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“The Culture of Make Believe”

by Derrick Jensen

2004 Chelsea Green

Derrick Jensen has a knack for compiling some of the most horrible atrocities ever committed and piecing them together within a compelling and provocative thread.  This book is more “socially” focused than A Language Older Than Words (which was more ecological), so in that sense I got more out of it, but it’s probably not as well written as that earlier book.

The best parts here are about the KKK, IWW, J.P. Morgan and the turn of the century big capitalists and war profiteers, the Nazis, and slave labor in the US and around the world.  as usual though, he covers about 100 topics in this 600+ page book.

The thing I struggle with when reading Jensen and other ‘anti-civ’ writers is that I agree 99% with their diagnosis of the problem (class society is inherently built on violence and must be dismantled – the industrial ‘economy’ is a machine designed to turn the living into the dead), but their solutions, or lack thereof, are difficult to accept.  Instead of organizing for social change or revolution, Jensen advocates that we basically weep for the world we’ve lost, and perhaps engage in property damage…

Originally on the DC SDS Blog.

11 Students for a Democratic Society, including 9 members of DC SDS drove out to Annapolis Wednesday morning to participate in a rally and civil disobedience to bring attention to the neglect of students in Baltimore public schools.The Baltimore Algebra Project, a student-led inter-school coalition of inner city youths, called for a die-in at the State House in Maryland’s state capital of Annapolis. Chanting “No Education, No Life!” 25 members of the Baltimore Algebra Project and their supporters were arrested for presenting a coffin to Governor O’Malley in absentia, representing the social death (and, chillingly pointed out by the picture on the coffin of Zachariah Hallback, a Baltimore Algebra project member who was recently shot to death in a robbery, actual deaths) of students who are denied a proper education. No charges were filed on any of the participants. Students for a Democratic society were 7 of the 25 arrests.

DC Students for a Democratic society applauds the self-organization of students for student liberation and the democratization of education that the Baltimore Algebra Project organizes, and hopes to work with them again in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

“Red Emma Speaks: Selected Writings and Speeches”

Emma Goldman

1972 Random House

Probably the best of the three ‘anarchist’ books I’ve read recently, because Emma Goldman was an American and lived during the 20th century, so has the most relevant things to say about this stupid and messed-up society we live in. Her essays here range from feminism, to education, to sexuality, to prisons, to war, to violence, to revolution and counter-revolution.

My favorite pieces here are the Afterword to her wonderful anti-Bolshevik book “My Disillusionment in Russia” and her essay “There Is No Communism in Russia” – both on the subject of how dictatorship in the name of the people is in no way synonymous with freedom, nor capable of leading to it. Read the rest of this entry »

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