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No one should ever work. Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working. That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a ludic conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recover... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
There is no need at present to produce new definitions of anarchism — it would be hard to improve on those long since devised by various eminent dead foreigners. Nor need we linger over the familiar hyphenated anarchisms, communist- and individualist- and so forth; the textbooks cover all that. More to the point is why we are no closer to anarchy today than were Godwin and Proudhon and Kropotkin and Goldman in their times. There are lots of reasons, but the ones that most need to be thought about are the ones that the anarchists engender themselves, since it is these obstacles — if any — it should be possible to remove. Possible, but not probable. My considered judgment, after years of scrutiny of, and sometimes harrowing... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
According to “Scott,” the existing system of crime control is wrong, and contrary to anarchism, because it includes, among other evils, punishment, police, courts, and prisons. In contrast, his anarchist response to crime includes, among other improvements, punishment, police, courts, and prisons. After all, “Anarchists believe that the only true justice lies in personal freedom,” and what better ways to realize personal freedom than to restrict personal freedom by punishment, police, courts, and prisons? “In society, there are only two ways to maintain peace: Cooperation and Coercion.” (Not so, but let that pass.) You might think that Scott is about to say that anarchist societies maintain peace through... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
What is “anarchism”? What is “anarchy”? Who are “anarchists”? Anarchism is an idea about the best way to live. Anarchy is a way of living. Anarchism is the idea that government (the state) is unnecessary and harmful. Anarchy is society without government. Anarchists are people who believe in anarchism and desire to live in anarchy as all our ancestors once did. People who believe in government (such as liberals, conservatives, socialists and fascists) are known as “statists.” It might sound like anarchism is purely negative — that it’s just against something. Actually, anarchists have many positive ideas about life in a stateless society. But, unlike Marxists, liberals and c... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Chapter 10: Shut Up, Marxist! As a matter of course, unless ideology withers away, it eventually hardens into dogma. After Jesus comes Paul, and eventually some Pope, Innocent in name only. That Bookchinism would calcify into a creed after no very long time is no surprise. Even in its prime it was arthritic with Rousseau, St.-Simon, Marx and Arendt. It was always ambiguous about technology and scarcity. Its ecological content was always at odds with its civism, to which, in retrospect, ecology seems to have always been an accessory, an add-on. It’s marred by eccentricities as various as primitive gerontocracy and Swiss anarchy. It’s unredeemed by irony, much less humor. What’s amazing is that Bookchin isn’t leavin... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
There are many proffered explanations for the oblivion into which anarchism in America (and almost everywhere else) descended after the First World War. The anarchists favor those that blame their enemies, especially the state, instead of themselves. It is certain, however, that state repression cannot completely explain the anarchist collapse and cannot begin to explain — what is more important — the anarchist inability to bound back in times of tolerance. Taking the long view, we are in a relatively tolerant time now, yet it is gay artists, rap groups, punk and heavy metal bands — not the anarchist media — which are fighting off censorship. Despite a modest resurgence in the 70’s and again in the 80’s, ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
From the Associated Press (which did such a bang-up job on the Iraq war), dateline Boston, September 29, 2003: A 300-pound gorilla will be kept off display after it escaped from its zoo enclosure and roamed through the Franklin Park Zoo and along nearby streets for nearly two hours before it was sedated with tranquiller darts, according to Zoo New England CEO and President John Linehan. Even zoos, it turns out, have CEO’s. Undoubtedly so do circuses, and I don’t mean the one in Washington, and so does every other institution which once thrilled children with icons and images and visions of another life, a life of magic and marvel. Of course now they view images quite as exciting or more so when they go on-line. But a zoo or a c... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
INTRODUCTION In the disapproving words of a policy historian, Morton Keller, “much — indeed overmuch — attention has been paid to the syndicalist Industrial Workers of the World,” [1] and in fact a large literature on the legendary radical union has accumulated, especially during the 1960s and since. A 1986 bibliography listed over 5,000 texts more or less related to the IWW, including 235 books which “represent significant works dealing with the IWW.” [2] Whether this is too much attention is a heavily value-laden opinion. The IWW sought attention and, for better or for worse, it got it — from contemporaries and also, after decades of neglect, from historians. The historians have usually been mo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Remember The Whole Earth Catalog? Self-sufficiency, personal growth, utopian visions, innovative technology? That was then and now, it’s today. Not all that different in many of its listings but very different in point of view is the 1994 Main Catalog of Loompanics Unlimited, the dark side of the Power. It is the Whole Earth Catalog ruthlessly re-edited by Friedrich Nietzsche. Somewhere in this catalog there must be a cookbook with a recipe for Hobbit Tartare. This is either the worst or, as it modestly proposes, “The Best Book Catalog in the World.” It is by and for people who want freedom, unabashedly understood as a question of power. (The distinction was always an elusive one.) Loompanics is visionary, almost mystical... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
In 2007,[1] I wrote a review of the AK Press Publishing & Distribution Catalog. I find that sometimes I can comment usefully on a political publisher by reviewing its mail- order catalog.[2] The idea is that, by drawing attention to representative books, I can to some extent substantiate my critique of the publisher, without purporting to devote to particular books the attention which they may or may not deserve. My general theme was that AK Press was not an anarchist publisher, judging from the books which it published and distributed, and the books it chose not to publish or distribute. In that review, I wrote: “And there is an anthology of ‘academic scholars and engaged individuals’ (yawn) co-edited by fired profes... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
The latest of the Director’s ironic indiscretions is his heavy reliance on Edwin Wilmsen’s Land Filled with Flies to bash the anarcho-primitivists. In SALA, Bookchin asserted an affinity between anarcho-primitivism and post-modernism, with sublime indifference to the fact that post-modernism has no harsher critic than John Zerzan. To any reader of Wilmsen not in thrall to an ulterior motive, Wilmsen is blatantly a post-modernist. One of his reviewers, Henry Harpending, is a biological anthropologist who is charmingly innocent of exposure to PoMo. He had “a lot of trouble” with the beginning of the book, which contains “an alarming discussion of people and things being interpellated in the introduction and in th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Chomsky on Anarchism. By Noam Chomsky. Selected and edited by Barry Pateman. Edinburgh, Scotland and Oakland, California: AK Press, 2005. Occupy. By Noam Chomsky. Brooklyn, New York: Zuccotti Park Press, 2012. Let me just say that I don’t really regard myself as an anarchist thinker – Noam Chomsky[1] Let me just say that I agree with him. Noam Chomsky is not only the world’s most famous anarchist. He’s the world’s most famous anarchist who isn’t one. Chomsky had written books, many books, for almost 50 years -- on linguistics (his academic specialty) and on U.S. foreign policy (his phobic obsession) -- before he or his publisher, AK Press, felt a need to publish his writings on anarchism. The ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
2007 Publishing & Distribution Catalog AK Press 2006 80 pages, paper. This is a leaner, meaner AK Press Catalog than the previous annuals “which g[ot] longer and more expensive each year”, thus announcing up front what AK Press is about: money. “We are highlighting the AK Press editions” — from which AK profits twice, as publisher and as distributor — and “new distribution items” (to see if they sell well enough to qualify for the third category, which is) “a selection of customer favorites” (faster moving product). There is of course some self-fulfilling circularity here. Product sells because it is advertised, and is advertised because it sells. But quality is not ment... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
For the first time in history, "nearly everyone today professes to be a democrat." [1] Professors profess democracy profusely, although they keep it off campus. Democracy—truly, "that word can mean anything." [2] Even North Korea calls itself a Democratic People’s Republic. Democracy goes with everything. For champions of capitalism, democracy is inseparable from capitalism. For champions of socialism, democracy is inseparable from socialism. Democracy is even said to be inseparable from anarchism. [3] It is identified with the good, the true, and the beautiful. [4] There’s a flavor of democracy for every taste: constitutional democracy, liberal democracy, social democracy, Christian democracy, even industrial democracy. P... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
If elections are, as Sartre said, “a trap for fools,” then recent voting trends are in hopeful contrast with other signs of social somnolence. Not that election results are getting any better. They never will, so long as anybody wins. The good news is the steady growth of the nonvoting majority of eligibles which has been “winning” elections for over sixty years. In place of “majority rule” we see an increasingly unruly majority. The 1984 presidential election — the Comet Kahoutek of recent politics — should have sharply reversed the trend; in fact it only stalled it. Despite a flashy ideological incumbent; despite the antics of Jesse Jackson, the Preacher from the Black Lagoon; despite the s... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
As the title of a childhood classic points out, Pigs is Pigs — and this regardless of the shape of their genitals. Ilse Koch was a Nazi, not a “sister.” Love is not hate, war is not peace, freedom is not slavery, and book-burning is not liberatory. Anti-authoritarians who would be revolutionaries confront many difficult questions. First, though, they should answer the easy ones correctly. All hyperbole and metaphor aside, what passes for “radical feminism” is fascism. It promotes chauvinism, censorship, maternalism, pseudo-anthropology, scapegoating, mystical identification with nature, tricked-up pseudo-pagan religiosity, enforced uniformity of thought and even appearance (in some quarters, Hera help the ecto... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Dear Politically Challenged, Getting three issues at once, as I just did, impresses on me the enormity of your output — that anthology you’ve considered will have to be huge to be at all representative. I am not going to try to make up for lost time, just lash out a little here and there. Imagine my delight at a Russian anarchist invoking my name as the epitome of intra-anarchist critique! “I seem to be a verb,” as the futurist idiot Buckminster Fuller once senascently mused. Max Anger is up to the same old scam the situationists and many others (myself included) have too often pulled, it needs a name: imputationism. Imputationism is wishful thinking dressed up as critical theory, an esoteric variant on what the ps... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
This is the second part of a letter which appeared in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed in 2009. [1] The first part of the letter dealt with another fired professor, David Graeber.[2] Graeber accused me of, among other things, “egopornography.” I settled his hash. It then occurred to me that there was a bona fide egopornographer, Jon Bekken, who was still at large, in a small way. For an example of real egopornography, there’s the letter by ex-Professor Jon Bekken, the disgraced former General Secretary of the Industrial [sic] Workers [sic] of the World [sic]. Bekken, the offspring of wealthy San Diego lawyers, in the late 1970s was a college student and what is now called a lifestyle anarchist. He was the only membe... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
I. INTRODUCTION In all societies, there’s some trouble between people. Most societies have processes for resolving disputes. These include negotiation, mediation, arbitration and adjudication.[1] In their pure forms, negotiation and mediation are voluntary. Arbitration and adjudication are involuntary. The voluntary processes are typical of anarchist societies, since anarchist societies are voluntary societies. The involuntary processes are typical of state societies. In all societies there are also self-help remedies.[2] These are often effective, but they only provide justice when might and right happen to coincide. In primitive societies, justice is not the highest priority. The voluntary processes deal with a dispute as a prob... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
In astronomy, “revolution” refers to a return to the same place. For the left it seems to mean about the same. Leftism is literally reactionary. Just as generals prepare to fight the last war, leftists incite the last revolution. They welcome it because they know it failed. They’re vanguardists because they’re always behind the times. Like all leaders, leftists are least obnoxious when following their following, but in certain crises they step to the fore to make the system work. If the left/right metaphor has any meaning, it can only be that the left is to the left of the same thing the right is to the right of. But what if revolution means stepping out of line? If there were no right, the left would have to invent... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
I agreed to come here today to speak on some such subject as “The Libertarian as Conservative.” To me this is so obvious that I am hard put to find something to say to people who still think libertarianism has something to do with liberty. A libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs. I’d have preferred a more controversial topic like “The Myth of the Penile Orgasm.” But since my attendance here is subsidized by the esteemed distributor of a veritable reference library on mayhem and dirty tricks, I can’t just take the conch and go rogue. I will indeed mutilate the sacred cow which is libertarianism, as ordered, but I’ll administer a few hard lefts to the right in my own way. And I don’t ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
According to Harold Barclay, a retired Canadian anthropologist,[1] if his book The State is unique, it is unique in analyzing the nature and origins of the state by combining the perspectives of anarchist theory with empirical anthropology (9).[2] Readers of Kropotkin, one of the founders of Barclay’s publisher, Freedom Press, might question that. Professor Emeritus Barclay knows better; he has elsewhere discussed Kropotkin’s ethnological theories. In his People Without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchism [PWG], Barclay was more modest: “There are similarities between what is proposed for this investigation and some of the works of Kropotkin, namely, his The State: Its Historic Role and Mutual Aid.”[3] Really... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism has always been problematic for me. It helped me to arrive at an unconditionally anti-statist, anti-capitalist perspective by the mid-1970’s, and yet my first public statement from that perspective explained why I did not identify with anarchism. By dictionary definition, I am an anarchist, but the dictionary is only the beginning of wisdom. It cannot bestow coherence where contradictions abound or reduce differences to a unity by calling them by the same name. Once an idea is launched into history it takes more and more of its meaning from its experience. Revivalist calls to return to first principles prove the point, for they are history too. And just as no Protestant sect has ever really recreated the primitive Church, n... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Appendix: An American in Paris 1 When Murray Bookchin writes that there is an issue “that I find so offensive and so outrageously false that I feel obliged to examine it in some detail,”[1400] you can count on a good show. No one takes umbrage on quite the colossal scale that he does. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is incomprehensible counsel for the Director Emeritus. The issue he finds so offensive and so outrageously false — John P. Clark’s ridicule of an item on Bookchin’s revolutionary resume — holds promise for running his vital signs right off the Richter scale. So I, too, propose to examine it in some detail. As the Director Emeritus explains, “On other occasions I ha... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
It is plain that the goal of revolution today must be the liberation of daily life – Murray Bookchin[1] What is post-left anarchism? I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it looks like I did. At some point, I asked several of the people most likely to know (including John Zerzan, Lawrence Jarach and Jason McQuinn), and no one was aware of anyone using the phrase before I did. Jason McQuinn confirms this in a recent letter.[2] The first known use of the phrase is in the last sentence of my book Anarchy after Leftism,[3] which was written in 1996 and published in 1997. This is the book’s last paragraph: “There is life after the left. And there is anarchy after anarchism. Post-left anarchists are striking off in ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
In March of 1999, I received an open letter from zine publisher Ron Leighton regarding the common question of whether propagating views which question technology through technological means — radio, television, the Internet — involved some type of contradiction. I liked the way he phrased the question, and I especially liked the idea of an open letter to get a variety of views on the topic. * * * Open Letter — Ron Leighton A number of anti-tech writers have expressed the idea, variously stated, that supporting or using government in any way towards anarchist/anti-authoritarian ends is contradictory and invariably indicative of authoritarian/non-anarchist impulses and attitudes, despite any insistent claims to the ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Preface to the Preface I was never a member of For Ourselves, the San Francisco Bay Area pro-situationist group which wrote and self-published The Right to Be Greedy in 1974. The principal author was Bruce Gardner, who has long since dropped out of sight. I came across the pamphlet a couple of years later, by which time For Ourselves was defunct. I was charmed and challenged by its “communist egoism,” its audacious attempt to synthesize a collectivist social vision of left-wing origin with an individualistic (for lack of a better word) ethic usually articulated on the right. I was coming from the New Left of the 60’s, but I was increasingly disgruntled with the left of the 70’s. It retained or exaggerated all the... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
“The Original Affluent Society” by Marshall Sahlins is an essay of wide-ranging erudition whose persuasive power largely derives from two extended examples: the Australian Aborigines and the !Kung Bushmen. The Australian instance, omitted here, is developed from a variety of 19th and 20th century written sources. The data on the Bushmen — or San, as they call themselves — were the result of fieldwork in the early 1960’s by Richard Borshay Lee, an anthropologist. Lee has subsequently published a full monograph on work in a !Kung San band in which he augments, recalculates and further explains the statistics relied on by Sahlins. As finally marshaled the evidence supports the affluence thesis more strongly than e... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Dale Pond, Howard Fisher, Richard Knutson, and the North American Freedom Council. The History of American Constitutional or Common Law with Commentary Concerning Equity and Merchant Law. Santa Fe, New Mexico: The Message Company, 1995. Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep. Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man. But will they come when you do call for them? — Henry IV, Part I (III, i, 53) Once upon a time, there was a fair land called England. All the English were free men and most of them were serfs. All the English were self-governing in counties run by sheriffs appointed by kings, the descendants of foreign conquerors. England alone enjoyed the Common Law, handed down from Sinai by Moses, and dating fr... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Introduction We’ve all heard the phrase “law and order” — as if they go together. The slogan assumes that law promotes order, and that crime subverts order. “Anarchists believe the phrase law and order is one of the great deceptions of our age.”[1] I’m going to discuss just one of the reasons why this slogan is a lie. One reason is that law itself may create or perpetuate disorder. This is a familiar anarchist theme[2] which I will not go into here. Another reason, which is not familiar, is that often crime promotes order. Crime can be a source of order — especially where the law isn’t — and this is surprisingly common. If crime is ever a source of social order, it can only be a... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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