Why? Or, How a Peasant Got Into the Land of Anarchy: An Anarchist Fairytale from the Russian Revolution | Abba & Wolf Gordin (5/23)
110 pages | AK Press | 5.23.23
A revolutionary fairy tale for adults that makes sharpening your critique of capitalism fun.
Why? follows the travels of a boy named Pochemu--"Why" in Russian--as he tries to understand the Tsar's empire, capitalism, state violence, and more. The answers his rapid-fire questions elicit, which make less and less sense the deeper he probes, are just as ridiculous today as they were a century ago, and just as descriptive of a society gone wrong. When Pochemu eventually enters the Land of Anarchy, he is confronted by his own strangeness to its citizens, who study the bizarre customs he brings to their free society. This is a timeless tale of the ludicrousness of power and its deluded defenders.
In this fable, a child's innocent questions meet the lies used to justify a world of cruelty and inequality. The result is quasi-absurdist, political comedy. Abba and Wolf Gordin, Jewish anarchists in the Russian Revolution, wrote proletarian literature to enlighten and entertain. It's a genre that no longer really exists, but given this delightful book, maybe it should.
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