On Tuesday Bristol Anarchist Federation hosted a talk by Peter Gelderloos on the theories in his latest book Worshiping Power: An Anarchist View of Early State Formation. We packed out Kebele with people eager to hear about it, we certainly weren’t disappointed. Our friends over in Bath also hosted a talk the following day after we got in touch with them, spreading a bit more anarchy to our gentile neighbour.
It is always refreshing to hear history unchained from the often stagnant ideas of mainstream society. However not only did the talk (and book) go into how states first arose, but how they continue to adapt to sustain the power they hold over us. The lessons contained are essential for all of us fighting for a better world – not just the anarchists. One that stuck out most is one of only two characteristics that all states shared upon forming, Patriarchy. Male domination of both the family and the people that a state would subjugate was universal. It was also actively forced upon societies that were more gender-balanced by imperial powers such as Britain, Spain and France, all seeing it as essential to their control. This is one more nail in the coffin of those who would argue that feminism is any less essential to anarchism than the fight against the state and capitalism.