Save the Library Staff! (September 2020)

A few days ago I wrote a short piece in support of the staff at the Multnomah County Library and their efforts to fight layoffs and cuts to service.

Amazingly, the management is seeking to throw people out of work and reduce services to the public when there is ample money in the budget to maintain current staffing levels and there is staff enough to increase available services, even without opening library buildings.  Either this represents an idiotic failure to adapt to the conditions imposed by the pandemic, or it is just an exercise in imposing austerity for austerity’s sake.

Luckily library staff and the communities they serve are united in demanding better.  I urge you to join us in this struggle.

Multnomah County Library workers rally to save library jobs during a picket Monday outside the Midland Library at Southeast 122nd and Stark. (Submitted photo)

Back in May, I wrote an essay about the appalling incompetence on display in the County’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, using Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 as a reference point.

At the time, I wrote:

The County is contemplating layoffs and cuts to programming—at exactly the time that “essential workers” are being hailed as heroes, the spike in unemployment is likely to increase the need for public services, and even the International Monetary Fund is advocating Keynesian measures. Layoffs at this moment can only worsen the economic crisis and hobble any future response to the pandemic. Just imagine a second spike in cases, probably in the fall, producing another lockdown and new demands on government services—but with fewer staff available for redeployment.

Covid-19 is only one epidemic that we are facing. We are also facing an epidemic of stupidity.

Oscar Wilde and Anarchism (July 2020)

Last month, my book on Oscar Wilde and anarchism, Resist Everything Except Temptation: The Anarchist Philosophy of Oscar Wilde was published by AK Press.  The book examines Wilde’s political thought and the way it shaped his writing and his life, and it situates him in the tradition of left-wing anarchism, drawing from influences like Kropotkin and Proudhon, and influencing Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman in turn.

The unrivaled Alan Moore wrote the foreword.

You can read excerpts on the AK Press Blog and at LitHub.

I have also given a couple interviews, both of which managed to be genuine dialogues rather than rote question-and-answer rituals.

One, for the ANews Podcast, begins with a conversation about near-anarchists whom anarchists claim, or who had a sizeable influence on anarchism.

The second, for Interchange, covers both Wilde and Orwell, and focuses quite a bit on the problem of moral saints — that is, with the paradox articulated by the philosopher Susan Wolf that it is possible to be too moral.  The moral saints issue has haunted me since college, and I wrote about the question in relation to Wilde and Orwell in my book Between the Bullet and the Lie: Essay on Orwell.  In my opinion, this is one of the best interviews that I have done.

Interviews: Counterinsurgency and Mutual Aid (July 2020)

It’s Going Down interviewed me about the present unrest, the coming repression, and how both relate to counterinsurgency.  It sums up a lot of what I’ve said in my recent writing, but in a convenient hour-long format that you can listen to while doing the dishes.

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Solidarity, meanwhile, has run an edited transcript of my interview with Bill Resnick about mutual aid, historically and at present, in theory and in practice.

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