In the context of a renewed interest in the history of the Witch-hunts and the rise of Christian civilization, this book offers a significant contribution. In recent years, anti-capitalists and pagans alike have explored a radical analysis of these histories and have worked to understand the conditions by which patriarchy and capitalism have developed together as two heads of the same monstrosity. This line of inquiry is perhaps best illustrated by the relatively widespread reading and discussion of Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch and also the renewed excitement about Fredy Perlman’s Against His-story, Against Leviathan!
This book tells a congruent story, but from a unique position. While engaging with the same history as Federici, Arthur Evans departs from her in some marked ways. He subtitled his book “a radical view of western civilization, and some of the people it has tried to destroy,” and in doing so he attempts to hear and to share the perspective of those people annihilated in the Witch-hunts. This effort is something tragically absent in the patronizingly materialist writings in Caliban. While Federici critiques the capitalist Mind/Body and Material/Spiritual splits which cleaved the world into an alienated hell, her methodology is rooted in the Mind and Material poles of these violent dichotomies. This intrinsically domesticated perspective may indict the Witch-hunts, yet it remains a tacit acceptance of the ideology which has fueled centuries of genocide. In his lament for the world vanquished by Civilization and his celebration of the voices of the defeated, Evans’ critique has more in common with Fredy Perlman’s. Both describe Leviathan’s material rise as being inseparable from the sensual and spiritual poverty it has enforced upon the biosphere.
Witchcraft’s own argumentation offers a vindication of queer sensuality, magic, and anarchist violence which speaks for itself and can be followed toward any number of endeavors in the pursuit of freedom and wildness. We are passionate about this book because of the way that these perspectives and proposals invigorate our own struggles against this world.
Contents: Introduction to the 2013 Edition Introduction to the 1978 Edition 1. Joan of Arc: Transvestite and Heretic 2. Who Were the Fairies? 3. Homosexuality and Class Warfare 4. Heretics: Women, Buggers and Free Spirits 5. The Sacred Orgies of Witchcraft 6. The Medieval Counterculture 7. The Mass Murder of Women and Gay People 8. Sex Magic in the Early Third World 9. Sex Among the Zombies 10. Magic and Revolution Appendix: Calendar of Events