Start reading Two Cheers for Anarchism on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play
 
 

Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play [Kindle Edition]

James C. Scott
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.50
Kindle Price: £9.02 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £3.48 (28%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Whispersync for Voice

Now you can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook. Learn more or scan your Kindle library to find matching professional narration for the Kindle books you already own.

Add the professional narration of Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play for a reduced price of £4.49 after you buy this Kindle book.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £9.02  
Hardcover £11.86  
Paperback £10.60  
Audio Download, Unabridged £9.95 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: At least 60% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.


Product Description

Review

"In a new book, Two Cheers for Anarchism, James C. Scott, a highly regarded professor of anthropology and political science at Yale, commends anarchism precisely for its 'tolerance for confusion and improvisation.'. . . Two Cheers for Anarchism conducts a brief and digressive seminar in political philosophy, starting from the perspective of the disillusioned leftist."--Kelefa Sanneh, New Yorker

"With the 'A' on its covered circled in red, Two Cheers might at first appear to be preaching to the converted, but in fact it's an attempt to explain and advocate for an anarchist perspective to a readership not already disposed to smash the state. . . . Touching all the familiar progressive touchstones along the way, Scott makes the case for everyday insubordination and disregard for the rules in pursuit of freedom and justice."--Malcolm Harris, Los Angeles Review of Books

"[I]ntriguing . . ."--Michael Weiss, Wall Street Journal

"Alternately insightful, inciteful, and insulting, Scott makes an idiosyncratically intellectual case that technocratic elites aren't to be trusted, and insubordination is a virtue to be cherished. . . . Two Cheers for Anarchism deserves more than two cheers in review because Scott usefully expands the vocabularies that leaders and managers need to have around the critical issues of power, control, and resistance. Every effective leader I know loses sleep over how best to empower their talent and constructively align their people. And all the successful leaders I know--especially the entrepreneurs--have at least a little streak of anarchism--of creative destruction--inside of them. For this reason alone, they will find Scott's insights and incites worth their time."--Michael Schrage, Fortune

"Scott selects wonderful anecdotes to illustrate his tribute to the anarchist way of seeing the world, his prose is always on the verge of breaking into a smile. Political theory rarely offers so much wry laughter."--Chris Walters, Acres USA

"[E]ngaging. . . . Scott's eye for spontaneous order in action demonstrates that anarchy is all around us: that it's no abstract philosophy but an essential part of all our lives."--Reason

"James C. Scott . . . has a new book just out: Two Cheers for Anarchism. I've just started reading it, but bits of it are so good that I just can't hold off blogging about them."--Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog

"Yale professor James C. Scott and Princeton University Press have recently published Two Cheers for Anarchism, an easy to read book that will help illuminate the concept of anarchism for anyone under misconceptions about the sophisticated ideology of anarchy. Rather than attempt to convince readers to join their local anarchist party, Scott's goal in writing Two Cheers for Anarchism is to make 'a case for a sort of anarchist squint' by relating anecdotes that demonstrate the fundamental ideas of anarchism."--Coffin Factory

"In Two Cheers for Anarchism James C. Scott . . . [makes the case] for a kinder, gentler form of rebellion than the sort of bomb-throwing, street-fighting revolution typically associated with anarchism."--Nick Gillespie, Wilson Quarterly

"The aspects of Scott's work that I have been able to examine . . . demonstrate that the typical left-right axis by which political positions are classified is seriously inadequate to the task of handling a thinker like Scott. His case against big government is going to appeal to libertarians. His demonstrations of the wisdom often contained in traditions and customs will be attractive to conservatives. And his concerns with lessening inequalities of wealth and power will be congenial to progressives. So where does he fit on the left-right axis? Nowhere, I'd say: he is his own man. And, setting aside its many other virtues, that alone makes this a book worth reading."--Gene Callahan, American Conservative

"In Two Cheers for Anarchism, James C. Scott, a professor of political science at Yale, takes a fresh and often bracing look at the philosophy espoused by (the Russian philosopher Mikhail) Bakunin and asks whether it may afford some clues as to how to proceed in the 21st century."--Richard King, Australian

"Written in a highly engaging series of what he calls 'fragments,' Scott's work links together a series of brief reflections on social cooperation in the absences of (or despite opposition from) hierarchy, tying such cooperation to a sense of autonomy, freedom, and human flourishing. . . . There is much of value in this short book and, hopefully, much that is inspirational."--Choice

"The book taken as a whole is a great leap forward and will form the basis of current and future engagements in political philosophy. In my own view, the book answers Noam Chomsky call for 'intellectual responsibility'; the responsibility to speak the truth and insist upon it."--Tawanda Sydesky Nyawasha, Symbolic Interaction

"Though Scott's kaleidoscope of touching stories, challenging thoughts and well-chosen examples is at all times diverting and often mind-blowing, this panoply of loose ideas remains connected to a strong underlying argument. He is radical but hardly polemical, utopian but deeply rooted to the ground."--Pascale Siegrist, Cambridge Humanities Review

"[A]ll readers, even those sympathetic to Scott's anarchist theme, will find themselves unsettlingly but usefully challenged by this beautifully written and argued book, especially by his call to pay more attention to the beliefs and actions of ordinary people and to avoid overly abstract theorizing that serves to aid centralized hierarchies and technocratic elites."--John A. Rapp, Review of Politics

"Two Cheers for Anarchism is an insightful contemplation of the everydayness of anarchism. . . . I can still recommend the book insofar is it casts some much needed light on the everydayness of anarchism, which is particularly important owing to the weight of Scott's name and the of clarity of his pen. Few authors are better positioned than Scott to render anarchist ideas more luminous and less threatening in the wider social sciences."--Simon Springer, Antipode

"Two Cheers for Anarchism is an unusual, affecting, and useful book. . . . The insights contained in this small volume are useful in addressing contemporary concerns about the post-political landscape as well as connecting with recent calls for autonomous geographies including alternative practices in organizing households, economies, and engagements with ecologies."--Stephen Healy, Antipode

Product Description

James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing--one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions. Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself.

Beginning with what Scott calls "the law of anarchist calisthenics," an argument for law-breaking inspired by an East German pedestrian crossing, each chapter opens with a story that captures an essential anarchist truth. In the course of telling these stories, Scott touches on a wide variety of subjects: public disorder and riots, desertion, poaching, vernacular knowledge, assembly-line production, globalization, the petty bourgeoisie, school testing, playgrounds, and the practice of historical explanation.

Far from a dogmatic manifesto, Two Cheers for Anarchism celebrates the anarchist confidence in the inventiveness and judgment of people who are free to exercise their creative and moral capacities.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 503 KB
  • Print Length: 199 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0691155291
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (21 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091XBYWK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #275,824 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Anarchism as common sense and common practice. 4 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Makes many interesting comments about how very many everyday experiences and habits are reflections of 'anarchist principles/ideas. I thought that this tangential viewing of anarchist ideas I was very interesting.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 July 2014
By Jan
Format:Paperback
Scott is insightful, as usual. Well written and thought provoking
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Politics and Participation 22 Dec 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anarchy recognises an order that the state denies and seeks to suffocate. I think Schiller took this order, created by the people's participation in a mutual place by means of ordinary speech, to be self-evident when he wrote:

It is thus that concrete individual life is extinguished, in order that the abstract whole may continue its miserable life, and the State remains forever a stranger to its citizens, because feeling does not discover it anywhere. The governing authorities find themselves compelled to classify, and thereby simplify, the multiplicity of its citizens, and only to know humanity in a representative form and at second hand.

The state seeks to subordinate ordinary speech by establishing an external written code. Unlike ordinary speech political speech is concerned to exercise power over other places by means of writing. Writing attempts to eclipse the contingent and particular speech of participants with external and generic rules.

Scott recognises that the substantive order deviates from the formal order of writing, and that the substantive order is capable of both enabling and sabotaging production, but in Two cheers for Anarchy he imagines a political process that directs its own place rather than other places. This error persuades him to put his faith in the capacity of deviance to influence the rewriting of political texts.

But in the majority of cases deviance is a covert activity and participants accept that they cannot alter, only avoid, political texts. So while the participation of politicians in their constituencies may be a principle of democratic politics, in practice it is an empty gesture with little influence on the political process. So some become part of the system and others reconcile themselves to marginal lives.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Six Easy Pieces a la Paul Goodman or Ivan Illich! 19 Nov 2012
By Kevin Currie-Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Two Cheers for Anarchism is a book of "Six Easy Pieces" relating to the relation between human beings and the state. While Scott is quite a famous anthropologist for books like Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (The Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University), these essays are more reflective and philosophical in nature. While there is certainly ideational overlap between SLaS and Two Cheers, the latter is mostly personal reflection that might best be called social criticism.

The first essay, one of my favorites, discusses the role of disobedience and working around rules as a method for social change. After all, a rule is only as good as people's willingess to abide by it (especially the fewer 'rulers' there are in relation to the 'ruled'). Scott starts with an example we all know: traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalks. When there and ware no cars coming, it is often normal to disregard the "don't walk" signal and walk across the road; we don't often think twice (or at least a third time) about that. And while rules do have a place (if we all went whenever we felt like, driving or crossing the street could be a nastier experience; particularly the busier the street), rule-breaking often has ITS place; rules, as rules, often leave no room for judgment or discretion, and sometimes, good judgment tells us not to follow a particular rule that we know is either needless, redundant, or immoral.).

As an educator, the chapter on The Production of Human Beings was particularly interesting. Largely, it was a meditation on current educational methods, focused on centralized design of educational experience, testing in a way that privileges the quantifiable, and (inadvertently?) teaching folks not to take charge of their own educational experiences, but to jump through the hoops others have crafted. In a way, this has a very individuality-reducing effect such that we are not 'creating' people so much as certain kinds of people. Scott doesn't get into any alternative vision of what schools or education should be - and this is one fault of the book; Scott does a lot of critique but doesn't develop many positive alternative visions - but I have a feeling that his educational views might align with those of Paul Goodman (Compulsory mis-education or Ivan Illich (Deschooling Society.

The fourth essay celebrating the "petite bourgeois" was very interesting. Scott's "thesis" is that anarchists (particularly those leaning toward some view of socialism) unjustly ignore the petite bourgeois - the independent artisan, small business owner, etc - and focus exclusively on the proletariat - the worker or day laborer. Why is this important? If the anarchist is concerned about people being independent and taking control of their lives, the petite bourgeois are those who are trying to find space to do just that. Yes, they may be part of the capitalist system that many anarchists (again, of the socialist-leaning kind) want to usher out, but the petite bourgeois are the ones best situated to wrestle power from the corporations that many believe have exacerbated inequality and created (employer/employee or producer/consumer) dependencies. (Again, Paul Goodman's writings, like Drawing the Line Once Again: Paul Goodman's Anarchist Writings are instructive here.)

I've already noted that Scott is more keen on critiquing existing structures than giving ideas about possible alternative structures. Some of that, I think, is inevitable when one's argument is that decentralization is preferable to centralization (as it is hard to argue a plan when one is arguing against central planning). An areas where I was definitely frustrated with Scott's vagueness is in his seeming ambivalence toward states. On one hand, he sees the state as having little or no role in social (planning, but on another, I wonder how comfortable Scott would be, say, with deregulating markets (such that government no longer mandates a minimmum wage, regulates wo)rkplace safety standards or product standards), etc. He already tells us that while he is against state intrusion into individual affairs, he is also quite skeptical of the free-market anarchism of those like Murray Rothbard For a New Liberty or (today) Gary Chartier Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty). If one is skeptical of governments, but equally skeptical of markets sans government, then one must be confident that removing governments will result in something other than distribution of goods and services by unregulated markets. Scott doesn't, in this book, make an argument as to what he sees that 'third way' as being. In that way, I see this book as a really interesting, but very incomplete case. Against governments, okay; but now what?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, insightful, easy to read. 16 Dec 2012
By Pfft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is exactly what the much maligned topic of Anarchism needed.

Anarchism is often misunderstood and dismissed as a childish, thoughtless, and brutal idea by people who have never even taken the time to read the work of prominent Anarchist thinkers. Even those who take the time to look into these texts often end up discounting Anarchist ideals as naive and impractical for the modern world.

By keeping Anarchism at arms length rather than embracing it fully, Scott is able to highlight the more meaningful and practical aspects of Anarchist thought without the bother of having to defend every last value that has ever been labelled "Anarchist." The result is a thoughtful and intriguing look at our society through an "Anarchist lens." We are shown, not what some hypothetical Anarchist utopia might look like, but rather the many ways in which Anarchist values manifest themselves effectively in our world.

Dyed in the wool "Anarchists" might find this book to be far too light-handed, but readers who are reluctant to dive head-first into hardcore Anarchist ideology will find that Scott has written a wonderfully readable commentary on Anarchist values and their place in a state-ruled society.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, we SHOULD run our lives 5 July 2013
By David Zetland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play the second I heard about it, as I have REALLY enjoyed James C. Scott's previous books (Seeing Like a State and Weapons of the Weak).

The title sets out Scott's view: some anarchistic ideas are useful (hence two instead of three cheers), and we can benefit from more decentralized thinking and action.

I took many notes and had many !! while reading the book, and I'll set down my reactions in the order they appeared, to give you an idea of the insights of the book:

Most revolutions have led to more, not less control of the population
"Freedom without socialism is privilege and injustice; socialism without freedom is slavery and brutality" -- Mikhail Bakunin
Anarchism is not about blowing things up; it's about cooperation without hierarchy and a tolerance for the confusion that accompanies social learning, cooperation and reciprocity
All Utopian ideals fail; we must be pragmatic
"There is no authentic freedom where huge differences make voluntary agreements or exchanges nothing more than legalized plunder." This view explains the crisis of 2008 and why democracy has failed. It's been sold to the highest bidders (=bankers)
Opposition institutions can be part of the problem, since they exist within a system they want to control
Decentralized opposition may be missed by those who prefer simple models and messages (=the media)
Most of our interactions are decentralized, peer-to-peer (e.g., moving through a crowd, buying bread, talking to strangers, etc.). We have the skills to survive and care for each other (mutuality) without being told what to do, but those in charge prefer to take over those interactions
Anarchist calisthenics: Break a trivial, nonsensical law every day, so that you're ready to challenge big nonsensical laws. (This is how I ride my bike -- always in training by running stop signs. I got a ticket for that when I was 15 years old. The only nearby car was a parked police car. That ticket taught me the value of useless laws.)
Anonymous resistance (e.g., picking up or throwing down garbage, depending on whose property is being defaced or defended) can an effective example for everyone
Titled property favors those who control the process of titling (always the rich; sometimes the poor)
It's easier to break laws that defy morality, and we should. That's why I tell people I spoke marijuana. It may be illegal, but it's not immoral (same as drinking beer and definitely safer than beer)
The richest 20 percent rule (in liberal democracies) by convincing the middle 40 percent that they are also better off under those rules, since they are superior to the bottom 40 percent
The key condition to charisma is listening very carefully and responding (rulers do neither)
"The larger and more authoritarian an organization [or state], the better the chance that its top decision-makers will be operating in purely imaginative worlds." -- Kenneth Boulding
"Vernacular orders" (for managing land, water, labor, etc.) are suited to local conditions; they are effective, but difficult to understand. That's why national rulers replace them with less effective, but "logical" systems that serve their needs -- not local needs
Planners see algorithms, not people (Scott cites Jacobs)
Models make the world clear, at the cost of showing a world that does not exist (e.g., a theme park or economic model) -- as I discuss in this paper
We can see complexity -- and our ability to manage it -- when we actually follow formal rules and witness the chaos that results from rules to for changing conditions
Scott gives an example of a "chaotic garden" that was actually very productive; the farmer didn't need logic; he needed output. The USDA loves "logical" farm programs, but they have caused great harm in their chemical-laden, engineered monotony
"Standardized X" does not always suit individuals, conditions or society -- whether X be education, housing, diet, language or whatever...
How about replacing GDP with a measure of "greater choice" for humans and "satisfaction" for workers? Adam Smith loved the efficiency of the pin factory, but "what can be expected of a man who spent 20 years of his life making heads for pins" (de Tocqueville). What you do matters as much (or more) than how much $ you make
Yes, some people "win" at the system (I'm a US citizen, with a PhD), but what of the losers? Should I be happy to have beaten them (by luck mostly), should I worry that they may be upset, or should I mourn the fact that I live among so many people who are unable to reach their potential and happiness? What would I lose in their gain? Who prefers mastery within misery to membership in joy?
It is hard to be independent when we depend on so many institutions (insurance, police, food producers). Thus it is hard to defend or care for ourselves when the institutions do not 'respect" us (watch this TEDx). It's even hard to care about why we should
The "petite bourgeoisie" are the enemy of the State because they control their lives. Hitler was defeated by a "nation of shopkeepers," and everyone is subversive (as well as happy) to the extent that they control their productivity and consumption -- because they are neither beholden to the boss or the advertisers. They are definitely not going to die or pay taxes for bad ideas
The State does not like mobile people (gypsies, dual-passports, hunter-gatherers, eBay sellers) because they cannot be understood or controlled as easily as large businesses (farms, companies, banks, monopolies) controlled by a few people willing to deliver "order" in exchange for privileges
Thomas Jefferson's vision of yeoman farmers as the bearers of democracy rests on their freedom of thought and action, independent of the State
"A society dominated by smallholders and shopkeepers comes closer to equality and to popular ownership of the means of production than any economic system yet devised"
Scott notes that "citation indices" have been useful as a means of quashing academic integrity and curiosity (same with SAT, IQ tests, etc). Combined with funding directed at "strategic issues," this system has turned professional thinkers into useless report writers. I have seen this problem -- and its the useless results -- for years, which is why I am quitting the academic world for the real world
Lenin and other progressives liked the efficiency of "objective scientific knowledge" because they wanted to engineer people into their proper place and trajectory (Hayek et al. opposed them)
Scott is right to say that the overuse of cost-benefit, indices and measurements has turned complex issues into oversimplified caricatures and removed decisions from those who matter to technocrats who control. We've replaced human judgement and autonomy with one-dimensional black and white
Life -- and history -- are complex, and we should embrace their complexity and uncertainty. A Whig history is not only unfair to those who lived it; it misleads us into thinking that life is simple. It isn't, and we need to engage it with energy, not laziness

Bottom Line: I give this book FIVE STARS. Every citizen should read this book -- preferably while in their teen years. It's never too early to find your own path, and never too late to step out of that place reserved for you as a brick in the wall.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Cookbook for Anarchists 23 Jun 2013
By Norman A. Pattis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"[T]he great emancipatory gains for human freedom have not been the result of orderly, institutional procedures but of disorderly, unpredictable, spontaneous action cracking open the social order from below." Thus concludes James C. Scott's brief celebration of the joy and necessity of anarchism, Two Cheers for Anarchism, (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2012).

Of course, Scott is right. Who foresaw the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Arab Spring, the Occupy protests, or, most recently, the groundswell of popular protest in Brazil? When, one wonders, will the damn of restraint break in the United States to shatter what is rapidly becoming an economic caste system?

Scott is an unlikely proponent of anarchism. He's a tenured professor of political science and anthropology at Yale University. There's something counterintuitive about an academic preaching chaos. Isn't he the intellectual equivalent of a trust-fund baby - living free and easy off the unearned income of his university's generous endowment?

Such thinking reflects a misunderstanding of anarchism.

Anarchism is not disorder for disorder's sake. It is a rejection of the status quo as inadequate to meet the necessities of the time. It is the outcast forever and always challenging the orthodoxies of his time. It is the outsider saying to those confidently sharing the glow of inclusion: "Not so fast. There are things your ideals do not explain. Your rhetoric doesn't match the reality of my life." Anarchism is David saying to Goliath, "Do you feel my pain? No? Then feel this rock."

The great enemies of human freedom are the ideals and ideologies that seek to blind men and women to what they see all around them. Hence, we celebrate freedom in the United States while housing more men and women in prisons than any other nation on earth. We sing songs of equality while the rich get richer, and poor, well, they're just dropped from statistical reports - did you know that unemployment numbers reflect the number of folks looking work. Those who have dropped out don't count. They are our disappeared.

Listen to Scott describe the crayons politicians and mainstream journalists use to color over the rough edges of life: "The natural impulse to create a cohesive narrative to account for our own actions and lives, even when those lives and actions defy any coherent account, casts a retrospective order on acts that may have been radically contingent." In other words, we create the order we need by choosing to see what we report. The anarchist's voice is the demand of the powerless to be heeded. The anarchists "willingness to break the law [is] not so much a desire to sow chaos as a compulsion to instate a more just legal order," Scott writes. The anarchist is a shriek in a convent, protesting that solitary devotion to the holy comes at a profane cost.

Tired of the meaningless charade of Barack O'Bush and John Boehner, two squawk boxes pissing passed one another on the nightly news? "The brutal fact of routine, institutionalized liberal democratic politics is that the interests of the poor are largely ignored until and unless a sudden and dire crisis catapults the poor into the streets." The insiders see no reason to change the rule of the game so long as it works for them. It is only when the outsiders force issues that real change occurs. Decades of "trickle down" economics has yielded only huge deficits, plutocrats and corporations too big to fail. Take a drive through the Midwest sometime and see what's left of the middle class.

Scott's been a student of the dispossessed around the world for a scholarly lifetime, studying peasant resistance in Southeast Asia. The point of this little book is that anarchism has a role not just in what we used to call the Third World. The simple art of lifelong resistance to structures that do not work - "[q}uiet, unassuming, quotidian insubordination" - is becoming a necessary way of life in this the best of all possible worlds. You can bring a colossus to its knees by acts of "silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal and [the] truculence of ordinary people." This ordinary revolt can be more effective than revolutionary violence, he writes.

Is Edward Snowden a traitor? Perhaps to the ruling class. To many others he represents something else. He understood the rules of the game the state now plays in the name of security. But security for whom, and at what costs? Snowden stepped outside the restraint of the law to demonstrate a larger truth - the contempt of big government and big corporations for ordinary people. Did you see the angry mug of the NSA's General Keith Alexander boasting how the surveillance state had saved us from so many terrorists attacks? He looked like a hungover J. Edgar Hoover grousing about all the communists who are infiltrating our schools, the government, the movies, and, well ... the very space beneath our beds.

Scott's simple little book does much to rehabilitate anarchism. Forever and always there will be conflict between the individual and group. Watch any pack of animals and you'll see order break down from time to time, the outlier either brought to heel, or driven away. The human kind is no different; we're just more creative, and destructive, in how we go about satisfying the imperatives of survival. There will always be simmering discontent: Civilization is a work in progress. Anarchism is no more than the means by which ordinary force those in power to heed the voice of even the least advantaged. God save anarchism.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful 19 Dec 2012
By Book Fanatic - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a small book with only 140 pages of text. However, it is full of insights and I think important. It is not a manifesto. It is an easy read and intended to stimulate thought and further study. In it's pages you will find a devastating, if incomplete, critique of everything big and planned be it government or corporations or institutions (like schools). I loved it and highly recommend you read it. I'm getting his previous book "Seeing Like A State".
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category