Anarchist Cook

William Powell

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
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

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Peace Man

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The early morning commuter train is a quiet space.  Many of the travellers try to catch up on their sleep.  Those of us who work do so quietly.  It is not a place for yawping.

The lady opposite me today seems to be in a temper with her stapler.  She is angrily making up sheaves of notes for some meeting.  As she staples each sheaf together she drops her stapler noisily onto the table.

She seems to be carrying a lot of negative baggage into work.  Not a great start to a day.  Perhaps she should read the poem below.

Desiderata: by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

A message of concern!

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This is the message of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic
Command, to you. For many years you have seen us as lights in the
skies. We speak to you now in peace and wisdom as we have done to your brothers
and sisters all over this, your planet Earth.

We come to warn you of the destiny of your race and your world so that you may
communicate to your fellow beings the course you must take to avoid the
disaster which threatens your world, and the beings on our worlds around you.
This is in order that you may share in the great awakening, as the planet
passes into the New Age of Aquarius. The New Age can be a time of great peace
and evolution for your race, but only if your rulers are made aware of the evil
forces that can overshadow their judgments.

Be still now and read, for your chance may not come again.

All your weapons of evil must be removed. The time for conflict is now past and
the race of which you are a part may proceed to the higher stages of its
evolution if you show yourselves worthy to do this. You have but a short time
to learn to live together in peace and goodwill.

Small groups all over the planet are learning this, and exist to pass on the
light of the dawning New Age to you all. You are free to accept or reject their
teachings, but only those who learn to live in peace will pass to the higher
realms of spiritual evolution.

Hear now the voice of Vrillon, a representative of the Ashtar Galactic Command,
speaking to you. Be aware also that there are many false prophets and guides
operating in your world. They will suck your energy from you – the energy you
call money and will put it to evil ends and give you worthless dross in return.

Your inner divine self will protect you from this. You must learn to be
sensitive to the voice within that can tell you what is truth, and what is
confusion, chaos and untruth. Learn to listen to the voice of truth which is
within you and you will lead yourselves onto the path of evolution.

This is our message to our dear friends. We have watched you growing for many
years as you too have watched our lights in your skies. You know now that we
are here, and that there are more beings on and around your Earth than your
scientists admit.

We are deeply concerned about you and your path towards the light and will do
all we can to help you. Have no fear, seek only to know yourselves, and live in
harmony with the ways of your planet Earth. We of the Ashtar Galactic Command
thank you for your attention. We are now leaving the plane of your existence.
May you be blessed by the supreme love and truth of the cosmos.