Radical media, politics and culture.

"Old Bottles, New Wine:

Renewing the Anarchist Tradition"

Will Weikart

Anarchists today are relatively united by our dual commitment to anti-capitalism and anti-statism and the general feel that both are necessary in themselves but also insufficient in themselves.

"Fragility, Body, Love:

A Practical Lexicon for the Italian Effect, a
Conference in Sydney on the Influence of Radical Italian Thought over the
Past Decade"

Britt Neilson & Ida Dominijanni

[The following reviews of the Italian Effect conference (9–11 September
2004) were published in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto on 28
September, 2004. These are collaborative translations, written after discussion between the
authors. The first is Britt Neilson's translation of Ida's piece in Il Manifesto. The
second is the English version of Neilson's piece, which has been slightly altered
after reading Ida's translation for Il Manifesto. They are both archived in Italian here and here.]

"From the Italian Laboratory of the 1970s

To the Global Laboratory of a
Politics Opposed to the Forms of War"

Ida Dominijanni

There is an effect of globalisation that neither its most enthusiastic
advocates nor its most apocalyptic critics manage to specify exactly; that
is, what it provokes on the plane of thought. As in other fields,
technology here tells us a lot but not everything. What we confront is not
simply improved ease of communication and the diffusion of ideas, sources,
and texts. With the exchange of experiences and direct contact with people,
contexts, places, times, and other seasons comes a different mode of
production of thought. Contrary to common belief, this effect is neither
one of bland homogenisation nor easy contamination. Rather there is a risky
but fruitful displacement that changes perspectives, alters dimensions,
adds importance to neglected particularities, forces a rough confrontation
with unfamiliar forms of otherness, and liberates mental associations that
have been held under the surface. In Sydney, in the course of an
international conference dedicated to the 'Italian effect' on radical
political thought, all of this occurred, thanks partly to the welcoming
environment of a 'global city' in which multicultural exchanges and
translations (linguistic, political, and artistic) are at once an everyday
necessity and a virtue.

Les C. Kressi writes:

"Double Crossing Back"
A Review Essay of the 2004 Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference


Part One: Send in the Spies?

Where is cultural studies?

Well it seemed like it was hiding in public at the headlining events of Crossroads. The two keynote speeches prompted a combined total of three questions. A star-studded plenary talk on the last day began almost twenty minutes late. "Why?" you may ask — was someone missing? were there technological problems? did someone forget their materials? None of the above. The speakers and the panel chair were standing and breezily chatting, while gazing at the audience. It was obvious, as one audience member observed, that they were disappointed with the turnout and were turning to the standard rock concert delay technique. The plenary was indeed one of the best moments of the entire conference, with provocative, engaging, and bold ideas. All the more reason it was baffling that Q&A almost didn't happen, as the silence went for so long the session almost closed. Three questions did eventually emerge, one of which came out of "friendship" from an audience member seeking to give a speaker a chance to talk. The paucity of questions, as well as the timidity of dialogue throughout the conference, makes one want to ask "Dude where's my conflict?"

Jungle Fever

Marshall Sahlins, Washington Post Book World
[Dec. 10, 2000]

Reviewing Darkness in El Dorado

How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon

By Patrick Tierney

Norton. 417 pp. $27.95

Guilty not as charged.

Well before it reached the bookstores, Patrick Tierney's Darkness in El Dorado set off a flurry of publicity and electronic debate over its allegations that, at about the same time American soldiers were carrying out search-and-destroy missions in the jungles of Vietnam, American scientists were doing something like research-and-destroy by knowingly spreading disease in the jungles of Amazonia. On closer examination, the alleged scientific horror turned out to be something less than that, even as it was always the lesser part of Tierney's book. By far the greater part is the story, sufficiently notorious in its own right, of the well-known anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon: of his work among the Yanomami people of Venezuela and his fame among the science tribe of America.

A Review of "The Take"

Daniel Morduchowicz, ZNet

In the early 90’s, Argentina was largely regarded in the mainstream as
the poster child for neoliberal globalization. Time magazine announced,
in one of its covers, “Menem’s Miracle”, referring to the country’s
president at the time and his success in turning the economy around
after many decades of serious downturn. Moreover, he did so by adhering
strictly to the mandates of the IMF and the World Bank, privatizating
everything in sight and putting every state owned company up for a fire

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Toward an American Revolutionary Praxis"

Geert Dhondt, The New Formulation

Reviewing: How the Irish Became

By Noel Ignatiev

New York: Routledge, 1995

Race Traitor

By Noel Ignatiev and John Garvey (editors)

New York: Routledge, 1996


The Lesson of The Hour: Wendell

on Abolition and Strategy

By Noel Ignatiev (editor)

Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 2001.

[O]f all struggles in which a popular
victory would fatally weaken U.S. Capitalism, the fight against White Supremacy
is the one with the greatest chance of success. — Noel Ignatiev(1)

One hundred years ago, W.E.B. Dubois wrote in The
Souls of Black Folk
that “The problem of the twentieth century is
the problem of the color line.” How has this analysis from one of this
nation’s greatest revolutionary intellectuals influenced American anarchism?
Not much, I guess. Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman, for example, did not
write much on the “Negro Question,” nor did many of their contemporaries
in the heyday of the anarchist movement. While the Industrial Workers of the
World (IWW) were a welcome exception to this phenomenon, most of the revolutionary
proletariat did not pay much attention to the color line. The famous Eugene
V. Debs even stated that revolutionary politics was “white men’s
business.” In the late 19th century and early 20th century, much of the
revolutionary proletariat—in which the anarchist movement was based—was
from Europe or of European decent and their outlook and experiences reflected
these origins. The European immigrants brought with them anarchism and other
revolutionary traditions from Europe, but—of course—this here is
not Europe; the United States, while part of this global capitalist system,
has its own peculiar development, with its own fault lines and its own revolutionary
heritage, and U.S. anarchists are frequently much less familiar with it than
with the European revolutionary tradition. Anarchists in the United States tend
to know more about Russia’s Makhnovist movement or the details of the
Spanish Civil War than about—for example—the Abolitionist Movement,
the Reconstruction era, or the Civil Rights Movement. The New Abolitionists,
with their Journal Race Traitor, are a refreshing exception to this.
They are looking not to the European revolutionary legacy to imagine the possibility
of social revolution in this country, but instead look at America’s own
revolutionary tradition, to people such as the Abolitionists and the Wobblies,
to try figure out a strategy for revolution in the belly of the beast.

New Abolitionist politics have had an increasing
influence on the anarchists in the United States. The politics were present
in the now defunct Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation,(2) they
have influenced the new revolutionary group that is forming around the Bring
the Ruckus Draft Proposal
(3) and they have had some influence in the Northeastern
Federation of Anarcho-Communists. This book review will look at three books
by New Abolitionist Noel Ignatiev.

"Witches of the 'First International'"

Steven Colatrella

Reviewing Caliban and the Witch:

Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

Silvia Federici [Autonomedia, Brooklyn, 2004]

During the 16th and 17th century, hundreds of thousands of women were burned as witches across Europe. This holocaust, unprecedented in the history of any society before or since, is at the center of this brilliant new book by Silvia Federici, an early opponent of the IMF's role in Third World countries and veteran feminist theorist. This book is the most important new work on the origins of capitalism to appear in thirty years, since Immanual Wallerstein's The Modern World System. For activists today, Caliban and the Witch is more relevant and useful to our anticapitalist struggles and movements. For the inspiration for the book came from the author's years in Nigeria where she witnessed and participated in struggles against IMF and World Bank structural adjustment and privatization of land and resources. The book is part and parcel of the anticapitalist globalization movement (or global justice movement) and links the struggles at the dawn of the capitalist era with those in Chiapas, in Bolivia, in the oil fields of southern Nigeria, in the forests of Indonesia, against privatization of communally owned land and wealth.

Chuck Morse writes: From: The New Formulation: An Anti-Authoritarian Review of Books - Volume Two, Number Two --- Winter Spring 2004

New Argentine Social Movements:

Logic and History

Review by Fernando López

Hipótesis 891. Más allá de los piquetes (Hypothesis 891: Beyond the Pickets)
By Colectivo Situaciones and MTD de Solano
Buenos Aires: De Mano en Mano, 2002

Genealogía de la revuelta. Argentina: la sociedad en movimiento
(Genealogy of the Revolt: Argentina,
Society in Movement)
By Raúl Zibechi
Montevideo-La Plata-Buenos Aires:
Nordan-Letra Libre, 2003

In the last decade Argentines
have been witnesses to and victims of the collapse of the system bequeathed
by the dictatorship of 1976-1983. This system was prolonged by Alfonsín’s
post-dictatorship “hostage democracy,” culminated in the
robbery during Menem’s rule of 1989-1999, and was continued by
De la Rúa. It established immunity for a small group that concentrated
the country’s scarce resources in a few hands while condemning
a third of the population to social exclusion. Faced with this brutality,
our society generated varied and novel forms of resistance, as revealed
in the social explosions that occurred in December 2001. They are called
new social movements because, among other things, the labor organizations
did not participate decisively and the social bases of these movements
were impossible to frame professionally. Likewise, political organizations
did not produce—and could not control—the new movements.

Chuck Morse writes:

"Breaking the Law: Anti-Authoritarian Visions of Crime and Justice"

Randall Amster, The New Formulation


Restorative Justice: Healing the Foundations of
Our Everyday Lives

By Dennis Sullivan & Larry Tifft

Monsey, NY: Willow Tree Press, 2001

The Struggle to be Human:

Criminology, and Anarchism

By Larry Tifft & Dennis Sullivan

Orkney, UK: Cienfuegos Press, 1980

By now it is obvious to almost
everyone that current “criminal justice” practices are at
best ineffective and at worst brutal. Critics on many fronts have attacked
the prison-industrial complex, with its “three-strikes”
laws and for-profit bureaucratic schemes. Even the mainstream media
have reported on the United States’ record rates of incarceration,
the privatization of the prison industry, corporate use of convict labor,
prison overcrowding, and the increasing application of the death penalty.
There is now broad outrage at this systematized insanity masking as
“law and order” and many have begun to search for alternative
methods of understanding concepts such as crime, punishment, and justice.
There is cause for hope in this, but also concern, given that so much
still needs to be done and that the current crisis continues to worsen

This review is from the current edition of the excellent "Green Pepper". The theme for this issue is "Life Beyond The Market".

"On the Inseparability of High Theory and Low Theory:
Critical Review of David Graeber´s Fragments of an
Anarchist Anthropology

Jason Adams

While it is somewhat surprising, it certainly is
fitting that a book series edited by Marsall Sahlins
should produce a book such as David Graeber's recent
offering, which attempts to lay the groundwork for
what he hopes will develop into an 'anarchist
anthropology'. Indeed, in the last three decades of
the twentieth century, it was the work of Sahlins and
other critical anthropologists such as Richard Lee and
Pierre Clastres that produced some of the most
outstanding changes within anarchist theory.