The mad history of the world - Michel Bounan

In this book first published in France in 2006, Michel Bounan recounts the history of the world according to a developmental schema defined not by modes of production, but by modes of “collective mental disorders”, specifically “socio-neuroses” corresponding to particular stages of human history (sedentary agricultural imperial civilization/phobia, classical capitalism/obsession, and the “society of the spectacle”/hysteria), and speculates that the catastrophic collapse of industrial society will result in a “true catharsis in which all particular neuroses are dissolved” and humanity will rediscover the lost “unitary consciousness” of our primitive ancestors.

The Self-Liberation of the Proletariat Is the Collapse of Capitalism! – Revolutionary Communists (Grupo de Comunistas de Consejos de Galiza)

A 2004 programmatic statement by a Galician council communist group, which observes that “social change and self-transformation proceed in tandem in real revolutionary practice”—for which purpose certain “useful elements” of “western psychology and the currents of eastern spirituality” can help us confront the challenges of life in capitalism—and “the spiritual transformation of life and the material transformation of life [are] indissolubly linked, as parallel and interacting processes and realities”, but that only “class struggle” enables the proletariat to “become capable of advancing its own self-transformation”, which is presently of an “experimental nature”.

The Self-Liberation of the Proletariat Is the Collapse of Capitalism!1 - Grupo de Comunistas de Consejos de Galiza

  • 1. Ígneo No. 1, Fall 2004, “La autoliberación del proletariado es el derrumbe del capitalismo!!!” [Ígneo, el boletín trimestral de los Comunistas Revolucionários (Grupo de Comunistas de Consejos de Galiza - Estado español)—Translator’s Note.]

The ignorance of the society of knowledge - Robert Kurz

A short 2002 article by Robert Kurz on the hype about the information society, with its “knowledge degraded into ‘information’”, its dystopian implications with regard to culture and individual integrity, and its disappointingly meager impact on the economy (Marx: knowledge has “no exchange value”), which it was supposed to rejuvenate (“the New Economy … began to collapse as soon as it was proclaimed”).

The Ignorance of the Society of Knowledge – Robert Kurz

Pharmaco-centric capitalism: a reply to Will Self

A critique of Will Self's August article on psychiatry and "Big Pharma", focussing on the need to conjoin critique of the current practice of psychiatry with an analysis of its place within capitalism.

Psychiatry is undoubtedly experiencing something of a crisis. It is a clean and currently self-contained crisis, one that rarely troubles national headlines or makes it into the everyday conversations of workers in the office or the clothes shop floor, but it is a crisis nonetheless.

The eclipse and re-emergence of the antipsychiatry movement

Brief introductory post outlining what antipsychiatry is and the need for its renewal.

As part of their birthday celebrations Libcom decided to expand their blog section, so I decided I’d put my foot forward to do a bit of writing on mental health. While I know Ramona already writes on mental health, I figure it can’t hurt to have someone else contributing to promote the complexity of mental distress within the anarchist community.

Madness and civilisation: a history of insanity in the age of reason - Michel Foucault

A critical history of the idea of madness in European culture and society from the Middle Ages to the modern age.

Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison - Michel Foucault

Barely two hundred and fifty years ago man condemned of attempting to assassinate the King of France was drawn and quartered in a grisly spectacle that suggested an unmediated duel between the violence of the criminal and the violence of the state.

This groundbreaking book by the most influential philosopher since Sartre compels us to reevaluate our assumptions about all the ensuing reforms in the penal institutions of the West.

Chomsky and the evolution of language

Noam Chomsky recently appeared on the Skeptically Speaking podcast to discuss the evolution of language. This got me thinking about the relationship, or lack thereof, between 'scepticism', 'new atheism' and radical politics which will follow in another blog post.

Skeptically Speaking's Desiree Schell had Chomsky on to discuss language evolution He outlines Universal Grammar and briefly responds to some challenges, contending that criticisms of his ideas often come from misunderstandings. Chomsky outlines his reluctance to engage in 'just-so' storytelling:

I.Q tests: Building blocks for the new class system


Chomsky's response to Richard Herrnstein's views on intelligence and IQ. Originally appeared in Ramparts July 1972.

"IN THE TEN MONTHS SINCE DR. RICHARD HERRNSTEIN'S article "I.Q." first appeared in the Atlantic, it has become the focus of an intriguing controversy, predictably intense but surprisingly sustained.

Demanding the impossible?: Human nature and politics in nineteenth-century social anarchism

David Morland's text examining the relationship between anarchism's notion of human nature and its vision of a future stateless society by way of three 19th-century social anarchists: Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin.

It demonstrates that social anarchism operates a conception of human nature that assumes the existence of both egoism and sociability, and therefore provides a realistic assessment of human nature.