Tomorrow is the annual London Anarchist Bookfair, taking place at Queen Mary’s in London. The bookfair is one of a number of spaces for anarchists around the UK and the world to come together. It features rooms filled with discussions, workshops, a crèche, stalls and, as you’d expect, all the books you’d ever want to read about anarchism and autonomous, radical politics.
Pluto staff go every year and spend far more money than they should on new books. One year I managed to get a 1913 edition of Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid for £8. I’ve stroked its cover lovingly ever since – though it’s much too precious to actually read – that’s what cheap, modern paperbacks are for.
So, while you prepare yourself to buy books and strengthen affinity groups (between the hours of 10am-7pm), why not keep an eye out for some of the following Pluto books at the fair…
Post-Anarchism, (2011) – Ed. Duane Rousselle and Sureyyya Evren
Post-anarchism has been of considerable importance in the discussions of radical intellectuals across the globe in the last decade. In its most popular form, it demonstrates a desire to blend the most promising aspects of traditional anarchist theory with developments in post-structuralist and post-modernist thought. Post-Anarchism: A Reader includes the most comprehensive collection of essays about this emergent body of thought, making it an essential and accessible resource for academics, intellectuals, activists and anarchists interested in radical philosophy.
Change the World Without Taking Power, (2010) – John Holloway
The wave of political demonstrations since the Battle of Seattle in 2001 have crystallised a new trend in left-wing politics. Modern protest movements are grounding their actions in both Marxism and Anarchism, fighting for radical social change in terms that have nothing to do with the taking of state power. This is in clear opposition to the traditional Marxist theory of revolution which centres on the overthrow of government. In this book, John Holloway asks how we can reformulate our understanding of revolution as the struggle against power, not for power.
Bookchin: A Critical Appraisal, (2008) – Damian F. White
This is the first comprehensive overview of the work of Murray Bookchin, the left-libertarian social theorist and political ecologist who is widely regarded as the visionary precursor of anti-corporate politics. The book maps the evolution of Bookchin’s project. It traces his controversial engagements with Marxism, anarchism, critical theory, postmodernism and eco-centric thought. It evaluates his attempt to develop a social ecology. Finally, it considers how his thinking relates to current debates in social theory and environmentalism, critical theory and philosophy, political ecology and urban theory.
Anarchy Alive!, (2007) – Uri Gordon
Anarchist politics are at the heart of today’s most vibrant and radical social movements. From squatted social centres and community gardens to acts of sabotage and raucous summit blockades, anarchist groups and networks are spreading an ethos of direct action, non-hierarchical organizing and self-liberation that has redefined revolutionary struggle for the 21st century. This is the ideal book for anyone looking for a fresh, informed and critical engagement with anarchism, as a mature and dynamic political force in the age of globalisation.
And why not pre-order Pluto’s forthcoming book, out in March 2013?
The concept of anarchy is often presented as a recipe for pure disorder. The Anarchist Turn brings together innovative and fresh perspectives on anarchism to argue that in fact it represents a form of collective, truly democratic social organisation.
The book shows how in the last decade the negative caricature of anarchy has begun to crack. Globalisation and the social movements it spawned have proved what anarchists have long been advocating: an anarchical order is not just desirable, but also feasible.
The contributors, including leading anarchist and critical theorists, argue that with the failure of both free markets and state socialism the time has come for an ‘anarchist turn’ in political philosophy. In doing so they relate the anarchist hypothesis to a range of other disciplines such as politics, anthropology, economics, history and sociology.