Category Archives: reviews

Review in Dutch

The Dutch anarchist magazine and blog Libertaire orde has published a review of the French translation of Anarchy Alive! written by Thom Holterman.

Het voorgaande maakt duidelijk dat op het ‘oude’ anarchisme wordt voortgebouwd, waarbij er tevens een nieuwe invulling ontstaat, die zich als hedendaags anarchisme laat herkennen. Daarbij geeft Gordon aan het boek niet te hebben geschreven als een pleidooi voor het anarchisme. Zulke boeken bestaan er al genoeg. Hij probeert dan ook niet wie dan ook te overtuigen dat anarchie mogelijk of wenselijk is, zoals hij zegt. Hij wil juist nadenken, vanuit de vertrouwde thema’s over de dilemma’s waarmee activisten (overigens een deel van zijn eigen levensgeschiedenis) worden geconfronteerd.

Interview on More Thought

You can now hear and read an interview I recently did with Richard Capes of More Thought.

…The values that we’re seeing in the occupy movement right now, of direct democracy, of creating the world that we want to live in…the whole ethos of direct action – anarchist values and practices are all there. But everyday attempts to undermine the system are what counts in the long run – what happens between these protest waves.

Published in Polish

The Polish Anarchist Review is running a translation of my article on anarchism and the politics of technology in its current (12th) issue, with a commentary by Jarosław Urbański. I’m still waiting to receive the latter, so I can run it through google translate and see if I understand anything…

Also featured are sections on “Capitalism in a green disguise” (with an article by my friend Kolya Abramsky), “Collective rebellion” and “The apparatus of daily repression”.

Anarchist review cover

Review in Icelandic!

Just found this review of AA! by Vilhelm Vilhelmsson on an Icelandic website. Check out the original if you can read Íslenska – here I post the machine translation which is, as usual, quite amusing.

Literature on anarkisma the species to discuss theories and ideas of long dead people living with all other social form, but we at today. While many of the ideas of the speech is not yet admitted the need for updated, more modern and more vibrant ideology and theory smíð. This need is largely met in the writings appear in underground magazines, published in a small upplagi and distributed between anarkista but rarely reach beyond the narrow group. This version does not form gives space for a comprehensive dive deep into the issues and draws them together in some kind of picture. This book is an attempt to.

In the six chapters that appear here (except introduction and lokaorðum) examines Israeli anarkistinn Uri Gordon ma anarkisma of the political Culture in society today. He describes where the part anarkistar are the major movements for social reform that have been most prominent over the last 10 years or so with large demonstrations against the G8-leaders meetings, leadership meetings of the European Union, etc.., But he also examines and analyzes how anarkistar organize themselves and including how they understand themselves to hófsamari forces from within this movement (which is often called “the movement against globalization” is rangnefni where the movement is following internationalization, but she just wants to go a different place). The apparatus of fear to use the word anarkismi to describe groups despite that they are clearly organized in anarkí skan manner.

In section two of Gordon’s password in the dialogue of modern-anarkista and how anarki my today separates itself from the older anarkisma. The chapter provides a good overview of political priorities anarkista and also understand that they have formed the “classic” anarkisma and the “new” anarkisma.

The third chapter takes the problems concerning the power and force within the movement generally rejects authority in all its forms (major simplification in fact). He analyzes the three types of power and put each in context with one hand anarkisma that ideology and however we anarkisma in daily praxís.

The fourth chapter has the pleasant name of “Peace, Love and Petrol Bombs” and deals with violence and force. Violence has always been controversial issues among anarkista, especially where anarkistar meet often the ásökunum they just ofbeldisseggir who try (or will) ruin everything and make a mess. Gordon devices here are some of the major questions regarding the violence that what usually comes up among anarkista.

Fifth chapter deals with modern technology, Utopia and anarkista attitudes to technology. Anarkistar are very active in environmental and criticism on technology and even themselves iðnvæðinguna are common among modern anarkista. The so-called anarkó-primitivistar deny even civilization as it imposes itself and dásama communities collector and hunter. Gordon examines this closely how technology controls valdahlutföllum in society, how power strúktúr formed around new technologies and how often a threat to the environment.

Sixth and final chapter focuses on nationalism as seen from anarkisma. He puts this discussion in the context of issues nákomið him, namely the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians.

It has been a need for such a book in time goodies. Theoretical work anarkista have a long discussion of just about old theories and been stuck in the past. Following the ’68-generation and the social revolution and the ideas that came the generation gap has emerged that separates the classical anarkisma from the modern anarkisma, which has not only other priorities, but completely new hugtakanotkun, dialogue and new organizational forms. This new anarkismi is often called “post-left” anarkismi (but is defamatory manner called lifestyle anarkismi followers of classic anarkisma) and much less in common with communism and socialism than the classic. Post-left anarkismi the ideological seen far more in common with Feminism, existensíalisma and especially ecology and environmental protection. And it is completely done to Uri Gordon belongs to this new generation anarkista. It is great that this book is finally out there on the books that have good circulation and will promote these ideas for wider readers. But there is also a problem. The book is actually not written for the general reader. Gordon makes it completely done from the outset that his purpose is not to convince people excellence anarkisma but only to devices moral, political, skipulagsleg and philosophical problems that arise / have been among anarkista today. The book is not intended fáfróðum readers, but rather those who already know the only anarkisma and / or are already active in political work on the left edge or in environmental or other such movements. For us who know the book Himnasending, although it is clear tormelt and heavy. The book is not intended to provide answers to these questions as he wonder up. The purpose of this book is rather to uncomfortable questions in the debate, put forward different ideas and theories, taken both from anarki stum and various scholars, and let them gerjast head reader. I was particularly fond of köflunum of technology and nationalism. In the technology section, I got access to the ideas that I’ve never read before, and his use of sources, theories and ideas outside the closed world anarki man was particularly kærkomin. I had no turnover for me before how the technology works and creates a new cause strúk touring. The chapter on nationalism, seen in the context of issues of Israel and Palestine, was also particularly well placed, and Gordon put the needs of criticism of the traditional aspects anarkista order to see that this conflict only in trade union context. In addition, his description of “bioregionalism” which meet the nation state and nationalism interesting and I think I now see more literature on this phenomenon.

It was much more that I learned much from reading this book and found interesting, but it will still claim that as the book is rather dry and academic, and the snow carefully read. But the material seen it really good. I recommend this book for all interested and Minimal knowledge of umfjöllunarefninu the inngangsrit work it’s not.

Review in Z Magazine

This review was published in this month’s issue of Z Magazine by Hans Bennett, a Philadelphia photojournalist mostly focusing on the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners. An archive of his work is available at insubordination.blogspot.com

When Israeli anarchist Uri Gordon first moved to Europe in the fall of 2000 to begin his doctoral studies at OxfordUniversity, he was planning to study environmental ethics. However, Gordon explains that “the IMF/World Bank protests in Prague had just happened, the fresh buzz of anti-capitalism was palpably in the air, and I was eager to get a piece of the action.” After attending a report-back from locals that had traveled to Prague, he quickly became involved in protests locally and around Europe. “I soon ended up doing much more activism than studying,” writes Gordon, who had now been “tear-gassed in Nice, corralled in London and narrowly escaped a pretty horrible beating in Genoa.” He soon decided to shift the focus of his PhD thesis to anarchist politics. The completed thesis has now been published as Anarchy Alive!

Gordon boldly declares: “In case anyone hasn’t noticed, anarchism is alive and kicking. This past decade or so has seen the full revival of a global anarchist movement on a scale and on levels of unity and diversity unseen since the 1930s. From anti-capitalist social centres and eco-feminist farms to community organizing, blockades of international summits, daily direct actions and a mass of publications and websites – anarchy lives at the heart of the global movement that declares: ‘another world is possible’”Its euphemisms are legion: anti-authoritarian, autonomous, horizontalist”but you know it when you see it, and anarchy is everywhere.”

A major strength of this highly-recommended book is Gordon’s ability to write both for the seasoned activists as well as readers new to anarchism and the various resistance movements that have sprung up this decade. It is also a useful tool for US activists to learn more about the various struggles throughout Europe and in Israel. The first few chapters (which Gordon himself advises the veteran anarchists to skip) focus on the basics of what anarchism is, and what role it has played in various global struggles. The later chapters will be more interesting to the seasoned activists, where he looks self-critically at the movement from his perspective as a participant in various struggles, including work with such groups as Peoples’ Global Action, Earth First, and the Dissent! network resisting the 2005 G8 summit.

Thankfully, Gordon transcends the divisive and self-righteous “I’m more of an anarchist than you are!” attitude that unfortunately has infected much of anarchist literature today. Instead, his book is a sincere attempt to establish common definitions and begin an honest and constructive dialogue about the most controversial issues facing the movement today. This approach by Gordon is seen in his chapter “Peace, Love, and Petrol Bombs,” which addresses issues of violence, non-violence, and the “diversity of tactics” strategy for large protests. He shows how activists on all sides of this debate have been dogmatic, and have twisted definitions to support their views. As a result, most dialogue is unproductive. So, by laying out the different arguments and definitions around the use of violence (ranging from corporate property destruction to actual armed struggle), Anarchy Alive! will hopefully make a significant contribution to the development of activist strategy.

Anarchism in Israel Today

In his final chapter, titled “Homeland,” Gordon argues that “anarchism has been a continuous undercurrent in the politics of Israel/Palestine for decades,” which dates back to “the earliest Kibbutz groups in the 1920s,” who were “organized on libertarian-communist principles” and read Kropotkin and Tolstoy. While estimating 300 self-identified anarchists living in Israel today, he writes that the “contemporary Israeli anarchist movement fused together during the wave of anti-globalization activism at the end of the 1990s, bringing together anti-capitalist, environmental, feminist, and animal rights agendas”Since the beginning of the second Intifada, activities have focused on the occupation in Palestine, in particular against the building of the Apartheid Wall.”

Gordon contends that the Israeli anarchist approach of “taking direct action alongside Palestinians” is an important strategy because “joint Palestinian-Israeli struggle transgresses the fundamental taboos put in place by Zionist militarism. Alongside the living example of non-violence and cooperation between the two peoples, the struggle forces Israeli spectators to confront their dark collective traumas. Israelis who demonstrate hand-in-hand with Palestinians are threatening because they are afraid neither of Arabs nor of the Second Holocaust that they are supposedly destined to perpetrate.”

Gordon writes about the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which is a Palestinian-led organization that began in summer 2001 to coordinate European and North American volunteers to accompany non-violent Palestinian actions in the occupied territories. The ISM does not identify itself as anarchist, but he argues that “two clear connections to anarchism can nevertheless be made. First, in terms of the personnel, international solidarity activities in Palestine have seen a major and sustained presence of anarchists, who had earlier cut their teeth on anti-capitalist mobilizations and local grassroots organizing in North America and Europe,” thus constituting “the foremost vehicle for on-the-ground involvement of international anarchists in Palestine. Second, and more substantially, the ISM prominently displays many features of anarchist political culture: lack of formal membership, policy and leadership; a decentralized organizing model based on autonomous affinity groups, spokescouncils and consensus decision-making; and a strategic focus on short-term campaigns and creative tactics that stress direct action and grassroots empowerment.”

In 2003, many of the Israelis that had been working with the ISM “felt the need to give more visibility to their own resistance as Israelis, by creating an autonomous group working together with Palestinians and internationals,” writes Gordon. While participating at a protest camp in the village of Mas’ha, this direct-action group soon named itself Anarchists Against the Wall. Since eviction from Mas’ha, these anarchists have participated in several other joint actions, where sometimes “Palestinians and Israelis have managed to tear down or cut through parts of the fence, or to break through gates along it,” reports Gordon.

Studying To Win

In the conclusion, written from Kibbutz Samar in Israel, Gordon acknowledges that his book provides “more questions than answers,” but this is the most important thing about it. By looking at the anarchist and global anti-capitalist movements self-critically, and asking tough questions, Anarchy Alive is a powerful tool for all activists, so that we can improve our strategies.

Alongside Gordon’s self-criticism is his optimistic belief that things can change when people come together and fight. He concludes by arguing that “these days anarchists and their allies are again sensing that the tides are turning. With the defeat, in Iraq and elsewhere, of the US attempt at global hegemony, things are shifting in the global system and a new surge of struggle may be on the horizon”There are new questions for anarchists to face now – questions about winning.”