Featured Anarchy newbie, recommended reads?

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#1
Hello all, I've become interested in the anarchy movement from my time here on StP and would like to read up on it. Could someone recommend a low-bias book on the basics? I'm left wing, university level comprehnsion, and prefer Toronto Star and CBC if that helps. Thanks!
 

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Matt Derrick

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#5
Second on crimethinc stuff, it's my favorite. I also recommend their podcast, The Ex-Worker. It was my introduction into radical politics
 

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#6
Interesting how for most folks it must be post education education... anarchism that is... and many kinds of free thought.

Well I don't have a specific book... but... I do recommend stp... not just the site but the concepts and interactions here that will lead you to further explore.
 
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#7
Ooh oh, my favorite subject. I'm not really sure "dry" anarchist literature exists, but that may be due to my proclivities, there is a unique "evocative" quality that imo is special unto the "classical anarchist canon."

https://theanarchistlibrary.org/

What is Anarchist Communism by Alexander Berkman. It's the best starting point imo. Also check out his prison memoir.

Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin

Not strictly anarchist, but Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell captures the spirit of living anarchism beautifully.

Toward the Creative Nothing by Renzo Novatore. He's a strict nihilist and anti-leftist, but strands of individualist anarchism evolved concurrently and within the same historical discourse as anarchist communism. The two schools of thought influence and inspire the other, this point is illustrated by the current manifestation of anarchism called 'post-left anarchy'. Max Stirner is also a very important philosopher in anarchism.

Against His-Story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman. This is considered the starting point for the anti-civilization and primitivist critique. It's a very eye opening and perspective challenging presentation of the history of humanity.

Anarchism today is pretty much a constant argument and banter between the leftists, individualists, and greens. Do note that although the discourse can get heated, and it sometimes appears that these different tendencies hate each other, it's all par for the course. Left, individualist, and green thought are the driving forces of anarchism and they intermingle and form a synthesis.

For the more spiritually inclined I'd throw in Walden, the works of Emile Armand, and Tolstoy's Christian anarchism.

The Spanish Revolution, Spanish anarchism

It's really a huge field with it's own history, historical figures, and struggles. There is a wide scope of different tendencies within each subschool as well. In the case of anarchist communism you have the strict pro-organizational platformists and pro-labour syndicalists vs. anti-organizational insurrectionaries who are more individualist orientated. They aren't opposed to each other they just place emphasis on different things.

Final edit: If you have any questions I'll happily give my view. I've been studying this shit for years and honesty feel like an "ethnic anarchist" lol. It was actually a random piece on CBC radio about the Spanish Revolution that brought my attention to anarchism.
 
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#9
I can't add much to @bazarov 's post here. Great summary. Cannot emphasize the importance of Renzo and Stirner.

If you are into philosophy at all, I may even add, as detestable as I find most "postmodern" discourse coming out of universities to be, reading Lyotard can offer an interesting foundation for Stirner and the egoist position, particularly his bit on the Postmodern Condition. One gets the impression that modernity has been a corrosive on traditional values that once acted as the "glue" that held western civ together, and through Reason and a defiant (but limited) individualism, we now arrive at a post-modern nihilism, where culture cannot offer us anything because none of us have a "common language" anymore. Societies fragmented into factions and subcultures, and each of those subcultures decayed to the point of ceasing to function as communities (generally), leaving each individual with his or her own world.
With this sort of a view on society's current state, no collectivist or leftist project makes much sense - and so you can see the importance of approaching anarchy from a radically egoist or individualist perspective.
 
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#10
I'd like to thank everyone for their input. I've sourced most of recommended content and slowly working my way through it. I'm 10 pages into "The Most Dangerous Superstition" and absolutely love it.

@Hillbilly Castro that was very well explained! I'll be reading the post-modern condition before Renzo and Stirner.

I forgot to ask now that so much material has been suggested, is there an author/book I should start with first? Any that's more foundational?
 

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#11
Evasion and Off The Map from Crimethinc were good.
i enjoyed off the map, but i don't really consider evasion to be 'anarchist' and it's author is pretty sexist; his favorite quote (he told it to me several times) was that the best scam he ever invented was a girlfriend...

without turning this into an anti-evasion thread, let's just say there's a huge list of reasons why crimethinc doesn't sell that book anymore.
 

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#12
@Matt Derrick

I read it like a decade ago and it was probably my first exposure to anarchist travel culture and scamming corporations. I suppose it didn't age well, and I was kind of a fucker back then so I probably wouldn't have even noticed the author's weird sexist bullshit.
 

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@Matt Derrick

I read it like a decade ago and it was probably my first exposure to anarchist travel culture and scamming corporations. I suppose it didn't age well, and I was kind of a fucker back then so I probably wouldn't have even noticed the author's weird sexist bullshit.
It's definitely way less obvious in the book than it is meeting them in person so I wouldn't feel too bad about it.
 
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#14
Ok I’ll be the hipster dork who recommends the coming insurrection (I have only read parts of its sequels, “to our friends” and “now”). Punchy, a quick read, contemporary, a good blend of theory made intelligible with ideas for concrete projects and commentary on current world conditions/trends. I think a lot of people who scoffed at TCI would be pretty shocked at how much it accurately diagnosed and predicted since coming out in 2006 or so- a lot of radicals even laughed then at the idea we were on the verge of global chaos, but, here we are...”desert” is an interesting read (from completely different authors) on anarchism in the age of climate collapse.
I second “against leviathan”, it’s a very provocative rereading of the trajectory of western civilization. (Avoid Derrick Jensen at all costs though!!)

There are tons of manifestos and theoretical texts there about how things ought to be, histories of failed movements in the past ... I tend to be more interested in attempts to toss preconceptions and wrestle with the present and its potentials.
 
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#15
No Treason is a good collection of 3 essays by Lysander Spooner, written about 70 years after the ratification of the constitution. The essay titled Constitution of No Authority is worth reading, especially if you're new to anarchism.
 
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