Musician/activist Evan Greer has released a new single called "Emma Goldman Would Have Beat Your Ass," to mark what would have been the 151st birthday (June 27th) of noted anarchist and feminist activist Emma Goldman. Greer writes:
This tranarcho-punk song is inspired by the time Emma Goldman literally whipped her former mentor in front of a crowd of people because he snitched out and condemned her lover after he tried to assassinate a fascist robber baron. Look it up.
If you purchase the song via BandCamp, all proceeds go to the Marsha P. Johnson institute. If you're interested in learning more about Goldman's radical life and philosophy, check out this collection of her writing from the University of Chicago and Archive.org; or via Project Gutenberg, LibriVox, and Anarchy Archives. I can't even remember which specific Goldman essays I've read and which ones I haven't, but suffice to say, I recommend them all. She was sometimes referred to as "the most dangerous woman in America," for saying things like:
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Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.
On Sunday, May 31st, 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that Antifa would be officially designated as a terrorist organization by the US government.
Despite his position in the highest seat of national power, Trump's tweets are (fortunately) not legally-binding. And even if they were, it wouldn't matter — the United States has no official statute for designating domestic terrorists, a fact which has ironically served to benefit homegrown mass murderers acting on white supremacist agendas. There's also the fact that Antifa is … not a formal organization. There is no hierarchy, no centralized leadership — it's just individuals, occasionally clustering together, engaging in direct action. Even if you could legally designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization, it would be impossible to develop any sort of criteria to decide who or what qualifies as "Antifa."
This is, unfortunately, the likely aim of Trump's provoke tweet: to invoke the chillingly Orwellian logic that "anti-fascist action equals terrorism."
Most of the criticism of "Antifa" is actually aimed at people employing Black Bloc tactics. Many of them are probably anarchists; many are probably not, and may just have legitimate reasons for protecting their identities. There are valid complaints about the effectiveness of these methods; there are also valid arguments that they ultimately work. But one thing is certain: no one in America has been killed by "Antifa" or Black Bloc tactics. I suppose one could argue that there is an intimidation factor to Black Bloc tactics, but it's hardly organized in the deliberate sense of most terrorism. Read the rest
Thank you for reading -- After eight years on Boing Boing, the John Wilcock story will conclude next week! -- From John Wilcock, New York Years, by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall -- (See all Boing Boing installments)
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William Powell, author of the iconic counterculture how-to guide The Anarchist Cookbook, died last year of a heart attack. His death was just made public. As a teen, I learned many important things from The Anarchist Cookbook: mixing iodine crystals with ammonia is indeed explosive, smoking banana peels won't get you high (contrary to the book), and Rikers Island is to be avoided. Powell wrote the book when he was 19 and disavowed it later in life after becoming a Christian. The Anarchist Cookbook remained in print, much to his chagrin. “The central idea to the book was that violence is an acceptable means to bring about political change,” he wrote on the book's Amazon page. “I no longer agree with this.” From the Los Angeles Times:
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“The Anarchist Cookbook,” which has sold at least 2 million copies — printed, downloaded or otherwise — and remains in publication, was originally a 160-page book that offered a nuts-and-bolts overview of weaponry, sabotage, explosives, booby traps, lethal poisons and drug making. Illustrated with crude drawings, it informed readers how to make TNT and Molotov cocktails, convert shotguns to rocket launchers, destroy bridges, behead someone with piano wire and brew LSD.
The book came with a warning: “Not for children or morons.”
In a foreword, Powell advised that he hadn’t written the book for fringe militant groups of the era like the Weathermen or Minutemen, but for the “silent majority” in America, those he said needed to learn the tools for survival in an uncertain time.