Words from an anarchist on Armistice Day

i am old enough to remember when November 11th was “Armistice Day”, not Veterans Day. It was a day to celebrate the end of a war; a war so vast and deadly, so unlike any the world had ever seen that it was known simply as “The Great War”.

The change from a day to celebrate the end of a war to a day to celebrate warriors came in 1954. That year there was a Red under every bed, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were engaged in a (sometimes) “Cold War” by exploding larger and still larger thermo-nuclear bombs, and oh yes; the year i got my Polio shots. My mother wept, and laughed as she wept as she hugged me when it was announced there was a vaccine for Polio: But that’s another story.
With the hindsight of half a century it seems plain that a holiday to celebrate the end of a war went against the grain of a government with ambitions of Empire. How much better for instilling a martial spirit it would be to have a holiday honoring warriors, and by extension war! Then too, the draft had continued from December of 1941 to then (and would continue ’til 1973); it must have seemed an easy way to throw a bone to the millions of young men enslaved for two years.

Or perhaps the irony of celebrating the end of ‘The War To End All Wars’, the ‘War To Make The World Safe For Democracy’ doomed Armistice Day regardless. How much blood, how much treasure has been wasted since the first Armistice Day!

Still, it would be nice to have a day to honor and celebrate Peace…

krazy bill

Worshipping Power: Peter Gelderloos speaking in Tempe February 28

Anarchist and author Peter Gelderloos will be speaking on “Worshiping Power: An Anarchist Vision of Early State Formation” on Wednesday February 28 at Boulders on Broadway in Tempe. The event is free and begins at 7 PM.

Worshiping Power: An Anarchist Vision of Early State Formation

Where do states come from, what causes them to arise, and how do they develop? The old dogmas that the State protects and uplifts humanity, or even that it is a necessary evil, have been thoroughly discredited. But many newer theories, that explain state formation within a single optic, or that suggest a single cause, or a linear, progressive evolution, also fall short.

This new book traces multiple pathways of state formation, describing patterns that arise within many different societies with different models of the family, religion, warfare, commerce, and economic production. Rather than being ancient history, state formation is a continuous process, given that perhaps the only feature universal to state formation is the resistance it provokes. As a result, states are continually falling apart, being overthrown, or struggling to maintain their power.

People who fight today against the problems of capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, anyone who seeks to regain control over their lives, becomes wrapped up in this process as they run up against state authority.

Articulating the ongoing history of state formation—from divine states centered around new sites of spiritual production to democratic states arising from corrupted revolutions—allows us to better understand the ways states today attempt to govern, limit, or repress our movements today.

Peter Gelderloos is an anarchist from Virginia who currently lives in Catalunya. He is the author of How Nonviolence Protects the State, Anarchy Works, The Failure of Nonviolence, “An Anarchist Solution to Climate Change,” “A World Without Police,” and other works.