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Sex at Dawn – the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality

Overview: Since Darwin’s day, we’ve been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science—as well as religious and cultural institutions—has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man’s possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman’s fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages.

How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can’t be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethå. While debunking almost everything we «know» about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book.

Ryan and Jethå’s central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.

With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jethå show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.

In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.

Vision on fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish revolution

This expertly chosen collection features the most important writings from the turbulent last four years of Emma Goldman’s life. Vision on Fire is the perfect complement to her celebrated autobiography, Living My Life, and for those readers inspired by her powerful collection, Anarchism and Other Essays. David Porter reveals Goldman’s struggles with the contradictions of the Spanish Revolution and her efforts to maintain integrity and vision in the heat of political activism. Contemporary readers will find Vision on Fire a high-caliber history book as well as an honest depiction of the complex world of libertarian revolution.

As an official representative of the CNT-FAI during the revolution, Emma Goldman made three trips to Spain to observe first-hand the most thoroughgoing social revolution in history. Her selected writings not only chronicle the debates, fights, and revolutionary zeal of the Spanish Revolution, but provide a sophisticated dialogue concerning revolution and social change—a dialogue which activists will turn to again and again as we confront these same issues in our own times, under new circumstances. The thematic chapters include: The Spanish Anarchist Movement; The New Society; Collaboration with Statist Forces; Communist Sabotage of the Spanish Revolution; The International Context; Anarchists, Violence, and War; The Role of Women in the Spanish Revolution; Overall Assessments of the Spanish Revolution; and General Reflections on Anarchism and the Movement.

«Anyone interested in the history of the Left in the 20th century, anyone sensitive to the terrible drama of the Spanish Revolution, anyone who responds to the trenchant charm of Emma Goldman’s mind will welcome David Porter’s book.»—Ursula Le Guin

«Vision on Fire is a historical treasure, in which nuggets of personal and political comment in Emma Goldman’s letters are interspersed with Porter’s rich background notes. I found the book fascinating in what it reveals, not only about Emma Goldman and the ideas of anarchism, but also about the Spanish Revolution, and the lives of so many extraordinary individuals who participated at that time in the world-wide struggle for justice.»—Howard Zinn

«David Porter has assembled an invaluable sourcebook on this important phase of Emma Goldman’s life and thought that until now has been badly neglected.»—Alix Kates Shulman

«Emma Goldman described the efforts of Spanish workers and peasants to build and defend an anarchist society ‘with almost bare hands and every hindrance in their way’ as ‘an inspiration one cannot easily forget.’ It is a rare and intensely moving experience to witness, through her eyes, their constructive achievements and their travail, caught between the Fascist hammer and the Communist anvil, ignored or vilified by Western ‘progressives.’ In the material he has found and presented, and in his own informative and insightful commentary, David Porter has made a very significant contribution to the never-ending struggle for freedom and justice.»—Noam Chomsky

Buenaventura Durruti – Comic

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from Anarchy Comics #2; 1979
Anarchy Comics was a series of underground comic books published by Last Gasp between 1978 and 1987, as part of the underground comix subculture of the era. Each issue of Anarchy Comics showcased an international cast of artists who identified as anarchists, or non-sectarian socialists. An example of this is Spain Rodriguez, a Marxist, who was considered of “sufficient libertarian bent” to be included. Contributors including Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Jay Kinney and Paul Mavrides were distinct for “adding new dimensions to the political comic” in the underground comix press of the 1970s and 80s.

The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective – Sam Dolgoff

Dolgoff was born in the shtetl of Ostrovno in Vitebsk, Russia, moving as a child to New York City in 1905 or 1906, where he lived in the Bronx and in Manhattan’s Lower East Side where he died. His father was a house painter, and Dolgoff began house painting at the age of 11, a profession he remained in his entire life.

After being expelled from the Young People’s Socialist League, Sam joined the Industrial Workers of the World in the 1922 and remained an active member his entire life, playing an active role in the anarchist movement for much of the century. He was a co-founder of the Libertarian Labor Review magazine, which was later renamed Anarcho-Syndicalist Review to avoid confusion with America’s Libertarian Party.
Dolgoff was a member of the Chicago Free Society Group in the 1920s, Vanguard Group member and editor of its publication Vanguard: A Journal of Libertarian Communism in the 1930s, and co-founded the Libertarian League in New York in 1954. He wrote articles for anarchist magazines as well as books as the editor of highly-acclaimed anthologies, some of which are listed below. He was active in many causes, and attended groups like New York’s Libertarian Book Club regularly.

Dolgoff, and his wife Esther, served as a link to anarchism’s past to young anarchists of the 1960s and 1970s living in New York. He focused upon anarchism’s (specifically anarcho-syndicalism’s) roots in workers’ movements and served as a moderating counterbalance to the punk-era anarchists who tended towards ‘monkeywrenching’ and confrontations with the police. Although Dolgoff was friends with Murray Bookchin, a notable anarchist theorist of the period, he was opposed to Bookchin’s theory of Social Ecology, rooted as he was in the classical anarchist traditions of Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin.
Yes, it is possible to understand the fascination that many people, particularly the young, have with the man. But understanding a phenomenon is one thing, whether it presents a true picture of reality is another. For this, we must look behind the mystique.

Sam Dolgoff’s book offering a critical account of the Cuban Revolution of 1959 from anarchist perspective. His analysis of the Cuban Revolution, its development and significance, presents an historical perspective on Cuba that arrives at new insights into social and political change.

Saint Che: The Truth Behind the Legend of the Heroic Guerilla, Ernesto Che Guevara – Larry Gambone

CheGuevara

“Che was the most complete human being of our age.”

— Jean Paul Sartre

A peasant woman lights a candle to the saint and prays that her young son will get well and the potato crop will be a big one this year. Her prayers, and the prayers of other peasants, have been answered before, claim the villagers. “He looked just like Our Lord lying there dead in the schoolhouse,” she tells the television interviewer. The name of this miracle-working saint? Ernesto Che Guevara!

Let’s not laugh at these peasants. Don’t look down upon them with “developed world” arrogance. No doubt Che “does” intervene in their poverty-stricken lives — as do all the other saints. And who are we to claim absolute knowledge of the world and human mind and all its workings?

How would Che feel about the incense and candles burnt in his name? As a militant Communist and atheist he would have dismissed it all as crude superstition from a reactionary past. How ironic for such a person to become a saint. But not only Bolivian peasants have reverence for the dead guerrilla. Thirty years after his murder, his picture is plastered on the walls of half the student residences of the world. His stern, ascetic gaze stares out at you from innumerable Tee shirts and badges. The Che Guevara mystique is all-pervasive.

One can’t help asking whether he deserves this idolatry. At first glance one could easily give an unqualified affirmative answer. Here was someone given the Number Two position in Cuba, who stepped down to fight in the jungle for what he believed was liberation. Sick with asthma and with a tiny band of followers he was hunted down and murdered by the Bolivian army. Guevara was also the perfect romantic figure — handsome, charismatic, and genuinely loved by women. No lifeless intellectual Stalin-clone he, nor a secret pervert like Mao, or a megalomaniac like his old friend Fidel, but a real man. He could have stepped out of any romantic novel.

And he does look Christ-like lying dead in that famous photograph.

Yes, it is possible to understand the fascination that many people, particularly the young, have with the man. But understanding a phenomenon is one thing, whether it presents a true picture of reality is another. For this, we must look behind the mystique.