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Precarious Communism

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How does one demonstrate the enduring relevance of a sacred text but to help it speak to present times? This is what churches do with the Bible and what Marxists do with the writings of Marx. Richard Gilman-Opalsky offers a book-length détournement of The Communist Manifesto as a loving blasphemy, as a grateful revolt, both for and against the original text. Gilman-Opalsky detourns the 1848 manifesto as an exploration of its ongoing applicability, as well as its failures, in relation to capitalism and its evolving crises. Precarious Communism explores long-form détournement as a tool for critical theory. But most importantly, Gilman-Opalsky’s new book is a mutant manifesto of its own that makes the case for an autonomist and millennial Marxism, for the many movements of precarious communism.

“Precarious Communism offers a creative, convincing, and provocative rerouting of The Communist Manifesto, exploring the catastrophes of both statism and capitalism in a fresh new light. Gilman-Opalsky lays bare ideological specters of the past that continue to haunt the present. This book is a must read for anyone interested in what autonomy, dignity, and association mean today, and in understanding the insurrectionary hope of people everywhere.” – John Asimakopoulos, Director of the Transformative Studies Institute

Bio: Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Associate Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of Spectacular Capitalism: Guy Debord and the Practice of Radical Philosophy (2011) and Unbounded Publics: Transgressive Public Spheres, Zapatismo, and Political Theory (2008).

Astral Botanica

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“The esoteric and the exoteric co-exist in a B-Movie carnival of noir nocturnes where mortality is pondered and meaning is plumbed in wry and witty vignettes. Black humor laced with Victorian secrets, the clever conceits and cunning confessions of this Shakespearian steam-punk auteur will have you writhing with pleasure as he articulates his plight. Like Virgil, the venerable Carl Watson takes us on a mystical, mythical tour. Here, hope has been replaced by a sophisticated synthesis of emotions — of despair and delight — in what can only be called a triumph of style.’’—Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, author of Triple Crown: Three Crowns of Sonnets. Employment of the Apes and editor/publisher of Live Mag!

“Carl Watson is a Steampunk Baudelaire, his genius a Last Exit To Nowhere Existentialism of sinisterly exotic thoughts. Both behind and ahead of his time; a futuristic-classicist, Watson’s richly reposited and rescued English language butchers Corporate Clone-Speak , and reveals to us an Adamic namer-poet-seer of the cruelest nightmares slouching our way to be born .”—Alan Kaufman, author of the memoir Drunken Angel and editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.

“In images of great beauty, and play within poetic form, Watson has written a passion play in what might be a meeting between Rimbaud and Donne in a final dream where ‘...sleep can offer both terror and escape’.” —Bonny Finberg, author of Kali’s Day.

“With Astral Botanica Watson goes straight to the heart of writing and the art of poetry giving us within the freedom and confines of that (he)art something few are capable /culpable/comparable of producing: a book that has redefined the parameters of poetic thought and writing. Watson’s poetry and prose share a similar blend of dense, dark, chaotic, surreal and dreamlike qualities and few are as able as he of blurring the lines between pros(e)/cons, poetry, reality and fantasy.’’ —Steve Dalachinsky, author of A Superintendent’s Eyes and The Final Night.

“The poems in Astral Botanica, Carl Watson’s new collection, are hybrid things indeed; like Fabergé eggs with shoe-bombs inside. To give you some idea of what we’re talking about here, imagine an Edgar Poe gene-spliced with J.R. Oppenheimer – the resultant being would be able to fill black holes with gothic musings on ancient sexuality and repressed modernity. Everything is grist for Watson’s mill: Anglo-Saxon epic notions surround Wasteland remnants. What he’s put on the page invites you to think, and in this age of non-thought, that’s art of a very high order.’’ —Ron Kolm, editor of The Evergreen Review and author of Divine Comedy.

Suburban Ambush

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“Ron Kolm’s poems leave you with a lot of images and lines to savor and ponder — ‘absolute gravity / In a zero-cold zone,’ the lone nightfighter ‘out beyond the edge of love’ — but he’s no mere cleverist. There’s a deep and devious wisdom here, and a big heart.’’ — John Strausbaugh, author of The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, A History of Greenwich Village.

“Ron Kolm is a master of the short line. His poems are filled with wit and pathos. He once said of me that I was a populist poet but in all truth this honor belongs to him. He is a lover of humanity; the common man and the artist as well. He fills his short lines with the long breath of life, and his sensibilities range from low art to high art in one fell swoop with simple, straight forward language that everyone can understand. But don’t be fooled by this seeming innocence. His street-wise statements are filled with deep warmth and wisdom. From ‘Problem Child’: ‘I’d like to forge / A humanism / So exact / The future becomes / Imaginable again.’ He gets inside your skull, deep within your heart and ‘out beyond the edge of love’.” — Steve Dalachinsky, author of A Superintendent’s Eyes and The Final Nite & Other Poems: The Complete Notes from a Charles Gayle Notebook 1987–2006.

Debt Resisters' Operations Manual

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For debtors everywhere who want to understand how the system really works, this handbook provides practical tools for fighting debt in its most exploitative forms. Over the last 30 years as wages have stagnated across the country, average household debt has more than doubled. Increasingly, people are forced to take on debt to meet their needs; from housing to education and medical care. The results—wrecked lives, devastated communities, and an increasing reliance on credit to maintain basic living standards—reveal an economic system that enriches the few at the expense of the many. Detailed strategies, resources, and insider tips for dealing with some of the most common kinds of debt are covered in this manual, including credit card debt, medical debt, student debt, and housing debt. It also contains tactics for navigating the pitfalls of personal bankruptcy, as well as information on how to be protected from credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, payday lenders, check-cashing outlets, rent-to-own stores, and more. Additional chapters cover tax debt, sovereign debt, the relationship between debt and climate, and an expanded vision for a movement of mass debt resistance.

Truth And Dare

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"Truth and Dare: The world is ending, and the revolution has begun!"

"Truth and Dare" is a comic book and a curriculum, a graphic novel and a gateway to further knowledge and action. With fifty pages of illustrations from nine different world-class artists, and a ten page curriculum and resource list, it is a crash course in world history, political economy, sociology, gender studies, ecology, climate change and the world-wide ecosocialist struggle for humanity and nature in the 21st century.

Truth and Dare is written mostly by Quincy Saul, together with the Ecosocialist Horizons editorial collective, including Seth Tobocman, Fred Ho and Joel Kovel. It is illustrated by members of the World War Three Illustrated Collective, including Christopher Cardinale, Ethan Heitner, Seth Tobocman, Kate Evans, Paula Hewitt Amram, Teofilo Olivieri, Jordan Worley, and Mac McGill. The covers and design are by Arabelle Clitandre.

This book is designed for all settings and for all age groups, from elementary schools through universities; and outside the classroom, in homes, workplaces, grassroots organizations and beyond.

"This book is unconventional in that it challenges many mainstream assumptions and attitudes. Not only does it question the powers that be, but it also challenges many of those claiming to have solutions for today's profound problems. James Baldwin said that “artists are here to disturb the peace,” and we have tried with every aspect of this book – the illustrations, the words, and this curriculum – to be artistic. We hope to start conversations, and most of all to help people move into ever-more educated and organized forms of action."

It is published and produced by Ecosocialist Horizons, with the support of The World War Three Illustrated Collective, Scientific Soul Sessions, Big Red Media, Autonomedia and the Toolbox for Education and Social Action.

“A great presentation of our collective dilemmas, one that will provoke intelligent and productive debate about what we need to do to save ourselves and our descendants in this moment of the structural crisis of our modern world-system.” Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

“Against all the odds, Art dares to tell the Truth: this Comic collection is a fantastic achievement. In its diversity, it puts artistic imagination, surrealist irony, black humor, and spiritual energy at the service of the Ecosocialist struggle - the decisive fight against the Enemy of Nature and Humanity: Kapitalism!” Michael Löwy, co-author of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto

“A great presentation of our collective dilemmas, one that will provoke intelligent and productive debate about what we need to do to save ourselves and our descendants in this moment of the structural crisis of our modern world-system.” Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

“Against all the odds, Art dares to tell the Truth: this Comic collection is a fantastic achievement. In its diversity, it puts artistic imagination, surrealist irony, black humor, and spiritual energy at the service of the Ecosocialist struggle - the decisive fight against the Enemy of Nature and Humanity: Kapitalism!” Michael Löwy, co-author of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto

“Should be a prescribed text for all undergraduate students in every discipline, and is an essential toolbox for activists from a variety of backgrounds. Shop stewards, it will open your minds to the imperative of ecosocialism; social justice activists, it will impress upon you the imperative of changing production processes; environmental activists, it will force you to address class inequality and global injustice. There really is no way around it – read it, use it, get organized.” - Janet Cherry, South African activist and historian, former political detainee, and researcher for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Best wishes! This teaches more than the many boring pages which I, among others, have written.” - Hugo Blanco, leader of the Campesino Confederation of Peru; editor of the journal Lucha Indigena

The Radical Bishop and Gay Consciousness

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Bishop Mikhail Francis Itkin was known in the gay radical world as a non-violent anarchist and activist — as well as an independent openly-gay bishop. He was a stumbling block to radicals and a scandal to Christians. He was born into a Jewish family and fated — or chosen by the Spirit — to be a stirrer-up of discontent, a “ring-leader” of anarchists, and, indeed, a great reconciler of the contending forces within society and, indeed, within his own soul. This festschrift offers five appraisals of his life, and reprints excerpts from his The Radical Jesus and The Gay Anarchist.

The Devil's Anarchy (second edition)

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By rebelling against hierarchical society and living under the Jolly Roger, pirates created an upside-down world of anarchist organization and festival, with violence and death ever-present. This creation was not a purely whimsical process. In The Devil's Anarchy, Stephen Snelders examines rare 17th-century Dutch pirate histories to show the continuity of a shared pirate culture, embodied in its modes of organization, methods of distributing booty and resolving disputes, and tendencies for high living. Focussing on the careers of Claes Compaen, a cunning, charismatic renegado who claimed to have stolen more than 350 vessels, and Jan Erasmus Reyning, who hit the seas at age 12 and became a buccaneer in the pirate jungles of Santo Domingo, Snelders paints a salty picture of the excesses, contradictions, and liberatory joys of pirate life.

Stephen Snelders is a Dutch historian with a research focus on social transformation and resistance, in the body as well as the mind. He is past editor of Pan Forum, a leading research journal of psychotropic studies.

"The Power of Neighborhood" and The Commons

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The anonymous Swiss author of bolo’bolo and Akiba offers a new practical proposal for reshaping the future, based on this prognosis of the present: “Our economic system is stumbling from one collapse to the next…Our system is fundamentally flawed and destabilized by internal contradictions. To point out one of them: income can only be generated by work, but work is getting scarce at the moment and will become even scarcer in the future. Thus the “purchasing power” that capital needs to realize value is strangulated by itself. These contradictions are being deferred into the future by financial manipulations…The metaphor of the train racing towards an abyss and the need to pull the emergency brake must spring to mind. Since the braking distance has meanwhile become longer than the distance to the abyss, we have to think in terms of parachutes.’’

Kali's Day

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“This is a beautiful novel populated with characters that have nothing more to give of themselves than everything, and at all times. Kali’s Day travels exquisitely through (desperate) straits of violence, sex, sensuality, addiction, depravity, transcendental awakenings and physical transformations. The writing is passionate and precise. Bonny Finberg has crafted a pulsating and vibrantly alive place for all of us to dwell.” — Donald Breckenridge, author of This Young Girl Passing and You Are Here, and Fiction Editor of The Brooklyn Rail.

“When it comes to characters, Finberg has a way of dangling the most enticing before our eyes—eccentric originals we’ve only glimpsed on the street. Androgynous, drug-taking, bohemian or transient—their lives are lived beyond the reach of us mere mortals, beguiling our imaginations but depressing us with the thought that we’ll never be interesting enough to know them. Then, suddenly, in prose full of natural vitality and sly narrative strategies, whether at home or in Nepal, these characters disrobe for us, revealing the desires, fantasies, jealousies, illnesses, dreams and experiments in pleasure that have sculpted their freaky personae; and even more surprisingly, some even achieve a certain spirituality, as others spiral into madness. Kali’s Day is rich with unpredictable adventure in exotic localities, concocted by a writer at the top of her craft.” — Bruce Benderson, author of The Romanian: Story of an Obsession.

“Kali's Day arrived during a jam packed work/family week. I glanced at the opening lines and, despite heavy obligations, could not put it down. Finberg takes the reader on a riveting voyage. What’s astonishing is the way she weaves ideas, spirit, subterfuge, passions, dependence, humor, frailty and transcendence so beautifully into her text. Kali’s Day is timeless and current at once.” — Lynn Crawford, author of Simple Separate People, Two (Black Square Editions).

Agents & Assets

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“LAPD is my favorite theater in America.’’
— Peter Sellars, Theater, Opera and Festival Director

THE LOS ANGELES POVERTY DEPARTMENT (LAPD) was founded on LA's Skid Row in 1985. It creates performances and multidisciplinary artworks that connect the experience of people living in poverty to the social forces that shape their lives and communities.

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