A Rule is to Break: A Child's Guide to Anarchy

A Rule Is To Break: A Child's Guide to Anarchy is a perfectly wonderful picture book about the spirit of anarchism and its utterly fitting dovetail with the joy of childhood. The book is full of excellent advice, wonderfully illustrated.

Along with the pages reproduced in this post, there's such goodies as "Give stuff away for free," "Speak your mind," and "Listen to the tiniest voice."

Also: "Build it, don't buy it" and "Stay up all night." There's nothing about setting fire to cars or joining the black bloc -- just sound advice about being happy, generous and caring for your community.

The book has become something of a Tea Party bogeyman, which is dumb and would be a tragedy if it wasn't for the fact that the ensuing publicity will likely turn it into a bestseller. I'm sure none of the criticism can have come from people who've actually read the book -- rather, they're likely reacting to the blurb from Bill Ayers, which says "a children’s book on anarchy seems somehow just right: an instinctive, intuitive sense of fairness, community, and interdependence sits naturally enough with a desire for participatory democracy, feminism, queer-rights, environmental balance, self-determination, and peace and global justice."

A Rule Is To Break: A Child's Guide to Anarchy


  1. There’s nothing about setting fire to cars or joining the black bloc

    Maybe not directly, but it’s a slippery slope when kids start thinking for themselves!  At first it’s “why should i take a bath?” but pretty soon it’s “why should I sit by and watch my future be gutted by corrupt oligarchs?”.  Teach conformity, it’s the only way to be safe!  Today’s unconventional thinker is tomorrow’s revolutionary outlaw!

  2. Bill Ayers’ review used almost all of the words that piss off tea party-types.  Plus, he’s Bill Ayers.  Just the name tosses a certain subset of wingnuttery into a fit of apoplexy. 

    1. Defending Bill Ayers is not a winning move.  He’s exactly the kind of person who gives peaceful anarchists a bad name.

      That aside, trying to take back ‘anarchy’ is a waste of effort. As Chris alluded to above, defined who you are, not who you’re not.

      1. Any defense of Mr. Ayers is purely a construct of your own interpretation.  I am amused anytime the far rightwing talking heads blow gaskets.  That is all.

      2. The vast majority of anarchists are Libertarian Socialists. Libertarian Socialists have just as much they’re “for” as any other political philosophy. It’d be worth their effort informing others about their philosophy so misinformed people stop pretending old strawmen arguments have any relevance.

      3. how can any anarchist give any of the rest a “bad name”? seeking acceptance from those who will only legitimise something backed up by a rent-fuelled hierarchy of armed thugs seems like a losing proposition.

        and so? we break.

  3. I’m worried that this won’t do much to instill anarchist traditions like forming rules by extensive discussions or ideological hair splitting.
    I doubt they show even one armchair!

      1. That seems to me a pacifist fantasy, which allows them to paint those more militant than they as cops. Almost certainly there will be cops, but you don’t need a majority to be a provocateur.

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