Kathy E. FergusonFeb 15, 2023
The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture
Duke University Press 2023
While the stock image of the anarchist as a masked bomber or brick thrower prevails in the public eye, a more representative figure should be a printer at a printing press. In Letterpress Revolution: The Politics of Anarchist Print Culture (Duke UP, 2023), Kathy E. Ferguson explores the importance of printers, whose materials galvanized anarchist movements across the United States and Great Britain from the late nineteenth century to the 1940s.
Ferguson shows how printers—whether working at presses in homes, offices, or community centers—arranged text, ink, images, graphic markers, and blank space within the architecture of the page. Printers' extensive correspondence with fellow anarchists and the radical ideas they published created dynamic and entangled networks that brought the decentralized anarchist movements together.
Printers and presses did more than report on the movement; they were constitutive of it, and their vitality in anarchist communities helps explain anarchism’s remarkable persistence in the face of continuous harassment, arrest, assault, deportation, and exile. By inquiring into the political, material, and aesthetic practices of anarchist print culture, Ferguson points to possible methods for cultivating contemporary political resistance.
Jen Hoyer is Technical Services and Electronic Resources Librarian at CUNY New York City College of Technology and a volunteer at Interference Archive. Jen edits for Partnership Journal and organizes with the TPS Collective. She is co-author of What Primary Sources Teach: Lessons for Every Classroom and The Social Movement Archive.