Top 10 of 2011: AK Press Publishing

It’s that time of year, when everyone and their mother puts up their “year-in-review” blog post.  Best films, best albums, Person of the Year, and what have you. Well, here we are with our own list, to celebrate all the awesome work we’ve done at AK Press this year. We like to step back and pat ourselves on the back every once in a while because we have been putting out some damn fine books (if we do say so ourselves) for twenty-one years.

The Top 10 AK Press titles of 2011 are:

1. Marshall Law: The Life and Times of a Baltimore Black Panther [Marshall "Eddie" Conway]
This important memoir, by a Baltimore Black Panther who has been incarcerated for 41 years for a crime he did not commit, really took off this year—thanks to some excellent launch events, some awesome professors teaching it in college courses, and some renewed public attention to Eddie’s case. But he’s still locked up, and people still need to hear what he has to say.

2. I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto [Jared Ball]
Got a DJ or a hip-hop fan on your holiday shopping list? Look no further than this fascinating look at internal colonialism theory and modern African America through the lens of the hip-hop mixtape. Read the great two-part OC Weekly interview with Jared Ball (Part One and Part Two) to find out what this book is all about!

3. Oppose & Propose: Lessons from Movement for a New Society [Andrew Cornell]
The second book in the Anarchist Interventions series co-published with the Institute for Anarchist Studies! (See also the first book, Anarchism and its Aspirations, and the soon-forthcoming third book, Decolonizing Anarchism.) This one brings to life the history and legacy of Movement for a New Society, a radical pacifist organization that was active in the 1970s–80s

4. Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex [Edited by Nat Smith & Eric Stanley]
The first collection of its kind, on an essential topic: the experiences of trans and gender variant people caught up in the Prison Industrial Complex. Includes contributions from current and former prisoners, activists, and academics. Check out the release event videos of Miss Major and Eric Stanley & Angela Davis to get a feel for what’s covered in the book.

5. Peace, Love & Petrol Bombs: A Novel [D.D. Johnston]
Our second novel in as many years, this one should elicit many smiles and nods (and maybe snort-laughs?) from those of us who came of age in the anti-globalization movement. Trust us: it’s awesome. Or else you can trust the author, who does his best to be honest with you about whether or not you will like the book.

6. After the Future [Franco "Bifo" Berardi]
Bifo is gaining recognition within U.S. activist circles, and for good reason. He’s been saying some things worth listening to. Take this, for instance: “We don’t have to get indignant anymore, we have to revolt.” Here’s his new book about our collective obsession with “the future,” whose time, he argues, has come and gone. What’s next, if not the future? Well, that’s up to us…

7. Property Is Theft: A Pierre-Joseph Proudhon Reader [Pierre-Joseph Proudhon; Edited by Iain McKay]
Years in the making, here’s a massive (over 800 pages!) collection of writings by the first man to call himself an “anarchist.” Edited by Iain McKay (of Anarchist FAQ fame), who also wrote here about his thoughts on the process of editing this book, and the final result. An essential addition to any anarchist’s library.

8. “Yellow Kid” Weil: The Autobiography of America’s Master Swindler [J.R. Weil & W.T. Brannon]
You’ve probably just heard about this one on BoingBoing, where it was called the “perfect toilet-tank book.” It’s the latest in our popular Nabat Books series of outlaw biographies. It would make a great gift, don’t you think? Or maybe you’d like to brush up on your own swindling technique before that family holiday get-together? (Kidding! AK Press does not endorse ripping off your own family.)

9. Weaponizing Anthropology [David H. Price]
For anyone who’s worried about military incursions into schools and universities and the co-optation of research by intelligence agencies: well, you’re right to worry. For anyone else, here’s a wake-up call. The social science students and professors in your life need to read this. Check out this great review from La Jornada.

10. Zapatista Spring: Anatomy of a Rebel Water Project & the Lessons of International Solidarity [Ramor Ryan]
From the author of Clandestines, and more recently the translator of Dispersing Power, comes this nuanced look at what happens when a group of international volunteers converge to help build a water system in Chiapas and encounter a “real world” much more complex than the flowery Zapatista communiqués. You can read an excerpt from the book here.

Honorable Mention: Autonomy, Solidarity, Possibility: The Colin Ward Reader [Colin Ward; Edited by Damian White & Chris Wilbert]
It’s only been out a couple months, but our long-awaited Colin Ward reader nearly made it onto this list anyway. So what the hell, who says there can’t be 11 books on our Top 10? Colin Ward was one of the most influential anarchist writers of the 20th (and early 21st) century; this is the definitive collection of his work.

And, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Friends of AK Press. In 2011, generous contributions from our Friends helped us to publish all 11 titles mentioned above—plus the also-excellent The Right to Be Lazy, Revolt and Crisis in Greece, Story of the Iron Column, Eyes to the South, and (any day now) Decolonizing Anarchism! In return for their support, Friends of AK received every one of these books in the mail, hot off the press! What lucky ducks! Sign up now to help us keep up the pace in 2012—we’ve even brought back Lifetime Friends of AK Press memberships for a limited time. 

Much gratitude to those of you who have supported us either as Friends of AK, or by buying our books, in 2011! Here’s to many more…