Book Reviews

  • Review

    Arcane Activists and Psychical Politics

    Review of Erica Lagalisse' Occult Features of Anarchism

    I will preface this review by saying I am not an initiate of occult, academic, or anarchist sects. Having consistently lacked the discipline to commit myself to rigorous studies of anything, it has been by way of fleeting interest that I have come to possess some knowledge of the aforementioned fields.

  • Review

    Organizing for Power in a Stolen City

    Review of Owen Toews’ book Stolen City

    Growing up in the northeastern suburbs of Winnipeg, a common occurrence for my family was driving over the Disraeli bridge. As soon as Main Street became visible, the doors of our rusted blue hatchback locked with an authoritative click.

  • Review

    Rupturing Settler Myths

    Review of Andrew Crosby and Jeffrey Monaghan’s Policing Indigenous Movements

    Myths about Indigenous peoples are persistent in popular settler Canadian discourse. They show settler disconnect and lack of understanding around dispossession of Indigenous lands and lifeways, settler colonization, and cultural genocide.

  • Review

    The Spectre of Austerity

    With these blistering words, Moufawad-Paul begins his incisive polemic, Austerity Apparatus, a text that cuts at the heart of leftist politics. Alongside The Communist Necessity (Kersplebedeb, 2014) and Continuity and Rupture: Philosophy in the Maoist Terrain (Zero Books, 2016), Austerity Apparatus completes a theoretical trilogy that explores the political possibilities of communism in political activism, particularly as it manifests in Canada. Positioning himself as a Marxist theorist with experience in Left organizing in Toronto, Moufawad-Paul illustrates how austerity isn’t wholly new, but merely a different face of capitalism designed and maintained to reproletarianize the working class.

  • Review

    No Shortcuts Around the Details

    What the Algonquins of Barriere Lake’s Struggle Teaches Us About Canadian Colonialism

    There are probably no tougher people within Canadian borders than the Mitchikanabikok Inik, the People of the Stone Weir, or, as they are usually called in English, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake. Mostly isolated within what Québec has called the La Vérendrye Wildlife Reserve, the band has held on to its culture and its forms of governance, and preserved knowledge of the land that has taken thousands of years to gather and understand. Shiri Pasternak’s new book, Grounded Authority: The Algonquins of Barriere Lake Against the State, is a history of the Mitchikanabikok Inik and their resilience and creativity in the face of unrelenting colonial pressure and encroachment, woven through with threads of personal history. This thread of discovery is transmitted through a deep and respectful account of the specific knowledge that the people of Barriere Lake have shared with Pasternak about their world and their history.

  • Review

    Why Don’t We All Rise Up?

    Thinking About Resistance with Nangwaya and Truscello

    Why aren’t people outraged?” is not a question I often ask myself—it seems that outrage is everywhere, overheard in conversations and witnessed in public life. On the other hand, “Where is the collective expression of this outrage? Where is the collective struggle?” are questions that perpetually niggle at my mind. Living on the edges of the continent, in an isolated rocky province with a near unbroken legacy of poverty, a horrifying colonial history and present, and currently in the midst of yet another economic crisis, I often ask where the collective struggle is to fight the existing state of affairs? In times such as these, as dire as they often seem, concerted collective action is notable here for its absence. Why is there no unrest? Why are “the poor” (the vast majority of the province’s population) not “rising up?” And, even if they are, as individuals, what can—and must—organizers do to translate general discontent and anger into sustained collective action? As an often lonely organizer on these shores, I picked up Ajamu Nangwaya and Michael Truscello’s edited collection, Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up? I wanted to see if and how I could apply its myriad lessons to my own struggle in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)—an isolated province with a small population bearing little politically in common with economic centres like Toronto or Vancouver.

  • Review

    The Challenge of Anti-Racist Feminism

    While there are anti-racist mobilizations organized by No One Is Illegal and other migrant justice organizations, the left’s capacity to respond to racism is limited. How, then, can we begin to lay the foundation for a renewed radical feminist and anti-racist movement?

  • Review

    Canada’s Imperialist Project

    Todd Gordon. Imperialist Canada. Aribeiter Ring Publishing, 2010. Canada’s increasingly muscular role in global affairs has generated much discussion in recent years. The reason is not difficult to discern: never before in Canadian history has the country waged a counterinsurgency war abroad for a…

  • Review

    Decolonizing the Airwaves

    Andrea Langlois, Ron Sakolsky & Marian van der Zon (eds.), Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada, New Star Books, 2010. When I told people I was reviewing Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada they asked: “There’s pirate radio in Canada?” Well, there is. In fact, recently newsp…

  • Review

    Ordinary Revolutionaries

    John Holloway. Crack Capitalism. Pluto Press, 2010. In his new work of political theory, Crack Capitalism, John Holloway offers a passionate philosophical defence of the “ordinary people” who he describes as “rebels” and “revolutionaries” (5). Holloway’s heroes are not political leader…