I suspect that over time Anarchy Works will come to be known as one of the finest books ever written about anarchy. Its author, Peter Gelderloos, had been thinking about writing a book about what anarchy would look like, but then, in a slight shift of focus, thought it better to write first about what anarchy has looked like. So he scoured the historical and anthropological literature for examples of lived anarchy. Then he mined these case studies (around ninety altogether he says) for insights about the whole range of theoretical and practical problems facing anarchists, everything from crime to exchange to work. This is a book that is thoroughly grounded in reality, in actually existing anarchy, both past and present. It can be put on the shelf along side Colin Ward's 1973 classic, Anarchy in Action, which was also based on existing concrete social practices. As the title suggests, the book is an attempt (and a successful one) to refute the oft-voiced objection: Anarchy could never work.
Peter was on tour promoting this book. He came to Boston in late May, and then headed on up to Vermont, and then to Canada. He gave two talks, on May 25 and 26, both at the Encuentro Five space in Chinatown. In the first talk, which was attended by about thirty-five people, he presented various themes from the book. During the second evening, with about twenty present, he told the story of the squatter's movement in Barcelona. Lively discussion followed each presentation.
Capitalists, Global Warming, and the Climate Justice Movement*
By James Herod
[Prefatory Note: The first part of this essay was originally written in December 2009 for the monthly Newsletter of the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement, #29, January 2010. A substantial postscript, from May 2010, continues the discussion.
For the purposes of this essay I will assume that the science which establishes that the earth is warming up is correct. This is what all participants to the COP15 conference believed, both inside the conference hall and outside in the streets. For a brief note on dissenting views, see Footnote No. 4.]
The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of Participants (COP15) in the Kyoto Protocol took place this month in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7 to 18, 2009. The purpose of the conference was to wrap up more than two years of negotiations by representatives of all the world's governments to get a legally binding treaty for a new round of reductions in carbon emissions under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol to replace the first round which was expiring.
So what happened? The United States sabotaged the negotiations by refusing to agree to any legally binding treaty, by refusing to commit itself to any significant reduction of its own carbon pollution, and by refusing to work through the U.N.'s open and democratic negotiating process, instead maneuvering behind the scenes in secret to strike a deal with a few select countries which was then sprung on the conference at the last minute. Naturally, the negotiations collapsed and the conference ended in failure, except for the United States, which outcome is obviously what it had intended all along. To understand the significance and probable consequences of this event some background will be necessary.