Invisible Generation: Rants, Polemics, and Critical Theory against the Planetary Work Machine, By Jason Rodgers, 190 pgs.

Jan 06, 2022

A collection of essays steeped in anarchist thought. The personal bent of the writing and layout reminded me a great deal of the Crimethinc line of books distributed by AK Press in the ’90s/’00s. Although this comparison might be anathema to the author considering he skewers those very books in one of the many collage-style photocopied flyers peppered throughout the text. Rodgers’s writing, as the subtitle indicates, vacillates between thoughts on modern life and the ways that late-stage capitalism/globalism are ruining life on this planet, and essays attempting to detail the philosophical failings of pretty much every school of thought that doesn’t closely resemble some synthesis of anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-surrealism.

He saves his most serious vituperation not for fascism or its various modern iterations (he considers them evil, but knowingly evil), but for leftist movements that require some sort of collective organization, like socialism or even anarcho-syndicalism. Rodgers considers all such movements like these, traditionally right or left, to be pieces of the same oppressive statist whole and different only on paper. I don’t necessarily agree with his thesis, but he does argue it persuasively and interestingly enough throughout the bookthat I was willing to go along for the ride. “Insurrections of Imagination,” his essay on Renzo Novatore, an Italian nihilist and anarchist, is a top tier example of criticism and argument that’s written well enough it made me reconsider my previous aversion to the subject.

Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than I initially expected. It’s a credit to Rodgers that he manages to make these essays dissimilar enough to mostly remain a pleasure to keep reading as he skewers cyberpunk, Black Friday, Murray Bookchin, social media, and a host of other topics while promoting his brand of misanthropic absurdist anarchism. That being said, he definitely could’ve edited out some of the shortest pieces and ended up with a much stronger and cohesive whole. –Justin Bookworm (Autonomedia, PO Box 568, Williamsburg Station, Brooklyn, NY 11211-0568)