By Suzanne | May 17, 2013
Our friends at Upside Down World are celebrating ten years of reporting on social movements and politics in Latin America! And in order to ensure that they can keep doing what they’ve been doing for the last decade, they are running a fund drive to cover their operating expenses. We’ve come up with a way that we can all help them out—and you can pick up some new reading material in the process! From now through May 26, for each sale the following AK Press titles on Latin America (in either print or e-book format) through akpress.org, we’ll donate $5 to Upside Down World!
Titles included in this fundraiser are:
The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia (Benjamin Dangl)
New social movements have emerged in Bolivia over the “price of fire—access to basic elements of survival like water, gas, land, coca, employment, and other resources. Though these movements helped pave the way to the presidency for indigenous coca-grower Evo Morales in 2005, they have made it clear that their fight for self-determination doesn’t end at the ballot box. From the first moments of Spanish colonization to today’s headlines, The Price of Fire offers a gripping account of clashes in Bolivia between corporate and people’s power, contextualizing them regionally, culturally, and historically.
“Emancipation,” argues Raúl Zibechi, “is not an objective but a way of life.” For the last half century, new and emancipatory social formations have worked to carve out their own territories in Latin America, experimenting in rural and urban settings with new forms of liberatory politics that challenge neocolonialism, neoliberalism, and the very basis of the state itself. Not limited to a single path, these “societies in movement” have adopted forms of communitarian relations that allow experimentation and innovation to flourish at a riveting pace. Blending case studies and history with social theory and analysis, Zibechi opens our eyes to the new world being born just outside our gaze.
While much has been written on the history of the Zapatista insurgency and on the communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos, very little has been said about Zapatismo: the ideologies, organizing methodologies, and communications strategies of the movement. The appeal of the Zapatistas, and their survival, has as much to do with their goals as with the compelling and wildly effective language and aesthetics they’ve used to convey their vision. Jeff Conant offers an engaging and innovative tool for organizers and educators to understand how the Zapatistas’ strategy works, and to continue developing and refining their effective messages of participatory, bottom-up revolution.
Eight volunteers converge to help campesinos build a water system in Chiapas—a strategy to bolster the Zapatista insurgency by helping locals to assert their autonomy. These outsiders come to question the movement they’ve traveled so far to support—and each other—when forced into a world so unlike the poetic communiqués of Subcomandante Marcos—a world of endemic rural poverty, parochialism, and shifting loyalties to the movement. The quiet dignity of the local compañeros and echoes of B. Traven, Conrad, and Camus, round out this epic yarn.
More about Upside Down World, from their appeal for support:
“Ten years ago Upside Down World began as a website with a small group of writers scattered around the hemisphere, reporting on the emerging leftist politicians and burgeoning social movements that would go on to reshape the region. Neoliberalism had dug its own grave, and grassroots struggles and socialist policies were paving a new path for Latin America. Foreign corporations were ousted in popular uprisings, and presidents were elected across the region on anti-imperialist, progressive platforms. Upside Down World was there from the beginning, reporting from the ballot boxes and inaugurations, and later when the celebratory confetti turned into teargas and protests. From the victories and failures of the left and the everyday struggles of social movements for a better world, Upside Down World has reported on the roller coaster of the past decade without stopping. And we need your help to continue the ride…
From the Andes Mountains to the shores of the Caribbean, Upside Down World works hard to bring you regular news and analysis on grassroots politics and social change across the hemisphere. Our reporters are based on the frontlines of struggles over mining, soybean cultivation and human rights. Our site breaks stories long before they hit the pages of the New York Times. And Upside Down World always puts the actions, demands and voices of social movements at the top of our concerns.”
You can read the whole appeal here.
By christa | April 11, 2013
Jared Davidson’s new book is a history of both an influential figure – Philip Josephs – and a movement: anarchism in New Zealand. It is a beautifully-written and impeccably-researched volume that brings to our attention an often overlooked aspect of our political history.
Sewing Freedom traces the journey of Josephs and his family from Latvia to Scotland and then to Wellington in 1903, where he ran a tailor’s shop and distributed anarchist literature. ‘Between sewing machines, pulleys, pressing irons and a button-hole machine, workers could converse, browse anarchist pamphlets … and measure up for a custom-made suit’. Over time, Josephs helped to spread anarchist ideas from one end of New Zealand to the other, including the work of key international figures: Pyotr Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin and Emma Goldman, among others. The indefatigable Josephs also took part in protests on behalf of workers and against the tyrannies of governments and bosses.
Davidson clearly situates anarchism in relation to wider transnational labour movements over the first two decades of the twentieth century, and demonstrates the relationships between anarchist thinkers and activists both here and overseas. Along with Josephs, we meet Christchurch chemistry professor Alexander Bickerton as well as several immigrants: English doctor and eugenicist Thomas Macdonald – an acquaintance of Kropotkin – and German billiard table maker Johann Trunk. The reader gains a clear sense of international connections as well as Josephs’ ‘key role in the establishment of a distinct anarchist identity and culture’ in New Zealand.
By christa | February 1, 2013
Freedom Books the oldest anarchist publisher (founded by Charlotte Wilson and Peter Kropotkin in 1886) was firebombed this morning. No one was hurt, but they lost a substantial number of books and equipment.
They will be hosting a clean up day tomorrow (Saturday 2/2/13) at 1pm and need lots of helpful hands.
If you can’t make it to the clean up you can help them out from afar by buying books online and e-mailing to let them know your purchase was a donation: http://www.freedompress.org.uk/news/bookshop/shop-online/
Stay Up to Date on the Repairs:
The AK Press Collective
By AK Press | January 22, 2013
There’s an interesting discussion brewing around the annual Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair. We saw this posted on Anarchist News this morning … follow this link to the original if you’re interested to see what others have said (but remember that Anarchist News has a tendency to turn into a free for all, in mighty unproductive ways).
Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair is all PM Press
Tue, 01/22/2013 – 12:40 | Anonymous
The 2013 Bay Area Book Fair speaker list is in. 15 of the 19 authors are PM Press authors. At least five, probably closer to half, of those PM authors do not self-describe as anarchists. With the Bay Area Book Fair being organized by Ramsey Kanaan, co-founder of PM Press, I suppose this doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
The Bay Area Book Fair exists, then, to promote PM Press and its authors, a fact that is clearly visible by the overwhelming dominance of PM authors in the lineup. So who is PM Press? While PM press presents itself to anarchists as an anarchist press, publishing a wide variety of anarchist books, it is not an anarchist press. It is a traditionally run, hierarchical business with bosses and owners. Ramsey and Craig, the owners, are using their years of work in anarchist publishing to continue to market to us without doing the hard work of not being bosses and minor capitalists who profit off the work of others. (In fact, despite being a traditional business, they continue in the anarchist practice of using volunteer labor.)
By AK Press | January 7, 2013
A friend sent us this photo of the tribute he left for Ricardo Flores Magon…
By AK Press | December 7, 2012
- UPS Ground – Order by Thursday Dec 13 at Midnight (UPS does not guarantee holiday ground shipment delivery dates, but recommends 7 business days)
- USPS Priority Mail – Order by Tuesday, Dec 18 at Midnight
- UPS Ground to Canada - Order by Monday Dec 10 at Midnight (UPS does not guarantee holiday ground shipment delivery dates, but recommends 10 business days)
- USPS Priority Mail Mexico/Australia/Asia – Order by Monday, Dec 10 at Midnight
- USPS Priority Mail Canada/Europe – Order by Thursday, Dec 13 at Midnight
By kate | November 27, 2012
Our comrade Jorell is raising money to help support the publication of a new book on anarchism in Puerto Rico. Check it out, and consider donating if you have the capability!
By Zach | November 11, 2012
Not as ghost of Moloch dead,
But as ghost of Moloch living,
Speaks the State in accents dread,
Stones instead of life-bread giving;
Shall we falter, cringe, and kneel
’Neath its heavy iron heel?
On, on! drink unto the lees!
Martyrs lead the way with pride,
Conqu’ring death e’en when they died:
PARSONS! FISCHER! ENGEL! SPIES!
O’er the graves of Waldheim’s dead,
Where the spotless snow is falling,
Glares above them Law’s dread head
Timid Souls with fear appalling.
See! Take hope! To Courage Cling!
Yonder rises Louis Lingg!
On! on! spread unto the breeze
The red flag beneath whose fold
Stand the souls of leaders bold:
PARSONS! FISCHER! ENGEL! SPIES!
Moloch! Christ! Mahomet! State!
Sword and fagot! cell and gallows!
Hath mankind no higher fate
Than what grim oppression hallows?
Up against the foulsome thing,
Call to aid the Ghost of Lingg!
On! on! mankind dimly sees
’Neath the banner of the poor
Opening wide fair Freedom’s door:
PARSONS! FISCHER! ENGEL! SPIES!
—Dyer D. Lum
By kate | September 11, 2012
I remember sitting in Minneapolis last November chatting with a dear friend, talking about upcoming book projects, and him asking: So who do you have doing an AK Press book on Occupy? It was a good question. I thought about it, weighed the options, talked to authors, activists, and organizers, and came to the conclusion that, in fact, it somehow made sense for me to do the AK Press book on Occupy. It was a moment of insanity, and I’m not sure why no one talked me out of it. See, I don’t have a lot of free time, and my AK workload on top of my Red Emma’s workload and my organizing commitments means that I already don’t get enough sleep, am always behind on everything, and am constantly on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown. Why I thought that taking on the project of pulling together a book on Occupy, written by (very busy) activists, was something I had the time to do, I don’t know. How I thought that I’d be able to get it done in nine months – in time for the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street on September 17 – I really don’t know. Luckily, I wasn’t alone in my quest; I was fortunate to be able to draft two of my very favorite people (who are also far too busy all of the time) as co-editors: Baltimore-based global justice organizer Mike McGuire, and nomadic author and activist Margaret Killjoy. And, thanks to the amazing work of my co-editors, to the dedication of our group of contributors, and to the faith placed in this project by the AK Press collective, nine months later, We Are Many: Critical Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation is born. The printer assures me copies will arrive in Minneapolis and New York for our launch events this weekend – and you can order a copy here from AK Press (or Amazon, or Powells, or your local indy bookstore).
When we named this project back in January, we chose We Are Many because it was a nice blend of old and new. We liked the referents it implied, but it was a phrase that hadn’t been taken up and over-used yet by the movement. (Our first choice was 99 to 1, but someone else managed to announce a book with the same name before we did, sending us back to the drawing board, and searching for something that wouldn’t have the same results!) As the project grew (and grew, and grew), to encompass the contributions of over fifty authors and even more artists and photographers, we started to joke about the name: We Are (Too) Many. But once we’d made our final selections, staring at all of the contributions written down on index cards and arranged in various configurations on my floor as we tried to set the final order, we started to realize exactly how apt that title is.
We Are Many is a multiplicity. It doesn’t seek to present a single party line, doesn’t pretend to have solved all of the problems, or resolved all of the conflicts. It presents multiple perspectives on the same question, sometimes contradictory ones, sometimes just different ones. It’s a hodge podge of ideas, perspectives, tactics, contexts, and ideologies. Just like the movement it seeks to reflect. For me, reading this book from cover to cover is sort of like the feeling I have attending a General Assembly: confusing, chaotic, overwhelming, fascinating, frustrating, exhilarating, and very, very real.
We are many: we speak as individuals. We are many: we speak as one. I don’t know that I really considered the double nature of the phrase when we originally chose that title so many months ago, but as we’ve pulled the project together over the last eight weeks, it has really come to signify the way that I think not just about this project, but about Occupy itself, and really about contemporary social movements as a whole.
Let me be clear: We Are Many is only a start. It’s the beginning of a much larger, and sorely needed, conversation about movement strategy: about what works, and when, and why; about respect for each other’s opinions; about understanding difference; about the need for revolutionary zeal; about new ideas that we have pioneered this past year; about the new things we’ll do in the next. Those conversations are happening all around us. This book captures only a few of them, a representative sample of a much, much larger multiplicity of perspectives. It’s up to you – all of you, or perhaps all of us – to carry that conversation on. To take this book as a jumping off point, as an invitation into the conversation, as a challenge to keep the discussion and the debate going as we look towards the second year of this still-nascent, ever-changing social explosion that we’ve come to think of as Occupy.
I almost forgot! Check out this amazing list of contributors. There are so many people in this book who have inspired me with their words and their actions, not just this past year, but for many years. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to edit their essays for this project:
Michael Andrews, Michael Belt, Nadine Bloch, Rose Bookbinder, Mark Bray, Emily Brissette, George Caffentzis, George Ciccariello-Maher, Annie Cockrell, Joshua Clover, Andy Cornell, Molly Crabapple, CrimethInc., CROATOAN, Paul Dalton, Chris Dixon, John Duda, Brendan M. Dunn, Lisa Fithian, Gabriella, David Graeber, Ryan Harvey, Rachel Herzing, Gabriel Hetland, Marisa Holmes, Mike King, Koala Largess, Yvonne Yen Liu, Josh MacPhee, Manissa M. Maharawal, Yotam Marom, Cindy Milstein, Occupy Research, Joel Olson, Isaac Ontiveros, Morrigan Phillips, Frances Fox Piven, Vijay Prashad, Michael Premo, Max Rameau, RANT, Research & Destroy, Nathan Schneider, Jonathan Matthew Smucker, Some Oakland Antagonists, Lester Spence, Janaina Stronzake, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Team Colors Collective, Janelle Treibitz, Unwoman, Immanuel Wallerstein, Sophie Whittemore, Kristian Williams, and Jaime Omar Yassin.
I hope you’ll all check out the book, and that you’ll find something in it to appreciate. I look forward to continuing the conversation in the months and years to come …
By christa | September 10, 2012
Paradoxes of Utopia – Anarchist culture and politics in Buenos Aires 1890-1910 – Review
by Sean Mathews
When the Argentine economy collapsed in 2001, many were surprised by the factory takeovers and neighbourhood assemblies that resulted. But workers’ control and direct democracy have long histories in Argentina, where from the late nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, anarchism was the main revolutionary ideology of the labour movement and other social struggles. Most histories of anarchism in Argentina tend toward dry analyses of labour politics, lists of union acronyms, and the like. For Juan Suriano, that’s just one part of the story. Paradoxes of Utopia gives us an engaging look at fin de siècle Buenos Aires that brings to life the vibrant culture behind one of the world’s largest anarchist movements challenging the myth that anarchist was merely a euro-centric movement: the radical schools, newspapers, theatres, and social clubs that made revolution a way of life. Cultural history in the best sense, Paradoxes of Utopia explores how a revolutionary ideology was woven into the ordinary lives of tens of thousands of people, creating a complex tapestry of symbols, rituals, and daily practices that supported-and indeed created the possibility of-the Argentine labour movement. The author creates an innovative panorama that gives equal weight to the strengths and weakness of anarchism in Argentina, effective strategies and grave mistakes, internal debates and state repression, all contextualized within the country’s broader political, economic, and cultural history.
The history of anarchism in Argentina also has a local angle as Irish born Dr John Creaghe also took part in the emerging movement returning to Argentina in 1894 to find anarchism under the banner of FAO and later FORA (Argentine Regional Workers’ Federation) gaining enormous influence within the wider labour movement. Creaghe became editor of the daily newspaper ‘La Protesta’ which was closed down on numerous occasions. Alan O’Toole notes that, “It was the major paper of revolution in Argentina until recent years… its establishment and continuation was probably his greatest single contribution to the politics of revolution.” (See)
This immersing of anarchist ideas and practices into the emerging labour movement resulted in major state repression, including imprisonment, censorship and killings with the police estimating that there were around 5,000-6,000 anarchist militants in Buenos Aires alone during the first ten years of the century. Indeed the number of libertarian centres and anarchist circles peaked to 51 by 1904 dropping to 22 by 1910, overwhelmingly concentrated in working class neighbourhoods. For example in Rosario’s Casa del Pueblo, the centre was a collaborative effort between ten different groups. The list of activities carried out in 1900 speaks for itself: they found employment for 446 people, a library holding 380 books on science, art, sociology and literature; even a permanent orchestra and a theatre group, sixty four lectures and lent the hall to workers’ associations.
« Previous Entries