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Occult Features of Anarchism: With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples
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Occult Features of Anarchism: With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  153 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In the 19th century anarchists were accused of conspiracy by governments afraid of revolution, but in the current century, various “conspiracy theories” suggest that anarchists are controlled by government itself. The Illuminati were a network of intellectuals who argued for self-government and against private property, yet the public is now often told that they were (and ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 1st 2019 by PM Press
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Victoria Law
Oct 27, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was utterly frustrating.

I was intrigued by the premise and the introduction. But in the ensuing chapters, Lagalisse name drops philosophers with little to no (usually no) explanation as to what they believed or why they might be important.

In her ending chapter, Lagalisse critiques the anarchist movement, writing, "as any anarchist can see, fluency in a particular vocabulary, knowing the names of certain historical figures, and being vouched for by someone 'in the know' is all requorem
...more
Stewart
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a delight to find two of my favorite themes, anarchism and occultism, engaged academically. The truth is? Hermeticism and revolutionary politics have been good friends for a very long time. Though its origins in multicultural Spain cannot be underestimated, Hermeticism has advanced universal egalitarian liberation and is embodied by (real documented freemasons) like Proudhon, Bakunin, and Hegel - among many others.

Adorno and Eco are wrong to dismiss occultism as backwards (or tending ent
...more
Cassie
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Not good for a first book in the occult genre nor philosophical as she breezes through several references without explaining them deeply. But if you’ve done your other required reading this book is going to serve as an illuminating survey of what the title claims. I loved every word and sped through it in a couple days in Los Angeles- the perfect city to read anything occult. Her writing is easy to get through and her thoughts are well organized. Excellent academic book!
Jonathan Norton
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Brisk historical summary of the historical sources of the traditions feeding in to modern anarchism. I'm left with the impression that modern campus "anarchist" activism is itself an exercise in cultural appropriation, but the culture in question is of dead Europeans who are presumed to be ok with being spoken for by their descendants, even though the latter have no clue about the religious contexts in which it occurred. Not much going on here, just the old story of intellectually-flimsy young " ...more
W. N. Weaver
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was ok
One gets the feeling that this is, despite its veneer of (academic) sophistication, a rather shallow or possibly naive view of history. The author writes as if preaching to the choir, which is understandable I suppose given the subject matter. Somehow I don't think she imagined anyone from the moderate bourgeoisie reading this piece. Nonetheless I spent much of my youth in the trenches of the "street theater" and so I'm familiar with this style of saturnalia. This is about the strain of anarchis ...more
Brandy Cross
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
* to read again

Lagalisse has compiled a somewhat messy but mostly cogent essay (not book) on the intertwined history of anarchism [sic modern leftism] and that of the occult, primarily leaning on the Freemasons, Hegel, and associated symbology.

This is at times anecdotal, at times asking provocative questions (E.g., is the conspiracy theorist so disdained, not because of the lack of logic behind his views but because of his class, is Hobbes lack of religion not related to his potential as an at
...more
Ryan
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
This slim book, of which a full quarter at least is footnotes and bibliography, holds a promising thesis that in it's rush to garner the academic validity it claims to eschew, blows through hundreds of years of history and philosophy and ideas in around sixty pages. It diminishes much of her supporting claims to incomprehensible word-salad at worst, with the super annoying and sophomoric tendency to cite her own previous and also likely sophomoric papers on the subject. That said, after this exp ...more
Alex Borghgraef
Dec 27, 2020 rated it liked it
The first half of the book is a fascinating yet too short overview of the parallels and links between the hermetic movement and various progressive movements over the centuries.
The second half unfortunately devolves way too much into social sciences/idpol buzzword bingo. There's some interesting comments on how 'cancel culture' can be used as a display of social status in the elite segments of leftist subculture, but the author tends to fall into the same trap when accusing her peers of being s
...more
Ask Eks
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Fantastic booklet that gives a great overview of occult currents in proto- and early anarchist history! Plus it contains a couple of essays on 'conspiracy' in contemporary social movements that is really worth a read for anyone interested in activism and social organising.
The only thing I found a bit curious was the books premise that the connection between anarchism and occultism is somehow an underexposed topic. Having read my share of Hakim Bey/Peter Lamborn Wilson (pretty much mandatory rea
...more
Karin
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lefties
jesus this was so annoying. most of the text is just a reference to an ocean of other publications - i mean, i did find a lot of great new reading, but... name dropping and random tangents of just vaguely related concepts completely drowned the original thesis - which, in my opinion, was pretty weak in the first place. If not wrapped in a cumbersome academic style, these quite simple thoughts could fit into a couple page long article.

(Claiming that the Marxian dialectic is 'occult' because he is
...more
Toni
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anarchy, myth-magic
Something like a Grand Theory of the state packed in a short book. Oh, and some great stuff about the early history of anarchism (not anarchy, the -ism), conspiracy theories, how class intersects with conspiracy theories, how anarchism intersects with true conspiracy theories (having been born literally as conspiracies) etc. etc. Lagalisse has a lot of great ideas and I hope to read more from her. The book is a bit messy, but it's a short read and it doesn't matter. ...more
Kirra
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
So super fascinating and full of amazing references.
thieuke
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it a lot, for me it could’ve been longer and more in depth. A difficult subject to treat though.
M.A. Stern
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent analysis of the links between occultism and anarchism, as well as critiques of left-wing movements’ casual dismissal of spirituality and conspiracy theories.
You Can't Own An Idea
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting primer on a subject rarely covered by leftists.
Bryce
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I like books about the spiritual underpinnings of radical movements, such as The Pursuit of the Millennium (Cohn) and Movement of the Free Spirit (Vaneigem), and this book mines a similar vein. The aforementioned texts deal with medieval heresies; this one deals with the Illuminati and its reputation. I'd recommend to progressive subgeniuses and left anarchists. ...more
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