I’ve already read several books since the beginning of 2021 as I’m trying to make my way through the many unread bits of my bookshelf, especially since I received a handful of new reads for my birthday and Christmas! Most of the books I asked for were pieces of nonfiction (here’s the last one I recapped!) surrounding incarceration and Communism (obviously) and I’ve surprisingly gotten through some of them at a quick speed! It helps when the books I’m reading aren’t written with complicated jargon and instead use easily accessible language so anyone can comprehend what the authors are saying. Two of the most recent examples of great writing I’ve consumed are Vladimir Lenin’s State and Revolution (a ‘Reactions To’ post about this one is coming soon!) and As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation by Zoé Samudzi and William C. Anderson. Samudzi and Anderson are writers I follow on Twitter whose collaborative work started with an essay called “The Anarchism of Blackness” (read here in The Anarchist Library). As Black As Resistance expands on Samudzi and Anderson’s arguments about how anti-Blackness is embedded within the fabric of the US empire and why Black anarchism is the most reliable path forward toward liberation.
As Black As Resistance is a quick read with only four chapters that touch on specific aspects of Blackness in America: Black in Anarchy, What Lands on Us, Grounds to Defend On, and From Here on Out. The first chapter was a clear continuation of the authors’ essay where they discuss revolution from the times of chattel slavery to the racism and surveillance of society today. What Lands on Us was an interesting chapter because the authors analyzed land ownership and the relationship between Black and Indigenous peoples as both groups are historically oppressed on North American land. The chapter also tackled climate change and how these same groups of marginalized people will be the ones bearing the brunt of increasingly dangerous natural disasters and environmental change. I’ve recently become interested in gun ownership and self defense as I’m reading more about the Black Panther Party and their appeal to self protection, so the third chapter was my favorite of the four. Scholar and theorist Frantz Fanon discussed how violence is inevitable should the people eventually engage in revolutionary tactics to take back their land, labor, and belongings and Samudzi and Anderson touched on his same points. From Here on Out is about fighting for one’s own and community’s interest in the barbaric violence of capitalism. The authors warm readers about how the nonprofit industrial complex is just as evil as corporations and why we can’t allow individuals to become symbolic figureheads for community-led movements.
As Black As Resistance discusses some of the most pressing issues we’re currently dealing with in the failed US empire, but it’s not a book of devastation and hopelessness. Samudzi, Anderson, and organizer and author of the foreword, Mariame Kaba, argue that “hope is a discipline,” and I believe the book will make its readers choose between the beauty of hope in community instead of collective acceptance of disaster. I love this book and I would give it 9/10 stars!