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Mythmakers and Lawbreakers, ed. by Margaret Killjoy

Reviewed by Natalie Ballard

When the term “anarchy” is heard, most people think of the “circle-A” graffiti on crumbling buildings and the T-shirts of punk rock kids, or else imagine a state of complete lawlessness and the breakdown of society. Popular culture does nothing to dispel these collective thoughts. In theory and philosophy, anarchy refers to the absence of a state or rulers and a society in which there is no vertical hierarchy of class, but instead a horizontal equality of societal participants. Margaret Killjoy, the editor of Steampunk Magazine and an avowed anarchist, collected fourteen interviews with varying writers in the compact book Mythmakers and Lawbreakers; the common thread between the featured writers is that each is a professed anarchist, writes positively about anarchist societies, or maintains anarchist sympathies.

Reading each of the interviews, I quickly learned that there are as many varying definitions of anarchy as there are practitioners and theorizers. There is a vague commonality of a desire to see an end to free-market capitalism and democracy (the writers interviewed are mostly American and British) and the desire for complete equality and a gift- or barter-based economy, but otherwise each author has his or her own personal philosophy as it ties in to the theory of anarchy. This is not a criticism, and it does not seem as if anarchists are so loosely connected as to not have any sense of community at all. Rather, it appears as if there are just factions within the anarchist community, perhaps comparable to American democracy’s political parties. Each interview in its turn is wholly fascinating to read, as the subjects are certainly outside of the mainstream, literature-wise. The most recognizable names are feminist sci-fi author Ursula K. LeGuin, graphic novel writer Alan Moore, fantasy writer Michael Moorcock, and eco-feminist/neo-pagan author Starhawk.

Read the original article at: Feminist Review

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