Submitted by sid on Fri, 22/01/2016 - 11:24am
Summer holidays called for a little light reading and thinking. I've recently finished my tenth read of Ursula Le Guin's The Dispossessed. Crazy you might think, but I find it endlessly fascinating for the global craft-work, deep thought, and fine word-smithing that forms the composition of this exceptional book - the best utopian classic of the C20th - maybe of all time. The book contrasts two societies, one on Urras 'Earth' and one on Anarres, its habitable moon. A revolution had occurred on Urras some generations earlier, with a resulting peace treaty that sent the revolutionaries to Anarres to build their anarchist society. The story is of Shevek, an Anarresti who goes to Urras to further develop his theories in Physics, the first Anarresti to 'return' in 200 years. Thus the book is a series of contrasting, alternating chapters, one on anarchist Anarres and then one on authoritarian Urras. Neither world is perfect, even in their own terms, but it is the exploration of these internal complexities and external contrasts that forms the rich loam of ideas that Le Guin explores. These areas range from individualism & collectivism, to sexuality, government & governance, economics & consumerism to ecology and parenting - among many other critically important areas of human activity. Well worth another read in a year or three! I'll still find something new to think about - the things are that make us human, and to explore the struggle to be human.
Now, while also finishing scott crow's Black Flags and Windmills: Anarchy, Hope and the Common Ground Collective (which I reviewed a few weeks ago here), I realised how similar the two books were in so many ways (Black Flags and The Dispossessed). Both have a protagonist searching for meaning in life, truth (but without the capital 'T'), and struggling against the tide. In scott crow's case, it is literally the giant tide caused by the flooding of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as against the human tides of racism, sexism, governmental chaos and ineptitude, and exhaustion and struggle in helping thousands of abandoned people. Of course, the fundamental similarity between the two 'stories' is that of the anarchist approach in fighting the authoritarianism of the various States and statist ideas. Both books are fundamentally about building anarchist structures of self-help and community as against greed, exploitation and domination. In many ways, the story of building the Common Ground Collective in New Orleans is so like the struggle to build the anarchist society of Anarres.
Both are immensely inspiring books.
Submitted by Jura Books on Mon, 11/01/2016 - 8:49pm
Submitted by Guest contributor on Fri, 11/12/2015 - 4:49pm
Anarchism, Marxism, and Economics
(Based on a Red & Black Forum talk by Paul Rubner, 25 Oct, 2015.)
Although not a Marxist, I consider Marx’s writings as classics of revolutionary thought. Hence, coming to terms with Marx’s ideas – whether one agrees with them or not -- is important for anarchists, and left libertarians generally. Familiarising ourselves with Marx’s ideas through on-going study of the primary sources is, or should be, an essential part of our continuing self-education. In my view, this is just as important as studying, e.g., Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Bookchin, etc.
Submitted by sid on Sun, 18/10/2015 - 12:11pm
Submitted by Jura Books on Tue, 01/09/2015 - 7:59pm
Date and Time:
Sun, 25/10/2015 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Red and Black Forum: Anarchism, Marxism and economics – a discussion of Ronald Tabor's "The Tyranny of Theory: a Contribution to the Anarchist Critique of Marxism." Presented by Paul Rubner and Sid Parissi.
Anarchists have sometimes accepted Marx's economic analysis, though not Marxist politics. In recent years, especially since the GFC, there has been renewed interest in economic matters, and by some anarchists, in 'Marxist economics'. This has polarised opinion among anarchists as to the validity of Marx's critique of political economy, and its relevance to anarchism. This Forum will be a discussion between Paul Rubner and Sid Parissi of these matters, with reference to Tabor's book.
Reading Tabor’s book is recommended, however not absolutely necessary. You’ll still get a lot out of the discussion if you haven’t read the book. It is available at Jura for $45.
Submitted by Jura Books on Tue, 01/09/2015 - 7:39pm
Date and Time:
Sun, 27/09/2015 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Frantz Fanon predicted that if national liberation movements win independence but go no further than assuming the reins of the nation-state – an apparatus of rule inherited from Europe – then the resulting regimes will be no less despotic than the departed colonial masters. Before Fanon, too, there was the irrepressible Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin, who argued, contra Karl Marx, that a post-revolutionary society that failed to do away with the state would only perpetuate tyrannies that Marx and his followers claimed to oppose. The twentieth century proved both Bakunin and Fanon right, thereby prompting new explorations into what revolution without the state might mean.
This talk will offer a glimpse into one such exploration in the Philippines – a unique case, though very much in line with anarchistic resurgences everywhere – while also highlighting the complementarities between anarchist and postcolonialist perspectives.
The talk will be given by Marco, an anarchist from Perth who has spent quite a bit of time with anarchists in Manila.
Followed by discussion. All welcome. Free.
Over the last few months, a group of people from the Jura community have organised a series of readings and discussions in an attempt to develop our (pro)feminist politics. We have focussed in particular on readings on practical ways of improving our (particularly men's) behaviours and practices of consent, and on community accountability processes. After these meetings, we decided that our discussion of transformative justice would be enriched by developing our feminist politics more broadly. As an attempt to begin that process, we have chosen to read the book Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader. We are starting with the prefaces and the first chapter. If you are a like-minded person and would like to participate in this reading/discussion group, please get in touch via email or personal message. People of all genders and sexualities are welcome and we would like this to be a safe space. (In the interests of honest disclosure, we should mention that the majority of us who have been participating so far identify as hetero cis men, with a smaller number identifying as wom*n). Also, please note that this is not an open public ‘forum’ as such, but rather a smaller group with a commitment to ongoing discussion and development. Participants are all committed to turning up regularly (about monthly) and doing the readings.
Quiet Rumours is available at Jura for $22, or online.