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Eric Laursen Presents: The Operating System (Virtual Event)

September 9, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Split graphic, on the right features the front cover of The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State by Eric Laursen featuring details of a motherboard with photos including a cop's belt and gun, a person behind bars, Nazi memorabilia, barbed wire, surveillance, border patrol, an airplane, military marching, and earphones. To the left of the cover from top to bottom reads, "Eric Laursen Presents: The Operating System The Anarchist Theory of the Modern State. Eric Laursen in conversation with professor and author Benjamin Shephard. Thursday, September 9 @ 7pm ET. Zoom link:

On Thursday, September 9th at 7pm ET, join the author of The Operating System: An Anarchist Theory of the Modern State, Eric Laursen alongside professor and author Benjamin Shephard.

A unique aspect of anarchism as a political philosophy is that it seeks to abolish the state. But what exactly is “the state”? The State is a vast operating system for ordering and controlling relations among human society, the economy, and the natural world, analogous to a digital operating system like Windows or MacOS. Anyone concerned with entrenched power, income inequality, disappearing digital privacy, climate change, the response to COVID-19, or military-style policing will find eye-opening insights into how states operate and build more power for themselves, in this book, along with perspectives on how we can learn to think outside the state.

“By what cunning perversion of logic and history has the modern capitalist State persuaded us that it is the only possible form of polity? Why do we passively accept its claim to inevitability and its lame excuses for the increasingly invasive surveillance of our private lives? How do the already powerful hide short-cuts to even greater influence and wealth across a ruined environment and vast stretches of poverty? In thoughtful, provocative, and engaging reflections on the modern State, Eric Laursen seeks deliberate withdrawal from the self-fulfilling mechanism he so appropriately calls ‘the operating system.’”
—Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University

Eric Laursen is an independent journalist, historian, and activist. He is the author of The People’s Pension and The Duty to Stand Aside. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including In These TimesThe NationThe Village VoiceCounterpunchThe Arkansas Review, and Z Magazine. He lives in Buckland, Massachusetts.

Click here for Zoom Link.