it, because I’m fond of much of the analysis at Jacobin. The general flavor of the socialist model they promote fits well into the category of libertarian socialism — autonomism, postcapitalism, etc. — that I have an affinity for. And I did like a lot…
Review: Fully Automated Luxury Communism
Aaron Bastani of Novara Media’s recent book Fully Automated Luxury Communism is the latest entry in the burgeoning postcapitalist genre, which includes Peter Frases’ Four Futures, Paul Masons’ Postcapitalism, and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’ Inventing the Future. Reading like a Marxist mirror to the pop tech books that one finds at airport bookstores, it’s…
When Warmed Over Georgism Becomes Neoliberalism
I have a personal rule — I think you should never review a book that you strongly disagree with or strongly agree with. If you entirely agree, then a “review” would be nothing more than an echo. But if you strongly disagree there’s also little point to writing a review, the disagreements cannot be isolated…
Review: Setting Sights
I often have difficulty expressing an opinion on the gun rights movement, because my views are so ambivalent. Principled arguments for gun rights based on resistance to unjust authority resonate strongly with me. I’m very aware of the historic association of limitations on gun ownership with issues of social control of the working class, going…
Review: The People’s Republic of Walmart
Let me begin by saying that I’m glad this book exists. Phillips and Rozworski are upfront about their book not containing any radical new insights into questions of economic planning, but instead they compile arguments made by others in a highly readable format, something that those on the left who argue for economic planning have…
Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism
When it comes to economics, market anarchism has done a pretty good job at punching above its weight. While Austrians and Marxists tend to ignore us, when they do respond it’s with strawmen or lazy assertions of dogma that are easily dispatched. In serious debates in these realms, we hold our own, only falling short…
Review: Living Black in America
On the debut episode of his new series “Trigger Warning,” Killer Mike challenges himself to live only on products from black-owned businesses for three days. Michael Render, better known by his stage name Killer Mike (a reference to his lyrical skills, rather than any history of violence) is an Atlanta-based rapper, activist, and media figure….
Right-Libertarian “Free Trade” and “Free Markets”: The Exoteric, and Esoteric Version
This article does an excellent job of unpacking the statism that is implicit in nominally “laissez-faire” right-libertarian models of free trade and free markets. By way of background, the main current of what is called “libertarianism” in the United States, and “liberalism” elsewhere, treats the Gilded Age as a satisfactory proxy for the “free market.”…
Review: New York 2140
Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the best science-fiction writers working today. Recurring themes in his stories include ecology, archeological exploration, anti-capitalist politics, and the ineluctable passage of time – all of which feature in New York 2140, which, like much of his work (including Icehenge, The Martians, 2312, Galileo’s Dream, and Aurora) fits almost-but-not-quite…
Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory