An Open Letter to Susan Gaertner from Dave Mahoney's Mom

Originally published on Help Dave Mahoney.

The following is an open letter written by Susan Mahoney, whose son David Mahoney was arrested at the Republican National Convention protests in 2008 and is facing inflated charges of "terrorist threats." The letter is written to Susan Gaertner, the St. Paul, MN prosecuting attorney.


"My name is Susan Mahoney. I am the mother of David Mahoney, who is due to stand trial accused of assault in the second degree and terroristic threats, arising from the Republican National Convention of September 2008.

Since David was arrested on September 4th, I have been finding out as much as I can about the RNC and its aftermath. As well as David’s first-hand account of events, I have watched hours of video footage and read much of the extensive media coverage, as well as numerous websites, blogs and the Heffelfinger Luger report.

Participatory Society: Urban Space & Freedom by Chris Spannos

Originally published on ZNet:

[A variation of this talk was delivered today, Friday, May 29th at the B-Fest in Athens, Greece. The gathering is an international anti-authoritarian festival hosted by the Babylonia newspaper, at the University of Fine Arts in Athens, from May 27-31. The purpose of the gathering is to explore vision and strategy after last December's social uprising there.]

Defining Anarchist Art: Gleanings from a Roundtable on Realizing the Impossible

Realizing the Impossible

Josh MacPhee:

We put together Realizing the Impossible because we wanted to read a book that explored the relationships between art and anarchism in a myriad of diverse ways, but it just didn’t exist. That’s often the reason people put out books, because they want to read something and they can’t find it, so they try to bridge the gap. Relationships between art and anarchism are an under-explored subject. While there are a lot of anti-authoritarians producing artwork, there’s not a lot of intellectual work theorizing how that art exists in the world, and how it’s different from what other political cultures have produced.

As with all left social movements, in anarchist activism there is an antagonism towards art as a result of the idea that social transformation comes from the difficult and tireless work of organizing and activism, and art is something that needs to be pushed to the side when “real work” needs to get done. Realizing the Impossible is a collection of writings, art, and interviews that argue against that idea, and demonstrate that cultural work is not a side show, but a main event. A look at history will show that most dramatic social transformations have had strong cultural components.

Realizing The Impossible, Reviewed by Alan Moore

Realizing the Impossible

Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, eds. 2007
Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority
AK Press, Oakland and Edinburgh

by Alan W. Moore

The volume reviewed here bespeaks an exciting upsurge of attention to a world of dynamic, committed artistic practices, past and present. Realizing the Impossible, a collection edited by Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, is largely a book on contemporary art, exploring politicized artistic practice now and in the recent past. It surveys radical art and art-making communities from around the world; the investigation spans a range of work, including those rooted in traditional genres, as well those which have created their own language of analysis. Realizing also recognizes the substantial part of the debt owed to international perspectives. It is constructed as a series of historical essays and close personal interviews, providing critical discussion and first-person experiential accounts of the pursuit of an “anarchist aesthetic.”

A Brief Chat with Harjit Singh Gill

Orginally published on Everything Is Dangerous.

I first encountered Harj after the Feds had rather ceremoniously hauled him out of a Jello Biafra talk a few years back (on charges related to dodging their questions about a series of property attacks related to the war, if I recall). He was contacting his favorite punk bands to see what help they could offer in raising funds for his defense, and... Well, a beautiful friendship has resulted from our contact. Having since spent a good deal of time in each other's presence since, in our respective transcontinental jaunts, his recent addition to the board of the IAS means we're now poised to pass utterly juvenile notes back and forth during board meetings in NYC/Montreal. Arguably one of the rising stars of north american anarchism, Harj recently sealed his status as someone to watch in a panel (in somewhat hostile territory, even) on Prefigurative Politics at the Left Forum, and totally wrecked house. Definitely check out the video below, and follow his writing at Planes for Baskets (he's far better about staying on top of this blog business than I could ever hope to be).

Anyway, somewhere in all of this, we thought it might be interesting to document some of the more recurrent themes in our conversations, and see if any of our babble proved useful. The results are after the jump. As this exchange evolves, it could potentially see print publication, but for now it's here. Enjoy.

An Introduction to Four Essays on the Life and Work of Murray Bookchin, by Mark Lance

The following four essays provide a retrospective look at the life and work of Murray Bookchin. Murray was a central figure in the development of anarchist theory and practice in the 20th century, and also something of a grandfather of the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Personally, I never met Murray, but his spirit and his ideas so permeate the community that brought me into explicitly anarchist work that I feel that I knew him. Murray was, of course, the central figure at the Institute for Social Ecology, an institution that nurtured so many fabulous young minds in careful radical thought, including most of those who founded the IAS and this journal.

Social Ecology: Resistance and Reconstruction, by Brian Tokar

With all the debates and controversies that surrounded Murray Bookchin’s many years of active political engagement, few commentators have addressed the lasting influence he had on the social and environmental movements of the past four decades. Participants in those movements, however, will always remember his compelling presence and his inspiring words. The earliest radical ecologists of the 1960s discovered Murray’s early work in underground newsletters and often in pseudonymous pamphlets. Antinuclear campaigners in the 1970s looked to him for glimpses of what a world of decentralized, solar-powered communities might look like, and radicals engaged in Green politics on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980s relied on his vast historical and theoretical contributions in their uphill struggle to counter the drift among Greens toward conventional parliamentary politics. In the 1990s, anticapitalist global justice activists sought Murray’s counsel and looked to his writings as they crafted prefigurative models of direct democracy to take to the streets of Seattle, Prague, and Quebec City.

Bridging the Unbridgeable Chasm: On Bookchin's Critique of the Anarchist Tradition, by John Clark

One of Murray Bookchin’s best-known works is Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm.1 In it, he argues that two quite distinct and incompatible currents have traversed the entire history of anarchism. He labels these two divergent tendencies “social anarchism” and “lifestyle anarchism,” and contends that between them “there exists a divide that cannot be bridged.”

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