Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ai Ferri Corti - At Daggers Drawn



Political zines are an interesting beast.

There are a lot of them, just go to your local anarchist bookfair and you’ll see loads, but if you go to a zine fair there are considerably fewer (maybe none at all!). I’m not saying that zinesters that go to zine fairs don’t have politics, or that their zines do not involve and discuss politics, just that, in my experience, there are considerably fewer overtly political zines at these events.

Why is this? Do the people producing and distributing these zines think that they will not find an audience at these events? Perhaps; There is frequently a dismissive opinion used in regards to people with radical politics. But I would think that going to these events and talking about your politics with different types of people would be more beneficial to your movement than going to political events and preaching to the converted.

But I digress.

I think one of the reasons political zines are less commonly seen at zine events is that they are hard reads. You might pick up a zine just because it has a cool cover, but you’re unlikely to delve into page after page of small type written in a fairly dry (if well translated) style.

If you’re reading this zine you probably already have many sympathies with the creators. This is not to paint all political zines with the same brush (I mean, people have to learn about politics somewhere), but that this particular zine is written in an academic manner and uses many terms and references that would be lost on someone unfamiliar with the ideas of anarchism. Or rather, if you’re able to understand a zine like this you probably agree with most of what it says (or are busy writing a term paper on the fallacies of anarchic political thought).

This isn’t to say that there aren’t any good ideas in here (I especially liked “The most useful thing one can do with arms is to rend them useless as quickly as possible.”), and some of what was discussed made me think (how can you convince someone of alternatives to capitalism when they have no reference point for a world without money), just that it seems to use a utopian style of overthrowing the current society and doesn’t really have any real, concrete ideas (which admittedly is noted in the translator’s introduction).

Of course, if this had a perfect guide to convincing the general population of your ideals and overthrowing the current social structure then, well, it'd have already happened and we'd be living in a radically different world.

If you’re heavily involved and interested in reading about different forms and theories of anarchism, I’d say this is worth reading. But if you’re new to the idea in general I’d advise you find something more introductory to read first.

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