Erica Lagalisse's Blog

Occult Features of Anarchism— an Ignota Book of the Year

Ignota friends and family choose their books of the year, Part 2! <3 Accompanying Part 1, we offer this list of books and pamphlets chosen by Ignota’s friends and family that have accompanied their journeys. MORE SELECTIONS TO COME! 

Intended also in support of the book trade, especially fellow indies, we’ve added links to, which unites independent booksellers to provide an alternative to Am*zon, or directly to publishers’ websites.

I attended a lecture by Erica Lagalisse, organised by David Graeber—rest in power—at the LSE last year, and I was in awe at the rigour she applied to looking at some of the awkward questions of radical political organising. She started off with an interogation of the awkwardness of anarchists when encountering the spirituality of Indigenous groups whose struggles they had adopted, and how anarchist groups in Canada and Mexico invariably frame Indigenous struggles through a gendered distinction between the spiritual, which they would sideline as domestic, private and not politically relevant, and what could be read as secular aspects of their lives and organising, and therefore properly political. From there, she ventured into a deep investigation of the roots of anarchism in occult philosophies, which is what is covered in this fantastic but brief book. It traces the historical origins of anarchism through to the secret society of the Illuminati. It is a reminder of the true meaning of conspiracy—to conspire, breathing together—where secret societies become the brithplaces of organising and as practices of imagining new possible worlds. And this time, not described in the innocent yet arrogant terms of being the chosen ones (whether in religious or revolutionary terms), but with all the fraught and problematic historical detail of people trying to do things in relation to power.

Erica Lagalisse is an anthropologist and writer, a postdoctoral research fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE), editor of Solidarity and Care During the Covid-19 Pandemic at The Sociological Review, and author of Occult Features of Anarchism – With Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples (2019). She can be found on Twitter at @ELagalisse

Back to Erica Lagalisse’s Author Page