Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fred Woodworth is the publisher of the longest continually published anarchist magazine on the North American continent. Through thick and through thin since 1969 Fred has been fighting the forces of statism and authoritarian, and doing it in a rational and artistic way. The Match ! , typeset, laid out and printed without the soiled hands of computers, is always a visual and intellectual treat. Woodworth hates these machines, and the degradation that they inflict on the printer's art. Some days I can see what he means. Like today, when I tried to load the front cover of the latest issue onto this site using a scanner that doesn't seem to want to produce gif files. Ah, the time wasted ! The graphic above is from a previous issue.
The content of The Match ! is always stimulating, and the latest issue is no exception. For those of us very much wound up in "social anarchism", opposing this or that business or government atrocity it is instructive to every once in awhile travel back to our roots, to the reason why we are "anarchists", and not everyday lefties. It's instructive to remember that, at all times and places, the individual is the most oppressed minority". Without this reminder the organizations we create, the goals we fight for (and occasionally achieve) will end up as nothing but recycled copies of the authoritarianism that we oppose. No amount of rhetoric imported from "new movements", no cultish "consciousness-raising", no essentially meaningless babble from those who think they have "gone beyond anarchism", no bureaucratic checks and balances on the part of the more rational will replace the individual commitment to liberty. Woodworth has, for decades, presented this essential core of what anarchism is in a lucid and logical form. He keeps on talking because there is still so much to criticize.
The Match ! is very much a personal journal, but a perusal of the numerous letters in what Fred calls "The World's Largest Letters Column" shows that his efforts reach large numbers of ordinary people that all too many anarchist projects fail to appeal to (often they repulse, sometimes quite deliberately, anybody outside of a charmed circle). Woodworth has a fiery hate on for such things as the police and religion, and he makes sure that every issue contains items pointing out the brutality and mendacity of same. "Who the Police Beat" is a regular column that has been running for years. My favourite column, however, is the "Crap Detection Department", and Woodworth spares no sacred cows. All such manure machines, from cheap scams, to expensive corporate gizmos, from jargon laden verbal feces in the major newspapers to the same sort of thing dolled up as "anarchism".
Try out The Match ! if you want to think for yourself. You may not agree with everything Fred says- I don't-, but you will find the opinions expressed far more stimulating than the usual political dreck. No, The Match ! can't be ordered via the internet (what did I say about Fred and computers?), only from its physical address:
The Match !
Box 3012
Tuscon, Arizona
Another little speed bump you should be aware of- Woodworth also hates banks ie "no cheques". He is always open to providing free samples, but any donations-The Match ! is "priceless"- should be in cash. Yeah, I know, but Fred is willing to take the chance of mail theft over the certainty of theft via "service" charges via the banks. Another stand by one of the most principled people on Earth.

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