Articles

On this page, I have selected some articles that, for different reasons, have particular meaning to me. You can find a complete list of articles here.

Turkey

In the early 2000s, Turkish-American friends invited me twice to contribute to the journal Bosphorus Art Project Quarterly. One article, “Once Upon a Time in Turkey…“, appeared in vol. 1, issue 2: border(s) (January-February 2005); the other, “Istanbul 1972”, in vol. 2, issue 3: Istanbul: The City (October 2006; this article is no longer online, only the cover page of the issue). The articles themselves are not all that remarkable, but they might be the most autobiographical pieces I ever wrote. Even if I only lived in Turkey for a couple of years as an infant, the time that my parents spent there has always occupied a special place in the family history. On my occasional visits to Turkey, I still stay with family friends.

Alpine Anarchist Productions

With Alpine Anarchist Productions (AAP), I produced a wild mixture of pamphlets, often written under pseudonyms, reaching from political essays to fiction to artsy type stuff. A complete list can be found on the AAP website.

Some of the political pamphlets were distributed by AK Press, among them Thoughts on Liberation: A Personal Anarchist Dictionary, The United Antifascist Liberation Front, and Militancy Beyond Black Blocs. One pamphlet that AK didn’t sell because some collective members didn’t like it (as I was told, “at all”) was Parasitic Economy. It’s actually not that bad, it was just very much based on the traveling life I was living at the time (see the “Biographical Notes” on the About page).

Speaking of which: to get glimpses of that life you can read excerpts from the pamphlet Moments. The short stories I wrote during the period also give an impression; a good friend collected some of them in a beautifully designed zine called Looking for the Way and Other Stories. The Filipino punk band Brand X wrote a song inspired by the AAP pamphlet The Patong Fire, a fictional account of an ELF-type group targeting the tourist industry.

The most successful AAP pamphlet was the Anarchist Football (Soccer) Manual. The most downloaded text on the AAP website, however, is one of the few guest contributions, namely the Varieties of Islamic Anarchism zine (ready-to-print version here), written by my dear friend Anthony T. Fiscella, without whom life in Sweden would be significantly worse.

Zines

During my travels, I contributed to zines done by friends. I got a kick out of a piece about Western “spiritual seekers” in India being translated into Hebrew for Ink Stains. Most reach had my articles for Give ’em the Lumber, still the only punk hockey zine I am aware of. The text “What Does Geronimo Have to Do with Ice Hockey? An Excursion to a Swiss Valley“, which portrays the left-wing fans of the Swiss hockey club HC Ambrì-Piotta was called “marvellously written” by New York Times hockey blogger Jeff Z. Klein, and, most importantly, it went down well with Ambrì-Piotta fans themselves.

Post-Theory

Due to my German books dealing with postmodern/poststructuralist theory, I became, in the eyes of some, a natural candidate for addressing the phenomenon of “postanarchism“, which became a a thing in the early 2000s, mainly in connection with the work of Saul Newman. This led to articles such as “Bakunin vs. Postanarchismus” (in Bernd Kramer/Wolfgang Eckhardt, eds., Bakunin Almanach, Band 1, 2007, translated into Italian); “Anarchism, Postmodernity, and Poststructuralism” (in Randall Amster et al., Contemporary Anarchist Studies: An Introductory Anthology of Anarchy in the Academy, 2009, translated into Spanish and Finnish); and “Gilles Deleuze im Spannungsfeld von Postanarchismus und Postmarxismus” (in Philippe Kellermann, ed., Begegnungen feindlicher Brüder 2: Zum Verhältnis von Anarchismus und Marxismus in der Geschichte der sozialistischen Bewegung, 2012, translated into Slovenian).

Anarchism

In 2009, I was invited to contribute to the Gasera journal of the Philippines. I sent the article “Anarchism in the Philippines and Transnational Community Building“. That same year, I published my take on the “Fuck for Forest controversy” at the 2009 Berlin Anarchist Congress.

A German review of the Lucien van der Walt and Michael Schmidt book Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism led to a long exchange with van der Walt and the article “The Meaning of Anarchism: Black Flame, Definitions, and Struggles over Identity“.

The essay “The Anarchist Hypothesis, or Badiou, Žižek, and the Anti-Anarchist Prejudice“, which I published on the Alpine Anarchist website in August 2011, was translated into German, Finnish, Spanish, Czech, and Portuguese. Octavio Alberola wrote a response to it in Spanish on Royo y Negro, with an English translation provided by Christie Books.

Notes on “Global Anarchism and Asia“, which I presented at the 2014 Tokyo conference “Global Anarchism: Part, Present and Future – New Anarchism in Japan“, were published in the conference reader.

A widely distributed text is “Revolution Is More than a Word: 23 Theses on Anarchism“, published on the Alpine Anarchist website in May 2016. It is available as a pamphlet from Kersplebedeb and Active Distribution and has been translated into German (available as a pamphlet from Black Mosquito), Finnish, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Russian, French, and, in excerpts, Greek. The short text “Notes on Anarchist Organizing” was a follow-up piece, written in response to feedback from the Federation of German-Speaking Anarchists (FdA).

“What Happened to the Anarchist Century?”, published in February 2021, revisits the 2001 Andrej Grubacic and Dacid Graeber essay “Anarchism, or the Revolutionary Movement of the Twenty-First Century”.

Straight Edge

With regard to straight edge, the AAP pamphlet Antifa Straight Edge (also included in the book Sober Living for the Revolution) has been translated into French and Polish, and there is an “updated” Italian version. The article “‘I’m Not the Flesh’: Krishnacore und Straight Edge” ruined my relationship with the German pop/punk magazine Testcard, but I had fun writing it.

In the summer of 2018, I wrote an open letter to the editors of Maximumrocknroll (MRR) when they decided to no longer cover Israeli punk bands in reference to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. While well-intentioned (I suppose), it appeared to be the result of painfully misguided anti-oppression politics. To their credit, the editors published my letter in MRR no. 425. I had first posted it on the PM Press blog under the title “Punks Boycotting Punks“.

Sports

In 2011, I wrote a piece titled “Grassroots Football: Values, Examples, Potentials” for the, at the time, newly established Stir to Action magazine. The article was reprinted in the reader of the 2013 Ultrash Unfug Festival in Babelsberg. In 2015, I penned a rare contribution for an academic journal when David and Peter Kennedy asked me to write something for the Sport in Society special issue “DIY Football: The Cultural Politics of Community“. The reason I said yes was that it gave Klara and me the opportunity to reflect on 17 SK, an alternative sports club we had founded in Stockholm five years earlier.

Most of my journalist writing on sports has appeared in German, particularly in junge Welt and analyse & kritik. From 2017 to 2019, I regularly contributed to the analyse & kritik sports column “Und nun zum Sport“.

Anthologies

I don’t contribute much to anthologies, as texts there often disappear in the ever expanding sea of publications. I did, however, write the article “Das Wörgler Freigeldexperiment 1932/33” for the Gaismair-Jahrbuch 2008. The Gaismair-Jahrbuch documents dissent in the traditionally conservative province of Tyrol and is edited by a great group of people; the “Free Money experiment” in the railway town of Wörgl during the Great Depression is one of the most interesting progressive experiments in Tyrolean history.

The article “‘Das wird man ja wohl noch sagen dürfen.’ Wie männliche, weiße, sozial Privilegierte zum Opfer der Unterdrückung werden” was included in the book Rassismus in der Leistungsgesellschaft. Analysen und kritische Perspektiven zu den rassistischen Normalisierungsprozessen der ‘Sarrazindebatte’ (2011), edited by Sebastian Friedrich. Written with Regina Wamper, the text remains, unfortunately, highly relevant, considering that the self-victimization of the far right seems to know no limits.

The article “Schwarze Scharen: Anarcho-Syndicalist Militias in Germany, 1929-1933“, written with Helge Döhring for the 2018 release Setting Sights: Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self-Defense, was the first ever English text on a largely overlooked, yet important chapter of militant anarchosyndicalist history.

Interviews

I had the privilege to interview a number of wonderful people over the years. For an AAP website series called Alpine Anarchist Meets…, I spoke to people such as Süreyyya Evren, Sascha Scatter, and scott crow. For German-language journals, I interviewed, among others, longtime friend and organizer Luis Fernandez; J. Smith and André Moncourt, editors of two comprehensive English-language volumes on Germany’s Red Army Faction; Mark Bray, the author of Translating Anarchy: The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street and Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook; the Swedish soccer icons Pia Sundhage and Nilla Fischer; J. Sakai, author of the political underground classic Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat from Mayflower to Modern; and Daria Bogdanska, the award-winning cartoonist of Wage Slaves.

PM Blog

From 2010 to 2020, I regularly wrote posts for the PM Press blog. Many of them were just short notes, others had more substance. The most widely circulated was my explanation for why I was prevented from embarking on a month-long speaking tour of the US in 2010. (If you’re interested in the story, you can also read the articles written by my friend Randall Amster for Truthout and by Matthew Rothschild for The Progressive.)

A post related to the issue is “US Travel Bans and the False Promise of Tariq Ramadan“; Ramadan’s take on the Obama administration lifting his own travel ban is emblematic of the egocentrism of celebrities, even within the left – unfortunately, often enough encouraged by left media.

The hypocrisy involved in the “saving lives” mantra of the Covid-19 pandemic made me write a short piece titled “Human Life or Some Human Life?“.

A full list of my PM Press blog posts can be found at the bottom of my PM Press author page; unfortunately, the chronological order was lost during a PM website overhaul.

Syndicalism

I have written a few pieces about the Central Organization of Workers in Sweden, better known by its acronym SAC (Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation). The 2014 book New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism, edited by Immanuel Ness, includes the historical account “Syndicalism in Sweden: A Hundred Years of the SAC“.

The article “Class War in Sweden“, written with Micke Nordin, addresses the significant 2019 changes in Swedish labor law and how they affected the SAC and workers’ struggles in general; it was translated into Italian, German, and Spanish.

The article “Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy” was written with German union activist Torsten Bewernitz. It raises the question of effective working-class organizing under current capitalist rule and has been translated into Portuguese and French. The same question was raised in an article I wrote together with Frederick Batzler for the Spring 2020 issue of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review, “Swedish Labor Law and the Future of Syndicalism“.

Communism

In August 2013, I wrote a piece for CounterPunch titled “Arnold’s Nightmare: The Curious Success of the Communist Party in Graz, Austria“. I visited Graz, Austria’s second biggest city, to look at the baffling fact that the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ), which receives less than 1 percent of the vote in national elections, regularly reaches 20 percent in Graz. For three days, I met with members of the KPÖ and other political parties as well as with independent leftists and anarchists. It was all very educational.

In the spring of 2018, Paul Mattick Jr invited me to open a series on “Thinking about Communism” in the Field Notes section of the Brooklyn Rail. Paul and I didn’t see eye to eye on the Kurdish movement, but after a little back and forth we had a text he was happy to run. It was titled “Don’t Mourn, Organize! Is Communism a Pipe Dream – or a Viable Future?” and drew a long response from Charles Reeve.

Antiimperialism

The text “Oppressor and Oppressed Nations: Sketching a Taxonomy of Imperialism“, published on the Kersplebedeb blog in June 2017, was in the making for a long time. I have always considered antiimperialism hugely important but felt that, since the 1980s, related debates had become very black and white. The text is a modest attempt to add a little more nuance. It was well received by groups such as the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement and the Black Rose Anarchist Federation. The folks at Kersplebedeb added responses by Bromma, author of The Worker Elite: Notes on the Labor Aristocracy, to produce the pamphlet Full Body Scan: Imperialism Today.

Northern Ireland

I have been following politics in Northern Ireland since embracing antiimperialism in the late 1980s. I visited Belfast for the first time in 1991, when it was still a city under military occupation – something that made a huge impression on me. I have returned to Ireland, both the North and the Republic, several times since then. In the fall of 2018, I went there to write articles for the German journals junge Welt and Hintergrund as well as for Sweden’s Arbetaren. I remain convinced that if there is going to be a working-class revolution in Europe, it will emerge from Ireland.

Neue Klassenpolitik

In 2017, I got caught up in discussions around what German writer Sebastian Friedrich has dubbed “Neue Klassenpolitik” (New Class Politics). Essentially, the New Class Politics debate was a response to the left losing working-class support. While acknowledging the importance of class, it eschewed “workerist” positions that sidelined issues such as gender and race. Friedrich and I outlined the position in the English piece “A New Class Politics“. Among the German articles I wrote on the subject, “Der gemeinsame Kampf in einer geteilten Welt” stands out; it was also included in the book Neue Klassenpolitik. Linke Strategien gegen Rechtsruck und Neoliberalismus (2018). Fun fact: in an article of the splendid Lower Class Magazine, I was listed as a representative of New Class Politics alongside authors such as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Jodi Dean. Oh the flattery!

Somewhat related to the New Class Politics debate were German articles I wrote on the urban-rural divide. I get easily provoked when the urban and cosmopolitan left puts a disproportionate amount of blame for the rise of the political right on country folks. Most of these articles were published in analyse & kritik, among them pieces about the Young Patriots Organization and Redneck Revolt. I also like “Weder Rückzug noch Metropole“. The book Perspektiven autonomer Politik contains the text “Im Dorf” (written under the pseudonym Hans Glück), a reflection on how to be (and not to be) a radical activist in an Alpine village.

Community Organizing

In 2010, I became active in a newly founded network of community groups in Stockholm called Linje 17 (after the no. 17 subway line). There was a rise of community groups all over Sweden, and the slogan “lokal organisering” became widespread. The vague social movement associated with it all but disappeared within a couple of years, but there was potential. I wrote related pieces for journals such as Stockholms Fria and Arbetaren.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement in the movement were the contacts I established with community groups in migrant suburbs. The self-organization of migrant youth was probably the most exciting political development I have witnessed since moving to Sweden. In the fall of 2012, I traveled to Gothenburg to write about the group Pantrarna (The Panthers) for CounterPunch (print edition; the text was posted online on AAP). A German version appeared in analyse & kritik. I also interviewed members for the AAP website; the interview was later released as a pamphlet by Krisis Munter Press. In the summer of 2013, I interviewed Basar Gerecci of the group Megafonen in connection with the so-called Stockholm Riots of 2013. Megafonen was based in the suburb of Husby, where the riots had started. I also translated an article on the riots written by members of Pantrarna. The movement of migrant youth community groups has since died down due to a combination of oppression, cooptation, and burnout, but it was a highly important chapter in Sweden’s most recent political history.

Miscellaneous

The text “Antisemitismen bortprioriterad i vänstern“, published in Fria Tidningen on January 25, 2018, has not been read by anyone, but it means a lot to me. It addresses a very sensitive subject, namely antisemitism within the Swedish left. I like to think that I offered an approach that cut through purely ideological banter, but perhaps that’s why no one was interested. Luckily, a well-attended panel discussion on the topic was organized that same evening due to a recent wave of antisemitic incidents. I met great people that night.

The article “The Need to Fight Border Regimes Worldwide“, published by CounterPunch in 2012, is special to me because it was written with Franklin Graham IV, one of the most dedicated, and wild, travel companions I ever had. (This is to rooftops in Mauritania!) The article addresses the perils and injustices of immigration systems.

The text “Radical Theory and Academia: a Thorny Relationship“, authored with Torkil Lauesen, is a critique of academia and a call on self-proclaimed radical academics to keep social movement ties and change their institutions from within. I was delighted to see the text translated into Turkish and Farsi. It is also available in German. We received a very kind letter of support from Michael Yates, author of In and Out of the Working Class (2009) and Can the Working Class Change the World? (2018).

The article “Who Are You Kidding? The Democratic Party and the Joe Biden Fiasco” is not a spectacular piece by any means, but, to me, it felt important, as I despise hypocrisy (and, yes, the “Democratic establishment“).

Another CounterPunch article, “Will Science and Reason Save Us? The Liberal Left’s False Wall of Defense“, seems to have been pretty much ignored, but it, too, felt important to me. I loathe rational liberalism and its representatives. (And then they wonder why the masses turn against them…)

Appendix

The publication of the article “Hallå svenskar, ni är socialt inkompetenta” (Hello Swedes, You Are Socially Incompetent – not my title!) in Aftonbladet, Sweden’s biggest daily, was a curious experience.

A little background: If there is one thing that annoys me in Sweden, it is what I like to call “social incompetence“; that is, people being inconsiderate in public settings. Eventually, I felt that the only way to help me stop complaining about it was to write something. In the text I wrote, I tied the problem to the segregation of Swedish society, which gave it an extra twist.

I first eyed the “Opinions” page of the liberal daily Dagens Nyheter but wouldn’t even get an answer. Whether that had to do with me sending the piece under a pseudonym, I don’t know. In any case, I had practically buried the idea when a friend told me to try Aftonbladet. Their editors got in touch instantly but offered convincing reasons for why not to publish under a pseudonym. I had mainly been worried about offending friends and neighbors but figured that no one would read the article anyway and that it would be nice just to get things over with.

The text was published on a Saturday, and on Monday morning there had been 120.000 interactions on Facebook. Frankly, I still have no idea what that actually means, but it sounds like a lot for someone who is used to writing for five friends and a dog. I was invited to TV shows (didn’t go) and attracted the unwanted attention of numerous dodgy websites (no links). The tale ended with me being happier than ever writing for five friends and a dog. The fast-moving world of mass media is a peculiar one. Not that all attention was bad, of course. The German-language portal Nachrichten aus Schweden, which featured the article among its five top stories of the day, alleged that I had “verbalized the feelings of thousands of immigrants“. This went down like butter.

(Page last updated: February 26, 2021)