Crisis States

punctum books
Published: 07/05/2016
via graduated open access

(This is the second book in a 3-part series Jeff is releasing through punctum.)

This is an age of crisis: economic, political, environmental, and social. Yet the nature of contemporary crisis is often misunderstood. Crisis, rather than being accidental or episodic – as is too often assumed – has been a regular feature of state practice in the neoliberal austerity regimes of contemporary capitalism. In this timely work Jeff Shantz gives special attention to the particular manufactured crises associated with austerity regimes and conditions of precarity within contemporary capitalism, and how Crisis States differ from other forms of state practice.

August 23, 1927: State murder of Sacco & Vanzetti

Today is the 90th anniversary of the execution of Nicola Sacco

Editor's Preface to _Homeland Fascism: Corporatist Government in the New American Century_

Very pleased this major new work is now available from THOUGHT|CRIMES press

Here's my introduction... (or download as a pdf)

Editor’s Preface

“Homeland Fascism Today:
An Introduction”

Jeff Shantz

There is a certain complacency, perhaps arrogance, among commentators in the United States concerning the prospects for violent uprisings or mobilizations in the US. It is widely held that violent uprisings, coups, oppositional movements, will not, even cannot, emerge or take hold in the United States. America is viewed as a stable system with democratic checks and balances and a civil makeup mitigating against such dramatic eruptions in the body politic. Furthermore, truly oppositional movements are viewed as being too small, too marginal, or too trivial to pose a real challenge to the liberal democratic order of things in the United States.

There are some recurring factors that historically appear as what might be preconditions for dramatic social upheaval and change. These are: extreme economic inequality; significant, major economic or political crisis or shock, usually unexpected; a middle strata that feels threatened or is experiencing economic threats (Judson 2009, 174). Conflict can be triggered by a dramatic event such as a coup d’état, riots, a terrorist attack, etc. (Judson 2009, 174).  [continue reading...]

Manufacturing Phobias: The Political Production of Fear in Theory and Practice

[COVER IMAGE: Manufacturing Phobias]NOW AVAILABLE! April 2016

University of Toronto Press
ISBN 9781442637276

edited by
Hisham Ramadan & Jeff Shantz

Fear is a powerful emotion and a formidable spur to action, a source of worry and – when it is manipulated – a source of injustice. Manufacturing Phobias demonstrates how economic and political elites mobilize fears of terrorism, crime, migration, invasion, and infection to twist political and social policy and advance their own agendas.


[this is from 2006, an earlier draft of an article later published as:
Shantz, J. 2007. "
Solidarity and the 6 Nation struggle for the land." North Eastern Anarchist #12 (January).
* For more on the Iroquois Confederacy, see also in that issue "'Where License Reigns With All Impunity': An Anarchist Study of the Rotinonshón:ni Polity" by Stephen Arthur
* for a more recent news report on this particular reclamation, see: Windle, Jim. 2014. "The Kanonhstaton barricade is gone … kinda" Two Row Times (August 20). Six Nations: Garlow Media.]


On February 28, 2006, members of Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy reclaimed 40 hectares of lands belonging to their community. The land, which was under construction as part of a new residential subdivision, had been sold to a developer, Henco Industries, despite the fact that the government knew it was contested land when it allowed it to be sold. In addition, the government did not appropriately follow the specified procedures of its own “Grand River Notification Agreement” to properly inform Six Nations of actions, environmental and otherwise, undertaken within the area under question. Such has been the history of governments in Canada in disregarding indigenous land rights.

Time for Criminology: The Established is not Enough

[Editorial of Radical Criminology, issue #5]


The present period has a certain premonitory feel about it. A sense of historic promise. There is a real air of change. The mood is one of resistance, of uprising.

Anarchism from the Margins: Introducing New Developments in Anarchist Studies

[This is the introduction & appendix 4 ~"About Surrey" of "New Developments in Anarchist Studies", collected papers from the 5th annual NAASN conference, 2014, edited by Jeff Shantz & pj lilley, published 2015 via 'Thought|Crimes' press imprint of punctum books. Download the entire book as pdf here or as epub, or order in print.]

Anarchism is enjoying a rather remarkable renaissance, in theory and in practice, through the first decades of the twenty-first century. Notably this renaissance is taking place simultaneously in the streets and in the schools, in activism as well as in academia. The reasons for the resurgence of anarchism are varied but without question the primary impetus has been the community opposition to neoliberal capitalist globalism and associated regimes of austerity and repression along with the pressing fact of ecological crisis. Many are inspired to act by the enormity of current social and ecological harms and the growing realization among wider sectors of the population that these are not problems that can be resolved within the framework of state managed capitalist development. At the same time many among newer generations of activists, and some of the earlier generations, have seen or learned from the failures of previous frameworks of resistance politics, particularly the statist forms of the various Marxisms and social democracies. For many, anarchism stands as the most promising basis for analyzing and understanding contemporary capitalist societies and for informing an opposition to capitalist arrangements in such as way as to pose a realistic, positive, liberatory alternative.

On Parapolitics and a New Criminology (Editor's Preface to _The Spectacle of the False Flag_)

[This is  the editor's preface to our newest book on THOUGHT|CRIMES press (imprint of punctum books).  It's called The Spectacle of the False Flag: Parapolitics from JFK to Watergate and it's by Eric Wilson.  Please download it free from our website, or order a print copy here.]

[Cover Image: The Spectacle of the False Flag: Parapolitics from JFK to Watergate]Criminology is a strange discipline. For an area of study focused overwhelmingly, obsessively even, on state activity, criminology has perhaps as much as any social science, outside of psychology, completely and utterly undertheorized the state. The character of the state is largely misunderstood or only slightly understood within criminology (even as the criminology of figures like Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Nicos Poulantzas, who wrote much on law and the state, remain mostly unread by criminologists). Too often the state is simply taken for granted without real critical analysis. It is accepted straightforwardly, unproblematically, as the legitimate social authority, the social arbitrator.

Where critical approaches to the state are pursued there has been a tendency toward instrumentality or uniformity in discussing and explaining state activities. That is, the state is typically portrayed as a rather direct expression of the repressive needs of capital as a whole. And this, again, is the case only in critical approaches in which the state is interrogated or even problematized at all, most criminology taking the state, its legitimacy if not its neutrality, for granted.

The Postmodern Turn in Criminology

Much of contemporary criminology remains bound to concepts and perspectives developed and framed in relation to conditions of modernity (even the emergence of modernity) and the structures, institutions, and processes of modernism. Among these concepts are rationality (rational choice and rational calculation), progress, and enlightenment—deterrence and correctivity.

The modernist criminologies remain dependent on instituted authorities and their organizations—police, courts, correctional facilities, legislatures—for definitions and understandings of crime, criminality, and responses to crime. Processes associated with liberal democratic governance are viewed as proper (and privileged) means for adjudicating social norms and responses to violations of norms. Agencies of the police, courts, and corrections are viewed as the legitimate institutions for the pursuit of—the realization of—“criminal justice.”

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