Joshua Stephens

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From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


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About Joshua Stephens

You’d be forgiven if you bought Joshua Stephens’s memoir, The Dog Walker: An Anarchist’s Encounters With the Good, the Bad, and the Canine, because it has a dog on the cover, expecting it to be about your favorite animal. It isn’t, though. A dog, these days, is almost never just a dog.

Stephens, who founded a local dog-walking company in 2006, grants passing glances into the extravagant quirks of Washingtonians’ relationships with pets—the pair of lawyers, for instance, who bar mitzvahed their pugs. But Stephens is, more than a lover of dogs, a hater of capitalism. The animals in The Dog Walker are only a catalyst for a more complicated discussion about race, class, and gentrification.

This is a role DC canines have come to occupy regularly of late. Go to an Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting in a gentrifying area—someplace that might once have lacked a suitable playground for the kids to run around on—where a proposed dog park is on the agenda. You’ll quickly realize that the discussion has little to do with animals. If you still doubt the powerful politics of pet care, ask one-term DC mayor Adrian Fenty, whose dog-park ribbon-cutting ceremonies were used by detractors to portray him as out of touch with working-class African-American voters.

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Chapter One The Basest Service to the Revolution On a sunny day in July 2008, six months before the publication of Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter Power, Vol. 1), coauthor, Michael Schmidt, met with fellow members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) at his cozy bungalow in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a gorgeous day, so the four collective mates sat down comfortably on Schmidt’s wooden furniture in his spacious garden, near a lemon tree while his White Swiss Shepherd puppies, Loki and Freya, came out to sniff their guests. There was a lot going on in Schmidt’s life. He was in the midst of working on Black Flame alongside academic Lucien van... (From:

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