Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Paths toward Utopia: YouTube Explorations of Everyday Anarchism

I can’t vouch for this YouTube rendition of the Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism (PM Press, 2012) presentation that Erik Ruin and I did about our book at the Baltimore Radical Bookfair this past October, although the talk seemed to go pretty well at the time. For one, I’m never able to watch or listen to myself in post-talk formats — it would make me too self-conscious about speaking in public in the future — although at a quick glance, this videotape looks beautifully filmed.

Also, ever since my parents both got seriously sick concurrently in late August, with ongoing dilemmas and medical struggles ever since, I’ve felt like I’m often on a path toward dystopia. That journey is playing itself out in odd ways. For instance, I usually relish chances to do public speaking, and after over two years of work on this collaborative book project, should be overjoyed to savor its material embodiment at long last. But both don’t feel great right now. I’m not sure exactly why, other than the guess that the turmoil inside me is in need of calm. So uncharacteristically, I’ve been sticking close to home and also remaining more reclusive than usual. When I did venture out for this particular talk, I spent much of the time second-guessing my decision to do so.

Still, I’m really proud of the book as political (and poetic/artistic) intervention. And I suspect I’ll feel more social and talkative again at some point. In the meantime, maybe this YouTube version of Erik and I chatting about the politics within our project will inspire you to pick up the book itself. The book, in turn, is intended as a provocation to encourage you and others to think long, hard, and critically on what present-day everyday practices, relationships, and institutions already hold elements of a possible world beyond hierarchy and oppression. What feels a bit utopian to you in the here and now, and why? What offers fragments of potential that feel different than, say, life under capitalism? And how might you and others “push” at those bits and pieces,  picking them up and expanding on them as explicit, viable tools in our struggle for freedom?

If you’d like a copy of the book, you can order it from either:

PM Press (at 50% off until December 31), https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=412

Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, http://www.justseeds.org/erik_ruin/07paths.html

Or ask you favorite anarchist, radical, or independent bookstore or autonomous space to carry it (if they don’t already).

If you’d like to review the book, get in touch with PM Press for a review copy. And send me the link to your review when you’re done.

When I’m ready to dive into the wide world again, if you’d like me to do some public speaking on this and other subjects, especially if you can pitch in for travel costs, send me an email: cbmilstein [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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This entry was posted on December 15, 2012 by in Essays.
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