On Anarchism: Dispatches from the People's Republic of Vermont

On Anarchism: Dispatches from the People's Republic of Vermont

On Anarchism: Dispatches from the People's Republic of Vermont

On Anarchism: Dispatches from the People's Republic of Vermont


The contemporary anarchist world, including the idea of secession as it flourishes in Bernie Sanders' Vermont, is outlined in these collected writings of an AFL-CIO union officer, laborer, journalist and anarchist organizer. With a partial focus on the Green Mountain Anarchist Collective but applicable throughout the US, he describes political goals and specific events in the last few decades; central to the theme is the aim to expand venues for democratic decision making and socialism.

Dave Van Deusen includes practical information on hands-on organizing of anarchist and black bloc actions, and he discusses labor organizing, community organizing, along with journalistic accounts of various social movements/events.

The protest and political actions Van Deusen illustrates are undergirded by philosophical considerations which he presents in separate essays, with references to Bakunin, Marx, Guy Debord and other thinkers. He also shows how, in the aftermath of 9/11, the movement's momentum post-Seattle dissipated for a time.

The book not only provides a critical (non-sectarian) analysis of the last two decades of politics and movement building from the point of view, but also a window into what it was like to be inside those movements as a participant. In these ways the work has both contemporary political value and a historical value.


You don’t have to climb onto the back of David Van Deusen’s Harley to enjoy the ride you are about to take in these pages. Van Deusen’s long trip starts with his first time running with the Black Bloc at the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago and goes through his life as anarchist activist and scholar, union organizer, environmentalist, town official and unwavering supporter of indigenous Abenaki land rights and tribal self-determination in the Green Mountain State.

David’s life is consistent, militant and principled. These are admirable qualities, more important than ever in today’s political climate: we need all the examples we can get of people standing up to racism and white supremacy, manifesting solidarity with the victims of imperialism. David identifies as a revolutionary: that is, he believes in and works for a complete transformation of our society as presently constituted. What’s more, he believes this transformation is possible. and reading the story of his Movement life and work, and his many partners along the way, has strengthened my own hope for this transformation, and it will strengthen yours.

As the story unfolds, the theory becomes practice. But it starts with a vision. a co-authored Black Bloc manifesto published in 2000, shortly after the Battle of Seattle, identifies the emerging principles of insurrection. the authors identify the increasing loss of communal and

1 Van Deusen served two terms as a Selectman in his town (endorsed by the
socialist Vermont Liberty Union and Vermont Progressive Parties) and three
terms as First Constable. He also worked with the Nulhegan Abenaki Tribe and
the Vermont Sierra Club from 2010–2012 to help establish their first Nulhegan
owned tribal forest in over 200 years. This forest, which is also a working sugar
bush generating common revenue for the tribe, exists to this day in the Northeast
Kingdom of Vermont.

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