William Powell, author of the Anarchist Cookbook.
Powell gave Anarchy a bad name. He was disenchanted as a young man growing up in America in the 1960’s. He observed a culture of government sanctioned violence. Police bully tactics, violent attacks on peaceful civil rights protests, baton charging of student protests and all the way up to imposition of the draft sending young men to Vietnam.
His reaction to government violence was to arm the counter-cultural movement with techniques to fight a against the state through guerilla tactics and sabotage. His book give recipes for home made weapons using commonly available products. He also included some sabotage techniques for electronics, and some information on home made drugs.
Powell made the mistake of giving control of the publication to the publisher. The book was published in 1971, and by 1976 Powell wanted it removed from sale. Many years later he said in an interview: “Over the years, I have come to understand that the basic premise behind the Cookbook is profoundly flawed. The anger that motivated the writing of the Cookbook blinded me to the illogical notion that violence can be used to prevent violence.”
The book is still in publication and has been blamed as providing the information for a number of home grown terror attacks in the USA.
I have observed many cases in history of angry young men who passionately call for violence and then grow up to advocate the far more difficult path of non-violent, but no less confrontational routes to reform. Are there cases where young people begin with non-violence and come to a realization later in life that violence is a better path?
Still I Rise; by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.