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Worshiping Power by Peter Gelderloos

Worshiping Power by Peter Gelderloos

Worshiping Power An Anarchist View of Early State Formation by Peter Gelderloos 

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“An insightful, sweeping analysis of how and why states have arisen (or haven’t), delivered in sparklingly clear prose. It is everything that an anarchist history should be: heretical, tentative, and provocative, as well as deeply researched, persuasive, and above all, relevant.” —Kenyon Zimmer, author of Immigrants Against the State

“A work of ethnographic theory that suggests stimulating new avenues of empirical research and theoretical inquiry. The book is also an excellent read!” —Andrej Grubačić, author of Living at the Edges of Capitalism

“Gelderloos dares to do what most contemporary thinkers blindly refuse. For far too long we’ve been gripped by an unshakable faith in statist politics.… Worshiping Power is not just a reclamation of our history, it offers a glimpse into the reconvening of our humanity.” —Simon Springer, author of The Anarchist Roots of Geography

“Contemporary radical state theory owes much to an anarchistic ethos. Gelderloos’s important little book surveys and reinterprets this literature, and then gives it a coherent anarchist politics.” —Alex Prichard, University of Exeter

According to Worshiping Power, we need to stop thinking of the State as a potential vehicle for emancipation. From its origins, the State has never been anything other than a tool to accumulate power. This inno­vative and partisan study of human social complexity cuts through in­adequate theories of early state formation to uncover social practices and institutions that have stifled egalitarian forms of self-organization throughout history. Just as importantly, it shows that the difficulties and consequences of state formation are not relegated to prehistory. Despite a ubiquity that renders them almost invisible today, states are constantly trying to augment their power, and all are closer to the brink of collapse than they would like to let on.

Peter Gelderloos is an anarchist writer originally from Virginia. He is the author of How Nonviolence Protects the StateConsensus, and Anarchy Works.

Table of Contents

Introduction

I. Take Me to Your Leader:: The Politics of Alien Invasion

II. Ze Germans: A State-Making Technology

III. Save Me from Yourself: The Statist Spread of Salvation Religions

IV. Sleeper States and Imperial Imaginaries: Authority’s Afterlife and Reincarnation

V. The Modern State: A Revolutionary Hybrid

VI. Zomia: A Topography of Positionality

VII. Chiefdoms and Megacommunities: On the Stability of Non-State Hierarchies

VIII. They Ain’t Got No Class: Surpluses and the State

IX. All in the Family: Kinship and Statehood

X. Building the Walls Higher: From Raiding to Warfare

XI. Staff and Sun: A New Symbolic Order

XII. A Forager’s Mecca: Dreams of Power

XIII. From Clastres to Cairo to Kobane: Learning from States

Bibliography

Index

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