Eric Laursen
Rebel Friendships What makes a social movement?

Social movements, not establishment reformers, have nurtured and propelled the most important liberatory struggles of the last half-century, from the Civil Rights and Gay Rights struggles to the Feminist Movement to Native American nations recent uprisings against fracking and pipelines.

Social movements create collective engagement, pockets of resistance that “reframe a politics of everyday life,” as activist and academic Ben Shepard writes in his recent book, Rebel Friendships: “Outsider” Networks and Social Movements (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), even as they gather support and ignite overwhelming demands for change.

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Eric Laursen
The War on the Elderly Republican attacks on social insurance open the door to anarchist solutions

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Poster: Ernesto Yrena. One of many available for free download at theamplifierfoundation.org. Hundreds of them were put up all over Washington for the Trump inauguration.

Now that Donald J. Trump has brought bogus right-wing populism back to the White House and Congress is under firm Republican control, serious talk about gutting Social Security and Medicare is again coursing through Washington.

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Eric Laursen
Repression & Resistance From RNC 2000 to Trump

a review of

Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000 by Kris Hermes. PM Press, 2015 pmpress.org

Crashing the Party was published three years ago, but it couldn’t be more timely in the age of Trump and Sessions. Kris Hermes’s book is an in-depth account of the legal saga that began with the repression and mass arrests of activists at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

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Eric Laursen
Why anarchists should take up the 50-year-old project of the Gray Panthers A Vision for Intergenerational Solidarity

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Demonstrator at the Waterville, Maine Global Climate Strike, Sept. 20. / photo: Peter Werbe

A friend tells me of his first job out of college. He was hired to run a senior center, not attached to a nursing home, in the Bronx.

It was his first exposure to a community of elderly, and he was saddened at what he saw: dozens of women and men, many of whom had once lived fulfilling lives according to the values of American society, now sitting in day rooms, watching television, many of them seldom talking, some nearly catatonic.

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Eric Laursen
Only Change is Permanent

Critical theory is a bit like pornography, as a Supreme Court justice once said when asked to define the latter: “I know it when I see it.”

Critical theory can be defined pretty loosely as well. It’s the multitude of intellectual spin-offs from Marx that began to take flight roughly a hundred years ago, at about the time that Lenin and his acolytes thought they have codified what Orthodox Marxism was, forever.

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Eric Laursen
No More Mushrooms

a review of

No More Mushrooms: Thoughts About Life Without Government by Kirkpatrick Sale. Autonomedia 2021

Kirkpatrick Sale has been an activist, author, and promoter of decentralism and bioregionalism for more than 50 years. No More Mushrooms stitches together material from two of his best-known books, Human Scale (1980) and Human Scale Revisited (2017), to give a quick summary of his thinking about government and the potential for creating new societies based on community, interdependence, and mutual obligation.

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Eric Laursen
A Carnival Parade of Political Forms Exploring the possibilities of reinventing ourselves

a review of

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021

“In one sense,” David Graeber and David Wengrow write, “this book is simply trying to lay down foundations for a new world history” Simply?

As the title indicates, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity is an extremely ambitious, 692-page book. It’s also a bit of an anomaly in contemporary anarchist writing, which tends to shy away from Big History, with its overtones of imperial sweep and Smart White Guys explaining to everyone else How It Went Down.

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