Friday, October 02, 2009

The following came Molly's way via the 'Ontario' section of the Anarchist Black Cat discussion board. It's originally from the Hamilton Free Skool. Those who are really hep to go about this sort of thing may be disappointed because of a)the strange restriction of the 'classes' to a maximum of 15 people and b)the fact that they have missed the first sessions. As to Molly's point of view I don't think you have missed much if you have missed "the perspective of decolonizing and addressing hierarchies and privilege in our own positions". I do admit that, reading onwards, that this seems to have some sort of special reference to academia. Fine, great. I can think of worse things that academics could do. All that I would ask is that such self-mortification be confined to the leprosia of academia. It hasn't been in the past.

I know, I know, I know. The lure of asceticism is both immortal and inevitable, no matter how much I may personally dislike it. I will die and it will still go on and on, just like the Roman Catholic Church. For myself I am a great believer in "personal discipline", but I am an equally great believer in the futility of self abnegation as both a path to a better personal life and, especially , as some sort of "politics". Personally I find it aesthetically disgusting. The general trend of "the left", anarchist and otherwise, over its history has been 'hedonistic' in that it has said that pleasure is a human right and that its enjoyment should be as general as possible. There have, of course, been deviations from this general trend. The most notable has been the cult of the "professional revolutionary", formulated by Nechaev but best exemplified in Leninism. More recently the cult of the "guilty radical" has spread from its epicentre in the US academy across the world, along with other culture industry industrial waste from the USA. The former deviation makes more sense in the end than the latter as the latter contains the myth that by such confession of sins that one is actually somehow, by some means of sympathetic magic, contributing to some presumed end goal. The former aimed at seizing power and changing things. Of course I disagree with both their means and their ends, but they are above the latter because the "ends" of the latter are nothing but the feeling of self justification, and the means are, to say the least, repulsive.

Every time I read any such thing like "privilege in our own position" a vast number of images come flooding into my mind. St. Anthony of the Desert up on his pillar. Flagellants during the Black Death. Christian pilgrims walking barefoot up a stony mountain in Ireland for the doctrine that was taught them by a paedophilic clergy. Shia pilgrims whipping themselves in a "Holy" city in Iraq for the doctrine taught them by a clergy who do their best to avoid the risks and discomforts that they say others should take. People crucifying themselves in the Philippines for the sake of a set of images manipulated by a clergy that has robbed them for half a century. The images could be endless.

Personally I cannot !!!! see how a left can be a left while it advocates useless psychological gamesmanship that says one section of those it appeals to (unfortunately the greatest section of those it appeals to) should engage in endless public confessions of guilt and try and become "less privileged"(without, of course, ever actually giving away its money-that deserves endless repetition) while, at the same time, saying that others that it hopes to appeal to (but rarely does today) are entitled to all possible gratification and are under no moral rules at to both what they want and how they intend to obtain it. I know. I know. I know. This nonsense is a cover for a great hypocrisy, and the desire for power can be fulfilled in many different ways, and our present leftist crew is no better in that regard than the idiot Maoists of the Weather Underground (some actually hold them as heroes to this day) who were willing to undergo all sorts of debasement as long as they could build a prison state in the USA ala Maoist China. In the time of the Weathermen, like today, the great unwashed have a very common sense attitude of scepticism towards such saviors, no matter how much they may mortify themselves. As a matter of fact another facet of common sense says that..."anyone who is willing to voluntarily and without necessity make themselves suffer will probably/certainly make others suffer ten times as much if they have the opportunity". Those who advocate such things obviously have no comprehension of the distrust that their actions generate, let alone how weird they look.

Here's the long awaited report on the classes.
Freeskool class on anarchist theory !!!:
Weekly discussion group,year long salon style (alternating between Toronto and Hamilton--you're welcome to either or both, but be sure to rsvp

Anarchist food for your minds and tummies. We'll start from the perspective of decolonizing and addressing hierarchies and privilege in our own positions, move on to a discussion of the evolution of anarchist political thought, and from there go about the business of changing the world.

We'll make the meals, & you're invited to bring sides, desserts, wines, if you like. At the very least, bring your thoughts.

Tuesday Sept 22, Hamilton
Tuesday Sept 29, Toronto

Enrollment is limited to 15 to facilitate more productive discussion, and also to so that the food making is easier. RSVP to

Also, if you're interested in just a few specific classes, also don't hesitate to contact us and we'll do our best to make space

Dinner and Theory Syllabus
(facilitated by Tammy & Niki)
…anarchism presents the appearance, not of a swelling stream flowing on to its sea of destiny…but rather of water percolating through porous grounds-here forming for a time a strong underground current, there gathering into a swirling pool, trickling through crevices, disappearing from sight, and then re-emerging where the cracks in the social structure may offer it a course to run”.
~ George Woodcock

Addressing Hierarchy in Research and Academia: Privilege, Patriarchy and Colonialism

Part 1: (Sept 22 Hamilton; Sept 29 Toronto)

Peter Gelderloos- ‘What We Mean by Oppression’

David Graeber- ‘Turning Modes of Production Inside Out: Or, Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery’ (chapter from ‘Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy Rebellion and Desire’)

Ashar Latif and Sandra Jeppesen- ‘Toward an Anti-Authoritarian Anti-Racist Pedagogy’ (chapter from ‘Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization’)

Part 2: (Oct 6 Hamilton; Oct 13 Toronto)

Linda Tuhiwai Smith- “Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples” (excerpts)

Practical Engagements:

(Oct 20 Hamilton; Oct 27 Toronto)

Andrej Grubacic & David Graeber- ‘Anarchism, or The Revolutionary Movement of the 21th Century’

Colectivo Situaciones- ‘On the Researcher-Militant’ (chapter from ‘Utopian Pedagogy: Radical Experiments against Neoliberal Globalization’)

Uri Gordon- ‘Practicing Anarchist Theory: Toward a Participatory Political Philosophy’ (chapter from ‘Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization’)

Suggested Further Reading:
Starhawk- ‘Webs of Power: Notes from Global Uprising’
Benjamin Franks- 'Rebel Alliances: The means and ends of contemporary British anarchisms'

Why Anarchism, why now? :

(Nov 3 Hamilton; Nov 10 Toronto)

Ron Sakolsky- ‘Teaching Anarchy’ (chapter from ‘Creating Anarchy’)
Uri Gordon- ‘Anarchism Reloaded’
Brian Martin- ‘Anarchist Theory: What Should Be Done?’ (article from ‘Anarchist Studies’ , Volume 15-2, 2007).

Suggested Further Reading:

Uri Gordon- ‘Anarchy Alive! Anti-Authoritarian Politics from Practice to Theory’
Crimethinc- 'Days of War, Nights of Love: Crimethinc For Beginners'

** For those interested Uri Gordon will be in both Toronto and Hamilton promoting this new book. October 10th in Toronto hosted by Upping the Anti, location still to be announced, and October 11th in Hamilton at the Skydragon, 7pm.

Visions of Anarchism: The Classics

Part 1: (Nov 17 Hamilton; Nov 24 Toronto)

Mikhail Bakunin- ‘God and the State’ (excerpts)
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon- ‘What is Property’ (excerpts)

[December Break]

Part 2: (Jan 5 Hamilton; Jan 12 Toronto)

Emma Goldman- ‘Anarchism: What it Really Stands for?’
Errico Malatesta- ‘Anarchy’ (excerpts)

Suggested Further Reading:

Max Stirner- ‘The Ego and His Own’
Voltairine de Cleyre- ‘Direct Action’

Mutual Aid: From Theory to Practice

(Jan 19 Hamilton; Jan 26 Toronto)

Peter Kropotkin- ‘Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution’ (experts)
Rebecca Solnit- ‘A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster’ (excerpts)

Under the paving stones, the beach: The Situationists

(Feb 2 Hamilton; Feb 9 Toronto)

Raoul Vaneigem- ‘The Revolution of Everyday Life’ (excerpts)

Suggested Further Reading:

Guy Debord- ‘The Society of the Spectacle’
Ken Knabb eds.- ‘Situationist International Anthology’

Green Anarchy: Social Ecology

(Feb 16 Hamilton; Feb 23 Toronto)

Giorel Curran- ‘Greening Anarchy: Social Ecology’ (chapter from ‘21st Century Dissent: Anarchism, Anti-Globalization and Environmentalism’)

Suggested Further Reading:

Murray Bookchin- ‘The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy’

Down With Civilization!- Anarcho-primitivism/ Anti-civ anarchism

(March 2 Hamilton; March 9 Toronto)

John Zerzan- Running on Emptiness- ‘The Pathology of Civilization’(excerpts)
Derrick Jensen- ‘Endgame Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization’ (excerpts)

Suggested Further Reading:

Jesus Sepulveda- ‘The Garden of Peculiarities’

Down with the State, Down with Patriarchy: Anarcha-feminism

(March 16 Hamilton; March 23 Toronto)

Peggy Kornegger- ‘Anarchism: The Feminist Connection’ (chapter from Reinventing Anarchy, Again ed. Howard J. Ehrlich)
Dark Star Collective- ‘Quiet Rumors: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader’ (excerpts)

Suggested Further Reading:

Susan Brown- ‘. The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism and Anarchy’

Poststructural Anarchism:

Part 1:

(March 20 Hamilton; April 6 Toronto)

Todd May- ‘The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism’(excerpts)
Gabriel Kuhn- ‘Anarchism, postmodernity, and poststructuralism’ (chapter from ‘Contemporary Anarchist Studies- An Introductory Anthology of Anarchy in the Academy’)

Part 2:

(April 13 Hamilton; April 20 Toronto)

Dave Morland- ‘Anti-capitalism and poststructuralist anarchism’ (chapter from ‘Changing Anarchism: Anarchist theory and practice in a global age’ eds. Jonathan Purkis and James Bowen)
Benjamin Franks- ‘Postanarchism: A critical assessment’ (Journal of Political Ideologies, June 2007, 12(2), 127-145)

Suggested Further Reading:

Saul Newman- ‘From Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power’
Hakim Bay- ‘The Temporary Autonomous Zone’

Autonomist Marxism:

(April 27 Hamilton; May 4 Toronto)

John Holloway- ‘Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today’ (excerpts)

Suggested Further Reading:

International Institute for Research and Education (eds.) ‘Change the world without taking power?…or take power to change the world?: A debate on strategies to build another world’

Further Suggested Reading:

Sylvere Lotringer and Christian Marazzi eds.- ‘Autonomia: Post-Political Politics’

Hegemonic or post-hegemonic Politics: Is Gramsci Dead?

(May 11 Hamilton; May 18 Toronto)

Richard J.F. Day- ‘Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements’ (excerpts)
Kate Crehan- ‘Gramsci, Culture and Anthropology’ (excerpts)

Further Suggested Reading:

Antonio Gramsci- ‘The Prison Notebooks’

On the Question of Violence:

(May 25 Hamilton; June 1 Toronto)

Peter Gelderloos- ‘How Nonviolence Protects the State’ (excerpts)
Ward Churchill- ‘Pacifism as Pathology’ (excerpts)
(Gotta interupt here. Seems like there is a considerable deficit of any argument from the other side in these readings or even any cautionary tales that violence is not always desireable- Molly )

Further Suggested Reading:

Craig Rossebraugh- 'The Logic of Political Violence: Lessons in Reform and Revolution'

Animals and Anarchy:

(June 8 Hamilton; June 15 Toronto)

Steven Best- ‘Rethinking Revolution: Total Liberation, alliance politics,and a prolegomenon to resistance movements in the twenty-first century’ (chapter from ‘Contemporary Anarchist Studies- An Introductory Anthology of Anarchy in the Academy’)
Bob Torres- ‘Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights’

Further Suggested Readings:

Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella- ‘Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?’
Brian A. Dominick- ‘Animal Liberation and Social Revolution’

Anarchy and Utopia: Alternative Societal Visions

(June 22 Hamilton; June 29 Toronto)

Chris Spannos (eds.)- ‘Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century (excerpts)
Werner Bonefeld (eds.)- ‘Subverting the Present, Imagining the Future’(excerpts)

Further Suggested Readings:

Micheal Albert- ‘Parecon
Ursual le Guin- ‘The Dispossessed

(For more awesome free courses, everything from french to exploratory movement and beyond see



I came into this item in an argumentative mood, and it seems I will go out of it as well. The first and most obvious thing, perhaps the only thing, that impressed me about this collection of classes is just how incredibly, astronomically, cosmically detached it is from subjects that might actually concern the average person. The only dip into a certain segment of public opinion is over "animal liberation". A lot of people whom are outside of the leftist subculture care about this issue, but I seriously doubt that this is some sort of platfrom to build a free society. As for the rest...where is the traditional concern of anarchism with the majority of the people ? Nowhere to be seen. Union organization. Community organization. The role of an anarchist organization. Even individual liberties.

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