Reading for January: On the Poverty of Student Life

For our first event of the new year we’ll be meeting again at Riffraff on Sunday, January 6th from 12-4. Books, pamphlets and more on sale, with our reading discussion starting at 2:30.

Our reading this month is another classic and somewhat long one – we’ll be discussing On the Poverty of Student Life, a Situationist text published by students at the University of Strasbourg in 1966 and a touchstone for the waves of student rebellion taking place at the time. For more background on the piece (which might be helpful considering it makes a number of historical references and uses some jargon!) you can check out the Wikipedia article here.

The full text is available at the anarchist library and is available in audio form from Resonance Audio Distro here.

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Reading for December: The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism by Fredy Perlman

Need to get some not-so-last-minute shopping done for the holidays? Join us on Sunday, December 2nd for our monthly anarchist bazaar and discussion at Riffraff bookstore + bar (60 Valley Street in Providence, inside The Plant)! We’ll have books and zines for sale from 12pm-4pm and the discussion will start at 2:30pm.

This month’s reading is a classic and one of our favorites – Fredy Perlman’s “The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism”. Over 30 years since it was written, this essay continues to provide an elucidating definition of nationalism and its uses by both “left” and “right” and is all the more relevant in a context in which “nationalism” and “fascism” are terms mobilizing large numbers of people.

The idea that an understanding of the genocide, that a memory of the holocausts, can only lead people to want to dismantle the system, is erroneous. The continuing appeal of nationalism suggests that the opposite is true-er, namely that an understanding of genocide has led people to mobilize genocidal armies, that the memory of holocausts has led people to perpetrate holocausts.

It’s somewhat long as pieces we’ve read go and we’ll be discussing the whole thing, so plan ahead!

You can read the essay here, including the option to print it out for yourself in pamphlet form!

Reading for November: The Invention of Non-Psychiatry by David Cooper

Join us on Sunday, November 4th for our monthly anarchist bazaar and discussion at Riffraff bookstore + bar (60 Valley Street in Providence, inside The Plant)! We’ll have books and zines for sale from 12pm-4pm and the discussion will start at 2:30pm.

This month we’ll be discussing David Cooper’s The Invention of Non-Psychiatry. A South African-born psychiatrist, Cooper is credited with first using the term “anti-psychiatry” in 1967. The anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s and 70s formed as a critique of institutionalization and the role of psychiatry and psychoanalysis as tools of repression and social control. Influential writers such as Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing (both psychiatrists themselves) questioned the growing interpretation of mental illness as a disease of abnormal brain physiology, a view that has become the bedrock of contemporary biomedicine. At the same time, philosophers like Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari began to sketch the relationship between psychopathology and the interests of the capitalist power structure.

You can find the reading here. There’s also a brief essay in the margin by Eli Messinger on the history and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which we’ll touch on if time permits.

*Note: We’ve had some trouble printing this file so we recommend reading it online for now. We hope to post a printer-friendly version soon!

Reading for October: How to Change the Course of Human History

Our next event will be held the first Sunday of October, 10/7 at Riffraff Bookstore/Bar in Olneyville (located at The Plant, 60 Valley Street, Unit 107A) for our monthly bazaar and literary discussion! Discussion starts at 2:30!

We’ll be discussing How to Change the Course of Human History (at least, the part that’s already happened), an article by David Graeber and David Wengrow reconsidering narratives of human progress through history. You can find the article on the Anarchist Library or in pamphlet form here.

Reading for September: excerpt from The Old Calendrist

Due to Labor Day we’ll be meeting on Sunday, September 9th (that’s the second Sunday of the month) at Riffraff Bookstore/Bar in Olneyville (located at The Plant, 60 Valley Street, Unit 107A) for our monthly bazaar and literary discussion! Discussion starts at 2:30!

We’ll be reading the first three sections of The Old Calendrist on the tyranny of the modern Western calendar (and how bad capitalist time is in general). You can find the reading below or on this site.

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What do we want? We want those golden days of September stolen from us by the idolaters of science and rationalist utilitarianism. We hope that the restoration of sacred pagan time will induce a new wide-spread consciousness open to a radical critique of technology as alienation. Stage by stage we’d like to regress toward the status quo ante 1752. Abolish the Industrial Revolution and the post-Industrial reign of time as money. Abolish not only electricity and infernal combustion but also the steam engine. Bring back agrarian green artisanal social time. Abandon the Capitalist Hell Realm. And by the way, let’s also get rid of Daylight Saving Time. Down with all Time Lords. Free Time.

Between now and then you can also find us at the Lowell Anarchist Book Fair on Saturday, August 25th from 11-5! We’ll have our full stock of books and pamphlets on display, plus some new stock!

Reading for August: The Abolition of Work by Bob Black

Join us on Sunday, August 5th at Riffraff Bookstore/Bar in Olneyville (located at The Plant, 60 Valley Street, Unit 107A) for our monthly bazaar and literary discussion! Discussion starts at 2:30!

We’ll be discussing Bob Black’s seminal critique of work, “The Abolition of Work”, which can be found below or on the anarchist library.

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No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

Reading for July: An Invitation to Desertion

Join us once again at Riffraff Bookstore/Bar in Olneyville (located at The Plant, 60 Valley Street, Unit 107A) for our one year anniversary bazaar and literary discussion!

We’ll be reading Bellamy’s essay “An Invitation to Desertion” from the new journal Backwoods: a journal of anarchy and wortcunning – you can find the reading here. This essay is rather long so we may not have a print copy on hand, though you can find the journal in its entirety among our goods on display.

This piece is an introduction to the theory motivating Backwoods…It is presented as an antidote to the reigning ideology of neoliberal republicanism, aiming to delve into the roots of our crisis so as to understand how to live as much as possible outside it and against it.