Posts Tagged ‘Chaz Bufe’


Several of our authors have web sites. Here are the ones that immediately come to mind:

Over the next few days I’ll contact the other authors who seem like they might have either a site or blog, and will add any that come up. So, if you’re interested, please check back shortly and you’ll probably find additional author sites and blogs.

Note: Tim Boomer, who wrote The Bassist’s Bible, is also a computer pro who wrote the very nice looking Bassist’s Bible web site. He’s currently rewriting the See Sharp Press site, which badly needs the update. I wrote it in html 3 over 15 years ago, and it looks it. It’s not quite in Save Walter White territory, but not that far beyond it. The spiffy looking redesigned site will be up later this summer.

Finally, in non-book-related news, Mick Berry, co-author of The Drummer’s Bible, has a web site up for his one-man show, Keith Moon: The Real Me, which is playing in San Jose through June 24th.

 


Corrupted Science front coverBloggers who review books and those readers who post book reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc., should be aware of NetGalley. It’s a service that provides free e-books to those who actually review at least some of the free e-books they download. This differs greatly from the unrestricted book-giveaway sites. While anyone can create a NetGalley reader account, prior to okaying a book download publishers can check to see how many of the books a particular reviewer downloaded he or she reviewed. So, publishers are free to turn down “reviewers” who have downloaded say 20 or 30 books and haven’t reviewed any or almost any of them.

But if you like to read e-books and actually review at least some of them, it’s great. It couldn’t be easier to sign up for this free service at NetGalley’s web site.

We just signed up with them as a publisher and currently have five e-books available for download by reviewers:

  • Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology, and Politics in Science (revised & expanded), by two-time Hugo Award winner John Grant. This brand new book (pub date June 15) covers the historical period from the days of Galileo to the present, and covers a very wide range of topics including fraud by scientists themselves, the vast array of corporate misuse and misrepresentation of science, and the misuse and misrepresentation of science by authoritarian regimes, notably Nazi Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under Stalin, and the USA under Trump, with a special focus on climate change denial under Trump.
  • Sleep State Interrupt, by T.C. Weber. This cyberpunk thriller deals with an even more overtly repressive near-future America and the struggle against that repression by a multicultural crew of hackers and political activists attempting to wake the USA from its “sleep state.” Sleep State Interrupt received a Compton Crook Award nomination in 2017 for Best First Science Fiction Novel and has received dozens of favorable reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Disbelief 101 front coverDisbelief 101: A Young Person’s Guide to Atheism, by S.C. Hitchcock. Not confined to atheism, this crash course in logical thinking covers the evils of childhood indoctrination, the incompatibility of rational thinking and religion, and the harm done by Christianity and Islam. The reviews were positive, with Booklist calling Disbelief 101 “Totally irreverent . . . cheeky and thought provoking” and The Moral Atheist saying, “We’ve read a library full of atheist books and this one ranks with the best. . . . Ignore the subtitle that says this book is for young people. It’s for everyone!”
  • The Watcher, by Nicholas P. Oakley. This far-future tale is a fine coming-of-age story brimming with social and political questions on technology, primitivism, ecology, and the uses and misuses of consensus process. Publishers Weekly noted: “Oakley provides a degree of complexity in what could very easily have been a one-sided didactic novel. This ambivalent examination of an idealist society and its less than ideal behavior offers the hope that Oakley will grow into a significant SF novelist.”
  • The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), by Chaz Bufe, illustrated by J.R. Swanson. This is the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary and contains over 650 definitions and 60 illustrations, more than twice the number of each in the original edition. The book’s targets include the religious right, the “right to life” movement, capitalism, government, men, women, male-female relationships, and hypocrisy in all its multi-hued and multitudinous forms. As an appendix, The American Heretic’s Dictionary includes the best 200+ definitions from Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. The reviews have been overall quite positive, with the Mensa Bulletin commenting, “Such bitterness, such negativity, such unbridled humor, wit and sarcasm,” and Free Inquiry noting, “The quirky cartoons by J.R. Swanson nicely complement Bufe’s cruel wit. Recommended.” In contrast, we were pleased to see that Small Press deemed the book “sick and offensive” in that at least one reviewer seemed to recognize that there’s something to offend everyone in The Heretic’s Dictionary.

So, if you review books and any of these titles appeal to you, we’d suggest signing up with NetGalley now, as over the coming months we’ll be taking down these titles from NetGalley and replacing them with others.

Finally, just a reminder that book reviews are fun to write and that your reviews do matter and can be a tremendous help to small publishers.


(The following interview with See Sharp Press publisher Chaz Bufe appeared on November 11 on the Entropy Magazine site. We thank them for their kind permission to reproduce the interview here; we’ve edited it slightly for the purpose of clarification. The information on Amazon appears about halfway through the interview in the answer to the question that begins with, “We used to ask . . .”)

 

How did See Sharp Press start?

An Understandable Guide to Music Theory front coverSee Sharp Press started as a self-publishing project in 1984 after I escaped from graduate school (music theory/composition) and asked myself, “What can I do out in the real world with all of this education?” The answer was “write and publish a good book on music theory for pop, rock, and jazz musicians.” There was nothing on the market that fit that description; the very few theory books aimed at nonacademic musicians were confusing and unnecessarily convoluted. In short, I found a need and I filled it. An Understandable Guide to Music Theory is still in print and over the years has sold in excess of 10,000 copies.


Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? front coverFive years later
 I compiled and edited a second book, The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations, which again is still in print and has sold in the low five figures. Two years after that, in 1991, I wrote and published Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure?, which is still the only critical history and analysis of AA. It also sold well, is still in print, and over the years outsold the two previous books.

In 1992, See Sharp began publishing books by other authors, and shortly after that signed a deal with a now-defunct small press book distributor. We’re currently distributed by IPG.

Tell us a bit about See Sharp Press. What are your influences, your aesthetic, your mission? 

There aren’t any influences that I can think of. Similarly, no esthetic other than producing attractive, readable books. As for a mission, here’s the statement on our web site:

See Sharp Press is a cause-driven small press. Our mission is to make available radical books and e-books in the standard commercial outlets, especially books/e-books in the areas of anarchism and atheism. We want to live in a free, sane (that is, in part, religion-free) world, and feel that this is the best contribution we can make toward that goal.

We publish books, pamphlets, and e-books in other areas for three reasons: 1) We have some expertise in those areas; 2) we feel that the materials we publish in them are inherently worthwhile; 3) they help to support publication of anarchist and other political books that often do not pay their own way.

Our primary book publishing niches are music instructional/reference, anarchism, atheism, science fiction, psychology, and modern (non-12-step) alcohol/drug abuse self-help. In recent years we’ve been focusing almost exclusively on music, anarchist, atheist, and science fiction titles.

Can you give us a preview of what’s current and/or forthcoming from your catalog, as well as what you’re hoping to publish in the future?

We have three books scheduled over the current and coming publishing seasons:

1) Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rafael Montes de Oca. Translated from the original Spanish-language title, this is the first history of the anarchist political movement in Venezuela.

2) Corrupted Science: Fraud, Ideology, and Politics in Science (revised and expanded), by John Grant. Hugo and World Fantasy Award winner (both for nonfiction) John Grant examines political misuse and distortion of science in this timely and greatly expanded update of his 2008 title.

3) The Wake of Leviathan, by T.C. Weber. The second book in Weber’s “Sleep State” trilogy. The first volume, “Sleep State Interrupt,” was a nominee for the 2017 Compton Crook Award for best debut science fiction novel.

We plan to continue publishing books in the niches mentioned in our mission statement.

We used to ask, “What about small/independent press publishing is particularly exciting to you right now?” We’re still interested in the answer to that, but we’re even more interested to know what you think needs to change.

Nothing excites me about the current small/independent press publishing situation other than that it’s much less financially risky than it used to be, thanks to POD and e-books, to publish new books. This encourages publishers to take a chance on books they’d otherwise turn down. There’s little else to be excited about.

The number of books published annually has skyrocketed (over 800,000 self-published titles with ISBNs in 2016). The number of review publications, and the number of reviews in surviving publications, has plummeted. Market concentration, starting with the rise of the chains, their subsequent downfall, and the current dominance of Amazon, has had a devastating effect on sales.

The gate-keeping function formerly provided by the indies, and to a lesser extent the chains, is almost totally gone. (Independent bookstores now account for only about 10% of book trade sales.) As a result, huge numbers of terribly written, terribly (if at all) edited, and terribly produced books — which would never have appeared on the shelves of indies or chains — have flooded Amazon, making it extremely difficult for high quality books produced by small publishers to rise above the noise.

Similarly, word-of-mouth sales are all but dead. Decades ago, the indies would keep books on shelves for months, sometimes a year or more, and as a result readers would see them, sometimes buy them, and then recommend them to others. As a result, even books that received few or no reviews still had a chance to sell as a result of word of mouth. No more.

A further result of all this is that publishers are dependent on an extremely small number of retailers for their sales, and the actions of those retailers can have dramatic effects on sales. Market concentration has all but killed our three best-selling titles. Here’s how:

Front cover of "The Anti-Christ" by Friedrich NietzscheIn 1998, I noticed that H.L. Mencken’s translation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s final, and arguably best, book, The Anti-Christ, had been out of print for decades. The book was in the public domain, so See Sharp published a cheaply priced trade edition in 1999 expecting to sell a few thousand copies. For once, I was pessimistic about sales: between 1999 and 2011, we sold over 30,000 copies.

Then everything changed. Sales had gradually been tailing off, but in mid-2011 we were still selling about 100 copies per month and were close to being out of stock, so I ordered another printing of 3,000 copies. Borders had been selling roughly 90% of the copies of that book, and two months after the new printing arrived they went under. As an unsecured creditor, we were stiffed for the hundreds of copies which they had taken, left with nearly the full 3,000 copies of the new printing sitting on our distributor’s shelves, and left with monthly sales of roughly 10 copies per month. We ended up pulping half of the books, and the remaining copies are still selling at about 10 per month.

That was small potatoes compared to what Amazon has done to us. (I do not ascribe any ill intent to Amazon. Rather, their actions were the equivalent of an elephant stepping on a flea.)

In 2003, we published The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition, by Upton Sinclair. This was the virtually unknown version that had been serialized in 1905, was the version that Sinclair tried desperately to get in print, and which he subsequently gutted in order to make it acceptable to commercial publishers. That gutting resulted in the much shorter version published by Doubleday in 1906, and that’s still the version familiar to the vast majority of readers.

Our “Uncensored Original Edition” was 30% longer than the standard commercial version, contained the gut-wrenching and politically cutting material Sinclair had excised, and also contained lengthy introductory material: a scholarly introduction and foreword explaining what Sinclair had removed and why, and The Jungle‘s checkered publishing history.

The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition received rave reviews across the board (including a starred review from “Library Journal”), and over the next eight years sold over 50,000 copies.

During that time Amazon’s dominance of the bookselling trade skyrocketed. Current estimates are that Amazon sells over 50% of physical books—with some estimates being as high as 70%—and roughly 70% of e-books.

In 2011, someone (not a book publisher, but someone simply using Amazon’s CreateSpace label) published a knockoff edition of The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition, using the same subtitle, but without the explanatory introduction and foreword, and without the explanatory footnotes with which we had peppered the book; they added no explanatory material whatsoever to their edition.

They apparently grabbed our text, reformatted it, deleted the scholarly introduction and foreword, and the explanatory footnotes, and put the book out with smaller type and with a much smaller page count (216 pages versus the 352 pages of the See Sharp edition), with a cheap black and white cover and a lower cover price. They also falsely claimed copyright of the book. In short, they published, in my view, a poorly produced book, bearing a dishonest copyright claim, that would almost certainly never have been carried by the indies nor the chains because of its appearance.

Amazon’s reaction? They put the CreateSpace edition at the top of the page, assigned both the industry publication reviews (Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal) and the in excess of 1,500 overwhelmingly favorable reader reviews to it.

Our sales tumbled immediately and drastically. They tumbled even further when Amazon took our edition off the first page, and made it accessible only via the tiny other-editions link on the CreateSpace listing. Things reached their nadir earlier this year when readers couldn’t find our edition via the other-editions link, and could only find our edition on Amazon by typing in the ISBN.

Amazon has mostly but not entirely rectified the listings (they still assign the reader reviews of our edition to the CreateSpace edition), and our edition now comes up first on the page. However, the damage has been done. During the book’s first eight years, we sold over 50,000 physical copies and were selling a steady 500 to 600 copies per month prior to 2011. Over the last six years, we’ve sold 5,000 copies total.

Front cover of The Drummer's Bible Second EditionMore recently, Amazon, through its listings policy, badly damaged one of our other best-selling titles, The Drummer’s Bible: How to Play Every Drum Style from Afro-Cuban to Zydeco, a book/2-CD set, which we published in 2004. The book received very favorable reviews in drum and percussion periodicals, and sold very well for a music book: 19,000 copies during its first eight years; monthly sales (a large majority via Amazon) were increasing at the end of that period.

In 2012, we let the original edition go out of print and issued an updated, considerably expanded second edition at very nearly the same price as the original edition. Sales immediately plummeted.

Why? Amazon transferred neither the magazine reviews nor the dozens of favorable reader reviews of the original edition to the updated second edition. As well, they placed the out-of-print edition—which has a very similar cover to the second edition—at the top of the page, where readers would see the  out-of-print designation, and likely go no further. To make matters even worse, some of the older Kindles wouldn’t play the embedded audio tracks in the e-book version of the Bible, and we received a number of one-star reviews of the new edition from readers who mistakenly concluded that the problem was with the e-book rather than with their Kindle devices (or Kindle emulators running on PCs).

The end result was that sales immediately dropped from 200 to 250 copies per month (of the original edition) to 40 to 50 copies per month of the second edition, where they’re still sitting.

Amazon has finally, for the most part, fixed the listings situation, but the damage has been done. It’s worth noting that our distributor made repeated requests to Amazon to rectify the problems with the listings for both books, and that for years Amazon simply ignored those requests.

As for “what needs to change?”, we need a much greater diversity of bookselling outlets, both brick and mortar and online. I don’t see that happening any time soon, if ever, but it is what’s needed. Until that changes, small publishers will be in an extremely vulnerable position, where a single bookseller can all but destroy a book’s sales.

How do you cope? There’s been a lot of conversation lately about charging reading fees, printing costs, rising book costs, who should pay for what, etc. Do you have any opinions on this, and would you be willing to share any insights about the numbers at See Sharp Press?

We keep costs to a minimum by doing almost everything in house and, unless advance sales justify an offset run, doing titles via POD. E-book sales are a help—after your initial small investment for conversion, there are no additional costs other than paying royalties—but they’ve leveled off at about 20% of sales.

We continue using the standard contract model—paying advances and paying royalties—and wouldn’t consider any other type of publishing structure. The publisher should pay all costs. The author should never pay a dime. Period.

My advice to authors would be to run the other way if an agent or publisher charges a reading fee.

Rising book costs aren’t a concern. Most people consider books a luxury item, and the two dollars or so that you have to bump the cover price for a POD title have little effect on sales.

Recent releases from See Sharp Press:


(For the last couple of months we’ve been running the best posts from years past, posts that will be new to most of our subscribers. We’re just starting to run blasts from the past from 2014 — this is the first — and will be posting them for the next few months; we’ll intersperse them with new material.)

Anarchism: What It Is and What It Isn’t

Anarchist Cookbook front cover(from the new [2015] Anarchist Cookbook, by Keith McHenry with Chaz Bufe, Introduction by Chris Hedges)

by Chaz Bufe

There are many popular misconceptions about anarchism, and because of them a great many people dismiss anarchists and anarchism out of hand.

Misconceptions abound in the mass media, where the term “anarchy” is commonly used as a synonym for “chaos,” and where terrorists, no matter what their political beliefs or affiliations, are often referred to as “anarchists.” As well, when anarchism is mentioned, it’s invariably presented as merely a particularly mindless form of youthful rebellion. These misconceptions are, of course, also widespread in the general public, which by and large allows the mass media to do what passes for its thinking.

Worse, some who call themselves “anarchists” don’t even know the meaning of the term. These people fall, in general, into two classes. The first, as the great Italian anarchist Luigi Fabbri pointed out nearly a century ago in Influencias burguesas sobre el anarquismo, consists of those who are attracted to the lies in the mass media. By and large, these people are simply looking for a glamorous label for selfish, antisocial behavior. The good news is that most of them eventually mature and abandon what they consider “anarchism.” The bad news is that while they’re around they tend to give anarchism a very bad name. As Fabbri put it:

[These are] persons who are not repelled by the absurd, but who, on the contrary, engage in it. They are attracted to projects and ideas precisely because they are absurd; and so anarchism comes to be known precisely for the illogical character and ridiculousness which ignorance and bourgeois calumny have attributed to anarchist doctrines.1

The second class consists of those who equate anarchism with some pet ideology having essentially nothing to do with anarchism. In modern times, the most prominent of these mislabeled beliefs have been primitivism and amoral egoism. Again, the identification of such beliefs with anarchism tends to give anarchism a bad name, because of, on the one hand, the absurdity of primitivism and, on the other, the obvious antisocial nature of amoral egotism. To put this another way, the identification of anarchism with chaos, mindless rebellion, absurdities (such as primitivism), and antisocial attitudes and behaviors (such as amoral egoism) has three primary undesirable effects: 1) it allows people to easily dismiss anarchism and anarchists; 2) it makes it much more difficult to explain anarchism to them, because they already think that they know what it is and have rejected it; and 3) it attracts a fair number of what Fabbri calls “empty headed and frivolous types,” and occasionally outright sociopaths, whose words and actions tend to further discredit anarchism.

So, if we’re ever to get anywhere, we need to make plain what anarchism is and what it isn’t. First, let’s deal with the misconceptions.

What Anarchism Isn’t

Anarchism is not terrorism. An overwhelming majority of anarchists have always rejected terrorism, because they’ve been intelligent enough to realize that means determine ends, that terrorism is inherently vanguardist, and that even when “successful” it almost always leads to bad results. The anonymous authors of You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case Against Terrorism put it like this:

You can’t blow up a social relationship. The total collapse of this society would provide no guarantee about what replaced it. Unless a majority of people had the ideas and organization sufficient for the creation of an alternative society, we would see the old world reassert itself because it is what people would be used to, what they believed in, what existed unchallenged in their own personalities.

Proponents of terrorism and guerrillaism are to be opposed because their actions are vanguardist and authoritarian, because their ideas, to the extent that they are substantial, are wrong or unrelated to the results of their actions (especially when they call themselves libertarians or anarchists), because their killing cannot be justified, and finally because their actions produce either repression with nothing in return, or an authoritarian regime.2

Decades of government and corporate slander cannot alter this reality: the overwhelming majority of anarchists reject terrorism for both practical and ethical reasons. In the late 1990s, Time magazine called Ted Kaczynski “the king of the anarchists”; but that doesn’t make it so. Time‘s words are just another typical, perhaps deliberately dishonest, attempt to tar all anarchists with the terrorist brush.

This is not to say that armed resistance is never appropriate. Clearly there are situations in which one has little choice, as when facing a dictatorship that suppresses civil liberties and prevents one from acting openly, which has happened repeatedly in many countries. Even then, armed resistance should be undertaken reluctantly and as a last resort, because violence is inherently undesirable due to the suffering it causes; because it provides repressive regimes excuses for further repression; because it provides them with the opportunity to commit atrocities against civilians and to blame those atrocities on their “terrorist” opponents; and because, as history has shown, the chances of success are very low.

Even though armed resistance may sometimes be called for in repressive situations, it’s a far different matter to succumb to the romance of the gun and to engage in urban guerrilla warfare in relatively open societies in which civil liberties are largely intact and in which one does not have mass popular support at the start of one’s violent campaign. Violence in such situations does little but drive the public into the “protective” arms of the government; narrow political dialogue (tending to polarize the populace into pro- and anti-guerrilla factions); turn politics into a spectator sport for the vast majority of people3; provide the government with the excuse to suppress civil liberties; and induce the onset of repressive regimes “better” able to handle the “terrorist” problem than their more tolerant predecessors. It’s also worth mentioning that the chances of success of such violent, vanguardist campaigns are microscopic. They are simply arrogant, ill-thought-out roads to disaster.4

Anarchism is not primitivism. In recent decades, groups of quasi-religious mystics have begun equating the primitivism they advocate (rejection of science, rationality, and technology—often lumped together under the blanket term, “technology”) with anarchism.5 In reality, the two have nothing to do with each other, as we’ll see when we consider what anarchism actually is—a set of philosophical/ethical precepts and organizational principles designed to maximize human freedom. For now, suffice it to say that the elimination of technology advocated by primitivist groups would inevitably entail the deaths of literally billions of human beings in a world utterly dependent upon interlocking technologies for everything from food production/delivery to communications to medical treatment. This fervently desired outcome, the elimination of technology, could only come about through means which are the absolute antithesis of anarchism: the use of coercion and violence on a mass scale, as it’s inconceivable that a majority of human beings would voluntarily give up such things as running water, sewer systems, modern medicine, electric lights, and warm houses in the winter.6

Anarchism is not chaos; Anarchism is not rejection of organization. This is another popular misconception, repeated ad nauseam by the mass media and by anarchism’s political foes. Even a brief look at the works of anarchism’s leading theoreticians and writers confirms that this belief is in error. Over and over in the writings of Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Rocker, Ward, Bookchin, et al., one finds not a rejection of organization, but rather a preoccupation with it—a preoccupation with how society should be organized in accord with the anarchist principles of individual freedom and social justice. For a century and a half now, anarchists have been arguing that coercive, hierarchical organization (as embodied in government and corporations) is not equivalent to organization per se (which they regard as necessary), and that coercive organization should be replaced by decentralized, nonhierarchical organization based on voluntary cooperation and mutual aid. This is hardly a rejection of organization.

Anarchism is not amoral egoism. As does any avant garde social movement, anarchism attracts more than its share of flakes, parasites, and outright sociopaths, persons simply looking for a glamorous label to cover their often-pathological selfishness, their disregard for the rights and dignity of others, and their pathetic desire to be the center of attention. These individuals tend to give anarchism a bad name, because even though they have very little in common with actual anarchists—that is, persons concerned with ethical behavior, social justice, and the rights of both themselves and others—they’re often quite exhibitionistic, and their disreputable actions sometimes come into the public eye. To make matters worse, these exhibitionists sometimes publish their self-glorifying views and deliberately misidentify those views as “anarchist.” To cite an example, the publisher of a pretentiously (sub)titled American “anarchist” journal recently published a book by a fellow egoist consisting primarily of ad hominem attacks on actual anarchists, knowing full well that the “anarchist” author of the book is a notorious police narcotics informant who has on a number of occasions ratted out those he’s had disputes with to government agencies. This police informer’s actions—which, revealingly, he’s attempted to hide—are completely in line with his ideology of amoral egoism (“post-left anarchism”), but they have nothing to do with actual anarchism. Such amoral egoists may (mis)use the label, but they’re no more anarchists than the now-defunct German Democratic Republic (East Germany) was democratic or a republic.

The full absurdity of identifying amoral egoism—essentially “I’ll do what I damn well please and fuck everybody else”—with anarchism will become apparent in short order when we’ll consider what anarchism actually is.

Anarchism is not “Libertarianism.” Until relatively recently, the very useful term “libertarian” was used worldwide as a synonym for “anarchist.” Indeed, it was used exclusively in this sense until the 1970s when, in the United States, it was appropriated by the grossly misnamed Libertarian Party.

This party has almost nothing to do with anarchist concepts of liberty, especially the concepts of equal freedom and positive freedom—that is, access to the resources necessary to the freedom to act. (Equal freedom and positive freedom are discussed in the following section of this essay.) Instead, this “Libertarian” party concerns itself exclusively with the negative freedoms, pretending that liberty exists only in the negative sense, while it simultaneously revels in the denial of equal positive freedom to the vast majority of the world’s people.

These “Libertarians” not only glorify capitalism, the mechanism that denies both equal freedom and positive freedom to the vast majority, but they also wish to retain the coercive apparatus of the state while eliminating its social welfare functions—hence widening the rift between rich and poor, and increasing the freedom of the rich by diminishing that of the poor (while keeping the boot of the state firmly on their necks). Thus, in the United States, the once exceedingly useful term “libertarian” has been hijacked by egotists who are in fact enemies of liberty in the full sense of the word, and who have very little in common with anarchists.

This is what anarchism isn’t.

What Anarchism Is

In its narrowest sense, anarchism is simply the rejection of the state, the rejection of coercive government. Under this extremely narrow definition, even such apparent absurdities as “anarcho-capitalism” and religious anarchism are possible.7

But most anarchists use the term “anarchism” in a much broader sense, defining it as the rejection of coercion and domination in all forms. So, most anarchists reject not only coercive government, but also religion and capitalism, which they see as other forms of the twin evils, domination and coercion. They reject religion because they see it as the ultimate form of domination, in which a supposedly all-powerful god hands down “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” to its “flock.” They likewise reject capitalism because it’s designed to produce rich and poor and because it’s designed to produce a system of domination in which some give orders and others have little choice but to take them. For similar reasons, on a personal level almost all anarchists reject sexism, racism, and homophobia—all of which produce artificial inequality, and thus domination.

To put this another way, anarchists believe in freedom in both its negative and positive senses. In this country, freedom is routinely presented only in its negative sense, that of being free from restraint. Hence most people equate freedom only with such things as freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of (or from) religion. But there’s also a positive aspect of freedom, an aspect which anarchists almost alone insist on.8

That positive aspect is what Emma Goldman called “the freedom to.” And that freedom, the freedom of action, the freedom to enjoy or use, is highly dependent upon access to the world’s resources. Because of this the rich are in a very real sense free to a much greater degree than the rest of us. To cite an example in the area of free speech, Bill Gates could easily buy dozens of daily newspapers or television stations to propagate his views and influence public opinion. How many working people could do the same? How many working people could afford to buy a single daily newspaper or a single television station? The answer is obvious. Working people cannot do such things; instead, we’re reduced to producing ‘zines with a readership of a few hundred persons or putting up pages on the Internet in our relatively few hours of free time.

Examples of the greater freedom of the rich abound in daily life. To put this in general terms, because they do not have to work, the rich not only have far more money (that is, access to resources) but also far more time to pursue their interests, pleasures, and desires than do the rest of us. To cite a concrete example, the rich are free to send their children to the best colleges employing the best instructors, which the rest of us simply can’t afford to do; if we can afford college at all, we make do with community and state colleges employing slave-labor “adjunct faculty” and overworked, underpaid graduate students. Once in college, the children of the rich are entirely free to pursue their studies, while most other students must work at least part time to support themselves, which deprives them of many hours which could be devoted to study. If you think about it, you can easily find additional examples of the greater freedom of the rich in the areas of medical care, housing, nutrition, travel, etc., etc.—in fact, in virtually every area of life.

This greater freedom of action for the rich comes at the expense of everyone else, through the diminishment of everyone else’s freedom of action. There is no way around this, given that freedom of action is to a great extent determined by access to finite resources. Anatole France well illustrated the differences between the restrictions placed upon the rich and the poor when he wrote, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

Because the primary goal of anarchism is the greatest possible amount of freedom for all, anarchists insist on equal freedom in both its negative and positive aspects—that, in the negative sense, individuals be free to do whatever they wish as long as they do not harm or directly intrude upon others; and, in the positive sense, that all individuals have equal freedom to act, that they have equal access to the world’s resources.

Anarchists recognize that absolute freedom is an impossibility, that amoral egoism ignoring the rights of others would quickly devolve into a war of all against all. What we argue for is that everyone have equal freedom from restraint (limited only by respect for the rights of others) and that everyone have as nearly as possible equal access to resources, thus ensuring equal (or near-equal) freedom to act.

This is anarchism in its theoretical sense.

In Spain, Cuba, and a few other countries there have been serious attempts to make this theory reality through the movement known as anarcho-syndicalism. The primary purpose of anarcho-syndicalism is the replacement of coercive government by voluntary cooperation in the form of worker-controlled unions coordinating the entire economy. This would not only eliminate the primary restraint on the negative freedoms (government), but would also be a huge step toward achieving positive freedom. The nearest this vision came to fruition was in the Spanish Revolution, 1936–1939, when huge areas of Spain, including its most heavily industrialized region, came under the control of the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo. George Orwell describes this achievement in Homage to Catalonia:

The anarchists were still in virtual control of Catalonia and the revolution was in full swing. . . . the aspect of Barcelona was something startling and overwhelming. It was the first time that I had ever been in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags or with the red and black flag of the anarchists; . . . Every shop and café had an inscription saying it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-workers looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. . . . The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs of mud. . . . All this was queer and moving. There was much in it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.

This is anarchism. And Orwell was right—it is worth fighting for.9
1. Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism, by Luigi Fabbri. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 2001, p. 16.

2. You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 1998, p. 20.

3. It may be that now due to apathy, but in violent/repressive situations other options are cut off for almost everyone not directly involved in armed resistance.

4. For further discussion of this matter, see You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case Against Terrorism and Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism.

5. Ted Kaczynski is in some ways quite typical of this breed of romantic. He differs from most of them in that he acted on his beliefs (albeit in a cowardly, violent manner) and that he actually lived a relatively primitive existence in the backwoods of Montana—unlike most of his co-religionists, who live comfortably in urban areas and employ the technologies they profess to loathe.

6. For further discussion of this topic, see Anarchism vs. Primitivism, by Brian Oliver Sheppard. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 2003. See also the “Primitive Thought” appendix to Listen Anarchist!, by Chaz Bufe. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 1998.

7. Indeed, there have been a fairly large number of admirable religious anarchists, individuals such as Leo Tolstoy and Dorothy Day (and the members of her Catholic Worker groups, such as Ammon Hennacy), though to most anarchists the advocacy of freedom on Earth while bowing to a heavenly tyrant (no matter how imaginary) seems an insupportable contradiction.

To the best of my knowledge there have been no such shining examples of anarcho-capitalists other than Karl Hess.

8. To be fair, marxists also tend to emphasize positive freedom, but for the most part they’re also curiously insensitive, and often downright hostile, to “negative” freedom—the freedom from restraint (especially when they have the guns and goons to do the restraining).

9. Of course, this discussion of anarchism is necessarily schematic, given that this pamphlet is intended as an introductory 10-minute read. For elaboration upon these themes, see Anarchism and Anarcho-syndicalism, by Rudolf Rocker; What Is Communist Anarchism?, by Alexander Berkman (republished by AK Press as What Is Anarchism?); Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow, by Peter Kropotkin; and Anarchy in Action, by Colin Ward.


See Sharp Press will publish new science fiction, anarchist, and atheist titles in 2017 and 2018. Here are the books we now have scheduled over the next two years. Work is underway on all of them, and we’ll publish samples from them in advance of publication.

Anarchism

  • Venezuelan Anarchism: The History of a Movement, by Rodolfo Montes de Oca (Fall 2017). The newest installment in our “History of a Movement” series, Venezuelan Anarchism traces the development of anarchism in Venezuela from its beginnings in the 19th century to today.

Atheism

  • 30 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, by Chaz Bufe (Fall 2017). A much expanded version of 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity, originally a pamphlet, and which is now available in updated e-book form. The original text of 20 Reasons is available here in part 1 and part 2.

Science Fiction

  • The as-yet-untitled sequel to Sleep State Interrupt, by T.C. Weber (Spring 2018). A sample from Sleep State is available here in pdf form.
  • The as-yet-untitled sequel to Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia, by Zeke Teflon (Fall 2018). A sample from Free Radicals is available here in pdf form.

We’ll likely add at least one or two more titles to this list. Among other things, we’re currently talking with the authors of The Drummer’s Bible about a possible new drum book.


Anarcho-Syndicalist ReviewAnarcho-Syndicalist Review just published a nice review of the new Anarchist Cookbook in their Fall 2016 issue. Here’s the full review:

___________

The Anarchist Cookbook, by Keith McHenry with Chaz Bufe. See Sharp Press, 2015, 154 pp. [8.5″X11″], $19.95.

This book was released as a refutation of the earlier book of the same title, which (in addition to its bad politics and dangerous recipes has repeatedly been used by police to entrap people on terrorism charges. Its first 89 pages briefly discuss anarchist theory and ‘recipes for social change’ such as organizing events (a practical, detailed section that any novice should find helpful), blockades and occupations. Part III opens with a discussion of the politics of food before offering 24 pages of vegan recipes, many suited for large crowds. Chris Hedges’ introduction offers a sympathetic appraisal of the anarchist tradition, stressing (as does the book as a whole) the movement’s fundamentally nonviolent nature.

Anarchist Cookbook front coverThe book is grounded in Food Not Bombs’ practice of activist feeding, but also draws on See Sharp’s library of anarchist pamphlets. Part One distinguishes anarchism from terrorism, primitivism, chaos, rejection of (non-coercive) organization, amoral egotism, and the right-wing has co-opted as capitalist-friendly ‘libertarianism.’ An excerpt from the classic You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship reminds us that revolution is fundamentally about organizing people to create a new society.

The practical nature of the book emerges in its second half. There is extensive and sensible discussion of provocateurs and informants, some of who have lured FNB volunteers into long prison terms. Brief chapters offer steps on organizing meetings, a consensus flow chart (FNB has always been fond of this profoundly anti-democratic decision-making process), promoting local events, and convening a gathering. There are useful tips for novices on public outreach, such as how to pack a literature table’s contents, and why rocks (police can accuse one of stocking them as weapons) are not as good as rubber bands to secure flyers.

McHenry believes that conscious eating brings people together to live more lightly off the land. Community is formed as we meet and eat together. So he offers recipes for small groups of five or six, many of which can be expanded to feed 100. The recipes are generally simple, hard to mess up (necessary if volunteers unused to working with each other are doing the cooking), and filling.

__________

Anarcho-Syndicalist Review is always well worth reading. The cover article in this issue, “The Cult of Che,” is worth the price of the entire magazine. Subscriptions are $15 for three issues. and the address is ASR, P.O. Box 42531, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Their web site is at http://www.syndicalist.us.

 


 

Anarchist Cookbook front cover

This is the bibliography from our upcoming release, The Anarchist Cookbook, by Keith McHenry with Chaz Bufe, introduction by Chris Hedges (October 2015).

For decades, anarchists have talked about publishing a real anarchist cookbook–a book that accurately reflects its title, a book with recipes for social change and tasty food, and accurate information on anarchism–but no one has produced one. Until now. Here’s its bibliography. It’s not meant to be comprehensive; it’s intended only as a jumping off point for further study.

(Sorry about the lack of capitalization of the book titles. The formatting did not transfer with the text.)

Anarchism

Antliff, Allan. Only a Beginning: An Anarchist Anthology. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2004.
Avrich, Paul. Anarchist Portraits. Princeton, NJ: Princton University Press, 1988.
Bakunin, Michael.God and the State. New York: Dover, 1970.
Bakunin, Michael. Marxism, Freedom and the State. London: Freedom Press, 1984.
Berkman, Alexander. What Is Anarchism? Oakland: AK Press, 2003.
Bookchin, Murray. Post-Scarcity Anarchism. Oakland: AK Press, 2004.
Bookchin, Murray. Remaking Society. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1990.
Brinton, Maurice. Toward Workers Power. Oakland: AK Press, 2004.
Chomsky, Noam. On Anarchism. New York: New Press, 2013.
Dark Star Collective (eds.) Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha-Feminist Reader, New Edition. Oakland: AK Press, 2012.
Dolgoff, Sam (ed). Bakunin on Anarchy. New York: Knopf, 1972.
Ehrlich, Howard and a.h.s. boy (eds.). The Best of Social Anarchism. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 2013.
Ehrlich, Howard (ed.). Reinventing Anarchy Again. Oakland: AK Press, 2001.
Fabbri, Luigi. Bourgeois Influences on Anarchism. Edmonton, Alberta: Thoughtcrime Ink, 2010.
Fernández, Frank. Cuban Anarchism: The History of a Movement. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 2001.
Flores Magón, Ricardo (Mitchell Verter and Chaz Bufe, eds.). Dreams of Freedom: A Ricardo Flores Magón Reader. Oakland: AK Press, 2005.
Goldman, Emma. Anarchism and Other Essays. New York: Dover, 1969.
Goldman, Emma. Living My Life (volumes 1 & 2). New York: Dover, 1970.
Guerin, Daniel. Anarchism: From Theory to Practice. New York: Monthly Review, 1996.
Kropotkin, Peter. Anarchism and Anarchist Communism. London: Freedom Press, 1987.
Kropotkin, Peter. The Conquest of Bread. New York: Dover, 2011.
Kropotkin, Peter. Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1974.
Kropotkin, Peter. Mutual Aid. Boston, Porter-Sargent, n.d.
Kroptkin, Peter. Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets. New York: Dover, 1970.
Malatesta, Errico. Anarchy. London: Freedom Press, 1984.
Marshall, Peter. Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism. Berkeley, CA: PM Press, 2010.
Mbah, Sam and Igariwey, I.E. African Anarchism: The History of a Movement. Tucson, AZ: See Sharp Press, 1997.
Meltzer, Albert. Anarchism: Arguments For & Against. Edinburgh: AK Press, 1996.
Richards, Vernon (ed.). Life and Ideas: The Anarchist Writings of Errico Malatesta. Berkeley, CA: PM Press, 2015.
Rocker, Rudolf. Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism. London: Freedom Press, 1988.
Rocker, Rudolf. Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice. Oakland: AK Press, 2004.
Rooum, Donald. What Is Anarchism? London: Freedom Press, 1992.
Ward, Colin. About Anarchism. London: Freedom Press, 2002.
Ward, Colin. Anarchism: A Very Brief Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Ward, Colin. Anarchy in Action. London: Freedom Press, 1992.
Woodcock, George. Anarchism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.

Anarchist Science Fiction

Banks, Iain M. The Player of Games,. New York: Orbit, 1988.
Banks, Iain M. Matter. New York: Orbit, 2008.
Banks, Iain M. Surface Detail New York: Orbit, 2010.
Carlsson, Chris. After the Deluge. San Francisco: Full Enjoyment Books, 2004.
Danvers, Dennis. The Fourth World. New York: Avon, 2000.
Harrison, Harry. The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted. New York: Bantam, 1987.
Hogan, James P. Voyage from Yesteryear. New York: Doubleday, 1982.
LeGuin, Ursula. The Dispossessed.New York: Harper, 1974.
Macleod, Ken. The Stone Canal. New York: Tor, 1996.
Macleod, Ken. The Cassini Division. New York: Tor, 1998.
Oakley, Nicholas P. The Watcher. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2014.
Rucker, Rudy. Software. New York: Eos, 1987.
Rucker, Rudy. Wetware. New York: Eos, 1988.
Rucker, Rudy. Freeware. New York: Eos, 1997.
Stross, Charles. Neptune’s Brood. New York: Ace, 2014.
Teflon, Zeke. Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2012.
Wilson, Robert Anton and Shea, Bob. The Illuminatus Trilogy. New York, Dell, 1975.

Art & Anarchism

Antiff, Allan. Anarchist Modernism: Art, Politics, and the First American Avant-Garde. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.
Antiff, Allan. Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007.
Harper, Clifford. The Education of Desire: The Anarchist Graphics of Clifford Harper. London: Anarres, 1984.
Harper, Clifford. Anarchy: A Graphic Guide. London: Camden Press, 1987.
Kinney, Jay. Anarchy Comics: The Complete Collection. Oakland: PM Press, 2012.
Rooum, Donald. Wildcat: Anarchist Comics by Donald Rooum. London: Freedom Press, 1985.
Rooum, Donald. Wildcat: Twenty Year Millenium, A selection celebrating 20 years of Wildcat appearances in Freedom newspaper. London: Freedom Press, 1999.
Weire, David. Anarchy and Culture: The Aesthetic Politics of Modernism. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusettes Press, 1997.

Cookbooks

Calvo, Luz. Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing.Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013.
Chef AJ. Unprocessed: How to achieve vibrant health and your ideal weight, Los Angeles: CreatSpace, 2011.
Goldhammer, Alan. The Health Promoting Cookbook. Summertwon, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1997.
Hagler, Louise and Bates, Dorothy. The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Co., 1988
Kalper, Michael A. The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals. Kapa’au, HI: Gentle World, 1981.
Katzen, Mollie. The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Mollie Katzen, Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1995
Katzen, Mollie. Moosewood Cookbook. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press,, 2000
Kloss, Jethro. Back to Eden. Santa Barbara: Woodbridge Press, 1972.
Moskowitz, Isa Chandra. Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2005
Robertson, Laurel. Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: Nilgiri Press, 1971.
Shurtleff, William. The Book of Miso. New York: Ballantine, 1976.
Thomas, Ann. The Vegetarian Epicure. New York: Vintage, 1972

Direct Action

Beck, Julian. The Life of the Theatre. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1972.
Billboard Lieration Front. The Art & Science of Billboard Improvement. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2000.
Boyle, Francis. Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Transnational Publishers, 1987.
Crimethinc. Recipes for Disaster:An Anarchist Cookbook. Salem, OR: Crimethinc, 2005
DAM Collective. Earth First! Direct Action Manual. Earth First!, 1997.
Flynn, Elisabeth G. and Smith, Walker C. Direct Action and Sabotage! Chicago: IWW, 1991.
Foreman, Dave (ed.). Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching. Chico, CA: Abbzug Press, 1993.
Hedemann, Ed. (ed.). War Resisters League Organizers Manual. New York: War Resisters League, 1981.
Lane, James H. Direct Action and Desegregation 1960–1962: Towards a Theory of the Rationalization of Protest. Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishers, 1989.
Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience. New York: Signet, 2012.

Economics

Albert, Michael. Looking Forward: Participatory Economics for the Twenty First Century. Boston: South End, 1999.
Albert, Michael. Of the People, By the People: The Case for a Participatory Economy. Oakland: AK Press, 2001.
Albert, Michael. Parecon: Life After Capitalism. New York: Verso, 2004.
Albert, Michael. Thinking Forward: Learning To Conceptualize Economic Vision. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring, 1997.
Alperovitz, Gar. America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming Our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy, 2nd Edition. Boston: Democracy Collaborative Press/Dollars and Sense, 2011.
Alperovitz, Gar. What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution. White River Jct., Vermont: Chelsea Green, 2013.
Hahnel, Robin. Of the People, By the People: The Case for a Participatory Economy. Oakland: AK Press, 2012.
Hahnel, Robin. The ABCs of Political Economy: A Modern Approach. London: Pluto Press, 2015.
Hahnel, Robin and Wright, Erik Olin. Alternatives to Capitalism: Proposals for a Democratic Economy. New Left Project, 2014.
Wolff, Richard. Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. Northampton, MA: Interlink, 2013.
Wolff, Richard. Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012.
Wolff, Richard. Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism. San Francisco: City Lights, 2012.
Zweig, Michael. The Working Class Majority. Ithaca, New York: ILR Press, 2011.

Environment

Bertell, Rosalie. No Immediate Danger: Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth. Summertwon, TN: Book Publishing Co., 2000.
Bertell, Rosalie. Planet Earth: The Latest Weapon of War. London: Quartet Books, 2002.
Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. New York: Mariner Books, 2002.
Hartmann, Thom. The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated: The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It’s Too Late. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004.
Leopold, Aldo. A Sand County Almanac: Outdoor Essays & Reflections. New York: Ballantine Books, 1986.
McKibben, Bill. End of Nature. New York: Random House, 2006.
McKibben, Bill. Earth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. New York: Times Books, 2010.
Tokar, Brian. Redesigning Life?: The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering. London: Zed Books, 2001.
Tokar, Brian. Gene Traders: Biotechnology, World Trade, and the Globalization of Hunger. Burlington, VT: Toward Freedom, 2004.
Tokar, Brian and Eiglad, Erik. Toward Climate Justice. Porsegrunn, Norway: Communalism Press, 2010.

Food Politics

Aoki, Keith. Seed Wars: Cases and Materials on Intellectual Property and Plant Genetic Resources. Druham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2007.
Bello, Walden. The Food Wars. London, Verso, 2009.
Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1986.
Blood Root Collective. The Political Palate. Bridgeport, CT: Sanguinaria Publishing, 1980.
Boyd, Billy Ray. For The Vegetarian in You. San Francisco: Taterhill Press, 1987.
Collins, Joseph. Food First. New York: Ballantine, 1977.
Collins, Joseph. World Hunger: Twelve Myths. New York: Grove Press, 1986.
Cribb, Julian. The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010.
Gottlieb, Robert. Food Justice: Food, Health, and the Environment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010.
McHenry, Keith. Hungry for Peace: How You Can Help End Poverty and War with Food Not Bombs. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2012.
Katz, Sandor Ellix. The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements. White River Jct., VT: Chelsea Green, 2006.
Lappé, Frances Moore. Diet for a Small Planet. New York: Random House, 1991.
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
Patel, Raj. Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2008.
Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.
Robbins, John. Diet for a New America. Novato, CA: H.J. Kramer, 1998.
Robbins, John. The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World. Newbury Port, MA: Conari Press, 2001.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.
Shiva, Vandana. The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply. Boston: South End Press, 2007.
Shiva, Vandana (ed). Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed. Boston: South End Press, 2007.
Shiva, Vandana. Soil Not Oil. Boston: South End Press, 2008
Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle: The Uncensored Original Edition. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2003.
Tokar, Brian and Magdoff, Fred. Agriculture & Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance and Renewal. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2010.
Tuttle, Will. The World Peace Diet, Eating For Spiritual Health And Social Harmony. New York: Lantern Books, 2005.
Wolfe, David. Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2009.

Gardening

Bartholomew, Mel. All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space. Minneapolis: Cool Springs Press, 2013.
Brookbank, George. The Desert Gardener’s Calendar: Your Month-by-Month Guide. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1999.
Brookbank, George. Desert Gardening: The Complete Guide. Boston: Da Capo Press, 1991.
Coburn, Heather. Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community. White River Jct., VT: Chelsea Green, 2010.
Fell, Derek. Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2011.
Fukuoka, Masanobu. The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. New York: NYRB Clasics, 2008.
Logsdown, Gene. Holy Shit: Managing Manure To Save Mankind. White River Jct., VT: Chelsea Green, 2010.
Markham, Brett. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2010.
Madigan, Carleen. The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! North Adamas, MA: Storey, 2009.
Nyhuis, Jane. Desert Harvest: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening in Arid Lands. Tucson: Growing Connections, 1982.
Owens, David. Extreme Gardening: How to Grow Organic in the Hostile Deserts. Phoenix: Poco Verde, 2000.
Smith, Edward. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible. North Adams, Massachusetts: Storey Publishing, 2009.
Wilson, Peter Lamborn and Weinberg, Bill (eds). Avant Gardening Ecological Struggles in the City & the World. New York: Autonomedia, New York,1999.

Labor

Boyer, Richard and Marais, Herbert. Labor’s Untold Story. UE, 1979.
Brecher, Jeremy. Strike! (exp. ed.). Oakland: PM Press, 2014.
Brinton, Maurice. For Workers’ Power. Oakland: AK Press, 2004.
Lynd, Staughton. Doing History from the Bottom Up: On E.P. Thompson, Howard Zinn, and Rebuilding the Labor Movement from Below. Chicago: Haymarket, 2014.
Ness, Immanuel. New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism. Oakland: PM Press, 2014.
Ness, Immanuel and Azzellino, Dario (eds.). Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present. Chicago: Haymarket, 2011.
Pannekoek, Anton. Workers’ Councils. Oakland: AK Press, 2002.
Thompson, Fred and Bekken, Jon. The Industrial Workers of the World: Its First 100 Years. Chicago: IWW, 2006.

Nonviolence

Cohen, Tom. Three Who Dared. New York: Avon, 1971.
Gandhi, Mohandas. Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.
Gandhi, Mohandas. The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas. New York: Vintage, 2002.
King, Martin Luther Jr. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Boston: Beacon Press, 1968.
King, Martin Luther Jr. Letter from the Birmingham Jail. Harper Collins, New York, 1994.
King, Martin Luther Jr. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2001.
Peace Pilgrim. Peace Pilgrim: Her Life and Work in Her Own Words.. Santa Fe, NM: Ocean Tree Books, 1992.
Sharp, Gene. Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential. Manchester, NH: Extending Horizons Books, 2005.
Sharp, Gene. The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Boston: Porter Sargent, 1973.

Political / Social Theory & Change

Bey, Hakim. TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zones. New York: Autonomedia, 1985.
Biehl, Janet. Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics. Boston: South End, 1991.
Biehl, Janet and Staudenmaier, Peter. Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience. Oakland: AK Press, `1995.
Bookchin, Murray. Remaking Society. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1990.
Bookchin, Murray. Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm. Edinburgh: AK Press, 1995.
Bookchin, Murray. Re-enchanting Humanity. New York: Cassell, 1995.
Carlsson, Chris. Nowtopia. Oakland: AK Press, 2008.
Castle, Marie Alena. Culture Wars: The Threat to Your Family and Your Freedom. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2013.
Chomsky Noam. Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies. Boston: South End Press, 1989.
Chomsky, Noam. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. Boston, South End Press, 1988.
Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black & Red, 2000.
French, Marilyn. Beyond Power, On Women, Men and Morals. New York: Ballantine, 1986.
Fussell, Paul. Class: A Guide Through the American Status System. New York: Touchstone, 1992.
Gelderloos, Peter. Consensus. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2006.
Goodman, Paul. Utopian Essays and Practical Proposals. New York: Vintage, 1962.
Greenleaf, Phyllis. Our Changing Sex Roles. Somerville, MA: New England Free Press, 1979.
Grogan, Emmett. Ringolevio: A Life Played for Keeps. Secaucus, NJ: Citadel, 1990.
Hedges. Chris. American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. New York: Nation Books, 2008.
Hedges, Chris and Sacco, Joe. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. New York: Nation, Books, 2014.
Hedges. Chris. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. New York: Nation Books, 2015.
Hedges. Chris. Wages of Rebellion. New York: Nation Books, 2015.
Klein, Naomi. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Picador, 2009.
Klein, Naomi. No Logo. New York: Picador, 2009.
Knabb, Ken (ed.). Situationist International Anthology. Berkeley, CA: Bureau of Public Secrets, 2007.
Korten, David C. The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007.
Korten, David C. When Corporations Rule the World . San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2001.
Kropotkin, Peter. Memoirs of a Revolutionist. New York: Doubleday, 1962.
Kunstler, James Howard. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005.
Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley. New York: Ballantine, 1992.
Maximoff, Gregory Petrovich. The Guillotine at Work: The Leninist Counter-Revolution. Sanday, Orkney: Cienfuegos Press, 1979.
McHenry, Keith. Hungry for Peace: How You Can Help End Poverty and War with Food Not Bombs. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2012.
Morris, Brian. Social Change and Social Defense. London: Freedom Press, 1993.
Ott, Jeff. My World: Ramblings of an Aging Gutter Punk. North Hills, CA: Hopeless Records, 2000.
Reich, Wilhelm. The Mass Psychology of Fascism. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1980.
Ross, John. ¡Zapatistas! Making Another World Possible: Chronicles of Resistance 2000–2006. New York: Nation Books, 2007.
Roy, Arundhati. Public Power in the Age of Empire. New York: Seven Stories, 2004.
Sampson, Ronald V. The Psychology of Power. New York: Vintage, 1965.
Scahill, Jeremy. Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. New York: Nation Books, 2014.
Shiva, Vandava. Staying Alive. Boston: South End Press, 2010.
Spring, Joel. A Primer of Libertarian Education. New York: Free Life Editions, 1975.
Sprouse, Martin, ed. Sabotage in the American Workplace. San Francisco: Pressure Drop Press, 1992.
Starhawk. The Spiral Dance. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
Taibbi, Matt. The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2011.
Taibbi, Matt. Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2009.
Taibbi, Matt. The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2014.
Uzcátegui, Rafael. Venezuela: Revolution as Spectacle. Tucson: See Sharp Press 2010.
Vaneigem, Raoul. The Revolution of Everyday Life. Oakland: PM Press, 2012.
Wilde, Oscar. The Soul of Man Under Socialism. Tucson: See Sharp Press, 2009.
Zinn, Howard. A People’s History of the United States. New York: Harper, 2005.

Poverty and Homelessness

Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums. New York: Verso, 2007.
Day, Dorothy. The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist, Dorothy Day. New York: HarperOne, 1996.
Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. New York: Holt, 2008.
Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove, 2005.
Freire, Paolo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Continuum, 2000.
Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard. Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail. New York: Vintage, 1979.
Piven, Frances Fox and Cloward, Richard. Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare. New York: Vintage, 1993.
Roy, Arundhati. Capitalism: A Ghost Story. Chicago: Haymarket Press, 2014.
Steinberg, Michael. Homes Not Jails! San Francisco: Black Rain Press, 1998.
Wasserman, Jason and Clair, Jeffrey. At Home on the Street: People, Poverty, and a Hidden Culture of Homelessness. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2009.

Russian Revolution

Avrich, Paul. Kronstadt, 1921. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.
Berkman, Alexander. The Bolshevik Myth. London: Pluto Press, 1989.
Berkman, Alexander. The Russian Tragedy. London: Phoenix, 1986.
Brinton, Maurice. The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control. London: Solidarity, 1970. (now a part of For Workers’ Power. Oakland: AK Press, 2004)
Goldman, Emma. My Disillusionment in Russia. New York: Dover, 2003.
Goldman, Emma. My Further Disillusionment in Russia. New York: Dover, 2003.
Maximoff, Gregory Petrovich. The Guillotine at Work: The Leninist Counter-Revolution. Sanday, Orkney: Cienfuegos Press, 1979.
Voline (E.K. Eichenbaum). The Unknown Revolution. Detroit: Black & Red, 1974.

Spanish Revolution

Bolloten, Burnett. The Grand Camouflage. New York: Prager, 1961.
Bolloten, Burnett. The Spanish Civil War. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1979.
Bookchin, Murray. The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years (1868–1936). Oakland: AK Press, 2001.
Borkenau, Franz. The Spanish Cockpit. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, 1971.
Dolgoff, Sam (ed.). The Anarchist Collectives. New York: Free Life Editions, 1974.
Gómez Casas, Juan. Anarchist Organization: The History of the FAI. Montreal: Black Rose, 1986.
Leval, Gaston. Collectives in the Spanish Revolution. London: Freedom Press, 1975.
Mintz, Frank. Anarchism and Workers Self-Management in Revolutionary Spain. Oakland: AK Press, 2013.
Peirats, José. Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution. London: Freedom Press, 1987.
Porter, David (ed.). Vision on Fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution. Oakland: AK Press, 2006.