I was pleasantly surprised just the other day to see ABC’s of Anarchy mentioned in a blog-post recently.  I had never heard of “Clashdaily” before, so the experience going through the site was completely mind-blowing.  I know maybe a handful of people to whom this site might appeal for serious reasons.  I, of course, love the site because it reminds me of a “poe” site, or perhaps the Onion, or something like that.  Part of me just cannot believe that people can be so serious when they write articles claiming that liberals want to rape and murder a 6-year old boy merely because some youtube comments are horrific.  I mean, if you have ever visited youtube for anything, you will notice that they are almost always horrific, racist, sexist, homophobic and any other awful tone you can think of.

So, in light of the general tone of the site, I suppose the critique of the book is about as rational as I can expect from a contributor of Clashdaily.  I responded as best I could using as little space as possible, and I have emailed Loretta suggesting that I’m always open for dialogue and further conversation if she’s interested, and I hope to hear back.

In the meantime, if you’re in for a good laugh, please follow this link and read.

Here is a small excerpt:

Now that you have no home, no family, no sense of right and wrong, no one to tell you “no”… no God … hook up with the Animal Liberation Front or Earth Liberation Front – or both. Become a radical, earth-worshipping, ecoterrorist who believes animals should have the same rights as humans. Why not?

“L” is for Liberation, so join up with these criminal extremists who spike trees in the Pacific Northwest, firebomb universities, attack farms and car dealers, commit acts of vandalism, theft, violence and wage a war of hatred against people with whom they disagree.

Matthew 23:10
Neither be ye called masters, for One is your Master, even Christ.  (21st Century King James Version)

So, I used to be a Christian.  I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school, and only until about about two years ago I considered myself a Christian.  Without going too much into detail, I am now re-reading the Bible in a somewhat Nihilistic way, starting from scratch, as if I was reading the book without all of my baggage, with new eyes.

I recently re-read the book of Matthew, and came across the above quote.  Granted, not all versions of the Bible use the word “master” explicitly, some use “teacher”, or “instructor”.  But the original Greek word used in the passage was Καθηγηται meaning “leader”, which even further points to Jesus Christ embodying a kind of anarchy.

Many scholars point to this passage as indicative that Jesus was warning against hypocrisy.  But I find that analysis a bit white-washed.  Jesus was explicitly talking to human beings who were acting as leaders in religious life.  These were people with titles, who had power over others due to a hierarchy established over centuries of adherence to their rigid spiritual dogma.

If Jesus wanted to tell them to stop being hypocritical, he would have spoken about it explicitly, which he in fact did in Matthew 6, Matthew 7 and Matthew 15 (check this page for details).

Instead, Jesus explicitly tells the Pharisees that they shouldn’t call themselves leaders, since there is only one Leader.  Jesus is talking about how humans should relate to other humans, and it is not through the human-created hierarchy of a religion.  All humans are equal when it comes to where one stands with God, and where one stands with one’s fellow human being.

So how does one reconcile being an anarchist while also being a Christian who is subservient to a Supreme Being, which Jesus spoke of as the one true Leader?  When I was a Christian, I viewed it as an issue of how to relate to the “world” and how to relate to “God”.  In terms of God, sure I was fine accepting God as authority.  However, our lives are lived on Earth, in the material world.  So in every other realm of life, in the spheres of family, friends, work, etc, I strove for anarchy, living a life with no (Worldly) masters.

I’m sure others can explain it better and in more depth and detail.  In fact, it was only after I re-read the Matthew passage above that I first googled “Jesus Christ is an Anarchist” and found that there were actually many Christian-Anarchists who had already made that connection.

Here are a few links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_anarchism
http://christiananarchy.com/

(This is also a very late post, but I wanted to just write a little bit about this great event that took place)

First off, I was honored to be included in a great line-up of great people.  There was Tomas Moniz and Jeremy Adam Smith (co-editors of the book Rad Dad: Dispatches from the frontiers of fatherhood), and also Ayun Halliday (writer of the East Village Inky zine – http://www.ayunhalliday.com/inky/) and Vikki Law (writer, photographer and mother – http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php?story=vikkilaw).

This was the second night of reading with the Rad Dad tour, and it was great to experience a different kind of reading.  The previous day, we read at Libertalia Autonomous Space in Providence, RI, and the place was crawling with kids – it was hectic and great.  This Saturday evening reading at Bluestockings was completely different.  Quiet, calm, people sitting in rows of chairs, still.  No one rolling around on mats or doing cartwheels or clapping hands in inappropriate moments.

Anyway, there’s no way I could retell what happened, other than it was a very fun, funny and touching experience to hear the readers already mentioned above, and I am very thankful to have been included.

Before the reading, I went to the register right at the moment that someone was purchasing a copy of ABC’s of Anarchy.  I heard the buyer say something like “And I’ll definitely be getting this.”  I looked up to find that it was none other than Sander Hicks (author, publisher, founder of Softskull Press – http://www.sanderhicks.com/)  I have known of Sander for a long time, I lived around the corner from Soft Skull Press’ walk-in store in Brooklyn, and loved to just go and check out all the amazing books.  Later, when Sander opened Vox Pop (a coffee shop / book store / activist center) I visited as often as I could.  About a year ago I bumped into Sander at a wedding.  It had turned out that this particular evening of the Bluestockings reading, Sander wasn’t even planning on attending, it was an impromptu stop off before heading out with a friend.

I have been very lucky to coincidentally bump into Sander these last couple times, and I hope it continues happening in the future.  Thanks for buying my book Sander!  See you soon!

(This post is very very late!)

Saturday morning (September 17th, 2011), we met up with some old friends in Union Square, where our kids played together on the playground.  To do a little prep-work, I asked our friend’s 5-year old daughter if I could read her the ABC’s of Anarchy, and she gleefully said sure.  We were reading the book, and I was asking her the questions on every page and she had a great time answering them.  I felt a little relieved, since I really hadn’t read the book to a kid in a while, and I was a little nervous about how it would go.

Brian Heagney presents the first "Youth Takeover" at Bluestockings

Brian Heagney presents the first "Youth Takeover" at Bluestockings

We had a fairly small reading at Bluestockings that afternoon, with only a few kids showing up: two were only a few months old (no too talkative); one was shy (I completely understand, since I was probably even shyer when I was his age), and two were extremely talkative and answered every question I asked them.

I was able to see old friends whom I haven’t seen in years, and I also met a couple who came out to Bluestockings because they really wanted to see the book and hear the reading.  I really hope I met their expectations!

I was completely psyched to be invited up to Providence, RI to read from ABC’s of Anarchy at a relatively new community space.  However, as the weekend approached, my wife and I were very worried about our 13 hour drive up with our 1 1/2 year old.  We would be leaving on Thursday night at 8:00 PM, driving through the night and arriving in Providence in the morning.

Would our daughter sleep through the car ride?  Would we have to stop every hour to rock her back to sleep?  Would she cry the whole time?  Would we arrive in Providence extremely frustrated, exhausted, and ready to crumble?

It wasn’t just the ride up either, I had booked myself to do a reading in NYC the next day at 1:00 PM, and then another reading a few hours after that.  Crumbling was not an option, not with a child to tale care of.

Well, it only took us 14 hours to drive to Providence, and it turned out to be a wonderful experience.  We arrived six hours before the reading, so we checked out the space to make sure we knew where it was, and then headed to the water-front so that Maeve could play (well, there was a lot in between about finding a place to crash, worrying that we were going to crumble again…that would be much too long to discuss here).

At the waterfront

Maeve walks down stairs without holding on for support for the first time

Maeve played with (amongst) a whole bunch of school kids, and she had a lot of fun.  We then found a really cute neighborhood pizza joint to have lunch in, walked around for a bit more, and then drove back over to Libertalia to get ready for the reading.

The people at Libertalia were amazing, I wish I had remembered all of their names, but that is not the case.  When we arrived our daughter was asleep, and everyone adjusted their voice levels accordingly, which was really considerate, and something I never would have expected or asked for.

Soon after, Tomas Moniz (of the Rad Dad zine) and Jeremy Smith (of The Daddy Dialectic blog) arrived.  I had emailed and spoken with Tomas, since he was gracious enough to include an interview with me in Rad Dad Zine #20, but this reading was the first time I met him in person.  The fourth reader was Mike Araujo, who was a part of Libertalia.

Reading ABCs of Anarchy

Reading ABCs of Anarchy

Before the reading actually began, we unrolled a mat for all of the kids to play on.  Libertalia, you see, had the gumption to create a childcare collective called Wild Child Childcare Coopertive.  The community that is involved in Libertalia is a very Pro-Child, parent-supportive community, and so this particular reading was a very pro-children reading.  Any and all kids that came were encouraged to run, jump, play and just be themselves while the reading took place.  It was a complete joy to be around all the joy and happiness, and to see my daughter make so many new friends so quickly.

Reading at Libertalia

Reading at Libertalia amongst the wild children!

After the reading, Tomas and Jeremy had to rush off because to make another reading in Cambridge later that evening (I think it was Cambridge, not sure).  My wife and kid and I were able to stay back, and hang out with Mike and his son for a bit, and talk about what was going on in Providence.

While it was good for us to just relax with some wonderful people, Maeve also ended up making a new friend as well.  At one point, Mikes son Xavier was showing Maeve where the local apple tree was, and Maeve was running ahead shouting back while waving her hand, “Come on Xavie!  Come on Xavie!”  They all came back with fresh wild apples in their mouths.

Rad Dads

Rad Dads

So after a 14 hour drive, a full morning and afternoon of running after the kid, and a reading amongst the wild children, I was looking around at the amazing people that I had just met, and felt rejuvenated.

Thank you Libertalia!

Well Holy Moly, I am set to make a crazy (and possibly stupid) drive up along the eastern side of the country so I can make three gigs, all somewhat different:

Friday, September 16th, 2011  – 3:30 PM
Reading with the Rad Dad Anthology Release Tour
(geared somewhat more toward a younger crowd)
Libertalia Autonomous Space
280 Broadway Room 200
Providence, Rhode Island

Saturday, September 17th, 2011 – 1:00 PM
Bluestockings Youth Takeover!
The first in a series dedicated to radical kids – kids of all ages are invited
Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St.
New York, NY

Saturday, September 17th, 2011 – 7:30 PM
Reading with the Rad Dad Anthology Release Tour
(geared somewhat more toward adults)

Bluestockings Bookstore
172 Allen St.
New York, NY

I’m so thrilled that Tomas Moniz actually wanted to print an interview with me in the upcoming Rad Dad Zine #20!  (Available June 2011 I think.)

http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/2241/

I sure hope it’s interesting and that I don’t sound like an idiot.

The German Translation of ABC’s of Anarchy  is coming along! I just heard from the person who is translating ABC’s of Anarchy into German and the report is that progress is being made, and much fun is being had. There are a few issues that I didn’t think of, such as the fact that when translated, some of the words will begin with different letters. We’ll figure out how to move forward with that though.

Also, the question arose regarding the “gender role” page. I initially wrote “few behaviors are determined by one’s sex” and the translator suggested that there NO behaviors were determined by sex. At the time, my wife was pregnant, and s…o I consciously wrote “few” because as far as I know, men cannot choose to bear children or easily breastfeed (my doctor did inform me that if I had started taking a certain hormone three months prior to my kid being born, that I could have actually breast-fed).

ABC’s of Anarchy presentation
At Hand to Hand Market
Saturday March 19th  2011
Greensboro, NC
@ The Green Bean (downtown)

I’ll be giving a quick 10-15 minute talk about ABC’s of Anarchy at an Arts Festival (well, to describe it would take much longer, just go to their website: http://handtohandmarket.blogspot.com/)
I go on at 5:00 pm, but there’s a lot of other great stuff going on the rest of the day, once again, check out their website for more information.

Brian Heagney will be presenting The ABC’s of Anarchy at The Flying Squirrel in Rochester, NY: December 30th, 2010 at 6:00 pm.

This is a Family Friendly event, so bring the kids

ABC’s of Anarchy presentation/reading/signing/discussion
The Flying Squirrel
285 Clarissa Street
Rochester NY
December 30th 2010
6 PM

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&daddr=285+Clarissa+Street%2C+Rochester+NY

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