a review of
Polymath: The Life and Professions of Dr. Alex Comfort, Author of ‘The Joy Of Sex’ by Eric Laursen. AK Press 2023
“We are the enemies of society and we must learn disobedience. Then we shall probably inherit the earth by default when the maniacs have burnt each other to a cinder. We shall be alive; they won’t.”
Nov 11, 2023
A review of
Radical Gotham: Anarchism in New York City from Schwab’s Saloon to Occupy Wall Street, Tom Goyens, ed. University of Illinois Press, 2017
New York City is well known for its radicals, past and present. The lives and deeds of some noteworthy anarchists who have lived there (including Emma Goldman, Paul Goodman and Murray Bookchin), and the high points of local movement history have been discussed extensively in articles and books. Yet there is a shortage of bottom up histories describing and exploring the lives of non-famous anarchists of earlier times or currently.
Sep 12, 2018
George Orwell & Alex Comfort’s World War II Debate
Fighting Fascism: Is there a role for the democratic state?
a review of
The Duty to Stand Aside: Nineteen Eighty-Four and the Wartime Quarrel of George Orwell and Alex Comfort by Eric Laursen. AK Press 2018
George Orwell’s fiction and non-fiction writings are among the most relevant works for understanding our current societal plight, although he died in 1950. All we need to do is turn on the TV or radio or check the internet to be confronted with denial of truth and misinformation. And all we have to do is walk down a street or enter a store, bank or public building to be reminded of the increasing surveillance all around us.
Jan 27, 2019
Life in an Autonomous Zone
Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest
The lynching of a black man, George Floyd, by a white Minneapolis policeman on May 25, sparked widespread and sustained protests, some escalating to uprisings, across the country and the world. They began as a cry against police killings of Black and Brown people, and many grew to include broader demands such as the abolition of the police and prisons and the widespread surveillance and control of daily life. Many also identified with demands for eliminating racial oppression, de-colonization and reparations for past wrongs.
Sep 24, 2020
May Made Me (review)
May ’68 Participants Look Back on the Events that Changed Their Lives Forever and Almost Changed France Completely
a review of
May Made Me: An Oral History of the 1968 Uprising in France by Mitchell Abidor. AK Press, 2018 akpress.org
May Made Me joins thousands of other books published over the past fifty years dealing with the insurrectionary events in France during May and June 1968. Unfortunately, most of them are quite superficial, inaccurate and often highly distorted by authoritarian presuppositions.
Sep 18, 2018
Opposing the Rise of the Far-right
Building Solidarity, Protecting Our Communities
These are anarchistic times—times in which increasing numbers of people are resisting the horrors of contemporary society by engaging in direct action without waiting for leaders to tell them what to do. So, it is no surprise that anarchists are once again at the center of fights against the capitalist system and the subjugation of the many to the will of the few.
Nov 7, 2017
Seattle Far-Right Shooter’s Trial Ends in Hung Jury
How can we get justice in an unjust system?
Following the recent dismissal of charges against a right-wing woman who shot an anarchist anti-fascist activist in 2017, the question of how anarchists should or should not interact with the state’s mis-named justice system has become more relevant than ever. The victim’s own anarchist stance on state-administered justice and possible alternatives to it have added needed complexity to a perennial issue.
Jan 5, 2020
a review of
China On Strike: Narratives of Workers’ Resistance edited by Hao Ren; English edition edited by Zhongjin Li and Eli Friedman. Haymarket Books, 2016
Striking to Survive: Workers Resistance to Factory Relocations in China by Fan Shigang, translated by Henry Moss. Haymarket Books, 2018
The modern state of China, by capitalist standards, is generally thriving. The nation’s economic growth rate, considered to be a prime indicator of prosperity, is significantly higher than that of the western industrialized countries, even with its recent slowdowns.
Apr 7, 2019
The Life of Anarchist Octavio Alberola
From the Spanish Revolution to today
a review of
The Weight of The Stars: The Life of Anarchist Octavio Alberola. Written and illustrated by Agustin Comotto. Translated from Spanish by Paul Sharkey, AK Press 2022
“These notions of Marxism and anarchism have shown themselves not to be serviceable enough, as circumstances have changed and so they need re-elaborating, amplification, or amendment.”
Jan 10, 2023
The Return of the irrepressible
Anarchist inspired resistance in Ukraine Then and Now
“The question is always how to move from a social insurgency to an anarchistic society?”
—Voline, The Unknown Revolution
In early October, as the Russian military assault on Ukraine enters its eighth month, radical publications have been reporting on anarchists participating in the popular struggle against the invasion. Surprisingly, several mainstream journalists have also published articles presenting anarchists in a positive light.
Dec 16, 2022