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  • NEW BOOKS, Coming Fall 2019

    We are excited to announce two new titles coming in the fall of 2019!

    In October, we will be publishing Pan-African Social Ecology: Speeches, Conversations and Essays by Modibo Kadalie. This is Kadalie's first new book in almost twenty years. In this collection of interviews and public talks, he reflects on his participation in the sit-ins, boycotts, strikes, urban rebellions, and anticolonialist movements that have animated the late-twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries. Kadalie demonstrates how forms of directly democratic organizing that have evolved through these freedom struggles also present the promise of a ecological future. In so doing, he explains that direct democracy is the key to both Black liberation and ecological security.

    This concise, radical, and iconoclastic book calls on present and future generations of activists to reconnect with the spirit of these movements without lionizing individual leaders or lending legitimacy to any government or politician. 

    In November we are publishing Lay Down Your Arms: Anti-Militarism, Anti-Imperialism, and the Global Radical Left in the 1930s. Edited by Ole Birk Laursen, Lay Down Your Arms is a collection of essays from a diverse group of writers originally published in the Dutch anti-militarist journal, De Wapens Neder (1935). Through their writing, these anarchist and socialist writers from Europe, Algeria, India, Japan, and the United States connected the struggles against fascism and imperialism in East Asia and Europe with anti-colonial struggles in India and Africa and the African American civil rights movement in the United States. This collection demonstrates the international scope and reach of anarchist and socialist anti-militarism in the 1930s. 

    Both of these books are available for pre-order from our Online Store

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  • The Autonomous Research Institute for Direct-Democracy and Social Ecology

    We are excited to announce that in 2019, On Our Own Authority! will begin our collaboration with the Autonomous Research Institute for Direct Democracy and Social Ecology (ARIDDSE), located in Midway, Georgia. As part of this initiative, we will co-publish several books, including new works from Modibo Kadalie, Janis Coombs Reid, and Olga Cielemecka. More informa about ARIDDSE can be found online at www.ariddse.org. Below is an excerpt from their website:

    The Autonomous Research Institute for Direct Democracy and Social Ecology is an organization of independent activists and scholars dedicated to the documentation and study of ordinary people’s social revolutions throughout history.  As the name of our institute implies, we also investigate the relationship of these social movements to the natural world. We hope our work will illustrate that the well-being of our ecology is intimately connected to the abolition of all hierarchy and oppression in human society and that all ecological crises are also social crises. 

    Based in Midway, Georgia the scope of our work is simultaneously local and global.  Our scholars and activists have studied (and in many cases, participated in) direct-democratic liberation movements around the globe and across the reach of history: from the Ogeechee Insurrections to Pan-Africanism; from the Civil Rights/Black Power movement to the Occupy movement, and beyond.

    Through our research, writing, and activism, we hope to critically chronicle social movements from the past and become an intricate part of these diverse movements and moments in the present, placing them into conversation with one another as we uncover their common thread of ordinary people’s self-organization and social liberation.

    Throughout history, ordinary working-class people have consistently resisted the imposition of hierarchy and coercive authority through revolutionary movements of their own creation and direction. They have organized and re-organized themselves over time into new and ever more democratic social institutions that arise from the bottom ranks of society. In doing so, this human collective has also asserted their interdependence with the rest of the natural world. This historical process of creating self-organized and directly democratic institutions gives us the hope of a viable collective social and ecological future.

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  • "Harm-Reduction Voting: Is That an Anarchist at the Polls?" by Nani Ferreira-Mathews

    Nani Ferreira-Mathews is a Jewish-American author, journalist, musician, and activist of indigenous Hawaiian descent. She was an organizer during the most radical days of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. Originally from Georgia, she now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the author of Birthright? Travelogue of an American Radical in Israel/Palestine.

    ***

    I don’t vote. Shame me wildly and publicly.

    It’s midterm election time. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you are fast asleep at the wheel of the sinking ship that is US society. There is a gubernatorial race in Maryland and there are more signs plastered around Baltimore City that read “Vote Democrat” than there are for the actual candidates for Governor. Once again, the Democrats are begging for party-pride on what’s been deemed another “vital midterm election.” It’s politics as usual, but in the age of Trump, more and more radical voices are joining in.

    As this year’s midterm election approaches, even anarchists are heading to the polls, and many are doing so thanks to the logic of harm-reduction voting, which is the latest rebranding of “lesser-evil voting.” Seperate from electoral concerns, the harm-reduction philosophy has roots in the social justice movement for the rights of drug users. One of the movement’s main principles is the understanding that while drug-use is dangerous, it is inevitable, and that there are some ways of using drugs that are safer than others. Needle exchanges are an example of harm-reduction in practice. In line with this principle, some voters are choosing to enact their limited power in a an oppressive system by voting for the candidates they hope are least likely to fuck up the world.

    I think most people would agree without much of a fight  that so-called “representative democracy” in the US is a filthy oligarchy owned and operated by corporate/political interest lobbyists who somewhere at some point, paid for or manipulated your squeaky-clean candidate.

    Actually, there might  be some fighting from Bernie Sanders fans on this, but hear me out. On April 27, 2017, he and every senator signed a letter to the UN demanding an end to anti-Israel bias at the United Nations. That letter was sponsored by AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and demanded that the United Nations eliminate any committee that had any affiliation with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, a non-violent Palestinian-led peace movement started in 2005 with the goal of ending international support of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

    Yeah, even your boy Bernie caved to the lobby, selling out some of the most vulnerable and besieged communities on Earth in order to appease Israel, a nuclear power and apartheid state. And this week, Cory Booker (another member of the supposedly “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party) callously used the shooting and mass murder at a Pittsburgh synagogue as justification for his supporting the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. According to Modoweiss, Booker is “the first politician to use the killings of 11 Jews to take a racist position against Palestinian rights.”   

    I know what you’re thinking, “But the state of affairs now is more bleak than ever. I mean in Trump’s America he just signs executive orders all willy-nilly even if it’s unconstitutional.”

    What about Barack Obama? Ya’ll loved him too, right?

    In 2011, when American citizen Anwar al Awlaki was killed by a drone attack in Yemen that was authorized by then-president Obama, the question of “due process” and constitutional law became obfuscated. Eric Holder, Obama’s attorney general, defended the drone attack that killed an American citizen, stating that citizens had a constitutional right to “due process” but that didn’t always mean trial by judge or jury. The precedent for executive power to kill US citizens without a trial was set by Obama and now rests the hands of our current president.

    Moreover, Barack Obama dropped hundreds of thousands of bombs onto seven different countries (including two African nations) during his eight years as commander-in-chief of the US military. Like his predecessor Bush, an accurate death toll of Obama’s overseas military action has never been tallied. As far as I can see, Democratic voters have never considered holding their party accountable for these atrocities. And now they dare to ask for our support in the name of “harm reduction.”

    When my peers repeat to me the now-popular mantra, “voting is harm-reduction,” I’m forced to ask: Harm-reduction for whom and where? If our idea of harm-reduction is endorsing endless war and mass-murder abroad for the benefit of more secure civil liberties or benefits at home, count me out. I didn’t buy into that argument when G.W. Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and I don’t buy it now. I believe it even less when I see Democratic politicians attacking the Korean peace process to gain anti-Trump brownie points. 

    In 1913 Mother Earth, a newspaper edited and operated by the anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman, published a short piece titled “Why Anarchists Don’t Vote,” written by French writer Elisee Reclus:

    Everything that can be said about the suffrage may be summed up in a sentence.

    To vote is to give up your own power.

    To elect a master or many, for a long or short time, is to resign one’s liberty.

    Call it an absolute monarch, a constitutional king, or a simple M.P., the candidate that you raise to the throne, to the seat, or to the easy chair, he will always be your master. They are persons that you put “above” the law, since they have the power of making the laws, and because it is their mission to see that they are obeyed.

    To vote is befitting of idiots.

     Over 100 years have passed since that publication and the pressure to mold our belief system to the squares of a ballot-box are stronger than ever. Shame and guilt are the primary tactics of voter mobilization by the Democratic Party today.

    Despite the contradictions of harm-reduction voting, I can see some merits. While you won’t find me trying to change the system from the inside of a voting booth, some harm-reduction voters would argue that this method is the best-case scenario in our current political climate, and some comrades say that they only cast votes for measures and not for any actual candidates.  

    However, it’s important to remember that voting is in itself classist, racist, prejudice, and manipulated by those in power. Take the current voter registration drama in my home state of Georgia, for example. Brian Kemp, Georgia secretary of state and Republican candidate for governor, helped to pass legislation last year that could delay voter registrations and purge voters from the rolls. This October, over 50,000 voter registrations for Georgia were found to be on hold in Kemp’s office, according to the Associated Press, and 70 percent of those on-hold were Black Americans. The state of Georgia has deleted or revoked thousands of voter registrations over the past year for a variety of reasons, the most popular excuse being voter inactivity in most recent elections. While the practice of voter purging has been criticized as a voter suppression tactic, it was decided by the Supreme Court in June of this year that the practice does not violate any federal statutes.  That’s four months before the boogeyman Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. This nation isn’t experiencing a sudden increase of manipulation from political offices of voter manipulation and suppression, it’s existed long before this midterm election and will continue after the celebrations and defeats of the day.

    One other practical reason that I abstain from voting is that once I register to vote in the state of Maryland, I would become eligible for jury duty. The great opportunity to hand down a sentence to someone who was racially profiled by the vicious Baltimore Police Department (which operates in a city governed by Democrats, by the way) is currently not on my bucket-list. But secondly, and more fundamentally, I refuse to validate the power of this system. As a citizen of this wicked country, I’m obliged to many things that I would rather not be, like holding a passport that defines the borders I am owned by in order to travel, or to file my taxes, giving money from my modest wages to the US imperialist war machine. These are small simple powers that I must continuously relinquish to authority in order to comfortably exist, but one I still refuse to give them, is my direct validation of their power. I refuse you my vote. You do not have my permission. Maybe one day I’ll take on a harm-reduction voting strategy, but rest assured, I will never tell anyone if I did and I will never post online a picture of myself wearing an “I Voted” sticker, saying how proud I am to have relinquished my control today.

     

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  • 25% OFF: Ida B Wells's "Lynch Law In Georgia and Other Writings"

    Ida B. Wells was a teacher, journalist, and newspaper editor who led the most dynamic anti-lynching campaign in American History. Wells’s work exposes how the public murder and mutilation of Black bodies by mob justice stood side by side with a degrading culture based on racial stereotypes and strict gender roles that institutionalized fear in everyday life. In doing so, Wells challenged the intersection of white supremacy, patriarchy, and the meaning of “civilization” in the early 20th century.

    For a limited time, you can purchase this crucial collection of Wells's lesser-known writings for 25% off of the retail price. Shipping is FREE.

    List Price: $20.00
    SALE PRICE: $14.99

    Click here to order your copy!

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  • COMING SOON -- "Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade, & Castaway"

    Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade and Castaway by Christian Høgsbjerg

    We are pleased to announce that we will be publishing a new edition of Christian Høgsbjerg's concise study on the life of Chris Braitwaite for distribution in North America. 

    Chris Braithwaite (aka Chris Jones) was a black Barbadian seafearer who became a leading organiser of colonial seafearers in inter-war Britain. He played a critical role in the Pan-Africanist and wider anti-colonial movement alongside figures such as C.L.R. James and George Padmore.

    First published by the Socialist Historical Society and Redwords Books in 2014, Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade and Castaway, historian Christian Høgsbjerg recovers Braithwaite’s long over-looked life as a black radical and political trade-unionist, and suggests his determined struggle for working class unity in the face of racism and austerity retains relevance for us today.

    "Høgsbjerg shines light on a generation of radical fighters against racism and exploitation, caught between the spark of light generated by the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the crushing darkness of Stalinism."
    Hassan Mahamdallie, author of Black British Rebels

    "Christian Høgsbjerg’s 'biography from below' of West Indian seaman Chris Braithwaite opens a portal onto an dynamic Black and Red Atlantic world of work and politics.  Here is an excellent contribution to a “people’s history of the sea."
    Marcus Rediker, author of The Amistad Rebellion

    The 2017 edition of Chris Braithwaite: Mariner, Renegade and Castaway will be available this summer. PRE-ORDER your copy today!

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  • Libraries 4 Black Lives - Sat, 21 Jan 2017 @ AARL

    Libraries 4 Black Lives - Sat, 21 Jan 2017 @ AARL

    Libraries 4 Black Lives

    Saturday, January 21, 2017 • 7:00 p.m.

    The Auburn Avenue Research Library, in collaboration with Libraries 4 Black Lives (L4BL) and On Our Own Authority! Publishing, will host a public forum on reaffirming the role of American Libraries as advocates against marginalization and injustice by upholding its core values of equity, civic engagement and intellectual freedom. This event is free and open to the public at the Auburn Avenue Research Library, 101 Auburn Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30303.

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  • Announcing the 2016 Atlanta Radical Book Fair!

    We are very excited to announce our participation in the 2016 inaugural Atlanta Radical Book Fair! 

    The Atlanta Radical Book Fair is a gathering of radical left writers, publishers, artists, activists, and community organizations from across the American South and beyond. The inaugural 2016 fair will host panel discussions on themes of revolutionary Black history, anti-racism, queer resistance, and visual art as social action, among other topics. The Book Fair will, of course, also feature an indoor market with tables from radical publishers, artists, booksellers, and community organizations.

    Please visit the book fair's website for more information. 

    See you there!!

    Saturday, 15 October 2016
    12 - 6pm

    Little Five Points Community Center
    1083 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

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  • Review of HOW QUEER! in Philadelphia Gay News


    online

    Check out this review of Faith Beachemin's How Queer!  in the Philadephia Gay News summer reading list:

    "This slim volume of essays loosely focused on bisexuality is difficult to categorize — and that’s a good thing.

    "Part personal narrative, part analysis, it explores the various ways that bisexuality upsets what many contributors refer to as monosexism, the assumption that you can only be attracted to people of one gender.

    "Editor Beauchemin sets the tone in her introduction, alerting readers that the book doesn’t offer a grand, unified plan of action. Instead, she situates bisexuality into the capacious, eclectic framework of queer politics. That can’t be taken for granted because, as she correctly notes, bisexuals still struggle to make their voices heard among gays and lesbians.

    "The book includes a helpful glossary, a brief bibliography and some theoretical analysis, but it’s the 14 personal narratives that are the book’s core.

    "Two major themes emerge from those accounts. First, in a world where bisexuality is often either hypersexualized or erased, it’s an affirming, political act whenever bisexuals present and interpret their personal stories.

    "The second is the harmful consequence of denying the diversity of sexual orientation. Many contributors were raised in evangelical Christian households; their coming out was made doubly painful because they lost both their faith and their family."

    Thanks, PGN!

    Order your copy of How Queer!  at the link above.

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