A New World in Our Hearts: Edited by Roy San Filippo, paperback, 139 pgs.

Apr 15, 2011

This book is a collection of essays written by members of the Love and Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, and while it seems like while the intention of this book is to argue for anarchy as a viable alternative to traditional authoritarian governments, they also show why it would not work as such. First of all, the key to anarchy working on a mass level would be that every single member of that particular society is dedicated to putting the needs of everyone else ahead of his own. If you take a look at our society and culture, sadly, that is not the case, and it does not look like this situation will occur anytime in the near future. I’m not saying that everyone is stupid and greedy and self-centered (even though that’s true a frightening majority of the time), but the sad truth of the matter is that some people are not smarter than their televisions, and what’s worse is that they don’t care and probably never will.

Second, and this is an extension of the first point, is that activist groups that could work together towards a common goal usually don’t. An example given in this book is a protest attended by a black bloc and a women’s movement in which both groups stuck to their own agendas instead of showing solidarity. They put all their effort into making their individual presence felt and the protest turned out to be a disaster, and was referred to as “useless” by a member of the black bloc.

Another glaring problem with social reform movements such as anarchy is that the original intentions of the movement are sometimes corrupted by leaders who arise within it. Take Russia, for example. The Marxist utopian ideals of a worker-controlled government were dashed as soon as the movement’s leaders realized the power that they had and Russia became a dictatorship, just the opposite of the intentions of the Bolshevik revolution.

Maybe I’m coming across as too negative, too pessimistic. I believe that a society based on mutual respect and understanding is possible, but I don’t exactly think that one big light bulb will go off over the heads of the oppressed people of the world. I think that maybe that’s where this book and this movement failed. It seems like everyone involved was trying to change the world overnight. The real changes can only occur with evolution, not revolution. –Not Josh (AK Press, 674-A 23rd St., Oakland, CA  94612-1163)