What's new with LBC - Spring 2018

by John Doe

A story can be told about anarchist classic books. They shouldn't be a thing and yet they are. They are the bread book or possibly Mutual Aid, The ABCs, and the outlier The Unique and Its Property (formerly called The Ego and his Own). While I think all of these classics should be read they haven't exactly stood the test of time. Mostly these are books about the past, about before the Spanish Civil War.

At times LBC may seem dismissive of the glorious past of anarchism. We don't exactly feel dismissive, though. We honor it as it part of a story we share with other dreamers and outcasts, but consider the historicization of anarchism to be a conscious political act enacted by people today, right now. This has frozen anarchism as something from and in a former time, not allowing it to live and breathe in a contemporary world. We'd like our project, the project of anarchy, to live, breathe, and die here and now! Our anarchy reflects modern concerns rather than being a way to evaluate modern life through the articulation of 19th century concerns.

Practically, this means our project is less historical than others. We have published plenty of historical material, but mostly it has been about lives we relate to, rather than learned, "history-making" sweeps like the ones that Avrich and Ackelsberg have done so well. For better and for worse, LBC is more about theory and philosophy.

Our book for this quarter reflects this bias. It is the new translation by Wolfi Landstreicher of Max Stirner's (aka JS) The Unique and its Property. Because this is a book of ideas, particularly ideas shared by some of our closest friends, we decided that we wanted to do a bit more than usual for its launch.

One: We outsourced the production of the book. As many of you may know we have an in-house printshop where we make most of our books, pamphlets, and whatnot. This gives us a great deal of control of the what, whens, and hows but limits us regarding paper types, cover stock, etc. It makes sense when our production runs are low (which they mostly are, running into a couple hundred only). To put it more bluntly, our books mostly feel hand-crafted because they are. For a title like The Unique this wasn't appropriate.

Two: During the rest of April and May we are doing a series of interviews with known egoists on the history of these ideas, how they have impacted the world, and the lives of the interviewees. They will be hosted at The Brilliant and we'll announce them as they are posted. The first one will be with Wolfi Landstreicher, in which we discuss learning German, the motivation for the translation, and many specific details about the making of this translation.

The Wolfi episode is now live

Three: earlier I mentioned The Unique in the context of anarchist classics. The Unique is an outlier to that list (or the even longer list one would usually make of anarchist classics) in that it isn't a dusty tome from the past. Especially with the new translation, it transverses its 19th century origin as a piece of philosophy that is as relevant (if not more) than it was in 1844. This is a classic that stands the test of time because the problems and questions it raises are bigger than the particulars of how people are oppressed in a particular time. It's more about how we have done most of the oppressing to ourselves. It is also notable that it is not explicitly an anarchist text but one in which anarchism is the result of what is being proposed, not the goal itself.

It presents us with the challenge of how to stop doing that to ourselves (and others). How does one make everything their own? I'm not sure there is one answer but there is a undercurrent of people trying, which can be found in strange places. The clearest example of how up-to-the-minute (and strange) The Unique has become are the dozens of Facebook meme groups that range from as silly as just-calling-everything-in-the-world-a-spook to deep and complex conversations about what racialism looks like today. It can be found in the petty-crime-that-is-illegalism-today and that has brought joy and a type of freedom to many thousands of people. It can be found in all the modern echoes of the same efforts that were taken in the 19th century, failed then, fail today, but that can easily be mistaken for human life... because they are.

As a last note-- The wikipedia article on the book isn't terrible.

New Titles

The Unique and Its Property

Johann Kaspar Schmidt (aka Max Stirner) wrote this trailblazing political text in 1845. It is a statement that the individual is the measure of all things and establishes the foundation that existentialism, egoism, and nihilism are built on. Every group, every collectivity, demands collaboration with a set of rules and expectation, with a morality. Stirner provokes us to acknowledge our own capacity, as well as the capacities of those around us.

Previously only available in English through a translation from 1907 (which tragically titled the book The Ego and his Own)--a translation that removed some of the biting humor and occasional crudities that make Stirner more fun to read--this translation by Wolfi Landstreicher corrects that, updates the language in general, and removes the confusion involved with using terms that have changed in meaning in the intervening years.

From the translators introduction:

I made this translation for those who rebel against all that is held sacred, against every society, every collectivity, every ideology, every abstraction that various authorities, institutions, or even other individuals try to impose on them as a "higher power," for those who know how to loot from a book like this, to take from it those conceptual tools and weapons that they can use in their own defiant, laughing, mocking self-creation, to rise up above and against the impositions of the mass. In other words I did this translation for those who know how to treat a book not as a sacred text to either be followed or hermeneutically dissected, but as an armory or a toolbox from which to take whatever will aid them in creating their lives, their enjoyments

This new version of Wolfi's translation includes an index (indices are good, we want more!) and a gorgeous cover that refutes many of the expected associations with this book.

For more information - The Unique and Its Property

Scoundrel History and Utopian Method

This pamphlet brings an article written by someone calling themselves "Le Libertaire," presumed to be Louise Michel, and recently translated by John Tresch.

An older anarchist who was famous among her friends for having played hookey to go meet Emma Goldman, and who was loath to acknowledge any heroes at all, as anarchists are not about idolizing others, did once acknowledge with chagrin that Louise Michel was in fact her hero. We're happy to offer this pamphlet of resistance from another time of repression and sadness.

I was moved by an emotion of shock and recognition at once. Some part of me had already realized that I was not in the presence of a great man, but rather a great woman--no wizened brother of the struggle, but a sister. Instantly I felt myself uncannily at home, safe at last in a place I'd never been--truly at home, perhaps, for the first time in my life. This hero, epitome of the courage and intelligence the world saw as masculine, was a woman like myself.

For more information - Scoundrel History and Utopian Method

Caught in the Net

This is an article from Return Fire #4, discussing from a multi-discipline perspective, the concerns about the already-overwhelming and still growing influence that electronics have in our lives.

For more information - Caught in the Net

Relations without End

Two pieces, an interview with Ben Morea, and Aragorn!'s article "Nihilist Animism."

There is a painful and enormous gap between being (or naming yourself) an animist and feeling the glory of the profane (and holy) things around you. It is filled with mono-culture religions, civilization, and technocracy. This trinity makes compelling claims that the holy holy is in fact achievable by ritual, law, and blinking lights. Monotheism makes these claims with the promise of personal salvation and the potential of private revelation. It an enormous leap to say that kneeling alone by the bank of a river and being cleansed by the sacred is pure, unadulterated animism. It may be a true moment (especially to someone enveloped in spectacle and lies) but it is not a complete one. At some point one packs up the REI equipment in their Subaru and drives back home. Sometime later one posts about it on their Tumblr. One is not complete in the moment, but instead is an observer of one's own life, a life that can feel like a series of real moments, with disconnections that feel like a problem that can be solved after retirement or whatever.

For more information - Relations Without End

Enemy Combatant

Our good friends at Enemy Combatant (EC) have been busy the past few months. Alongside their vigorous pamphlet publication has been the publication of two new DIY titles that are exciting and new!

Corrosive Consciousness

This piece is an attempt at collecting and refining ideas I have thought about and discussed, perhaps excessively, for the past few years on the podcasts Free Radical Radio and The Brilliant, presented here in a redigested and regurgitated form that I envision, tentatively, as my final statements on the subject matter. Critique, in my view, is always implicitly complimentary: its mere existence validates the importance of its target, regardless of how harsh it might be... Anarcho-Primitivism drew me to anarchism in a way that the Humanist Left-wing or Right-wing versions never could have, and so I've lavished it with a good deal of this praise. Barring a sea change in the discourse with the Anarcho-Primitivists, what follows is a sincerely fond farewell.

For those who have listened to him or read his words, Bellamy is an unusually articulate and sincere thinker. We welcome this pretty book from Enemy Combatants, which presents Bellamy's long-awaited long essay on some of the issues with the philosophical underpinnings of the most well known anarcho-primitivists in the u.s.

For more information - Corrosive Consciousness

Tsuji Jun: Japanese Dadaist, Anarchist, Philosopher, Monk

This is a collection of brief writings about Tsuji Jun, by Erana Jae Taylor. It includes a brief biography, background and context, and the relationship of his thinking to people like Nietzsche and Stirner.

The fertile interdisciplinary nature of Tsuji's interests is part of what makes him such a fascinating topic, and this breadth lends itself to any number of angles for study. Surely this is a contributing factor as to why so many Japanese have chosen to write about him, each wanting to tell Tsuji's story from their own angle. As a result we find titles ranging from Nihilist: the thought and life of Tsuji Jun; Love for Tsuji Jun ( a lover's memoir); Nomad Dadaist Tsuji Jun; Madman Tsuji Jun: Shakuhachi Flute, the sound of the universe, and the sea of Dada; and Tsuji Jun: Art and Pathology, among others.

For more information - Relations Without End

Recent LBC Titles & Distro Items

  1. In Search of the Masterless Men of Newfoundland - Is escaping civilization possible?
  2. BASTARD Chronicles 2017 - Evil. Pro or Con?
  3. /Atassa #2 - The controversy continues. To what end?
  4. Brethren of the Coast - Pirates of Somalia
  5. Last Act of the Circus Animals - Sean Swain, Travis Washington, Anarchist Animal Farm
  6. Toward an Army of Ghosts
    - The second volume by Tom Nom@d on insurgent strategy
  7. Anarchist Speculations - The writings of John Moore

The rest

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