Daoism and Anarchism: Critiques of State Autonomy in Ancient and Modern China

This volume in the Contemporary Anarchist Studies series focuses on anti-statist critiques in ancient and modern China and demonstrates that China does not have an unchallenged authoritarian political culture.

Treating anarchism as a critique of centralized state power, the work first examines radical Daoist thought from the 4th century BCE to the 9th century CE and compares Daoist philosophers and poets to Western anarchist and utopian thinkers. This is followed by a survey of anarchist themes in dissident thought in the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to the present. A concluding chapter discusses how Daoist anarchism can be applied to any anarchist-inspired radical critique today.

This work not only challenges the usual ideas of the scope and nature of dissent in China, it also provides a unique comparison of ancient Chinese Daoist anarchism to Western anarchist. Featuring previously untranslated texts, such as the 9th century Buddhist anarchist tract, the Wunengzi, and essays from the PRC press, it will be an essential resource to anyone studying anarchism, Chinese political thought, political dissent, and political history.

John A. Rapp

Full Text: https://astudygroup.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/daoism-and-anarchism-contempor-john-a-rapp.pdf

Thanks to the Austin Anarchist Study Group for putting up the PDF!



The Impossible Community: Realizing Communitatrian Anarchism by John Clark

The Impossible Community confronts a critical moment when social and ecological catastrophe loom, the Left seems unable to articulate a response, and the Right is monopolizing public debates. This book offers a reformulation of anarchist social and political theory to develop a communitarian anarchist solution.

It argues that a free and just social order requires a radical transformation of the modes of domination exercised through social ideology and institutional structures. Communitarian anarchism unites a universalist concern for social and ecological justice while recognizing the integrity and individuality of the person. In fact, anarchist principles of mutual aid and voluntary cooperation can already be seen in various contexts, from the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina to social movements in India.

This work offers both a theoretical framework and concrete case studies to show how contemporary anarchist practice continues a long tradition of successfully synthetizing personal and communal liberation. This significant contribution will appeal not only to students in anarchism and political theory, but also to activists and anyone interested in making the world a better place.

By John Clark

Full Text: https://www.scribd.com/document/236473634/Impossible-Community

No Strings Attached: The Buddha’s Culture of Generosity

In this essay, Thanissaro Bhikkhu speaks on the history of the Buddhist concept “Dana” and how it has been distorted in West.  Instead of Dana being a sign of generosity for the dhamma teacher from students, it is now being used by teachers to place the burden of financial stability of the organization on students.

Full Text: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/nostringsattached.html

Han Yongun’s Buddhist Socialism in the 1920s-1930s by Pak Noja

The paper deals with Han Yongun’s (1879-1944) attitude towards the radical movements of socialist (Communist or anarchist) persuasion in 1920-30s’ Korea. Socialism had strong appeal for a large sector of the educated youth at that period: some of the younger monks or lay Buddhists are known to have become radical activists, while larger number had sympathies towards the “new currents of thought”, as radical views were euphemistically called. But both dogmatically stiff negative attitudes of the orthodox Communists towards all religions, Buddhism included, and low level of the understanding of Marxists theory among the monks and lay Buddhists hindered deeper contacts between Buddhists and socialism. Han Yongun attempted to overcome these hindrances, putting forward his theory of “Buddhist socialism.”

By Vladimir Tikhonova (Pak Noja)

Full Text: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

The Varieties of Contemplative Experience

A hugely important topic that has been largely neglected in the West.  Meditation has been touted as a “cure all” for any number of mental or physical disorders, but when these rich and religious rooted practices are examined, we see those on the path can struggle immensely at numerous points on their meditative journey.


Buddhist-derived meditation practices are currently being employed as a popular form of health promotion. While meditation programs draw inspiration from Buddhist textual sources for the benefits of meditation, these sources also acknowledge a wide range of other effects beyond health-related outcomes. The Varieties of Contemplative Experience study investigates meditation-related experiences that are typically underreported, particularly experiences that are described as challenging, difficult, distressing, functionally impairing, and/or requiring additional support


McMindfulness: Buddhism as sold to you by neoliberals by Peter Doran

Mindfulness is big business, worth in excess of US$1.0 billion in the US alone and linked – somewhat paradoxically – to an expanding range of must have products. These include downloadable apps (1300 at the last count), books to read or colour in, and online courses. Mindfulness practice and training is now part of a global wellness industry worth trillions of dollars.

Mindfulness has its origins in Buddhist meditation teachings and encourages the quiet observation of habituated thought patterns and emotions. The aim is to interrupt what can be an unhealthy tendency to over-identify with and stress out about these transient contents of the mind. By doing so, those who practice mindfulness can come to dwell in what is often described as a more “spacious” and liberating awareness. They are freed from seemingly automatic tendencies (such as anxiety about status, appearances, future prospects, our productivity) that are exploited by advertisers and other institutions in order to shape our behaviour. In its original Buddhist settings, mindfulness is inseparable from the ethical life.

The rapid rise and mainstreaming of what was once regarded as the preserve of a 1960s counterculture associated with a rejection of materialist values might seem surprising. But it is no accident that these practices of meditation and mindfulness have become so widespread. Neoliberalism and the associated rise of the “attention economy” are signs of our consumerist and enterprising times. Corporations and dominant institutions thrive by capturing and directing our time and attention, both of which appear to be in ever-shorter supply.

Peter Doran

Full Article: http://theconversation.com/mcmindfulness-buddhism-as-sold-to-you-by-neoliberals-88338

The Coping Economy by Laura Marsh

“Deep breath. Feel the air fill my lungs” are the first words of Hillary Clinton’s campaign memoir What Happened. In the months after the 2016 election, Clinton gave more thought than usual to breathing. She tried alternate nostril breathing, she told Anderson Cooper on CNN last September, gamely demonstrating how to inhale through one nostril, hold, and exhale on the other side. She drew a long breath as she took her seat at Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. As early as the primaries, Clinton was incorporating quick bytes of calm into her day. “You don’t have to just sit with your legs crossed in some quiet room” to gain “a sense of relaxation and groundedness,” she explained in April 2016. “Literally, you can do it on a plane, or in a car, or waking up in the morning.”

These techniques belong to the practice of mindfulness—an art of paying attention and finding peace. Clinton herself is far from the first politician to try it. In 2013 Davos hosted a mindfulness training session for world leaders, and the next year Ohio Representative Tim Ryan convened a “Quiet Time Caucus,” to instill mindfulness in Congress. Meanwhile Eileen Fisher, Bill Ford, and the late Steve Jobs (who famously took a few moments’ silence to prep for Apple product launches) have applied mindfulness to business leadership. There is a growing audience for such teachings: the recently launched Mindful magazine had garnered 85,000 subscribers as of 2016. By the beginning of 2017, Headspace—the most popular among a host of app offerings—had been downloaded over 11 million times. Clinton’s memoir only marks how far mindfulness has traveled into the mainstream.

Laura Marsh

Full Article: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/coping-economy-mindfulness-goes-corporate