The purpose of this blog is to work through the American canon, as collected by the “The Library of America“, from the perspective of the anarchist tradition. The blog’s title comes from Voltairine de Cleyre’s essay, “Anarchism and American Traditions.” With de Cleyre, I believe that the major tension in American culture is the libertarian, anarchist, and cooperative. Of course, this tension battled with corporatism, capitalism, nationalism, religion, and other anti-libertarian tensions that cloud our view of America. I hope to show how the American tradition speaks to the continuing conflict between the forces of conformity and individualism, the state and the community, freedom and slavery, socialism and capitalism. I will be completing around one volume of “The Library of America” every week. “Tashqueedagg” (from Tashtego, Queequeg, and Daggoo) suggests the international working class as described in “Moby Dick.”

My real name is Evan Lampe.  I can be reached at evanlampe@gmail.com.  I reside in Taiwan but remain emotionally tied to the United States and its wonderful and liberating literary culture.

9 responses to “About

  1. Your Philip K. Dick reviews are excellent. I see you are following “billectrica,” which is an old blog I haven’t updated in a couple of years. Would you consider following my main blog, Bill Ectric’s Place?

  2. You fail to mention the war on communism. Comunism awants to merge it all then pas it out. democracy is teh law and law only. The uSA as the globla role model did not fight agaist it all. They went communism in fear of all being below the law. Communism preaches some cann be above the law in amount of public ownership you are over. To cure this it must all be privatized. Rank over public ownership it still above the law.

    • I am engaged in an extended interpretation of American writers, I am not sure why I need to fight a war against communism since communism [I assume here you are referring to Soviet-style state capitalism] was never a significant player in the American tradition. Community, cooperation, solidarity (and other things demonized by those who want total privatization) are strong players in the American literary and intellectual tradition, going back to Tom Paine and earlier.

      I imagine total privatization would be quite horrible in practice given the way income inequality has progressed in the past thirty years. Perhaps you are thinking of a form of market anarchism. I urge you examine “Markets not Capitalism” by Chartier and Johnson, which is a good introduction into this tendency in the anarchist perspective. http://www.amazon.com/Markets-Not-Capitalism-Individualist-Inequality/dp/1570272425
      The main point, of course, is that there are more than two options (total privatization and state control of everything). Humans have a history of being wonderfully creative and there is no need to shackle them to two options.

      In any case, I am not going to spend too much time on the blog fighting the zombie of 20th-Century Communism. I will be exploring the deeply held American values of community and solidarity – two things currently-existing capitalism seem to loath.

      Thanks for reading my blog.

      • It is either privately owned or publically owned. One or the other. Any publuc owned includine any biusiness is red communism. Theri is no other option. It has nothing to do in just america any corporation that is publcally owned is a communist, whcih can be nothing be red system. No buiness of any size can ne publcaly owned. The stock market if business regardless of size. corp or small business owner it all must be privatly owned. The tsock market has nothing to do woth govenremtn until it is controlled. Capitoloism is privatly owned.

        An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit.

        What about this standard definition says it is either private or public owned? If it is public owned it is red communism. Period. Communism starts inflataion, civil rights stripping which starts the cycle leading to war. So regardless of size, the only problem of the past was the law failing. End of research. Communisim is only a direct result of the law failing. If govenrmet never failed then it is all privately owned regardless of its size. the only thing that builds public owned is the law failing. The USA is the last to fail. That failure is being stopped short. SO bash the USA here and the rst are guilty of red communism more the USA ever was. The USA is only guilty of being the biggest welfare country on the world. The governemnt employee being the welfare employee since they never acomplish. SO the only bitch about the USA is in wage classing n ot publci or private. We overpaid the communism here.

      • I understand your dualism, I just find it profoundly unimaginative. Just look in history. In the feudal age land was owned by God, controlled by the nobility, and administered by the peasantry. This is not a proposal, rather an observation that there are other paths, if we have imagination and will.

        To be honest, I am not clear on your argument about the failure of the law as a path to Communism. I can think of examples (Russia and China) where Communist movements took advantage of power vacuums, but I am not sure that it is general rule. In any case, I am not convinced that Communism is more of a threat to the American working class than really-existing capitalism, which crushes bones and souls on a daily basis.

        Feel free to worry about Communism emerging in the USA. I am just not sure this is the right forum to debate these questions, since my blog is not a defense of any statist visions. I do think there are coherent anti-capitalist, libertarian themes in American writing. I am just slowly and humbling trying to tease them out.

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