Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
Books & Reviews
The End of [Capitalism]
James R. Otteson. The End of Socialism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014). Otteson’s book is an eloquent defense of an economic system which maximizes decentralism and autonomy; it’s just not, as he supposes, a defense of capitalism. Likewise, it’s a good critique of centralized planning and top-down authority — but not of “socialism.” Otteson…
The Utopia of Rules
David Graeber. The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Brooklyn and London: Melville House, 2015). This book is, properly speaking, not a book at all, but a collection of essays loosely clustered around the common theme of bureaucracy. Of the material in the book, only the long introductory essay…
Listen Libertarian Municipalist!
Murray Bookchin. The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies & the Promise of Direct Democracy. Foreword by Ursula K. Le Guin (New York and London: Verso, 2015). This book is a collection of Bookchin’s essays on libertarian municipalism and communalism, extending from the period when he still considered himself an anarchist until his final post-anarchist phase. In…
All Power to the Imagination
Various. Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader (AK Press/Dark Star 2002) The people involved with Dark Star Collective sought to provide an introductory anthology to the ideas of anarcha-feminism after numerous visitors to their bookstand wondered if they had anything on the subject. Anarcha-feminism is the radical synthesis of feminism and anarchism, or the idea that destroying…
An Anarchist Reads “The Conservative Nanny State”
It is difficult to take a political work seriously with the word “nanny” in the title, but Dean Baker’s 2006 book the “Conservative Nanny State” is a serious book and a decent introduction to some often overlooked market distortions that benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else. It also has the advantage of…
Russell Brand’s Revolution
We’ll get to the book in a bit, but first I have to say a few things about the phenomenon of Russell Brand himself. Frankly, I’m a bit worried for Russell Brand. He has shown tremendous personal courage in recent years, transforming himself from a bad-boy British comedian/celebrity, whose comedy revolved around his own dionysian…
All the Social Structures of Domination
Harriet A. Washington. Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Anchor Books, 2006). There has been considerable controversy over the ethics of using knowledge — even to save lives — that was obtained from Nazi medical experimentation on death camp inmates. Unfortunately far…
Three Tales of the DRM Curtain
These three short stories all come from the same Cory Doctorow collection, Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2007). Free download here. The three are all set against a background of what I call the “DRM Curtain,” a transnational corporate Empire based on artificial scarcities enforced through a maximalist version “intellectual…
The New Brazil
Raúl Zibechi. The New Brazil: Regional Integration and the New Democracy. Oakland: AK Press, 2014. The New Brazil: Regional Integration and the New Democracy essentially talks about the construction of a new elite in the country. In general terms, it’s very successful in presenting the new intersectoral alliance that has taken control of the state,…
Imagining Patterns
The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Walker (Harper 2013), 448 pages. What is the substance of American paranoia? From where does it emanate, and why is its study important? These are some of the questions that, without preaching or bludgeoning us with elitist pretensions, Jesse Walker, books editor at Reason magazine,…
Down and Dirty Freedom
Thaddeus Russell A Renegade History of the United States Free Press, 2010 For Thaddeus Russell freedom doesn’t come from a political system, a social order, a station in life or any other such institutionalized relationship. It is the practical ability I have to do what I want in my daily life. To the extent that such freedom exists, it…
1971
On February 6, an exceptional documentary about the unacknowledged whistleblowing group The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, 1971, previously only screened at festivals, is beginning a limited theatrical run at New York City’s Cinema Village. As of this writing, there are limited engagements planned in Santa Fe, Portland (Oregon), Los Angeles, Bellingham, Columbus, and internationally in…
Free School Choice
Jonathan Kozol. Free Schools. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972). Matt Hern. Field Day: Getting Society Out of School. (Vancouver: New Star Books, 2003). During this year’s School Choice Week, this pair of books can bring some perspective exactly because they aren’t brought up by either side of the debate. Neither author writes in the tone…
The Anarchism of Despair
The life of Laurance Labadie appears very much like his anarchism, a deliberate, often anachronistic struggle against the vogues and prevailing winds of his day, a hopeless attempt to revive an energy faded or extinguished entirely. His thought belonged to a libertarian strain regrettably anchored to those of the previous generation or two, to a…
A Stiff Upper Lip Doesn’t Make Politics Go Away
Iain Levison’s A Working Stiff Manifesto (2002) reads like a less political and more sardonic version of Barbara Ehrenreich’s tale of the working poor in America, Nickel and Dimed. The subtitle, A Memoir of Thirty Jobs I Quit, Nine that Fired me, and Three I Can’t Remember means that Levison gives a more detailed account…
A Country Called “Favela”
Rocinha Hill in Rio de Janeiro (source: sean fitz @ Flickr) “Um país chamado favela” (literally, “A Country Called Favela”) is a surprisingly excellent book about the Brazilian favelas [1], written by Renato Meirelles and Celso Athayde. Without any recommendation, I spotted it on a local library and read it in one sitting. The approach…
Individual Autonomy and Self-Determination
Wayne Price. “Kevin Carson’s Revival of Individualist Anarchist Economic Theory” Anarkismo.net, November 30, 2014. Wayne Price’s overall summary of my approach in Studies in Mutualist Political Economy (also available online) is quite even-handed and fair (unlike some others, e.g. the critique of Markets Not Capitalism, ed. by Charles Johnson and Gary Chartier, by Crimethinc’s Magpie…
Venture Communism
Dmytri Kleiner. The Telekommunist Manifesto. Network Notebook Series (Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2010). Kleiner starts with a materialist analysis of class relations quite similar to Marx’s. Through their access to the wealth that results from the continuous capture of surplus value, capitalists offer each generation of innovators a chance to become a junior partner…
The Coming Swarm
Molly Sauter. The Coming Swarm: DDOS Actions, Hacktivism, and Civil Disobedience on the Internet (New York, London, New Delhi, Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2014). “The aim of this work,” Sauter writes, “is to place DDoS [distributed denial of service] actions… in a historical and theoretical context, covering the use of the tactic, its development over time, and…
The Communism of Everyday Life
David Graeber. Debt: The First 5000 Years (Brooklyn and London: Melville House, 2011). David Graeber, as we already saw to be the case with Elinor Ostrom, is characterized above all by a faith in human creativity and agency, and an unwillingness to let a priori theoretical formulations either preempt his perceptions of the particularity and…