Posts from February 2012

In Their Own Words: Biggest, Baddest Gang on the Block Edition

Chief Inspector Ian Kibblewhite, Borough of Enfield, London, England, quoted by BBC News:

If you make the wrong decision after tonight, trust me, we are coming after you . . . .

We know who you are.

You might have 100 people in your gang — we have 32,000 people in our gang. It’s called the Metropolitan Police.

— Chief Inspector Ian Kibblewhite

… Right. Look, man, you said it, not me.

(Via Lenin’s Tomb, via Charlie Davis 2012-02-11.)

See also:

CFP: “No Master But God”? Exploring the Compatibility of Anarchism and Religion

A Call for Papers, via the NAASN listserv.

Call for paper proposals:

‘No Master But God’? Exploring the Compatibility of Anarchism and Religion

ASN 2.0 (‘Making Connections’) Conference
Loughborough University (UK)
3-5 September 2012

Anarchism and religion have long had an uneasy relationship. On the one hand, many anarchists insist that religion is fundamentally incompatible with anarchism, recalling that anarchism calls for ‘no gods, no masters’, pointing to the many cases of close collaboration of religious and political elites in oppressing and deluding the masses, arguing that religious belief is superstitious, and so on. On the other, some religious/spiritual radicals insist that their religious/spiritual tradition cannot but lead to a rejection of the state, care for the downtrodden and the quest for a more just society – despite of, indeed sometimes precisely because of, the acceptance (by some) of a god as ‘master’.

A number of recent publications both in religious and anarchist studies have focused on religious anarchism, but consideration of their compatibility in the first place has been rarer. The aim of this stream of panels is to explore critically and frankly the relationship and tensions between these two notions, with a view to publish its proceedings in a peer-reviewed edited collection. The size of the stream of panels will depend on the number of applicants, but the intention is to foster mutual engagement and collaboration. Proposals are encouraged from sceptical as well as sympathetic perspectives, the aim being to foster critical discussion of these themes.

Questions which may be addressed include (but are not necessarily restricted to):

  1. Is rejection of religion (and/or spirituality) a sine qua non of anarchism?
  2. What do we mean by ‘religion’, ‘spirituality’ and ‘anarchism’ when considering their relation?
  3. What is unacceptable to anarchism about religion/spirituality, and to religion/spirituality about anarchism?
  4. Are some religious/spiritual traditions inherently more compatible with anarchism than others?
  5. Why do religious institutions tend to move away from the often radical intentions of their original prophets and founders? How does this compare to non-religious institutions?
  6. What explains differences in the reception of religious/spiritual anarchism across different contexts?
  7. To what extent can religious/spiritual anarchists’ deification of religious/spiritual notions (such as ‘God’) be compared to non-religious anarchists’ deification of secular notions (such as freedom or equality)?
  8. What role do (and can) religious/spiritual anarchists play in the wider anarchist movement, and in their wider religious/spiritual tradition?
  9. What can religion/spirituality and anarchism learn from one another’s history and ideas?
  10. Is religious/spiritual anarchism really anarchist? Is it really religious/spiritual?

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words (along with name and eventual institutional affiliation) to Dr Alexandre Christoyannopoulos on a.christoyannopoulos@gmail.com by 31 March 2012 at the very latest. Any questions should also be sent to that address.

Markets Not Capitalism on tour!

So I’ve mentioned already that I did a book event a while back with Roderick back in Auburn, and that I am going to be in Austin, Texas this weekend to do a couple more book events for Markets Not Capitalism. What I’ve been working on, behind the scenes, but haven’t announced publicly yet is that these are just the first two legs in a seat-of-the-pants sort of book tour that I’ve been working to put together over the next few months. In addition to the events this weekend in Austin, there are also confirmed events in late February in and around Nashua, New Hampshire, and in mid-March in Asheville, North Carolina. As with all these events, I’ll be doing a brief talk, a reading, Q&A and book-signing. (In New Hampshire I’ll also be holding down tables at Liberty Forum and AltExpo with a wide selection of left-libertarian and market anarchist literature.)

Editor and contributor Charles Johnson will be here for a discussion of his new book, Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty (Autonomedia, Nov. 2011).

Individualist anarchists believe in mutual exchange, not economic privilege. They believe in freed markets, not capitalism. They defend a distinctive response to the challenges of global capitalism and social justice: eliminate the political privileges that prop up capitalists. The economic crisis needs fresh new responses, which emphasize the ways in which poverty and economic inequality have resulted from collusion between government and big business, which has enriched a few corporate giants at the expense of the rest of us. Rather than turning back to politics, the authors argue that working people must begin to free themselves of the mistakes of the past, and work together to take back control over their own lives and livelihoods through individual freedom, mutual exchange, human-scale markets and nonviolent grassroots social activism. Books for sale, books signed, discussion to be had, Q&A to follow. Come on down!

Charles Johnson (b. 1981) is a market anarchist writer from Auburn, Alabama. He is a member of Occupy Auburn and the Industrial Workers of the World, and a Research Associate at the Molinari Institute. He has published the Rad Geek People’s Daily weblog at radgeek.com since 2001, and is a frequent speaker and columnist on radical responses to the economic crises, stateless social activism, and the philosophy of anarchism.

Here are the dates we’ve got more-or-less confirmed so far:

Interested? I hope I’ll see you somewhere along the road! Come on down to one if you can; invite your friends; spread the word. I’m excited; these events are always a lot of fun, and vital to helping get the word out, and I’d like to do what I can to keep this market anarchist roadshow going as long as can be managed. If you’re interested and able, here’s a couple things that you can do to help keep it running.

  1. Set it up! If you would like to get an event in your neighborhood, and you know a good space to get in touch with, contact me by e-mail or phone! Radical bookstores, infoshops and (A) community centers, and independent community bookstores are usually the best bet, but I’ll show up anywhere I’m invited to talk. I’m especially interested in dates that I might be able to connect with one of the existing appearances — I’m open for any stops along the way from Alabama to New Hampshire during the days before my appearances in Nashua; immediately after the appearance in Nashua, I’m going to be in Chicago, Ill. for other reasons (but if you’re interested in getting an event set up there, I’ll have the time; just let me know!). And I’m happy to add stops to the trip after Asheville in mid-March. (Or anywhere else, after the March 15th appearance.) I’m definitely willing to go just about anywhere east of the Continental Divide; for points West, get in touch with me anyway, as we might be able to hook something up with either me or Gary. Let me know what you think! Hopefully I’ll be adding more details and stops as they come in and get confirmed.

  2. Chip in! If you want to support the progress of the rolling free-market anticapitalist caravan, you can help us out by tossing a few coins into the hat to help cover the costs of transportation and lodging. I’m working on as thin a shoestring as possible, by combining trips, packing a lunch and couch-surfing for crash spaces; with support from y’ALL, I can keep this going a lot longer and make the most of the opportunities to talk about market anarchism and free-market anticapitalism, make connections with local radicals, and put the good word out among our fellow Anarchists.

Here’s the shoestring so far, for reference. (Costs are estimated using AAA’s fuel cost calculator, etc. This budget may be revised as new events are added.) Donations go to the Molinari Institute; any proceeds above reimburseable expenses will go to support left-libertarian scholarship and market anarchist outreach.

Markets Not Capitalism 2012 tour shoestring budget
Cost Description
$290 Austin, Tex. Feb 3-6: Travel expenses. 2 events: Brave New Books and MonkeyWrench Books.
~$0~ Lodging in Austin (crash space secured!)
$210 Nashua, NH. Late Feb. Travel expenses (one way). Multiple events: appearances in and around Liberty Forum and AltExpo 2012, bookstore event(s) TBA.
$50 Lodging en route to Nashua
~$0~ Lodging in Nashua, NH (crash space secured!)
$110 Asheville, NC. March 15. Travel expenses. Firestorm Books in Asheville, NC.
$660 Total costs (estimate as of 3 Feb 2012)

Today Austin, tomorrow the world …