An Anarchist Book Club (A.B.C) (1 Viewer)

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Hola Amigos
Welcome to OUR book club and discussion group.
To be simple on rules, be respectful.
I understand political discussion can get heated but attempt to understand before we delve into an attack. We are also not all liberal altruist's, so take that in mind.

Okay, as chosen by one of our members we are reading,

Anarchism and other essays- Emma Goldman.

Dedicating the week of January 25th to discussion of the first essay

Anarchism: What it really stands for

We will read an essay per week, the week starting on Monday, the 25th being the first week.


Please litter the thread with whatever comes to mind as you are reading.

Can't wait to here from you.
 
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A name for Book club is still needed. We can make the process democrat, say the person whose name bid gets the most likes by the last week of February . Make the bid it's own separate reply so we know the likes are for the name bid exclusively.
 

Glass Roads

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Great Idea!

Read the biographical sketch and preface as well. She was sure an interesting and nuanced thinker if she took a little from philosophies like Proudhoun and philosophies like Alexander Berkman and Max Stirner.

"The very fact that most people attend meetings only if aroused by newspaper sensations, or because they expect to be amused, is proof that they really have no inner urge to learn."
This seems to be still a relevant point with many people at more recent movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Not everyone, but I think that's certainly an element still. Reminded me of this great clip of Fred Hampton speaking on this subject
Fred Hampton - On The Importance Of Education Prior To Action - YouTube

her stance on anarchism being a means of clearing of external restraints and letting the following world develop organically is an analysis I hadn't considered in response to the demand of brick by brick plans that often come up when discussing anarchism with the more statist minded. But would that necessitate that all external restraints would have to be cleared at the same time for the following world to develop a system?

"The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality."
This is my first time reading the preface, but I've been guilty of this on this work actually. There is a part of Patriotism: A Menace to Society that one could interpret as a little homophobic, but after a long internet discussion and reading more on her stances on homosexuality outside of that work, it became obvious that it was more a different use of terms back then as opposed to now. I guess Emma called me out on being a tool long before that though lol

"Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organized authority, or statutory law, — the dominion of human conduct."
Got me thinking about what would be the best structure for security in an Anarchist society. Like would it be a rotating democratic position that everyone shared, or would it be more of an individualistic 'everyone should be responsible for themselves and their neighbors at all times' kind of vibe? Is that still 'organized authority', or is she speaking to more of how authority is organized by a select group of people?

Was a good read. Gonna look more into Alexander Berkman, John Most, and Oscar Wilde.

Looking forward to reading next weeks. Wish I had a clever pun idea for the group name
 
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Great Idea!

Read the biographical sketch and preface as well. She was sure an interesting and nuanced thinker if she took a little from philosophies like Proudhoun and philosophies like Alexander Berkman and Max Stirner.

"The very fact that most people attend meetings only if aroused by newspaper sensations, or because they expect to be amused, is proof that they really have no inner urge to learn."
This seems to be still a relevant point with many people at more recent movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Not everyone, but I think that's certainly an element still. Reminded me of this great clip of Fred Hampton speaking on this subject
Fred Hampton - On The Importance Of Education Prior To Action - YouTube

her stance on anarchism being a means of clearing of external restraints and letting the following world develop organically is an analysis I hadn't considered in response to the demand of brick by brick plans that often come up when discussing anarchism with the more statist minded. But would that necessitate that all external restraints would have to be cleared at the same time for the following world to develop a system?

"The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality."
This is my first time reading the preface, but I've been guilty of this on this work actually. There is a part of Patriotism: A Menace to Society that one could interpret as a little homophobic, but after a long internet discussion and reading more on her stances on homosexuality outside of that work, it became obvious that it was more a different use of terms back then as opposed to now. I guess Emma called me out on being a tool long before that though lol

"Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organized authority, or statutory law, — the dominion of human conduct."
Got me thinking about what would be the best structure for security in an Anarchist society. Like would it be a rotating democratic position that everyone shared, or would it be more of an individualistic 'everyone should be responsible for themselves and their neighbors at all times' kind of vibe? Is that still 'organized authority', or is she speaking to more of how authority is organized by a select group of people?

Was a good read. Gonna look more into Alexander Berkman, John Most, and Oscar Wilde.

Looking forward to reading next weeks. Wish I had a clever pun idea for the group name
There was a thread before this one urging people to read the book introduction before the book club started.
 

bote

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I have a tendency to play devil's advocate, if you're not interested in that kind of thing, my main suggestion is that you check out CLR James, I'm learning about him and that informed my response I think.

comments on intro and chapter 1:

I find it unfortunate that she contextualizes her definition of anarchy by presenting it as a solution to a problem. She begins by talking about anarchy as “heralding the approach of a brighter dawn”(p.21), and ends the essay by calling it “[the] living truth that is reconstructing the world […] the Dawn”.(p.29) Dawn with a capital D! Down with the tyranny of punctuation!



She offers sharp, critical analysis of major social problems and a convincing argument for anarchistic principles as viable alternatives to church, property, and statehood. But again, I found myself distracted when she goes beyond description and into the realm of prescription, advocating direct action and culminating in the claim that “Everything illegal necessitates integrity, self-reliance, and courage.”(p.28). This is a debatable claim and tends to weaken her argument overall.



There seem to be two separate threads running through this essay. One thread is an attempt to describe and define political anarchy, which she does beautifully, putting into simple terms many things I feel intuitively but struggle to express. The other thread is her ambition as a propagandist and social activist. In this role, she strives to inspire emotion in the reader so they will adopt a political anarchist stance. This second thread bugs me, even though I basically agree with her on most points.

I listened to a radio program on CLR James recently, he was a Trinidad-born thinker/writer/activist who came after Goldman. Writing on socialism, he deviated from what had been the common wisdom: he didn’t think revolutionary activity should result in the creation of an elite group to represent the masses. To him, that was the repetition of capitalist hierarchy. I don’t know if Goldman is reenacting capitalist hierarchy exactly, but I do sense a paradox in her position. I agree with her that anarchy can be a force for positive social organization, but I remain unconvinced that it can be wielded as a tool: people can be moved to political action by a great writer or orator, but can they be moved to anarchy? I think that the development of anarchistic perspectives and tendencies necessitates specific kinds experiential learning, not only the imparting of theoretical knowledge. Goldman was an anarchist and unquestionably a great writer and orator, but that doesn’t mean that what she was communicating was necessarily a sense of anarchy.
 

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I haven't read Emma in a few years I'll have to buy the book on the 1st. As I remember the essay it is a basic introduction to anarchism. Goldman was primarily a propagandist (not a negative praxis as most westerners view it) who was attempting, with this essay to convince people of the time that there was a problem with the current system and there is a solution. She wasn't trying to push too much theory so as not to turn off the not yet radicalized audience that would be reading it. There are some great quotes from great theorists to provide a minimal introduction which I don't remember if the top of my head. I think that we should look at works like this in our efforts to radicalize youth today. During the last year in Portland during the uprising I spoke to youth who were being radicalized though the violent offensive actions of the police and federal agents. I wasn't going around handing out the bread book but rather recommending Goldman for these exact reasons.
 
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First, I would like to say that I love Emma Goldman’s spirit. The essay is also a great introduction to revolutionary though that I could see planting interest in the minds of many. I want to make the supposition that her writing is not just clever rhetoric created to rile a demographic, but also the extension of a spirit that dedicated herself to her belief’s.
The first thing I noticed was her use of the word ignorance. She spoke of the uneducated masses as being like children, which I simply have an issue with. The emotional erratic states of the human being are found in the educated and uneducated. Truthfully, I think that the intensity of erratic emotion in some educated people are worse felt because of the places that they hold in society. Though I am a proponent of education, it is a simple lack of respect for those who are not concerned with the western virtue that hurts me. Some want to work, have children, and live simple family lives. Why must we push our western virtues on others who want something so much simpler. I think as my Anarchist, I would ask to care for all, not just push an idea of what all should be.

I feel that it weakens her argument that she weighs Anarchism against “other ideas” which she does not speak of, it is unnecessary to start an argument that you are not going to elaborate on. I did heavily enjoy her idea on the individual being the heart and society being the lungs “which are distributing the element to keep the life essence”. Imagine a society where growth of the individual came before capital. Sadly, her arguments in the beginning of her essay seem more romantic, less based on causation. Utilizing her statement “true social harmony grows naturally out of solidarity of interests”. Emma Goldman’s views on free communism worries me, communism usually does on a large scale. Who will sign these social contracts, who will not? Who will gather the signers and isolate the masses who do not agree? Who will separate from leadership and give power and freedom to the masses? The anarcho-communist leaders of the revolutionary change may say “We will separate from our leadership, when the dream of anarcho-communism is realized, power cannot be given to the masses while the masses are still ignorant”.
 
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While reading the second essay I bumped across Emma Goldman's use of the word individualism. In context, the word was being contrasted against the subjugated nature of the masses. My question is, What is individualism?
 

bote

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While reading the second essay I bumped across Emma Goldman's use of the word individualism. In context, the word was being contrasted against the subjugated nature of the masses. My question is, What is individualism?
I just read a book about the performance of white masculinity in skateboarding (rather not get started on that). The term individualism came up a lot, and it seems that in sociology at least, individualism is closely associated with Nationalism and exceptionalism (i.e. "American Dream"). I doubt that this is what Goldman was alluding to and I don't really buy it myself, but I can believe that academics speaking from institutionalized positions would be quick to demonize ideologies that valued individual perspectives over those grounded in institutional critique. So basically, my understanding of individualism in the contemporary academic context, is that it is an ideological position which doesn't articulate an institutional critique.
 
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I just read a book about the performance of white masculinity in skateboarding (rather not get started on that). The term individualism came up a lot, and it seems that in sociology at least, individualism is closely associated with Nationalism and exceptionalism (i.e. "American Dream"). I doubt that this is what Goldman was alluding to and I don't really buy it myself, but I can believe that academics speaking from institutionalized positions would be quick to demonize ideologies that valued individual perspectives over those grounded in institutional critique. So basically, my understanding of individualism in the contemporary academic context, is that it is an ideological position which doesn't articulate an institutional critique.

My mind wants to lean towards the individual and the conditions that create the individual. I feel as if the usual description of individualism takes away from what the human actual is. Honoring the individual that becomes unlike the norm, but not realizing it is the same physiological background (more or less) under different conditions that creates the individual who is culturally normal. I feel that grasping an appropiate definition of the individual brings clarity to an argument that utilizes that idea. I know some people hat the semantics game, i adore it.
 
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There was a thread before this one urging people to read the book introduction before the book club started
Dont mind my response, my head was in the wrong place.
 
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Deleted member 3948

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Great Idea!

Read the biographical sketch and preface as well. She was sure an interesting and nuanced thinker if she took a little from philosophies like Proudhoun and philosophies like Alexander Berkman and Max Stirner.

"The very fact that most people attend meetings only if aroused by newspaper sensations, or because they expect to be amused, is proof that they really have no inner urge to learn."
This seems to be still a relevant point with many people at more recent movements like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. Not everyone, but I think that's certainly an element still. Reminded me of this great clip of Fred Hampton speaking on this subject
Fred Hampton - On The Importance Of Education Prior To Action - YouTube

her stance on anarchism being a means of clearing of external restraints and letting the following world develop organically is an analysis I hadn't considered in response to the demand of brick by brick plans that often come up when discussing anarchism with the more statist minded. But would that necessitate that all external restraints would have to be cleared at the same time for the following world to develop a system?

"The most disheartening tendency common among readers is to tear out one sentence from a work, as a criterion of the writer’s ideas or personality."
This is my first time reading the preface, but I've been guilty of this on this work actually. There is a part of Patriotism: A Menace to Society that one could interpret as a little homophobic, but after a long internet discussion and reading more on her stances on homosexuality outside of that work, it became obvious that it was more a different use of terms back then as opposed to now. I guess Emma called me out on being a tool long before that though lol

"Anarchism directs its forces against the third and greatest foe of all social equality; namely, the State, organized authority, or statutory law, — the dominion of human conduct."
Got me thinking about what would be the best structure for security in an Anarchist society. Like would it be a rotating democratic position that everyone shared, or would it be more of an individualistic 'everyone should be responsible for themselves and their neighbors at all times' kind of vibe? Is that still 'organized authority', or is she speaking to more of how authority is organized by a select group of people?

Was a good read. Gonna look more into Alexander Berkman, John Most, and Oscar Wilde.

Looking forward to reading next weeks. Wish I had a clever pun idea for the group name
Do you think the perfect conditions to develop active societally concerned anarchists could exist on a large scale? If we remove the restraints binding individuals of developing their self would we not end up with a world like it is now. One with varying interests, including those who are willing to harm you for their own. Others who are willing to follow the dominate opinion that peaks their interest. Different factions competing for power, weaker, less well managed factions falling in the competition for resources.
I also feel an individualistic means of security would be best, but i also believe an anarchist society shoul be small.
 
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I haven't read Emma in a few years I'll have to buy the book on the 1st. As I remember the essay it is a basic introduction to anarchism. Goldman was primarily a propagandist (not a negative praxis as most westerners view it) who was attempting, with this essay to convince people of the time that there was a problem with the current system and there is a solution. She wasn't trying to push too much theory so as not to turn off the not yet radicalized audience that would be reading it. There are some great quotes from great theorists to provide a minimal introduction which I don't remember if the top of my head. I think that we should look at works like this in our efforts to radicalize youth today. During the last year in Portland during the uprising I spoke to youth who were being radicalized though the violent offensive actions of the police and federal agents. I wasn't going around handing out the bread book but rather recommending Goldman for these exact reasons.
Should anyone radaclize simply because of the fervor invoked in them from propoghandist literature. Do you think that goldman would not be better used as a spark that pushes the youth to delve deeper into the injustices of our world. Its like nationalist army propaganda igniting the hearts of youth who have only delved into the reasons for that war superficially
 

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I understand your point but I think your misunderstanding what I mean by radicalized. I simply am referring to youth who are left center politicaly and support Democrats who come out to protest and become exposed to leftist anarchist ideas, RADICAL ideas. Yes fascists radicalize people through propaganda and that's bad. Anarchists are also radical and use propaganda to bring people to our cause. The two are not equivalent. We are fighting for the rights and inclusion of everyone. I don't know how the revolution would ever happen without bringing youth to our cause and I don't know any way to do that without taking advantage of opertunities to expose them to leftist philosophy. The algorithm sure a shit isn't going to. It's set up not to. It's not in Google's interest to turn anyone away from capitalism.
 
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I understand your point but I think your misunderstanding what I mean by radicalized. I simply am referring to youth who are left center politicaly and support Democrats who come out to protest and become exposed to leftist anarchist ideas, RADICAL ideas. Yes fascists radicalize people through propaganda and that's bad. Anarchists are also radical and use propaganda to bring people to our cause. The two are not equivalent. We are fighting for the rights and inclusion of everyone. I don't know how the revolution would ever happen without bringing youth to our cause and I don't know any way to do that without taking advantage of opertunities to expose them to leftist philosophy. The algorithm sure a shit isn't going to. It's set up not to. It's not in Google's interest to turn anyone away from capitalism.
My views are bit different here because of my ideology, i choose not to elaborate. So, i am going to respect you and your ideas and step back from this topic.
 

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random interjection here, but i've been discussing making our weekly discord discussions more topical/focused and it does occur to me that this project (anarchist book club) would be a good topic to discuss and would be a great way to promote it and get more people into the club.

in addition to being more topical we're planning on recording our weekly discussions and posting them as a kind of informal podcast. so, if @Roxy or anyone else would be interested in joining us for discussing our favorite anarchist literature one of these weeks i think it would make for a great episode and possibly get more people involved in this book club?

would love to hear your thoughts on this.
 

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Fair enough if you don't want to get into what that is that okay but I think learning others ideas can be one of the most productive things we can do. I'm no great philosopher I simply consume existing ideas, modify then or not and turn them into praxis The sharing of ideas/philosophy is a important part of what we do, so long as we're not attacking each other in the process.
 
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Fair enough if you don't want to get into what that is that okay but I think learning others ideas can be one of the most productive things we can do. I'm no great philosopher I simply consume existing ideas, modify then or not and turn them into praxis The sharing of ideas/philosophy is a important part of what we do, so long as we're not attacking each other in the process.
Well, it relates to the fact that i am an egoist, i fear anyone utilizing propaghanda for their revolution, which for someone differnt may be "our" revolution. When others may say we are fighting for freedom, i say you are fighting for you and yours not mine. The revoultion is for the people, i am not the people. And the people will create what works for the mass, while me and mine undermine that majority rule to create what works for us. Riling up the young reminds me of P.C culture at its current state, exclusive and arrogant, what may occur if young people superficially accept anarchism.

Please objectively respond to my claim. Life is a learning process for everyone.
 
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I do not know if u read the above post by Matt Derrick but


"in addition to being more topical we're planning on recording our weekly discussions and posting them as a kind of informal podcast. so, if @Roxy or anyone else would be interested in joining us for discussing our favorite anarchist literature one of these weeks i think it would make for a great episode and possibly get more people involved in this book club?"
 
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