Our mission is the total transformation of society into one that is stateless and classless, a society of mutual aid, voluntary cooperation, and the liberation of desire. We call this mission anarchy, but also accept it being called anarchism, (anti-state) communism, anti-authoritarianism, or not naming it at all (the mission that must not be named).
This goal is not immediately forthcoming, and many of our efforts haven’t been particularly rewarding. Therefore we spend our time doing things that increase the quantity and quality of an understanding of our mission, of what we truly desire, even if we aren’t entirely sure how to directly achieve it. We know what we want but not how to get there.
In this spirit we offer a selection of things, meaningless on their own, but in a context (social, historical, genealogical) that have been meaningful for each of us. Even though we are fully aware of contradiction of our participation in commodity culture, the spectacle, and even plain old petit-bourgeoisie capitalism, we maintain a resolve that this is worth doing. Why? Because the context of interacting with other inquisitive people, with each other, and with others involved in the project of social transformation, is the closest we have come to such a society.
Specifically–Little Black Cart maintains a commitment to self-criticism regarding its internal organization, and to transparency regarding policies and decisions, while offering products that represent the diversity of the anarchist publishing world and that inspire us. We want to expose other people to the ideas, books, periodicals, and writing that have inspired us. We sell these things that we have a relationship with. We do not agree with everything but we generally support every project we offer here.
Little Black Cart is a volunteer-run organization and will continue as such for the foreseeable future. Naturally we are starting the project with no money, which makes the decision to be volunteer-run easy to make, but even if at some point we have money any decision to pay one of our group will not be made lightly. Once projects make the decision to pay their workers, they enter into a treacherous terrain, one in which people begin to rely on the money and start making decisions that are no longer about the inspiration and love that we have for the ideas and each other.
Formal consensus decision-making has been the de facto assumption for anarchist groups for decades. While this will not be the place to get into all the critiques of formal consensus, a summary would include problems with timeliness, the power of the agenda maker, the decision-making of blocks and horse-trading, and the fact that the structure of meetings force organizations into shapes they wouldn’t otherwise choose.
That said, the decision-making model used at LBC is called Proximity Relevance Decision Making (PRDM). PRDM starts from the assumptions that the decisions one cares about are the decisions one should be involved in, and one should not be involved in those that one does not care about. One of the premises of PRDM is internal transparency. One of the consequences is an anti-bureaucratic decision-making approach that reinforces engagement rather than creating sub-committees that might talk and meet a lot, but to little effect.
Additionally, PRDM provides various levels of engagement. Most people bring their own interests to the projects theyï¿½~@~Yre involved in. They may be interested in every aspect of the project or they may only be inspired by certain aspects. In the post-New Left anarchist model, participation in an anarchist project means participation in every aspect of that project. This is exhausting and leads to a lot of burn-out. In PRDM, there are no negative (perceived or actual) consequences of having only a partial relationship to (in this case) LBC. Each member of LBC chooses their own level of engagement and the structure of LBC allows for that initial level of involvement to be slight.
In most every anarchist project there are differing levels of “power to”. It is important in this context that we differentiate between having the power to (act, decide, communicate, know, etc) and having power over (control, dominate, boss) as opposed to shortcutting the discussion and simply using the word power. Many splits in anarchist projects are due to a lack of honesty about these levels of power. Within LBC there are clear understandings about power and they are facilitated through the use of internet technologies. We communicate through email and a variety of server technologies (wiki, accounting, etc) that are entirely open to the people within the project. We are not interested in hoarding information from each other or from the people who come to the site.
To the best of our ability, the goal of LBC is to integrate an education in the material with free knowledge (when it is easily available) and an openness about our process. We hope that this fosters a sense of not community but rather of whatever the internet equivalent is of a group of people who actually care enough about something to participate in it, give it their time, and on occasion their money.
We are motivated to get involved in LBC because we are deeply affected by anarchist writing, thinking, and projects. We are passionate about reading and discussing ideas, and believe that they are important enough to share.
Sharing isn’t a passive act. It isn’t just sitting around waiting for someone to come to you with a question. It is making it clear to any person who passes that you have something to offer — it may be little, but you have something to share.
The anarchism that we want to share is not one of doctrine and program but one that reflects the breadth of anarchist thought. We do not believe that anarchism is any one type of anarchist perspective but the constellation of them engaged with each other and the world. We are also aware of the other distribution and publishing efforts that are out there. So we are not trying to cover all the bases, just the ones that are not otherwise widely accessible. Our second priority is to make sure that all of the things that we love about anarchism are available. Finally we are interested in being thorough about anarchist thought in general. Initially we are going to be a lot more successful with our first two priorities than the third. We expect to be criticized for this. There will come a time when we can be more complete regarding what we carry but lacking infinite money we are willing to wait.
We are ready to help you find the things that you are looking for if you cannot find them with us. Phone number: 206-202-1914
To contact us either email us or send us mail at PO Box 3920, Berkeley CA 94703. Phone number: 206-202-1914