Monday, December 12, 2005

Recommendation: The Books Published by AK PRESS

I came across AK PRESS' web site "serendipitously" one night when I was searching for publications about, and hopefully by, Gustav Landauer. The contributions of Landauer, one of the greatest minds and hearts of the Anarchist Movement, were intentionally eclipsed for reasons that would constitute a digression to go into at length here. For our present purposes, suffice it to say that most of Landauer's writings are not extant or are unavailable and it is a rare privilege indeed to find those that are. I found a pamphlet containing Landauer's thoughts on Anarchism in his native Germany, in his own words, published by AK PRESS. Excited, I ordered it at once.

The pamphlet arrived today together with AK PRESS' 2005 Distribution Catalog and the New Titles for the Summer/Fall of 2005, which includes works on CDs.

I haven't spent this much time reading a catalog since my mother bought a facsimile of the first Sears & Roebuck Catalog. Neither have I wished I could buy as many items.

What can I say? I'm a stickler for excellence and authenticity when it comes to Socialism and Anarchism, being the scion of a family that were active in founding the American Socialist Party and HaShomer HaTza'ir (the furthest Left of the kibbutzim in Israel), strengthening unions, creating more humane conditions for workers and having a granduncle die fighting in the Spanish Civil War, which traveled from the US to voluntarily take part in. I know real Socialism and Anarchism from the wannabe, insincere, pseudo-hip lip service that passes itself off as Socialism and Anarchy nowadays. I have little tolerance for the latter, neither am I amused by the antics employed by various soi-disant "Anarchist" groups.

It is a delight to say that I am able to recommend the publications of AK PRESS wholeheartedly. (That is not to say that I agree with the content of every publication. Anarchism and Socialism are not monolithic. Yes, dissent is permitted!)

The publications produced by AK PRESS are the genuine article. They publish works by and about Michael Bakunin, Emma Goldman, Ben Reitman, Lucy Parsons and many other mothers and fathers of Socialism and Anarchism, as well as those of their authentic spiritual/moral and intellectual heirs.

The care taken by AK PRESS to produce a catalog that is well-written and not riddled with the orthographic and grammatical errors that are so ubiquitous nowadays that they are tacitly accepted, or worse, thought to be correct English, did not escape the notice and appreciation of this reviewer.

The number of publications they provide on the number of subjects they embrace as being part and parcel of Socialism and Anarchism is nothing less than astounding for a small cooperative that is celebrating its fifteen year in business. (Note: they call themselves a .org and not a .com). You will even find a very respectable selection of vegan recipe books.

Their publications are in the form of books, videos, DVDs and CDs. They ship by various methods to the US, Canada and the rest of the world.

With the arrival of your first purchase you will receive a chit good for a 20% discount on your next purchase.

Their lapse into silly consumerism, consisting of inane slogans and drawings of icons of the Socialist-Anarchist Movement on T-Shirts and the like, which is merchandise obviously geared for those who cannot plumb the depth of Socialist-Anarchist principles but intuit that it is somehow "kewl" to look as if they are for them, is offset by their very altruistic and sensitive policy of providing books to prisoners at a reduction of 30% from the list price, thus incurring a loss on the books. They also recommend not watching TV. That sage advice, if followed, would help to phase out the market for the T-shirts and other "gear" in the next generation immensely, thus providing proof that Socialism and Anarchism dissolves the state as new behaviors are assumed.

Whether you agree with Socialism and Anarchy, have not formed an opinion or are opposed to whatever extent, AK PRESS is the address for one-stop, on-line shopping for the best literature on the topic available.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
December 12, 2005

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