Rad Geek People's Daily

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Rad Geek Speaks: a recording of my talk “What Is Anarchism?” at the 28 January 2009 Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 15 years ago, in 2009, on the World Wide Web.

A couple of weeks ago, I gave an introductory talk on Anarchism at the Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe.

As I mentioned at the time, I made a cheap recording of the talk using the voice-note function on my MP3 player. As previously promised, here is the cheap recording, for your downloading and listening pleasure. I ran long (as I usually do the first time I give a talk), and so didn’t get to cover some of the ground I’d hoped to cover. (Notably, I didn’t spend as much time as I would have liked talking about the reasons why the burden of proof is on the statist, not on the anarchist, and I didn’t get to cover in any explicit or detailed way the reasons why Anarchists oppose all forms of authoritarianism, not just statism itself. This is the first time I’ve given this particular talk, but I hope to give introductory talks like it in the future, so I’ll figure out a way to cover it next time; in the meantime, thoughts, questions, suggestions, and so on are all welcome.


Download: Charles Johnson, What Is Anarchism? Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe, 28 January 2009 (MPEG-3 format)

13 replies to Rad Geek Speaks: a recording of my talk “What Is Anarchism?” at the 28 January 2009 Las Vegas Anarchist Cafe Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Nick Manley


    When school isn’t breathing down my neck, I want to more fully absorb your talk. Until then, let me just say that the ad reminded me of those old Liberty ads for talks or books ( :

  2. Black Bloke

    Whoa, a 40+ MB MP3 file!

    Is there a donation page, or an Amazon wishlist, that’ll help me get you something you need for further talks?

  3. Laura J.


  4. Nick Manley

    6) “(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” –Pat Robertson

    The ultimate anti-anarchist philosopher speaks ( :

    I imagine there are some people in San Francisco who would say “what’s your point, Pat?” minus the equal rights and killing children comment. That’s what struck me. I know people who could fit that description — more or less.

  5. Rad Geek

    Black Bloke,

    Well, there’s the Rad Geek People’s Daily donation page. Alternatively, there’s the Vegas Anarchist Cafe donation page, which is a bit more directly related to the giving of talks. (We have the usual expenses for flyers, plus we’re saving up for a portable lectern.)

  6. Socialprinciple

    This a great talk. As a suggestion for future reference, you might include more on anarchist security and conflict resolution structures. You focus a lot on how the state’s taxing power allows it to do thing that no one would voluntarily fund. This is true, but the natural response might be that non-state groups could just steal or extort, and still fund their activities involuntarily. You mention the anarchist belief in self-defense, but don’t flesh out what this might look like in organized cooperative forms.

    Just a suggestion.

  7. Marja Erwin

    Well, as a Christian, who has no husband to leave, and who cannot bear any fetus to abort, how can I be a true feminist?

    I’m all for lesbianism and destroying capitalism.

  8. Nick Manley

    Looks like you’re only a pseudo-feminist, Marja.

    Sorry. Don’t blame me. Talk to Pat about it.

  9. Less Antman

    I enjoyed the talk a great deal, but if I might make a suggestion, I think you should balance future presentations more by reducing the time you spend on the evils of government and increasing the time you spend on the virtues of anarchism. You obviously have enough solid material to spend all of the time on either topic, but after a while it is like shooting fish in a barrel to add more evidence against government, when what is holding most people back is the “anarchy is chaos” fear.

  10. Rmangum

    Excellent talk. You do a brilliant job of countering the most common objections to anarchism.

    About that guy who said you need to do some more reading or research about Rodney King (at least I think that’s what he was referring to): huh? The only “research” anybody needs is the videotape, which we’ve all seen, showing the cops beating him to a bloody pulp, well out of proportion to anything he may have done. What context, what further information could be revealed which would justify such an act.

    Also, though the state is “just people” and not some organic entity unto itself, those “just people” have are supported by an ideology which gives their actions not only immunity, but respect. The people are ruled by “Mystery, Miracle, and Authority” as Dostoevsky wrote in his “Grand Inquisitor” scene. No group of people would have such power under anarchy, whether under the name “State” or otherwise.

— 2010 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-03-04 – Rad Geek Speaks: “Ask An Anarchist!” TOMORROW, at the Vegas Anarchist Cafe. Las Vegas, Nevada, 5 March 2009, 6:00pm:

    […] GT 2009-02-11: Rad Geek Speaks: a recording of my talk What Is Anarchism? at the 28 January 2009 Las… […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2010-03-29 – Rad Geek Speaks: “Ask An Anarchist!” THURSDAY, at the Vegas Anarchist Cafe. Las Vegas, Nevada, 1 April 2010, 6:00pm:

    […] GT 2009-02-11: Rad Geek Speaks: a recording of my talk What Is Anarchism? at the 28 January 2009 Las… […]

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