Paul Z. Simons

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From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Revolt Library People Paul Z. Simons

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About Paul Z. Simons

Recalled by his eldest daughter as “a uniquely intelligent writer, traveler, idealist, and fire-breathing anarchist,” Paul participated in some of the most inspiring thought and action of the past forty years. We are not equipped to properly write his eulogy, but we hope others will, and now that he is no longer able to speak to you himself, we urge you to read the materials he left behind.

Paul wrote with great eloquence and erudition on everything from theater to insurrectionary strategy, from play to hallucinogens. His historical writing ran the gamut from the anti-racist insurgency of John Brown to the English Revolution of 1645, all from an insurrectionary perspective. He reported firsthand from the front lines of riots in Athens, Greece, revolt in France, and reaction in Brazil, never hesitating to subject himself to great risk or set off on a romantic adventure in pursuit of his ideals and desires.

Embracing illegalism and open confrontation with the state not only in his younger days but also throughout his life, Paul nonetheless managed to remain free, demonstrating how much is possible despite all the oppressive forces arrayed against those who defy the prevailing order. In his lifelong rebellion, he offers an example for younger people who would also like to arrive at the age of 57 without tempering their enthusiasm for freedom.

At the cusp of the 1990s, in an article entitled “Social War” in the New York publication Black Eye, Paul wrote:

The single task that presents itself now is that of social insurrection, the stripping away of centuries of consensus based on coercion… the ripping up of the social contract and the tearing down of the edifice of capital.

Over a quarter of a century later, when some of us met him in Oakland after his return from the Syrian civil war in Rojava, Paul had not lost a single spark of this fiery determination. He welcomed us warmly into his company, readily sharing his experiences, friendship, and resources. Paul published “Rojava: Democracy and Commune” with us about his experiences visiting Rojava and participated in the dialogue that produced our book From Democracy to Freedom. The book draws on a train of thought much older than our collective, which Paul had participated in years before we joined in.

As a participant in the generation of anarchists preceding ours, Paul was a repository of the kind of historical knowledge that is rarely passed on properly in English-speaking anarchist movements. Last December, for example, Paul published Waging the War on Christmas: King Mob and the Battle of Selfridges, recounting the adventures of anti-authoritarian rebels in 1960s Britain. It is tragic that he was not able to pass on more to us before his passing.


Paul Z. Simons was a character, a writer, a dedicated anarchist, a horror film lover, and a world traveler. His death in April, 2018, was a shock, and an enduring sadness.


Paul Z. Simons, aka El Errante, is an anarchist journalist, writer, and militant who has been traveling the world for the past five years describing to English language audiences his interactions with fighters and militants. In October of 2015 he was in Rojava and his Dispatches from Rojava, are recognized as the first pieces of journalism from a non main-stream source to be published. The Rojava Dispatches have been translated and published in numerous other languages including Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Polish. In 2017 Paul Z. Simons spent a total of four months living in a squat in in Exarcheia, Athens, and the articles that he produced while living there are considered classics in describing the lives, struggles and working of that remarkable neighborhood and its denizens. In addition he has filed dispatches from the ZAD, from Nantes, from Sao Paulo, from Santiago, and from the USA and Canada.


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February 13, 2022; 9:46:10 AM (America/Los_Angeles)
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