Manufacturers

The Operating System

The Operating System

An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State, by Eric Laursen, AK Press 2021

More details


£9.00

Warning: Last items in stock!

One of the most unique aspects of anarchism as a political philosophy is that it seeks to abolish the state. But what exactly is “the state”? The State is like a vast operating system for ordering and controlling relations among human society, the economy, and the natural world, analogous to a digital operating system like Windows or MacOS. Like a state, an operating system “governs” the programs and applications under it and networked with it, as well as, to some extent, the individuals who avail themselves of these tools and resources. No matter how different states seem on the surface they share core similarities, namely:

  * The State is a relatively new thing in world history
  * The State is European in origin and outlook
  * States are “individuals” in the eyes of the law
  * The State claims the right to determine who is a person
  * The State is an instrument of violence and war
  * The State is above the law
  * The State is first and foremost an economic endeavor

Anyone concerned with entrenched power, income inequality, lack of digital privacy, climate change, the amateurish response to COVID-19, or military-style policing will find eye-opening insights into how states operate and build more power for themselves—at our expense. The state won’t solve our most pressing problems, so why do we obey? It’s time to think outside the state.

“By what cunning perversion of logic and history has the modern capitalist State persuaded us that it is the only possible form of polity? Why do we passively accept its claim to inevitability and its lame excuses for the increasingly invasive surveillance of our private lives? How do the already powerful hide short-cuts to even greater influence and wealth across a ruined environment and vast stretches of poverty? In thoughtful, provocative, and engaging reflections on the modern State, Eric Laursen seeks deliberate withdrawal from the self-fulfilling mechanism he so appropriately calls ‘the operating system.’” —Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

“We hear from many quarters that social justice requires a strong and competent State to redress wrongs and advance the interests of oppressed minorities. We also hear it said that the State is dead or nearly so, that it is being drowned in the bathtub of neoliberal capitalism. Eric Laursen presents a sobering argument that the modern State has not said its last word, nor have we heard the final word about the oppressive character of the State and the urgent necessity of its abolition. The Operating System is a much-needed patch to the software of anti-authoritarian critique, particularly in its attention to the way that the State and identity-based forms of oppression work together.” —Jesse Cohn, author of Underground Passages

“Eric weaves together a rich history of the State, reminding us it is not inevitable and that it is not reformable. Learning to live together without the State is our best chance for the survival of humanity and the planet herself.” —Lisa Fithian, author of Shut It Down

"Anarchists have fought the State since its inception, but along the paths of liberation in the twenty-first century it’s been missing from the conversation. Laursen’s engaging exploration revisits ideas of the State, its apparatus of controls, and why we should openly oppose it.” —scott crow, author of Black Flags and Windmills

Eric Laursen is an independent journalist, historian, and activist. He is the author of The People’s Pension and The Duty to Stand Aside. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including In These Times, The Nation, The Village Voice, Counterpunch, The Arkansas Review, and Z Magazine. He lives in Buckland, Massachusetts.

Maia Ramnath (Foreword) is a historian and author of Decolonizing Anarchism and Haj to Utopia.

Cart  

No products

£0.00 Shipping
£0.00 Total

Cart Check out

New products

  • Ability
  • What white people can do next
Ability
Emerging from the social constraints of neurodivergence and disability,...
Read more
What white people can do next
From Allyship to Coalition, by Emma Dabiri, Penguin 2021
Read more
We do this til we free us
Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice. by Mariame Kaba Edited...
Read more
Why we fight
Essays on Fascism, Resistance, and Surviving the Apocalypse, by Shane...
Read more
We will not cancel us
And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice. by adrienne maree brown...
Read more
We move together
Illustrated kids' book by Kelly Fritsch (author); Anne McGuire (author);...
Read more
Unflattering Photos of Fascists
Authoritarianism in Trump's America, by Christopher Ketcham (Editor),...
Read more
There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart
Mending the World as Jewish Anarchists.by Cindy Milstein (Editor), AK...
Read more
Salvador Puig Antich
Collected Writings on Repression and Resistance in Franco's Spain, by...
Read more
The Operating System
An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State, by Eric Laursen, AK Press 2021
Read more
Insurrection
The Bloody Events of May 1937 in Barcelona, by Agustín Guillamón...
Read more
Holding Change
The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation, by adrienne...
Read more
The Communism of Love
An Inquiry into the Poverty of Exchange Value, by Richard...
Read more
The Kronstadt Revolt
The flower of the revolution crushed by the Bolsheviks. Pamphlet by the...
Read more
The Truth about Trotsky
80 page booklet by the Anarchist Communist Group, 2021
Read more
Towards an ecology of the self
Zone Zero Zero Permaculture Design Notes. by Graham Burnett, Spiralseed
Read more
Top of the crops
how to make your edible garden grow by Graham Burnett. Spiralseed 2021
Read more
Forest Gardening, a beginners' guide
Spiralseed 2021
Read more
Breathing Spaces A4
for Meditation, Relaxation and Inspiration. Spiralseed 2021
Read more
A Garden in your kitchen
A Beginner’s Guide to Home Sprouting and Fermentation, by Graham...
Read more

» All new products