Red Skies at Night is a publication based in Portland, Oregon that collects writings focusing on anarchist/communist strategies for transforming society. Spotting it as a recommended book by the staff during my visit to Powell’s books, I was more than happy to support such a small scale publication willing to give a platform to those who couldn’t find one.
There are many things that this second volume of Red Skies at Night does right, but before we get to those, I would like to address some of the problems. First of all is the presentation. Although Red Skies at Night is well-printed, the layout and design are a bit crude and amateurish, with an unusual choice of font, poorly formatted articles, and low resolution images. Of course, it’s the content that’s most important, but I’m confident that anarchists are able to put together a publication as professional looking as the “big boys.”
However, there are bright spots in Red Skies at Nightin the final two essays (and thankfully also the longest ones)—“Whose Strike” and “Fighting for the Future”—where the writers give itemized ideas on how to go about being more involved in your community and liberating movements. These essays consider topics such as the fast food strikes, generally how to organize locally, what cautions we should take when we choose to participate in them and how to identify and approach its moving parts, how a militant faction must always be encouraged, how organizations (whether revolutionary or not) cannot remain stagnant and must expand regardless of possible internal conflicts, and, what might be the largest hurdle to overcome—finding the right people who are dedicated. It’s these actual concrete examples which make these articles a highlight and make them stand out. In addition, there is also a letters column where targets of the previous issue are given a chance to address criticisms directed towards them.
Red Skies at Night is not the perfect publication and has room for improvement. However, there are still informative and worthwhile essays in this second volume. –Ollie Mikse (Red Skies At Night,PO Box 4024, Portland, OR 97208)