Bob Black

Robert Charles Black Jr. (born January 4, 1951) is an American anarchist. He is the author of the books The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, Beneath the Underground, Friendly Fire, Anarchy After Leftism, and Defacing the Currency, and numerous political essays.

Bob Black
Bob Black (2011 BAAB)
Bob Black seated at the Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed booth, attending the 2011 Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair
Robert Charles Black Jr.

January 4, 1951 (age 68)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolPost-left anarchy
Main interests
Refusal of work, post-industrial society, hunter-gatherer societies, history of anarchism
Notable ideas
The abolition of work


Black graduated from the University of Michigan and Georgetown Law School. He later took M.A. degrees in jurisprudence and social policy from the University of California, Berkeley and criminal justice from the University at Albany, SUNY, and an LL.M in criminal law from the University at Buffalo Law School. During his undergraduate studies (1969–1973), he became disillusioned with the New Left of the 1970s and undertook extensive readings in anarchism, utopian socialism, council communism, and other left tendencies critical of both Marxism–Leninism and social democracy. He found some of these sources at the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan, a major collection of radical, labor, socialist, and anarchist materials which is now the repository for Black's papers and correspondence. He was soon drawn to Situationist thought, egoist communism, and the anti-authoritarian analyses of John Zerzan and the Detroit magazine Fifth Estate. He produced a series of ironic political posters signed "The Last International", first in Ann Arbor, Michigan, then in San Francisco where he moved in 1978. In the Bay Area he became involved with the publishing and cultural underground, writing reviews and critiques of what he called the "marginals milieu." Since 1988 he has lived in upstate New York.[1]

Black is best known for a 1985 essay, "The Abolition of Work," which has been widely reprinted and translated into at least thirteen languages (most recently, Urdu). In it he argued that work is a fundamental source of domination, comparable to capitalism and the state, which should be transformed into voluntary "productive play." Black acknowledged among his inspirations the French utopian socialist Charles Fourier, the British utopian socialist William Morris, the Russian anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin, and the Situationists. The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, published by Loompanics in 1986, included, along with the title essay, some of his short Last International texts, and some essays and reviews reprinted from his column in San Francisco's Appeal to Reason, a leftist and counter-cultural tabloid published from 1980 to 1984.

Two more essay collections were later published as books, Friendly Fire (Autonomedia, 1992) and Beneath the Underground (Feral House, 1994), the latter devoted to the do-it-yourself/fanzine subculture of the '80s and '90s which he called "the marginals milieu" and in which he had been heavily involved. Anarchy after Leftism (C.A.L. Press, 1996) is a more or less point-by-point rebuttal of Murray Bookchin's Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm (A.K. Press, 1996), which had criticized as "lifestyle anarchism" various nontraditional tendencies in contemporary anarchism. Black's short book ("about an even shorter book," as he put it) was succeeded—as an E-book published in 2011 at the online Anarchist Library—by Nightmares of Reason, a longer and more wide-ranging critique of Bookchin's anthropological and historical arguments, especially Bookchin's espousal of "libertarian municipalism" which Black ridiculed as "mini-statism."

Since 2000, Black has focused on topics reflecting his education and reading in the sociology and the ethnography of law, resulting in writings often published in Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed. His recent interests have included the anarchist implications of dispute resolution institutions in stateless primitive societies (arguing that mediation, arbitration, etc., cannot feasibly be annexed to the U.S. criminal justice system, because they presuppose anarchism and a relative social equality not found in state/class societies). At the 2011 annual B.A.S.T.A.R.D. anarchist conference in Berkeley, California, Black presented a workshop where he argued that, in society as it is, crime can be an anarchist method of social control, especially for people systematically neglected by the legal system. An article based on this presentation appeared in Anarchy magazine and in his 2013 book, Defacing the Currency: Selected Writings, 1992–2012.

Black has expressed an interest, which grew out of his polemics with Bookchin, in the relation of democracy to anarchism. For Bookchin, democracy—the "direct democracy" of face-to-face assemblies of citizens—is anarchism. Some contemporary anarchists agree, including the academics Cindy Milstein, David Graeber, and Peter Staudenmeier. Black, however, has always rejected the idea that democracy (direct or representative) is anarchist. He made this argument at a presentation at the Long Haul Bookshop (in Berkeley) in 2008. In 2011, C.A.L. Press published as a pamphlet Debunking Democracy, elaborating on the speech and providing citation support. This too is reprinted in Defacing the Currency.


Some of his work from the early 1980s includes (anthologized in The Abolition of Work and Other Essays) highlights his critiques of the nuclear freeze movement ("Anti-Nuclear Terror"), the editors of Processed World ("Circle A Deceit: A Review of Processed World"), radical feminists ("Feminism as Fascism"), and right wing libertarians ("The Libertarian As Conservative"). Some of these essays previously appeared in "San Francisco's Appeal to Reason" (1981–1984), a leftist and counter-cultural tabloid newspaper for which Black wrote a column.

The Abolition of Work

To demonize state authoritarianism while ignoring identical albeit contract-consecrated subservient arrangements in the large-scale corporations which control the world economy is fetishism at its worst ... Your foreman or supervisor gives you more or-else orders in a week than the police do in a decade.

— Bob Black, The Libertarian As Conservative, 1984[2]

The Abolition of Work and Other Essays (1986) draws upon some ideas of the Situationist International, the utopian socialists Charles Fourier and William Morris, anarchists such as Paul Goodman, and anthropologists such as Richard Borshay Lee and Marshall Sahlins. Black criticizes work for its compulsion, and, in industrial society, for taking the form of "jobs"—the restriction of the worker to a single limited task, usually one which involves no creativity and often no skill. Black's alternative is the elimination of what William Morris called "useless toil" and the transformation of useful work into "productive play," with opportunities to participate in a variety of useful yet intrinsically enjoyable activities, as proposed by Charles Fourier. Beneath the Underground (1992) is a collection of texts relating to what Black calls the "marginals milieu"—the do-it-yourself zine subculture which flourished in the 80s and early 90s. Friendly Fire (1992) is, like Black's first book, an eclectic collection touching on many topics including the Art Strike, Nietzsche, the first Gulf War and the Dial-a-Rumor telephone project he conducted with Zack Replica (1981–1983).

Defacing the Currency: Selected Writings, 1992–2012[3] was published by Little Black Cart Press in 2013. It includes a lengthy (113 pages), previously unpublished critique of Noam Chomsky, "Chomsky on the Nod." A similar collection has been published, in Russian translation, by Hylaea Books in Moscow. Black's most recent book, also from LBC Books, is Instead of Work, which collects "The Abolition of Work" and seven other previously published texts, with a lengthy new update, "Afterthoughts on the Abolition of Work." The introduction is by science fiction writer Bruce Sterling.

See also


  1. ^ Uri Gordon, "Bob Black", in The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, Wiley-Blackwell 2009.
  2. ^ The Libertarian As Conservative by Bob Black, 1984
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 16, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

1956 Montana State Bobcats football team

The 1956 Montana State Bobcats football team was an American football team that represented Montana State University in the Rocky Mountain Conference (RMC) during the 1956 college football season. In its first season under head coach Tony Storti, the team compiled a 9–0–1, won the RMC championship, tied with Saint Joseph's (IN) in the Aluminum Bowl, and was recognized as the national champion in the 1956 NAIA football season.The team excelled on both offense and defense. On offense, the 1956 Bobcats averaged 323.1 rushing yards per game, a total that remains a program record. On defense, the team gave up 9.1 points per game, a total that was the lowest in program history until the 1976 team limited opponents to 8.1 points per game.Tony Storti's assistant coaches were Joe Berry (line), Herb Agocs (ends), and Gene Bourdet (backs).Don Edwards and Jim Posewitz were co-winners of the team's most valuable player award.Tackle Ron Warzeka was selected as a second-team player on the Little All-America team. He went on to play for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League.

Several Bobcats were named to the All-Rocky Mountain Conference football teams selected by the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). They are: Warzeka (AP-1; UPI-1); R Ed Ritt (AP-1; UPI-1); fullback Don Edwards (AP-1; UPI-1); center Sonny Holland (AP-1; UPI-1); quarterback Dave Alt (AP-1; UPI-1); end Jim Posewitz (UPI-2); end Bob Black (UPI-HM); guard Herb Roberts (UPI-HM); guard Charley Jackson (UPI-HM); and halfback George Marinkovich (UPI-HM).

Amakasu incident

The Amakasu Incident (Amakasu jiken) refers to a crime in which the Lieutenant Amakasu Masahiko was found responsible for the murders of two anarchists and a young boy in September 1923.

Anarchist law

Anarchist law is a hypothetical body of norms regarding behavior and decision-making that might be operative in an anarchist community. The term is used in a series of ongoing debates within the various branches of anarchist theory regarding if and how norms of individual and/or collective behavior, decision-making and actions should be created and enforced.


Anarcho-communism (also known as anarchist communism, free communism, stateless communism, libertarian communism and communist anarchism) is a political philosophy and anarchist school of thought which advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labour and private property (while retaining respect for personal property, along with collectively-owned items, goods and services) in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy (among communes, participatory democracy), cooperativism, equal distribution of valuables, and a horizontal network of workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".Some forms of anarchist communism, such as insurrectionary anarchism, are strongly influenced by egoism and radical individualism, believing anarcho-communism is the best social system for the realization of individual freedom. Most anarcho-communists view anarcho-communism as a way of reconciling the opposition between the individual and society.Anarcho-communism developed out of radical socialist currents after the French Revolution, but was first formulated as such in the Italian section of the First International. The theoretical work of Peter Kropotkin took importance later as it expanded and developed pro-organizationalist and insurrectionary anti-organizationalist sections. To date, the best-known examples of an anarchist communist society (i.e. established around the ideas as they exist today and achieving worldwide attention and knowledge in the historical canon) are the anarchist territories during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution. Through the efforts and influence of the Spanish anarchists during the Spanish Revolution within the Spanish Civil War, starting in 1936 anarchist communism existed in most of Aragon, parts of the Levante and Andalusia as well as in the stronghold of anarchist Catalonia before being crushed by the combined forces of the regime that won the war, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Spanish Communist Party repression (backed by the Soviet Union) as well as economic and armaments blockades from the capitalist countries and the Spanish Republic itself. During the Russian Revolution, anarchists such as Nestor Makhno worked to create and defend—through the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine—anarchist communism in the Free Territory of the Ukraine from 1919 before being conquered by the Bolsheviks in 1921.


Anarchy is a society, entity, group of people, or a single person that rejects hierarchy. The word originally meant leaderlessness, but in 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon adopted the term in his treatise What Is Property? to refer to a new political philosophy: anarchism, which advocates stateless societies based on voluntary associations. In practical terms, anarchy can refer to the curtailment or abolition of traditional forms of government and institutions. It can also designate a nation (or anywhere on earth that is inhabited) that has no system of government or central rule. Anarchy is primarily advocated by anarchists, individuals who propose replacing government with voluntary institutions.

Armanda River

The Armanda River is a river in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is thought that the river was named in 1887 by the surveyor C W Nyulasy.

The headwaters of the Armanda are located north-east of Halls Creek below Bob Black Hills. The river flows due north, almost parallel with the Great Northern Highway and discharges into the Panton River.

The two tributaries of the Armanda river are Prospect Creek and Palm Creek.

The river is a tributary of the Panton River which is, in turn, a tributary of the Ord River.

Behind the Candelabra

Behind the Candelabra is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh. It dramatizes the last ten years in the life of pianist Liberace and the relationship he had with Scott Thorson. It is based on Thorson's memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life with Liberace (1988). Richard LaGravenese wrote the screenplay. Jerry Weintraub was the executive producer. It premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 21, 2013 and competed for the Palme d'Or. It aired on HBO on May 26, 2013 and was given a cinematic release in the United Kingdom on June 7, 2013. The film received critical acclaim from television critics including praise for the performances of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Bob Black (baseball)

Robert Benjamin Black (December 10, 1862 – March 21, 1933) was a 19th-century professional baseball player. He played for the Kansas City Cowboys of the Union Association in 1884.

Bob Black Jack

Bob Black Jack is a California-bred colt by Stormy Jack (a son of Bertrando), out of the mare Molly's Prospector. He holds the Santa Anita Racetrack track records for 6 and 7 furlongs. His earnings amount to over 300 times his sale price of $4,500.

Bob Black Jack was the pace setter in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and finished second in the Santa Anita Derby behind Colonel John.

In the Grade I Malibu Stakes, he surpassed the record time set by Spectacular Bid in 1980.

After a 14-month layoff, the lightly raced Bob Black Jack came back to wire the field in the San Carlos Handicap by 2 and 1/2 lengths over the favored 2009 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, Dancing in Silks.

California Breeders' Champion Stakes

California Breeders' Champion Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race held annually since 1935 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. In 2011 it will be in its 72nd running.

Run during the last week of December, the seven Furlong race is open to two-year-old horses bred in the State of California. The race currently offers a purse of $125,000.

In winning the 2007 edition, Bob Black Jack set a new Santa Anita track record of 1:20.37 for seven furlongs on synthetic dirt. In the 2009 running, the race was set at one and one/sixteenth miles.

Chaz Bufe

Charles Bufe, better known as Chaz Bufe, is a contemporary American anarchist author. Bufe primarily writes on the problems faced by the modern anarchist movement (as in his pamphlet "Listen, Anarchist!"), and also on atheism, music theory and intentional community.

City Lights (TV series)

City Lights is a Scottish television sitcom made by BBC Scotland and set in Glasgow. It ran from 1986 to 1991 (networked 1987 to 1991) and was written by Bob Black. Two stage shows, featuring the original cast, toured Scotland.It starred Gerard Kelly as Willie Melvin, a bank-teller at the fictional Strathclyde Savings Bank (whose logo was very similar to the TSB), with dreams of becoming a novelist. Most of the plots revolved around his attempts to get his book, the autobiographical My Childhood Up A Close, published.

He was held back in this by his own incompetence, the dodgy dealings of his best friend Chancer (Andy Gray), and the lack of support he gained from his mother (Jan Wilson), the bank's manager Adam McLelland (Dave Anderson) and his obsequious fellow teller, Brian (Jonathan Watson). Other recurring characters included Chancer's friend Tam (Iain McColl) and Willie's love interests, Janice (Elaine Collins, Series 1 and 2) and Fiona (Ann Bryson, Series 4 and 5).

Billy Connolly guest-starred in one episode.


Especifismo (Portuguese: [eʃpesiˈfiʒmu], "specifism") is one of the two main forms of anarchist activism championed by FARJ (Federação Anarquista do Rio de Janeiro) and other South American anarchist organizations, the other being social insertion. Especifismo emerged as a result of anarchist experiences in South America over the last half of the 20th century starting with the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU), which was founded in 1956 by anarchists who saw the need for an organization which was specifically anarchist.

James Kasparoff

James Kasparoff is a California horse trainer whose premier horse, Bob Black Jack, raced in the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He trains a stable of five horses owned by his brother Tim Kasparoff and Jeff Harmon.Bob Black Jack won the California Breeders' Champion Stakes as a two-year-old, giving Kasparoff his first career stakes winner, and later set a track record for six furlongs in the Sunshine Millions Dash Stakes at Santa Anita. The horse was the very last entry accepted to the 2008 Kentucky Derby. He led the first half of the race before falling back in the pack, ultimately finishing 16th.Kasparoff blogged about the 2008 Derby for the New York Times.

Kansas City Cowboys (Union Association)

The Kansas City Cowboys (also Unions and Kaycees) were a baseball team in the Union Association during its only season, 1884. Referred to as the "Cowboys" mostly by historians, they had no official nickname during their short life and were most frequently referred to by local press of the day as the "Unions" and by the press of other cities as the "Kaycees". They were the first professional baseball team to represent Kansas City as well as the city's first major league team.

They began play as a replacement for the Altoona Mountain City, which collapsed in May, and played out the remainder of the season. Despite a 16-63 (.203 WL percentage) finish, the franchise was one of only two (the St. Louis club being the other) in the league to make a profit. In contemporary newspaper reports, the team had Altoona's record (6-19) combined with their own and were considered to have finished last in an eight-team league. The Unions disbanded shortly after the Union Association voted to dissolve.

List of films dealing with anarchism

This article is for films both fictional and non-fictional which focus on anarchism, anarchist movements and/or anarchist characters as a theme.

Refusal of work

Refusal of work is behavior in which a person refuses regular employment.As actual behavior, with or without a political or philosophical program, it has been practiced by various subcultures and individuals. Radical political positions have openly advocated refusal of work. From within Marxism it has been advocated by Paul Lafargue and the Italian workerist/autonomists (e.g. Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti), the French ultra-left (e.g. Échanges et Mouvement); and within anarchism (especially Bob Black and the post-left anarchy tendency).

The Flying Lizards

The Flying Lizards were an experimental English new wave band, formed in 1976. They are best known for their deliberately eccentric cover version of Barrett Strong's "Money" featuring Deborah Evans-Stickland on lead vocals, which reached the UK and US record charts in 1979. The group disbanded in 1984.

The Right to Be Greedy

The Right To Be Greedy: Theses On The Practical Necessity Of Demanding Everything is a book published in 1974 by an American Situationist collective called "For Ourselves: Council for Generalized Self-Management". Post-left anarchist Bob Black describes it in its preface as an "audacious attempt to synthesize a collectivist social vision of left-wing origin with an individualistic (for lack of a better word) ethic usually articulated on the right".Its authors say that "[t]he positive conception of egoism, the perspective of communist egoism, is the very heart and unity of our theoretical and practical coherence". It is highly influenced by the work of Max Stirner. A reprinting of the work in the eighties was done by Loompanics Unlimited with the involvement of Bob Black who also wrote the preface to it.

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