Tuesday, December 27, 2005

An Open Letter To AK Press

To the staff of AK Press,

I have long been a customer of AK Press, and have greatly admired what your organization has done by making otherwise hard to find books by leftist and anarchist authors available to the general public. I must regretfully say however that I can no longer purchase items from your business in good conscience. While I still believe that AK Press is helping to expand the parameters of political debate in this country (something I see as being positive for our society as a whole), your company’s continual promotion of political violence, up to and including the murder of those you disagree with, makes me unable to directly support you. For instance, I understand why you sell books by Ward Churchill: Despite his odious rationalizations for the 9/11 attacks and his contempt for the victims, as well as his ceaseless calls for terrorist actions to be carried out within the U.S., he has done some valuable research, particularly on the topic of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. What I do object to is your hosting of a speaking engagement by Churchill, as well as posting a letter on your website supporting him. I have read several of Churchill’s books and can personally attest that he is in fact a psychopath bent on using the trappings of leftism to rationalize his own dreams of mass human slaughter. As I said, distributing his books is one thing; publicly supporting him is another.
In a similar vein, you offer several clothing items that I find personally offensive. For instance, AK sells a t-shirt depicting rows of crosses accompanied by the text “We Have Found New Homes for the Rich”. This is disturbing on a couple of levels. First, who qualifies as “rich”? By international standards most working class Americans would be considered wealthy. Second, we can assume that this threat is primarily directed at the white males who for the most part run this country. But would it extend to the wives or even to the children of these rich persons? You might be tempted to respond that the shirt is meant to be taken as a joke. Perhaps. But I would argue that like rape jokes, this just isn’t funny.
Please feel free to continue to send me your catalogs; they are useful as a resource, and most of the books listed therein are available through online retailers such as amazon.com. But for the reasons stated, you probably shouldn’t expect me to buy anything.

Peace out,

Henry Garfield
St. Louis, MO

(If I receive anything close to a rational response, I’ll post it here.)


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