Reviews

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Alex Butterworth's "The World That Never Was:
A True Story of Dreamers, Schemers, Anarchists and Secret Agents"
Reviewed by Seetha Vijayakumar

Welcome to the world of dreamers, schemers, anarchists and secret agents. Alex Butterworth's book, The World That Never Was is a stunning account of the anarchist movement that shook Europe in late 19th and early 20th centuries. The anarchists started building a violent network in early 1870s. Butterworth, a historian by profession, says the roots of the anarchist movement lay in the retribution faced by the Communards in 1871. What followed was a chain of violent incidents, including the assassination of a Tsar and several aristocrats. What was their aim? 'Anarchism's ultimate aim was to usher in a society of human beings, a heaven on earth in which harmonious coexistence was achieved without coercion or the imposition of distant authority, but rather arose out of each individual's enlightened recognition of their mutual respect and dependency.'

Insurrectional Anarchism vs. Class-Struggle Anarchism Wayne Price There has been a spurt of interest in a small radical book titled "The Coming Insurrection" ("TCI"), with authorship attributed to the "Invisible Committee" (IC). It was originally published in France in 2007. That country's police cited it as evidence in a trial of "the Tarnaq 9," radicals who were accused of planning sabotage. The French Interior Minister called it a "manual for terrorism" (quoted on p. 5). A U.S. edition got an unlikely boost by the far-right tv talk show clown Glen Beck. He has repeatedly identified it as a manual for a take-over of the U.S. by the left, by which he means everyone from the mildest liberal Democrats leftward. "This [is a] dangerous leftist book....You should read it to know what is coming and be ready when it does" (Beck, 2009). The interest of many on the left has been piqued; Michael Moore is reported to have read it. From the perspective of revolutionary-libertarian socialism (class-struggle anarchism), I believe that many things are wrong with this pamphlet. But it is right on some very big things. That is a major part of its attraction, despite its opague style (the authors have studied French radical philosophy and it shows). The IC members say that, on a world scale, our society is morally rotten and structurally in the deepest of crises. They denounce this society in every way and oppose all reformist programs for trying to improve it at the margins. They say that a total change is necessary and that this can only be achieved through some sort of revolution. Their goals are the right goals: a classless, stateless, ecologically-balanced, decentralized, and self-managed world. These views are well outside the usual range of acceptable political conversation. Unfortunately, I believe that the tactics and strategy which they propose are mistaken and unlikely to achieve their correct goals.
“On the Lower Frequencies of Art Basel, Miami Beach” Erick Lyle [Reblogger's Note: This text is a brilliant view-from-below of the Art Basel Miami Beach spectacular of December, 2009. Lyle, author of The Lower Frequencies, about the punk anti-gentrification struggle in San Francisco, documents the direct connection between art and real estate development in Miami and New York. Originally published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “Clouds and Mirrors: A Trip through the Mirage of Art Basel in the Scarred Face of Miami” (http://www.sfbg.com); I found it in an expanded form in Lyle's zine SCAM #7 at Bluestockings Books.] Carl Fisher turned a mosquito-plagued, malarial sandbar into Miami Beach, "The Sun and Fun Capital of The World," in less than a decade — dredging up sea bottom to build the island paradise, an all-American Las Vegas-by-the- Sea, where Frank Sinatra and Jackie Gleason partied and Richard Nixon received two Republican nominations for president. Art Deco hotels lined the beach, bold as Cadillacs, defiant in the path of hurricanes, their confident Modern lines projecting postwar American power.

"Alchemical Economics"
Herman Daly

A review of H C Binswanger's Money and Magic: A Critique of the Modern
Economy in Light of Goethe's Faust
(University of Chicago Press, 1994)

H C Binswanger is founder and director of the Institute for Economics and
Ecology at the University of Saint Gallen, Switzerland. Long an important
figure in the German-speaking world, his work has been too little known
among English readers. That alone makes this little volume very welcome.
The importance of his theme, and the scholarship and insight with which he
develops it, merits the widest possible readership.

The theme of the book is that mainstream economics is alchemy carried on
by other more effective means. Perhaps ecological economists should stop
using the term "mainstream economics" and substitute "alchemical
economics" as a more descriptive name for that which we are trying to
reform. This is by no means a mere rhetorical flourish. It is historically
and logically well founded. The prince of Orleans, like other royalty,
employed court alchemists in the hope that they would produce gold, with
which he could pay off his debts. But when the prince attracted Scottish
financier John Law to his court, he promptly dismissed his alchemists
because the paper money scheme introduced by Law was a more effective way
to redeem his debts. The goal of alchemy, to turn worthless material into
gold, remained unchanged. The worthless material of paper just proved more
receptive to transmutation than lead had been. The transmutation of paper
into money remains fundamentally a "chymical wedding" of mercurial, liquid
imagination (imagining it to represent unmined gold still in the ground)
and fiery, sulfurous impression (the impressive authority of the emperor's
signature on the note). But this is getting ahead of the story and into
"technical" alchemy.

The Truth About The Coming Insurrection
Or, the Misadventures of a 'Pataphysical Hoax
by The Indigestible

[Reposted from Not Bored]

A member of the College of 'Pataphysics, at which I have a seat on the Commission of Liceites and Harmonies (Usury Sub-Commission), I have judged the moment favorable, notably with respect to the most recent developments in the "Tarnac Affair," to make several clarifications concerning both the activities of the aforementioned College and the true motivations behind my text, The Coming Insurrection.

Who Were the Witches? Patriarchal Terror and the Creation of Capitalism Alex Knight This Halloween season, there is no book I could recommend more highly than Silvia Federici’s brilliant Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation (Autonomedia 2004), which tells the dark saga of the Witch Hunt that consumed Europe for more than 200 years. In uncovering this forgotten history, Federici exposes the origins of capitalism in the heightened oppression of workers (represented by Shakespeare’s character Caliban), and most strikingly, in the brutal subjugation of women. She also brings to light the enormous and colorful European peasant movements that fought against the injustices of their time, connecting their defeat to the imposition of a new patriarchal order that divided male from female workers. Today, as more and more people question the usefulness of a capitalist system that has thrown the world into crisis, Caliban and the Witch stands out as essential reading for unmasking the shocking violence and inequality that capitalism has relied upon from its very creation.
"Living on Third Street" Reviewed by Claudia Costa Pederson, Liminalities Book Review Living on Third Street: Plays of the Living Theatre, 1989–1992. Hanon Reznikov. New York: Autonomedia, 2009. 208 pp. Hanon Reznikov (née Reznick, 1951—2008) the producer, director and author of the productions of the Living Theater envisioned Living on Third Street as a document about the activities of the theater company that he helped run for twenty-three years. Published posthumously (Reznikov died in 2008) the book is an eulogy to his life work and to the theatrical encounter.
Phantasmagoric Systems On Konrad Becker's STRATEGIC REALITY DICTIONARY Brian Holmes [Konrad Becker's new "Strategic Reality Dictionary" will be launched on September 29 at Eyebeam in New York - a good occasion to freely distribute the preface. As I page through an old tome from the annals of strategic subversion, Marcuse's "Eros and Civilization," the closing lines of this short text ring truer than ever. -- best, BH] "Information is indeed 'such stuff as a dreams are made on.' Yet it can be transmitted, recorded, analyzed and measured," remarked Karl Deutsch in his 1963 book The Nerves of Government. The Czech-American social scientist was the leading Cold War specialist in "models of political communication and control." The latter half of the twentieth century saw a world-wide implementation of computerized social programming, aimed first at instilling order and paranoid regularity into the chaos that followed WWII, then increasingly, from the 1960s onward, at evoking febrile dreams from populations whose new mandate was not to labor, but to invent; not to produce, but to consume; not to fear, but to desire. By the late 1990s, after the massification of the Internet had begun in the wake of the integrated world spectacle of the First Gulf War, this condition was well known by at least some of those on the receiving end. Tactical reality hackers such as the Critical Art Ensemble, Arthur and Marielouise Kroker, Luther Blissett, the Yes Men, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, Marko Peljhan and the Bureau of Applied Autonomy arose to infiltrate the global information system and expose its (dys)functions with probes, pranks, parodies and satirical jokes. All of these groups and individuals operated in the tactical space of momentary incursion and instant retreat that had been mapped out by Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey, in his poetic anarchist pamphlet on the Temporary Autonomous Zone. The concerns of this slim volume are different. With his seventy-two keys, Konrad Becker aims to unlock the gates of strategic reality: its construction over centuries, its imposition through stealth and force, its dull and laborious maintenance, and its dissolution and destruction by those who can't take it anymore.
Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" Will Find a Ready Audience Mark Weisbrot When I first met Michael Moore more than 20 years ago he was showing a half-finished documentary to a few dozen people in a classroom in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was funny and poignant and had a powerful message. He had taken a second mortgage on his house - equipment for filmmaking was a lot more expensive back then - and raised some money from like-minded locals for a long-shot venture. We all loved what he showed us but thought he would be lucky if a few thousand people got to see it.
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Can the New Global Labour Studies Stimulate a New Global Labour Movement? Two Drafts for Discussion Peter Waterman Global Labor Charter Project p.waterman@inter.nl.net http://blog.choike.org/eng/tag/peter-waterman
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