"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

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Friday, November 28 2014 @ 10:57 PM CST

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Cool Stuff Librarians Do: Librarians Without Borders

Practical Anarchy

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) originated as a student project dreamed up by Founder and Co-Executive Director (and my lovely internship advisor) Melanie Sellar, who was then attending library school at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. Now coming up on its ten year anniversary, the nonprofit is on a mission to “improve access to information resources regardless of language, geography, or religion, by forming partnerships with community organizations in developing regions.”

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The Main Hong Kong Protest Site Is a Perfect Anarchist Collective

Practical Anarchy

 Billy Fong is out of a job. Until recently, this high school student had found a purpose helping Hong Kong’s demonstrators over the high median dividers cutting through their encampment in the city’s Admiralty district. Yet, as the occupation of Harcourt Road enters its fourth week, getting over the concrete walls has become easy: protesters handy with tools have made several sets of wooden stairs for them, complete with handrails. “I have somehow become useless,” says Fong, 17, standing idly at one such set of steps on a recent evening. “But it’s okay,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “Now I have more leisure time.”

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Organizing social space as if social relations mattered

Practical Anarchy

What if we continually organized our social spaces as if social relations mattered? What if we dedicated ourselves to being enthusiastic lifelong learners and thus better schooled for revolutionary openings, to better be the kind of people who just might be able to supply the staying power for a better society—one where we and our communities are always, also, becoming better?

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Our Economy Wants You to Be In Debt—5 Things You Can Do to Take Charge

Practical Anarchy

Last month PM Press published the Debt Resisters' Operations Manual —also known as “the DROM.” But don’t let that menacing-sounding acronym fool you: this is a book written in plain English and filled with tips and tactics for dealing with debt.

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Intersectionality isn’t just a win-win; it’s the only way out

Practical Anarchy

In 2012, the Pachamama Alliance, a U.S.-based organization working in partnership with indigenous Achuar people in Ecuador, published a meme showing two native men discussing a new “scientific discovery”: the fact that our world is deeply interconnected. The joke, of course, is the idea that these scientists could “discover” a concept that is age-old wisdom for indigenous peoples across the world. I was delighted by the two-fold genius of the cartoon, the way it both highlights the importance of understanding the world we live in while pointedly calling out the dangers of cultural and intellectual appropriation.

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42 Ways to Build a Liberated Society Beyond Corporate Capitalism

Practical Anarchy

It is time to try to describe, at first abstractly and later concretely, a strategy for destroying capitalism. At its most basic, this strategy calls for pulling time, energy, and resources out of capitalist civilization and putting them into building a new civilization. The image, then, is one of emptying out capitalist structures, hollowing them out, by draining wealth, power, and meaning from them until there is nothing left but shells.

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Could Playfulness Be Embedded In The Universe? (David Graeber thinks so)

Practical Anarchy

In an essay in The Baffler a couple of weeks ago, David Graeber that there is a play principle embedded in all levels of physical reality. His essay, which ranges playfully from Spencer and Darwin to and string theory, ponders a deep and serious problem. As he writes:

"Still, if one wants a consistently materialist explanation of the world — that is, if one does not wish to treat the mind as some supernatural entity imposed on the material world, but rather as simply a more complex organization of processes that are already going on, at every level of material reality — then it makes sense that something at least a little like intentionality, something at least a little like experience, something at least a little like freedom, would have to exist on every level of physical reality as well."

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Deep Sharing: How the Commons Amplifies the Sharing Economy

Practical Anarchy

On a bitingly cold and rainy November evening last year, I was in a pickle: I’d taken a city bus to CoCo, the coworking space where I office in downtown Minneapolis, and was seemingly stuck without an efficient option for getting to Birchwood Café, where I would meet friends for dinner, three miles away. That is until I remembered my new membership with car2go, a car-share service that had recently won a contract with the city of Minneapolis. I quickly located a vehicle using car2go’s mobile app and, my despair vanishing, dashed out of the building in search of the blue and white smart car parked only a few blocks away.

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Looting after Hurricane Sandy: Disaster myths and disaster utopias explained

Practical Anarchy

On Thursday, three days after Hurricane Sandy swept across the Eastern Seaboard, darkening power grids, flooding neighborhoods, and killing at least 74 people, former Star Trek actor and social-media dynamo George Takei posted a lovely photo to his Facebook timeline. It showed two power strips draped over the gratework of a fence, phone cords tendrilling from each one. A sign said, “We have power. Please feel free to charge your phone!”

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Silent no longer: confronting sexual violence in the left

Practical Anarchy

In 2012, a member of the UK Socialist Workers Party (SWP) came forward saying she had been raped and sexually harassed by the former National Secretary of the organisation, Martin Smith. The internal ‘investigation’ which followed demonstrated a number of common ways in which sexual violence is ignored and those who experience it are demonised. Some of the members of the Disputes Committee chosen to investigate the claim were close friends of Smith. The woman who had come forward was questioned about her sexual history and alcohol use.

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