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(en) Perspectives on Anarchist Theory Vol.8, No.1 - What's Happening: Books and Events - by Chuck Morse

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 7 Jun 2004 11:01:06 +0200 (CEST)


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The United States government´s imperialist adventures are transforming
the world in ways that will not be clear for years to come. We need to
understand what forces are driving these actions, their likely consequences,
and their place within the broader contradictions of global capitalism.
Although anarchists have never had much to say about imperialism - our
opposition to all states has often blinded us to the important differences
between them and the impact of their interrelation - several new books by
non-anarchist authors should offer something to a genuinely anti-authoritarian,
anti-imperialist project. In The New Imperialism noted marxist
scholar David Harvey explores numerous questions relating to
the recent war in Iraq: Is it a sign of strength or weakness that the
US has suddenly shifted from a politics of consensus to one of
coercion on the world stage? Was the war in Iraq all about oil or,
if not, what was it about? What role has a sagging economy
played in pushing the US into foreign adventurism? What is the
relationship between US militarism abroad and domestic politics?
(Oxford University Press, 2003, 264 pages). Chalmers
Johnson’s The Sorrows Of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and
the End of the Republic also examines the escalating forces of
militarism and imperialism within the United States. He argues
that the Iraq war has fractured the Western democratic alliance,
increased the likelihood of more terrorist attacks against the U.S.,
and further cemented the transfer of war powers from the
legislative to the executive branch. He asserts that the ultimate
outcome of this progressive build-up in military might is an
increasing determination among smaller nations to challenge the
U.S. through terrorist actions and the pursuit and possible use of
nuclear weapons. Stephen Gill’s Power and Resistance in the
New World Order provides a broader perspective. He asserts that
as the globalization of power intensifies, so too do globalized
forms of resistance. He explains how the dialectic of power and
resistance involves issues of governance, economy, and culture
and is reflected in questions of American supremacy, the power
of capital, market civilization, and surveillance power. He also
argues that new forms of political agency and collective action are
emerging to challenge dominant powers (Palgrave Macmillan,
2003, 256 pages).

Recent developments on the international scene underscore the
pressing need for North American anti-authoritarians to build
principled alliances with oppressed peoples in the Middle East.
Some of the difficulties and potentials of this venture are explored
in Peace Under Fire: Israel, Palestine and the International
Solidarity Movement. This work collects previously published
news articles on the movement, accounts drawn from web-logs
and diaries, and includes the last writings of the murdered
American Rachel Corrie. It reveals the horror of life under
occupation and describes the first signs of a new wave of
international solidarity (Verso Books, June 2004, 240 pages).
Similar material is available in Live from Palestine: International
and Palestinian Direct Action Against the Israeli Occupation
(South End Press, 2003, 223 pages). This book tells two stories:
that of Palestinians—who have called on the world’s
citizens to join them in nonviolent resistance to the Israeli
Occupation—and that of international activists who have
responded by putting their lives on the line. From confrontations
in olive groves to the siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the
Nativity, the essays in this book give incontrovertible evidence of
the power of solidarity in the face of settler violence and state
terror. This book includes an essay by IAS board member John
Petrovato.

The search for an anti-authoritarian tradition becomes even more
urgent in times of crisis. One aspect of this tradition is studied in
Rob Knowles’s Political Economy from Below: Economic
Thought in Communitarian Anarchism, 1840-1914 (Routledge,
April 2004, 368 pages). Knowles argues that the nineteenth
century communitarian anarchists developed and articulated a
distinct tradition of economic thought. His study begins with the
first major writing of French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in
1840 and ends with the temporary decline in anarchist theorizing
at the beginning of the First World War in 1914. In a similar vein,
Brian Morris’s Kropotkin: The Politics of Community affirms
the contemporary relevance of Kropotkin as a political and moral
philosopher. Morris analyzes Kropotkin’s writings on
anarchist communism, agrarian socialism, education, modern
science and evolutionary theory, the French Revolution and the
modern state, possessive individualism, and terrorism and war
(Humanity Books, 2003, 314 pages). Also of interest is Exquisite
Rebel: The Essays of Voltairine de Cleyre-Anarchist, Feminist,
Genius (State University of New York Press, May 2004, 298
pages). This book brings de Cleyre’s eloquent and incisive
work out of undeserved obscurity. Twenty-one essays are printed
here, including classic works such as “Anarchism and the
American Tradition,” “The Dominant Idea,” and
“Sex Slavery,” as well as three biographical studies.

Movements from the south continued to deepen the revolutionary
project. To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the
Struggle for a New Brazil by Angus Lindsay Wright and Wendy
Wolford investigates the history, accomplishments, and
aspirations of the MST, Brazil’s Landless Workers
Movement. It details how the MST has successfully occupied
unproductive land and forced the government to award more than
20 million acres to 350,000 MST families since the movement
was founded in 1984. Temma Kaplan’s Taking Back the
Streets: Women, Youth, and Direct Democracy also focuses
(primarily) on South America (University of California Press,
2004, 288 pages). This book explores the participation of
Argentine, Chilean, and Spanish women and young people in the
human rights movements and the radically democratic political
culture they nurtured. Kaplan is the author Anarchists of
Andalusia 1868-1903 (Princeton University Press, 1977, 266
pages). Spanish readers will want to check out La Protesta Social
en Argentina (Social Protest in Argentina) by Mirta Lobato and
Juan Suriano. This book examines the new social movements
that leap to visibility during Argentina’s economic collapse in
December 2001. It asks: Who are the new social actors? What are
their demands? Who do they confront? What relations do they
have with the state, the political parties, and other organizations?
What are their historical roots? (Fondo de Cultura Económica,
2003, 159 pages). Juan Suriano is the author of Anarquistas:
Cultura y Politica Libertaria en Buenos Aires 1890-1910
(Anarchists: Libertarian Culture and Politics in Buenos Aires,
1890-1910). The militant and tragically short life a young
Argentine anarchist, Soledad Rosas, has been fictionalized by
Martín Caparrós in his Spanish language novel, Amor y
Anarquía: La vida urgente de Soledad Rosas, 1974-1998 (Love
and Anarchy: The Urgent Life of Soledad Rosa, 1974-1998).
Rosas committed suicide in an Italian prison, where she was
incarcerated under changes of eco-terrorism.

Two new references works on anarchist history are now available.
John Patten’s Islands of Anarchy: Simian, Cienfuegos and
Refract 1969-1987 An Annotated Bibliography is a complete
bibliographic resource on one of the most vigorous publishing
ventures to emerge out of the anarchist resurgence in the United
Kingdom in the 1960s. (Kate Sharpley Library, 2004, 77 pages).
Italian readers will enjoy the 816 page Dizionario Biografico Degli
Anarchici Italiani Vol.1 (Biographical Dictionary of Italian
Anarchists) prepared under the diction of Maurizio Antonioli
(BFS edizioni, 2003)

The Institute for Social Ecology will continue to hold its
acclaimed programs in radical social change and ecological
reconstruction. Of special interest are Remaking Society: A Social
Ecology Intensive (June 25 to July 24), Sustainable Design,
Building, & Land Use (May 28 to June 18), and Theoretical
Inquiries in the Age of Globalization (August 6 to August 15).
IAS board members Cindy Milstein, Andrea Schmidt, and the
author of this article will teach at this last program.

Anarchist bookfairs offer great opportunities for comrades to
deepen old bond and forge new ones. The Madison Anarchist
Bookfair will be held on May 7-9. For more information, call
608-262-9036 or e-mail circle_a_books@riseup.net. The 5th
annual Montreal Anarchist Bookfair will be held on May 15 this
year at 2515 rue Delisle (near metro Lionel-Groulx). For more
information e-mail anarchistbookfair@taktic.org or call
514-859-9090.

ABC-No Rio, New York City’s collectively-run center for art
and activism, needs the support of comrades around the world.
Those responsible for managing the center have recently been
told that they can acquire full legal possession of the building that
houses ABC-No Rio if they they renovate it significantly. To
make these renovations, ABC-No Rio must raise $148,000 by
January 2005. Please give generously to the effort and help it
continue its support for radical politics and culture. For more
information (and to donate on-line) please visit their website:
www.abcnorio.org. You can also mail your donation to ABC-No
Rio, 156 Rivington Street, NY, NY 10002.


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