September 3, 2020
Today, we mourn the passing of our friend and comrade, David Graeber, a tireless, insightful, and wide-ranging thinker. In his honor, we present his essay, “The Shock of Victory,” which he composed for the fifth issue of our journal, Rolling Thunder, exploring how anarchists can set long-term goals so as not to be caught off guard by our victories.
David’s unexpected passing takes us by surprise. Only days ago, we were corresponding with him about Facebook’s decision to ban anarchist pages to placate the Trump administration. David was among the first to respond with a support statement, charging that “Nothing could conceivably be more violent than to tell us—and particularly our young people—we are forbidden to even dream of a peaceful, caring, world.”
This was in character for David. He was not just an intellectual—he was always eager to take a stand, putting himself in the thick of things. He participated in the Direct Action Network in New York City leading up to the massive demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas ministerial in Quebec City in April 2001 at the high point of the so-called “anti-globalization” movement. He was an instrumental participant in the founding of Occupy Wall Street and engaged in the debates about “violence” that followed, confronting the same self-righteous pundits that other anarchists did. He was one of the first to direct international attention to the revolutionary experiment in Rojava when it was threatened by the Islamic State, and joined us a year ago in calling for solidarity when Turkey invaded.