Greek edition – Occult Features of Anarchism

Occult Features of Anarchism – With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples (PM Press 2019) was published in Greek by Firebrand in 2021, under the title Απόκρυφα στοιχεία του Αναρχισμού. Με έμφαση στη συνωμοσία των βασιλέων και τη συνωμοσία των λαών.

The Limits of Radical Democracy

One of my first academic publications (2010), this ‘Limits of Radical Democracy’ essay concerns gendered power in anarchist collectives. Some of its material regarding the gendered construction of ‘public’ and ‘private’ space was later more fully developed within ‘Gossip as Direct Action’ and ‘Good Politics’, yet keeners may want to read this earlier version as well, as there is some ethnography and discussion in this piece that does not get carried forward.

This article is available in Spanish in regular PDF format and also as a fanzine.

Abstract (from Altérités, 2010):

Drawing on ethnographic research among activist collectives in Montreal, Quebec, this paper illustrates how two contemporary “anarchist” movements are characterized by gendered divisions of labour, voice, and priorities despite a nominal commitment to “radical democracy” and egalitarian values. Contemporary anarchist activism synthesizes critiques of the State drawn from late 19th and early 20th century anarchist movements, with anti-authoritarian organizational forms developed by feminist movements in the 1970s and 1980s (i.e. consensus decision-making, a focus on “means matching ends”). However, the feminist call for a “politics of everyday life” appears to have been fetishized in systems of formal procedures that govern meetings within the public sphere; process-oriented aspects of feminism have been institutionalized in these new movements, while gender relations remain private and un-interrogated. Key words: anarchism, feminism, gender, social movements.

Basé sur une ethnographie de collectifs anarchistes de Montréal, cet article montre comment, malgré un engagement théorique envers la « démocratie radicale » et l’égalitarisme, une division du travail, des discours et des priorités axées sur le genre traversent l’organisation de ces groupes. L’activisme anarchiste contemporain est une synthèse des critiques de l’État formulées par les mouvements anarchistes de la fin du XIXe siècle et du début du XXe siècle et des formes d’organisation anti-autoritaire prônées par les mouvements féministes des années 1970s et 1980s (processus de prise de décisions consensuelles, attention particulière à « l’harmonie entre les moyens et les buts »). Néanmoins, la revendication par les féministes d’une « politique de la vie quotidienne » semble avoir été fétichisée dans les systèmes formels de procédures qui gouvernent les réunions dans la sphère publique. Si certains aspects procéduraux du féminisme ont été institutionnalisés, les relations entre les sexes demeurent de l’ordre du privé et ne sont pas remis en question. Mots-clés: anarchisme, féminisme, « genre », mouvements sociaux.

Italian translations

Occult Features of Anarchism – With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples (PM Press 2019) was published in Italian by D Editore in 2020, under the title Anarcoccultismo: Dissertazione sulle cospirazioni dei Re e sulle cospirazioni dei popoli.

Also in Italian, see interview with Elisa Lello in Malamente, n.20 (June 2020), “Teorie della cospirazione e critica sociale – Come il complottismo prospera, non sempre a torto, sulle bugie delle élite”, as well as review and discussion with Matteo Lupetti in Vice (November 2020), “Come discutere con una persona che crede alle cospirazioni e dirottarla su problemi reali”.

See also the Italian translation of “The Conspiracy of Kings, Class War and the Coronavirus” originally published in Dope, Spring 2020, at Dzine.

An Italian translation of my eulogy for David Graeber can also be found at Dzine.

Book Launch – Occult Features of Anarchism

Listen to the launch of Occult Features of Anarchism – With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples (PM Press, 2019) at Freedom Bookshop in London, UK, which took place on February 7th 2020. The audio is hosted on Youtube (45 min). Note that the recording has been edited to remove audience participation, including the Q&A, to protect anonymity.