Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Six Cheers for “Try Anarchism for Life”

By way of celebrating my new book “Try Anarchism for Life: The Beauty of Our Circle” being in print and out in the world, and because I have a backlog of photos of circle As in the wild, plus to honor and thank the folks who took the time and care to write blurbs for this book, here’s a 6-part trifecta of what I hope are some beautiful expressions of anarchism: street art + the book’s cover + a blurb.

PART 1 of 6:

“‘Try Anarchism for Life’ is part manifesto, part prayer, part devotional—a rousing collection of vignettes and micro essays that inspire and incite. Read it to be warmed, guided, and changed. Accompanied by a wildly diverse set of illustrations of the anarchist logo, each essay offers a thoughtful meditation on how to do and think about anarchism in our world today. Full of love for the possibilities of the world to come. ‘Try Anarchism for Life’ is a refreshing and necessary addition to the repertoire of anarchist literature.”

—Rivers Solomon, author of “An Unkindness of Ghosts”)

Or as the back cover describes it:

“‘Try Anarchism for Life’ revolves around a thought experiment: What are some of the many beautiful dimensions of anarchism? In reply, it blends gorgeous circle A drawings by twenty-six artists with Milstein’s words, forming picture-prose that are at once inviting and playful, poignant and dreamy. The pieces encourage us to notice and expand on liberatory practices, especially in a time when so much feels impossible. In depicting how anarchism gifts us lives worth living, this book warms ailing hearts and offers tender succor.”

(photos: beautiful circle A by my beautiful friend @nobonzo, as seen in mid-October at the anarcho-beautiful entrance to @defendatlantaforest; strikingly beautiful book cover, designed by @eff_charm with circle A by @landonsheely, with gorgeous photo courtesy of the good folks at @bookspace_columbus)


PART 2 of 6:

“Cindy Milstein teams up with some of the best and most active current anarchist artists to give us this collection of artful circle As, each accompanied by a textual meditation on anarchism and struggle that ranges from the beautiful to cute to didactic to inspiring, and always with a core of wisdom. Milstein has a special touch.”

—Peter Gelderloos, author of “The Solutions Are Already Here”)

(photos: postscarcity circle A sticker made by Municipal Adhesives, as seen in mid-October at the entrance to @defendatlantaforest; abundantly beautiful book cover, designed by @eff_charm, with circle A by @landonsheely, as texted to me by my beautiful friend Libertie with @firestormcoop)


PART 3 of 6:

“Freedom struggles produce care, love, art. These things in turn demand courage, transformation, consciousness, ideals, dreams. Above all, struggle. Struggle gives birth to autonomy. And autonomy enables life. This book affectionately defends these things, and all the other things that state, capitalism, and patriarchy systematically steal from individuals, communities, and society. It invites people to see the world of anarchism as an ethical, beautiful way of living. Anarchism not as rigid, static identity or form. Rather, ‘anarchisting’ as a quest for creativity against dogma, solidarity against hierarchy, justice against power. A beautiful piece of work, a companion for the many collective journeys for meaning and liberation beyond borders.”

—Dilar Dirik, author of “The Kurdish Women’s Movement: History, Theory, Practice”

(photos: beautiful sentiment about the heart of anarchism, roughly translated as “we can do it together,” as seen on a print in an anarchistic feminist, queer-friendly cafe in Rethymno, Crete, November 2019; strikingly beautiful book cover, designed by @eff_charm with circle A by @landonsheely)


PART 4 of 6:

I’ve been thinking a lot—or more than I already do—about “tipping points, when phenomena palpably shift from bad to worse—such as, to my queer Jewish anarchist mind, proto-fascism tipping to fascism after the US midterms—and how those of us who are anarchists see train wrecks coming long before the train has even left the station and beautifully prepare all sorts of infrastructures of #Solidarity way ahead of time. Infrastructures of #MutualAid, #CommunitySelfDefense, #RebelliousMourning, and #FierceLove. It’s shattering my heart that we must increasingly use those infrastructures merely to try to lessen the genocidal impacts of Christian fascism here. Yet they are also, always, gesturing toward #AWorldWithoutFascism.

“‘Try Anarchism for Life’ is both a beautiful homage to the countless fragments of ephemeral resistance that constitute everyday antiauthoritarianism and a principled call to commit to stitching together those fragments of daily autonomy-making into flourishing lives of resistance. Paired with unique renditions of the classic circle A, Milstein’s poetic phrases endow age-old concepts like mutual aid and solidarity with renewed vitality and urgency.”

—Mark Bray, author of “Antifa,” “The Anarchist Inquisition,” and “Translating Anarchy”

(photos: the rock-solid strength of our circles, as portrayed on a sticker seen in mid-Oct at @defendatlantaforest; beautiful book cover, designed by @eff_charm with circle A by @landonsheely)


PART 5 of 6:

As it serendipitously and delightfully happens, my book came out on the heels of my dear friend @scottbransonblurredwords’s book, “Practical Anarchism,” and both of us seem to be preoccupied with focusing on anarchism as life, as living. Perhaps that’s no coincidence in this fascist time that would see so many of us dead—most of us, in fact. So our #EverydayAnarchism has to be a fighter for and carrier of life. It feels no exaggeration to say it’s either #AnarchismOrFascism.

Thanks to @therhizomehouse and the caring labors of our friend @rebelgrrlraechel, Scott and I hope to bring our books into life-giving conversation on Dec 3.

“What a beautiful and playful collection of anarchist ruminations, like an imaginative picture book for adults (but not in the grown-up sense)! It’s a joyful contribution to anarchist literature as well as to Milstein’s own writing. You can read this poetic book in any order—an alphabet that goes from big A to little a and beyond—which makes it a perfect book to pick up to stimulate creativity and meditation. But after reading the whole thing, one gets the sense of the fullness of a life devoted to anarchism; that is, the mutual care and love for each other and the world that raises the stakes for freedom from domination. As we Jews say, ‘To life!’—that is, to a life worth living!”

—Scott Branson, author of “Practical Anarchism: A Guide for Daily Life”

(photos: #QueerAsFuck circle A as seen in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal, summer 2022; fabulous book cover, designed by @eff_charm with circle A by @landonsheely; 3-panel “flyer” for our schmooze)


PART 6 of 6:

“‘Try Anarchism for Life’ puts beauty back at the heart of the ‘beautiful idea.’ It is a gentle, warm reminder of the dreams that anarchism inspires and sustains. Utopian in the best sense of the word, it radiates hope and confidence, opens new vistas on familiar ideas, and affirms the value of mutual aid, solidarity, and creative collective endeavors.”

—Ruth Kinna, author of “The Government of No One: The Theory and Practice of Anarchism”

This wraps up my silly little series! But you can join me in celebrating the book, and more important, beauty of “creative collective endeavors,” thanks to the ever-beautiful folks/friends/pups at @firestormcoop (some of them pictured here), which will be hosting an online gathering this Tues, Nov 29, of Libertie of Firestorm, me, @house.of.hands and @margaretkilljoy from @tangled_wilderness, and three other amazing friends who contributed circle A drawings to the book, @lokimon, @muquuuuu, and @nobonzo. We’ll literally show you lots of what makes anarchism so beautiful via a slideshow of art in varied rebellious mediums as well as modeling why that beauty always has to include a multitude of ideas and practices by sharing our varied musings in friendly anarchist fashion.

To register (to watch it live and/or get a recording of it later), see @firestormcoop!

(photos: beautiful circle A sentiment + bonus sticker by Municipal Adhesives, as seen in mid-October at @defendatlantaforest; book cover, lovingly designed by @eff_charm with circle A by @landonsheely)


Copies of the book are available from the publisher, Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, at http://www.tangledwilderness.org (for folks in and outside the US too), AK Press at http://www.akpress.org, or your fav anarchist(ic) bookstores, and libraries.

#TryAnarchismForLife #TheBeautyOfOurCircle #FlowersNotFascism #SolidarityIsOurBestWeapon #AutonomousCommunitiesAreBeautiful #TryAnarchismForLove #EverydayAnarchism #WeAreAllWeNeed



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This entry was posted on November 27, 2022 by in Uncategorized.
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