November 2, 2009
The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg – Pistoleros!: 1: 1:1918 (Paperback)
by Farquhar McHarg (Author), Christie Stuart (Editor), Helios Gomez (Illustrator), Paul Sharkey (Translator)
Pistoleros! Is the story of twentieth century anarchism as witnessed by McHarg, a Glaswegian anarchist sailor who became embroiled in Spanish revolutionary politics at the end of the First World War. Curiously echoing the editor Christie’s (author of ‘Granny Made Me an Anarchist’ and ‘Floodgates of Anarchy’) own life fifty years later, the youthful and naïve McHarg jumps ship in Barcelona and enlists with the CNT (the anarchist national workers union) in their struggle against the bosses proto-fascist murder squads and para-military catholic groups (which provided training for the likes of Franco in murder and suppression techniques).
Pistoleros! is written in the style of a genre thriller with all of the accompanying intrigues; double dealing spy networks, evil foreign agents, love and betrayal all framed within the romantic backdrop of post WW1 Barcelona – and in this way it’s is a gripping read, yet these characters and events are real, the colourful backdrop the grim reality of poverty versus the opulence and wealth of the Barcelona bourgeoisie.
Anarchists are often caricatured as firebrands and disorganised individualists and universally accused of being better at ‘analysing the problem’ rather than providing practical solutions. Pistoleros! shows that the history of Anarchism has been that of pragmatism; Anarchists were always on the frontline of providing real-world solutions through organised labour in effective opposition to the exploitation and corruption of the ruling classes – when the traditional left were constantly mired in internal power politics and global machinations.
October 13, 2009
“As capitalism collapses around us in the market of ideas the anarchist pound is bouyant and the 28th London Anarchist Bookfair is back at Queen Mary College in London’s East End…”
for more details: http://www.anarchistbookfair.org/
July 2, 2008
Image: Xu Bing from “A Book from the Sky”
Free or ‘Asemic’ writing is writing with no direct semantic content, its meaning is implied and hinted at through abstraction. Meaning can be deduced by intuition and instinct – a natural understanding of shape or in shamanic religious work, through a power held in the design (usually transmitted through the artists from an external, mystical source). Asemic writing is art without rules; a form defined completely by the creator. The writer’s method can be a formal process – Xu Bing’s 4000 studiously detailed hand crafted characters – or divined through a trance or drug induced state – Gedewon‘s talismanic healing drawings, Michaux’s mescalin drawings – or ‘Psychography’ a personal cryptomnesiac script (echoes of ‘automatic writing’ of spiritualist mediums or Gysin/Borroughs ‘cut ups’ – a technique intended to reveal hidden meaning within a text by random and ‘magical’ association).