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 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.
“Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice. Socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality.”
– Mikhail Bakunin, 1867
Submitted by Jura Books on Thu, 10/10/2013 - 9:01pm
Date and Time:
Sun, 15/12/2013 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
Election campaigns and voting allow people to participate in politics, but only to a very limited extent. Various participatory options exist, including referenda, self-managing collectives, consensus decision-making, small-scale government units, and randomly selected decision-makers.
Submitted by Jura Books on Tue, 08/10/2013 - 5:52pm
Date and Time:
Sun, 24/11/2013 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm
We are starting at 4pm sharp, so that those who want to, can go to the rally in Blacktown afterwards. Merata Mita’s classic 1983 Patu! is an amazing and inspiring documentary film. It is a record of the mass direct action that took place in Aotearoa New Zealand in 1981, in protest against a South African rugby tour and the apartheid it represented.
Submitted by Jura Books on Sun, 18/08/2013 - 12:00am
"War paralyzes your courage and deadens the spirit of true [humanity]. It degrades and stupefies with the sense that you are not responsible, that 'tis not yours to think and reason why, but to do and die,' like the hundred thousand others doomed like yourself. War means blind obedience, unthinking stupidity, brutish callousness, wanton destruction, and irresponsible murder."
- Alexander Berkman, What Is Communist Anarchism?
Submitted by Jeremy on Tue, 08/01/2013 - 3:57am
Last year, a Jura Collective member travelling in Africa conducted an interview with Sam Mbah - Nigerian author, lawyer, academic and anarchist. The interview has been published as a blog: sammbah.wordpress.com. "Anarchism is not dead in Africa", says Mbah.Mbah's book African Anarchism, co-written with fellow Nigerian I.E.