Publisher: AK Press
Released: November 30, 2021
Noname Book Club Pick February 2022.
A call for a radical transformation in the face of widespread crisis.
The Nation on No Map examines state power, abolition, and ideological tensions within the struggle for Black liberation while centering the politics of Black autonomy and self-determination. Amid renewed interest in Black anarchism among the left, Anderson offers a principled rejection of reformism, nation building, and citizenship in the ongoing fight against capitalism and white supremacism. As a viable alternative amidst worsening social conditions, he calls for the urgent prioritization of community-based growth, arguing that in order to overcome oppression, people must build capacity beyond the state. It interrogates how history and myth and leadership are used to rehabilitate governance instead of achieving a revolutionary abolition. By complicating our understanding of the predicaments we face, The Nation on No Map hopes to encourage readers to utilize a Black anarchic lens in favor of total transformation, no matter what it’s called. Anderson’s text examines reformism, orthodoxy, and the idea of the nation-state itself as problems that must be transcended and key sites for a liberatory re-envisioning of struggle.
“Shedding new light on the works of Black anarchist thinkers like Lucy Parsons, Kuwasi Balagoon, and Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin, William C. Anderson invites us to conceive of Black liberation outside the shackles of the nation-state. Attending anew to the intellectual and political itineraries of global Black rebellion, Anderson provides an incisive and highly original exploration of the ongoing urgency of Black anarchist thought and practice in the 21st century. The Nation on No Map is essential reading for anyone interested in building abolitionist futures.”
—Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present
“The Nation on No Map draws on a rich genealogy of the Black Radical Tradition to challenge enduring conditions of white supremacist and capitalist domination. Recalling diverse lineages of Black anarchist political philosophy and praxis, William C. Anderson offers an urgent and incisive meditation for liberation—one that moves abolition beyond the state.”
—J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, author of Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty: Land, Sex, and the Colonial Politics of State Nationalism
“This is an extremely important contribution to the critical discourse on the nature of racism, elitism, misogyny, and other forms of hierarchy as primary manifestations of the nation-state. It includes a definitive explanation of the arrant dangers of charismatic leadership and individual celebrity worship that clouds our understanding of the real nature of authentic, valid social movement. Proceeding from the crystal clear and keenly observed accurate assumption that the nation-state must be dismantled in order to address the root cause of hierarchy in all of its ugly and violent forms, Anderson fills in a broad narrative full of human experience that helps us more fully comprehend the scope of our long-term human quest for a stateless and classless world devoid of all forms of social inequality.”
—Modibo M. Kadalie Ph.D., founding convener of the Autonomous Research Institute for Direct Democracy and Social Ecology and author of Pan-African Social Ecology: Speeches, Conversations, and Essays
The Nation on No Map is a great book. It helps return Black anarchists such as Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and Kuwasi Balagoon to public consciousness, it proves that “a Black critique can serve as political education for all anarchists,” and, as Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin suggests in his afterword, it “rewrites and reinterprets” anarchism. One thing more important than the other."
—Gabriel Kuhn, LeftTwoThree
"In this inviting, direct manifesto, William C. Anderson outlines the influences and differentiating points about Black anarchism, outlines its necessity, and offers rebuttals to naysayers across the political spectrum. The Nation on No Map is concise, yet powerful and perfect reading if one is looking to charter further ideological horizons."
—The Southern Bookseller Review
"William Anderson’s The Nation on No Map is an often-poetic text, drawing on a wide range of Black thinkers and activists that starts from the notion that everywhere Black people remain state- less and unfree."
—Jon Bekken for Anarcho-Syndicalist Review
William C. Anderson is a writer and activist from Birmingham, Alabama. His work has appeared in the Guardian, MTV, Truthout, British Journal of Photography, and Pitchfork, among others. He is the co-author of the book As Black as Resistance (AK Press 2018) and co-founder of Offshoot Journal. He also provides creative direction as one of the producers of the Black Autonomy Podcast. His writings have been included in the anthologies, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? (Haymarket 2016) and No Selves to Defend (Mariame Kaba 2014).
Saidiya Hartman is the author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route, among other works.
Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin is the author of Anarchism and the Black Revolution.