Anarchist & Radical Book Club discussion

Book Club > Winter Book Selection

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message 1: by Tinea (last edited Dec 24, 2012 03:31PM) (new)

Tinea (pist) What would folks like to read and discuss as a group as the Northern Hemisphere gets into the coldest months?

In our discussion on our last book,The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, a few of us mentioned continuing with this theme of structural racism, white privilege theory, bell hooks, anti-colonialist theory, prison abolition, etc.


message 3: by abclaret, facilitator (new)

abclaret | 93 comments Mod
I would add the Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California and again see if anyone is interested in African Anarchism.

But, having not read either, I am keen on Angela Davis and bell hooks, but also captive genders and the wages of whiteness.

message 4: by Mark E. (new)

Mark E. Smith (fubarista) | 21 comments Mod
I just ordered African Anarchism--thank you for mentioning it, abclaret. It is a sad time to read such a book, as I'm in the US and Obama is recolonizing Africa while many US Blacks voted for him twice and insist that anyone who criticizes Obama is racist. Maybe it is ignorance, but some seem to identify much more with the Democratic Party tribe than with their ancestral tribes in Africa, and are happy to see a Black man in power even if he is destroying Africa. And of course he is doing it for the US, so that people here can have access to all the luxuries than can only be manufactured with Africa's coltan and other natural resources, so maybe it is just materialism. Whatever it is, it is heartbreaking.

I also just ordered a book a friend recommended:

Durruti in the Spanish Revolution

message 5: by Mack (new)

Mack (Plaid_suspenders) | 1 comments just dl'd the pdf of durruti from libcom. plan to buy the physical book as well. my vote is for this or african anarchism

message 6: by Aaron (new)

Aaron I think of that list, Foucault probably interests me the most.

message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz (ourcatastrophe) | 1 comments I'd recommend Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis. Very short at about a hundred pages, pretty accessible, but not just 101 stuff -- subtle, intersectionally minded, has something in it for people coming from a wide range of levels of engagement/education. Basically everything you want in a book club book.

message 8: by Mark E. (last edited Dec 25, 2012 06:08PM) (new)

Mark E. Smith (fubarista) | 21 comments Mod
Thanks, Dan. I've just added How Nonviolence Protects the State to my "want to read" list. I've read several reviews and I agree with the premise, but I'd like to have it on my bookshelf next to Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America

With all the interest in the US Gulag, I wonder if there are any books explaining why I feel that somebody else going to prison for their beliefs doesn't make me any more free, and why I don't think that people who voluntarily get themselves arrested for the publicity are doing me or anyone else any favors. Maybe it is talked about somewhere in How Nonviolence Protects the State?

message 9: by Micah (new)

Micah | 9 comments hi, I probably won't be able to participate much in discussions so it really doesn't matter to me what's chosen, but I can say I just finished the Durruti biography and highly recommend it, it's quite amazing and I feel like it should be required reading for anarchists!

message 10: by abclaret, facilitator (new)

abclaret | 93 comments Mod
Mark, I don't follow your entire logic in post 4. Globalisation has superseded colonialism and there are lots of nuances around identity politics which is why I am happy to read and discuss these matters. In the UK we had a few groups that put out critiques of identity politics, but I am not aware of any books arising from this. Which is a shame because I think it's really pertinent.

If there is a groundswell of people wanting to read stuff, we can always run multiple books, but we have had limited success with some of the other choices.

How Nonviolence Protects the State is a good book.

message 11: by Mark E. (new)

Mark E. Smith (fubarista) | 21 comments Mod
Thanks, Micah. I'm looking forward to reading it, and maybe that should be considered as our possible choice.

message 12: by Mark E. (new)

Mark E. Smith (fubarista) | 21 comments Mod
abclaret, Obama is Commander-in-Chief, and in addition to continuing to support our proxies like Kagame who have already killed more than 7 million in DR Congo for resources, destroyed Libya, is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Al Qaeda in Syria, and is using AFRICOM, the US African Command, in Sudan, Mali, and Yemen. And those are just what I know of--what he is doing covertly may be much more. You can call it globalization, but to me it is a Black US President recolonizing Africa where no white President could have gotten away with it or gotten allies to support it.

But what I see as the recolonization of Africa, is seen by many Black US voters as historic progress against racism because Obama is Black. I may not understand nuances or identity politics, but I do understand that friendly regimes the US has installed in the past, like the Shah and Pinochet, were neither benevolent nor democratic, and I am aghast that there is so little criticism of what Obama is doing in Africa. I'm in a senior building, and two of my Black neighbors, whose apartments are full of African decor, voted for Obama twice and don't see the irony. Maybe they're thinking that once Africa is ours, they'll be able to buy authentic Africana more cheaply?

I've seen short critiques on Black Agenda Report, but shouldn't there be a book after four years of this?

message 13: by Tinea (new)

Tinea (pist) Liz wrote: "I'd recommend Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis. Very short at about a hundred pages, pretty accessible, but not just 101 stuff -- subtle, intersectionally minded, has something in it for peop..."

Ooooh, yes I agree with this!

As for process, keep suggesting/discussing books, and I'll add all the ones that are 'seconded' to a poll a week from when I first put this post up. If there's a clear majority in the poll, let's read that. If there's a lot of split in the vote, let's read two books.

I am open to other suggestions for process.

message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (kevinkevin) | 22 comments Susan Rosenberg's An American Radical is about her prison experience and the discrimination in the US prison system towards political change-agents -- and one I've been meaning to read.

message 15: by Tinea (new)

Tinea (pist) I opened a poll that is open for one week, adding the books above that have been "seconded" in the discussion. Let me know if I missed one you really wanted up there.

Vote for the winter read.

message 16: by Justin (new)

Justin | 2 comments Im new to the group. Im totally game for reading Are Prisons Obsolete?

message 17: by Tinea (new)

Tinea (pist) Well, the poll is closed and How Nonviolence Protects the State by Peter Gelderloos got the most votes. I will set up a discussion thread, so start your library book orders and we'll see if there's a free version. I remember it being pretty short, so it's probably online.

I noticed that the majority of other votes were distributed around several books on race and prisons as discussed in this thread. How do folks feel about reading two books over the next couple of months? Give me some feedback and I'll add Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis as a second discussion thread.

message 18: by abclaret, facilitator (new)

abclaret | 93 comments Mod
We can see how two books works at least.

message 19: by Kalin (new)

Kalin Millicent: it is online, here--

folks can download printable .pdfs to make themselves zines if they need/want to.

message 20: by Tinea (new)

Tinea (pist) Thanks Kalin!

Here we go, discussions for Peter Gelderloos and Angela Davis.

message 21: by Ameli (new)

Ameli (DoktorZinn) | 1 comments I would suggest "Instead of Prisons" as it sounds more practical, and I'm only become recently wary of Foucault's methodology after having it co-opted against particular anarchists that were pro-science.

But I won't deny "Captive Genders" has it's appeal.

message 22: by Francois (new)

Francois Tremblay I don't want to be one of those people who are "more radical than thou," but those books on race look pretty liberal. Do you know any books that are more radical?

fetid wretched deviltry | 6 comments Mod
Francois wrote: "I don't want to be one of those people who are "more radical than thou," but those books on race look pretty liberal. Do you know any books that are more radical?"

Looks like this thread has been deceased for a few years now. I just started a new one to see if anyone is interested in resurrecting the book club here. If you're down, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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