Reading Group: Worshiping Power – An Anarchist View on early State Formation

”The question of how and why states were formed is the keystone of Western civilization’s creation mythology. Most readers will share my experience of having been brought up in a society where history begins with the appearance of the State. Anything outside its domain is a Dark Age, terra incognita, a savage and barbarian land. We are taught that communities created the hierarchical structures of territorial governance that would eventually solidify as states out of a need to organize more efficiently, to respond to natural disasters or population growth, to administer large-scale infrastructure, to defend against hostile outsiders, to protect individual rights through a social contract, or to regulate economic production and surplus value. All of these hypotheses are demonstrably false, yet we are continually indoctrinated to accept them, to keep us from grasping the predatory, parasitic, elitist, and completely unnecessary nature of the State. Official versions of the story of state formation can be triumphant, portraying the State as an escape from barbarism, or they can be cynical, acknowledging the State to be a continuation of human savagery, but at all costs we must believe that state formation was necessary to human progress and that states are an indispensable part of global society today.“ – Peter Gelderloos
The State is the least questioned institution of our society. School and university teach us of its necessity for keeping the social peace, while millions were and are slaughtered by states. Worshiping Power – An Anarchist View of Early State Formation by Peter Gelderloos is a brilliant anthropological study of the states formation and the resistance against it. Based on newest research the book tries to debunk the myths about states and give an comprehensive analysis on how they developed. In the reading group, our attempt is to explore why the state never was a tool for emancipation, its formations throughout history, and the ways states might have been fought off or destroyed.
We will meet twice monthly on every 1st and 3rd Sunday at 2.00 p.m. in the Kostnixladen (Freeshop) – Dorstenerstr. 37, Bochum. For our first session on November 17th, 2019, we’d like to use the book’s introduction as basis for discussion, so we’d kindly ask you to read that in advance. You can either buy the book or find a printable online version on anarchist library:… . The meetings will be held completely in English.

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