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Down at the Barn, we have a few ‘zines we can always recommend. Many of these are our sister publications in the Allied Press Syndicate (a radical newswire & publishing coalition). These include the Asheville Global Report and Clamor. We also trade copies on a regular basis with revolutionary mags like the Earth First! Journal, Slingshot, Anarchy, and Green Anarchy (an impressive, intelligent, insurrectionary ‘zine that has matured amazingly well since I prematurely dismissed it as macho rubbish in late 2002).
While often more leftist than anarchist, publications like the Northeastern Anarchist, Arsenal, and stuff from the Institute for Anarchist Studies often provide excellent writing, information, and fodder for ideological debate. From the left-of-center “mainstream,” every ‘zine librarian should look at the likes of Utne, The Nation, and Harpers, with the latter providing its incredible index and the best writing intellectual liberals have provided in decades. For the gender-conscious among us, our friends RFD and Bitch provide staples. Now, for a book…
An amazing academic contribution to the anthropology of punk rock, Steven Taylor’s False Prophet: Fieldnotes from the Punk Underground (2003, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT 0659) shows what happens when a genius guitar player from the freakish Fugs and Allen Ginsberg’s back-up band (they jammed with The Clash!) joins a Lower East Side anarcho-artcore ensemble. While not as notorious as Dead Kennedys, MDC, or Crass, the Prophets made an important contribution to Reagan-Bush era anarchist music and culture.
Taylor’s reflection on the late ’80s and early ’90s is offered in three distinct ways: first, he shares excellent analytical essays on the politics and meaning of punk; then, he shares raw excerpts from his 1988-1993 journal; finally, he sweetens the package by including a CD of some of the Prophets best material. All of this makes for a juicy collection. His dispatches from Europe offer insight into the vibrancy of the squatters’ culture and his frank discussion of band dynamics are a balance between sobering critique and romantic recollection.
His best insight comes in the essay “Deliberate Amnesia: Punks Origin Myths.” Here, he shows how the 1960s made punk possible as a continuation of (not a reaction to) the innovations that included Happenings, the Fugs, St. Marks Church, and the MC5. Even though “many punks situate themselves as anti-hippie,” Taylor points out that “punk’s antagonistic stance, subject matter, gender-bending, and imperative to self-invention” owes some props to the aging hippies, surrealists, and beatniks who rekindled the Wobbly-esque anarchist culture.
Today, Taylor can be found keeping the spirit of Ginsberg alive at Naropa’s notorious Jack Kerouac school, a place where FE contributors are known to turn up disguised as poets and professors.
The editors of We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-Capitalism (by Notes from Nowhere, Verso 2003, www.versobooks.com) introduce the project as “an activist anthology and a grassroots history, agitational collage .and direct action manual. It traces the anti-capitalist movements from their emergence in 1994 to the present, documenting the rise of the unprecedented global rebellion—a rebellion which is in constant flux, which swaps ideas and tactics across oceans, shares strategies between cultures and contingents, gathers in swarms and dissolves, only to swarm again elsewhere.”
Upon first glimpse, the pages are filled with beautiful and inspirational photographs including “riot porn,” liberated children, radical cheerleaders, and empowered Zapatista hermanas. Timelines grace the bottom pages throughout the first chapter, charting global events and victories. Inspirational gems crammed into sidelines and bylines make the perfect anarchist bathroom material, framing powerful essays about diverse struggles from guerrilla gardens to the streets of Genoa. This is a scrapbook devoted to the last 10 years of the anti-globalization movement and is an invitation to delve deeper.
Personal journal entries reveal the individual faces behind the mass movement. This book shares intimate feelings behind actions so successful they seem to stem from a hive mind, showing the delicate balance between individuality and collectivism. Real people are sharing real experiences of fear, failure, joy, unity, and ultimately triumph. We Are Everywhere lends an antidote to anyone who’s ever asked the question ” What can I do? I’m just one person” and answers it with a resounding, ” I am Marcos!”
A reader gets an inside look into convergence spaces, community gardens, street reclamation projects, and direct action affinity group meetings. It’s enough to make any non-activist wonder why they’re missing out on all the fun. As someone married to the revolution, I embrace and applaud the beauty and ingenuity of my comrades around the world. It strengthens my connection and personal relationship with people I may never meet.
This book is a response for anyone who may have questioned whether anarchy could really work. Well, the answer becomes glaringly obvious as you read page after page of victory; it’s already working in a community near you. “We are everywhere”!
A collection of essays by Fredy Perlman has been translated into Serbian and published in Belgrade. Anarhija/blok 45 is the imprint of the editorial collective that published this book. The group distributes its publications free—suggesting that interested readers offer a publication in exchange for one of theirs. They have also published Serbian translations of works by Bob Black, Pierre Clastres, Marshall Sahlins, Guy Debord and Jacques Camatte.