Books & Reviews
Panarchist Anthology Published
A new anthology titled Panarchy: Political Theories of Non-Territorial States, edited by Aviezer Tucker and Gian Piero de Bellis, has been released by Routledge. The concept of panarchy comes from an 1860 work of that title by the Belgian botanist and political economist Paul Émile de Puydt (1810-1891). The essence of his panarchist proposal is…
America’s Divided Justice System
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi (2014). One does not often find it a pleasant surprise to receive unpleasant information, but this is a reaction many readers will get from Matt Taibbi’s 2014 book The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. While the book…
The Individualist Anarchist Wears No Clothes
Introduction: Who Was Emile Armand? Emile Armand (a pseudonym for Ernest-Lucien Juin) is at the center of the collection Individualist Anarchism – Revolutionary Sexualism: Writings by Emile Armand (2012) published by Pallaksch Press and distributed by Little Black Cart. Armand was a French egoist/individualist anarchist, arguably an early proponent of polyamory within the anarchist scene…
Henry Kissinger on Trial
The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens (2001) Christopher Hitchens’s 2001 book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, has become strangely relevant this month as Richard Nixon’s former Secretary of State finds himself in the news. Kissinger’s rediscovered relevancy began when Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton bragged that she “was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said…
Artificial Abundance and Artificial Scarcity
Paul Mason. Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (Allen Lane, 2015). Based on Mason’s preview of Postcapitalism in his article at The Guardian, I was predisposed to like it. And having read the book itself, I can’t say I’ve changed my mind much. Mason occupies a niche where there is plenty of room for more…
Resistance Behind Bars
Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women by Victoria Law Conversations about prison typically focus on male prisoners. This is understandable, given that the vast majority of prisoners are men. But according to Victoria Law, the population of women in prison has been growing at an alarming rate. The number of women incarcerated grew…
Out of the Streets, Into the Community
Out of the Streets, Into the Community A Review of Karl Hess’s Community Technology Introduction: Who was Karl Hess? Karl Hess isn’t someone who’s often talked about or recognized in the modern day libertarian movement. And contrary to other forgotten figures in history, Hess has been forgotten in spite of his accomplishments, not because of them….
From Fraternal Mutual Aid to Welfare State
A Review of David Beito’s From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services, 1890-1967, (University of North Carolina Press-2000) Through much of the 19th and 20th centuries millions of Americans were members of mutual aid organizations known as fraternal societies. These democratically organized groups provided their members with an assortment of…
Our Dreams Get Things Done
Our Dreams Get Things Done: A Response to Sheri Berman’s “No Cheers For Anarchism” In the Fall 2015 issue of Dissent Magazine, Sheri Berman asks, “What are the uses of anarchism? The short answer is, ‘not many.’” Her article, “No Cheers For Anarchism,” questions the effectiveness of anarchists at achieving their political goals. Her supporting…
Political Authority With a Good Sense of Huemer (Part 2 of 2)
The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, by Michael Huemer (Palgrave McMillan – 2012) Whether anarchy is good or not isn’t important. It’s whether it’s comparatively better than the alternatives. Or at least that’s what Michael Huemer begins arguing in chapter eight of The Problem…
Are Prisons Obsolete?
Review of Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis, Seven Stories Press (2003) Is it time to do away with the American prison system, and prisons worldwide? Civil rights activist, scholar and icon Angela Davis clearly answers Yes in her 2003 book. Davis is best known for her involvement with the civil rights and black power movements…
Floating through New York’s Underground Economy
Floating City: A Rogue Sociologist Lost and Found in New York’s Underground Economy, by Sudhir Venkatesh Penguin Press (2013) Sudhir Venkatesh’s Floating City documents the author’s time in 21st century New York among the city’s “hustlers, strivers, dealers (and) call girls,” as one of the book’s alternate subtitles describes it. The book is largely a…
Force Rules Everything Around Us
A little ways into The Utopia of Rules, an anarchist critique of state and corporate bureaucracy, author David Graeber asks, “Why are we so confused about what police really do?” It’s an important question, as the problem of police violence and impunity in America can no longer be ignored. For far too long, argues Graeber,…
Political Authority with a Good Sense of Huemer (Part 1 of 2)
The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey, by Michael Huemer (Palgrave McMillan – 2012) Introduction The Problem of Political Authority, by Michael Huemer (2012) was collecting dust on my bookshelf until a month ago. I received it from a friend around a year ago, and…
Highly Derivative: Accelerationism’s Inability to Make a Clean Break
There’s an increasing sense of crisis in the far left today. Having lashed itself to an implicit primitivism over the course of the twentieth century now that that ship is sinking much of the left is desperately looking for a way off. The Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics by Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek is…
Queer Ultraviolence
Queer Ultraviolence: Abridged Bash Back! Anthology by Fray Baroque and Tegan Eanelli (Ardent Press) Little Black Cart. I didn’t know how I was going to begin my review of Fray Baroque’s and Tegan Eanelli’s anthology, Queer Ultraviolence. I’ve read dozens of books on anarchism, but I admit my understanding of insurrection is limited to a few…
Interacting in a Common World: A Reply to Wolfi Landstreicher
Wolfi Landstreicher. “Anarchy on the Market? A critical look at Kevin Carson’s Studies in Mutualist Political Economy” Modern Slavery 2 (Fall-Winter 2012/2013). Landstreicher begins with a critique of my approach in defending the labor theory of value in terms of Ludwig von Mises’s a priorism: But what if someone doesn’t accept the a priori assumption that there…
A Paradise Built in Hell
If anarchism makes any empirical claim, it is that humans have the capacity, indeed the natural inclination, to organize themselves into networks of mutual aid: we do not need a government holding a gun to our head to compel socially beneficial behaviour. Rarely do we get an opportunity submit this hypothesis to a conclusive test,…
Free Market Fairness or Freed Market Anti-Capitalism?
In Free Market Fairness [1] John Tomasi lays out a way in which the gap between broadly libertarian (or classical liberal) and high liberal (or liberal egalitarian) political philosophies can be bridged. Since F. A. Hayek’s methodologically individualist rejection of the concept of social justice, and Robert Nozick’s liberty-based rejection of egalitarian distributive justice, there…
Beyond the Hellish Choice of Process Documents or Social Capitalism
One of the best things about The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy is that David Graeber finally tackles issues directly relevant to anarchists. While his prior work has had value, it’s also largely been about rather obvious topics and punctuated with a need to apologize for or defend…
Free Markets & Capitalism?
Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist