No, You Don’t Need To Read The Anarchist Cookbook
Disclaimer: This article, as the title hopefully clarifies, does not condone the Anarchist Cookbook, nor does it condone any illegal activities that it could inspire. While a link to the book will be provided for citation purposes, it is not advised to read it. You will probably be put on a list. Also, this article contains mentions of racism
William Powell’s Anarchist Cookbook is a highly infamous text. From the supposedly faulty recipes, to the debates in government of whether to ban the book, and the author himself trying to have the book removed from print, it has sort of become a boogeyman of anarchism. The cookbook gives plenty of insidious activities, such as stealing people’s credit cards, making drugs, wiretapping, making napalm, making explosives, and generally just being destructive. If your only exposure to anarchism is through mainstream media, you may think this is an accurate representation. However, it is my belief that the Anarchist Cookbook has as much to do with anarchism as it does cooking.
The ideology expressed by the book is one of, to put it bluntly, screwing over random people for no reason. This is not what anarchism is about. In fact, I would argue that it is the opposite. The goal of anarchism is to remove all unjust hierarchy, the biggest of which is capitalism, a system that screws over random people for the benefit of the few (it’s more complicated than that but that’s a topic for another day.) There is no mention of the abolition of hierarchy anywhere. In fact, the only mention of the word is used for wire tapping tutorials, as seen in sections 36 and 146.
And that’s not even mentioning the blatant racism, with section 9 in particular making a disgusting excuse for a joke which crudely stereotypes black men as people who commit sexual assault. Of course, in actual anarchy, racism is another of the unjust hierarchies that needs to be abolished. In fact, the author was not even anarchist, and wrote the book due to fear of leftism.
So, I hope that I could convince you that, no, you need not read the Anarchist Cookbook. Here is a link for citation purposes, I am not responsible if clicking this puts you on a list. This is the 2000 version, but from what I have seen, there is little difference aside from easier access and updates to recipes. And if you’re an FBI agent and are reading this, please don’t hurt me.