Publisher: AK Press
Released: January 10, 2017
We need to stop thinking of the State as a potential vehicle for emancipation.
From its origins, the State has never been anything other than a tool to accumulate power. This innovative and partisan study of human social complexity cuts through inadequate theories of early state formation to uncover social practices and institutions that have stifled egalitarian forms of self-organization throughout history. Just as importantly, it shows that the difficulties and consequences of state formation are not relegated to prehistory. Despite a ubiquity that renders them almost invisible today, states are constantly trying to augment their power, and all are closer to the brink of collapse than they would like to let on.
Praise for Worshiping Power
“An insightful, sweeping analysis of how and why states have arisen (or haven’t), delivered in sparklingly clear prose. It is everything that an anarchist history should be: heretical, tentative, and provocative, as well as deeply researched, persuasive, and above all, relevant.”
—Kenyon Zimmer, author of Immigrants Against the State
“A work of ethnographic theory that suggests stimulating new avenues of empirical research and theoretical inquiry. The book is also an excellent read!”
—Andrej Grubačić, author of Living at the Edges of Capitalism
“Gelderloos dares to do what most contemporary thinkers blindly refuse. For far too long we’ve been gripped by an unshakable faith in statist politics.… Worshiping Power is not just a reclamation of our history, it offers a glimpse into the reconvening of our humanity.”
—Simon Springer, author of The Anarchist Roots of Geography
“Contemporary radical state theory owes much to an anarchistic ethos. Gelderloos’s important little book surveys and reinterprets this literature, and then gives it a coherent anarchist politics.”
—Alex Prichard, University of Exeter
"Peter Gelderloos raises many important questions about the relation of the state, its origin, and its future to economic, popular, and class forces. There is very little current material on the anarchist view of the state and this book makes a significant contribution."
—Wayne Price, Black Rose Anarchist Federation
Peter Gelderloos is an anarchist writer originally from Virginia. He is the author of How Nonviolence Protects the State, Consensus, and Anarchy Works.